Baby Felicia was born on Friday 17th March at 3.10am! She was 8 days past due date, arrived at home, and is perfect. She is now 9 days old, and so adored. We had the perfect birthing experience. :)
After several false starts, including one on the Tuesday before she was born, when I started getting surges on the Thursday evening, I didn't think much of it, I assumed it was another false labour, and decided to go to bed. For some reason, I decided that it would be a nice idea to have some couple time with J that evening, thinking well, it couldn't hurt, and it might well be the last time for several weeks/months ;) after, we went to sleep, and at around 12.50am I woke to go to the toilet. As I sat up, I realised the bed felt quite damp. I didn't think too much of it, until I walked to the bathroom, and realised I was leaking fluid, and it was trickling along the floor as I walked. I also noticed that my surges had picked back up again, and knew this was it, my waters had gone and were trickling. So I called my mum (who was 2 hours drive away) to let her know this was it. She was in A&E with my step-dad, who, she had told me on Tuesday, had had a heart attack the week before. He was back there again with chest pain but had been seen and they were sure he was ok, and the pain wasn't anything serious. She said she'd get here ASAP, and she could leave A&E soon. After I got off the phone with mum, I called the labour ward, and told them my waters had gone, and they said they'd get a midwife to call me back.
A short while later, I got a call back from the midwife. As soon as I heard the midwife's voice, I was so pleased, because it was the same one that came out to me a week before to talk about my home birth, due to a call I'd received about possibly not being a candidate for home birth due to one of my previous births. I found out it had been Robert's birth that was the cause for concern, and so I talked to her about why I felt this birth would be fine, that I was not going to give birth in water this time, that my positioning would be better, and I was less naïve, and more experienced this time. The midwife, Sheelagh, was lovely and said they would absolutely support me in home birth, and that she could see no reason why home birth would not be ok. So when I heard her voice on the other end of the phone, I was so pleased it would be someone I'd met and got on well with attending the birth. I told her that the contractions weren't incredibly strong or regular yet but they were stronger than the false labour ones I'd been having. I also told her I didn't want any cervical checks, so I would be happy to wait til they were stronger and more regular and call her back. She told me I could call her mobile directly, so I made sure I could redial easily, and hung up, sure it wouldn't be long until we called her back.
Due to leaking, I put a pad and knickers on, and a towel on the bed, and went back to bed again, to try and get some more rest. About an hour later, at 2am, I felt the baby move, and immediately a huge gush of liquid came out in bed. I leapt up, grabbed the towel between my legs, and woke Jonathan back up again. The surges were back, and much stronger again, and definitely labourish, so I called Sheelagh back to tell her what happened, and that it was definitely happening now, and could she please come now? I went down to unlock the front door, and then went to the toilet in the cloakroom. Sure enough, my knickers and pad was soaked through, and I just put the towel between my legs again and went to find something to wear that would be modest and warm enough but allow me to birth easily. Jonathan was getting dressed too, and we went over what we'd need, made sure we had enough towels and waterproof sheets.
At around 2.30, Sheelagh arrived and sat and we chatted a bit, she started filling in forms, and taking observations, my blood pressure, listened to the baby, took my temperature and so on. The surges continued to come, and were getting strong enough that I'd have to breathe through them. Jonathan started to play the Steven Halpern hypnobirthing music on the TV, and for some reason it really bugged me, it sounded cheesy, so I looked through the music and finally found some calm atmospheric music that was just right. We went over my birth plan, which was fairly simple, and Sheelagh seemed happy enough. I sat on the sofa, resting between surges, and breathing through them. Then pretty soon I felt rather pushy, Sheelagh was saying she needed to try and guess when the second midwife should attend, to be here in time for the birth. I had another surge where again I felt pushy, but tried not to, instead breathing through it, but I told Sheelagh I was feeling a lot of pressure, and she called for the second midwife, Sonia, who was 20 minutes away in Kettering. The next surge I again felt the need to push but again I didn't, because I was still sitting and I knew I needed to move to kneel for delivering. Jonathan had been busy during this time setting up the beanbag, waterproof sheet, and towels in front of the opposite sofa.
By the next surge, which was around 3am, I had moved to kneel on the beanbag, and I allowed my body to bear down once I was in position. Sheelagh told me that I should ideally be more upright, so I shifted my position slightly so my elbows were closer to the edge of the sofa. Jonathan however had started up the stairs to go and get another beanbag to help position me more upright. I didn't know why he was going upstairs, but I remember thinking he'd better not be long because his baby was coming, and she wasn't going to hang around! I couldn't tell him this though, but luckily, Sheelagh did, basically saying that he should get back down NOW if he didn't want to miss the birth! And sure enough, on the next surge, her head emerged. Sheelagh constantly encouraging me to breathe, not push (I wasn't pushing, I was just bearing down with my body! I could not stop it at all!), and then when the head came, she suddenly changed tactic, and told me that her hand was by her head, and to push to get the head out. One more big push to get her head out! Then what seemed like 10 seconds later, Sheelagh was telling me to push again for her body. Out she came, with a big gush of the rest of the amniotic fluid, and immediately a gurgly cry! Sheelagh told me to lift my leg so we could pass the baby up, and I just held her for a while. Before I lifted her up, I remember glancing briefly between her legs and seeing that she was a girl, but in that moment, it did not matter at all! I lifted her to me, with a huge sense of relief that she was finally here, and that the birth was done! We moved over to the sofa where I had been resting and breathing through surges before delivery, and was just holding her, when a knock on the door was heard, followed by it opening, hearing my mum call out. Jonathan went to meet her, and said to her "you're too late! You can go back home now!" in a jokey manner. :) mum came in to see my baby girl in my arms!
I started to nurse her, and then about 5 minutes after that, Sonia, the second midwife arrived. Jonathan gave her the same quip, cups of tea made, and while I nursed, Sheelagh set about taking our temperatures again, and other observations while we waited for the placenta. About 10 minutes after delivery, the placenta came away naturally. As I nursed, I consented for the vitamin k injection to be administered. Felicia barely even opened her eyes, and didn't even make a noise! I was checked for tearing, and was amazed to find out I didn't tear AT ALL! Sheelagh and Sonia started filling in paperwork, mum started knitting, and it was such a relaxed post birth atmosphere. After Felicia finally finished nursing, we went to get her weighed in the kitchen. There was some speculation over her weight, and I thought maybe 8lbs, the midwives we're guessing 9.5lbs or so. But nope, Felicia amazed us all again when we found out she weighed a massive 10lb 12oz! Sheelagh and Sonia finally left around 4.30am, and we were all just too amazed and in awe to consider sleeping! I did have a sudden gush of blood after the midwife left, which panicked us all a bit. It soaked my knickers and the maternity pad, and was dripping out onto the sheet pad I was sitting on. I was worried it might be a hemorrage, so phoned Sheelagh back, who asked if it was still gushing or if it was slowing down. After I calmed down a bit it was evident it was slowing down so felt more able to relax. I got a couple more pads on a fresh pair of knickers, and all seemed OK. The three of us stayed awake until the boys got up for the morning.
It was so surreal sitting there, seeing the sky turn from completely dark, then getting lighter and lighter! Eventually the boys woke up and came down. Robert came first, and stopped on the stairs, looking groggy and confused, as he spotted his nanna sitting on the sofa and his daddy standing recording him on the phone! Robert then saw me, and the baby in my arms, and he just stopped dead still, open mouthed, and then to our amazement, his lip quivered, his eyes filled with tears, as he stood staring at his baby sister. He burst into tears, completely overwhelmed with joy! When I finally felt able to say something, I got him to sit down next to us, and he just sat and sobbed! Christopher and Daniel followed soon after, and grinned when they saw Felicia, and then both asked to go and have breakfast, while Robert was still sitting next to me. :)
It was all just completely perfect. We could not have wished for a better birth experience for our fourth and final baby. :)