At 5:45am on Sunday 28th October I was sleeping when I felt a sudden gush of water. I was 39 weeks pregnant with my first child. I staggered out of bed grabbing the towel I had left there for just this occasion and went to the bathroom. By 6am I felt what at that point felt like really strong menstrual cramps. I spent the next two hours moving between the bedroom and the bathroom, resting when I could but finding sitting on the toilet comfortable during a contraction. My husband managed to get another hour’s rest. We had planned for a home birth but had been warned the previous week that with extra amniotic fluid, this may not be possible. After two hours the contractions were 4-5 "up-breaths" long. I asked my husband to time them properly so that I could focus on my breathing. They were about 90 seconds apart so we phoned the midwife. She arrived about an hour later and did her first checks.
In the meantime I spent some time in the shower which was heaven on the persistent ache in my lower back. My husband set up the living room with mats and towels. I spent some time leaning forward over a huge pile of cushions, which was a position I had also found comfortable in late pregnancy. Then I wanted a bath, but having used up the hot water my husband had pans on the stove and the kettle boiling!
My midwife was amazing, she only came near me when she needed something and to swap places with my husband. I was never on my own during a contraction. I was aware of the second midwife arriving but she did not interrupt us. I was also told that I could give birth at home if that was still my choice. I wanted to stay in my home. I was still using the up breathing during contractions and the visualisation of the bubbles was the one that stuck in my mind. We had music running most of the time. I had practised relaxing with the River Dawn album so when I heard that during my labour it was a really helpful trigger for relaxation. Though my husband got very sick of it after the 7th run through!
Eventually sitting in the bath was not comfortable so I moved back to the living room. I spent most of my time on my knees leaning forwards but did also stand and rock a few times. There is a photo of me on the Swiss ball too but I don't remember that!

I didn’t have any pain relief, just my husband’s hands to squeeze and breathing to focus on.
By now each time a contraction came it was only 5-6 breaths which reassured me that I could get through the contraction as I counted them down each time.
I had no idea what time it was but I started to feel the urge to push. I said this out loud so everyone knew and the midwife reassured me that it was okay to follow the sensation. I spent some time on the toilet following this urge to push (They were right, it's a lot easier to push on the toilet because we're used to doing it) before returning for the final time to the living room.
From that point onwards I was pushing on each contraction. My husband was holding my hands and the midwife told me progress and gave me encouragement. I think I ended up lying on my left side with my right leg on one of the midwife's shoulders for the final pushes and whilst I was aware of this I was not remotely embarrassed. It felt natural.
With the encouragement of my husband and the midwives I gave those final few pushes. They weren't easy but the second my child was delivered the pushes were forgotten. I didn’t hear any crying but I wasn’t worried as I had been told that not all babies cry. The midwives helped me turn on to my back and were about to put the baby to my breast when my husband asked whether it was a boy or a girl. We had a little baby boy! He was put on my chest and my husband was asked if he’d like to cut the cord. He did.

Unfortunately, my placenta did not follow my son and I was bleeding. The midwives were calm and told me what was happening and that we would have to call for ambulance and go into hospital. My husband was asked to dress our son, so that they could focus on helping me. He also collected my hospital bag (I was so glad I'd prepared that!) Three ambulance crew then had to carry me up 7 flights of steps (downside of living on a hill!). But I wasn't really aware... I had to keep my deep breathing going at this time as one of the medications given to me to try and deliver the placenta caused awful cramps. I focused on breathing and my midwife kept softly reminding me when I struggled.

Everything went smoothly in hospital. The medical professionals were friendly and explained things clearly. I was soon pain free and in theatre. An hour later I was in recovery with my son on my chest and the midwives helping me to express so my son could have some food. I remained in hospital for 24 hours and could have stayed longer but I knew the best place for me was at home with my son and my husband supporting us.

In the following two weeks I continued to use the relaxation visualisations when I was trying to get back to sleep after a night feed or trying to nap during the day.

I could not have asked for a better labour and birth. I am very grateful for everything I learned with hypnobirthing