Labour started at 40 weeks +1 day. I knew Henry was the sort of person who liked to be on time because I had actively prepared to meet him by spending some quiet time with him every day I was pregnant. I felt him. I knew who he was. He was a day late I think because my partner and I had an almighty argument on the eve of his due date and he got a bit scared. His due day was a great day. We made up, made love, ate curry and pineapple, went for a long walk, took photos of me pregnant and talked about how we were so excited to meet him. I woke with labour pains at 1am. I knew what they were because I had read a lot of positive birthing books, attended video presentations, done amazing yoga sessions with shared birthing stories and been on birthing shiatsu courses. I had a bath, breathed a lot, welcomed the growing pain as a sign I was soon to meet my boy and baked cakes for the midwives. I woke Anton at 6am and we rang the hospital who said we should wait. At 9am on the dot we rang the homebirthing unit to ask the midwives to come. I felt vulnerable and didn't know what was happening but I stayed strong and open for Henry to come, making myself open wide for him and welcoming every contraction with images of opening buds and breathing to make sure he was oxygenated. The midwives came just after 9 and told me I was 2cm dilated and I must carry on alone for now.
I really wanted them to be there because I wanted to birth him, I wanted to meet him so I used this information to motivate me to work even harder at opening up. I didn't waste a moment, I used every contraction and fully rested in between. I gave this pattern of work, open, relax my all completely selflessly. I let Henry know I loved him so much. I invited him. I slowly began to transition into becoming a mother: selfless and child focussed. During the next four hours, the crib sheet I had provided Anton with which included birth positions and other info really came in handy. The midwives were called again when I started to feel a little crazy. I recognised this as transition from the postive birthing reading I had done and knew it was time to call again. The midwife informed me I had done good work because by 1pm I was 9cm dilated. Now the world and his wife turned up in our one bedroom flat. At one point there were six midwives there including the student ones and my partner began to feel the strain. I was glad I had baked the cakes. After 5pm it all settled down a bit, the handover had been done to the midwives who would see us through the night. The students had finished for the day. My partner had been shown some excellent cox-ix massaging techniques by the day midwife and I was past transition (when the baby goes through the ubend). But progress slowed somewhat. The midwives weren't too intrusive and they monitored me as little as possible. I didn't have a birth plan as I didn't know what was going to happen, I just said, whatever you do, do it with love, love me as your sister. After a few hours and a midwife break for dinner, it was obvious we weren't really getting any further. Something was halting us. My partner was absolutely exhausted after selflessly helping for 14 hours. He had done everything, from listening to my shouts, complaints, hugging me, praising me, loving me, telling me how beautiful I was and how excited he was, bearing my weight, giving me drinks, offering me food and mopping up fluids (including blood, pee and excrement - which we welcomed by the way as research suggests the excrement passes on essential bacteria to the baby). We needed help. We called our loving neighbour who was a trained and experienced doula.
Our friend provided respite for Anton. She made me eat the cakes I made and the cola I had bought to give me the sugar energy to continue. She used cue cards to help me continue to open. She got everyone to praise me and made me believe that I would meet Henry soon. I had stopped believing this, maybe, and this is what I believe was holding it up, deep down I couldn't believe that I was finally going to be a mum. At one point my legs were back with me sat up on the bed and everyone else at the business end saying they could see him and I said "really? I'm really going to have a baby?". During this time the midwives, who were also giving it their all and had instructed me now to push like buggery, gave us the ultimatum: if we didn't birth in the next hour, by 10pm, we had to go to hospital. The idea of climbing the stairs to get out of the flat filled me with horror and I said to my son inside "Right, my darling boy, NOW,NOW,NOW". We moved into the bathroom under the doula's persuasion and the midwives were so wonderful to accept this idea as the bathroom was way too small for all of us. I crouched over the loo, Anton took my full weight, the midwife helped me push back my knees so hard, we screamed and screamed and in my head I gave my boy the permission to tear me. I pushed so hard I thought I would prolapse my anus and finally at 10pm I met my wonderful son.
I thank all the help I received. I read every good positive birthing and pregnancy book. I ate all the right foods and took all the right herbs. I took amazing supplements. I sought advice. I meditated, practised yoga every day, went on a shiatsu course and stayed with my son at all times. I didn't look at scare stories and didn't do anything that made me fearful. I filled myself with love and confidence. And I had a successful home birth. You can too.