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Our Names: Kedi and Jo Simpson
Baby: Jacob Edward Sylvester Simpson
Birth: born at 7.14am 31.12.00

Jacob Edward Sylvester Simpson (Jake to his friends) arrived this morning at 7.14am after a labour of four hours ten minutes (and a pre-labour of nearly 12 hours!), weighing a stonking 9lb 13oz.

Let's see - lots of pacing yesterday, and started timing contractions in the afternoon about 5pm. Called up hospital at about 9pm and they said my contractions weren't regular enough and it could be 48 hours yet! Had a bath, strapped on the tens machine, had supper, Jo rubbed my back a lot while the contractions finally got stronger. He said afterwards it was his job to keep me out of hospital for as long as possible! We tried lots of different positions to get through the contractions, but I really wanted to be upright during them, so ended up mostly facing the wall, arms folded, forehead on forearms, breathing. Each contraction was lasting for between six and ten breaths and I quickly worked out that once Id got to breath six, the worst was over. Jo just stood by me and breathed through them with me - it was so much easier to cope when he was next to me, having that moral support.

We finally went in at about 2am.

Getting out of the house was fun. Got up from the bed, had a contraction in the hall, two in the front garden, one next to the car before we set off. Three in the car. Had Tens machine on permanent 'boost' by this stage.

Got to hospital about 2.30am and getting in was the same as getting to the car - we parked, I got out, had a contraction against the railings. Jo moved the car. Got nearly to the door of the hospital and the security guard came to open the door, and I stopped and had a contraction. Another one half way down the hall. Another one in the corridor of the labour ward.

The first thing they wanted to do when we got in there was monitor me; they strapped me up to a machine to monitor my contractions and the babys heartbeat, but they let me stay upright while they were doing it, thank goodness. They were supposed to monitor me for 20 minutes but I only managed 10 before I really needed a poo. That took a good 15 minutes as the contractions kept on getting in the way. It must have been about 3am or 3.30am before I was examined and told I was only 2cm dilated - thought it could be a 2001 baby after all! Felt very disappointed.

Things get a bit blurry after that... I was fairly out of it fairly quickly, but we had a fantastic midwife who just stayed in the background and who read my birthplan and took it totally seriously. My waters hadn't broken so she ran me a lovely hot bath (wasn't allowed in the pool cos I wasn't 5cm) and I think I got in there around 3.30am. Wonderful! Acupuncturist lady (Alison, my hero) turned up about 4am, most impressed that we'd let her sleep for so long, and shoved loads of needles in my ears. Jo was being totally heroic as well - he and Alison where by my side in the bath, and Jo learnt so quickly from what Alison was saying and could really help me. I had lots of instructions dont fight it let it happen think about going downwards. Slept between contractions in the bath - the peace between contractions was wonderful in the bath, although the pain of the contractions wasn't as good as out of the bath. But the time just whizzed by - I'd nod off, wake up for six to ten breaths, then nod off again. I don't think I was totally conscious during a lot of the contractions either. I remember it being 5am, and 6am.

The midwife said she'd come and examine me again at 5.30, but I think it was closer to 6.15 by the time she actually did. I was all set to be told that I was 3cm, but actually I was 8!!!! Was thrilled. That's when I dared ask Alison whether the baby would be born this year, and she said definitely. So I asked what time it got light at the moment and decided that we were going to aim for that! I also asked Alison if I was in transition, because just for a moment I felt really really high.

Was still in the bath when I was convinced I wanted to do a poo, and shouted out during one contraction 'I need to push'. That was a bit scarey because even in my state I knew it wasnt good to push too early, but Alison just encouraged me to listen to my body and push if I wanted to.

So we had to make the move from the bathroom across the corridor to the waterbirth room. I didn't care about being covered over although they wrapped a towel around me as there were two ultra-orthodox rabbis pacing the corridor!

The pool was only half full when I got into it, tap still running, but it was lovely being able to submerge my tummy. I think we got into it about ten to seven or so, and all I kept saying was that I really wanted to do a poo! Thats the baby, the midwife said. Time check: no earlier than 6.45am

So this was Second Stage. Was screaming with each contraction - had these huge where I'd indulge my hysteria by screaming blue murder for the first half, then forcing myself to be calm for the other half of them, but I was feeling a lot more alert between pushes. I remember saying, I feel like opening up not like a rose, though, and Im getting that splitting in two sensation a bit.

The midwife suggested when I got into the pool that perhaps I'd like to use gas and air for the second stage (I'd had absolutely nothing up until then - didn't want to be fiddled with!), but the idea of concentrating on anything other than holding onto the edge of the pool/Jo's hand was far too much to contemplate.

Jakes head came out - I was on all fours at that stage, and Jo said he could see his face underwater, just looking a bit bemused by it all. They checked that his cord wasnt around the neck Then I had to move over to a squat and sat there for a moment or two, watching the back of his head, waiting for the need to push again. Quite disconcerting seeing this little head underwater! Then last push and out he came. It was only then that my waters actually broke! (the show came about two minutes earlier!)

We sat in the pool for a while - Jo was crying and I was just thrilled that the pain was over - amazing birth, but boy did it hurt like crazy!

Had physiological third stage - I told them in my birth plan that if Id had a drug-free labour, I wanted a drug-free third stage, and with a bit of active pushing (rather than the spontaneous stuff earlier) out it came, although I didnt see it.

Second degree tear - ouch - they even suggested I might want gas and air while they did the stitches, but REALLY!

We think Jakes going to be extra lucky in life - they say being born in your waters means youll never die by drowning, and also there was a knot in the cord, which can be a cause of stillbirth, but he was absolutely fine and totally chilled throughout the whole labour.

I got my six hour discharge so we were back in the car and coming home exactly 12 hours after arriving in hospital.

When I got out of the pool and they had a look to inspect the damage, I was genuinely quite surprised to be told that I'd torn. Yes, delivering the head hurt a lot, but it's impossible to say whether the pain was tearing or whether it would have been better or worse without the tear. ANd I'd much rather have a good healthy baby and an easy birth, albeit torn, than anything else.


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