Before we start I need to tell you that this is the most AMAZING birth story and that I am honoured that Nicola has shared this with us. I am in awe of all of them and what a special arrival for baby Joshua. Just wow!!!
I’m Nicola a mum of two beautiful boys, 16 month age gap. After finding out I was pregnant with my second at around 26 weeks I should have guessed this pregnancy would be far from the norm.
Where was your birth?
Unexpectedly, Joshua was born at home on our en-suite bathroom floor, the paramedic couldn’t make it across the small town of Bicester quick enough to deliver him. Luckily for me, my mum stepped in to take up the role of midwife and catch the baby, with my partner taking instructions from the 999 operator.
Did you have a plan about the type of birth you wanted?
My first birth was a relatively quick (6 hour labour) natural birth, in the midwife led centre at the John Radcliffe hospital, although I didn’t have a written birth plan for my second, I imagined it would be similar, I wanted to labour at home for as long as possible and then go to the hospital when I ‘couldn’t cope’. I wasn’t planning to use any pain relief as I hadn’t in my previous birth.
What type of birth did you have?
I was surprised at how quick my second labour was, knowing I had a back to back baby, I anticipated the labour would be longer and more painful than my first.
When friends and family asked what day I thought my baby would arrive I confidently said 14th January. I’d predicted the date of my first born and I had a strong feeling about the 14th this time around- call it a mother’s instinct.
I’d slept on the sofa the night before as our son wasn’t sleeping, I woke up with backache, but I thought I’d just slept awkwardly, I was 38.5 weeks pregnant.
The lower backache continued during the morning, but I didn’t feel any noticeable contractions. I was really tired so my mum came over to look after our son and I went for a lay down In the attempt of getting some sleep,
I drifted in and out of a light sleep, then I started to feel stronger pains in my back and my lower tummy.
I lay in bed wondering if these were contractions? Why didn’t I know? I had laboured before, so surely I should know if I was having contractions? Well I didn’t.
At 11.30am i called my partner, I thought I could be in labour but everything was fine and I didn’t have much pain, I told him to finish work at 12pm so we had plenty of time to get ourselves ready. I had a feeling the baby was going to arrive later that day.
My partner arrived home at 12.20pm, 5 minutes later I heard a ‘Pop’ I thought someone had popped a balloon, and then I felt a gush as my waters shot out over our bed! After quickly stripping the bed I decided to take a shower before making a call to the maternity assessment unit. I had my shower and called the MAU at 12.43pm. The lady answered the phone and asked me for my name, I had a really strong contraction and I couldn’t answer her, I waited for the contraction to end and gave my name. Seconds later, I was struck by another contraction and I couldn’t speak. I was told to come down to the hospital immediately (a 30 minute drive away) she told me if I thought the baby was coming whilst we were travelling to pull over and call 999. I was in agony at this point, I managed to say ‘OK’ and put the phone down.
I spent another minute on my own in my bathroom, I told myself ‘this is it’ my contractions had gone from 20- 100mph within minutes. My partner came in to take me down to the car
and all I could say was ‘I’m not getting in that car’, he had a look of fright on his face, but something was telling me that I wouldn’t make the hospital, I couldn’t bare the thought of my baby arriving on the dual carriageway I truly believed I was safer at home.
My partner ran downstairs and got my mum, along came the next contraction and I felt a strong urge to push… so I did! In the minutes that followed I told myself to do what they told me last time, I got onto the floor, I screamed (probably in shock) and I pushed again… I remember shouting ‘close the window’, imagine if my neighbours heard me scream, little did I know my neighbour would be stood in my bathroom 20 minutes later whilst I had a baby hanging out of me… thanks dad!!
After the 2nd push I asked mum if she could see the head, when she said no, I knew I needed to push harder, with the next contraction and push, the head come out. I found myself desperately waiting for the next contraction so I could push again. My 4th and final push, the baby was out.. I’d done it..I turned around and he was there in my mums arms born at 12.59pm approximately 6 minutes after my partner dialled 999.
When Joshua came out he looked blue I remember telling my partner to put the operator on speakerphone so I could hear, she talked us through keeping him breathing whilst we waited for the paramedic, I tapped his feet over and over again telling him it’s ok, I knew in my heart he was ok,he just needed a few minutes to adjust, he’d had such a quick entry into the world he was bound to be in shock.
The paramedic arrived 5 minutes after the birth, he entered my tiny en-suite, where I stood in my vest; baby attached by the cord, he checked joshua was ok. It was a tight space so he cut the cord to give me some room to move, Joshua was handed to his daddy and my mum evacuated ‘the scene’.
I started tidying the towels and sheets that had been thrown at me minutes earlier, it’s strange what you do when you’re still full of adrenaline.
I was lucky enough to deliver the placenta naturally without the aid of the injection, the paramedic caught it in a cardboard bowl which he held in my toilet (how glamorous). By this point the ambulance had arrived and the midwife wasn’t far behind.
Suddenly, there were 4 strangers in my bedroom and I’m stood there half naked wishing I had time to tidy up!
After a couple of hours,I was transferred to the John Radcliffe in an ambulance to have the ‘damage’ checked by a doctor and to be stitched up. Luckily when we arrived I was told it was a 2nd degree tear and there was no need for theatre! I then proceeded to eat 4 kitkats before a lovely Spanish man called Aaron came to my rescue to ‘fix me’. I proceeded to inhale the canister of gas and air whilst laughing at his ‘sarcastic sounding accent’ and demanding more anaesthetic for my badly damaged parts! I’d gone from a no pain relief birth to wanting everything available during the repair stage. We joked about the damage, whilst he kindly tried to put me back together.
After a long eventful afternoon we were allowed to go back home that evening.
The relief when I heard my baby cry for the first time, it’s easy to take for granted the NHS workers when birthing in a hospital, particularly the midwives delivering your baby and making sure they are ok, and the doctors that are on hand for emergencies. Being at home without any medically trained professionals, the first thought i had was is there something wrong, is my baby ok? but the moment my baby cried I sighed with relief and I just knew he would be ok.
Best thing you packed in your hospital bag (or used if you were at home)?
A pack of Kit Kats, after not eating for 20 hours and delivering a baby, the moment they said I didn’t need to go to theatre, I practically inhaled 4 Kit Kats without breathing.
Anything else you would like to share
Don’t be afraid if things don’t go to plan, the best thing you can do is keep calm and trust your mothers instincts.
Amazing story!! Thank you so much Nicola. I absolutely loved reading this!