It had been going on for a while, but things started for sure on Saturday night. I got into bed and started having contractions which were bearable at first. After lying in bed for a couple of hour, they were worsening, so I went downstairs and filled a hot water bottle to put on my back before waking MrM up solely so he could time them as I had no idea how regular they were.
The answer is that they weren't very regular. They were all over the place - some 10 minutes apart, some two minutes. Some were bearable, some not so much!
I found the best way to deal with them was to bounce on my ball and breathe in and out calmly. This worked for about 22 hours but then I was convinced that I must be nearly fully dilated and that the baby was on its way, so MrM called the midwife.
And what a lovely midwife! Kate was immensely sweet and patient given that she'd arrived at 4am. She examined me and I was an enormous 1cm dilated. I felt ludicrous but apparently the cervix was totally effaced, so there was so gain for the discomfort.
Kate went home and I continued to bounce on the ball which gave incredible relief. Why bouncing around on a giant ball should make me feel better, I don't know, but it seemed to complement the breathing techniques well, along with MrM rubbing my back.
Mindful that our doula had raved and raved about how amazing and awesome another lady in our homebirth group had been, I felt like a bit of a failure first thing in the morning, but asked if the midwife could return and this time bring some gas and air with her as I was feeling tired and fed up and wanted to take the edge off the pain.
We chatted and she encouraged lots while making notes now and again. I've since read these through and they reveal such things as the banana I ate for energy at 9am and that I went to the loo an hour later.
Things were getting more intense with the contractions getting closer together. I recall staring so intently at the equipment that the supplier's phone number is etched on my brain. (It's 01707 652270 should you require any Entonox).
I remember they then became unbearable and I started shouting into the mouthpiece, trying not to think about how amazing other people had been while giving birth to 10 pounders. What a failure I am!
Then the midwife was replaced by another with the same name. It's now about 11am and I am listening to the radio to find out that Kim Jong-Il had died, causing me to make an inappropriate comment about reincarnation which did not please MrM one bit. Then there was a programme on about home births and your first night with your baby.
I was now saying that I couldn't do this and ready to strangle the amazing home birth lady. Bah.
Time ticks by, I recall another midwife arriving and also one of the midwife's husbands appearing at the door asking for a parking permit while I was grunting and thinking I must be imagining it. I wasn't!
I have my show and the midwife ruptures my waters as we're nearly ready to go. I grunt my way back down to the birth pool which is providing great relief but is starting to deflate quite badly giving me nothing to lean on.
Then the pressure starts. It's horrendous. I stop relaxing which I'd been trying hard to do and look to the midwife for advice. She's sending a text.
"HELP ME!" I scream. "Just do what your body says", she tells me. Hmmmm.
Anyway, I start to make noises like a zoo animal and wonder what the neighbours must think. Apparently on one side, they've left their front door open. Great.
The midwives chat about how busy it is in Sainsbury's and I start to make my complaint that I was promised drugs that never arrived. "You're so close now", they laugh.
Then, it happens, the head comes out. It's just awful - pressure and tearing pains. And that's just what I do to MrM's hand! There are two people giving me conflicting advice and I panic and give an almighty push which sees both of them nearly drown with a tidal wave of water and our baby torpedo across the pool. I am stunned although panicky that there's a cord around his neck.
But he's beautiful! His eyes are open and he looks happy, bizarrely. He's purplish, but perfectly formed and within seconds I see that he looks like my mum!
Welcome the world little one!