It was 9pm on a Thursday evening. My husband and I had just gotten into bed; I was 38 weeks and two days pregnant. I had not been experiencing any Braxton Hicks so was not expecting to go into labour early.
At about 9.30 pm I felt my first twinge... like a sharp pain in my tummy but still didn't expect it was the beginning of labour. I laid there for another 30 minutes while experiencing pains every 5-7 minutes. By 10 pm, I decided to get my pregnancy app and start timing contractions because the pains kept coming pretty consistently.
Matt was waking up for work early the next day, and I didn't want to wake him up if it wasn't labour... so I laid there for a full hour with my timing app tracking the contractions before eventually waking him up.
Around 11 pm I decided I would wake Matt up and tell him "I think I'm in labour". I got out of bed and went to the toilet and passed a little blood which I assumed was 100% a sign things had kicked off.
We called the birthing suite at the hospital and gave them a run down over the phone of what I had been experiencing - sharp abdominal pains consistently every 5-7 mins for about an hour and a half, as well as some blood. They told us to sit tight until things started to ramp up a little more - as long as I was comfortable staying home.
The pain was strong but bearable at this point so we decided we would stay home and wait it out.
I am an absolute OCD clean freak and decided if I am in labour, then I want to make sure the house is clean if we're going to be bringing the baby home in the next few days. Mid contractions I am vacuuming the house, changing the sheets on the bed and making sure everything was perfect around the house. I would tell out to Matt every few mins "yep I'm having another one" and he would hit the timer for me while I would work around the house.
By about 12.30 am the contractions were intensifying a little and around 4-5 mins apart consistently. I hopped in the shower thinking the warm water would help on my back.
I have a retroverted uterus, so a lot of the pain through my labour was in my lower back.
I decided I'd wash my hair, shave my legs and enjoy a long shower. I stayed in for 20-30 mins, all the while yelling out whenever a contraction needed timing.
I remember getting out of the shower, and although I wanted to rest, I was so full of adrenaline. Matt and I stayed at home on the lounge. It got to about 3 am and contractions were 4-5 mins apart and had been for a few hours. I was breathing through them, bouncing on the fit ball and comfortable enough at home. We called the hospital again, and they seemed to think it was fine for us to stay home if we were okay with it.
I decided at about 5 am that I thought it was time to get a move on. We had to drop our dog off at my mother's place. Got there about 5.30 am and stayed for an hour or so. Mum made Matt coffee and breakfast while I laid on the couch - contractions getting more and more intense.
By about 6.30 am, Mum suggested I go to the hospital - lucky I listened to her advice. We called the hospital, and they seemed to think I was coping pretty well with the pain over the phone, but I still felt it was time to come.
I must have been transitioning on the drive to the hospital - going from 8cm to 10cm dilated - getting ready to push. The 20-minute drive to the hospital was the most horrible 20 mins of my life. I was overcome by a crazy urge to push on the drive. By this time the contractions were 1 minute on 1 minute off, and they were STRONG!!! I cried most of the way there.
We pulled up at the hospital, and I couldn't walk. I had the most intense pressure on my vagina as if I needed to push, and the back pain was intense. Someone brought over a wheelchair, and my husband wheeled me up to the birth suite.
We got to the desk, and they seemed surprised to see me already. After calling them through the night and only half an hour or so earlier, they thought I was coping pretty well with contractions and thought I mustn't have been too far along.
They got my out of the wheelchair, and I walked to the room. By this time it was about 6.55 am.
I laid on the bed, screaming because the contractions were very intense and close together. Around 7.05 am, the midwife came in to give me an internal. I have never in my life experienced anything like it. That internal was the most painful thing I have experienced. A few choice words were used. I remember apologising to the midwife for swearing, and she said: "honey nothing is off limits in this birth suite".
Thank god when I was checked she told me I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing because NO WAY did I want to go through another internal.
She called me a unicorn. She was not expecting a first-time mum to have dealt with labour so well and wandered in ready to give birth.
I had no birth plan, and they asked if I'd like to try a water birth. We waited for the bath to fill and around 7.20 am I hopped in the bath and started pushing.
My contractions slowed while in the bath from being a minute apart to around 3 minutes apart.
The water definitely relieved some of my lower back pain.
After the first few pushes, I pushed out the water sack. My waters had never broken in labour, so my amniotic sac was still intact.
The water sac came first, and then it was almost an hour of pushing before any more action happened.
At around 8.20 am, the midwife decided it might be best for me to hop out of the water to either break my waters or to change position and see if it would get things moving.
I stood up and needed to push so took a break from moving to push. I had a few contractions and needed a few pushes as I was standing up and climbing out of the bath. I sat down on a stool with a mirror to have a look at what was going on.
It definitely helped me conceptualise and visualise what was happening and gave me the motivation to help push that little more. Just as I went to stand up and hop on the bed I couldn't move, I could sense the head was right there.
The midwife dragged over a mattress onto the floor and put little man decided that's where he would make his entrance.
I was on all fours on the mattress on the floor, and it took another push before I felt the ring of fire: the sensation when the head first starts crowning.
It was such an intense sting and burn but also extremely exciting for me and really got the adrenaline kick-started because I knew our boy was right there ready to be born.
The pain subsided until the next push was ready.
With that push, his head came out.
Because the amniotic sac was still intact, his head came through the vagina into the waters and was perfectly in a little protective helmet. En caul births are only about 1 in 80,000 so the midwives witnessing the birth were amazed.
With the next push came his shoulders. Which broker my waters on the way though. My husband was able to pull bub out as he came down and passed him onto my chest.
I was still on my knees on the floor at this point. And we were just so overcome with emotion as we both sat on the floor with our amazing boy in our arms.
It was 8.59 am when he finally came into the world.
I was pushing for an hour and 40 mins, but I had only been at the hospital for 2 hours in total.
We got off the floor and onto the bed for the cord to be cut and some skin to skin time with our boy - Asher.
I felt so lucky to have this birth experience. I was able to stay home for the entire labour and was so happy when I got to the hospital and was ready to start pushing.
Bub was born healthy at 7.3 pounds, 48cm and changed our lives.
He is now one, and I still look back on our birth and feel very lucky. We have our second on the way in 4 months, and I hope things go as smoothly next time around!