Our first baby, gender unknown, was due on 12/7/20. We were told from our 36-week scan that bub was measuring big and that we ought to consider induction around the 38-week mark.
Having done my own research, I wasn't keen on induction, and I wanted to maintain my mindset that my body had grown the perfect sized baby for me and that it knew what to do when the time came.
In an attempt to avoid needing an induction, I opted for a stretch and sweep at 40 weeks. The next day, I started losing my mucus plug. After another stretch and sweep two days later, the full mucus plug released and I began to get excited! It might be time soon!
The Braxton Hicks had been getting stronger for last week, but there was nothing else to note.
On 16/7/20, I had another stretch and sweep in the morning, came home felt super emotional. I had a cold and had been tested for COVID twice in the lead up to ensure I could be treated 'normally' at the hospital during birth.
I was told at this appointment that if my husband presented with any respiratory symptoms and didn't have a negative COVID test result, that he wouldn't be allowed in for the birth. As you can imagine, I started thinking about the worst and was rather emotional about the whole scenario. It turns out there was every reason for me to be emotional! I was in early labour!
Pains, cramping, what I thought were Braxton Hicks all intensified throughout the day. The contractions went away when I laid down; hence my thinking it was Braxton Hicks! I started timing them at 5 pm just to gauge if they were consistent. They varied from 9 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart, no pattern.
We decided to try to get some rest at 8:30 pm so went to bed. My contractions were getting more painful but stayed about 6 minutes apart until I decided to get out of bed and move around at 11 pm, at which point they instantly became 2 minutes apart but shorter and more intense.
I woke my husband, and we called the hospital. We were told that it's 'latent labour' as the contractions wouldn't jump from 6 minutes to 2 minutes if they were real contractions.
I hopped back into bed and tried again to get some rest. I figured if this was "latent labour" I needed to harden up!! My contractions slowed again to 5 minutes apart when I laid down, and I managed to doze between each contraction until about 1:45/2 am, at which point I got up for a hot shower.
Not long after being in the shower, I knew this was the real deal and could literally feel our baby moving down with each contraction. My waters broke in the shower. I heard the "pop" and turned off the shower to be sure. I remember the moment when it became an 'out of body' experience, and I stopped noticing the pain, and the primal instincts (and sounds!) took hold!
Needless to say, this woke my husband, who called the hospital to tell them we were coming in. They heard my expletives during one contraction and agreed it was time.
Hubby told me to get dressed but the thought of getting to the duchess to get clothes, let alone getting downstairs and into the car we're not fathomable. I knew we weren't going to make it. He called 000 immediately, and a lovely call assistant talked him through everything.
She asked if he could see the head, so I got down on all fours, I knew the answer would be yes, but his pause felt like an eternity. I think reality really struck for my poor husband/midwife at that point.
The assistant informed me to get on my back and advised hubby to prepare to apply gentle pressure to the babies head as it came out to stop it from coming too quick and tearing me.
One contraction the head was out, Dean said the body naturally turned 90 degrees on its own and the next contraction his body was out. I didn't even have to push; my body did it all.
Our beautiful baby didn't breathe straight away, which scared us both. It was probably only about 5 seconds, but it felt like forever! Dean gave him a good rub, got him breathing, and then we popped him on my chest while we waited for the ambulance. He was born at 2:18 am, and the ambulance arrived exactly 10 minutes later.
The paramedics were so kind and very impressed with our efforts! They checked our vitals and wrapped us up in more blankets. His Dad then cut William's cord, and we waddled downstairs to the stretcher.
The ambos offered us a photo in the ambulance, then Dean followed us to the hospital. We got constant congratulations and a very warm welcome in ED, and when Dean arrived, he got a round of applause.
The placenta was delivered without any need for intervention not long after we arrived in the hospital, my damage assessed (only one graze and minor tear) and we were left to bond for a while.
While our birth was nothing like I had envisaged, I wouldn't have it any other way. It was a more natural, private and empowering birth than I ever hoped for and has filled our home with special memories from day 1.
William Jay Somerville is sure to create waves in his lifetime; he's shown us that he walks his own path from the moment he joined us earthside!