Life Changing Decisions
I conceived my baby whilst living with my partner in central Kalimantan, Indonesia and this left me with three options when it came to deciding where I should give birth to my baby. These were not the usual three birthing options a mother-to-be faces; I had to decide whether to have my baby in Indonesia, Australia or England. And even though I quite liked the idea of having a ‘jungle baby’ and a natural, drug-free labour in Indonesia – I chose the safety of the English NHS and decided to give birth in a birthing centre in the Lake District!
I thought a birthing centre was a happy medium between having the baby on a pile of leaves in the jungle, and having it in a busy hospital in a city centre. But as all things baby-related, there were surprises in store...
After having attended our birthing, labour and breast-feeding classes, I was feeling confident and ready to have my baby as the big day approached. Annoyingly, my contractions started late one evening, continued all night and after I had managed to get some sleep (surprising I know!) they suddenly stopped the next day. I was told that starting and stopping of labour is common in first pregnancies, so my partner and I tried to get things ‘moving’ again by going for a walk to a local shop. By the time we arrived at the shop to buy our ice-cream (it was July and hot!) my contractions were coming faster and more intensely, around every 5/6 minutes. We made a speedy call to my Dad to ask him to pick us up and take us home, so we could get to the birthing centre quickly.
Since my contractions had stopped once before, I wasn’t 100% sure we should be going to the birthing centre, even though my contractions were now around 5 minutes apart, I just didn’t believe that ‘it was time.’ Until my water broke, all over the bathroom floor! Some people worry ‘how will I know if my water has broken’? Well, you will know! It is not the same sensation as peeing yourself! (And I have a little experience in that department too; late in pregnancy when I laughed too hard!) For me it was a GUSH of water and I knew it meant baby was on the way :)
We rushed to the birthing centre, a 20 minute drive away, making a frantic stop at a shop on the way to buy sports drinks and snacks! Advice for those about to go into labour – take sandwiches! And make them before your contractions start.
My labour didn’t go as expected. It started really well, and I even managed to do most of the 2nd stage in the birthing pool, but then my labour slowed down. Baby had been in the birth canal for a long time now, and I was dehydrated and exhausted, so a trip to the hospital was in order. My partner and I were upset by this; we had expected a simple birth in the birthing pool at the birthing centre. But we had been warned that every labour is different and may not go to plan!
On arrival at Lancaster Royal Infirmary, I was told by a rather bossy and forward female doctor, that if I couldn’t have the baby within the hour, it would have to be an emergency C-section. This I think, gave me the incentive (along with the drip I was given for rehydration, and the hormone injections given to boost contractions!) to have my baby in less than an hour! The 3rd stage of my labour (pushing stage) only lasted 40 minutes. After 2 days of hard work, our little boy (9lb 3oz!) Soren Michael Wallace was born, on his Dad’s birthday.