This story is a mama that used a midwife and faced birthing with no pain medication.
It was a mere 4 months into my marriage that I found out I was expecting our first child. I was so excited and overwhelmed at the same time. I spent hours and hours researching everything I could find about motherhood and all that it would entail. I didn't feel any fear about childbirth until I hit the final few weeks leading up to delivery. I was exhausted and SO ready to give birth, but at my 39 week appointment, my midwife informed me that my baby was lying back to back. I was devastated, as he had previously been in the perfect position for delivery. My midwife didn't offer epidurals, and I had read so many horror stories about posterior births. Skip to 40+2 weeks, and had had very mild, irregular contractions overnight. They had completely stopped by morning though. That afternoon, I had another midwife appointment booked, and she carried out a membrane sweep. My contractions started up again, although they continued to be very irregular. I kept moving as much as I could, and the contractions continued overnight. I spent all night draped over an exercise ball, or lying on the lounge floor. At about 3am, I got into the 'child's pose' position for 45 minutes. That was enough to flip baby around the right way. Once he started turning, my contractions became far more regular and easier to handle. My husband called the midwife, who made her way to our home to check my progress. The previous afternoon I had been dilated to 1cm, and after having contractions all night I was at a 3. My midwife was there for about an hour or so, and during that time my contractions intensified, and my waters broke. I remember feeling like a water balloon had popped!
She left me to continue labouring at home, and said she'd give me a call around 8:30am to see how I was going. She warned me to expect labour to continue for quite some time. She also left me with a TENS machine to help with the pain.
I had planned for it to only be my husband and I in the delivery room, but he had had no sleep all night, so I got him to call my Mum. She lived about 1.5 hours away, but was more than happy to make the drive. I knew I would need support if I was to labour for 20 odd more hours!
After about an hour, I wasn't able to cope with the contractions well anymore. I called the midwife and asked if I could go to the hospital to use the birthing pool for pain relief (I had planned for a water birth). She said that was totally fine, and that she'd meet us there. Somewhere during this time, I started feeling nauseous, and the contractions were coming thick and fast. We lived only 2 minutes away from the hospital, so thankfully the drive was a quick one. Another woman was using the birthing pool, but I was told that she was pushing, so I should be able to use it before too long. The nurse who met us in the foyer asked me to wait there while she got my room ready. I didn't mind, and just focused on getting through the contractions as they came. I remember thinking that it was like someone had my hips in a vice grip every time I had a contraction.
I then threw up all over their foyer! Ha! They were so apologetic for leaving me there.
Once I got to my room I was given gas & air. That stuff is BLISS! It didn't take away the pain, but it relaxed me between contractions. Somewhere during that time, my contractions eased off. I got a break, and it was glorious! My mother arrived, and then my midwife checked me. I had told her that I was beginning to feel pressure. I was at a 9.5!!! I started pushing, and 20 minutes later, my son was born. He was 6lbs 7oz, born at 7:40am, and 3 days overdue.
My midwife considered me to be in active labour from the time my waters broke, making it 3 hours total! I was very shaky for a while afterwards, and was totally in shock. The whole thing happened so much faster than I expected. I remember thinking that the birth was horrific, but time really does work magic. My son, Jack Anderson Keys, is 5 months now, and although I'm happy to wait a while, I'm so looking forward to him having a sibling.
As for using the birthing pool...well, my son was born before the other lady had her baby! Once he decided he was coming, he came fast!
The advice I would give to other mamas, is to trust your body. It is a constructive pain, so try to relax and let your body do what it was built to do. Also, just face one contraction at a time, don't try and think about how many more there are to come. Lastly, count how many slow breaths it takes to get through a contraction. That way, once you're taking breath number 3, you know it is almost over. This helped me tremendously (until I hit transition, then it was just pure survival!).