FINN'S BIRTH ...with thanks to Philippa & Adrian

Hi Hollie! It is 12 days late but I wanted to let you know our son Finn was born on Sunday 26 October, at home as planned. 11 days past EDD (exactly the same as my daughter).

I'd been having niggly period pains for about two weeks but on Saturday morning I had a show. Went for a brisk walk in the afternoon and spent the whole evening bouncing on my ball. When I went to bed at 11pm I struggled to sleep because the surges were feeling more frequent but I managed to doze till about 1.30am but then I couldn't lie down anymore, too uncomfortable, so I got up and ran a bath, listened to my hypno music a bit, had a snack, had another bath.

At 4.30 I felt I needed support (this was actually 4hrs later, not 3 as clocks moved back) so I woke Adrian and we called the hospital to let the midwife know. I still thought I was in early labour as was coping fine with the surges which were 5-6 mins apart since 1.30 and not getting closer together, although they were getting more intense. They told me to call back in 30 mins if I felt things ramping up, but luckily the midwife on call had seen me on Thursday and knew the head was engaged so decided not to wait. So she called to say she was on her way. In the meantime we started to get the pool ready but Adrian struggled with the connector (should have done a test run after all!) and basically flooded the bathroom and spouted profanities while I tried to breathe through my surges. It was quite comical.

I wasn't able to get into the zone as I was still very much involved in trying to get the room sorted, but I thought we still had hours to go. At this stage the surges were very painful and with each one I had to sit on the loo, which was horrible. I told him to forget the pool and phone the midwife to find out where the hell she was. I was on all fours on our bed hugging my hot water bottle. This must have been transition because the moment the midwife walked in the door 5 mins later I told her I wanted to push. She was amazing and so calm, I felt really reassured by her presence. She asked if I wanted her to go get the gas and air from the car and I said yes, but then asked her for a VE first to check what was happening as the urge to push was overwhelming. I could not believe when she said I was fully dilated! She called the 2nd midwife and I started pushing - it was nothing like breathing my baby out, I really struggled to control it and this is when I made the most noise. Even though I found it quite unpleasant it was not painful at all which was a relief. I felt the head crowning - no pain - and she told me not to push with the next surge which was sooooooo hard but I managed to slow it down for a couple of surges and then the head was out. It felt like ages waiting for the next surge and pushing the body out was more effort than I expected. He cried immediately and I lifted him between my legs and told Ady that he was a boy. My mum had been with my toddler and they came running through when they heard the crying. My toddler was quite upset because she wanted to come to me but I was holding Finn and it was seconds after the birth so my mum took her away crying, which wasn't nice. (She has since been fine and loves her little brother).

The second midwife arrived just after. We had skin-to-skin and delayed cord clamping, then I gave him to Ady and delivered the placenta quite soon afterwards. My labour was recorded as 1h40 first stage, 12 mins pushing and 15 mins 3rd stage. I can't believe how quick it was and I'm so proud of myself for doing it at home - I was worried I would tell Adrian I needed to transfer for pain relief but at no point did I feel 'I can't do this anymore'. They brought in the gas and air for the stitches, just a small 2nd degree tear which 1 week later had completely healed (compared to my first labour episiotomy which became infected and took 3 weeks to heal).

I'm so happy we got our home birth and I keep going over it in my mind, it was just amazing. Would have been nice to give birth in water but hey ho.

I felt so calm and in control throughout, the hypnobirthing practice was so worth it. I managed to keep my body relaxed to allow it to do its thing even though at the time Adrian wasn't able to touch me and I couldn't focus on any visualisations, it was obviously a deeply ingrained calmness which we cultivated over the months since doing your course. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.