SAM P'S BIRTH ...with thanks to Alexia & Tom

I have 10 minutes spare of madness, and thought I'd write you a quick note to say that Samuel Alfred Hunter Petch was born naturally with no interventions Thursday 11th June 2015 at 07.06am weighing 9lb2oz, so he's already 11 days old which seems rather incredible!

The birth went, I think, as well as can be expected but was all quite full on...! Surges started 1.30am Tuesday morning, we spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home working through the surges using baths, ball, clary sage, all the MP3s, back stroking, a couple of small walks...we even got a quick trip into the art store on the Tuesday to buy me some paints to finish a painting (which I did, on the Wednesday!)....and we decided to go into the hospital on Wednesday at 8.30pm. Earphones and music in, that was quite a trip, as the walk from car park to Tommy's is a good 10 mins normally, but with me in labour, quite a lot more!

Quite frustratingly we had to wait half an hour in the waiting room when my surges rolled back it seemed 5 hours. Then we were put in a temporary room, where I was told I was 1-2cm, which I got very down about. We stuck it out through to midnight when I asked for gas and air, and finally got my tens machine out – both of which were amazing!

At 2am we moved rooms from the relatively teeny tiny (and now really too hot) temporary room through to our actual room. I was nervous about making the transfer minus the gas and air, as by this time it had become essential. Breathing, leaning on Tom and the midwife and tens it was, and getting into the new, much larger and much cooler room (sadly a waste of a panoramic view of the Houses of Parliament though I wasn't exactly paying attention!) marked a positive turning point. That is until the midwife checked me again and declared me at 4cm. "All this time to get to only 4?!?" Both Tom and her had to convince me it was all good progress but again I was terribly disheartened, wailing at Tom that "I just need a milestone!". At that very second, my waters broke with a great big energetic whoosh which quite took me by surrprise, but marked the milestone I needed, not to mention feeling almost like a pressure bomb had gone off. It was such a relief! And also marked the beginning of things really seriously speeding up.

They were asking me if I wanted a birth pool at this point, and I wasn't sure, but they ran it for me whilst I had a bath in the room. Tom (rightly as it turned out) persuaded me to give the pool a shot just for a change of scenery, so again I made the journey with only the tens machine down the hall, switched the tens off, and slipped into the pool. Utter heaven, and I swilled around for a bit until I found a comfortable position. As it turns out (according to my notes) I was in the birthing pool for 2 hours, thank goodness as this was basically the most intense part. By this stage I think the gas and air was making me off my rocker, I was pulling at the poor midwife's arm, squeezing her hand and stroking Tom's arm pretending he was our Pug...!

With each surge Tom kept me utterly focussed on just the breath. Every single one, for the 2 hours we were in there. He was incredible. Janet, the midwife who helped us, has said he should start breathing coaching!! Apparently transition was quite fascinating as I went completely quiet in the pool for about 10–15 minutes with no surges, then woke up and started yelling for an epidural, a cesarian and all sorts of other stuff....!

After the transition, I stepped out of the bath, and this is the only point where things went a little iffy. There was almost like a mound of sheets (no idea what) in the corner where I lay ON MY BACK (not in my preferences!) and the midwife checked me, said we were at 10 and got me basically to purple push, until Tom stepped in saying we were going to do breathing. I flipped onto my knees, tried breathing for a bit and the midwife told me the baby was crowning. We headed back to the room (pretty sure the baby's head was by my legs at this point) and I got onto the bed, kneeling over the back as planned. And then I yelled and yelled, breathing down; with Tom holding me up as I was shaking so much by this point, until about 45 minutes later he came out in a great whoosh.

What a crazy time eh?!? I am head over heels of course and poor Raisin the pug has been completely replaced in my affections (Sam smells rather nicer).

We couldn't have done it without you and your hypnobirthing, the breathing was utterly essential, if tricky towards the later stages (particularly in the pool) where my surges were SO full on. But the breathing is the only thing which makes it really.

My main conclusion from the whole thing? Women are unbelievably awesome. And having an awesome birthing partner makes all the difference too...

Sending lots of love, and hope to see you at the picnic in July.

Thank you a million and one times again for making this such a positive experience for us. You are a life changer.