Updated: Aug 19
First time Mumma - to Jaxon Steven Cancel
30th May 2023
The day before my son joined us earthside, I was nesting HEAVILY. I had so much energy to give to our space for him that I just needed to get everything done and I couldn’t stop. At 9pm I finally put my feet up with some raspberry leaf tea. Whilst drinking, I felt very very mild cramps and some lightening crotch, but I put it down to Braxton Hicks (I’d been having similar twinges for the past two weeks or so) and went off to sleep at 12:30am.
At 1:30am, what I believed was a stomach bug pain woke me up and so I took myself off to the loo. My stools were super loose and so I sat on the toilet trying to rack my brains as to what I had eaten that didn’t agree with me. Whilst on the toilet, I had a couple more surges and realised that this maybe more than just a dodgy dinner. I went to bed and started timing the surges to be sure, as I was only 38+2 and i had been told multiple times ‘your first baby was always overdue’. The surges kept coming every 5 mins or so for about 1min 30secs. I woke up my husband at 3:30am, as surges were pretty consistent but were getting more intense and I would have to breathe through them. I couldn’t lie in bed anymore and needed to move.
‘Babe, I think I’m in labour’
‘What?! Right now?!’
He stayed up with me breathing me through each surge until I text Laura, my doula, at 4am, just letting her know. She text back almost instantly saying she’s already been up for the past hour thinking of me and that she’ll be with me by 7am!
At 6am my husband woke up my Mum and Stepdad who wasted no time putting the pool up, whilst my husband laboured with me. My three younger brothers came into the room, their faces a mixture of shock, fear and excitement. We joked around and chatted for a bit before my mum ushered them out during a contraction. I had started to moan through each surge and would throw myself at my husband, as I just needed to be held. My mum would stop what she was doing and come and place her hands on my back, which was comforting. It felt as though she was trying to take some of the intensity away; a mothers love. It was around this time I told everyone I didn’t want to call the midwives, I felt in control, supported and just wanted to be left to ride it out.
By the time Laura got to me just after 7am, my surges were pretty intense and were still about 1min 30 secs long and coming every 2 minutes. I told her that ‘if these were actually Braxton Hicks and not contractions, I’m going to be really embarrassed’ she laughed and reassured me that this looks very much like labour to her. I usually hate bananas, but I was offered one and it was the best thing I had ever eaten.
At 7:45 I had started losing my mucus plug. By 8am-9am I was in the pool - oh my the sweet relief . We had given up timing contractions, but around 10:30/11, I started pushing. I would do so with each surge. Gently, as I was worried it was just me being impatient and trying to rush. Laura and my husband hydrated me and my mum fed me grapes and watermelon. The pool never got cold, different people were constantly in and out with the kettle or a jug, trying to keep baby and I comfortable and warm. At one point there was cold flannels on my forehead and around the sides of the pool - these felt amazing to go and lay my head on.
I laboured in the pool until about 12pm. I had lost all my mucus plug but my waters hadn’t gone. I was so exhausted, beginning to get scared and disheartened that baby wasn’t coming. That I was doing something wrong. I was checking baby myself and could feel the sack and head but he hadn’t moved down so we decided to try some positions out the pool.
As soon as I got out the pool, I was convinced I couldn’t do it and needed medical intervention. Looking back I think its because I saw I had a little bit of blood and I started to panic. Laura reassured me that a little blood was normal. I was feeling the need to push with every contraction but baby boy was just not moving down. I’d convinced myself he was stuck and so we tried multiple different positions out the pool to no avail.
By about 1:30pm I was begging for pain relief and to be transferred in. My mum and doula suggested two more options before they rang into the hospital:
Try delivering on my back (this is what my mum did with her first vaginal birth with my brother who was face presenting. She laboured for hours hoping gravity would help her, but he popped out as soon as she was on her back in the pool)
Laura giving me rebozo massage to shake baby into a better position
Labouring on my back didnt help, but the rebozo massage felt amazing. It made me feel like I needed to have a massive poop. After the massage, which we did through about 3-4 contractions, I was begging for an ‘epidural and all that shit’ - my actual words. I asked my husband to take me to the toilet so I could poop before they took me to hospital. As soon as I sat on the toilet, the boy descended.
I felt him drop massively and I could feel my waters ‘right there’. All fear dissipated; there was only pure excitement that I was about to meet my son. Feeling that he was so close to joining us earthside just empowered me more. It was our time. My husband was begging me to get off the toilet as he couldn’t catch the baby like this but I could not and would not move for anyone. Laura joined us in the super cramped downstairs toilet after hearing me roaring that ‘he's right there’ and ‘I’m crowning’. Cue the picture of my mum, stepdad and brothers waiting outside the toilet listening.
Laura gave my husband towels etc to catch baby and thats when my waters popped all over both of them making us all jump. I remember at the time wanting to laugh as it was so unexpected; I could see in their faces that they wanted to laugh too, but now wasn’t the time - we had a baby to deliver. My mum was stood behind Laura and during a contraction I locked eyes with her and held it. She gritted her teeth and mouthed encouragement to me. Two warrior women connecting. The toilet was too cramped to deliver and so I listened to my husbands pleas for me to deliver this baby on our bed, but we didn’t make it…
I got to the bedroom door, when suddenly my legs stopped moving. I just needed to squat. I don’t know where they came from but there was suddenly a plethora of blankets underneath me. My husband sat behind me. Up till now, in my experience, there had been no pain, just intensity. But the ring of fire - that was painful. It stung and I just wanted it to stop. During a surge, Laura told me to hold off pushing for a minute to give myself a few seconds to accomodate baby's head. I remember thinking ‘fuck no, get him out’ but I held myself there for what felt like forever. I breathed through a surge without pushing and then during the next surge, I pushed and his head was out. My husband told me afterwards that was so surreal, as he got to look at our son's face for the first time. My mum started crying, her grandson was really making his way here. I held myself there for a minute, just to get over the shock of the ring of fire. I knew that with the next push, our son would be here. The next surge came and within seconds his body fell into my husbands hands. His cry was mighty. My mum started bouncing around, happy crying. Her and Laura were hugging. I twisted myself round and nestled myself in between my husbands legs, holding our son, ecstatic.
‘I’ve been waiting my whole life for you baby’ I told my son as his starry eyes looked around him and his face pushed tightly into my chest.
Baby J was born in the hallway outside our bedroom door at 2:17pm on May 30th 2023. My husband caught him and Laura and mum saw him delivered and it was the most magical experience of my life. My brothers and Stepdad listened to the whole ordeal from outside the hallway door. My brother said hearing my roars and then hearing Jax’s cries after was amazing.
We had a physiological third stage, about 1hr and 20 mins after baby's arrival, my mum tied off Jax’s cord with a crocheted cord tie and my husband cut it so I could deliver the placenta.
The community midwives came over at around 7:20pm and checked myself and baby. Luckily I didn’t tear (which I was so shocked about), just some bruising and a graze on my labia. We were also a bit concerned as he wasn’t latching and needed some more guidance.
I am so proud of my birth team, especially my husband who continuously advocated for me and really believed I could do it even when I thought I couldn’t. I couldn’t have done it without any of them.