A second time mum’s birth in a midwife-led unit (MLU)

On 14th December I woke up in the worst mood ever of my whole pregnancy I would say! I was almost a week over at this stage. Looking at being transferred out of Cavan MLU in 5 more days, and no sign of anything much. I’d gone about 17 days over on my first pregnancy and was feeling very down that I might be looking at the same again. I’d had a sweep the day before and had been having a bit of a show since then, but this had also happened on DD1 and it developed into nothing.

cavan mlu 1I had both acupuncture and reflexology booked in for that morning so off I went, and felt marginally better after. Friends called in the afternoon, and I did a bit of hoovering before leaving my husband to it, and heading upstairs for a bath. After I got my daughter down for the night I was feeling a lot better. We had a really nice dinner, watched TV, chatted with a friend and bounced on my ball. I headed off to bed feeling much more like myself!

Around 1:30 am I woke up with a pain and realised I had actually been waking on and off for a while and just dozing back to sleep. I also realised that when I shifted the pain didn’t disappear so I got up to use the loo and had another little pain. They were very mild, and felt like gas pains… more a discomfort than anything else. I woke my husband and we went downstairs and decided to ring the MLU. I was very excited that this might be it. We decided to head in as soon as the grandparents arrived to stay with our daughter as things had progressed quickly on my first labour as soon as it got going.

And there she was! All perfect 8lbs 5oz of her!! We had skin to skin immediately and the midwives just sat back and left us to it. I had requested delayed cord clamping in my birth plan, which she was familiar with. I never needed to mention it at all, it was just done.

My husband had to go and get diesel so off he went while I threw my toothbrush etc in the hospital bag. While he was gone I needed to use the loo. A lot. I felt like things were moving faster than expected and had my husband ring his parents to find out where the hell they were around 2:30! They arrived at 2:45 and we left immediately. I was now in serious labour but felt quite calm. However there was no way in the world I could sit in the passenger seat so I went on my hands and knees in the back. Not the safest way in the world to travel in hindsight, but there was no talking to me. I put in my headphones and decided to listen to the Gentlebirth relaxation track rather than the affirmations, as I didn’t want to think about opening etc as I was sure things were well underway and it’s nearly an hour to Cavan hospital! I had my bum up in the air to try and keep things from moving too fast.

The surges were still very manageable, though intense. I was timing them with my phone and they were every 4 minutes, lasting a minute. I knew when one started that it was only two or three really long exhales, and that when it was over I would have a 3 minute break which was great. The journey absolutely flew. I also ‘moo’ed’ throughout the surges as I had read in Ina Mays book that low sounds can help. It did.

There was a change just as we hit Cavan town. With a rather intense surge I felt the ‘mooing’ change to a more gutteral sound and my body also bearing down with the surge. I remember thinking around then that an epidural would be really nice! Just for a half hour break. I think I must have been in transition about then. We got to the hospital at 3:30 and took about 10 minutes getting upstairs to the MLU. I had to stop every 50 metres or so to go on hands and knees for a surge. However, they changed completely when I got out of the car and felt much milder, but were much more frequent. I had another one right outside the labour ward doors, which caused several nurses to come running, as they saw me dropping to my hands and feet on the CCTV 🙂

Straight into the MLU and it was the most welcome sight EVER. Dim lighting, music playing softly, bath running, mat and beanbag laid out… heaven.

I made straight for the beanbag and gave the poor midwife a bit of a hard time as she was trying to do her observations (BP etc) but I didn’t really feel like lying still. I asked her to check me and eventually she managed to. Baby was “right there” she said with surprise, and I was fully dilated and ready to go. She found the baby’s heartbeat with the doppler, and it was quite slow. I remember thinking it sounded more like an adult resting heartbeat, which gave me a little scare. The midwife said it was time to push and suggested a side position, which I was up for. My husband kindly held up one leg 🙂

cavan mlu 2I don’t know how long I pushed for… about 5 minutes I think, max! It felt like 30 seconds. In one push I could literally feel the baby move right down the birth canal. And it felt soooooooooo amazing. Honestly I felt no pain at all during pushing, just the sensation of her moving down. The midwife told me to reach down and feel her head, which I did. And that was a bit weird 🙂 Then one more push and she told me to reach down to receive my baby. And there she was! All perfect 8lbs 5oz of her!! We had skin to skin immediately and the midwives just sat back and left us to it. I had requested delayed cord clamping in my birth plan, which she was familiar with. I never needed to mention it at all, it was just done. She also knew I wanted a physiological third stage.

When the cord finished pulsating, my husband got to cut it and he took the baby while I sat up on the birthing stool for the delivery of the placenta. I literally had just sat on it and it plopped out.

The shower and tea and toast afterwards were magic, and I was on such a high, I don’t think I slept for two nights afterwards 🙂 I love thinking back on her birth now. I would do it again tomorrow!

All birth stories and images featured in 42 weeks have been generously shared by members of the public in Ireland. If you would like to take part and share your story, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch through the website http://www.42weeks.ie, through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/42weeks or follow us on Twitter at @42_weeks.

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