John's Birth Story by Joanna Dare

When my waters broke, in bed, at 1.30 in the morning, my husband, Paul, and I were over the moon. Our second baby was already more than a week late, the midwife was already keen to book me in for an induction and I was feeling heavy and fed up.

At last, a sign that something was happening! We phoned the Royal Infirmary and they asked us to come in so that they could check me out. My parents arrived to babysit our six-year-old and we set off in the car. The midwife checked my heart rate and blood pressure and the baby's heart and position and pronounced everything fine. Contractions had started but they were very weak so she told us I could either go onto a ward to see how things progressed, or head home. I decided I would prefer to be in my own environment during early labour so we returned to the house.

We went to bed and I snatched a couple of hours sleep, but by 7 o'clock the contractions were too uncomfortable to be lying down and I got up, made myself some breakfast and waited for the rest of the family to wake up. The rest of the morning I spent doing housework and walking around. The contractions were erratic and not too painful. When one came on I would try to breath out and relax into it or do some 'belly dancing', depending on what felt right at the time. I was determined not to go back to hospital too early, because with my six-year-old I had turned up after what felt like many hours of labour, only to be told I was one centimetre dilated, which was very demoralising!

About half past ten I had three contractions which were very painful and I decided I wanted to be in hospital. Paul phoned the Royal and in the meantime I filled the bath with hot water and got in, hoping to ease the pain until we could set off. The water brought instant relief but suddenly I felt the nature of the contractions change. They felt more expulsive. I knelt up and another one came. There was no doubt, I was starting to push!

I yelled for Paul, explained what was happening and asked him to call an ambulance. My Mother came into the bathroom. At first I don't think she believed I could really be pushing but when she saw me there on hands and kneed and heard the noises I was making, she knew it was true. My Father, who is a bit squeamish, immediately took our son out for a walk. Paul came back to say the ambulance was on its way and followed their instructions to let the water out of the bath and put some towels down. My Mum rubbed my back and I got on with pushing. I was too involved in what I was doing to be really scared but I remember hoping the ambulance would arrive soon because I knew the baby wouldn't be long. I realised the noises I was making were a bit high and panicky, so remembering some advice from Nerissa's class, I concentrated on making a deeper, bellowing sound which felt very liberating and really helped.

Just as I felt the head crown, Paul called out that the ambulance had arrived. The paramedics just had time to come into our tiny bathroom and glove up and our baby was delivered. It was another little boy. I heard him cry. He was put into my arms. I was reeling with the shock of what had happened but was so relieved that everything was ok.

A little later a midwife arrived. She checked the baby, who we named John, and myself and said we were both fine. I had the slightest tear that didn't require stitching and John had an apgar score of 9 at one minute and was fine, but slightly chilled. When I got to hold him again, she had wrapped him up so snugly that I couldn't see anything except his nose!

My Mum made tea for everyone and we sat around chatting and eating Jaffa Cakes. It all seemed so relaxed and homely. The paramedic who delivered John was really chuffed because she was just finishing her training and delivering a baby was one of the last things she had to do to complete it.

I didn't plan to have a home birth and I certainly never expected to have such a dramatic delivery but looking back, it was a wonderful experience!