Holly Louise Button was born on Tuesday night at 11.41pm after about 5 hours of established labour. She was 7lb 13oz. Here's the story of how she came into the world (it's very different to Lara's birth story).
As you probably know, if you read Tuesday's blog post, I thought my waters had broken... turns out that they hadn't. My contractions started at 5pm approximately 5 minutes apart but very erratic and mild. By 7pm they began to get stronger - I consider this to be when labour was established.
At this point I was still pootling around the house. Mr. B fitted the TENS machine (which definitely helped) and tried to insist that I went to bed but I kinda knew that things were starting to move more quickly and sleep wasn't on the cards. I asked him to ring his parents who came around to look after Lara. By the time they arrived, the contractions were strong enough to stop me in my tracks and I rang the hospital. I'm sure they deliberately put the most miserable member of staff on the phone at the labour ward to try and put you off going in - she nearly managed to persuade me not to go. During the half-hour drive to Frimley Park Hospital I only experienced 2 contractions (they had previously been coming as frequently as every 2 minutes) and I really began to panic that I'd made the same mistake as last time by coming to hospital too early and letting everything slow down.
We arrived in the delivery ward just after 9pm at the point when the midwife shift was about to change. A stern-looking midwife asked me a load of questions and obviously thought I was fussing about nothing. She didn't believe me when I said I'd had a urine infection earlier in the week, and she didn't believe my waters had broken. I think she thought that when the next midwife examined me, I would be going straight home. My contractions were gaining frequency again but still mild enough for me to almost continue my conversation.
The new midwife was a lot friendlier and by the time she examined me at about 10.15pm, the contractions had come back much more frequently and continually growing in strength. I was VERY relieved to find that I had made it to 6/7cm dilated with just the TENS machine to get me through. We asked her to fill the birthing pool with water (which takes about 20 minutes) but both myself and Mr. B were wary of getting into the pool too soon because we didn't want it to slow down labour too much. As we waited, I was in a lot of pain and the TENS machine was no longer helping me get through the contractions - a lot of concentration was needed to breathe through each of them.
I got into the pool just before 11pm and the relief was instant. As suspected, things did slow down a little but it felt good to be in the warm water. The midwife left us alone for a little bit and told us to ring if I felt the urge to push - we both thought she was joking. At about 11.30 there was a lull in contractions and we stopped to joke with one another about whether we would have a May 1st or May 2nd baby and both of us felt pretty sure it would be the next day before we saw our baby. I realise now that this lull was probably the point of transition into the second stage of labour. From the very next contraction I felt the urge to push and tried to ignore it.
Thankfully the midwife arrived again before we needed to pull the emergency cord. She told me to ignore the urge as long as possible. I ignored it for one more contraction and then my own body took over. It only took 3 contractions and 6 minutes for the second stage of labour. Holly was born in one push and took both midwives by surprise because there was no pause between head and body. She literally plopped into the water and they had to drop their tools to grab her.
Holly and I chilled out in the water together for about 10 minutes before getting out to lie down for the third stage - delivery of the placenta. In that time, she naturally rooted for my breast by snuggling up my chest towards me. I felt so relaxed it was unreal.
We had to wait for me to dry out before I could have my stitches (by far the most painful experience of the night and the only point at which I tried the Entonox gas). We had a cuppa, some toast and a bit of a chill out while the painkillers for the stitches kicked in. I grabbed a quick bath, got dressed and then we were discharged. We arrived home with baby Holly at 5am and when Lara woke at 7 we had a lovely family reunion.
I am so happy that my second birth went entirely to plan. It certainly has helped me get through the last couple of days with more energy and less pain. The stitches are healing and we are both generally well. I'll blog more about our first days together soon.