Love reading positive birth stories? You’re in the right place! This birth story is with second time mum Justine and the arrival of her surprise baby girl, Eden. Justine remained active to progress her labour and had a water birth.

The birth of Eden
Friday 30th July @ 22.53

After baby’s big brother Buddy took just 3.5hrs from first contraction to arrival, I was not quite prepared for the day I had in store 🙈

It all started at 5am!

I woke up with my first contraction, not too dissimilar from period pain. I had been given a successful stretch and sweep the day before, so I just knew this was the start.

I sat and timed the cramps for a while, they were coming every 10 minutes or so. My toddler Buddy stumbled into our room about 5.45am, and this was when I told my husband Dave today might well be the day! We all got up, got showered, dressed and fed, ready to meet the baby!

I rang my mum, who would be my 2nd birth partner, at around 6am to let her know labour had started but we weren’t in any rush, and she made her way over with my step dad who would be looking after Buddy.

My husband loaded the bags in the car and made sure we had everything we needed for when we had to leave.

I spent the morning bouncing on my ball, rotating my hips, clary sage in the diffuser, watching Friends and soaking in all the good vibes excited to meet the baby.

Everything seemed to be on a go slow, contractions would intensify, but then peter out, they would come closer together, then space back out. It seemed when I was on the move, everything would ramp up but as soon as I stopped, everything would calm down. I’m not the most patient person, so I can’t say I found this very fun 😂 I do remember commenting at 9am that with my first, I had a baby in my arms by this time already 🙈

The weather that day was pretty miserable, but whenever there was a break in the rain, me and my mum went out for walks around the village to encourage the contractions to continue and strengthen. Eventually, at around 5pm, they were coming regularly, and were strong, so I continued to sit on my ball and rotate my hips, reminding myself to keep my face and shoulders relaxed, and that this is what my body needed to do.

We fed my toddler dinner, bathed him, and my husband attempted to put him to bed around 6.30pm (early! But he had had a long day too, and ideally he would be asleep when we left). It’s almost as if my body knew it was the right time, and I had to call my husband down as we needed to leave for the hospital. We called the hospital, who asked us to make our way in.

We arrived at Gloucester Birth Unit at around 7.15pm, just in the middle of shift change 🙈

I cried with emotion when we arrived, so glad we were finally there ready to have a baby. We were shown into a HUGE room, with a pool, which I was pleased about as I had desperately wanted a water birth, but forgot to mention it when we rang ahead. As soon as shift change was sorted, at about 7.45pm, our Midwife Ali came in to see me, shadowed by a student midwife. We chatted a while, and she examined me whilst the pool was filled.

Much to my disappointment, I was only 3cm dilated, even though my contractions were regular and strong. As it turned out, which is why it had been stop start all day, baby’s head wasn’t quite in the right position. When examining me, instead of being able to feel the crown of baby’s head she could feel the front fontenelle. So rather than the baby having their head tucked chin to chest, it had it’s head slightly flexed upward. But thankfully, they weren’t sending me home!

She encouraged me to stay active and rock my hips as I had been doing. They gave me a birthing ball to use, and she told me not to be discouraged as baby could just suddenly drop their chin in and we’d be away. I couldn’t use the pool just yet as we didn’t want slow things back down, so I had to just stare at it longingly 😂 She assured me as it was my second baby, my body knew what to do, and we just had to roll with it. She then left me to labour, and said she would pop in to see how I was doing.
I used the birthing ball to keep the contractions coming, and intermittently stood and rocked my hips from side to side, and this seemed to encourage the baby to move as my contractions began to come thick and fast.

The best thing I used to cope and get through them was breathing! In for 4, out for 7. Calm, relaxed, rhythmical 😊
And as every contraction came I told myself ‘I can do anything for a minute’. It really helped that I had written this in my birth preferences, as when the student midwife came in to see us at about 9.30pm, she counted aloud with me to keep me focused. I was really beginning to tire and struggle at this point, and she popped out to get Ali the midwife.

When Ali came in to see me, it was evident that baby had moved, and things were well on their way. She told me I wouldn’t need another examination, that she doesn’t like to poke around where it’s not needed 😂 and I could finally get in the pool and make use of the gas and air! I climbed in at about 10pm, and oh my, the pool was absolutely divine! Even my husband commented on how I completely changed once I was in the water – he said it was like someone had put out the fire!

Things moved rapidly from there, and by 10.20pm I had the urge to push. Ali told me this bit could go fast as a second time mum, but I told her I didn’t believe her as my labour had already been longer second time around 😂 Baby’s waters were bulging infront of their head, just to make the last bit that little trickier too 😂 Ali the midwife told my mum (my second birth partner) to get her phone as she thought the baby might be born in their waters and we’d want a photo of it! But as I pushed, they went with a big ‘pop’, the most bizarre feeling. I remember asking my husband ‘what’s happening?!’ in a slight panic 🙈
I could feel the baby’s head had been born, then with one more push there baby was, at 10.53pm, in the water, waiting to be scooped up.

I picked baby up, cried with relief, had a peek between baby’s legs and we could hardly believe she was a GIRL 🥰

I had quite a short cord so had to keep my bum slightly raised so baby’s head stayed out of the water as I sat back for skin to skin.

There was then a little bit of pandemonium. Baby was trying her best, but wasn’t able to take a breath. Ali was giving her a good rub to encourage her, but as a little time passed she asked the student midwife to clamp the cord so they could get baby out. The student midwife said she didn’t know how to do this (credit to her honesty!) Queue a buzzer being hit and a shout of ‘I need a midwife in here’ but this seemed to buy us some time. A midwife rushed in and told me to blow on baby’s face where baby took a big gasp, the panic was over as she cried and began to pink up. I was then able to enjoy skin to skin in the pool and wait for her cord to stop pulsing before dad cut the cord and had skin to skin himself whilst I wobbled out of the pool. Probably the hardest part – getting out when your legs are like jelly! I managed to birth the placenta without the injection, and only needed a couple of stitches for a small tear. Finally having my pool birth was the most amazing experience, even if it did take longer to get there!

And I’m forever grateful for my pregnancy yoga classes and Beth’s hypnobirthing techniques guiding me through when I needed it most.

Baby Eden is an absolute delight, and Buddy is enjoying being a big brother, as are we being a family of 4 🥰

Click the link for more information about The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Online Course. Know what you can do to stack the odds in your favour for the birth that you want. Videos, checklists, audios & a support group all created by a midwife to get you feeling excited, prepared and confident for birth.