“After finding numerous activities to distract myself from the fact it was my due date, from painting furniture to cooking a homemade pie, I went to bed tired and with no expectation that baby would be with us soon. So when I woke up with period-like pains at 2.30am I assumed it was just braxton hicks. I went back to sleep, but by 3.30am the ache had turned into more obvious, albeit faint contractions.
An hour later, realising they were coming more regularly I figured I should wake Jon. We called Crowborough Birth Centre to let them know it was starting and went back to bed to rest.
By 8am the contractions were much more intense but they were still only coming every 8 minutes or so. We arrived at Crowborough at about 9.30am, and I was disappointed to discover I was only 3cm dilated. We were given the option to go home for a few hours or stay. There was no way I wanted to make the journey back to Tunbridge Wells so we stayed. Another mum was in the main delivery suite so our midwife Emma and the team made sure we were comfortable in one of the postnatal rooms.
I felt 100% supported the whole time by the team – they asked for my birth plan and were on hand to help when we needed it, offering encouragement and reassurance and bringing me a tens machine when the pain got too much. I put the visualisations and breathing I learned at yoga to good use as the contractions got stronger. With Jon’s amazing encouragement, I was in the zone, breathing through each contraction.
Around midday I was starting to feel the urge to push and my waters went. There was no need for another examination – baby was on her way! I wanted a water birth so they filled up the bath and we moved to the delivery suite. All inhibitions had long gone by this point – I stripped off, got in and immediately felt better. I’ve never been so relieved to get in warm water! I was happy to be able to make use of the gas and air by this point too.
When it came to push it all felt very natural. Emma talked me through each contraction, encouraging me to relinquish the gas and air for the final few until our little girl emerged into the world at 1.09pm. Jon was able to discover her sex and tell me we had a daughter. It was an incredible feeling when Emma scooped her up and put her on my chest, and both Jon and I burst into tears.
The aftercare at Crowborough was just as incredible – from the tea and toast shortly after Martha was born (the best I’ve ever eaten!), to being stitched up and helped to shower and the 24hr advice on breastfeeding, nappy changing and everything in between- both Jon and I felt so well looked after. At no point did I feel frightened or unaware of what was happening. We both feel incredibly grateful to have had such an incredible experience. For any low risk mums out there I couldn’t recommend Crowborough highly enough.”