Posted by Gwendy on Rollercoaster. As you all know, I had another clinic appointment last Wednesday and again the fluid levels were found to be low. Lower in fact than the previous week. This time cons was finding it hard to get a reading of 4cms. He wasn’t even getting, he said, four proper pools of fluid. He thought it best that I go to the hospital on Friday morning for ARM. I was still all this time, getting cramps and there was lots of show so I was hopeful that things might happen of their own accord. The anxiety of Friday morning saw me waking at about 2am each morning for a couple of hours. I was tired and a bit stressed. So when I was examined on Friday and found not to be favourable for ARM, I didn’t know what to do. The doctor decided a sweep might help things soften and I would be assessed again on Saturday. I agreed and the sweep wasn’t half as uncomfortable as I was expecting. DH and I were then free to walk to our hearts content. We spent a lot of time walking the hospital grounds and I could feel the baby’s head in my pelvis. It was quite uncomfortable, kind of a bone against bone sensation and I had to stop frequently to catch my breath. Cramping was slightly stronger but nothing to write home about. The following morning saw me sat, waiting alone in the labour ward for the ARM assessment with just Matt Cooper on headphones for company. Oh, and the poor lady in active labour across the hallway. Nervous? Anxious? Me? You must be thinking about someone else. Not! This time it wasn’t quite so nice, not quite as comfortable as the day before. Of course, it didn’t help that the doctor was quite serious in his approach. None of the other doctors cheery banter and very politically incorrect comments to take my mind of things. I was also fixated on the plastic implement he kept waving as he spoke. It was not unlike the plastic spoons you get in the ice cream fridges in the shops. I was very posterior so there was a lot of digging and pressure as he managed to “pop” my waters but there were none forthcoming. I was a bit relieved to be honest as I thought that they were obviously correct about the fluid levels being low. From that moment on, however, I was officially on hospital arrest. I was to be constantly monitored which meant no lovely walks outside in the hospital grounds. I would be lucky if they “allowed” me to walk the hallways. There was to be a canulla inserted and I was fasting also. There goes my lovely cappaccuino and chicken tikka pannini from the coffee shop. I was ravenous and it was only 11am. I drew the line at being “gowned up” and wearing the paper knickers the midwife produced. My own granny knickers were seriously unsexy but I was wearing my own clothes, thank you very much! I made a quick phone call to DH who arranged care for the boys for the afternoon and he hot footed it to Kilkenny. When he arrived I was back in the labour ward and hooked up to the monitor.This remained tightly secured to my swollen belly until I gave birth.I was sitting on a gym ball and contractions were still not doing anything much but they were definitely there.I alternated between standing at the side of the bed and bouncing on the ball.At about 4ish, our lovely midwife, Maria, asked if she could examine me.I was still very posterior and she wasn’t able to tell how dilated I was without really getting there.I asked her not to do so and she told me she would go in search of a midwife with nice, small hands.I had stated in my birth plan that I wanted VE’s kept to a minimum. The next midwife managed to move the baby’s head and on finishing the exam , there was a release of water.Seconds later followed by another. A day later on reading my notes, it was noted that I released “copious amounts of fluid” and I continued to do so regularly for the next few hours. Hah!I thought, so the fluid levels weren’t low after all. But I digress. From then on there was a noticeable change in the contractions. They became more regular and stronger. I stood at the side of the bed for the next hour and a half and filled my head with a home video of the three boys and played it over and over again. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing right down and with DH standing behind me, I swayed and rocked gently. DH had his arm looped around my neck and I was able to put my face in the crook of his arm and inhale him. It was lovely. It really was. I kept visualising the kids, in particular our 21 month old. His smell, his messy hair at the nape of his neck, the way he wraps his legs around my waist when I’m hugging him, his mad grin. I rocked and swayed and at times felt DH stroke and kiss the side of my neck.I felt so safe, secure, protected, supported and loved. It was lovely. I remember whispering to DH that I was sorry for not talking to him and he said “you’re in your zone. Stay there.” I had a bit of a cramp in the back of my thigh which was annoying and every so often I would sit on the gym ball to relieve it. I noticed when I did this, the contractions stopped straight away. But I needed the odd break and didn’t stay seated for long. Once I stood up again the contractions picked right up and I felt each and every time, a nice trickle of water. I could feel the baby moving downwards all the time. It was almost time for Maria to finish her shift and a quick peak at the clock told me it was after 7pm. Maria said she felt our bay would be born in an hour and as if to give me a boost, she opened the birth pack and turned on the heat lamps. She asked to examine me again and found I was still very posterior but she reckoned I was more than 4cm. DH kept telling me it was just a number and reminded me that this was proving to be the very same as DS2’s birth. It was hard to hear I was 4cm but I was starting to make different sounds and I knew I was in transition. Maria had left after a quick squeeze of my hand and a kiss on my forehead, and the new midwife asked me to tell her if I was feeling pressure. I was but not in my bottom. She told me not to worry or focus about this, to let another contraction or two do its thing and then she would examine me again. This time she said there was a bit of a lip and I needed to give it a couple more minutes. I was almost there. At this stage the contractions were difficult to manage and thoughts of the epi began to make an appearance. I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat and shaking a little bit. I was definitely making birth sounds and finding it hard to focus. I had to really concentrate to calm down. After about 20 minutes or so there was different pressure and the midwife asked me to climb up onto the bed when the next contraction ended. I think she thought I was going to give birth standing up. To be honest so did I!! I didn’t think I was going to be able to get up on the bed but I somehow managed it and the midwife declared me ready to go. As if I didn’t know!!!!!! I rolled onto my side, my leg was unceremoniously and without care, hoicked up into the air. The pressure was animal, unreal and I was so aware of the ejection reflex. I let out an almighty bellow that seemed to come from deep down inside me and with one push I felt the head being born. The cord was wrapped and there were lots of shouts and roars at me to “pant, pant”. I couldn’t hear a thing so they had to shout. There were two more incredible pushes and DS4, all 8lbs and 13 oz of him was born after four hours and nineteen minutes. I kept saying “I can’t believe you’re here, I can’t believe you’re here” and then “I can’t believe I’m not pregnant anymore,” much to the amusement of the midwife. He latched on straight away and oh god, the rush of adrenalin. The power, the return of the control I thought I had lost over the previous few days. It was amazing. It was so intense. I “opted” not to have pain relief for the simple reason pethidine makes me sick and gas and air just burn my throat.And I can honestly, hand on heart, say that I didn’t need the epidural. Yes, transition was bloody tough. Very tough indeed and there was a definite “oh crap, I can’t do this” moment. But I regained my focus and did my best to let my monkey do it (Thanks Ina May) A little over three years ago I made my first enquiries about hypnobirthing, in particular, Tracy’s course. This was when we were expecting our second son. Fast forward to DS4 born nearly a week ago now, and I can confirm with absolute certainty and delight that it truly does work. Forgive the irreverence Tracy, but I recall saying to DH afterwards, “that shit really works. It really does!” This time round I found it nigh on impossible to listen to the CDs on a regular basis. In fact it was only in the last three weeks or so that I made a strong and conscious effort to listen to the VBAC affirmations. I used to put the CD on in the kitchen and try to listen to it over the shouts and roars of the three boys, but I did, however, manage to listen to it at night in bed. Tracy, I could hear you as if you were in the labour ward with me. You were so very, very, clearly telling me that my baby is the perfect size for my body and each surge brings my baby closer to my open and waiting arms. I also believe that this helped me during a very frustrating and anxious few days when all I could hear was a very definite underlying, “well, we’ll probably end up sectioning you anyway.” At the end of the day once you and your little bundle are delivered safely, that is all that matters. But I believe it is also very important that we as women are listened to and allowed the chance to birth our babies the way we want to. The way we are ABLE to. I wish each and every pregnant lady on this thread and forum the very best of luck and that you all get your hearts desire. If you are still reading, thank you and I hope my story serves some hope and inspiration to you all.