Hello Darcy - The Birth Story of My Third Baby

birth story Jun 10, 2024

I had been warned that third babies can often be quite unpredictable when it comes to labour and that it can be quite stop and start. This was exactly the case for me. I had been having contractions and cramps on and off for just over two weeks so I was pretty exhausted and fed up by the time I reached 39 weeks. 



I had an extra growth scan at 37 weeks that showed excess fluid around the baby which threw a spanner in the works. I had to monitor my blood sugar levels after every meal for a week as there was a possibility that I had developed gestational diabetes. My blood sugars were fine, and they concluded that it was just one of those things but they needed to keep an eye on the baby’s position as there was a risk of chord prolapse. This caused me a bit of anxiety as I was deseprate to have a water birth like I did last time and I worried that this would limit my birth options. I spoke to a wonderful consultant who assured me that if her head stayed secure in my pelvis like it currently was then I should be fine to try for a water birth. I told her that I had been really uncomfortable which she said made sense with all the extra fluid and so she recommended having a sweep at 38 and 39 weeks to see if that would help get things going. I was thrilled with this plan. 



When it came to my 38 week appointment, the midwife gave me a sweep as planned. It was my first one so I didn’t know what to expect but it was less painful than I had anticipated, uncomfortable of course but manageable. She said that I was 1cm dilated and she could feel the baby’s head which felt very positive. That evening I had lots of cramps and even a bit of bleeding which I was warned could happen, but nothing more came of it.



I continued to have on off cramps for the rest of the week, and I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to my 39 week appointment but in that sweep she said that I was 2cm dilated and to come back in 48 hours for a third sweep. Here she said I was still 2cm but she could feel my waters “bulging”. I assumed that nothing would come of the cramps like before but this time it was different. 


When I got home, I noticed that some of my mucus plug had come loose which I’d never seen before and the cramps I was having were getting a little closer together. I put my boys to bed and went back in to give them both an extra big kiss goodnight as I just had a feeling that this might be it. 





We ate dinner, and I started timing the contractions and they were about 8-10 minutes apart consistently. By 9pm they were 5-6 minutes so I called the birth centre and spoke to a midwife explaining that I had a very fast labour last time so even though I was managing the contractions very well at home I was nervous to wait much longer just in case. She agreed it was best we went in, so we called our lovely neighbour who came and waited for my Mum to arrive and we drove the 10 minutes to the hospital. 


One good thing about going into labour in the evening is we could find a parking space with no issue which was a worry of mine as it is usually a nightmare during the day. We parked and headed inside where I had to stop a couple of times to breathe through the contractions on the way up to the birth centre. 



We were met by a lovely midwife who took us to a room with a pool which I was thrilled about as I was so hoping for a water birth. By now the contractions were still 5 minutes apart but much more intense now. The midwife examined me and to my surprise I was still only 2cm - I couldn’t believe it!! In my notes it said that I dilated very quickly in both my previous births so they agreed not to send me home and instead they left us to labour by ourselves just coming in once an hour to listen in to baby’s heart beat. 


The contractions became longer and closer together fairly steadily and I felt like I was on top of them, using my breathing to get through them. I had a paracetamol two hours in at 1am which took the edge off the pain but once that started wearing off I asked whether I could have some pethidin. The midwife said that I could but then I couldn’t get in the water for 4 hours. I felt like I was closer to birth than 4 hours and I was right. All of a sudden the intensity ramped up so much and I knew things were getting close. I rang the buzzer and told the midwife I really needed to get in the water now, and she said she needed to examine me which annoyed me as it was so clear to me that I was ready to push but she insisted. Meanwhile another midwife came in, took one look at me and started running the water. The other midwife was still insisting she examine me so I gave in and let her because I just wanted to get in the water. It was no surprise to me when she said I was 9cm, I jumped off the bed as fast as I could as the next contraction was coming and it was then that my waters broke in a spectacular fashion. There was a lot of water!! 



My waters breaking gave instant relief but at the same time the intensity of the contractions ramped up and there became little to no rest in between them. I clambered into the pool of warm water and it was as nice as I remember it being last time, I was so happy I was finally in there. I found myself on all fours, holding George’s hands as he was crouched down on the other side. My body was now shaking with the adrenaline and my breathing was getting deeper and faster but I was still using it to manage the pain as the contractions came thick and fast. 


After about 10 minutes, I felt my body starting to push. The midwife told me to go with it, so I did. George was providing me with water inbetween contractions, and then had to break it to me that the mini fan had run out of battery which I was furious about as it is such hot work and the cold air was so nice. He was darting to and from the charger giving me a minute of cool air at a time bless him. Funny now, not funny then!! 



Things started to feel very serious when the midwife said she could see the head, and I found myself actively pushing now and going from being silent in my contractions to making some very loud grunting noises. There were 3 big contractions to get the head out and I could feel it moving down with each one before one giant push and I felt the relief of her head coming out. George looked over and confirmed that she had lots of hair, I was just focused on recovering from the contraction and trying to stay in my zone and get my breathing back on track ready for the next one. There was a long pause while I waited for the next one which felt very odd knowing her head was there between my legs. I felt excited and extremely empowered during that break, knowing that I was about to meet my baby, and I had done this much already. It’s such a euphoric feeling, I wish I could bottle it up forever. 



The next contraction started ramping up and I knew it was going to need a big push from me. My body was so tired and I had to summon some serious inner strength but all of a sudden she was being passed through my legs and I was reaching down to pick her up. She was very warm and slippery and I just scooped her up into my arms with such a huge feeling of relief. She looked just like our youngest son Barney, and just like him she didn’t make a sound. She was pretty purple in colour and just stared up at me. The midwives were frantically rubbing her chest and back trying to get her to make a noise and start pinking up and after what felt like minutes they suggested cutting her chord and taking her off to give her a helping hand but just at that moment she let out a teeny yelp and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. She was given back to me and did start getting pinker but she stayed very quiet and calm. 


They said I could stay in there as long as I wanted before they needed to get the placenta out but pretty soon I found that I was quite uncomfortable and sore and was keen to get on with it. I opted for the injection to help it along as I felt so exhausted by this point. I got out of the pool for this as I felt like I needed to lie down, so George held her and the midwife basically pulled it out. I felt so empty once it was out,more so than when the baby came out, it was absolutely ginormous and even the midwife was amazed at how big it was so it made so much sense that I felt that level of discomfort. I immediately felt better once it was out and got to cuddle my little girl again. 



It’s a weird mix of exhaustion, elation, relief and disbelief lying there holding your baby who was inside you less than an hour ago isn't it? She latched on immediately and stayed there for ages. The midwives left us to it and said they would come back to weigh her etc and it felt really nice to have a bit of time to ourselves. We discussed her name and confirmed that we still loved Darcy and that she suited it (as much as a newborn can suit a name!) so we set about calling our families and telling them the good news. The best bit!! 


Then it was a bit of a crash back to reality when they came to assess me and told me that I had a small second degree tear that would need stitching. It feels somewhat unfair to put you through more pain after all that has just happened doesn't it? I handed Darcy over to George so they could have some cuddles and the lovely midwife got on with stitching me up. It was far less painful that I had imagined, I mean compared to giving birth nothing was going to feel too bad let’s be honest but it was actually over and done with very quickly and I was back to my cuddles. I just stared at her, I couldn’t believe that she had such dark hair and also that she was actually a she. After having two boys I just couldn’t imagine having a daughter but here she was! 



I had the most glorious shower about an hour later, after they had done all of her tests and I can’t tell you how fresh and clean I felt afterwards. I mean it is the strangest feeling ever walking to the bathroom with a belly that looks very full still but feels so empty. I got into my adult nappy, and my comfy baggy clothes and back to my baby for cuddles while George went and got the car seat and we prepared to go home. We arrived at 11pm, gave birth at 6am and were heading home at 2pm - what a whirlwind!!!


Whilst there is no denying the fact that it was an intense, painful and hard experience, it was also incredibly empowering and yet again I am reminded just how amazing a woman’s body is. I feel really proud of myself, I felt strong mentally and physically throughout the birth and I will look back on it with positive memories which I am seriously grateful for. 

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