My waters broke at home at 38 weeks and two days. Initially the contractions were quite mild and continued that way through the evening. At midnight I had a bath and then tried to get some rest. After 20 minutes I felt four very strong contractions – the kind where you can’t really move – and I realised that things were happening. As my labour with my eldest daughter had been a very quick one, my midwife had told me to phone an ambulance as soon as major contractions started. I staggered down the stairs only clothed from the waist up and was about to walk into the street to the ambulance when my mum hastily draped her dressing gown over me to protect my modesty! At 7.05am, 20 minutes after we arrived at King’s, Vincent was born. I held him skin to skin and put him to the breast, but it wasn’t long before I was thinking about the other baby. My contractions had eased off but I was aware that the clock was ticking – I had got the hospital to agree that no one would bother us for an
hour, but then I knew the pressure to have the second baby quickly would start. I had to give Vincent up as I couldn’t concentrate on the second birth and I am sad that I didn’t get to give him the attention that you would a singleton baby.
We tried all sorts of things to get contractions going, including my husband Joris massaging my stomach quite hard, but nothing worked. The senior registrar came back at intervals and said he would let me labour for as long as I liked but that the longer it went on the more likely complications would be. I was grateful to have him on duty, he gave us time and was very respectful of us.
But after three hours had passed there was a gaggle of doctors outside the door and I was exhausted so I agreed to a drip to induce my contractions. Within the hour my waters broke and Audrey was straight out in three pushes. Vincent weighed 2.44kg (5lb 3oz) and Audrey was 2.7kg (6lb). I felt very out of it – not physically but emotionally. I had had no pain relief and two labours is a lot to put yourself through! We discharged ourselves the same day and were home by 6pm. With hindsight I’m not sure we made the right decision, because Vincent’s blood sugar levels dropped overnight and we were readmitted the next day for another 24 hours. However, at the time, home was where we wanted to be.
Even in the immediate aftermath of Audrey’s birth I remember feeling relieved but aware that the labour was likely to be the least of my worries. Now we had to get on with it!
Fleur from Tulse Hill, mum of Rosie, 2, Vincent and Audrey, 4 weeks