Why the toilet is your friend during labour.

Check out this incredible birth story and find out why the toilet is your friend during labour. Thank you so much Anna for sharing your beautiful birth story of Nancy.
My first baby was due on 21st December 2020 and was born at 40+11 (with an induction booked the next day!) On NYE, I started the day with a stretch and sweep – the midwife was lovely but it did feel a lot like I was ending the year with a bad, aggressive fingering.
That night, at about 1am, I started feeling period pain type cramps. I wasn’t sure at first, but after an hour of cramps coming fairly consistently, I woke my husband to tell him that I thought labour was starting.
We curled up in bed together and he timed the gap between contractions. At 02.30, I called the midwife led unit because the contractions were coming 3 in 10 minutes. The midwife told me to head in, where I was examined and was 1cm dilated. I was told I could stay, but she advised me to go home and get cosy, so we left and I got back into bed where I sort of half dozed between contractions. I’d hired a Tens machine which I put on and was loving.
By 9am, feeling that the contractions had become more intense, we phoned again and went back in. I was then 2cm dilated and started to despair. At this point I hadn’t eaten and felt nauseous and tired. The midwife suggested oramorph along with an anti sickness injection, so that I could stomach some food and get some rest. That made a big difference – I had some toast, had a rest and went back home where I managed to doze again between contractions.
As the contractions became more intense, my husband ran me a bath. As soon as I got in, I felt like things stepped up a gear. I got out and was contracting really frequently. As we headed in to the hospital for the third time, at around 6pm, I was telling my husband that if I wasn’t in active labour I needed a caesarean. I was examined and was 5cm dilated. The midwife was so lovely and excited for me. They asked me to walk about 10 metres to the next room, which was lit with fairy lights and the pool was running.
I gravitated towards a big beanbag and was on all fours over it, with gas and air within reach. I felt an urge to push and a quick examination showed that in the couple of minutes where I was moving rooms, I’d become fully dilated. I was finding the gas and air really helpful, making me really conscious of breathing deeply and slowly. The midwife was sat in the room but was leaving me to it, gently encouraging me when I asked her for reassurance but standing back while my husband had his hands on my back and told me repeatedly how amazing I was (I’d told him in advance that this was all I wanted to hear!).
At this point, the midwife asked me to try and go to the toilet, because my full bladder might have been preventing my waters from breaking. As soon as I sat on the toilet, things ramped up a gear again. My pushing became much stronger and I could feel that it was productive and that my baby was on her way.
I had the gas and air, my husband and the midwife in the loo with me – she had a quick look and called a colleague because the birth was imminent. I was amazed how instinctive the pushing was. I hadn’t read how to do it but my body KNEW. I couldn’t have stopped it. The head was crowning and my husband had a look but I turned down the offer of feeling the head – I just wanted to hold my baby. The midwife asked me to stop pushing and pant – which I did as best as I could, and my baby’s head was born. Her body followed straight after with no gap at all, so the baby slipped into the bedpan of the toilet.
The midwife whipped her out between my legs and put her onto my chest. All I could say was, “Baby!” repeatedly. How overwhelming it was to see this little creature, still warm from my body, blinking her little eyes and being in my arms.
Though early labour was long, the second part was quite short – I entered active labour at about 6pm and Nancy was born at 9pm. Throughout the whole labour, each time I thought I’d reached my limit, I had entered the next part of the labour and really felt like I was nearly there. I felt so safe and calm when I was in the care of the midwives at St Michael’s midwife led unit, and I am still in awe of what women’s bodies are capable of.