10.45pm and I'm sat on the edge of the bed, knowing I need to go to the toilet before bed, but sudden, intense lower-back ache sets in. In between deep breaths I tell my husband. It takes me 10 minutes to move and once my mission is complete, I return to the same spot. I've just had some light bleeding and felt fluid gush as I sit down.
11.03pm and I update the midwives by text with my husband. I've made it to 42+4 with the incredible support of my midwives, but having tried everything (except castor oil) to get this baby moving and having had numerous false alarms over the last 2 weeks, I have no idea if my waters have just broken or not.
11.07pm I have my first contraction which is so strong it takes my breath away. This isn't like my previous labour, when I managed 2 hours quietly hypnobirthing alone before needing to wake my husband. Everything has changed in 18 minutes and I have just slid on to the floor to support myself against the edge of the bed. 'Call the midwife.' I am met with hesitation: 'This could be hours. I'll send them another text. Get back in to bed and rest, like we discussed with them, for a night-time labour?' Contraction number 2 at 11.10pm: 'CALL THE MIDWIFE NOW. I NEED THE GAS AND AIR.' He text them again: 'Em is having contractions'.
I drag myself and my huge pregnancy pillow to the foot of the bed where there is more space, and lay on my left side. The room is dimly lit and I feel a bit like a cat, curled up in front of our old fireplace on the floor. 11.24pm and midwife Tess is coming immediately having just heard a contraction over the phone. I don't really remember the next half an hour - a few more incredibly intense contractions, a few sips of water and I'm playing my birthing playlist on my phone.
11.50pm Tess arrives with the gas and air nozzle. Sean tries to start filling the birthing pool downstairs and Tess attempts to take my blood pressure - pointless exercises as baby descends. Tess and Sean are now pulling my hips downwards at my request, to lengthen my back. Baby is born in 3 contractions at 12.14am.
I lay there for a good few minutes in total shock (Tess still holding baby) before I realised /accepted I'd actually birthed baby. Our other midwife, Leonie, arrived 7 minutes after baby was born! Apparently I'm their longest pregnancy and fastest birth.... I never have done things by halves.
I managed a wonderful home birth in just over 1 hour at 42+4 and this is entirely down to help from Tess and Leonie. Going 'post-term' was the hardest mental challenge of my life, and I thank them both from the bottom of my heart for supporting us every step of the way. Their knowledge, laughter and confidence in my body (even when I thought I was going to be pregnant forever and end up with unwanted intervention) got us through every hospital monitoring session and hopeless text message I could send. Thank you both, Tess and Leonie, for helping me to hold my space so I could bring baby in to the world safely and happily with our family.