The Birth of Kian Sean Williamson

My beautiful son Kian was born just before the end of 5 July 2005 after a labour and birth so fabulous that I wanted to do it again straight away.

Kian is my second child. Hannah, my 8 year old daughter, was born at home with the support of my partner Gary, two friends and my midwife Emma Baldock, during the hot, hot summer of 1998.

My labour with Hannah had been about 16 hours with a long second stage (over 2 hours). She was born 13 or so days past my ‘due’ date. That labour had started within a few hours of the appearance of the first signs of the mucus plug.

After teaching in prenatal classes and telling lots of women over the last few years that all labours and births are different even for the same woman, I still expected things to go roughly the same for this birth, though I hoped that it would be a little shorter (not that the first one had seemed very long to me). One of the things I’ve said over and over again when describing Kian’s birth was that it was very different this time.
I wasn’t expecting any action until about a week past my due date and was mightily surprised to see the beginnings of the mucus plug in my undies on my due date. I warned my midwife, Gill Hall, doula (and buddie and business partner) Margie Perkins and my other support people Camilla and Alison that it might happen although it really didn’t feel imminent. I had the odd contraction here and there and over the next few days had a few contractions during the night which would vanish during the days.

Kian was well engaged in my pelvis: I had that achy feeling deep in my pelvis and walking wasn’t easy. Then a few days later on Sunday, walking suddenly felt easier and it seemed he’d popped out again. I was a bit disappointed! I went for a walk with Alison the following evening to get him down again and this seemed to work. The contractions continued to come every now and then and I was pleased that some of the work was already being done! The next morning when I met with Gill and Margie I was having contractions that I couldn’t sit through but they were still infrequent, maybe every half hour or so. I was still not convinced it was starting though and didn’t want to get excited about it! Again after suggesting to many women that prelabour can go on for many days so not to get too excited too soon and wear yourself out. It’s important to practice what you preach!!
We all went to my Mum’s for dinner that Tuesday night and just as dinner was ending at about 7 o’clock the contractions picked up: they were coming every couple of minutes and were lasting longer. It seemed it was starting in earnest!! Time to go home I said. Hannah asked if I thought the baby would come tonight, and I replied that I wasn’t sure, and that it might.

Gary took Hannah off to bed and I thought I’d try to manage for a while by myself. I lasted only about half an hour before calling in the support team, other than Gill who I thought I’d leave till I really needed her.

We’d organised a blow up pool for me to use as a birth pool and had spent ages testing it, fixing holes, filling it up (wrecking the vacuum cleaner doing so!), arguing over where it should be. On the night, the team spent quite a lot of time filling it and getting it ready and of course, you guessed it, I didn’t use it! Before the labour I was convinced that I needed it and couldn’t conceive of a labour without it having spent a number of hours in the bath for Hannah’s birth. I think I may have used it if it had been in a more private space. It was in our living space which has lots of windows and is open to the kitchen. I needed to be private.
I started leaning over the bed in our bedroom and got Margie to press hard on my sacrum. Unlike last time when heat really reduced the pain of contractions, I really didn’t find it effective. The others were all around me. At one point I heard someone texting on their mobile phone and accused them of not paying me enough attention! Of course it was Gary keeping Gill informed, rather than a bored birth helper SMSing friends or work!

A while later I felt I needed a change and maybe less people around. I went into our shower (we have a continuous hot water system for which I am so thankful!) and apparently spent some hours in there (endorphins having kicked in, it didn’t seem like that long to me). I knelt on a piece of foam and leant over a swiss ball (big shower!) and moaned through contractions. It was all very nice but I did notice that the contractions had slowed right off. Everyone had left me to it at that point but I felt compelled to call Margie to let her know that it had all slowed off and that I thought I should do something different. Margie suggested that I could lie on the bed for a rest. I stood up to do so (even though I really didn’t want to), and that was enough to get things going again. I stood and then leant on the ball from the standing position with each contraction.

At one point in the shower I felt the need to clear up a worry that was in the back of my mind. I asked for Alison so that I could hear from her that it was all right that Margie was doing most of the hands on support when Alison had done it in my last labour. Even though I knew it was okay, I just thought it would help to hear her reassurance so that I could put that one aside and continue to concentrate on my labour.

Even through the haze of that part of the labour, I was waiting for the change into second stage. Having been a doula to a number of women over the last couple of years, there was a part of me being the doula watching and listening for the change of transition and pushing. I expected to feel it but the funniest thing was that I heard it. I heard my voice change just as I had for the women I had supported as doula.

I called out to Margie that it was changing. I think it was about 10.50pm at this point and I still hadn’t asked anyone to call Gill (not wanting her to have to come too early and hang around for a long time!!). Fortunately the support team had taken things into their own hands and had called her earlier. In the event, Gill only got there 10 minutes before Kian’s birth because the second stage was so much quicker this time.

The urge to push started soon after I noticed the change. The contractions were much more intense during the second stage for this labour. During the labour for Hannah’s birth second stage hadn’t been very painful but it was a lot of work. The pushing was hard work and, like a lot of first labours, getting her out was slow and each push felt like nothing was happening. I was also uncertain, exhausted and at times fearful.

For Kian’s birth, the pain was more but I felt confident and knew what to do. I just used each powerful contraction to do the work. It was fabulous! I felt incredibly powerful: standing in my shower, doing the work by myself, pushing my baby out. I loved it. I thought I’d feel his head what each push did and felt his head between a few contractions. I was excited to feel the difference after each contraction.

I started asking for Hannah because it was obvious that my baby was going to be born very soon and we’d decided that Hannah would be there to see the baby come out.

By this time Gill had arrived and had time for one listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Of course, this was the first time that I had any concern that anything might not be right. The act of monitoring was the one that had me think ‘Is everything OK?’. How telling.

And then a contraction and push and the delicious feeling of his head ballooning down my vagina – so different from last time (if I may just say that one more time!). It felt like his head went down and straight out with no waiting at the crowning point. I felt the burning sensation but hardly remember it now because I had no fear or concern.

His head out, I waited for the next contraction, and for Hannah to be there. She came into the bathroom (quite crowded now!) and I had the last contraction and out came my son, caught by Gill. Gill helped me to turn and sit on the ball and passed him between my legs. I held him to me and discovered that he was a boy. The water had been turned off and as I held him I felt another contraction coming. Gill put a bucket in the shower, I stood and neatly deposited the placenta, slop into the bucket!
They all helped me out of the shower onto the floor and Hannah cut Kian’s cord.

I was helped to bed and after a while (no hurry!) Kian had his first feed.

My mother arrived a short while later bearing food and we all ate and drank. I exclaimed many times how great the birth was and how different from Hannah’s!

I wish that all women could experience the incredible feeling of giving birth confidently and powerfully with close and knowledgeable support.

Thank you to all my wonderful support team Margie, Alison and Camilla. Thank you to Gill Hall my fabulous midwife on whom I called a lot during pregnancy and postnatally and who I didn’t call soon enough during labour! Thank you to my wonderful family Gary and Hannah. And to my little boy, welcome sweet Kian.

The Birth of Kian Sean Williamson

My beautiful son Kian was born just before the end of 5 July 2005 after a labour and birth so fabulous that I wanted to do it again straight away.

Kian is my second child. Hannah, my 8 year old daughter, was born at home with the support of my partner Gary, two friends and my midwife Emma Baldock, during the hot, hot summer of 1998.

My labour with Hannah had been about 16 hours with a long second stage (over 2 hours). She was born 13 or so days past my ‘due’ date. That labour had started within a few hours of the appearance of the first signs of the mucus plug.

After teaching in prenatal classes and telling lots of women over the last few years that all labours and births are different even for the same woman, I still expected things to go roughly the same for this birth, though I hoped that it would be a little shorter (not that the first one had seemed very long to me). One of the things I’ve said over and over again when describing Kian’s birth was that it was very different this time.
I wasn’t expecting any action until about a week past my due date and was mightily surprised to see the beginnings of the mucus plug in my undies on my due date. I warned my midwife, Gill Hall, doula (and buddie and business partner) Margie Perkins and my other support people Camilla and Alison that it might happen although it really didn’t feel imminent. I had the odd contraction here and there and over the next few days had a few contractions during the night which would vanish during the days.

Kian was well engaged in my pelvis: I had that achy feeling deep in my pelvis and walking wasn’t easy. Then a few days later on Sunday, walking suddenly felt easier and it seemed he’d popped out again. I was a bit disappointed! I went for a walk with Alison the following evening to get him down again and this seemed to work. The contractions continued to come every now and then and I was pleased that some of the work was already being done! The next morning when I met with Gill and Margie I was having contractions that I couldn’t sit through but they were still infrequent, maybe every half hour or so. I was still not convinced it was starting though and didn’t want to get excited about it! Again after suggesting to many women that prelabour can go on for many days so not to get too excited too soon and wear yourself out. It’s important to practice what you preach!!
We all went to my Mum’s for dinner that Tuesday night and just as dinner was ending at about 7 o’clock the contractions picked up: they were coming every couple of minutes and were lasting longer. It seemed it was starting in earnest!! Time to go home I said. Hannah asked if I thought the baby would come tonight, and I replied that I wasn’t sure, and that it might.

Gary took Hannah off to bed and I thought I’d try to manage for a while by myself. I lasted only about half an hour before calling in the support team, other than Gill who I thought I’d leave till I really needed her.

We’d organised a blow up pool for me to use as a birth pool and had spent ages testing it, fixing holes, filling it up (wrecking the vacuum cleaner doing so!), arguing over where it should be. On the night, the team spent quite a lot of time filling it and getting it ready and of course, you guessed it, I didn’t use it! Before the labour I was convinced that I needed it and couldn’t conceive of a labour without it having spent a number of hours in the bath for Hannah’s birth. I think I may have used it if it had been in a more private space. It was in our living space which has lots of windows and is open to the kitchen. I needed to be private.
I started leaning over the bed in our bedroom and got Margie to press hard on my sacrum. Unlike last time when heat really reduced the pain of contractions, I really didn’t find it effective. The others were all around me. At one point I heard someone texting on their mobile phone and accused them of not paying me enough attention! Of course it was Gary keeping Gill informed, rather than a bored birth helper SMSing friends or work!

A while later I felt I needed a change and maybe less people around. I went into our shower (we have a continuous hot water system for which I am so thankful!) and apparently spent some hours in there (endorphins having kicked in, it didn’t seem like that long to me). I knelt on a piece of foam and leant over a swiss ball (big shower!) and moaned through contractions. It was all very nice but I did notice that the contractions had slowed right off. Everyone had left me to it at that point but I felt compelled to call Margie to let her know that it had all slowed off and that I thought I should do something different. Margie suggested that I could lie on the bed for a rest. I stood up to do so (even though I really didn’t want to), and that was enough to get things going again. I stood and then leant on the ball from the standing position with each contraction.

At one point in the shower I felt the need to clear up a worry that was in the back of my mind. I asked for Alison so that I could hear from her that it was all right that Margie was doing most of the hands on support when Alison had done it in my last labour. Even though I knew it was okay, I just thought it would help to hear her reassurance so that I could put that one aside and continue to concentrate on my labour.

Even through the haze of that part of the labour, I was waiting for the change into second stage. Having been a doula to a number of women over the last couple of years, there was a part of me being the doula watching and listening for the change of transition and pushing. I expected to feel it but the funniest thing was that I heard it. I heard my voice change just as I had for the women I had supported as doula.

I called out to Margie that it was changing. I think it was about 10.50pm at this point and I still hadn’t asked anyone to call Gill (not wanting her to have to come too early and hang around for a long time!!). Fortunately the support team had taken things into their own hands and had called her earlier. In the event, Gill only got there 10 minutes before Kian’s birth because the second stage was so much quicker this time.

The urge to push started soon after I noticed the change. The contractions were much more intense during the second stage for this labour. During the labour for Hannah’s birth second stage hadn’t been very painful but it was a lot of work. The pushing was hard work and, like a lot of first labours, getting her out was slow and each push felt like nothing was happening. I was also uncertain, exhausted and at times fearful.

For Kian’s birth, the pain was more but I felt confident and knew what to do. I just used each powerful contraction to do the work. It was fabulous! I felt incredibly powerful: standing in my shower, doing the work by myself, pushing my baby out. I loved it. I thought I’d feel his head what each push did and felt his head between a few contractions. I was excited to feel the difference after each contraction.

I started asking for Hannah because it was obvious that my baby was going to be born very soon and we’d decided that Hannah would be there to see the baby come out.

By this time Gill had arrived and had time for one listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Of course, this was the first time that I had any concern that anything might not be right. The act of monitoring was the one that had me think ‘Is everything OK?’. How telling.

And then a contraction and push and the delicious feeling of his head ballooning down my vagina – so different from last time (if I may just say that one more time!). It felt like his head went down and straight out with no waiting at the crowning point. I felt the burning sensation but hardly remember it now because I had no fear or concern.

His head out, I waited for the next contraction, and for Hannah to be there. She came into the bathroom (quite crowded now!) and I had the last contraction and out came my son, caught by Gill. Gill helped me to turn and sit on the ball and passed him between my legs. I held him to me and discovered that he was a boy. The water had been turned off and as I held him I felt another contraction coming. Gill put a bucket in the shower, I stood and neatly deposited the placenta, slop into the bucket!
They all helped me out of the shower onto the floor and Hannah cut Kian’s cord.

I was helped to bed and after a while (no hurry!) Kian had his first feed.

My mother arrived a short while later bearing food and we all ate and drank. I exclaimed many times how great the birth was and how different from Hannah’s!

I wish that all women could experience the incredible feeling of giving birth confidently and powerfully with close and knowledgeable support.

Thank you to all my wonderful support team Margie, Alison and Camilla. Thank you to Gill Hall my fabulous midwife on whom I called a lot during pregnancy and postnatally and who I didn’t call soon enough during labour! Thank you to my wonderful family Gary and Hannah. And to my little boy, welcome sweet Kian.