She (your partner/wife/conspicuous other) told you where to find her notes. You already have the midwife's contact number stored on your mobile phone. That number has been set to ‘quick dial’ for the last few months.
Tonight would appear to be the night, well you think so based on all the noise she making, huffing and puffing away like an unfit footballer thinking he can still run up the wing at forty-seven.
Your pool is pumped up, the hosepipe is ready to go; but how come you're the only one panicking.She looks amazing, calm and controlled. But you, on the other hand, are pulling your hair out after failing at the first hurdle. When you blundered a birth hypnosis script probably because you were half asleep. Then you fell down the stairs over that darn cat because you forgot to pop your glasses on, and now she is shouting at you.
Right, what did the midwife say?“Just stop, take a moment, breathe and relax, all will be well… phone the midwife."
You hit that quick dial button with your thumb. even though you never expected to have to do it yourself, but as always the midwife was completely right. Your other half (and today she is most definitely your better half) is far too busy concentrating on the task ahead to be phoning and having a nice chat.
This is your time to shine as a birth partner.
You tell the Midwife, “The contractions are coming every few mins and she isn’t talking to me anymore, please come, come quickly…”
Well done, now back to your partner you go to offer her the support that she has asked for. I have written you 'plans' and the accompanying list of ‘To Do’s’ so you can sit back and tick them off one by one. You have a plan, a list; now you can cope with anything.
Call the Midwife – Call with the following info; name and address of your partner (we love hearing yours too but we are most interested in birthing mums details first); how many weeks pregnant she is; how often the contractions are coming; how long they last; whether her ‘waters’ have gone or not (fluid around baby); and how you feel she is she coping (just a general observation no need to poke her and ask questions). Now go back and tell your partner you have called. Top tip – Midwives are most interested in the regular pattern of contractions when they are two to three (2-3) mins apart and lasting up to one (1) min each but we attend when we feel a woman needs our support or it is requested and depending on the distance we are to travel. CALL if support is needed even if you are concerned it's ‘too early’.
Childcare - If you have other children please arrange childcare if desired, whilst Mummy gets on with the task of birthing the new family member.
Drinks and Snacks - Make yourself a drink and take water/juice to your partner as she will get thirsty. Snacks are also a good idea to keep energy levels high.
Comfort - Make sure that she is in a comfortable position, bring her extra pillows if needed and keep her warm. Make a nest for her.
Maternity Notes - gather these notes ready for the Midwife to look through and make sure the Preferences for Birth are on the top of these notes. These are important as they are the ‘Wishes, Wants and What If’s’ that you will have both discussed earlier in pregnancy.
Birth Pool - If a water birth is planned, please blow up the pool and attach the hose to the taps required for filling. This can be filled now (it takes around an hour) but be aware that it may go cold if she is not ready to get in on the Midwifes’ arrival. Top tips – always do a dry run so you are aware of timings; only blow half way up before adding the liner as it will not fit on a fully inflated pool; put some cold in the bottom first then fill with hot water.
Plastic Sheeting - Make sure you have put the plastic sheeting down that you bought. Remember there will be no monsoon or massacre just a little water and possibly a little blood later.
Towels – Gather the towels ready for mum and baby.
Warmth – Shut all door and windows to prevent draughts and make the room warm.
Relax, your Midwife is on the way; you are prepared; soon you will greet your baby. Go and be with your awesome partner.
For extra Brownie Points, don't forget to read my last blog post alongside this one.
Plan B – She feels that birth isn’t far away… “She wants to push”
Call the Midwife – She may call an ambulance or ask you to do this if the baby is in a big hurry.
Quick Exit – No, not you. The baby is making a quicker exit than you had been led to believe would happen. All those classes you attended, all the books she made you read and no one mentioned this?
What you need - Grab dry towels; close doors and windows; grab her notes.
Door Open - Put the door on the latch so the Midwife/Paramedics can enter without restriction.
Sit – Sit with your partner and remain calm. If your baby is demanding a speedy exit it usually means all is well and the birth will be quick and easy for both mum and baby.
Position – If she can ask her to get into all fours (you know this position), but with her bottom higher in the air to slow birth a little.
Breathe – Remember to both breathe and breathe slowly, S.L.O.W.L.Y
Plan C – "I can see the head."
Don’t Panic! The baby is coming.
Grab a towel.
Gently catch your baby.
Skin to skin - Pass your baby up to Mum’s chest.
Dry baby – A gentle wipe of baby's face and body and then chuck the wet towel and grab a dry one to cover baby.
Did you call The Midwife? - If not, call now…
Congratulate yourselves – Honorary Midwife and Mum
Leave everything else alone (Cord, placenta), cover mum and baby in dry towels and blankets and greet your new baby.
Top Tip – If a baby is arriving before the Midwife or ambulance then they are usually absolutely fine. Just keep the room warm and catch your baby. That’s all we do after all.
Well Done, you did it.
See, I told you it was easy.
Now relax, you have a Plan A for very normal events, Plan B for if you hear the words, "I want to push," or, "I feel it’s close," and a Plan C for when a baby is in a hurry and will not wait for an audience.In essence, babies usually take their time arriving especially when this is a first birth. But sometimes they are a little quicker than expected and want to meet you in a hurry.
Never panic, birth is a normal, natural physiological event that has been happening for millions of years; how do you think you got here?Relax and greet your baby.
Now, you have lists and plans, birth preferences and notes at the ready; you are prepared.
One last thing... Where are those chocolate biscuits? You know the Midwife will want them on her arrival…
(Dark chocolate Digestives and black coffee please, sorry I don't do filter... cheeky wink)