Kolya Nathaniel Segura, born 10.53 am on Friday 2 May.
It was about the most tranquil, peaceful birth we could ever have imagined. My waters broke on Thursday morning, followed with a few intermittent light contractions. On Friday morning I woke up around 4.30 am with more pronounced, regular contractions. An hour later we called Paula (the doula who would assist with the birth) and midwife. Nik started filling up the birth pool (which we’d inflated a few days earlier).
At first, we were watching election results on TV, but quite soon, the labour pains had me needing to shut out everything except a quiet, single-minded focus on getting through each one. It took me straight back to the experience of my long-distance swims: simply taking one breath at a time, keeping everything very immediate. Besides some quiet background music, the room was almost entirely quiet.
The warm water was amazingly soothing as the contractions became more intense. Paula and Nikolai talked me through each contraction – focusing on breathing and visualising the cervix gradually opening and the baby making his way out. The midwives arrived by about 8.40 am – they persuaded me to get out of the pool long enough for a quick internal exam. They didn’t really intervene much more than that though, besides to say that I was 8 cm dilated. I was surprised: after all the birth stories I’d heard, I was still gearing myself up for hours and hours more labouring.
By about 10.30 or so, Kolya’s head started appearing, and he slowly eased himself into the world. He took his time: we spent about ten minutes with him underwater waiting for the last contraction to push his body out. Then I lay in the water with him on my chest, Nikolai splashing warm water over him to keep him warm, my fingers full of the rich waxy vernix from his skin.
Huge gratitude to the Meadowside midwives, my lovely doula Paula and, most of all, my ever-astonishing and marvelous Nikolai. And of course to Kolya for making it out with such grace. L x x