Katie Blacklock, 33, lives in Ashington, West Sussex, with husband Mark and children Amelia, six, Sophie, four, and Henry, 11 weeks. She tells M&B how her baby arrived during a break away with the family.
Mark and I wanted to do something relaxing with the girls before the baby came, so we booked a holiday at Center Parcs. Although I was 37 weeks pregnant, I felt fine and, besides, the resort was just a two-hour drive from home. I packed my hospital bag but didn’t think I’d need it. Looking back, I was naïve!
I packed my hospital bag but didn’t think I’d need it. Looking back, I was naïve!
On the first evening of our break, I began to feel strong tightenings in my bump every 20 minutes. Putting them down to practice contractions, I decided to go to bed. But at 10pm, as I lay down, I felt a huge gush. In the loo, my mucous plug came away and I realised that labour had started.
Mark and I went into practical mode. I called my local hospital and they told me to monitor things overnight and visit in the morning. By now the contractions were ramping up and I felt I wasn’t going to last. Mark called his parents and asked them to drive over to look after the girls. We alerted the complex’s reception too, who sent a security guard to our villa. Luckily, he was an ex-paramedic.
I paced the bedroom, deep breathing through each contraction and listening to the advice of the security guard. ‘You’re doing well,’ he said, ‘but we need an ambulance.’
Mark’s parents and the ambulance turned up together at 1.30am. The paramedics took me to a local midwife-led birthing centre. Having had two normal births, I was OK with that, but nervous at the thought of being without access to an epidural or doctors. I needn’t have worried: the birthing centre was comfortable and the midwives amazing. It felt like my own private hospital!
The buoyancy of the water helped to ease the pressure in my bump
I was examined but, to my disappointment, I was only 3cm dilated. I puffed on gas and air, and spent the next few hours standing up and rocking through the pain, trying to rest between contractions. At 4.30am I was 5cm dilated. The midwives started filling the birthing pool. As I lowered myself in, the water soothed me. Before long, the pain intensified again. ‘Try floating on your back,’ the midwife suggested. Changing positions felt great, and the buoyancy of the water helped to ease the pressure in my bump.
Just before 6am, I felt an overwhelming, low-down pressure and I started bearing down. Knowing the birth was imminent was so exciting. Suddenly, an enormous pressure overtook me. The head emerged, then the body followed in the next huge contraction. My baby boy, Henry, was placed straight onto my chest, and I felt a mixture of relief, excitement and joy. It had all
turned out perfectly.
We were discharged at midday. The girls were thrilled to see their new brother and we carried on with our break as planned. Instead of being a problem, having my baby while I was on holiday turned out to be fairly stess-free – and definitely uplifting.
Three things I’d tell my friends
- Always keep your hospital bag with you, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.
- If you go into labour when away from home, try to stay calm. There’s no point panicking!
- If you can, choose a midwife-led unit for your birth. The one-to-one support I received was amazing and it was the calmest birth experience I’ve ever had.