Baby E was born on 24th August 2016 weighing 8lbs 6oz. She was 8 days overdue. My son was born a week early so I was really not anticipating having to wait over a week past my due date to meet Baby E. The more days that passed the more I convinced myself that I wasn't going to go into labour naturally. I started getting really depressed as I had absolutely no signs of labour other than a few niggly period pains. I was also getting excruciating leg cramps that were making me feel thoroughly miserable. Anyway, at 40+6 my mw gave me a sweep but that seemed to lead nowhere. Two days later I was genuinely surprised and excited to get a show. Then nothing happened for 24 hrs and I started feeling really low again. On 40+8 I was lying down when I felt a really strong 'pop' low down. I'd heard of waters 'popping' but when I stood up there was no leakage so I put it to the back of my mind. I then went out to walk the dog. I felt a strong period pain (actually my first contraction) and noticed a tiny gush of fluid. By the time I'd walked 20 mins back to my house my underwear was soaked and I'd had two contractions. However I was still in complete denial. Only my sister and mum convinced me this was the start of labour. I rang the hospital and was told to go straight in (I was group B strep positive so had to get antibiotics). At this point my husband went into a mad panic thinking I was going to deliver there and then. The whole journey I had to tell him to calm down asmy contractions were only 5 minutes apart (I'd literally gone from none at all to every five mins in the space of half an hour). Eventually arrived at the hospital (ususally 15 mins away, but got stuck in heavy traffic). By this point my waters had completely broken and I was absolutely soaked. I was told to go to the assessment unit. I had a quick examination by a student midwife who questioned whether the baby was actually engaged! (Actually her head was just so low that she couldn't feel it. I then had to sit in the waiting room until 8.00 p.m. as the delivery suites were full! The contractions were getting stronger, now 2-3 mins apart and I couldn't believe I was just sitting in a waiting room! I started using a tens machine id brought with me and my husband was brilliant talking me through each contraction and making me focus on positive images as we'd pre-agreed. I really owe a lot to him throughout the entire process. A mw eventually came to take me to the delivery room. At this point I asked if a water birth was possible and was told yes, as they would use a water proof dressing for the antibiotics (for group B strep). I was so relieved at this, thinking that they wouldn't let me, that I started crying. They got me on the bed to give the antibiotics (which went in really quickly and I hardly noticed despite having a dread of needles and drips). The contractions by the point were on the verge of unbearable, but I kept positive and calm using the visualisation techniques and my husband talking me through each one. All the time they were filling up the birthing pool and the sound of the water plus a CD we were playing were both helping me relax. I then started feeling the urge to push and the mw said, well we'd better get you in the pool then before it's too late! My husband and the mw helped me into the pool and the feel of the warm water was AMAZING! I was also using gas and air at this point and felt in control of the pain. It was really after that that my body took over. The mw dimmed the lights and told me just to do what I needed to do and that she was just going to remain on stand by. I felt the urge to push and suddenly my body just naturally seemed to know what to do. I didn't even feel the 'ring of fire', it just felt amazingly natural. I looked down and saw the baby's head floating between my legs. I couldn't believe it! Then my body took over again and the next moment the mw had caught the baby and placed her in my arms. It felt like the best, most wonderful experience ever. We didn't know what we were having but had both secretly hoped for a girl as we already have a son. And there was a beautiful baby girl in my arms. The mw took some pictures of us holding her still in the pool and I know I will treasure them forever. So that's the story of baby E's birth. 5 and a half hours in total from start to finish. There were moments of extreme pain as well as extreme elation. Luckily I didn't tear and was allowed home the next morning to a lovely party which my family surprised me with. Hope you enjoyed reading.