I feel lucky to have had a positive experience of birth. Many stories you hear whilst pregnant are negative, a positive birth seem rare. This is not helped by programs such as One Born Every Minute, which just show horror stories.
I did pregnancy yoga from 22 weeks, continued running until 27weeks and at the gym I did 30mins twice a week on the reclined bike up until the birth. My husband and I did antenatal classes with Becoming Families and the online hypnobirthing modules with the Positive Birth Company. The word hypnobirthing is a bad name as it makes it sound something airy-fairy but it is more about fully understanding what your body is going to go through and how to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind so that your body does what it needs to do.
We learnt so much information from both the classes and the online course, which made us both understand the process and what should happen. It makes complete sense that if you worry and adrenaline starts flowing, the oxytocin isnt going to flow. It also gave us the ability to question the midwifes and ask what our options are. I wrote a birth plan and feel lucky that 90% of it went to plan.
I woke at about 4.30am, went for a wee, on returning to bed I felt something a bit warm. So I went back to the bathroom, I didn’t want to make a mess on our new carpet so lucky it wasn’t like the films. I didn’t see the point of waking Elliot as thought it would take hours so just put a maternity pad on and lay on a towel in bed. An hour later, I was in the bathroom again and Elliot had woken and asked where was I. On returning to the bedroom, I said "I’m sure my waters have gone", he was shocked, said "oh its happening, must have been the curry I cooked you last night".
We decided to watch the early stages of labour module on the hypnobirthing course again as a recap. I was getting a few aches but it wasn't too bad or intense. By 7.30am, I was getting a little achier so decided to get in the bath. Elliot brought me a cup of tea and a bagel with peanut butter. I was monitoring the surges (contractions) on my phone app but they seemed to increase quickly. After a while, my husband took over and monitored them as I thought I might drop the phone in the bath. I breathed through them with a quick breath in and a long breath out. Elliot called and spoke to the Meadow suite (midwife lead unit) at Worcester Royal Hospital and they wanted to speak to me, I spoke to them on speaker and I think because I could speak they didn’t think I needed to go in.
We decided we needed to go into hospital just after 9am, I was getting four contractions within 10mins over a minute long each. The app on the phone was saying ‘go to hospital’. I’m sure the midwives didn’t want us to go in as they said come to get checked if you feel you need to but don’t think you will be far enough along and you will just have to go home. My mum took us in so we didn’t need to worry about parking.
On arrival at the birth centre they didn't think I was in active labour as I was too calm. I had a surge in the corridor and I just stopped and breathed through it. I wasn’t making a noise. We went to a room to get checked and I was asked to wee in a pot so they could check my waters have broken. I said I know they have but still gave a sample. I then lent over a birth ball to breathe through a few surges, they felt stronger and more painful out of the water. The midwife came back from checking my urine and said she can't check me but because my waters have broken she could only check me every 4 hours. She suggested she gave me codeine (pain relief) and we wander around the hospital to get things going. I said I wanted her to check me as I thought it was moving forward quickly. This was probably the most uncomfortable part, but on checking she said I was paper thin, I said what does that mean, she then said you're 8cm dilated and we need to get you a delivery room.
The Meadow suite was then full but one room had a lady who had already given birth so they moved her out and cleaned the room for me. At about 10.30am I walked around into Poppy suite, this was the red room and the bath was ran. The atmosphere in these rooms are lovely as they are large and have some colour, they are just a lot more homely. I was asked if I minded a trainee paramedic join us, I didn’t mind having her in the room as everyone has to learn. My mum was also still there with us. On getting into the bath it virtually straight away eased my backache. Elliot talked me through the breathing and helped to keep me calm. I used down breathing (short breath in and long breath out pushing it down through my body) between surges to slowly push my baby downwards.
When the natural surges came, I let me body do the pushing and when I felt I could I helped to push down further. Think this helped to gently nudge him (I didn’t know what sex I was having at the time) downwards. Through the birth I had a couple of harbio sweets and dextrose tablets to keep me going, I thought I would use gas and air but it would have got in the way of the breathing and so just used the downwards breathing. I changed positions from on my knees facing Elliot to sitting on my bottom with my legs stretched out.
Sometimes the midwife had to get me to turnover so she could check the babies heartrate but other than that she left me to it as could see the breathing that I was doing was working. She seemed shocked at how calm and quiet I was, I even made a few jokes like has the baby got more hair than daddy. There were a few surges, which were quite stingy but guess this is just because the babies head was nearly out. Once the head came out the next surge got the shoulders and he swam away, till the midwife turned him and he swam towards us. I picked him up onto my chest at 1.51pm.
Both my husband and I shed a tear or two and we introduced Archie to his Granny.
I’m really glad I didn’t have pain relief and that I could feel what my body was doing and work with it. It was a very positive experience, he was 7lb 14oz. Only issue was my placenta wouldn't deliver after 45mins I had the injection and then after another 45mins it wasn’t coming. A couple of midwives tried to pull it but it was stuck and painful when they pulled it so I ended up in theatre to have that removed. It was strange being wheeled away from Elliot and Archie but I knew it needed to come out. It was lovely once I was reunited with them both again, even if I was shaking from the drugs coming out of my body. As I couldn’t feel my legs for the next few hours it made me think about what ladies who have had an epidural could feel. I don’t think you would feel what your body is doing and needs. I think it is a combination between my fitness, yoga and listening to my body that made it, overall, a very positive and enjoyable experience, how many mums put enjoyable linked with childbirth? Throughout the birth I thought of the following positive affirmation. "The surges are not stronger than me, they are me."
I have also said that London Marathon in April 2018 was harder than childbirth!