Mama J – ” I can honestly say giving birth to our daughter is the most incredible and powerful experience of my life – I feel in awe of what my body has achieved and proud of the whole experience.”
As promised my birth story is – hopefully some of the lovely mums to be will find it useful… I know I certainly valued hearing the stories at the start of class J
It’s somehow been 4 weeks since our little lady arrived, and I still have to pinch myself sometimes as I sit here typing as she sleeps next to me! I had kept an open mind about labour and went in to it being open about how and where our little one would be born with my priority being just to bring her into the world safely. I was open to any pain relief should I feel I need it when in the situation, and had planned to just go with the flow.
She was born on 19th October (her due date!) weighing 8lb on the midwife led unit at the Heath. My first contraction came around 12.30am at which time I also noticed I had the start of my ‘show’. My contractions were pretty spread out to start with so I stayed in bed drifting in and out of sleep. When the morning arrived, I told my husband that I thought I was having contractions and things may have started…… cue a long debate about whether or not this justified him not going in to work!! We spent the day at home, with contractions coming and going throughout the day – using the Hypnobirthing breathing techniques I had practised to get through each one. As you know, I never really got on with visualisations, but the breathing did prove invaluable to me. We sat and watched a feel good film (Moana!) and gradually my contractions became stronger and closer together, but these were manageable with the hypnobirthing breathing and the help of 2 paracetamol!
At 5pm I rang through to the hospital as my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart by my timings. The midwife on the phone advised me to stay at home a bit longer and to get in the bath (which I had been reluctant to do as at 9 months pregnant I hadn’t being finding the bath the comfiest of places!). However I (initially moodily!) did as was advised and got into the bath and spent the best part of two hours sat in there with contractions coming at an increasing pace – using my husband for support and breathing through them. At 7.15pm we called the hospital again as my contractions were all under 4 minutes apart and lasting about a minute or more each time. We were told to make our way in to see how things were going.
When we arrived the midwife examined me and advised I was 7-8cm dilated – she commented that she was surprised how far gone I was based on my presentation and being so calm on the phone and when we arrived at the unit! During my examination my waters broke and the contractions seemed to quickly intensify! The birthing pool was prepared and soon after I was able to get in and relax in the warmth of the water. I tried gas and air for about 10 minutes, but didn’t enjoy the way it made me feel so didn’t touch it again. I spent a few hours in the pool, before getting out to be examined – this was offered as a choice. I was fully dilated but the midwife felt that I was subconsciously I may be stopping myself from pushing when the urges came (I must admit i never experienced any overwhelming urges to push with the contractions…. I was convinced I was pushing the baby out when actually she was nowhere near haha!)
I opted to stay on the bed to push and the midwife helped with some guided pushing (helping make sure I was pushing down to the right place and encouraging me with each contraction). At 2.10am, our little girl arrived in the world and was swiftly placed on my chest – letting us know that her lungs were working perfectly well with her crying! We had some skin to skin and they did not cut her cord immediately – this wasn’t something we had to ask for, the midwife had asked us if we wanted this when we arrived. Our daughter was completely healthy, and aside from needing stitches for a tear, my body handled the task amazingly. We were back at home by tea time, starting our life as a family of 3.
I can honestly say giving birth to our daughter is the most incredible and powerful experience of my life – I feel in awe of what my body has achieved and proud of the whole experience. I hadn’t planned to give birth with no pain relief, however this was just how it played out. I had imagined having my carefully chosen playlist in the background, and ‘being in the zone’ not making much noise. However, when it came to it, I completely forgot about my music and I had no control over the sounds coming out of me with each contraction – my body just took over. We also hadn’t planned on my husband passing out (twice!! Due to lack of food!) and the alarm having to be pulled to get another midwife to come and see to him whilst I was in peak contractions (makes a funny story now!) I often find myself sitting replaying the whole thing over in my head, wanting to go back and experience it again to check I’m not forgetting any of it!
Something I would recommend to any mums to be, is downloading the ‘freya app’. It’s a surge timer and also prompts you when they become closer together and advises when it’s time to think about ringing the hospital. For us, this was a great way of keeping track of what was going on during our period at home.
Thank you Claire for the fabulous yoga sessions and all your help and support. Hopefully see you soon at baby massage and yoga!