Mama B says – “Giving birth to our daughter was one of the best, most empowering experiences of my life. I can truly say that I enjoyed the whole experience, knowing that the previous 9 months (and miscarriage before) had all been in preparation for this moment. I really did love giving birth!”
Hope you are well in this very strange time!
I have finally got round to writing my birth story, it is quite long as I wrote it for my own benefit to remember the experience…but I’m sure everyone has lots of time at the moment to read a longer story!
Thank you so much for everything you taught me during the pregnancy yoga classes, and I appreciate more than ever now that I was able to attend these as I found them invaluable.
Our baby girl is nearly 14 weeks now, which has flown by, even with lockdown!
First baby but second pregnancy. We decided quite early on in the pregnancy that we wanted to plan a home birth…..
My EDD was the 12th February, which came and went, with no over-riding feeling that anything was imminent. We had had early scans privately from 8 weeks pregnant and the first EDD I was given was Valentines Day 14th February, so I always had a feeling that this was more likely to be my due date.
I woke up on Valentines Day around 3.30am with period like cramps. I had been getting these on and off in the morning for the last two weeks but they felt different that morning and I knew the baby was on its way. I went back to bed after having been to the toilet, with no other signs of labour. At around 6.30am I got up to go to the toilet again, and this time I had lost my mucus plug and had a heavy show. I got back into bed and told my partner that the baby was coming today. He acknowledged that I’d woken him up and turned over and went back to sleep!
When we got up that morning, I was having cramps but no consistent contractions. We went for a walk that morning around Roath Park to try and get things moving a bit more. By around 1pm I had started to get fairly regular contractions which I began to track on an app. Having been wondering throughout my maternity leave what a contraction would feel like, as soon as they started, I knew that they were the real deal and my body was gearing up for labour. I had several baths that day to try and help with the contractions, which they definitely did. We put a fire on and lit candles to try and make the living room feel as cosy as possible. As we had planned a home birth, I phoned the MLU mid-afternoon on the Friday to let them know that I was in labour so that they would aware that we would need the midwives on call at some point. My partner made sure that I was eating and drinking plenty all afternoon and into the evening. We decided to try and watch a comedy film (School of Rock) early evening to help with the oxytocin and act as a distraction. So far I hadn’t taken any pain relief and started to use the tens machine along with the exercise ball to make myself a little more comfortable. The ball definitely helped and the tens machine acted more as a distraction than anything else. I was only using it on setting 3 and it went up to 50! I didn’t overly like using it at a higher level as I felt as if I couldn’t feel the baby’s movements whilst I was contracting when using it. I phoned the MLU when I was needlessly worrying about this! As it started to get into the night, I knew that I was still a way off and would need to try and sleep. We went to bed around midnight as we were both exhausted. I was worried that if I slept then I wouldn’t know how close together the contractions were as they were still really irregular but fairly close together. The midwife I spoke to was lovely and told me not to worry about tracking them as when the time was right for the midwives to come out then I would know!
After a few hours of attempting to sleep and failing miserably, I woke my partner up and just said to him ‘I want to go in the pool now!’ (which we had pumped up in the afternoon ready) I phoned the MLU and just said ‘I want the midwife now please!’ As I could barely respond in between contractions, I think she also knew the time was right!
At around 3-3.30am there was a knock on the door and it was our midwife Sophie! We were so happy to see her. She had been the midwife who had come with our community midwife Eliza to our house to do our home birth booking appointment. We knew that she was on call on Valentine’s Day but as it was early hours of the next day we thought we had missed her. Luckily she was on shift until 8am on the Saturday. It was so reassuring to see a familiar face. She examined me upstairs on the bed, by which point I was 4-5cm dilated so was in established labour. I was so pleased that I was that far already! She called for the second midwife Lauren and brought all her kit into the house. And I could finally get in the pool! Which was a massive relief. I felt so much better for being in the pool and it was the best thing throughout the whole of established labour! My partner helped me through my breathing whilst chatting with Sophie & Lauren and making sure everyone was fed and watered regularly. Popping jelly beans into my mouth even when I said I didn’t want them! We had lots of candles, low lighting and our Baby D playlist on, which were really helping me feel safe and relaxed whilst I was using all of the hypnobirthing breathing techniques I had practiced.
I carried on without any pain relief, other than the pool right up until around 8am. I wanted Sophie to examine me before she left even though it wasn’t quite the 4 hours since the last one. By this point I was almost 9cm. Thankfully! I don’t think it was too long after that when I started to use the gas & air mouth piece to bite on through contractions. I had been resisting using any pain relief until then, just focusing on my breathing and letting my body do what I knew it was capable of. I had to tell myself it was ok to have pain relief and that I wouldn’t be letting myself down by using it. It was around that time then that I thought, I don’t think I can go through the rest of this now without the gas & air.
I had to keep getting out of the pool every time the temperature of the water dipped too low and it needed topping up with more hot water. At this point I would go upstairs to use the toilet, the motion of climbing the stairs was unbelievably uncomfortable but also helping the baby to move lower down. The midwives had been monitoring the baby’s heartbeat throughout, which stayed completely consistent throughout the whole of labour!
The midwives changed shift around 8.30am and we then had Sally and Beca looking after us. Sophie and Lauren had been amazing and I was sad to see them leave, but Sally & Beca were equally amazing. We were incredibly well looked after throughout the whole of labour. From then on it was all a bit of a blur and my memory of everything was that it all happened a lot quicker than the reality of it. I think the checking of the baby’s heartbeat every 15 minutes made time go really quickly. My waters broke around 10am, which I felt with a big pop, although as I was under the water, no one else had heard them. Luckily they were clear so everything was all ok with baby, who was still being good as gold with their heartbeat. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat constantly was so reassuring and I relaxed so much because of this. My partner was amazing throughout, constantly making sure I was concentrating on my breathing. There was only one point at which I said to him that I couldn’t do this anymore, and I knew that I was in transition then.
I’m not really sure what the time was when I last had to get out of the pool for the hot water to be topped up but we went upstairs and it was absolutely agony. I was holding on to my partner on the landing and could feel the baby’s head unbelievably low and I just said ‘I need to get back in the pool now!’. As soon as I got back in the pool I could feel the baby’s head there and felt down and could feel the hair. Beca couldn’t quite see with a mirror but I knew it was there. It must have been with the next couple of contractions that she was then able to see the head. I had been telling myself not to push too hard with the contractions as I knew I needed to go slowly to avoid tearing badly. Both I and my partner knew that I was holding myself back, and as soon as I acknowledged this and told myself I needed to push, I let myself control the pushing with each contraction. I think being in the water definitely helped with the burning sensation, which wasn’t quite as bad as I had built myself up to expect.
After I had said that I could feel the head there and felt the hair, with the next contraction I had pushed the head out and the following contraction the baby was fully out! The second stage of labour was recorded as 3 minutes!
Beca passed the baby back through my legs to me and by the time baby was placed on my chest they were in a towel, extremely slippery from the water. I remember feeling like I was going to drop them back under the water! I cuddled baby into me as I was crying and looking at my partner saying ‘we’ve got a baby.!’ I’m pretty sure I remember seeing him cry as well! It wasn’t for a few minutes that we both looked together to see whether we had a boy or a girl…once I’d managed to lift the chord out of the way, we could see that we had a baby girl!
I stayed in the water until the chord had finished pulsing and all of the blood had gone into baby. It took almost half an hour to stop pulsing and then my partner cut the chord and we finally got out of the pool and moved to the sofa…which had crudely been protected with under floor insulating sheeting that my partner had grabbed out of the shed! Did the job though! I really wanted to try and deliver the placenta naturally but it had got to about 50 minutes and I still hadn’t delivered it that I gave in and had the injection. Minutes later I delivered the placenta, which was followed by a huge blood clot. It was so huge and felt like delivering a second baby…which is as I had expected but I think with the clot it was particularly big.
I had a graze and second degree tear which Beca stitched up on the sofa whilst my partner held our baby girl as I needed gas and air throughout this and knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on holding the baby. I was also keen for him to have some skin to skin contact early on! Once I was all stitched up and all the paper work done and baby weighed, the midwives left us to it around 2pm. Once they had left it felt so surreal to be left by ourselves with a baby just a few hours after having given birth. Which I imagine is very different if you have given birth in hospital.
Neither of us could believe that we had a little girl, as we had both thought throughout that we were having a boy. Although I had started to feel towards the end of my pregnancy that it was a girl. Our baby girl was born at 12.05pm on the 15th February 2020 weighing 7lb 8oz and was absolutely perfect.
Giving birth to our daughter was one of the best, most empowering experiences of my life. I can truly say that I enjoyed the whole experience, knowing that the previous 9 months (and miscarriage before) had all been in preparation for this moment. I really did love giving birth!
Thanks so much again Claire!