Our Birth Story

Saturday, 7 June 2014 9 comments

Almost as boring as people retelling their dreams in excruciating detail – I’ll try and keep this birth story short and sweet, which is fairly fitting, because that’s exactly how it went. 

*ok – I failed at short and sweet – it’s long and sweet, but who cares, I’m so epically proud of my birth I’m going to share every last detail – brace yourselves if you’re of weak stomach – things are going to get graphic!*

May was my due month (I hold little stock in a ‘due date’ as such). My husband Ben and I had planned for a natural homebirth, and I’d gone hardcore researching everything to do with birth (I love research – you know this). You wouldn’t believe the things I found out along the way, all I can say is – if you’re planning on giving birth in any way – from planned c-section to unassisted water birth, do some research on your options and consents, it’ll be a real eye opener. We’d also been lucky enough to go on a hypnobirthing course; The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme, taught to us by the lovely Allison Tate at Back to Birth. When the time came we felt confident, prepared and ready for action.

So, are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin. 

On a Tuesday evening when I was 38 weeks pregnant I took my usual relaxing bath whilst Ben put the boys to bed. At 7pm the boys were tucked up in their beds and I hopped out the bath and went to sit on my bed and finish off my book whilst Ben got our tea on (you will notice a theme here – Ben is AWESOME). All of a sudden I felt what can only be described as a “Pop Pop” in my insides, and a warm gush between my legs – a classic TV birthing moment! With both my previous pregnancies my waters only broke well into labour, and in fact with Oscar the midwife broke them as he was about to emerge so this was a new one on me. Lucky for me I had an incapad ready on the bed in case of such an eventuality and that managed to catch most of the fluid. I shouted down to Ben and he came up and with much excitement about the pending arrival of our baby girl we got started on making our bedroom a birthing haven.

Thanks to Bens ultra preparedness in no time at all we had the pool getting filled, candles lit and positive affirmation mp3 on repeat! I had a shower whilst the majority of my waters were still escaping and everything was running like clockwork!

Contractions (or surges as we call them) started as soon as my waters broke, and it turned out the Braxton hicks I’d been struggling with that evening and in fact on and off in the previous few days were actually surges – I’d just been a bit oblivious to them, expecting my labour to be similar to the previous times – short and sharp straight from the off. I breathed through them and in no time at all they were regular and strong, I was starting to really enjoy myself.

As Ben and I had been on the Wise Hippo Birthing and were confident in my ability to birth my baby we were totally calm and relaxed and I gradually entered a hypnotic trance like state, particularly during each surge. Ok, Ok, I can hear you all snorting and see your eyes rolling now, I bet you’re thinking “ha what a bloody hippy – let’s see how effective her breathing is when things really hot up”... well read on my little sceptics...

Surges were coming every 10 minutesish, lasting 35-40 seconds, nothing major, I could easily manage them just by breathing through and using the techniques I’d learned on the Wise Hippo course. I called the labour ward to give them a heads up at about 8pm, telling them not to rush, wasn’t really feeling any pain or anything, felt quite slow going, imagined it would be ages yet. Ben was dashing about sorting stuff out, whilst supporting me through the surges, I couldn’t stop laughing when he mis-heard me suggesting a name for the baby – and heard “A-Level” ... safe to say we didn’t call the baby A-Level.

At about 9ish my midwife turned up and I was pleased to see the familiar face of Denise my community midwife at the door. She came in and had a nosey at the room, the pool was filled by this point and we had the lights dimmed and candles lit, with the Wise Hippo positive birth affirmations playing softly in the background. She did my blood pressure, checked babies heartbeat and then went downstairs to help herself to a cuppa tea and a sit down. 

I got in the pool, and it was amazing, but things noticeably slowed, and I preferred walking, so I got back out and resumed my pacing and breathing, and started to enjoy myself even more (before this I had said to Ben “Jeez this is so boring, how long till baby’s here?!”). There still wasn’t much ‘pain’ as such and each surge seemed to be nothing more than ‘an interesting sensation that required all of my attention’ (if you’ve read any of Ina May Gaskins books you’ll be familer with this phrase and it really rang true for me in labour). Things didn’t seem to be getting any ‘worse’ as I remembered from my previous births, so I anticipated this one would be much slower and that I was probably still many hours away from birth. At about 11pm things had started to get a little more intense and the second midwife Mo arrived, fresh off the labour ward. Mo delivered my second baby in the hospital so was another familiar face, she popped her head round the door and said a quick hello and then disappeared off downstairs with Denise.

Shortly after I thought things were established enough for me to get back in the pool, I was still breathing through the surges and coping well, I hadn’t even considered any pain relief as quite simply I wasn’t feeling any pain. After a bit of fun splishing around in the pool, I knelt at the edge hanging over the side to chat to Ben between surges, and found this upright and forward position very comfortable. It didn’t take long like this before I began to feel a familiar feeling, an archaic feeling, and I heard myself utter those time worn words “I don’t think I can do it...I’ve changed my mind...I’m not sure I want to carry on”. It was a light bulb moment as I knew this was ‘transition’, and that things were in fact progressing very well and soon I should feel the urge to push and then baby would be here! Ben talked me through this tricky stage, holding my hand and reminding me of my counting and leading me in the techniques I’d learned on the Wise Hippo course. Sure enough, just a few minutes later my body decided it was time for us to meet our baby, and I relaxed and let my body move the baby down. 

Now, at this point according to the Wise Hippo thingy you are supposed to ‘hum the baby down’, unfortunately, my body had other ideas and it decided to do some proper work to get baby down and out sooner rather than later. I was still calm, confident and happy though, but there was definitely more guttural groaning than humming going on, it felt instinctive though, and seemed to work out okay because it only took about three more big surges with my body bearing down and I felt the head crowning. No ‘ring of fire’ this time, I think thanks to the pool, but I was sufficiently calm to steady myself and think ‘woah slow down now’ to let the head slowly emerge. Then there was that endless pause while she slowly rotated her shoulders before...woooosh...at 12.12am she slipped out into my waiting hands, I scooped her up and slowly bought her up to the surface, unwrapping the cord that was around her neck on the way.

She was lovely and pink and started breathing straight away, and as I lifted her up to my chest she opened her eyes and looked right into mine and my heart melted. She was quiet, relaxed and calm, and just so serene, she didn’t seem to realise she’d even been born! Then I ruined the moment by accidently dunking her face first back in the water which caused her a bit of consternation, but she never complained and within minutes was rooting around for some milk. The midwives who had snuck in near the end unbeknownst to me congratulated us and trooped off back downstairs to give us some alone time with our new baby girl, Daddy showered us with kisses and we enjoyed a very peaceful and loving time with me and our baby in the pool together cuddling and kissing and feeding whilst daddy hugged and praised us for our efforts! It was truly a time I will never forget.

Eventually the midwives re-appeared and I cut the now empty non-pulsing cord myself. Funnily enough the midwives were loath to open the sterile birth pack just to get the scissors out to cut the cord, so Ben quickly dashed downstairs and got some from the kitchen! I jumped out the pool, which was rapidly starting to look like a scene from jaws – In fact at one point I said to the midwives “ummm it’s getting awful red in here, I’m not dying or anything am I?!” to which they replied “do you feel like you’re dying?!”...fair point, well made. I got into bed, where I delivered the placenta and was found to have no tears. The midwives then cleaned up the worst of the mess, Ben emptied the pool and got the washing machine started with the towels, I threw up in a bowl (turns out I just throw up after giving birth – nothing to do with the gas and air!) and by 2am the midwives were away. Job done.

I have to say that the whole thing was amazing. I’m not often one to blow my own trumpet but in this case I can’t help myself because I feel like I’ve suddenly been let into a secret society, and I want other women to join me! Birth doesn’t have to hurt! It’s not scary?! It’s Amazing!! It was fun! It was empowering! It was easy! I did it myself, I didn’t get a single examination, intervention nor any pain relief. My fabulous midwives did exactly what I wanted, sat and observed at the end but took no part in my labour, my body did it itself, I knew exactly what to do! 

Baby Ayla has been the most relaxed and content baby since her birth, I’ve barely heard her cry, she sleeps calmly in her moses basket between night feeds and plays happily on her playmat. I don’t know if this is because she’s a girl, because she’s a third child, or because of her gentle entry into the world – or perhaps she’s just a wee gem.

Every woman given the right circumstances and an absence of complications knows what to do when it comes to giving birth – you’ve just been conditioned not to trust yourself. If you are able to then take back your birthing mojo ladies, you don’t know what you’re missing! Do it! Do it NOW!

9 comments:

  • Fiona @ Mamas Little Baby Loves... said...

    YES!! I wasn't expecting that...I think because all through the pregnancy I still wasn't 100% convinced all the hypno stuff wasn't in fact 'mumbo jumbo', but now I know it works I really want to do it again!!! It was such a high - so empowering! Woooohooooo

  • Karen Monkeyfooted Mummy said...

    I love this post and still remember seeing that picture of you ben and ayla PPP into my news feed happy birthday beautiful girl and well done again beautiful mama. Now when is the number 4 announcement

  • AK Templer said...

    I think i somehow missed reading this last year what a great story! but no surprise there your one amazing mummy! happy 1st birthday for tomorrow lovely Ayla may it be filled with cake and presents cuddles and kisses and pure joy!! xxx

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