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Home / Birth Stories / Birth Stories
23 Feb 2019

Overcame my Fears

Doesn’t everyone love a birth story (or is that just me!?)...well I enjoy telling mine (so proud!) as much as I love hearing from others so I thought I would share....

Please bear in mind that this life event is coming from someone who was terrified of birth, who had previously told the doctor she couldn’t have children because she was so scared of the labour and who was having a baby only for her husband Russ (because that’s what you do for someone you love, right, and life is about compromising!?). Russ was therefore prepared to do whatever helped me feel better about getting through labour so joined me for a Hypnobirthing course with Anna.

I was asleep on the sofa with the dog because Russ had gone to bed with the cold I had just recovered from, and I decided I didn’t want his germs. I woke with a noise (and jolt - almost a crack from my pelvis - I had suffered with PGP) and felt water on my lady bits. My initial thought was that my pelvic floor really was shot and I had wet myself, but I realised it was my waters releasing - it was 2.45am. I managed to get to the downstairs toilet without any leakage, but when I dropped my knickers to sit on the toilet, the water literally hit the floor! I sat there in disbelief thinking “this is it” - I had finished work 4 hours previously, was looking forward to my 3 weeks of pre baby mat leave full of relaxation, reading books, learning about breast feeding and beauty treatments! I was 37 weeks, and I was confident that our baby must be ready to meet us - consequently I wasn’t fazed by her early arrival.

I decided to “test” how much water was coming out by walking around the house and getting some maternity pads. I knew from Anna my waters could be a tiny trickle, a waterfall or a gush.

As I could be in for the long haul, and my birth plan (which I had written with Anna but which I was yet to discuss with my mid wife because that appointment was the week after) anticipated me being at home for as long as possible, so I curled up back on the sofa with the dog, stroking him, listening to my mp3s and breathing. And when I became aware of my contractions for the first time I began to time them. They felt like bearable period cramps.

Next time I got up to change my maternity pad, Russ must have heard me and called down to me so I told him my waters had broken. I think he felt the same as me - initial disbelief but then got into “action” mode - bringing from downstairs my half packed hospital bag, and packing his. He joked that our baby must be just like its mom - no time for chilling and relaxing but ready to arrive asap!

I didn’t want to go to the hospital until I was in established labour which I understood this to be 4 contractions every 10 minutes. We called the hospital and they said I didn’t need to rush in and that I could take my time.

I decided that if I was bringing our baby home, I needed a clean home, and I love cleaning so I changed the bedding, vacuumed, put washing on, ate some porridge (with melted chocolate as a treat and energy boost!) and wrote a list of jobs to be done at the house (i.e. put up the next to me crib!) and a shopping list - I also love a good list!

The whole time Russ was monitoring the timings of my contractions - I was shouting to him every time I had one so he could record them. They got as close as every 3 minutes (although I didn’t realise how quick this was) but were inconsistent in terms of intensity and frequency whilst I was busy “nesting”.

When I felt the house was in a state ready to bring our baby home to, I lit a scented candle and lay down again on the sofa to listen to my Hypnobirthing Tracks and snuggled the dog (with Russ packing the car, making me a hot water bottle and getting the car warm) - he was keen to get going but I didn’t want to yet, with my contractions at this time consistently every 5 minutes.

The next time I went to the toilet, there was blood in my knickers so I decided it was time to go to the hospital. The truth was the blood worried me a little but I later found out it was the mucus plug so all normal, and next time not something I would worry about.

We left our house at 6am. We dropped the dog off at mom and dad’s, during which time I was having a contraction but I calmly explained to them that I was fine and we “wouldn’t be long” - as each contraction was more than manageable I honestly thought the hospital would send us home. I listened to my Hypnobirthing Tracks whilst in the car and counted my contractions as every 4 minutes.

We arrived at the hospital and they wanted to monitor me and the baby- this was a bit of a pain because I wanted to move around especially during the contractions. Apparently they needed 10 minutes of continuous monitoring which took around 40 minutes then they removed the monitor. Russ was still counting my contractions and I told the midwife that I was starving so she made me toast and jam to keep my energy up and gave me some paracetamol.

The midwife then did an internal check which I wasn’t looking forward to but which was absolutely fine and told me I was at least 5cm and would be having our baby today - I wasn’t being sent home! She left to get the delivery suit ready. She must have been gone for around an hour and during this time Russ was still counting my contractions and they were getting rather intense. They were the same pains as my period pains and I was at this point debating what I was going to do in terms of pain relief. I didn’t think during the contraction I could take much more but it only lasted 40/60 seconds and I felt totally fine between each contraction. I am referring to them as contractions but they really were surges.... you could feel the “build up” in strength, which peaked and then suddenly disappeared, like waves. I was open minded to an epidural - my birth plan had been to not pre-determine pain relief and to do what I could without pain relief but to not put any pressure on myself - whilst knowing my body was made to do this, I had decided, if I needed pain relief, I would ask for it, guilt free, knowing I had tried my best.

The midwife popped her head in to see how I was doing and I told her that I needed to push but she told me not to. I held back but did bear down (again this being the most appropriate word to describe the feeling) to some extent as it felt the right thing to do with every surge.

She finally took me to the delivery suite in a wheel chair. We didn’t yet have our hospital bags so Russ went to the car to get them.

I was shown how to use the gas and air and it took a few contractions to feel the effect and get the hang of it. They hooked me up to a monitor again which I made clear I was frustrated about because it wouldn’t stay on so they put pads on our baby’s head to monitor her heart rate - this was better than the straps around my stomach because I would at least continue to move around. I could see my baby’s heart rate on the monitor which decreased whilst I had contractions. They told me I was 9.5cm dilated and that I could now push (rolling eyes - I knew I needed to push!). I asked what the time was and it was 10am.

I was leaned over the head board of the bed (a position I had seen in the birthing videos) and held onto the rails so I could grab/squeeze whilst I pushed. I was breathing out/down the gas and air making a noise like a raging bull (apparently!). The gas and air made me feel out of it / light headed but was a welcome relief. Russ rubbed a cold flannel on my back which was welcomed. At one point I needed lip balm which was packed in our hospital bag so Russ retrieved this for me.

It was about this point I remember thinking “this isn’t that bad and I can cope with this”! The midwife said she could see the baby’s blonde hair.

They then lay me on my side with pillow in between my legs and put a rail on my feet so I could push down against it during the contractions. This was to give me a rest I think because I had been active so far. They then changed the bed position so that I was on my back and legs in stirrups. I was suddenly having hot flushes so Russ put the flannel on my head but funnily it slapped over the whole of my face and I remember thinking “is no one going to take it off” but obviously they were all looking down below rather than at my face!

They asked when I last emptied my bladder and Russ said before the delivery suite and maybe a few hours ago - but in the meantime, I had drank a whole camelpak of squash - they said they needed the extra room to get the baby out and used a catheter.

I heard the midwife say I was in the “rest and be thankful stage” but in all honestly I wasn’t aware of any rest! I suppose in the moment, it all happens so fast that you don’t have time to take stock and appreciate the rest.

They then told me she was crowning and I really needed to focus my contractions on the push. They told me to lift my head to my knees and hold onto my legs to push the baby out. Russ held the gas and air for me and the midwifes encouraged me to keep pushing right until the end of the contraction - I was ready to give up pushing before the end of the contraction but this encouraged extra longer pushes.

They told me the baby was distressed and I needed some assistance. I was aware that there was another female in the room (doctor) but the midwives encouraged me to keep pushing and that I was nearly there, and they could see the baby and I just needed one last push! I had an episiotomy to help our baby to be born. She was born at 11am and I heard her cry so I knew she was ok. She was put straight on me which was honestly an odd sensation because I was still high on gas and air, hadn’t had time process it (it had all happened so fast), and I couldn’t really see her. The midwife asked Russ to tell me whether it was a boy or girl and he did - a baby girl. The midwifes kept congratulating me and telling me how well I had done - the reward being my perfect Rose and the next chapter of our life began!

I would like to highlight that I wasn’t prepared for after the birth and breastfeeding. I would therefore encourage people to believe in their bodies for labour (where Hypnobirthing can help you overcome any fear) but to also prepare for post birth, and to talk about this, share stories and support one another. It is fantastic to know Anna is now a Mindful Breastfeeding Practitioner, and I only wished I had taken this support pre birth.

To conclude it turns out, I could do labour and I could do it all over again with no fear of the next time. The midwives were wonderful, I have no regrets and it was a positive life experience that I am so proud of myself for how I handled it. Also my little Rose hasn’t compromised my life at all - but instead enriched it, making me feel the luckiest girl in the world!