Birth Story - Paige and baby Ivy Rose

April 23rd. My due date. A date that I had made a conscious effort not to focus on, but let’s be honest, it’s impossible to hide from it. Even telling myself that due dates mean nothing and baby will come when baby is ready, as more time ticked on after my DD had been and gone, the more anxious and fed up I became. Not because I was sick of being pregnant, I just had my heart set on a water birth at home and I knew that the more “overdue” I became, the less likely I would be to have my dream birth. With this being my second pregnancy and experiencing a rather traumatic time with the birth of my first baby, Noah, it was so important to me to do everything that I could to make this time around a more positive experience and most importantly, to educate myself so that I had the tools to make my dream become a reality. That’s where Siobhan Miller’s (@thepositivebirthmama) hypnobirthing course came in, and after downloading her amazing digital pack and completing it with Ben, we both felt confident and equipped with the knowledge we needed to make informed decisions about the birth of our new baby. I honestly can’t put into words how much it changed things for us completely and I would highly recommend hypnobirthing & Siobhan’s courses to any expectant mums/parents! It’s the best thing we ever did without a doubt.

By the time I got to 41 weeks pregnant, I was offered induction for the Saturday of that week (where I would have been 41 + 5) at my routine midwife appointment, which I decided to decline. After using my B.R.A.I.N (one of Siobhan’s acronyms, if you know you know!) I decided that I would prefer to wait an extra couple of days and get to a full 42 weeks before induction to give my body the best chance of going into labour naturally. I did agree to see a midwife on that Saturday, however, so that she could give me a sweep and that in itself was an experience to say the least! (She did warn me before hand that she was really going to go for it!) and she told me afterwards that my cervix was quite hard to reach and still quite long, so I didn’t hold out much hope for any success but to my surprise, later that evening and then throughout Sunday I was experiencing irregular surges varying in intensity, I even had to get my TENS machine out at one point! Yet still, Monday morning (at a full 42 weeks) arrived with no sign of baby, so it was time to make the phone call to the hospital to arrange a time for me to go in for induction.

After my mum got to our house to look after Noah, we arrived on the maternity unit at the hospital that morning at 11am and by lunchtime I had been monitored, examined and given a pessary in the hope of getting things moving. The midwife told us that I would need to be monitored again at 6pm that evening and encouraged Ben and I to go out for a walk and enjoy the sunshine in the meantime, so we did exactly that. By the time 6pm arrived I was having irregular surges again which continued to grow in intensity until we got to around midnight at which point they were around 4 minutes apart and very intense. I had been managing just by using my up breathing, my TENS machine and watching a funny film on Netflix to keep myself occupied, meanwhile Ben was keeping track of every surge with the help of our pregnancy app. A midwife examined me again and to my delight I was 3 almost 4 cm dilated and she offered to take us up to delivery suite to have my waters broken in the hope to speed things along, to which I accepted.

I was absolutely elated to arrive at delivery suite to find that the midwife who took care of me throughout my first pregnancy was on duty and she recognised Ben and I straight away. She took us into a room and we had a chat and I told her of my dream to have a water birth, to which she told me the birth pool room was available and that it would be good for me and would set a positive tone if she were to take us straight in and get us settled in there instead. I have never been so grateful to anyone for anything, and I can safely say that just being in the same room as the pool and having such a wonderful midwife with us made me completely relaxed and at ease and like my dream water birth really was still within reach.

Ben set the scene for us by dimming the lighting, spraying our liquid yoga room spray and playing my favourite Spa music. My midwife broke my waters at 1.40am and as soon as I stood up afterwards I knew things had changed. Ben asked me if i thought it would be a good time to let our birth photographer know to come in and I said yes, definitely! My surges were coming thicker and faster than ever, now every 1-2 minutes and the intensity was at a definite peak. I asked for some gas and air but quickly decided it wasn’t helping and only making me feel less in control. I told my midwife that she needed to start running the pool as I felt things were happening quickly and by the time I was able to get in I had already felt that something had changed and I had reached the down stage. I told her that I felt like I needed to push but thought I might hurt myself as it was only a very short time ago she told me I was 3-4cm dilated, but she reassured me that some women dilate very quickly and to trust my body and go with it. I found the transition quite overwhelming but I’m proud to say it’s the only time throughout my entire labour that I had a little wobble for a few minutes, but Ben soon got me back down in the green zone with some words of encouragement and some positive affirmations.

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Ben took himself off to get changed into his swim shorts so that he could join me in the pool, but while he was mid change my midwife shouted to him that he might want to just jump in in his boxers because things were happening very quickly! By this point our lovely birth photographer had arrived and after asking me how I was doing, I shouted THE BABY IS COMING!! THE BABY IS COMING!! along with some animal like sounds that I had no idea I was capable of making. Ben joined me in the pool in his boxers as instructed and after only a couple of pushes I could feel our baby’s head being born, one of the most incredible sensations I have ever felt. I can honestly say I felt no discomfort and certainly no pain at this point, I could just feel every tiny part of baby’s face slowly emerging, first the eyebrows, then the nose and finally the mouth and chin. I was smiling to myself while leaning against the side of the pool at this point, not only because it was such a remarkable feeling, but because I knew it was only a matter of moments before our baby would be here. Finally, with just 2 more pushes, at 2.36am (only 50 or so minutes after being told I was 3-4cm and having my waters broken) our baby arrived calmly, gently and safely into the water and I lifted her slowly up onto my chest. This was the point we discovered that we had a little girl and Ben and I just burst into tears of happiness. Our 2 year old little boy Noah had been right with his prediction all along throughout my entire pregnancy, he had a new little sister.

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After baby Ivy’s arrival I was swiftly taken out of the pool and laid onto a bed due to the fact that I had started to bleed quite heavily (most likely from such a fast delivery) but my midwife and one of the doctors soon sorted me out without the need for a hormone drip. All together I lost a litre of blood but other than feeling a little light headed and tired during all of that, I still felt completely on cloud 9 and was just absolutely elated and full of happiness! Oxytocin really is our best friend! Also, I’m pleased to say I had a physiological third stage, I was really hoping I would deliver the placenta naturally as my first labour was a forceps delivery and I never got to see the placenta (not sure if I’m weird wanting to have a good old look at it but I was just intrigued) so being able to see it this time around was brilliant and so fascinating. Another thing that happened which still amazes me, is that I didn’t tear at all, just a teeny little graze which you could just about see! Now to me, that’s pretty incredible seeing as Ivy weighed a healthy 8lbs 12oz and when Noah was born I had to have an episiotomy, so I was convinced I was going to tear but no!

I can honestly say that giving birth to our beautiful daughter was the most amazing, positive and rewarding experience of my life and there was a point in time where I thought it would never be possible to have such an experience, until I discovered Siobhan, hypnobirthing and the incredible digital pack. I truly believe that without it, Ivy’s birth would have been quite different and I can never thank Siobhan enough for everything. Also, my outstanding midwife who went above and beyond for me contributed hugely to keeping everything just perfect and our birth photographer, Eve (@birth_photography_by_eve), who not only captured the most beautiful shots but also went that extra mile by making sure I had a drink close to me at all times and that Ben was ok, the whole experience and everything about it was just perfect and I could not have asked for anything better. Lastly, my partner Ben who is just my rock in every aspect of life, proved to me once again that he is the most amazing birth partner and as the affirmation says, he really was by my side and on my side the entire time.

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Once again, thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions about hypnobirthing or birth photography, feel free to message me on Instagram @paigecouzens and be sure to follow Siobhan @thepositivebirthmama & @thepositivebirthcompany and Eve Hazelton @birth_photography_by_eve

You can also find Paige's amazing birth story plus even more beautiful birth photos on her own blog: https://paigecouzens.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/ivy-rose-birth-story/

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