Birth story - Amy and baby boy

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At my 41 week midwife appointment on the 15th October I used my BRAIN and accepted a sweep. I was 41+4 and starting to get nervous that if baby didn’t come spontaneously in the next three days then beyond 42 weeks I wouldn’t be able to have a waterbirth or use the midwife led unit. I’d already used my BRAIN and chosen to receive intermittent monitoring rather than an induction past 42 weeks. I was confident that it was the right pathway for me, and I was starting to accept the increased possibility of a delivery suite birth.

That night, I didn’t feel like anything much was happening. But I wanted to keep positive, so I put on Notting Hill, lit a beautifully smelling candle for the wave of light to mark the end of baby loss awareness week, put fairy lights on and bounced/hip circled on my ball like my life depended on it!

I woke at 2am and went to the toilet, I was disappointed that nothing had happened in the night so far. However, once I got back into bed I felt my first surge. I waited to see if any more followed, and 10 minutes later I had another. I tried to go back to sleep, as knew it was early and I needed to rest, but I was too excited that things were happening, so at 3am I went downstairs, put on a funny movie and started timing surges, they were coming around every 5 minutes, but totally manageable.

After an hour or so, I let my fiancé Matt know what was happening and he joined me downstairs. By the end of the film, the surges had slowed and were now only 10 minutes apart, so I decided to go back to bed and try to get some rest to keep my strength up for the day. I managed some sleep between surges from 5am to 6.30, by the time I got up, they were still 10 minutes apart, but building in intensity and I was pretty sure now that this was the real deal.

We went to wake our daughter and it was such a lovely moment when on waking she asked if the baby was coming and we were finally able to answer “yes, we think it is!”

We got her ready for school and I was using up breathing through each surge. Matt took her to school and I went to have a clary sage bath with my birthing playlist on. Lying down wasn’t very comfortable, so I decided to have a shower instead. I found swaying my hips in the shower was heavenly.

I then continued to labour for the rest of the morning in the same manner. Going between our bedroom and my living room ‘cave’ standing up, leaning on surfaces, swaying and up breathing through each surge. I was waiting for the magic 3 in 10, but by 1pm they were still 5 minutes apart, but around 1min30 long and very powerful. I felt things were progressing quickly, so phoned the Birth Centre to see what they recommended. They suggested coming in, which I was pleased about. We had some lunch and made the journey in, arriving at 2pm.

We got to the birth centre and I was met by Emily, my student midwife. I signed up to be one of her final year cases when I was 16 weeks pregnant and so I’ve seen her throughout my pregnancy and was so pleased she was able to make the birth. Along with Cathy, the head of the MLU, who I’d also met previously.

I was examined on arrival and was found to be 3cm, but Cathy said she could easily stretch me to 4. I wasn’t disheartened by this as my first labour sped up quickly once established. I was pleased that we were able to stay, although I was told that I wasn’t technically in established labour and Cathy suggested that we either go for a walk around outside or carry on in the room and wait for things to progress. I didn’t want to be outside, so we set the room up as my cave. Put my birthing playlist on, had some snacks (jelly babies and a banana for me!) and I continued to sway through surges as Matt rubbed my back with each one.

Within an hour I felt the intensity change. Up breathing was amazing, but towards the peak I felt myself moaning a very instinctual sound. I could feel things turning and felt like pushing wasn’t far off. I asked Emily if I could have another examination, as I wanted to use some gas and air, and the pool (and I knew how long those things took to fill!). She went to find Cathy and see if it’s possible. Cathy came back and observed a couple of my surges, I mentioned that I felt I’d need an examination earlier than the four hours. She said she didn’t need to examine me and could see I was in established labour by looking at me. Whoop!

We were then moved to another room, and when I got in the pool had already started being filled. The midwives had lit some electric candles for me and it was such a lovely space. I laboured in here standing for another half an hour until it was time to get in. Once in the pool I had a wobble. I couldn’t get comfortable and I was unable to tell if it was the change of position or just things ramping up once again. Matt kept me calm and I knew I was transitioning. He just told me that we were really close to meeting our baby and I was doing an amazing job. I’d began to moo toward the end of surges and at this point, Cathy gave me a gentle reminder to trust my body and go with the sensations I was feeling.

I settled in an UFO position at one end of the pool, and discarded the gas and air as I wasn’t able to down breathe with it. I think I only had it for around half an hour in the end. I started down breathing, but the push at the end of each surge was so powerful that I definitely just started to make some very instinctive mama noises! I could feel the babies head descending and felt a pop which the midwives confirmed was my waters. After this with each push the head would come further and then bob back up slightly. Within a couple of surges the head was crowning. Matt told me that he could see it and our baby had lots of dark hair! In the next couple of pushes, the head was out. At this point I turned over to deliver the body and so that I could be the one to bring my baby up.

With the next contraction his body was delivered, I brought him up to my chest and Matt and I both burst into tears. He checked what we had and both exclaimed “it’s a boy!”

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I bled after my first delivery and had planned to accept the injection for the placenta. However, when I was in the pool waiting for the cord to finish pulsating I said I could feel another surge building. Cathy suggested I give a gentle push and with that the placenta was delivered.

Unfortunately this is where my story turns slightly. A lot of blood came out into the pool with the placenta. Cathy reassured me that it was likely just clots from behind it, or a tear, but suggested I get out for them to check. However, it was clear when I got out that it was something more than that. Within minutes there were more people in the room and the decision was made to transfer me to delivery suite to try and stop the bleeding. Despite all the people arriving, despite the fact that I was losing a lot of blood, I remained calm and chatty throughout. I required a drip of syntometrine to help my uterus contract down, fluids to replace what was lost and manual removal of clots. In total I lost just over 1.5 litres of blood.

The team of people who looked after me were absolutely incredible. I’m in awe of the outstanding work the midwives and doctors do every day and their total dedication to the patients in their care.

Although my story had some complications in the end, I remained positive throughout and have absolutely no doubt of the role the positive birthing company played in it all. I birthed my perfect 9bl1 boy, with just a small graze and feel so overwhelmed that I did it!
I have and will recommend the course to anyone, I learnt so many valuable skills both for birth and beyond.

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