Birth story - Ciara and baby girl

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I approached my due date, 12th September, not expecting anything but obviously excited of the thought of my baby arriving some time soon after that. I had my midwife appointment and was told baby was nice and comfy and was offered a sweep at 40weeks. I used BRAIN and decided I wanted to leave baby a bit longer in the hope that she would arrive in her own time but I did book in for a sweep for 41 weeks as I thought this was what felt right for me. I was also offered an induction for 40+11, again using BRAIN I accepted the booking but was hoping I wouldn’t need it.

When I went in for my sweep at 40+7, Wednesday 19th, I was told my cervix was prosteria as barely even 1cm. My midwife did the sweep as best as she could. I was then offered a scan for that afternoon to check that baby was still doing well and that the placenta was still working. Induction for Sunday was looking more and more likely so I spent my time reading positive induction stories, listening to the positive affirmations, watching lots of comedies and romcoms and walking the dog with my mum who had flown over from Ireland to be with me from my due date so that I felt calm and comfortable while my husband was at work.

On Friday morning I woke up at 2.30am needing to pee, I was starting to get a bit uncomfortable but couldn’t work out if I had woken up because I had discomfort or just needed the toilet. I went back to bed and woke again at 5.30am to mild cramping. I did start thinking this could be it but tried to get back to sleep. This didn’t work so again I started listening to the positive affirmations and the up breathing mp3. When my husband woke at 7.30 I told him what was happening but told him it could still be a long wait so he was better to go into work, especially as I had my mum over.

We went for a few walks that afternoon and I could feel the intensity increasing. By about 3pm I started to get really sleepy so I went for a bath and nap to help take my mind off things. When my husband got home from work that evening cramping/tightenings were much more noticeable so I started using the tens machine and thought I was entering the latent phase of labour. I couldn’t sleep that night and at 2am we decided to take a trip into the hospital to get checked over. I was 1-2cm dilated so given some paracetamol and was sent home. I then managed to get some sleep. I woke on Saturday morning feeling fine and the tightenings had stopped so I did a few things about the house. By lunchtime they came back as strong as they had been on the Friday night so I put the tens machine back on to help soothe the discomfort. By around 9pm things were getting really intense so again we decided to go into the assessment ward. I was examined again and was told I was 2cm. I was offered the chance to stay but decided I wanted to go home as I knew it could still be a while and I only live 15mins away from the hospital. When we got home I took more paracetamol and tried to get some rest but by this point surges were definitely present and I couldn’t get comfortable. At 6am I wanted to go back into the assessment ward so my husband called them but then I changed my mind and decided I would try to give it a few more hours at home first. I went for a bath and that really helped.

By 9am on Sunday I knew things had progressed so we called the hospital again and slowly began making our way in. When I got there I was examined and to my delight I was 4cm dilated. I was so happy that I had stayed at home for those few extra hours. The labour ward was really busy so we were left in the assessment ward until a space became available. This was a little frustrating but I had such a lovely midwife that took such good care of me and made me feel so calm. At around 10pm I asked to be examined again as I was having much stronger surges, still managing with just the tens machine, and knew I needed something to help with this. I was given more painkillers which helped take the edge off. It took another couple of hours to go through to the labour ward and the surges were now beginning to get stronger and much more frequent. I had a bath to try to relax as I hadn’t slept since Friday night but when I was in there the surges got much more intense and I felt like I needed the toilet. That’s when I knew things were really starting to change. When examined again I was 5cm so labour ward was notified. I managed until midnight with the tens machine but decided I needed a bit more pain relief so asked to try the gas and air. As soon as that had arrived a midwife from labour ward came to collect us and whisked us through. This was so exciting and I was really proud of myself for getting as far as I had whilst staying so calm using my up breathing.

My new midwife was so lovely and helped me set up my room, lights were turned off and I set up my candles and put on my own music, our wedding playlist. We went through my birth preferences and I felt so supported. I began using the gas and air on and off, and although it did make me feel dizzy to start I got the hang of it and worked out how many puffs were enough to help with each surge without taking too much. By 6.30am I started to get a lot of pressure in my bum and started to feel the urge to push. I asked to be examined again and to my delight I was 9cm but there was a bit of a lip of my cervix staying put. My midwife and husband were amazing and applied pressure to my back during each surge to try and minimise my urge to push. There was a shift change at 7am and I did get a bit disheartened at this point because I really liked my midwife. I shouldn’t have worried because my new midwife was equally as lovely. I said I was happy to have a student so I had a 3rd year midwifery student too. They gave me the chance to try to push to see if the lip of the cervix would move with a contraction but it wasn’t budging so I stopped. I was given a syntocinon drip at 8am to see if that would help as I was exhausted and really feeling like I needed to push. At 9am the doctor came round and spoke to us about the possibility of needed support but said she would come back to check on me at 10am. Cervix still wasn’t budging and I was now involuntarily pushing. When the doctor came around again she explained my options to me. I was trying so hard with trying to get baby out but I was getting exhausted and baby was starting to get a little stressed too. Forceps and c section were mentioned as possibilities but the doctor and my midwives were convinced I could do it on my own. With their amazing support and an episiotomy, which I honestly never felt, I was able to birth my baby naturally. Seeing babies head come out as I birthed her was amazing. My husband told me we had a wee girl and I got immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. I got the injection for the placenta and I got stitched up, again I couldn’t feel a thing while my husband got some skin to skin too.

A huge thank you to the Positive Birth Company. I felt in control of my whole birth experience and well informed. The midwives I had were all amazed that I managed so far on breathing and tens machine and the occasional use of gas and air. My husband is now a hypnobirthing advocate, after being a bit dubious about it to begin with, and has already been recommending the digital pack to his friends who are expecting. I honestly didn’t think I would have had such a positive experience and although it was a little longer than I expected it to be I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you so so much xx

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