Birth story - Claire and baby Victoria

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My second daughter was born on the 27th July (yesterday!!) at 41+1, it didn’t go at all as I had imagined but was really helped by hypnobirthing and this wonderful course.

My first daughter’s birth two years ago was straightforward and fast but I was entirely mentally unprepared for it and accepted an epidural quite early on which led to all the typical interventions. I recovered really quickly and it wasn’t a negative experience at all but I wanted to do it differently this time which is why I signed up to the course.

I had no symptoms of labour until around 40+5 when I started getting very mild period like cramps every so often. Over the next days they got slightly stronger but tended to start in the morning and then just peter out as the day progressed. At 41+1 I had a doctors appointment in the morning to check that the placenta was fine, I’d been having mild surges about every half an hour since 5 am that day and when the doctor checked my cervix she said I was 2cm dilated and she expected labour to start naturally in the next days.

The surges became more intense throughout the day but were always around 5 to 10 minutes apart so I was convinced it was just pre labour. I felt really exhausted and just wanted to be alone so spent the day lying in bed taking little naps and whenever a surge came I’d play the track of Siobhan counting for the up breathing. I reminded myself to relax and go back down to a green in between surges but honestly I was feeling really negative about myself. I just kept thinking that if I was struggling with the surges during pre labour then it was ridiculous to think I could cope with proper labour without pain relief. At one point I started shivering and feeling nauseous and googled if that was a sign of early labour, one forum said it was a symptom of transition but I decided that it would be much too optimistic for me to think I was already in transition when the surges were still so far apart and pretty easy to breathe through. I don’t remember having any doubts at all about when I needed to head to hospital with my first, I just knew, and this time around I thought it would be the same.

Whilst lying in bed at about 6 in the evening I felt a trickle of liquid and went to the bathroom. It was mixed with some of the mucous plug and was only a small amount but it looked like it had a slightly green tinge to it so I decided to call the midwife since I thought it could be my waters with some meconium staining. She recommended I come in just to check so I went to tell my husband (who’d been happily watching the Tour de France for most of the day) and off we headed after a debate about whether to take our bags with us (we decided we would even though I was fully expecting to be sent home).

We were quite lucky with parking and found a place about half a kilometre away from the hospital. As I walked there I had a few more surges where I had to pause and count quietly to myself but they were still pretty manageable and lasted less than a minute.

Our midwife met us and showed us into a side room and as soon as I walked in I had a strong surge where I had to lean against the wall and tell them that the baby was about to come. They helped me up onto the bed and after a quick check said I was at 10cm, which by then I knew since I could feel her head coming down. Anyway 5 pushes later and there she was, about 15 minutes after entering the room. I had expected this stage to be hard but honestly a couple of times I thought to myself that it really wasn’t that bad at all. I just had a graze and didn’t need any stitches.

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So it wasn’t the spiritual experience I had imagined, there was no pool, no candles, no light touch massage, my husband didn’t coach me through, no one got to read my birth plan (which I spent a good few hours translating to Spanish one day (I live in Spain)). I also paid extra to use the midwife unit and really don’t feel like I got my money’s worth. On the other hand I got to 10 cm without realizing I was in labour using just up breathing and I have a beautiful healthy baby asleep in my arms as I write this.

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