Birth story - Danielle and baby Arthur

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I am so grateful for the digital pack and the knowledge and confidence it gave me in myself and my body to have the natural water birth I wanted.

This was my second pregnancy and labour, in my first I had GD and my attitude was to just do what the hospital and midwife told me, which is what I did. I didn’t have a bad first birthing experience but looking back now if I had gained the knowledge first time around I think I would have made different decisions and not necessarily needed the intervention and recovery I had.

So here goes. 38+1, I’d planned a busy day of appointments; pregnancy massage, midwife app, dentist appointment and errands to get some last bits for my hospital bag. I’d been having braxton hicks on and off for the past few weeks, but more so in the last day or so. After putting my eldest little boy to bed, I settled for the night on my birthing ball whilst catching up on love island and all the other mindless tv. From about 9pm I was having regular surges, using my up breathing to allow them to pass and just hoping they’d continue into labour.

I messaged my mum about 10pm just to make sure she had prepared an overnight bag as I had a feeling I was going to have my baby that weekend and she was looking after my little boy whilst I went to the hospital. After this I went to bed, still having surges but not close enough together to call maternity assessment. I woke in the night around midnight with more intense surges but forced myself to go back to bed and rest as I still hadn’t lost my mucus plug or had a bloody show and my waters hadn’t gone so I was just waiting it out. An hour later at 1am I went for my regular night time toilet break and had my bloody show. I called my husband to ring my mum to come over and called maternity assessment at the hospital.

After speaking to the midwife she advised to stay at home for as long as possible until the surges were 3 every ten minutes, they were quite that close together but I knew they were definitely now in a regular pattern and becoming more intense.

I decided to follow my instincts and go to the hospital to be examined (with my first baby I laboured in 4 hours start to finish and didn’t have regular surges for the first 1.5hours so both my midwife and health visitor advised that if I felt worried it would be quick again to just go to the hospital when I was ready)

My mum arrived at home and my husband packed up the car and off we went to the hospital, once we arrived the midwife examined me and I was only 2cm dilated so she advised to go for a walk or using the birthing balls and she would check on me again in 2 hours. After an hour the surges were getting stronger and stronger to the point I couldn’t talk to my husband when they were happening as I needed to concentrate on my up breathing.

He asked the midwife for some paracetamol to put me on until I was next examined, the midwife then examined me and I’d reached 5cm so she arranged for me to head to delivery suite. She offered me a birthing pool as one was available which I was ecstatic about as I’d wanted one but just prepared myself for there not to be one available as to avoid disappointment. So I was taken to delivery suite and into the birthing pool room -concentrating solely on my up breathing as the surges were becoming full and fast now. Getting into the pool made such a difference, the surges were still intense but somehow more manageable. I wanted to use UFO to have gravity on my side so the whole way through the labour I was either on a birthing ball or in the water on my knees.

I wasn’t in the pool long before I felt the need to push, the midwife was very supportive and just told me to follow what my body was telling me and to push. She monitored the babies heart throughout and was very supportive but did advise at the necessary point that if I hadn’t birthed the head in the next two surges to try get out of the pool and finish labour on the bed as she couldn’t monitor the baby as well as she like in the pool in the position I was, so out I got and onto the bed, still using UFO and my up breathing. I then had the wobble when I just thought I can’t do this, but the encouragement and support from my husband and midwife and remembering that feeling like this meant baby was almost here I used the positive affirmations and continued to push.

Finally after a few more surges my little boy arrived safely into the world! I had done it, had a natural water birth, using the power of my mind and trusting my body I actually managed to do it without the need of intervention it was perfect!

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I want to thank Siobhan for making the digital pack so accessible and sharing her knowledge. Although my husband never watched the digital pack and wasn’t fully prepared like I was, I made sure I told him the important things I wanted during the birth and certain aspects that I thought were important for him to know.
Although I’d being using room sprays and essential oils at home I didn’t even get them out of my hospital bag, I didn’t use the mp3s during labour but I did think about the videos and affirmations Siobhan talks about throughout the pack and repeated my favourites in my head, up breathing was my most vital tool. This and making sure I had all my preferences covered on my birth plan for each scenario and trusting myself and everyone around me to birth my baby safely meant than my birth story and recovery was all so positive and I am eternally grateful.

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