Birth story - Danielle and baby Betty

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When I fell pregnant a friend gave me a book called The Positive Birth Book. Everything I was reading was giving me a buzz - I didn’t know there was such a thing as a positive birth after years of friends and family telling me how awful it is! Even through pregnancy people still insisted on telling me how terrible their birth experience was. The book led me to start researching online positive birth stories and videos and during my web searches I came across Siobhan’s free YouTube videos and just loved what I was hearing. I just had to do the course!

Fast forward to 40+3. I woke up early Tuesday morning to find, what I thought, were my waters leaking. Luckily I had a midwife appointment that day so waited to see her to get confirmation. The midwife confirmed it was my waters and informed me that I had 12 hours to get my labour going otherwise, unfortunately, I would no longer be allowed a water birth at the midwife led unit and I would need induction at the hospital the following day. The midwife said she would call me in the morning if I hadn’t arrived during the night in labour, to discuss the next steps. I remained positive that baby would come within the next 12 hours and I went off to walk the golf course with my husband whilst he played, to try and get baby moving.

Wednesday morning came and still no sign of labour starting and no call from the midwife. Husband and I decided to walk up to the MLU to see what was happening and in a last attempt to get baby moving. When we arrived at the MLU at about 10am the midwife looked shocked to see me and advised I should have gone to the hospital at 8am for induction. I said that I was told I’d get a phone call with further instructions. After a bit of digging she advised there had been a mess up and yes I should have been called. The midwife advised that I now needed to go to hospital for monitoring as my waters had been broken for over 12 hours now.

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So off we went to the hospital where they monitored baby’s heart and movements etc. The monitor can also detect if the uterus is contracting and to my excitement I was starting to get tightenings that were showing up on the monitor! I was so excited that things were happening naturally! My spirits were up and the oxytocin flowing. After monitoring finished I was told to wait in the waiting room for the doctor to come and see us to discuss induction. My surges were getting more noticeable but not uncomfortable at all. In fact I welcomed each one and my husband and I were laughing when one came as I was in a waiting room full of people giving me concerned looks! The hours were ticking by and I could feel my tightenings weakening. I remembered from the course the bit about do you feel comfortable enough to do a poo where you are? If not, you probably won’t be able to have a baby there! This was definitely becoming the case in a waiting room full of people. I said to my husband that being here is affecting my surges, they are starting to slow down and I need to be at home to get things really going.

I decided to use my BRAIN to decide whether to wait for the doctor or go home. We had been waiting 3 hours now. I told the midwife that my surges had started and asked if there would be any detriment to baby if I left now without seeing the doctor. She advised I was ok to go home and baby would be absolutely fine but if things hadn’t started properly by tomorrow morning I was to come back at 8am to start induction. Home we went and back to the golf course to really get my surges going as they had frustratingly tailed off whilst in the waiting room. Excitingly they were starting to build up again whilst on my walk around the golf course. I had some funny looks from a few golfers as I was practicing my breathing through each surge. One man asked me how long I had left to which I replied ‘I’m actually in labour at the moment’ 😂

After golf we came home and I put on Bridget Jones’ diary, got out my snacks and chilled. The surges were still coming nicely, and still felt completely manageable, I was relaxed and calm.

7:00pm came and I started to time my surges. The breathing techniques were amazing and I felt no pain at all, just a tightening feeling. I trusted my body completely. I kept thinking this can’t be it, surely things ramp up more than this? My husband made sure I ate some dinner and by 10pm my surges were coming every 5-6 minutes. I sent husband to bed to get some sleep as I thought I could be a while yet. By 10:30pm (husband had just nodded off 😂) my surges were now every 3 minutes. I called out to husband and asked him to call the hospital about going in. The hospital advised that as this was my first baby it could be a while yet and to stay at home for as long as possible. They wanted me to be having surges every 3 minutes for at least an hour before going in. So I sent husband back to bed and kept on timing. I put my TENS machine on at this point just to try it. It felt really good. Another 10 minutes passed and husband had again just nodded off when my surges were now coming every minute. I called out to him that I really do think we should go to hospital as I’m now having surges every minute. I had also just had my bloody show and my waters fully went whilst on the toilet.

He called the hospital and they still didn’t seem that keen to invite me in! Whilst he was on the phone I felt the transition and had the urge to push. ‘The baby is coming Harry, I don’t think we are going to make it to hospital’. Obviously the triage midwife on the other end of the phone now believed us and invited us in! I said it was too late we wouldn’t make it, baby is coming, at home. Harry then called the birth centre as they are a short walk up the road, to ask if they would accept us. Unfortunately they wouldn’t due to my waters breaking early but they would send a midwife out to us. The midwife arrived and examined me and to my amazement I was 9cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think the midwife could believe it either! I had got to 9cm just with using the breathing techniques and I still wasn’t experiencing any uncomfortable surges. The midwife then took my temperature and unfortunately it was slightly raised so an ambulance was called.

On the way to hospital I just focused on my down breathing. The paramedic offered me gas and air but I still didn’t feel like I needed it. Once in the delivery suite Harry dimmed the lights, put on spa music and got my pillow, snacks and drink out. The doctor then came and examined me and wanted to instantly start me on the drip to speed up getting me to 10cm. I again used my BRAIN and declined and asked if I could have another hour. She agreed. An hour passed and the midwife examined me, I was now at 10cm, yippee!

A few hours went by of down breathing and being upright, open and forward and the doctor came back to see me. She was quite rude and basically said I wasn’t pushing hard enough and I needed to go to theatres for forceps. Again I used my BRAIN and asked for another hour, as long as baby was ok, husband was also great and stuck up for me! They agreed I could have an hour but they would need to monitor baby just to check she wasn’t getting distressed. Thankfully she was coping really well. I knew I could do this on my own. I was offered the drip again as I was getting tired and my surges were tailing off, I decided to accept and so the drip was started. This gave me the extra boost and after another hour baby Betty came in to the world naturally.

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Even though I didn’t get the water birth at the birthing centre I so longed for I am so grateful to Siobhan for all the techniques I learnt on the course especially using my BRAIN at every scenario and knowing that even though a doctor was telling me I needed to do something it didn’t mean I had to. I believe the breathing techniques were so effective they got me to 9cm at home and also meant I didn’t use gas and air. It truly was the most amazing and euphoric experience and I believe if I hadn’t done the course my birth experience would have been completely different. Thank you Siobhan 💕 and thank you to my wonderful husband for taking an interest in the course and being a supportive birthing partner 💕

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