Birth story - Danielle and baby Ottilie

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Throughout my pregnancy I was always very positive about the birth of my baby. This was the only vocation in life I'd dreamed of and was happy to do anything to achieve it - I downloaded the digital pack at about 34 weeks to help me on my way and just give me some guidance with what to expect and to understand my body better. My husband was very skeptical about the whole idea of hypnobirthing and so I only managed to persuade him to watch 6 of the videos.

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My due date of 31st May came and went without any sign of things happening any time soon - I was enjoying pregnancy too much to even mind, although the fear of being induced was lingering (despite all the positive birth stories the idea made me extremely anxious. I'm not the best with hospitals. My birth plan was to be on the MLU with a pool which was much more welcoming and homely but it wouldn't have been possible had I have needed to be induced).

Saturday 2nd June I was so excited to lose my mucus plug. It was the first sign things were progressing. Every night I'd go to sleep with great anticipation that it could be the night. On the evening of Wednesday 6th June, sounds ridiculous, but my cat was acting extremely weird. I called my husband who had a 3 hour drive home having been away for work and said I think labour is imminent because of the cats odd behaviour. It was so unlike him. My husband got home at 2:30am - low and behold I got up to go for a wee at 4:30am when my waters broke on the bedroom floor. Thank goodness for laminate flooring. We called the MLU and they asked us to go in to check my waters. My surges had started but I hadn't even realised that's what they were until the midwife told me I was having one. We got sent home hoping that surges would start to become more regular and intense and things would happen naturally to save being induced the following morning.

We spent the day watching daytime television, bouncing/rocking on my ball, sniffing a flannel with clary sage oil on, a hot water bottle on my back (which helped immensely) and my husband doing the odd light touch massage here and there. Eventually my surges were coming 3 in every 10 minutes but having spoken to the MLU at 6pm they said it was still latent labour and to stay home until surges had moved round to my front as opposed to just in my back and were coming extremely regularly. So much so that you could literally put money on them being exactly 3 minutes apart as opposed to 3/4/2 minutes apart. We continued as we were doing. We went for a walk and just spent time enjoying each others company, keeping the oxytocins flowing and using up breathing throughout the surges.

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Surges had ramped up by 10pm so off we headed to the MLU. I accepted to be checked only to be told my cervix wasn't effaced and not dilating remotely and to call at 7:30am to see if they had space for me to come in to be induced as it was extremely unlikely anything was going to happen that night due to it being my first birth. This was a little disheartening to say the least but remaining positive I took it for what it was, got my head in the game, reminded myself as long as I've got all the techniques I've learnt from the digital pack and my husband (with his "toolbox") by my side, being induced was not the end of the world if it meant my little one arrived safely. Off we trundled home. We had been home for about 40 minutes when I started getting the urge to poo with every surge. It was about 23:50. Surely not? Surely things hadn't progressed in that short space of time? The midwife had just said the chance of anything happening tonight was far too slim so I just presumed it was my body having it's clear out ready for the birth.

My husband got me comfy with some mood lighting and relaxing music. I made him get some sleep ready for the big day ahead as he'd only had 2 hours sleep the previous night. After an hour of going to and fro from the bathroom to the bedroom to attempt to poo I gave in and settled down for the night on the bathroom floor breathing through the surges, reminding myself that with every surge I was a step closer to meeting my baby. The breathing just wasn't cutting it and I had a massive wobble especially as I'd started bleeding. I shouted for my husband but he was completely out of it. After half an hour of calling him he finally heard me and came rushing in to find me on all fours pushing - it was about 2:30am. He called MLU who explained we'd either need to call an ambulance or get straight to the labour ward. During the car ride there my husband was trying to count me through up breathing, it was only at that point that I realised I should have been down breathing. I was in disbelief I'd been progressing as surges were still mostly in my back so I'd persisted with the up breathing all that time.

We got to the hospital at 3am, managed to find our way to the labour ward. In hindsight we probably should have got a wheelchair at this point but stubborn old me hobbled/waddled my way there. We were put in a room and told to buzz if we needed anyone. I took myself to the bathroom still adamant I needed to poo when a midwife came in saying I needed to get out otherwise baby would be born in the toilet. I managed to get to the bed where I was amazed and so relieved to hear that I was 10cm dilated. My husband was still stressing at this point how much I'd like a water birth - obviously it was a little late for that! At 3:08, 8 minutes after arriving at the hospital our little bundle of joy was born. As soon as she'd arrived my exact words were "gosh that felt good". What a relief after all that time straining for a non existent a poo. I felt like super woman even though I had fooled myself in to thinking I needed to poo for 3 hours - what an absolute muppet. My husband announced to me the gender of our baby (although the swollen genitals almost had him fooled and he nearly told me we'd had a boy). We did get delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin contact - the only part of our birth plan that went to plan but I wouldn't have changed any of it for the world. I had put on my birth plan to have a physiological 3rd stage but when it came to it I was on cloud 9 and absolutely zonked from labouring by myself for nearly 3 hours that I accepted to have it actively managed. I escaped with a 1st degree tear and no stitches.

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We were home by midday. I was so thankful my time in hospital was so minimal. The 3 hospital bags I'd packed didn't even make it in to the hospital. Needless to say, if there's a next time I'm definitely going to try for a home birth!.

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Big love and massive thanks to Siobhan for making hypnobirthing so accessible and for giving us this wonderful community of positivity.

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