Birth story - Demelza and baby Elowen

I’m writing this now still in shock with how different this birth was compared to my last!!

Although at the time, I didn’t view my first experience of labour and birth as negative (largely because I was terrified of labour and didn’t see how it could be positive at all so it in some ways met my expectations), looking back now I realise how different things could’ve been. My first labour started with my waters breaking and after a long, slow labour and epidural, our son was born via unplanned c-section 37 hours later. I found it initially very hard to bond with him and my husband was quite traumatised by the whole thing which resulted in him not wanting any more children for a long time.

When we decided to try for a second baby, I was determined to do everything possible to deliver naturally this time and to make the experience much more positive. I’d already heard of hypnobirthing and the Positive Birth Company and was thrilled to see a course which was all online and completely affordable. I downloaded it at around 20 weeks and watched the videos all in quick succession. They all made so much sense and I immediately felt that my whole outlook on labour and birth was different and I wasn’t fearing it in the way I had done previously. Although my husband would have preferred at this point for me to have opted for another section (due to my very low pain threshold and previous experience) he was supportive of me giving hypnobirthing a go and at around 37 weeks, we watched the videos through together.

I didn’t finish work until 37 + 2 weeks and initially found it hard to relax and prepare myself for what was to come. On Monday, my husband had his last exam at college and I remember saying to the baby that morning that today would be a good day to be born but we had to wait for Daddy to do his exam. I’d have never thought then that by midnight I’d be holding our baby girl.

I put our son to bed at around 7:15pm - still with no signs that labour was about to start. Around 15 minutes later, my waters started to trickle and within half an hour surges had started. As my previous labour had also started with my waters breaking, I assumed we had a while to go so although we phoned my parents so they were on standby for our son, we decided there wasn’t much point in them coming over just yet. In the end they insisted they pick him up and they came round to collect him at around 8:45pm (thankfully, as it turns out). By 9:15pm, Freya was telling us that I was in established labour, although as I was breathing well throughout and trying to relax in between surges, I don’t think either my husband or I really believed things had progressed that quickly. We decided it would be best to phone the hospital anyway as I was VBAC and the journey is 45 minutes. They advised us to come in. Despite this, we didn’t leave for another three quarters of an hour as we didn’t see the need to rush and I really didn’t want to be sent home as with our son we’d gone to hospital far too early.

On the way to hospital, my surges really ramped up and I soon realised I wasn’t getting much of a break between them. When we parked and I got out of the car, I had to find a post to lean on then a chair in the hospital entrance and then by the time we got to the bottom of the stairs I was on all fours in the corridor realising my body had somehow entered the down stage and what I could feel wasn’t actually a massive poo but my baby’s head descending. There was a brief moment of panic at this point as I actually thought I was going to give birth in the corridor!! Turns out passers by could also see I needed help (my husband was still hoping I’d make it up to the labour ward in between surges although when I said “I think I’m pushing”, he soon realised this might not be possible 😂). Luckily, the midwives were expecting us and were called down by a nurse and together with my husband’s help they managed to get me into a wheelchair (facing backwards, leaning on on the back) and quickly got me to a lovely room which had already had the lights dimmed ready for me. I didn’t have one examination as despite my requests to get in the pool, they soon realised there wasn’t time to fill it and the baby was indeed coming!! I got through most of the down stage by breathing through surges and on all fours on the bed but ended up birthing our daughter lying on my side as the midwives were struggling to monitor her and said the baby needed to be born. They did give me a little coached pushing but I really listened to and followed my body and our beautiful little girl was born within about half an hour of me entering the room. I still can’t believe I had no pain relief and only had a tiny graze and small 1st degree tear which didn’t require stitches.

Due to a previous bit of retained placenta following my last birth, we were advised to have the injection to birth the placenta which we agreed to after delayed cord clamping. We were then left to enjoy our golden hour on our own in a really calm environment, still in shock that within 4 hours of my first trickle of waters, we were holding our little girl.

At less than two days old, Elowen is doing amazing and my recovery is so much better than the first time round - my husband has even said he’d have another baby after the amazing birth he has just witnessed. He said he secretly didn’t believe I could do it until he started watching me get into the ‘zone’ during surges and then he suddenly realised I’d got this.

I’m so proud and pleased to be able to share my positive birth story with you all after desperately hoping all those months ago that I would have one to write.

Most of what I’d packed for hospital didn’t actually make it out of the bag but my husband was a great advocate for me and ensured the midwives understood my preferences (in the short time we had!) and they were all really encouraging.

The breathing techniques along with the brilliant Freya App and my TENs machine (which I used right up until the down stage) were the most valuable tools. I really believed I could do it and it turns out I really could - our bodies really are amazing ladies!!!

Thank you to Siobhan and the Positive Birth Company for changing my perception of birth and giving me the tools I needed to have an extremely successful VBAC. Thank you also to all of you who have shared your stories - they’ve really inspired me over the past few months and helped me stay positive and look forward to giving birth. Good luck to all of you still waiting for your little ones - you’ve got this!!!

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