Birth story - Ellie and baby Otis

So monday evening I was 41+1. I had a sweep at 40+5 and had been losing mucus everyday since. I felt a weird stitch like sensation in my pelvis and then shortly after another one. I presumed it was just baby wriggling but now I think he was dropping lower. the sensations started really gently and we weren’t sure if it was the real thing. We had some tea and put my parents on alert to come over for our toddler . By midnight we thought it might really be happening. I couldn’t sleep through them but they were still really irregular. My husband slept and I just bounced on the ball and listened to music. They got to 4 minutes apart eventually and at about 6am we decided to call my mum over then go into the birth centre just incase, and while there was no traffic.

I wanted an exam to see if this was really labour and the midwife said I was 1cm which I found really disheartening as I had been that at my sweep 4 days ago, but I was now fully effaced and she said from feeling my bump they seemed like quite powerful surges. She said to stay but I felt like they were slowing down there so we decided to go home for a few hours.

Got back and used the tens machine while my husband tidied the house and then after a few hours he sent our son off with my parents and his overnight bag. As soon as they left the tens machine wasn’t helping as much anymore so we went in to the birth centre again and it was an awful journey because of traffic and my surges were much harder to breath through being sat in the car. Got there at 3pm and I was now 3cm but she said the head had moved down really low and she wasn’t letting us go home. She said often second labours take ages to get going but once you hit 4cm its quick. (She was right).

I had a wobble though because I had been having surges for 24hrs (although slowly and gently) and was worried it would be days more. I had some gas and air to calm myself down and got in the pool to try and relax. At about 5pm I got out the pool because I couldn’t find a comfortable position and wanted to lie down (despite continually demanding to do my upright positions earlier) and found I was 4cm (I asked for an examination because I was desperate to know if I was making progress). I laid down for a while on the bed and then I had a pethidine injection because I had a bit of a wobble about how long it had been (but it turns out this was transition!!), which was good for about an hour and meant I could rest but then as my waters broke I could feel loads of pressure in my bum and the surges changed and I was fully dilated (so an hour or two from 4cm to 10).

Pushing felt like it took a while, he was back to back and he was turning as he came down apparently so it took a lot of work and energy and concentration. I felt that I was making progress with each surge though. I couldn’t manage to do my breathing with the gas and air so I stopped using it and instead my husband just helped me breath in and out and kept repeating affirmations to me. This was more helpful than anything else had been and kept me focused.

There was no pushing needed, I just breathed as my body instinctively brought baby down.

Eventually during one surge the midwife said she could see a tiny bit of his head and she said she was going to warm up the pool and make me get into it because she knew its what I wanted. I am so thankful for this and that she took our birth preferences seriously as I had honestly forgotten about the pool. they helped me to get in and it was and instant relief, I felt wonderful. after about 4surges his head was out then on the next one his body was! 8:34pm. The cord was around his neck 3 times but his heart rate had stayed perfectly calm the entire time. She untangled him and I caught him myself and sat in the pool for about 30 minutes. It took us a while to remember to look and see if he was a boy or girl! I was just staring at his face for so long.

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I started to get chilly and wanted to get out so they cut the cord as it had stopped pulsating and my husband cuddled him while I got out and delivered the placenta over the toilet which was much easier than I expected. we had cuddles for about an hour before they weighed him and then I fed him. He was 8lb 8.5oz. then we had some food and they checked me - just a tiny graze no stitches! I lost a lot of blood so they asked me to stay in overnight and have bloods taken at 4am. Amazingly the midwife set us up in a little room on the birth centre so we didn’t have to go up to the noisy postnatal ward at the hospital. They even had a floor bed for my husband. We had a lovely night, my bloods came back fine and Otis weed and pooed several times so we decided we were happy to go home at 10am.

The whole thing felt really calm and controlled which was lovely, between pushes it was just quiet in the room and it was all very hands off. They asked if I was happy to have a student as she desperately wanted to assist in a waterbirth. I’m so glad I said yes and she was able to. My birth plan said no additional people but with the lights down low and the quiet atmosphere it was really intimate.

It was such a wonderful experience and seeing him swim up to me in the pool and being able to hold him immediately was honestly the best moment of my entire life. I’m really thankful it was such a positive experience for all of us and I feel like I really accomplished something!

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