Birth story - Emma and baby Finley

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The evening of my due date arrived without any sign of labour starting so my partner Matt and I went to the pub to watch the England game and we had some nachos before a stroll home. We both felt relaxed and were enjoying the last few times as just us two.

That evening I went to bed and woke about 4am with period like cramps, but nothing unmanageable so I went back to sleep. I woke up for the Sky engineer to install our satellite dish, and when I was chatting to him I felt a large amount of discharge in my knickers so I popped to the loo and saw it was the bloody show. The engineer couldn’t fit the dish but offered to come back later; I politely declined saying I thought I was in early labour and that I thought I’d have my baby very soon... he swiftly left, looking a little startled!

I told Matt I thought this was it and that I thought he should stay off work to help me stay relaxed to keep the momentum going. He said he felt like it was a snow day, he ordered some Deliveroo breakfast and we hung out in bed. We watched Netflix and leisurely got jobs done (set up the pool, did some shopping, washed the bedding etc). We were timing surges that came every 10 minutes or so but I found timing these was making me focus on them too much so I stopped timing them. We napped together on the sofa around 3pm for an hour and when we woke up I felt things had really slowed down which I was disappointed about.

I put clary sage oil on some tissue which I sniffed, and had a raspberry leaf tea. We had sex and put a film on Netflix, truly embracing ‘Netflix and Chill!’

Within the space of an hour and a half since waking up things really ramped up; surges were coming regularly and I used up breathing. Matt ordered a Chinese and started filling the pool. I called triage at about 18:30 to say surges were approaching 3 in 10 minutes and they sent the homebirth midwife over about 19:30. We dimmed the lights and put relaxing music on.

She went through my birth wishes and made me feel very relaxed. I accepted an examination and I was 3cm dilated. I started using the TENS machine and the midwife took my blood pressure which was consistently significantly high on 3 readings, and had been creeping up at my last 2 midwife appointments. She went to make a phone call and I sensed her concern. She spoke with Matt and I to explain her concern about raised BP and that she and her senior colleague recommended transferring to hospital.

I tried to use my brain but was so surprised at the prospect of going to hospital. Although I was open to transferring, I imagined this would be much later during labour and on my request for pain relief, rather than anything else. Matt and I agreed to transfer by weighing up the risks so an ambulance was called at 22:00 and we packed a hospital bag (as the bag I’d put together didn’t have much of the right things in, as I really hadn’t thought I’d be going in).

During this time I was in good spirits despite having to leave my gorgeous home. I accepted and welcomed this change in plan which enabled me to stay calm and relaxed. Matt and I laughed at the fact that I didn’t even get a chance to use the pool, which we’d joked about during the pregnancy.

I was taken to a delivery room where Matt met me. I forgot to really unpack all my bits to make the room homely, as I was distracted by surges increasing in intensity. My labour progressed well and the homebirth midwife ended up staying with us until 5am which was great as she was so calming. She used aromatherapy oils for me to smell which I found very grounding. I think it was frankincense, mandarin and lavender. She made a hot water bottle for my back and reminded Matt about massage.

I spent the next few hours with pretty intense surges and I struggled to get comfortable. I was fluctuating between too hot and too cold and I couldn’t find a position that I liked. I was sick a few times which made me feel much better. I put on Siobhan’s positive affirmations which I’d listened to throughout my pregnancy. I asked the midwives continually if a pool was free however both were in use.

I tried gas and air but didn’t get on well with it as it messed with my up breathing. When I was examined again at 03:30 I was 6cm dilated, getting exhausted and asking for more pain relief. After discussing with Matt, the midwife and anaesthetist I accepted an epidural as I wasn’t getting the pool for pain relief. Literally the moment the epidural was put in, a midwife walked down the corridor and shouted “pool is free!” If I wasn’t so tired I’d have found this funny but I think I told the anaesthetist to “fuck off” instead

The epidural was only partially effective but it did give me an hours respite so I rested which was well needed. My front waters went and I continued to surge until I was 10cm dilated. I didn’t have the transition stage as I’d expected, in fact we were told to wait an hour at 10cm for the baby to drop right down (I’m not sure I fully understand this) before pushing.

It got to 07:45 which, after another examination, was time to push. It was clear I wanted to be able to mobilise and use gravity to birth my baby so was on all fours on the hospital bed. I found this part of the labour so empowering and I kind of enjoyed this bit. Matt was telling me how amazing I was doing and encouraged me to keep digging deep.

I had hoped I’d feel the bearing down sensation and wouldn’t need coached pushing but I think the epidural had some effect on this. After a labour that hadn’t gone to plan so far, I was entirely determined to birth my baby without further intervention or instruments and I really used this, plus visualisations of my baby working his way down, to help me.

I changed positions and accepted an episiotomy which helped, as very soon afterwards, baby’s head was born which felt so strange! Next surge, my baby was born at 08:44. He came out quite forcefully, as did my back waters which shot out, causing the student paramedic shadowing the midwife to dart out of the way to avoid being covered in bloody, meconiumy fluid. It literally shot across the room

My baby was passed up to me for immediate skin to skin and we had delayed cord clamping. I’d bled a little so had the injection to deliver the placenta. At my request they showed me the placenta as I was so intrigued by it, though Matt was not a fan.

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We were left to have alone time as a new family of three. What an absolutely incredible experience!
Did it go to plan? No. But that’s okay because I felt in control and empowered throughout. Would I do it again? Absolutely!

Thank you, Positive Birth Company, for helping me birth my baby in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible before coming across hypnobirthing

For anyone reading this who is yet to have their baby. You’ve so got this

#positivebirthstoryproject

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