Birth story - Emma and baby Riyaan
I started working my way through the digital pack once I’d reached about 32 weeks in my pregnancy. My main reason for reaching out to hypnobirthing was that the unknown always makes me anxious; as a first time mum I had no idea what to expect when giving birth, and I was fed up of people telling me their negative birth stories. They filled me with horror! I wanted to believe that giving birth could be an incredible experience, but I needed help to believe this!
Aside from a trace of protein in my urine every so often, and slightly raised blood pressure, my pregnancy was uneventful and uncomplicated. I expected to go over my ‘due date’, which I did.
At 40+3, my waters broke at 1am, whilst I was in bed. There was no question that it was my waters... they just kept on coming, and coming, and coming...! I went to the hospital to get checked as I wasn’t experiencing any surges. The midwife confirmed what I knew, and sent me home for 24 hours to wait for the surges to start. It was explained to me that if they didn’t start during this time, I would either be induced the next day at 8am, or I could choose to wait a further 24 hours (although they would rather I didn’t choose that option as it presented risks to my baby).
The next day, I still didn’t have any surges, and I decided to go ahead with the induction rather than wait any longer. I chose this option as I didn’t want to put my baby at risk of an infection. I would need 8-hourly antibiotics until I gave birth, to give my little boy the best chance of not contracting an infection.
I arrived at hospital at 8am, and ended up having to wait for a midwife to be free. This didn’t happen until 10pm that night! We spent 14 hours waiting in a tiny observation room. I knew that this could cause so many problems with my anxiety but made a conscious effort to remain positive, and to focus on the fact that I would soon be meeting my baby. I busied myself, kept talking, and did everything I needed to, to avoid getting worked up.
At 10pm, I was induced. Due to a stretch and sweep previously showing I was 2cm dilated, with a soft and short cervix, it was decided that I didn’t need the pessary, and that I would instead be started straight on the drip. The intensity of the drip was ramped up every 15 minutes until my surges were strong and consistent. They took about two hours to establish themselves.
My ideal birth was a water birth with no pain relief. Due to being induced, I was being monitored constantly and therefore couldn’t have a water birth. I didn’t let this upset me and just got on with things. I started with gas and air, as I was certain I wanted no pain relief, but this made me sick so I stopped using it. I then made a decision to have pethidine. I liked the fact that this relaxed me, however the surges were coming thick and fast by this point, and I needed more by way of painkillers. I therefore chose to have an epidural - something I was absolutely certain I didn’t want beforehand, but I used BRAIN to make the decision. Unfortunately the first epidural didn’t work so I had to have a second, but I remained calm, and once administered properly, I felt total and utter relief, and really felt like I could do this.
I bonded with my midwife straight away, which made all the difference for me, and when 8am came (a very quick 12 hours later), I was disappointed that her shift was ending and that I’d be placed with a different midwife to have my baby. Again, this could have been something that I became anxious about, but I remained positive, to avoid my mind shutting down.
I got on well with the new midwife too, and she started me pushing as soon as her shift begun (despite being only 2cm dilated a couple of hours previously, I had progressed to a full 10cm very quickly)! However, due to my baby’s heart rate not being stable, I could only push for an hour before it would need to progress to an instrumental delivery, or even a c-section. I didn’t spend too much time focusing on the possibilities, and instead focused on what was happening at the present time. I pushed as well as I could and felt I was making progress, but after just over an hour of pushing, a consultant examined me and found my baby to be back-to-back.
Before I knew it, it was 9am the next day, and I was in theatre about to have an episiotomy and a Keilland’s forceps delivery, with the possibility of a c-section if the baby didn’t come out with forceps after three pushes. I again used BRAIN to decide that a c-section was absolutely not what I wanted, and I therefore used all my energy to birth my baby on the second push.
I gave birth to a baby boy at 10.02am, with music playing, and whilst laughing and joking with those in theatre with me. The birth was unreal and such a positive experience. The theatre staff all knew about my anxieties and had been informed that my birth plan detailed exactly what I wanted if a theatre delivery arose. It was followed in its’ entirety and I couldn’t have been happier.
My little boy needed to be taken to NICU due to suspected Sepsis (as a result of being without water for 72 hours) and also because he was grunting. Before he was whisked off, we had skin-to-skin and got to take a few photos. He needed 50% oxygen at birth, and antibiotics in NICU. We both ended up staying in hospital for two nights, but my baby was cleared of Sepsis 48 hours later.
As someone who is needle-phobic, I am really proud of myself and my birth experience. Nothing on my birth plan turned out to be possible, but it was the most perfect birth for me and my baby at the time. I recovered quickly and was up and about, painkiller-free, the very next day.
Four weeks later, I feel great, and am absolutely loving being a mama to my little boy. He means the world to me!
Thank you, Siobhan, for giving me the confidence to birth my baby, and for enabling me to understand that I have choices.
For any pregnant women reading this who also suffer with anxiety over the unknown... if I can do this, you can too... I promise you!
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