Birth story - Gemma and baby Nancy

As I write this I still can’t believe that I really did it and its MY birth story! As a total worry wart who likes to plan and prepare every little detail the thought of labour and giving birth felt way out of my comfort zone.

I was extremely lucky to have a fantastic midwife who introduced me to Siobhan and the Positive Birthing Company during an antenatal class that she runs at our local hospital. She played a couple of the videos on YouTube and I went on to watch them all when I got home! Perfect timing too as the digital pack was due to be released a week or so after! I practiced the breathing techniques and listened to the MP3’s regularly during the months leading up to the big event.

It all started on the 22nd June at 40+5 when I started experiencing very mild surges on and off throughout the day. I had a feeling that it may be the start of early labour but found it perfectly manageable and went on with my day as normal. I went to bed that evening around 10.30pm and woke up at 12.10am to some noticeably stronger surges. I struggled to sleep through them at this point, but knowing that rest is best and that it may be the start of a potentially long journey, I practiced my up breathing and remained in bed breathing through and timing the surges.

By 2am I found it very uncomfortable lying down and decided to get up. I spent the next 2.5 hours breathing through my surges and swaying on all fours. By 4.30am the surges felt more intense and I started to have a little wobble so I decided it was time to wake my husband up. My surges were coming regularly and closer together so we decided to call the birthing centre.

I was advised to take some paracetamol, have a bath and try to rest. I couldn’t get comfortable lying down so I decided to avoid the bath and instead continued to practice my up breathing and swaying in a UFO position.

By 7am I felt rather exhausted so decided to try and get some rest. I spent the next hour listening to the MP3’s on repeat (they were an absolute god send!) and managed to fall asleep in between surges. By this point, however, they were coming every 2 minutes with intensity.

My husband noticed a change in me by 8am and told me it was time to take me to the birthing centre. At the time I was very reluctant as I had it in my head I’d be examined (something I was really anxious about) and be sent back home.

On arrival the midwife also thought this would be the case given my relaxed attitude and after observing how I was coping through the surges. Imagine my delight when she informed me that I wouldn’t be going anywhere, and that in fact, I was 6cm dilated! I cried with relief after hearing those words and felt so proud of myself for getting so far at home using my up breathing!

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After reading my birth preferences she quickly got to work filling the birth pool. Meanwhile I continued to breathe through the surges while my husband set the scene with artificial tea lights, setting up the speaker to play my ‘birth playlist’ and rubbing my back through the stronger surges (not quite light touch massage but it felt amazing!).

At 10.54am I got into the pool and within minutes I knew I’d entered the down breathing stage as I felt a lot of pressure with each surge and heard myself make a noise that I’d never heard before (nor could I replicate - think animalistic, instinctive sounds from somewhere deep inside!).

I had another wobble at this point and realised I was in transition. I started to panic as it didn’t seem long since I was told I was 6cm so I was adamant I couldn’t possibly be fully dilated already. I decided to use gas and air during this stage to help me focus my breathing. My husband and midwife were amazing at supporting me with this reminding me to take deep breaths in and out.

I began to feel the sensation of my daughter moving down the birth canal and bobbing back up with each surge. My midwife assured me I was doing a great job and that I was breathing my baby down and wouldn’t need any coaching from them.

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At 11.26am on the 23rd June Nancy Evelyn was born, I caught her in my arms and we remained in the pool for the next 25 minutes until the cord had stopped pulsating. The midwives said she was a ‘textbook water birth baby’ as she was so calm and content they had to really annoy her to make her cry! She’s been as calm and content everyday since then and my midwife is convinced its because I remained so relaxed throughout my pregnancy and labour (something I can 100% thank the digital pack for).

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My hospital notes say that I was in labour for 1hr 35 mins and pushing for 32 mins. I like to tell people about how I battled it out for 9 hours before going to the hospital though! I felt (and still feel) like a total superwoman.

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