Birth story - Harriet and baby Fred

* I apologize for the use of the word “contraction” - I didn’t have a negative association with it and therefore never felt the need to use the word “surge”

I’m excited to finally share my labour story after reading them religiously when pregnant!

My husband and I downloaded the online course at 20 weeks and watched a video together everyday. From 35 weeks, we practiced the relaxation tools every evening and I re-watched some of the videos myself to rid my mind of the nerves that began to creep in as my due date approached. I listened to the positive affirmations mp3 everyday when getting ready 🙌🏼

So, I lost my plug the day after my due date and spent the next 6 days religiously bouncing on my birth ball, going for long walks and watching my favourite films to get all the oxytocin flowing 😂

It all then started when I went for a sweep at 40+6 weeks. By this point, I was so desperate to meet him, I had used BRAIN and decided to accept the sweep.

My midwife told me that my waters were bulging and she could feel baby’s head (she said she could feel his hair!) 😯 I was 1-2cm dilated and she was convinced the sweep would get things started...

She was right! 😳 Within 30minutes of having the sweep, I started having period type pains. My husband & I went for a walk (in the rain!) & out for our last dinner as a twosome in case tonight was the night 👫

By the time we got home, the period type pains had intensified in to my lower back but felt completely manageable & I went to bed as normal, not sure whether this was it or not 🤷🏻‍♀️...I couldn’t get comfortable laying down & within a few hours decided to start timing these “feelings” 🤰🏻

I told Spencer (my husband) that I thought I was having contractions and decided to go downstairs to get comfortable and keep timing them. I set up the living room with my candles, lavender incense sticks and relaxation MP3’s 🙌🏼

I kept the lights off and breathed my way through each contraction. They were coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting 30-45 seconds

Spencer couldn’t sleep so joined me downstairs and I decided to call the midwife unit to ask if I was in labour 😂 because I still wasn’t sure if this was what it should feel like...she said I probably was and to call back when I felt I wanted to come in 🚗

A few hours later, my contractions were coming every 2 minutes and lasting 45seconds so we headed in 🚗 in the snow ⛄️

The midwife checked me & disappointingly I was only 2-3cm! So we headed home again(!) We brought the duvet downstairs, I had two paracetamol, put the candles on again & watched some comedy on the tv 🤰🏻I also decided to have a shower (in the dark) to relieve the pressure in my back.

A few more hours passed & we headed back in. I was conscious of the uncomfortable car journey if we left it any longer...

As the MLU is not often chosen in my area, we were lucky enough to be the only ones there and had the choice of the birthing rooms!

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I wanted to use the pool as pain relief and the pool room was beautiful & calm, we turned the lights down and put my tea lights out. I also had some clary sage oil which Spencer put on a flannel for me & everyone was commenting on how lovely the room smelt!

We had lots of snacks - all my favourite sweets and dried fruits.

Again to my disappointment, when checked, I was only 3-4cm! 😩 but they let us stay and left us to it...Spencer gave me a massage, cuddled me through my surges (“hugs before drugs”) and I had the positive affirmations mp3 playing on repeat❤️

The intensity of labour had caused me to throw up a few times so I was convinced things were moving along nicely but after another check, the midwife confirmed I was only 4cm dilated but that a 💩 might be in the way slowing things down 🙊...She gave me an enema & the relief I felt was incredible 🙌🏼

I then got in to the birthing pool and just two hours later felt ready to push 🤰🏻 Needless to say, the enema had worked 😳

Because I had progressed from 4cm to 10cm in under 2 hours, I found this stage quite intense and struggled to breath through the surges which were coming every 30seconds but my husband & midwife were amazing at reminding me to breath & holding my hands 🙌🏼 At one point I actually told them to leave the baby in there 😂🙊 but I knew this was my “transition” and Spencer reminded me of this ❤️

Unfortunately, Fred got stuck in the birth canal & his heart rate began dropping so I had to get out of the pool and on to a bed for the final few pushes. They coached me through these pushes as I was losing focus of my breath. The midwife gave me an episiotomy, Spencer was encouraging me to keep going & before we knew it, our little Fred was here! 👶🏻 The pushing stage lasted only 55minutes.

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Although the midwives had called for an ambulance to possibly resuscitate Fred whose heart rate had dropped down in to the 80’s, I didn’t at any point feel stressed or scared. I trusted in them. I felt safe and supported 🙌🏼 I knew at that point that I needed their help to birth him & their help was incredible.

Fred and I enjoyed 3 hours of skin to skin as they stitched me up, Spencer cut the cord which was left to pulse until Fred had received all his blood and they didn’t rush to take him away from me to be weighed or checked 💙👶🏻

Labour was harder than I ever imagined it to be but it was also the most amazing experience. I’m so pleased my husband took part in the course with me because it gave him the tools, knowledge and confidence to be the best birthing partner ever ❤️🙌🏼 I really couldn’t have done it without him.

Thank you Siobhan Miller for creating the online course and enabling us to have a positive experience ❤️

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