Birth story - Imogen and baby Saraya

I woke on the Saturday at around 6.20am with waves of period type pains. These came anywhere between 2mins and 30mins apart but increased slowly in strength and length until the early hours of the morning when they were lasting between 1min 15 and 2mins consistently but still irregular in frequency. The discomfort was more in my hip bones than anywhere else and didn't feel like tightening either. I used the tens machine as a distraction on and off throughout the day/night.

We phoned triage on Sunday and they said that nothing was probably happening to my cervix as my surges were still irregular and that I could go in to be checked and have oramorphe. I felt really disheartened by this and the offer of pain relief as it made me question myself and how I would cope when the real thing kicked in!

The feelings pretty much stopped then, apart from the odd one every now and then, and I was determined to ignore them with the help of the tens machine because I was cross that they weren't doing anything so we went to bed.

I woke up at around 1.20am on Monday 14th to the feeling every 7ish minutes and more intensely in my hips. I still didn't feel like it was the real thing but was uncomfortable in bed, even with the help of a hot water bottle, that I tried to sleep through them, on the landing, so I didn't wake my husband as he had work on Monday. I still couldn't sleep so decided to get in the bath at around 2am which was fab and I stayed in there around an hour and half. When I got out and started timing again they were irregular in length but around the 5mins mark lasting for around 1-2minutes. I was pacing around the hallway but could feel myself beginning to get a little tense so I apologetically woke my husband and said it was still probably nothing because it wasn't that bad and still irregular but that I just didn't know what to do with myself and wanted his support. He was utterly amazing throughout and so grateful he had completed the pack with me.

I got in the shower at around 4.10am and from this point they were between every 1.5mins and 3.5mins lasting for between 1 and 2 mins. The shower was a massive relief and I was finding that with using up breathing and the shower, sometimes I would have to really concentrate to know if I had one coming/going and I was truly back in the zone in a good headspace, trusting myself again even though they were irregular. You know your own bodies ladies, trust yourself!

My husband phoned triage and they explained that labour ward was very busy and as I was still talking fine I probably wasn't established and could go in to be checked. I declined because the thought of leaving the shower was unbearable and I was convinced I'd only be around 2cm because I was so calm and comfortable and they said they would send someone in 45 mins.

Hubby went to inflate the pool and I carried on breathing and rocking through the surges in the shower.

The midwife and student arrived at around 6.45am and he listened to baby and felt my tummy through a couple of surges and asked if it would be okay for me to get out so he could examine me which I agreed to out of curiousity (I don't think that they believed I was in established labour because I was so calm and able to talk through and in-between still) to everyone's surprise I was already 8/9cm dilated. This seriously motivated me because I felt I was coping fine and that it really was just uncomfortable but totally bearable.

I continued rocking and breathing through surges using a hot water bottle pressed into my bump to help until the pool filled and as soon as it had I got in and found instant comfort like being in the shower again.

The second midwife arrived shortly after and I could hear them discussing how remarkably calm I was!

I was rocking around in the pool and squeezing my husband hands through each surge. Listening to the hypnobirthing mp3s throughout the rest of labour.

At 10am I was sick and think this was the beginnings of transition as it was really intense. They offered me another examination and I accepted due to the feeling like I didn't know what to do with myself - I was curious if I was transitioning.

During the examination she discovered I was fully dilated with only a tiny lip of cervix on one side but that I had a small amount of waters bulging in front of baby's head. She asked if I would like her to pop it. I used my BRAIN and accepted as I felt this probably explained my confused feeling and felt instant relief as soon as they were broken.

I got back in the pool and instantly felt the feelings ramp up and change in feeling/intensity. I went into my zone and was rocking and down breathing.

By 11.15 the feeling was very pushy and I decided to go with this and push with my body which felt like such a relief, using my short breaths to help and squeezing Kiers hands. Within a few of these strong surges I could start to feel her head which was utterly incredible and motivating. I could feel baby bobbing back and forth and knew this was a gentle way for her to be born for both of us so I totally trusted my body and just pushed when the pushy feeling came.

The in water Doppler broke at this point and they couldn't hear baby's heart rate, I felt completely calm as I knew we were close and felt sure she was okay. They found an out of water Doppler and so I had to stand for them to listen every 5mins but coped fine with this as I was still upright forward and open.

When her head was crowning the midwives advised me to try and support it and breath through as gently as possible. I trusted my body and followed my instincts of what to do and guided baby's head out to her forehead. Midwives advised to push but I trusted my instincts and waited for the next feeling -knowing that this was allowing my body to stretch. With the next couple of surges her head was out. The midwives advised me to kneel back a little so that I could guide her up comfortably and with the next surge I was able to get my hands under her arms and bring her out and up to me. The most amazing, surreal moment of my life!

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After around 15 mins I got out of the pool and with one small push and a cough the placenta passed naturally after the cord being cut by daddy (after it'd stopped pulsing) and I had only around 100ml of blood loss and no tears!

It was honestly the most amazing, empowering, incredible experience of my life. I would do it all again in a heartbeat and feel forever indebted to the digital pack and for opting for a home birth for such an overwhelmingly positive experience. 😍💕💗

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