Birth Story - Iona and baby Mila

Iona Hickman.jpg

We had been to see Bruno Mars at the O2 on Tuesday night, and surprisingly I’d not felt too
tired, the only issue was my massive cankles! Anyway the next day I went to work as usual,
even if I was over tired from the night before. When I got home from work on the
Wednesday evening I started to feel a bit crampy. I went to the toilet and had some very
thick mucus type discharge… I wondered if it was the mucus plug but didn’t think too much
of it.

I made some dinner and pottered about, all the time having mild period like cramps. When
Jon got home I mentioned I’d had this discharge thing and showed him a photo (gross right
hehe!). We did some googling and it said you can lose the mucus plug up to 2 weeks before
baby comes, and as my due date was 2 weeks away we felt re-assured nothing would
happen yet.

I messaged my sister in law, who was a week overdue with her third baby and she
confirmed it looked like my plug. I then messaged my mum explaining it’s common to
happen 2 weeks before baby comes, she replied saying ‘well with your brother 2 hours after
I lost mine I was in full blown labour’. I still didn’t believe her, although on my next visit to
the toilet there was a bloody show… hmmm…

I decided to wash up, clean the bathroom and think about my hospital bag, most of which
I’d packed but not quite all of it! The cramps were getting stronger so I decided to shower
and shave my legs!!! The first time in 4 months and I chose to do it whilst basically having
surges! Yes I was insane lol! Jon and I decided to go to bed and I thought it would wear off,
he kept saying he didn’t think this was it, but I felt it might be. In bed they came on a little
stronger, but I did my breathing and tried to stay calm. I thought I’d use my surges app to
see how long they were and how frequent. They were coming 5-7 mins apart for 30-50
seconds. They felt like I needed a poo! So I got up and went to the lounge, I thought Jon
should sleep until I knew it was bad. I messaged my mum explaining they were pretty
frequent. By now when they came I was on all fours on the sofa breathing through them.
Mum told me to wake Jon and tell him, when I did it felt like things moved on quickly! I think
I woke him about 1am, but he said he hadn’t slept. I told him I though this was it, and to
help me pack my bags! Thus ensued manic downloading of songs, grabbing my toothbrush,
pumping the birthing ball etc all in between me telling him I needed his hand when
contractions came on.

They started to intensify but I was still breathing through them, I even wrote a list of things I
needed to tie up at work at 4:30am between surges (did I mention I wasn’t even on mat
leave yet!). Then they started getting very frequent and intense. I started mooing and
making noise and dropping to all fours when they came on, I felt like the baby would come
out of my bum the pressure was intense. I then stared to feel sick, and was sick. Jon called
the midwife and explained the surges were 3 mins apart, but we didn’t want to come in too
early but also to get the birthing pool ready. After the call they came thick and fast 1-2 mins
apart and Jon said we were going to hospital with which I agreed. I hurried to the car
between surges and Jon drove as speedily as he could to Kingston hospital, I had some
surges on the way which I breathed through and bit down on a towel during – I even had one in the hospital car park and leant over someone else car. We were admitted at 6am,
and I was 4/5cm dilated. By this point I wanted some gas and air and the pool! Breathing
was good and Jon counting with me helped, but I was tired.

When I got into the pool I cried as it was so soothing! The gas and air was amazing too, and
helped me remain calm and breathe through things. Jon took some great photos and also
supported me, but I kind of went inside myself. He was brilliant at giving me snacks/drinks
etc and holding my hand when I needed it. Massage went out the window and the LED
candles never made it out of the bag hehe, but the spa music and breathing worked a treat.
Some surges I didn’t even make a sound I just let them happen inside my body. One comedy
moment was my alarm going off for work! HAHA! Thankfully I was fully dilated within a few
hours, and could feel her head low… but I was getting exhausted by then. This made my
contractions slow down and made me panic that something was wrong with the baby or
that I would need a c section. The midwife kept telling me if things didn’t happen soon I’d
need to get out to be monitored, I think this further ruined my flow!

I had to get out briefly to have a catheter and be checked then I got back in, things slowed
further as I was exhausted. I was pushing when the contractions came but to no avail. After
hours of this I had to get out and was put on a bed in stirrups, my worst nightmare… BUT
the breathing, gas and air and some Mio yoga spray helped along with some Norah Jones
playing (we got bored of spa music!). I was totally exhausted by this point, and they said
they needed to use the ventouse because the baby wasn’t ‘coming around the corner’
whatever corner that was!! It all got very intense with the ventouse, hardcore pushing,
minimal contractions and several failed (thankfully) canular attempts to get syntocinon in
me and to top it off an episiotomy. Then finally Mila Susan Marie Hickman arrived at
13:45pm 20th April weighing 6lbs 14oz!

It wasn’t all plain sailing, but I would still say overall I had a positive birth. The majority of it
was plain sailing and I think the end was a result of just sheer exhaustion due to not being
on mat leave, seeing Bruno Mars and having no sleep! The breathing techniques helped
loads, and Jon was a full on birthing partner who really supported me throughout, we also
didn’t go to hospital too early thanks to knowing the signs and not rushing. Even with the
end not as I wished, I honestly never felt I needed more pain relief. The breathing and gas
and air worked for me, and asking for more pain meds never crossed my mind which I also
think is a testament to hypnobirthing. We still had our golden hour of skin to skin, delayed
cord clamping, and I fed Mila, before daddy had skin to skin time too.

Thank you Siobhan for equipping me with techniques to cope even if it wasn’t exactly the
dream birth!


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