Birth story - Joanne and baby Frankie

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I was diagnosed at 33 weeks with gestational diabetes and remained diet controlled throughout pregnancy and labour.

I had my first baby in a MLU, and was disappointed to have to give birth on the labour ward this time around. I also had a planned induction for my due date which I felt very apprehensive about. They had wanted to induce me at 38 weeks, however I declined and we negotiated a due date Induction.

Fast forward to the day after my 4th sweep and the day before my looming induction. I woke at about 6.30am feeling surges brewing. I knew it was labour as it was exactly how it started with my first baby.

Within 2 hours they were 3 mins apart, and lasting nearly a minute. I said to my husband things were ramping up quickly, and we best call the labour ward. They told us to come straight in. It was a half hour journey and I focused solely on my up breathing and trying to remain relaxed. When we arrived at the hospital I was stopping every few mins to breathe through the surges en route to the labour ward.

I settled in a room and agreed to be examined and was told I was 6-7cm. I asked for gas and air, and tried a few positions until I found one on my side I was most comfortable in. I ended up being monitored continuously as my surges were very close together. I didn’t mind this as I agreed that was safest for baby. (BRAIN)

2 hours later the surges were very intense so I asked for some more pain relief - the midwife suggested another exam as I may be too far along. When she did the exam my waters went rather spectacularly and soaked everything! I was still 6-7 cm as the pressure of my water was stretching the cervix. She did say babies head was now pressing down and things may get very intense.

She was right!! At this point everything went up a notch and my surges had no break. They were one after another and really strong. The midwife gave me an injection to slow labour down, and some pethidine to take the edge off. I did have a wobble here thinking I wouldn’t cope. However with my breathing & gas and air I got through the next 20 mins and things calmed down. Had this been my first labour I would have totally lost the plot here, however I remembered the pain/fear cycle and knew I had to hold it together and use my breathing.

The baby was not happy after this and I had to try various positions to calm down baby. My side was the best again and I relaxed into the pain and just breathed. I wasn’t concerned that I wasn’t upright at this point as I just wanted baby to get back on track.

Things settled down and I stayed on my side as I felt most comfortable. As I was breathing out I felt huge pressure in my bum and the midwife asked if I was pushing- to which I said I was going with my body. She said baby was right there and let’s move things along. I was still on my side and raised my one leg in the air and used down breathing. When I felt the head coming, I then listened to the midwife as she guided me when to stop and when to push. Just 20 mins later out she came!! The pain vanished instantly and I was so proud I had the labour I wanted and had done it my way. Things weren’t exactly how I imagined them, however I made decisions right for me and baby.

We had delayed cord clamping, the injection for placenta (which was out and away in about a minute!) and an hour of skin to skin. She even breastfed for about half an hour!!

I didn’t need any stitches and only had a slight tear. I was up and about after the golden hour and have felt back to normal pretty much straight away.

Eight hour labour and the midwives said I was so in the zone, they asked if I used hypnobirthing! I barely spoke a word and concentrated on breathing, relaxing and listening to my body. I put my trust in my body and what my instinct told me. I was confident and felt so empowered.

It was overall a better experience than my first birth in a MLU! The techniques I learnt were invaluable in staying calm and trusting my body.

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