Birth story - Kate and baby girl
Second time round, my last pregnancy and I really wanted a good go at a natural childbirth. I’ve been lucky to be low risk in my pregnancies but it seemed there was a theme, my waters break and my contractions don’t start... It also happens, i am not in the 94% of women whose contractions kick off within 96 hours of their waters breaking.
First time round I had no idea it’d happened, maybe my membranes broke while swimming, possibly the babies head was very low and plugged the gap, I’m not sure, but unfortunately an infection crept in making me very unwell in labour. I had a pretty horrible birth experience all round. I was terrified and so out of control.
This time, I was very aware of my waters breaking and was that lady snatching Tena lady pants in Tesco with fluid leaking down her legs! I was also really aware of my options, risks and benefits as a second time Mum, I’d been to positive birth movement groups and discovered hypnobirthing. 24 hours later, still no movement after all the walking, stair climbing and clary sage sniffing, I lost my birth centre dream and went to the hospital for assessment.
I was put on a bed and a little later realised it was the induction ward as a midwife started measuring my legs for socks she turned to the monitor and said your pulse is high, I could feel it racing as I began to get worked up. No one asked if I was ready for an induction or explained to me what was going to happen, they just started doing things to me and I felt out of control and unprepared.
I knew my rights in birth so against NHS advice, went through the paper work with a doctor where he explained the risk of infection was 1% if I took precautions , and I confidently declined induction. I did this for 3 days. I listened to all the doctors and midwives and their advice and risks but did not want to be induced, I didn’t want to not be able to cope with the pain and lose my natural birth if I could help it.
By day 4 I had tried all I could to get things going, I’d also slept and eaten better than any other point in the last month and felt very well and very ready for whatever I had to do to meet our baby but, I also knew despite an IV induction, I had strong feelings of how I wanted it to happen.
This is where I wanted to mention my new, and life long best friend (she doesn’t know this!) Siobahn Milller, founder of the Positive Birth Company and creator of the digital pack, which provides you with hypnobirthing videos as well as breathing and relaxation mp3s for only £35 (I also want to thank my real life best friend for buying this for me!!).
I suffered with some low level pregnancy anxiety in my third trimester which I think was due to a bit of sleep apnoea and a bit too much going on which meant I just could not nod off. I’d lay on the sofa listening to her mp3 of positive affirmations to get me to sleep and had this playing through my headphones from the second my contractions started.
I also owned my hospital space, aromatherapy oils, fairy lights, blinds pulled... the midwife found me wireless monitors so I could be mobile throughout birth and a birthing ball to sit on. I breathed in for 4 and out for 8 with every contraction for about 5 or 6 hours, listening to affirmations like “birth is powerful but so am I” and “my contractions are not stronger than me, because they are me” ( I did have to fight the little voice trying to creep in and say “ no, but it’s not me, it a strong synthetic hormone!”). The thing about positive affirmations is that if you tell yourself something enough times then your mind does begin to believe it, also, the breathing begins to take you to a hazy place but where you are still very much in control.
My midwife was also awesome, she commented on how in control I was and impressed with how I was managing the surges with the IV. She totally left me to it and was so chilled, even when I lost it during transition and said I couldn’t do it anymore, she got right up in my face and said “you are going to meet your baby any minute, you’re doing it”.
I definitely wasn’t an Earth mother, silently breathing that baby out in pure tranquil bliss, I screamed through that last phase but I did feel like I could have stood on the steps a few hours later and be papped like the Duchess!
Birth is bloody empowering and can make you feel you can climb mountains afterwards if you can have the opportunity to feel calm and in control. The midwives noted down the Positive Birth Company and digital pack to buy themselves for training and recommend to other women when I told them about it. The digital pack and Siobhan's voice got me the birth id been determined to have and was certain I was going to lose to an induction. It’s invaluable to be that informed in birth I truly wish all women knew about it- spread the word!
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