Birth story - Keri and baby Rosie

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Firstly this has taken me so long to type up because I really wanted time to process what actually happened and apologies for its length… Secondly in the build up to Rosies entrance I read all the positive stories on here posted daily (thank you so much for sharing yours!) and I watched videos and looked at pictures of positive pool births, home births, MLU births, hospital births, induction births, c-section births, every kind of birth!! I definitely think this all helped me accept that whatever happens on the day will be incredible as I will get to meet my baby.

Rosie wanted to mix my ‘ideal’ birth plan up a little bit and I wouldn’t change anything about the labour - it was truly empowering and I can’t thank hypnobirthing enough for that. We had completed a course locally and then I also purchased the online course as I wanted to keep learning and going over it again and again.

I’d had a restless night where I just felt so hot and sticky. At 5am I had to keep going to the toilet and at first I actually thought what I was experiencing was diarrhoea as I just couldn’t stop pooping! But at the same time as this I started to feel this dull ache in my hips that would intensify and then settle back down. I got back into bed for cuddles with my husband, Tom; the hip discomfort just kept coming and going and I still had to keep getting up to go to the toilet. Tom and I decided this could be pre labour.

At 6.30am I was sitting in a warm bath very happy as I was eating a Linda McCartney sausage sandwich that Tom had made me. The sensations in my hips slowed down.

I stayed in the bath for 30 minutes and then threw on a bra and knickers (turned out to be one of those 27 degrees days!) I put on my labour tunes playlist and swayed and walked around our living room whilst Tom took our dogs for a tiring walk and play.

When Tom came back he suggested we watch one of my favourite films, Love Actually (I’m only ever allowed to watch it at Christmas so this was a very special moment!) I rocked and circled on my birth ball throughout. By the end of the film the ache in my hips had started to subside so I made the most of it and went for a nap.

I managed around 1hr 20 mins sleep on and off until about 12.20pm as the hip discomfort started back up again. Tom and I had another cuddle session and I continued to use my birth ball. By this point we had established that these were definitely surges that where intensifying and Tom started timing them with an app. I found him gently pressing down on my lower back really helped every time the surge grew. Up breathing was also so vital!

By 1pm I was really feeling it in my hips and asked Tom to get me some paracetamol I took 2 at 1.15pm and Tom offered to make me some lunch. Normally I am such a foodie and would have loved the wraps that he was making but I couldn’t stomach them…so he happily ate them both himself. It was so hot I decided to eat a pure orange ice lolly to try and cool myself down. Tom suggested that we walk around in the shade outside as there was more of a breeze out there. He set up my labour tunes playlist outside and I walked around in circles stopping when a surge came to focus on my breathing. Tom would stroke up my back on an inhale and then gently apply the pressure on my lower back on the exhale whilst reminding me to lengthen my breath and keep it smooth. Just being outside made me feel good.

I remember saying to Tom ‘I feel sick’ and then burping loudly in his face (picturing his face now makes me laugh!) I did then throw up and Tom was quite impressed by the whole pieces of my morning tangerine that came out - thankfully this wasn’t on him and I made it as close as I could to the drain! Although the surges were still manageable I took this as a sign that my body was working hard and surges were starting to ramp up.

After timing them Tom realised I was at 3 in 10; he rang our MLU at 2.15pm and spoke to the community midwife who asked him all about the surges, she then asked me what the surges felt like. Our midwife said she would come round to assess me. Tom also rang my parents as they had a 2-3 hour drive to get to us and my Dad was taking pics of our baby when she was born and they were also looking after our dogs.

Back on the birth ball, Tom lit our lavender candle, he switched my ‘tunes’ playlist to the ‘calm’ one and also started setting up all the tea lights, my affirmations and the birth pool in our dining room. Because my timings were like clockwork he would come back through in time for each surge to gently press on my back and remind me of my breathing. We also did my favourite script here - the calming touch one (I had to make the most of those hand massages whilst I still had a very good reason to be receiving them!).

Our midwife, Caryne, arrived just before 3pm and asked me how I felt, read our birth plan and she just had such a lovely and calm presence. She let Tom and I continue to stay in tune with the surges and just let us be. Although I had originally requested no vaginal examinations I had agreed to the first one as due to cuts at our MLU the second community midwife was coming from an hour away and needed some idea on when to travel etc. I also agreed to it as I wanted to get into the birth pool so badly.

I was 3cm dilated but I didn’t think about the number - I just stayed focused on my breath and in my own head - ‘my baby will come when my baby is ready’ (and how true that turned out to be!!)

Caryne told us to call back when surges intensified, lasted longer, if my waters broke or anything else changed. She gave us her private number as she only lives around the corner. She told me to eat something as the uterus is a muscle that will definitely need the energy. Seeing as though I hadn't eaten/kept any food in since 6.30am Tom made me hummus on toast (best snack ever!). Whilst he went and made it he gave me a beautiful letter to read about being parents, it was so touching and made me so incredibly happy and excited. Tom came back in with the toast, I took a bite and as I chewed I felt the sick feeling come back up. Tom grabbed the bowl just in time and as a little sick came out my waters broke!!

I went to the toilet to check and saw green. I knew straight away that Meconium (where baby poops inside before delivery) meant going to the hospital but I stayed calm and focused as I didn’t want anything to slow my labour down. I just breathed and accepted that this was how I was going to meet my baby. Tom rang Caryne straight away (16.48pm) As I heard Tom repeating the name of the hospital we had to go to I just got this sudden urge to bare downwards. I was sat on the toilet and I knew this was baby coming. I shouted through to Tom on the landing to tell her this new bit of information - Tom repeated it very calmly to her (Caryne commented on how she couldn’t believe how calm Tom was afterwards)

So 30 minutes after Caryne had left she was on her way back round. Tom was quickly packing my hypnobirthing items into a bag for hospital (speaker, LED lights, affirmations, lavender room spray, lavender essential oil and lavender hand cream). At 16.58 Tom rang my parents to tell them where the keys where and explain all was ok and we would be going into hospital. At the same time Caryne was on the phone to our MLU asking for the midwife there to leave and come to us (as she was only 25 mins away and she needed another person there just in case). At 17.00 Tom had to hang up on my Mum as Caryne needed him to call the ambulance - he repeated what she was saying while she was looking after me and unpacking everything. She explained to me that because of the Meconium I would need to go to hospital as baby would need to be monitored. I agreed to another examination because I really felt like I would not be making it to hospital and I didn't fancy giving birth in the ambulance….

In the short time Caryne had been home I had gone from 3cm to fully dialated. Caryne had to get everything out of her car and continue to unpack whilst Tom spent the whole time breathing with me and keeping me focused. Although there sounds like a decent amount of ‘urgency’ in this situation - Caryne was amazing. She kept calm and we kept calm. Unfortunately due to the meconium I couldn’t get in the birth pool, but I was sat upright on our sofa feeling so strong and I was just so excited to meet our baby. Caryne kept checking on babies heart rate throughout and she was happy and healthy.

I felt everything - I felt baby moving further down with each down breath. I felt that she was so close as two ambulances arrived. 6 paramedics came into the room - Tom saw me look at them and he kindly asked only those who were needed to stay in the room. He was amazing and kept me completely in the zone and making me feel so safe.

I started to make ‘ooo’ noises (which I felt where quite tuneful for what was going on!) I felt baby crowning and apparently I said ‘ I can’t do this’ but then I knew the sensations I was feeling just meant I was going to meet her so soon. I drew my attention back to my down breath and Caryne and Tom just kept me focusing on it and telling me that they could see her head coming.

After 45 minutes of down breathing Baby Rosie Jean Lincoln was born at 5.35pm on the 6th August weighing 8lbs 12oz.

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I had an hours skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. Caryne said twice that she may have to cut the cord as Rosie wasn’t making much noise and she was a little concerned but every time she went to do it Rosie would let out an almighty cry so Tom got to cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating. I wanted to birth the placenta naturally so Caryne encouraged breastfeeding to help with this. After an hours skin to skin with me, Tom also got skin to skin time whilst I squatted down to help the placenta to come out naturally. I had two grazes and a small tear which didn't require stitching.

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Hypnobirthing was incredible and I’m sure without it this experience could have been a totally different one. I also practice Yoga, we did the perineum massage and I had 6 dates a day from 35 weeks - both I think helped too! Hypnobirthing is AMAZING. So grateful for it and for Siobhan for creating the online course and such an empowering and positive platform on social media and within this group.

Again...apologies for the length - I just wanted to get it all down to remember it all! If you made it to the end well done

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