Birth story - Leanne and baby Lily

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Just to give you a bit of background and why I chose to do a hypnobirthing course. With my son 2.5 years ago I had a fairly negative experience, I came away from the birth feeling like I had lost complete control over what was happening to me. I ended up being put on a hormone drip as my contractions had stopped. I now know from the course that this was likely due to stress as I was told my baby was small despite having growth scans and being signed off as him being a good weight and I was sent to the delivery unit. After 17 hours of labour and intense monitoring/checks, I had a ventouse delivery which I wanted to avoid this time. He was 7lbs 1oz.

I chose to do a hypnobirthing course because I wanted to feel more relaxed no matter what was thrown at me this time but couldn't afford the usual courses. I came across Siobhan's course on the unmumsy mum blog and thought I can't go wrong for £35. However I got so much more than I hoped from it. What really helped me was the knowledge of what my body was doing and the science behind it. It also gave me the confidence to question decisions/advice given and use BRAIN. The affirmation 'I will make the right decisions for me and my baby' was really helpful.

I had a small bump this time round too and the growth scans came out fine. I ensured that it was written all over my notes and included a letter from the consultant that I was ok to use the birth unit. I had planned to go to the detached birth centre rather than the one attached to the hospital so that I couldn't be sent to delivery suite without much reasoning behind it. I had a normal pregnancy except some of the scans showed low waters (again I had this with my son so I wasn't too worried) I was offered induction a couple of times because of this but after using BRAIN I refused as everything else was fine and I kept an eye on her movements.

On Wednesday the 26th September, my son went to nursery and that night was staying at my in-laws so I thought today would be a good day for things to happen. I had a feeling it would be when he wasn't around as I could relax. I went for some walks, cleaned the house, bounced on my ball and that night we had an Indian takeaway. In the morning, about 5:30, I was having tightenings and period like cramps. I didn’t think anything of it because I had been having Braxton Hicks for 2 weeks prior. Around 7am I felt a bit wet down there and after going to the toilet realised I had my show. Again didn't think much of it as I knew it could be days yet. I had my 40 week midwife appointment at 10am so thought I would wait until then to ask her about it. I put a pad on which kept getting wet. At the midwife appointment she said it sounds like my waters have gone. I was still getting the cramps at this point but completely manageable. She checked the baby's heartbeat and noticed it was a little high so suggested I went to triage to get checked. At this point I got upset as I knew I could be in triage for hours but she ensured me as my waters had gone I'll be seen to quickly.

I called my husband back from work and got my bags. I thought I would be coming back home but packed them just in case. We waited in triage for a few hours. Tightenings were still happening but very irregular and I was coping fine with up breathing. After being monitored the heartbeat was back to normal but the tightenings had revved up a lot. I started timing them and they were every 2/3 minutes lasting 50/60 seconds. I started to panic as we were left alone in triage surrounded by other patients. Midwives kept saying they will see to me but then disappeared. I knew things were happening quickly so I kept going by their office and asking for help. I was also very vocal by this point through the surges. I was definitely having a wobble and up breathing went out the window for a while but I think this worked in my favour as they then came and saw me pretty quick once I started making noise. However, this is where what I learnt on the course came into force. I knew what my body was telling me and I knew I had to be seen to.

Surges were now on top of each other with no break. The midwife wanted to examine me because she thought it was happening now. I knew it wasn't but I wanted to know where I was. This was actually the worse bit of the labour. My cervix was right round the back and baby's head was very low so this was very unpleasant. I was only 1/2cm but I was ok about this as I knew things were happening fast. The midwife said I can go home, go to the birth centre as previously planned or up to the birth unit attached. I knew I couldn't walk back to the car so I said the birth unit and midwife agreed that was best. We got to triage at 12pm and were in the birth unit by 4pm. As soon as we got there I felt an instant relief. By this point I didn't care where we were, I just wanted to be in a room where I can relax and concentrate on the surges but was so glad we got to go the birth unit. The room was lovely and the midwife asked if I wanted gas and air and the pool - amazing yes please! My husband wanted to go get the bags from the car but I didn't want him to leave me and midwife said I don't think you'll have time.

As soon as I got in the pool my surges slowed down, this is just what I needed as they were very intense and it was nice having a break in between them again. The pool was so soothing. I knelt on my knees and leaned over the side, holding onto my husband's arms and the gas and air.

The gas and air helped me concentrate on breathing a lot more and I took long breathes in and out rather than counting. When my breathing went too rapid, my husband and midwife were really good at reminding me to take it slower which really helped. I had my hypnobirthing music playing out from my phone too which was really relaxing.

I asked for paracetamol but midwife said I was way past that point and the only thing I could have was diamorphine. I declined this as it made me feel very out of it with my son (although felt amazing) I felt it hindered our bonding and him breastfeeding straight away. I said I could still only be 2cm for all I know and she said she could examine me if I wanted. I declined as I couldn't move from my spot and she said she knew it wouldn't be long and I knew she was right.

After a while, with each contraction I could feel the baby moving down which was reassuring as I knew they were doing their job. Then I felt like I either need a poo or it was getting time to push. I got my husband to call the midwife as she kept leaving us alone which panicked me a bit but in a way I'm glad as it meant little intervention. At this point I felt things calmed down a lot and I was able to look round the room for the first time in a while in between surges.

The pressure down there began to increase with each surge and I tried down breathing as much as possible but it didn't seem to be doing much for me and decided I wanted to actively push. The head kept bobbing back up but I knew that this was ok and I let it happen. The midwife agreed as this was the best way to prevent tearing and a lot more gentle for the both of us. She kept checking the baby's heart rate throughout under the water and she was fine all the way through. I found being vocal while pushing somehow made it easier for me. I did have a few wobbles saying that I couldn't do it and worried a little that I would need help again. But the midwife was calm and reassuring throughout so I knew she wasn't worried and that helped a lot. After 5/6 pushes the head was out. It was the most amazing feeling. I could feel her head turning around and felt her with my hand. With the next surge her body was out at 6:48pm. She was here! We had amazing skin to skin time in the water and delayed cord clamping. I started to ask about the placenta, the midwife checked and it was completely detached from the cervix and said she could guide it out if I liked. I agreed as I just wanted it out and she gently pulled it out. It didn't hurt at all. Once out the pool she checked and I only had a little graze. No stitches! This was something I wanted to avoid as I had stitches with my son, so I was very happy. Our little girl was 7lbs 11oz and latched on to breastfeed straight away once out the pool. The birth is recorded as 3 hours and 5 minutes.

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I couldn't be happier about how the birth turned out. I felt completely in control the whole way through my labour and pregnancy (except the small panic when in triage) It was definitely a healing experience. I have Siobhan and her team to thank for that, for making the course so accessible and giving me the confidence in my body and my choices. I think this would be a different story I would be telling if I hadn't done the course.

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