Birth Story - Lizzie and baby Mabel
With my first child, I had a very long latent labour (2 long nights of irregular but extremely strong surges) before proper labour kicked off and I hoped I would get to skip this part with my second!
I started getting gentle surges on the morning of Thursday 7th December and as they became a little more regular my husband and I discussed whether or not we should call my parents to have our son overnight. As they intensified we decided we should drop him to their house. This was the first time he had ever stayed away from me overnight and I was very anxious about it... I'm not sure that anxiety helped me much to be honest but I guess I couldn't help that. We got home and decided to blow up the birth pool, and after the surges became more regular Neill started to fill the pool.
At about 4am I went for a lie down and fell asleep, waking an hour later to find the surges had tailed off - so frustrating!!! We went and picked Arthur back up the next day (he'd had a whale of a time eating biscuits in bed with Grandma and Grandad so I needn't have worried). Throughout the day the surges started again so we dropped him back to my parents that evening and the exact same thing happened - except I spent the whole night throwing up between surges just for them to tail off about 5am... I was getting very annoyed now!
However, I woke up after 90 mins sleep on Saturday morning and just knew today was different. I still couldn't keep any food down, but managed to drink and nap a bit and by 6pm I felt like I was in 'proper labour' so strapped on the tens machine and got breathing. We called the hospital and a midwife came out to assess me at about 9pm - she checked me and said I was about 3cm dilated (disappointing!!!) and said I should try and get some sleep if I could. Also to call her when I felt things had gotten further along. At that point I was desperate to get in the pool, the surges were strong and intense, in my back particularly, but I didn't want to slow anything down - so I decided to have a bath and made Neill hold my hand whilst I had it as I was starting to feel anxious at this point.
At about 1am we called the midwife back and she checked me and said I could get in the pool. After she checked me she asked if I could feel the contractions in my back and confirmed what I was worried about - the baby was back to back. I got in the pool and the relief was amazing but I was shaking so hard with adrenaline and exhaustion the lovely midwife insisted I try and eat something so I ate some banana. Then after about 4 hours in the pool with strong surges coming every 2.5 minutes I decided to get out to walk around a bit to see if I could get things going a bit quicker.
What actually happened was that I was so tired at this point I couldn't even stand up so I curled up on the sofa and drifted in and out of sleep for about an hour. That gave me a bit of energy, and although I felt a little bit hopeless at this point I decided to read some positive birth stories to try and reassure me which actually really helped. I got back in the pool about 6.30am and felt more invigorated, although knew the midwife's shift was finishing at 8.30 and that added some pressure for me. The surges were incredibly intense at this point, lasting nearly 2 minutes but never coming faster than every three minutes. My breathing was incredibly helpful, and I made Neill count my breaths in and out. I did struggle with how intense they were, being back to back meant they definitely felt stronger than with my first and the affirmation 'the surges cannot be stronger than me because they are me' was invaluable in keeping me grounded.
8.30am came and went and my midwife had to leave (after telling me I was the calmest person she'd ever seen - I blame exhaustion!) and in walked the exact same midwife that delivered Arthur 2 years earlier, also at home! This really cheered me up and I started to feel the surges changing into downwards pressure - the midwife examined me in the pool and said she could literally feel the baby's head ready to crown. She quickly called the second midwife and about 5 minutes after she arrived I felt a pop and my waters broke - 2 pushes later and my baby girl flew out into my arms at 9.45am on Sunday 10th December. I pulled her up on to my chest and felt such exhilaration - I think I said "I did it" a million times!
This was a very different pushing experience than my first - I really felt more like I breathed her out, it was so calm and quiet. When I had Arthur I had a big tear and I was anxious to get out of the pool so they could check me but still needed the placenta to come - finally it did and I got out and was over the moon to find out I hadn't torn and didn't need to transfer. Neill had her for some skin to skin time whilst I ran upstairs and had a very quick, very amazing shower, and then I came back down and snuggled on the sofa with my baby girl Mabel all afternoon until my parents brought Arthur home. Him meeting her was the best moment of my life! Honestly without hypnobirthing I would have been screwed - this was a much harder labour than my first, but I remained calm throughout and I truly thank the breathing techniques and affirmations for that.
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