Birth story - Louise and baby Alicia

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I came across the PBC digital pack after reading about it in a baby centre forum. My midwife had suggested hypnobirthing after I had mentioned I was anxious about my second birth at one of my appointments (I had had a less-than-perfect experience with my first). However I didn’t have the time/childcare to commit to a face-to-face course. The digital pack seemed perfect. I started working through the course quite late, about 6 weeks before my due date, but found it immensely helpful. The most fascinating part of the course was about the physiology of birth and the role of hormones - despite having a biology degree I’m ashamed to say I knew nothing of how the muscles work to birth a baby!

My first baby arrived quite “late” (40+12) so I was expecting the same with my second. However, at about 3pm on Sunday 16th September (40+4) while my husband was swimming with my little boy, I felt the surges begin. I managed them with up-breathing until our little one was safely tucked up at about 7.30pm, and got my husband to get the TENS machine out shortly afterwards, which was a massive relief as the pressure felt mostly in my lower back.

We had been advised by the hospital to come in sooner rather than later given I’d been admitted for reduced movements the previous week, and by the time it got to about 9pm my husband suggested we head in. I was a bit concerned we might be sent home though as my surges were a bit irregular (every 2-6 minutes) and didn’t seem to last longer than 30 seconds (think I was lucky in this respect).

After arranging for a friend to come round to look after our little boy, we arrived at the hospital at about 10.30pm and were shown straight to our own room with dim lighting, pool, bed, various chairs etc. The midwife didn’t examine me, just had a quick listen in to baby’s heartbeat then left us to it. It was very much hands-off (I later learned my midwife was a hypnobirthing teacher), with zero intervention of any kind. I found I was most comfortable kneeling on a blanket I had brought from home, up against a chair. I felt the surges begin to change into more of a downward/pushing nature not long after arriving, but wasn’t sure if this was the real deal or if I was imagining it. About an hour later I decided to get into the pool, but while there was some initial relief, I really missed the TENS machine given the surges were in my back, and so didn’t stay in long. Plus I felt like the surges had tailed off a little bit.

Once out and dry I felt like I needed to go the loo (apologies if TMI) so then spent a long time on my own in the bathroom! All of a sudden I was aware that it was actually the baby moving down that was giving me this sensation of needing to go to the loo, and her head was delivered before I really could do anything about it! I shouted to my husband who called the midwives - 2 arrived - and I hobbled out of the bathroom with baby’s head between my legs - I will never forget the look of shock on my husband’s face! The midwife asked me where I would like to have the baby, so I was helped into the pool where I delivered our baby with about 3-5 surges at 00:52, so 2h20 after arriving at hospital. We had the most wonderful skin to skin in the pool and I had a natural 3rd stage which took about half an hour. We were left to our own devices all night with our new arrival, save for the obligatory toast :)

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It was an incredibly calm experience and I couldn’t have planned it better - the polar opposite to my experience with my first and I cannot thank enough the wonderful midwives at Lister Hospital and the PBC for preparing me so well. Good luck to all you expectant mummies, you can do this.

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