Birth story - Lucy and baby Orla

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At lunchtime on the 26th July I had my 40 week midwife appointment where I was offered a stretch and sweep. As I’d been having some serious practice surges in my back I thought I’d accept the sweep. We left and carried on with our days- my partner went back to work and I went home for a nap. In the evening we ate and chilled out as normal, we had sex and that’s when I thought I felt light surges. I just brushed it off as Braxton Hicks until I tried to go to sleep, at which point I thought they were stronger than the usual Braxton Hicks.

I got out of bed and sat on my ball in the living room, deciding my partner should try to sleep. At this point surges were fairly irregular but generally around 10 minutes apart. By about 3am I felt I needed my tens machine on a low setting and was using up breathing. I was fairly tired so sat upright on the sofa with a cushion on my shoulder and dozed in between surges.

By the time my partner woke up at 6am surges were around every 8 minutes and I was breathing through. We had some breakfast and I kept drinking water. At 11am we thought we’d ring the local MLU because we live about 45 minutes away in traffic and wanted to check if we should go in. They invited us in for a check. When we got there they felt baby and told me I was 2cm dilated and to come back when surges were 4 minutes apart. I was thrilled that my body had done so well so far.

At home we had something to eat and within an hour or so my surges got to 4 minutes- we headed back in, turning up the tens for the car journey and putting some calming music on. There was a bit of waiting around at hospital while they found somewhere for us to go- the MLU was full to my disappointment. However, while we were waiting someone left the MLU and we could head up there. At this point surges were between 2 and 3 minutes apart. We were put in a sort of holding room where I was examined -6cm to my delight! A few minutes after examination and my plug came out while I was breathing through surges on all fours on the bed. The midwife called for the pool to be filled in the room we were headed for and when it was nearly ready off we went. They put some music on for me- my partner chose the radio station (we had left our bag in the car) and I was allowed to get in the pool almost immediately.

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As soon as I hit the calm and warm water I felt I needed to push. I was pushing for some time before the midwife suggested we try getting out and into a different position, this seemed sensible so I did and couldn’t quite get baby past the bend. My waters were broken manually and I tried pushing a bit more but baby’s chin wasn’t positioned to come past the bend and it was suggested I move to the labour ward, using brain we decided this was the best thing for us. We had a large comfortable room with a doctor and midwife, the lights were dimmed and the atmosphere calm. The doctor evaluated the situation and suggested forceps in the theatre with spinal anaesthetic (would be a wait because the theatre was in use) or forceps in the room we were in with a local anaesthetic. Using brain and knowing my preferences in this situation, my partner asked about ventouse and the doctor decided that if I could push a little more then she would try. That was all the encouragement I needed, I pushed using my down breathing and the doctorr proceeded with the cup. On the way out my little ones shoulders got stuck but the doctor and midwife remained calm and got me into the right position, and so our crying little Orla was born. She was immediately placed on my chest and I was given stitches as they had done an episiotomy- did not feel this at all.

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We had delayed cord clamping and plenty of skin to skin. The midwife then helped me to breastfeed.
While this wasn’t the birth I had planned, it was positive and calm. The Dr and midwives were incredible - keeping us informed and respecting our wishes the whole way through. We used all our techniques and really couldn’t have done it without the course and this community - thank you!

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