Birth story - Natalie and baby girl

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I had a great birth two years ago with my first daughter (my highlight was going through it all with my husband! It was such an incredible bonding experience & I was excited to do it all over again!). My first labour was spontaneous (waters leaking) at 38+3, however medical staff here in Singapore were quick to intervene and an epidural was given very early. I had absolutely no idea that I could just rely on my own breathing to get me through (completely drug-free!)🏻

I initially wrote everything out about this labour in dot points so I wouldn’t forget anything... the story that follows is a little ‘clunky’ - but with a busy toddler and a newborn this is the best I can do to string the story together…

At 730am I noticed mild tightening around my lower abdomen. I wouldn’t have thought much of it - however they were different to my Braxton Hicks which were located mainly at the top of my tummy. I told my husband (Nick) excitedly ‘I think something is happening today!!’ (I’ve said the exact same thing every day for at least a week so he went about his morning not giving it another thought, I’m sure).

The tightenings continued on and off as I went about my morning. They seemed to stop when I would sit or lay down so I figured it wasn’t the big day, but I was quietly excited regardless.

After a non eventful midday sleep (tightenings pretty much disappeared) I was pleasantly surprised when things started up again at 2pm. It was still just noticeable tightenings coming and going with no intensity. I was able to go about my afternoon with a toddler easily.

I then started to notice the tightenings would start at the top of my tummy and move downwards, though they were still very mild.

I text Nick at 3pm to see if he wanted to come home (just incase!) I was still thinking it was a false alarm but I wanted to give him the option to be at home with me. He arrived at about 4pm and for some reason he went to bed and slept for about 2 hrs (he clearly didn’t think anything was going to happen!). He never has day time sleeps, so I’m pleased he did on this afternoon.

Nothing much happened over the early evening. I sat/rolled my hips on my birth ball, as I had every evening for the past couple of weeks.

The tightenings increased a little around 8pm so I went to bed early to see if I could get some rest (just incase!).

I couldn’t sleep so I listened to the meditations & affirmations for about two hours (I listened to the affirmations daily for about four weeks leading up to birth and they always helped me fall asleep quickly. Super relaxing!) I was feeling very happy and totally relaxed as things started to increase in intensity around 10pm.

At this point I started re-packing my hospital bag and added in multiple unnecessary items!!!I had everything sorted well in advance. Room spray, lights, snacks, energy drinks, fluffy slippers, socks, heat pack, birth ball.... I’d had everything ready to go for weeks as my first daughter arrived a couple of weeks early.

I lay back in bed until about 12.30am. I had a couple of really good surges that I couldn’t breathe through while lying down. The up breathing certainly did the job easily when I was upright, which was wonderful! I would count out a set of 4 breaths and then the surge would be over. Easy!

As the night progressed I kept thinking to myself:
- ‘You can do anything for 60seconds’ (you truly can!)
And:
- ‘Surges can’t be more than me because they are me!’

I even recorded the surges on my Ovia App as mild and/or medium in strength. I still wasn’t entirely convinced I was in labour to be honest.

Over the next hour I felt better standing so I swayed and walked around our living room on my own in the dark. Our apartment over looks the water which is lovely - I felt peaceful and very much in control of the situation. I was completely enjoying the experience.

The surges increased to every 2,3 and 4 minutes. At 1.30am I woke my Mum up - she’d flown out from Australia to stay with us when I reached 38 weeks (we all thought this baby would be early...!) and discussed the timing of surges. I wanted Nick to sleep for as long as possible as I knew we’d be in for a long night/day.
However... I very quickly decided I couldn’t wait any longer.... surges were starting to come in quickly and even though I could easily breathe through them I woke Nick as we had to arrange a taxi to get us to the hospital. My main fear leading up to labour was that we wouldn’t be able to get a cab! I wasn’t sure how easy it would be at 1.30am. *We literally got a cab in about 2 minutes!🏻

The cab ride did not slow my surges down as I’d expected. The change in environment had no impact what so ever... in fact they really intensified! I kept my headphones in, eyes closed and listened to the affirmations for the 20 minute ride. The taxi driver drove so fast, Nick had to tell him we were in no rush and he should drive the speed limit. We arrived at the hospital just after 2am.

I was starting to get a little upset with myself as we entered the delivery suite because I couldn’t get the ‘up breathing’ right at this stage. Breathing in for a count of four was proving to be a challenge. I was getting frustrated with my shallow breaths and as a result I had a wobble. The surges were coming in quickly & I hadn’t the time to realign my thoughts before the next came on.

At this point I felt a lot of pressure and found sitting on the toilet to be super comfortable. The midwives had asked if I needed the bathroom as we arrived (I felt such an urge so I raced in but couldn’t go). At this point I naturally started doing the Down Breathing which I thought was absurd as I was only in early labour. I noticed my bloody show at this point and I thought to myself ‘I must be dilated to 2 or 3cm!!!!’ which I was quite proud of as the surges up until now were so manageable.

I had about 4 surges sitting on the toilet using the down breathing. It was so much more comfortable than standing (I wished the hospital had the toilet type chairs with nothing underneath!). The midwife told me it wasn’t safe to stay seated on the toilet as they hadn’t had time to check to see how far along I was. I was adamant I didn’t want to move off the toilet but I really had little choice.

The midwife explained that the doctor was a while away but he’d be in ASAP to check my dilation. I told them nicely if they wanted me off the toilet they’d have to check me immediately... so the midwife said she’d do the check (hospital policy to check on arrival apparently). By now it was 2.40am and I wanted nothing more than to sit back on the loo!

I hated climbing onto the flat bed... I actually cried at this point as I just did not want to (or could not) lie down flat. So the midwife kindly put the bed head up to 90 degrees - this was a lot more comfortable (not as good as sitting on the toilet though!)

The midwife checked me and quickly asked the other nurse to call my obstetrician - I was 9cm! We were all as surprised as each other. No wonder I’d had a wobble!!!! No wonder I’d naturally started down breathing!! I was so excited/shocked/amazed at how easily I’d gotten myself to that point with just the breathing! (I always had in the back of mind that I’d use the breathing techniques and other recommended strategies in the digital course until I could take it no more and then I’d just have an epidural!)

I was beyond thrilled with the news!!🙂I was almost ready to meet our baby which was enough to motivate me to re focus. I wasn’t offered any pain relief (not even gas) as the midwife said I was doing so well.

I stayed sitting on the bed after the internal check. It seemed to be the most comfortable position. I’d taken my birth ball to the hospital but didn’t even want to go near it for some reason! I truly thought I’d arrive at the hospital and set the room up beautifully.....We just had no time for any of it!!

The doctor came in a short while later (maybe 15 minutes later) and instantly broke my waters (no discussion about this.... he just did it!) I think I would have been upset had it not felt like the biggest relief of my entire life!!! The pressure subsided immediately and I knew I was on my way to breathing out my daughter. This stage felt great - I could easily use my down breathing to manage the surges. I could literally feel my daughter moving down the birth canal with each surge... then she would slip back up, then down again. Incredible!

The midwife tried to encourage me to push... but I just blocked her out and continued with the down breathing. It was all I needed to do.

I felt myself push down strongly two times.... accompanied with some very unexpected loud vocal noises!!! The doctor told me to pant for a short time and just like that our gorgeous baby girl arrived so calmly at 3.44am on the 22nd of June (Our wedding anniversary️). She was placed immediately on my chest and looked peacefully into my eyes, blinked a few times and then started squirming her way to my breast. She latched immediately!! That was the most beautiful, surreal moment of it all. Amazing.

I required no stitches. The doctor really didn’t have to do anything. And my recovery has been very easy. I truly can’t thank this positive birth community enough!! All the birth stories on here put me in the right frame of mind. I absolutely loved reading through everyone’s experiences and now I’m thrilled to share my story with you all too.

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