Birth story - Rachel and baby Peggy

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Up-breathing was my saviour and we used our BRAIN more than once!!

This is a bit of a long one so I hope you’re all sitting comfortably!

It all started on Thursday 13th Sep, my due date was 7th Sep so had my ‘overdue’ appointment with the midwife in the morning and at this appointment I accepted my first sweep. Using my BRAIN I decided that this was right for me because well, I was fed up! Midwife did the sweep and found my cervix was favourable and currently at 2cm. The sweep disturbed my ‘bloody show’ and then I bled heavily following this which I was told was normal and it stopped about half an hour later.

Friday 14th Sep
In the morning I had another show but not as bloody as before but I knew something was happening. Later that day my cramps started for a few hours but to no avail and no pattern at all - to all FTM’s madly googling ‘what do surges feel like’ and ‘am I in labour’ trust me, you’ll know!

Saturday 15th Sep
Nothing to report today, no cramps at all but I was suddenly feeling very tired and never suffered from fatigue during pregnancy so I knew I should get some sleep because I felt my body was telling me something. I took myself to bed nice and early and practiced up-breathing whilst reading all the positive stories on here.

Sunday 16th Sep
Me, the husband and our dog went for a long walk around Bradgate Park (a huge park in Leicestershire) in the early afternoon and boy did I struggle! I had a feeling something was starting when I got home. That evening we cooked fajitas and watched Gordon Ramsey then Bear Grylls the Celebrity Island, it was very cosy and chilled and I felt very relaxed.
Suddenly the cramping started at 9pm and continued all night. I knew this was the beginning because it did feel different to the other times. We went to bed at about 10.30pm and watched Harry Potter The Chamber of Secrets in bed until 11pm and all the time I was trying not to focus on cramping because they had no pattern and weren’t building in intensity at all.

Monday 17th Sep
I woke up at 2am after the cramping became too noticeable to try and sleep through. I timed surges for an hour with them coming every 5 mins lasting 1 min at a time - not unbearable though and up-breathing kept me so calm. We called the unit at 3.42am and they said to stay home because it sounds like I was doing brilliantly and to call again in an hour or so.

Called the unit 2 hrs later at 5.33am because the surges were 4 mins apart and lasting 1 min but were a lot stronger and the sensations were now also coming from my back. They once again advised to stay put because when I can’t talk through the surges then that’s the time to head in. So we did as we were told.

I popped the rest of Harry Potter on to relax and bounced on my ball.

After another 2 hrs passed by, the surges were now every 3 mins lasting 1 min and were incredibly intense so I decided I wanted to go and get checked. Called the unit at 7.43am and they were more than happy to see us.

We arrived at the unit about 8.30am with surges still pretty much the same and the intensity coming mainly from my back. All vitals were checked and we were all fine. The Midwife offered an examination and if necessary a sweep. I once again consulted my BRAIN and accepted. She found I was still only 2cm but the cervix was very soft and favourable and my body was doing exactly what it needed to do. Great news. She gave me a sweep which interrupted another ‘show’ after this. We also found out that baby had gone back to back hence the horrible back pains. We were advised to continue early labour at home which I was pleased about so we headed home about 9.45am happy knowing I wasn’t going to just pop at home.

When we got in we ate sausage baguettes and watched our wedding film to help release the lovely oxytocin. I went for a nap at 10.15am and managed to nod off while up-breathing through my surges. I woke at 12.15pm to another big ‘show’ and to find surges were now only 6 mins apart and lasting 1 min.

Fast forward to 7pm and following a day of ball bouncing, hot baths, hot showers and up-breathing my surges had ramped up considerably and intensifying a lot, mainly in my back and were coming every 4 mins and lasting 1 min 20 seconds. We called the unit and they advised us to head in.

Once in the unit were offered an examination and once again consulted my BRAIN and accepted because I HAD to be more than 2cm. Guess what? I wasn’t, I was still 2cm. Following this disappointing discovery and a massive wobble I accepted Pethidine to give my body and my sanity a break. It knocked me out a treat.

Tuesday 18th Sep
Following my Pethidine induced sleep I woke up at 9am to no surges and the news that I was being moved to the labour ward to wait for my induction the following day. My surges returned that afternoon and I managed these with just paracetamol and up-breathing.

Wednesday 19th Sep
Surges were regular and intense all through the night and I just listening to the positive affirmations all night to drown out the hospital buzz which helped keep my head in the zone it needed to be. At 10am we were moved to the induction ward where they examined me in the hope I could have my waters broken to avoid the dreaded pessary and drip! Lucky me, one more centimetre dilated! But, there were no midwives for 1 on 1 care so we had to sit tight and wait for that care before they could break my waters.

We chilled out and my husband put on an old episode of Men Behaving Badly, the one where Dorothy is pregnant and her and Gary attend a Lamaze class - well this had me in stitches and one massive giggle later my waters broke on their own! Unfortunately they were green which means baby had pooed. This just meant extra monitoring. I was also severely dehydrated so they popped in a cannula and hooked me up to a drip.

Almost instantly the surges ramped up a notch and it was happening very quickly.

Fast forward a couple of hours and I’m in a suite leaning against a window up-breathing non stop as my surges and back pain rendered me almost useless! Here I used my BRAIN again and decided now was the time for an epidural.

Thursday 20th Sep
Fast forward again to the following morning, approx 5.15am and following two fetal scalp pH tests they decided baby’s heart was struggling and that I was getting an infection, so at almost 9cm dilated I was rushed off for an emergency c-section. Because of the severity I was put under a general.

At 5.58am Peggy was born abdominally weighing in at an impressive 9Ibs exactly.

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I did not think for one second that this was how my birthing experience would go but throughout the entire process I only had one wobble and felt incredibly in control of an experience that was doing its best to knock me for six. Up-breathing is incredible, do not underestimate this technique and remember to focus on the positives in an experience like this. My main focus was finding out if baby was a boy or a girl.

Thank you all for reading x

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