Birth story - Rhiannon and baby Ivy

It all started on my due date, my mum was visiting and planning to head back home the next morning. I had my midwife appointment at 2.30 and decided to accept a stretch and sweep. I had been getting twinges for a couple of days so was intrigued to see if things were moving...and would be an extra bonus if I went into labour while my mum was here.

The stretch and sweep was fine and looking very promising, I was 2cms dilated, very thin cervix and the membranes were bulging. We went for a brisk walk around the park and went to Ikea. I wasn’t expecting much to actually happen but figured I would do all I could to encourage baby down. I spent the evening bouncing on my ball, and at 9pm I cuddled up with my partner on the sofa and heard a pop and a trickle of liquid. I knew it was my waters. I put on a pad and noticed that they were a bit discoloured...they looked pinkish so thought it may be a bit of bleeding from my stretch and sweep. I phoned the hospital and asked to get them checked just in case.

They asked me to come in and I fully expected to be straight back home so asked my mum to start setting up fairy lights and candles. As I was walking from the car I had my first surge, easily breathed and walked through it...then a few minutes later had another while in the waiting room. Then another and another. I was surprised at how quick they were coming so started timing them, they were already every 3 minutes and lasting a minute each. I was happily breathing through each one and felt very calm, despite being in a bright waiting room with people all around me.

I found a midwife to let her know things were seeming quite established already and as I was chatting to her the rest of my waters went with a big gush all over the floor. It was then that I knew there was meconium in my waters, they were very clearly discoloured!

I was able to accept without being told that the labour ward was the best place for me and baby and I was going to make the most of the situation and use all I had learnt!

After a couple of hours on the assessment unit being monitored there was a room ready for me. I had been sat on the edge of the bed with my eyes closed, breathing and running through visualisations in my head. I barely acknowledged people coming in to check on the monitors and stayed fully ‘in the zone’.

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At 12.30 I went up to the labour ward, and asked my midwife if I could have the lights off and have fairy light and led candles out. She was so encouraging and helped us work out the nicest lighting possible, and fetched a ball and a padded mat for me to be on my knees.

It was at this point she said that it was hospital policy that if there is meconium in the waters then they induce to ensure baby comes as soon as possible.

I had the strongest instinct that I did not need to be induced because things were moving fairly quickly and asked to be given another couple of hours to see how things were progressing and go from there. Baby’s heart rate was very stable so she was happy for us to hold off a little bit. I actually got the impression that she fully agreed with my decision and had only mentioned induction due to it being hospital policy.

Two hours of breathing (and moaning) through increasingly intense surges I was re-examined and I was 4-5 cms meaning I didn’t need to be induced....and the midwife said the magic words ‘would you like to use a pool?’ I could have kissed her, and practically ran to the other room, while having a very strong surge! 😂

The rush of oxytocin I felt from hearing that news must have ramped everything up and things quickly became even more intense. Not even an hour in the pool and I now realise I went through transition.

I had the classic ‘I can’t do this!!’ And was so close to crying. At the time I was convinced it wasn’t transition as I had only been 4-5cms a little while before.

The next surge and I started feeling the urge to push...again I thought I was imagining it, and it was all wishful thinking!

Fifteen minutes of pushing in the pool and the baby’s heart rate started dropping so I was encouraged to get out of the pool so they could monitor her better.

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Due to concerns over her heart rate it was important that she came out as soon as possible so coached pushing was the best thing for us both. The midwife was amazing and kept everything very positive, she said ‘we are ready to help her out if we need to, but we aren’t going to need to do that are we? You can do this!’ The positive mindset of everyone there kept me going and after 45 minutes of pushing Ivy Mae arrived into the world, weighing a chunky 8lb 14oz.

The whole labour lasted just 7 hours from first surge until she was in my arms and I am so certain that it was due to how calm and focused I was able to stay throughout. Even when things didn’t necessarily go to plan I still felt in control and that my birth preferences were listened to and respected.

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It wasn’t until after Ivy was born and I was offered gas and air to be examined that I realised I hadn’t had any pain relief whatsoever. This was never my plan and was actually looking forward to having some gas and air 😂 I just forgot it was an option! 🙈

Due to the sheer effort of getting the baby out quickly I had a third degree tear, but as Siobhan said I had no idea, and really didn’t feel it!

Thank you Siobhan Miller and the Positive Birth Company, without the Birth Pack my birth could have been so very different. I remember it with so much positivity and am so proud of my body for bringing my baby into the world safely!

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