Birth story - Victoria and baby Clara

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I started the digital pack about 20 weeks into my pregnancy. As live in Spain I was a bit worried about the differences between the UK health system (e.g. no gas and air, water births not really a thing here yet) and the reputation some places have for being very c-section and intervention heavy. I was determined from the outset that I wanted to keep it as natural as possible... The pack gave me confidence and made me really question everything I was being told and made me feel in control of the pregnancy and birth (BRAIN technique = amazing). Luckily for me I had a fantastic doctor who did all my pregnancy care and delivery (and speaks English!). We discussed my preference for a natural birth with minimum intervention etc.

At 39+4, Friday night we were out walking and my Braxton Hicks got a lot more intense with my whole stomach rock hard for hours. By Saturday morning they had gone, I was a bit disappointed until later that day I had a small bloody show. So that evening we went for a walk in the countryside up in the hills to get things cracking! Around 2am Sunday morning I started having surges, one every 10 minutes but manageable. Out came the ball, candles, spray etc. We spent the rest of Sunday morning like this with me eating in between surges, packing the last bits of the hospital bag and thinking how manageable they were. My partner was absolutely incredible staying with me and comforting me the whole time. I was really happy thinking I can do this!!

Around 2pm the surges really ramped up in intensity I couldn’t quite believe it how strong they were, really taking my breath away. They were coming thick and fast every 3 minutes, after chatting to our Dr I went in to be examined. I was sure I would be in established labour so you can imagine how I felt to be told (after an unpleasant internal examination by a midwife) that I wasn’t even 1cm dilated and that my cervix was basically not favourable at all despite the regularity and intensity of the contractions. I cried. They said they couldn’t do anything for me so best to go home and wait some more. Well the next few hours were tough, I got into my zone in my bathroom, dark and calm and mentally rode each surge. Like a wild woman. At 8pm we went back, for another examination, to be told... exactly the same. At this point I was really losing it, I had been awake for so long and nothing was happening!

At this point my Dr turned up and examined me.. It was so nice to see him but he confirmed the same… my cervix was not playing ball at all. So this is where perhaps it is a lot different to the UK… they admitted me and gave me an epidural, which I was begging for at this point, I was so relieved as usually you have to be a minimum of 3cm to be admitted to the hospital and receive an epidural. They could see that I was unable to manage the intensity of the surges without some help. What a relief! The idea was that I would get some rest and my body would get the memo that I was having contractions and start opening up. Well the long and short of it is that it was a long process after that, and I am so glad I took the epidural. We all got some rest that night but not before I was given the drip and had my waters broken. It wasn't until 7am the next morning that I was finally fully dilated. After calling my partner down to the theatre (I was there legs akimbo ready to push and he was still getting dressed!) I began to push. An hour and fifteen minutes later and Clara was born 8lb 2oz 8.15am 27th August 2018 (her exact due date by my LMP!). I had a couple of stitches which I credit in part to doing the perineum massage almost nightly for four weeks before.

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I would never have thought I was going to have such a “medicalised” birth and I was sure that my body would just deliver my baby but I think this goes to show you have to be open minded. The best thing for me is that I was informed and I understood that things weren’t going how I thought they were and accepted it. For me the positive parts were being able to still have a vaginal birth, whilst looking in the mirror, seeing her head, no forceps or episiotomy and feeling enough to push but not to have pain. It really was fantastic!

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