Birth story - Westley and baby William

My husband and I had always been keen to attend one of the PBC weekend courses and we did so in early August. It was incredibly educational and inspiring. We quickly put in place all our freshly learnt skills and had fun just learning how we could best support each other, breath, get into a positive head space and overcome any concerns about labour and beyond. We would listen to the MP3s and work our way through our affirmation pack until I’d memorised them all! I then really started to believe the cards and backed this up filling my head with positive stories from the positive birth community facebook group.

And onto or birth story...

We were continually offered stretch & sweeps and an induction from week 39 but we politely but firmly refused, even going against the hospital policy to induce by 40+12. Instead we opted for continuous monitoring and were given a full scan and review at 40+12 and told the baby was totally fine and so bought ourselves another 48hrs to try and get labour started spontaneously. Cue even more intense ‘old wives tale’ plan of action with curries, sex, nipple stimulation, clary sage baths, raspberry leaf tea, crab steps up stairs, Swiss ball bouncing, big hill walks, calm happy evenings with romcoms, pineapple, all social media switched off etc etc!

Thankfully my body and baby seemed to be listening and I went into spontaneous labour at home on 19 September (40+13) with surges recorded every 10 minutes and then every 2.5 minutes throughout the day and night. I had actually been having strong surges for at least a day beforehand but didn’t want to jinx anything so we only started to record them once I felt sure they were surges and not just Braxton Hicks. I had also had my show but no waters gone...or so I thought!

After having the disappointing news broken to me that there was insufficient Midwives on call to support my planned home birth we headed into our Birth Centre attached to the labour ward. We arrived at 3.30am and had an examination. I would have refused this but for our appointment for an induction at midday that day...so it was unlikely they’d bother sending me home if I wasn’t in established labour. And I wasn’t! I was 1cm dilated despite surges coming thick and fast for about 2.5hrs. Feeling crest fallen I got myself back on track mentally and we created a lovely little ‘nest’ for me to labour in and try and progress. We were admitted to the antenatal ward and had a lovely string of midwives and support throughout our stay there.

After not managing to dilate past 3cm for well over 24hrs and heading into the feared 40+15 bracket there was a lot of talk of the hormone drip and serious intervention. I strongly refused this and we decided to continue to labour and refused intervention. We were however admitted to the labour ward given the 40+15 situation. After using BRAIN and talking it through at length with the medical staff we agreed to having my waters broken and potential hormone drip. At this point I had a serious wobble, not an established labour wobble but I got very upset that I couldn’t ‘do it on my own’ but was being strongly advised to accept the medical help.

They broke my waters but nothing came out. Literally a trickle. They then left me to labour for a few more hours and then I accepted the hormone drip (again after employing BRAIN) given the baby’s heart rate was dropping and I was getting seriously tired. The drip was tough but manageable. I had paracetamol and codeine with gas and air right at the end. And thankfully, as they’d predicted I really didn’t need much to help me out and get me fully dilated. After 2.5hrs of the hormone (which is intense but my body had prepped itself and so I don’t think was as bad as it could have been) I was at 10cm and my body took over. It was incredible and I can see how people describe this part of labour as euphoric. I just naturally started to push down and let my body take the lead. My husband was an incredible support throughout the entire labour but really was awesome during this last stage - kind, loving, supportive, encouraging and protective.

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Bill was born 27mins later at 2.07pm and our wish of us discovering his sex was respected as he was passed through my legs to my husband and I. I adopted an UFO position leaning the ‘wrong’ way against a vertical ‘bed’ that had been manoeuvred to resemble a big armchair. When he was passed to us we both broke down and just hugged and kissed each other and our little miracle. I had one graze and a small second degree tear - which I felt a tiny bit as it happened but actually said out loud ‘I need to get over myself don’t I?’ and pushed through the pain.

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I had delayed cord clamping for 11 minutes and we enjoyed a beautiful magical few hours with him having skin to skin and his first meal. He latched beautifully and thankfully, with the guidance of the midwives, both he and I learnt what to do straight away. I accepted the injection despite requesting a physiological 3rd stage. They rightly advised that I was simply too tired to push the placenta out and they didn’t want to risk it not coming away whole. Plus, we wanted to retain it and so needed it out in one piece!

I then had to stay in hospital overnight as they think my waters may have gone up to a week before Bill was born! There was no pop or gush or anything but they must have just slowly broken and so the baby needed to be monitored for risk of infection. All observations were clear so we were discharged the following afternoon!

I feel so strongly that our weekends course and follow up ‘homework’ put us in the best position we could have been for birth. Thank you Siobhan and the Positive Birth Company! No we didn’t have our planned home birth or even a Birth Centre birth but we had an incredible experience filled with small twists and turns but ultimately truly positive. Informed and thought through we both felt supported and happy with each step.

‘My baby will come when my baby is ready’ - so true! And I’m glad I respected and trusted his timing!

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