Let’s start with a bit of the back story! I’m a first time mummy who luckily had a spontaneous labour at 41 weeks.
From our initial midwife appointment at 6 weeks, I had hoped to give birth at the pilot scheme freestanding birth centre in our home town but, unfortunately we ended up with a blue lighted ambulance transfer to hospital.
But our boy, Ace Thomas Gardner, arrived on 18th October 2018 at 1.49pm, weighing a whopping 9lb 10oz.
And most importantly- he arrived in a safe and positive way.
Getting things moving
Firstly, as you’ll read in the accompanying Hypnobirthing post, The Positive Birth Company online course and Hollie De Cruz’s book ‘Your Baby, Your Birth’ have all been instrumental in my positive birth, even though it didn’t follow the dream ‘plan’.
As a FTM I was offered a sweep at 40 weeks and 40+4. But, I used my BRAIN and refused both, but accepted the midwife making a booking of an induction at 41+10. Induction was my only fear and I spent a long time reading plenty of positive induction stories to fully prepare myself and arranged a date weekend with hubby to have something to look forward to before hand!
In the meantime I spent my days taking slow walks, long baths listening to relaxation scripts and rewatching the whole online course. I’d been drinking raspberry leaf tea and eating 6 dates a day since 36 weeks (because you just never know when a myth might work!) and booked for alternative induction methods- a clary sage foot massage and acupuncture at 41+5.
I personally believe the acupuncture got things moving! I could feel baby moving downwards during the entire session and within 16 hours things were starting to happen. Thinking we still had days to go yet, hubby and I headed out for dinner just in case we didn’t make it to going out at the weekend! We settled in to watch The Apprentice and by 10pm gentle surges kicked in. They started at 30 seconds long and every 2-5 minutes, but I could easily talk and breathe through them- in fact hubby didn’t even have a clue it has started whilst I secretly timed them!
Let’s get this party started!
Knowing it could take hours, I headed to bed with a plan of watching all our favourite films on my birthing ball the following day, eating my favourite snacks whilst things got going. Little did I know we wouldn’t get that far! Surges continued at 30 seconds to 1 minute long every 2-3 minutes. Knowing our midwives at the birth centre ask for you to call at ‘two in ten lasting one minute’ we called at 1am just to give them a heads up. There is also only space for one mum at a time at the birth centre and I wanted to prepare myself in case we couldn’t deliver there. As I could still talk through them she said I could be days away and to stop timing them- easier said than done!!
By 4.30am I’d had a bath, bounced on my ball, cranked up the tens machine and listened to my affirmations more times than I can imagine!! We pushed through until 6am and phoned again- letting hubby do the talking this time so they knew we meant business! She agreed to come out to see me, but said it still sounded like I was hours away. On arrival she still felt the same way, and said I didn’t necessarily need an examination but I could have one if I wished. For the first of many times today I used my BRAIN and asked for one- and I could job I did- I was 7cm!!!
We quickly made our way to the birth centre a 10 minute drive away and had to wait an hour whilst the pool was filled and heated. Candles out, favourite tunes on and my positive affirmation cards to hand, I continued to breathe through the surges.
Within half an hour in the pool, my waters released and we discovered baby had passed meconium and after another examination I was found to still be 7cm. I have no doubt that the transfer from home to the centre slowed my progress down, I already missed my ‘nest’ and craved a home Birth. Once again we used our ‘BRAIN’ and agreed to be transferred to the local hospital around 5 miles away. As much as I’d hoped for a water birth with one of the small team of Midwives I’d had since day one, this was the most sensible option.
So off we went, blue lighted via ambulance to hospital- not because of an ‘emergency’ but as I could feel my body baring down and they wanted to make sure we made it in time!!
We certainly did have time- the journey again slowed me down even with Hollie De Cruz’s voice in my earphones the entire time! Luckily for me, one of the birth centre midwives, who also teaches hypnobirthing, was covering a shift at the hospital and was assigned to me!! This was the massive shift we needed and I am sure being with her is the sole reason my birth continued in a positive way.
The room was small, with just a bed and the morning sun scorching through the thin curtains- very different to what I’d hoped- but regular spritz of Mio Liquid Yoga and my own playlist made the world of difference.
The next examination found I was not only still 7cm but baby had turned his head and my cervix was now thicker on one side- and the senior nurse promptly told me I had 2 hours to birth or I’d be straight on the syntocinon drip. With my midwives help, I got UFO (after having to be monitored on the bed on arrival) opted for gas and air and we made it our mission to avoid that. Within half an hour we’d done it- and finally reached fully dilated!
About a good hour or so of body lead pushing, gas and air and down breathing later, our big boy arrived! We did need a paediatrician on hand and was told I may not be allowed delayed cord clamping, but he certainly used his lungs on arrival and luckily was found to be absolutely fine! Leaving us to have some cuddles whilst waiting until the cord stopped pulsating completely.
BRAIN came into play again when it came to my Placenta. I’d of preferred a natural third stage but accepted the injection. What didn’t seem like long later, the senior nurse decided it wasn’t budging and informed me I’d be having a spinal and be off to theatre shortly. I remembered reading about how the body will begin to contract when it’s ready for it to release and I tried to stop my panic rising from the thought of ending in theatre.
Shortly after I mentioned feeling nauseous and the need to push again, and with my midwives help, the Placenta came away. We’d done it!! Lucky as I’d decided to have mine encapsulated with Placenta Plus, which I would highly recommend!
So, not the calm water birth in a darkened room at the birth centre I’d hoped for, but thanks to using up and down breathing, focusing on ‘breathing in oxytocin and out adrenaline’ and using my BRAIN it was still the most positive of births and I’d do it again in a heart beat.
I really hope reading my story helps others just how reading so so SO many others truly helped me.