Firstly, I just want to say that I had whole heartedly planned for as natural as possible birth. I wrote on my birth preferences to only have drugs and any surgery if necessary for delivery. My story could easily be written as a ‘traumatic birth story’ and I’m not jumping to have more children yet. It seems crazy to me that as soon as you have a baby, people are intent that you will have
I went on maternity leave as soon as I could, I felt unfulfilled in my role and was eager to leave. I also had immense upper back pain till about six months, it came on and off, especially when driving. This was a huge shift in thinking and doing as I used really worry about having enough money though this time I put health and my relationship first.
I used the three months to leisurely do a writing course online, do short art journaling course and paint in my journals. We went for tons of walks, even managing to find some woods in the built up area of London that we live. I saved money! I wrote about it here.
I had everything ready, I was convinced sitting on my ball and doing things in the kitchen would help with gravity. Then I went overdue 10 days. And I ran out of things to do. I watched a lot of movies to stimulate Oxytocin the love hormone and after trial and error, I found the best movies were ones with my favourite actors, that made me laugh out loud and I could relax to. For me, that was Father of the bride, Trolls and Home.
I read birth stories each morning, especially tellmeagoodbirthstory.com (as well as two great books by Ina May). I wondered but never found out, what were the
Another key sign that day, I completed a bunch of ongoing tasks – I signed up Audio boom to try podcasting again and recorded the first episode (though didn’t get a chance to press
I finished off the evening by enthusiatically writing out a to do list for the morning, that of course, never got done. At 10pm I curled into the bed covers with a little cramping and a feeling that they wouldn’t go away like before.
It’s as if baby was giving me a nudge – get the ongoing tasks done first, then I will come!
By midnight I felt I wouldn’t be able to walk to the car to get to the birthing suite, so I called them and was told to wait till they were every three minutes lasting 40 seconds – 1 minute. I could still talk through them at this point but as you’ll read on, I’m a ‘quiet birther’ and generally have a high pain threshold.
At 1.30am we drove to the birthing
I went in and out of the pool, at first it was so relaxing it slowed down my contractions! This baby loves the water I’m sure, each time I went swimming when pregnant baby seemed so content happily moving around.
As time went on my contractions got stronger, I used the breathing technique short breath in, long breath out and I was checked at 7cm and 10cm dilated.
THE GREAT NEED TO PUSH
What I’d wish I’d known more about, though it didn’t seem to be mentioned much in any book or blog was ‘breathing into your bottom and pushing’. Hypno birthing is big at the moment but my tracks definitely didn’t cover that! It’s a whole different experience, using muscles you wouldn’t normally! Well a little like pooping! Leonie Dawson wrote recently it as – Pooing out a refrigerator!
Throughout this time I was checked regularly both with the doppler and a mirror, baby’s heart rate was still strong and the midwife and husband could see hair! Actual hair! I remember saying ‘That’s great but I need the whole body and the head to come out’. I tried sitting in the bath, squatting in the shower on a stool, walking, kneeling and lying down. Nothing was moving baby down far enough. By this point I was exhausted and being at a birth
I wasn’t in ‘transition’ that’s what I truly felt and a women’s intuition and body know. Later we came to find that baby was face up (I like the term sunny side up) so it made it harder to desend, also I have a feeling she was cosily pushed up against my left side.
I finally listened to husband’s repeated suggestions that ‘we need to get to
The only way I could describe it now is that my body was pushing and the baby was not moving. Pushing did nothing but wear me out but I wasn’t in control and if I tried to stop it, it just came stronger anyway. I will always be thankful that baby didn’t get distressed during those hours, she was strong and was I.
I laid down in the ambulance and the contractions came at every red light, I was checked again regularly with a doppler. I told people ‘It’s ok it sounds like I’m having a baby right now but I’m not yet’. We get into the maternity unit, being wheeled around on a bed is something I’ve never experienced or imagined before and transferred from person to person, machines being put on me to hear heartbeat and measure contractions.
This is when I got really emotional and even said to husband – ‘If something happens, I want to live, I like being alive!’ Again time fails me and we must have been waiting from 7.30-9pm while they got theatre ready and debriefed the team on what was happening.
I came out of the theatre and the drugs were partly wearing off, think cold but itchy and slowly I regained movement in my feet then legs. We chose last minute to pay for a private room overnight (£90), it was on the plan as a possibility though it’s a lot of money when your saving. Worth it 100% for privacy, own toilet and shower. I will always be thankful for that time we had as just three of us.
After many checks, more drugs (they were powerful, so go slow in the beginning as I suffered later), catheter out and peeing successfully twice. Then baby hearing check, paying for room, eating three meals (definitely worth doing as kept my energy up and food tasted great again), seeing baby doctor and finally getting discharged we were good to go home the following evening!
I will always be thankful to the entire team of people that assisted in baby’s arrival: my husband, five different midwives, two paramedics, two nurses, an