Love reading positive birth stories? You’re in the right place! This positive birth story is with Fran and her second baby. Fran had a challenging first birth and suffered with PTSD. Her second birth was a very positive water birth which left her feeling “whole”.
We have a daughter already, Grace. Her consultant led birth was really difficult for me due to a combination of intense and quick progression (about 4hours from 4cm – 10cm), a lack of knowledge and preparation on my part and some disrespectful care from senior staff. Unfortunately, it ended with a significant bleed from an episiotomy, PTSD and months and months of chasing answers but getting nowhere.
That experience left a mark, and I thought I had worked through those feelings when we started trying for our second; only to find myself most definitely not ‘over it’ once we had a positive test – and by that point, there was no turning back.
Appointments with my lovely midwife at the GP were absolutely fine. However, appointments at the hospital, particularly as I often attended alone, would send me into huge heaving panic attacks, uncontrollable tears – I’d be sick, I’d have migraines, blurry vision and huge peaks in blood pressure. I struggled to see how I’d have a positive, chilled out birth at this hospital if I couldn’t even get through a scan?
I ordered a book from Milli Hill which was eye opening and informative. I then went on to purchase this course just to cement what I’d learned and to cover certain topics in more depth. Much to my surprise, I recognised Beth when I started watching her videos- she was the midwife looking after us with my first (to clarify – her care was amazing, we were let down by others) and I reached out to her. She was gracious enough to talk me through the birth and give me the debrief I’ve never had – this chat combined with my new knowledge and a visit to MLU for a tour, gave me the mindset shift I’d needed all this time. I was ready.
Fast forward a couple weeks to 40 + 6 and I knew instantly that morning when I woke up that it would be the day. Contractions started about 9.30am and were immediately 3-5min apart. I showered, packed up my daughter’s things for a sleepover at the grandparents’ and got on the ball. By 1:30pm I was in the hospital at 5/6cm.
Contractions were thick and fast so I just kept breathing into a lavender eye pillow as I had all morning at home (4&7 worked so well!) and swaying – at no point did I get on a bed and I’m so happy about this! Having the course knowledge was instrumental in me feeling like I could lean into labour and not run from it. I recognised what my body was doing which helped to eliminate fear.
It became very clear that baby was going to be speedy like her sister, we only just made it into the pool (at one point I was seriously concerned that I still had my shoes on but could feel the need to push 😳😂). I didn’t have gas and air as I found it distracting so was just guided by my husband and midwife. The pool was amazing for me, mainly because no one could touch me! I panicked at the ‘ring of fire’ as the familiar pain just sent me back to being in stirrups and feeling helpless, I even started to rise out the water. Amina, my midwife, spotted this straight away and told me exactly what I needed to hear: “Fran, you are safe. You are in control. You are safe. I want you to reach down and feel your baby, you will catch her because you are in control and this is your birth. You are safe.” She went to great lengths to protect this birth and to ensure it remained positive and on MLU. I learned more about her efforts afterwards and will always be so grateful to her for this.
And a few pushes later (some of which I swear I didn’t even do) and she was in my arms. I was in total shock and just kept saying “she’s real, she’s real.” We delivered the placenta with the injection on land (a pre-agreed precaution given past bleed and already EBRAN’ed) and it was in tact, as was I – with just a small 1st degree graze. 200ml blood loss compared to previous almost 2l, and on my feet straight away – the experiences were like night and day.
I was soon greeted with toast and a lavender milk bath (I’ve had three million lavender baths since, I’m never going back to bubbles 😂). My midwife chatted with me after and debriefed both births together, with comparisons and clarifications, which she did subtly and sensitively. We went home late that night, after a number of blissful hours on our own soaking it all in. Driving home was like that delicious feeling of going on holiday and leaving for the airport in the dark, knowing you need more sleep but you don’t care because you’re just running on excitement.
I felt so numb after my first pregnancy and birth, I never knew it could be like this and I’m still pinching myself. I’m so grateful for this course, to Beth personally and a collection of wonderful, empowering superwomen (my community midwife, my consultant, Amina and the staff on MLU).
Collectively, they have all played a part in healing a part of me that I thought would always remain broken. Now, when I look at my daughters and think about their births, I feel at peace – I feel whole.
Click the link for more information about The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Online Course. Know what you can do to stack the odds in your favour for the birth that you want. Videos, checklists, audios & a support group all created by a midwife to get you feeling excited, prepared and confident for birth.