Love reading positive birth stories? You’re in the right place…. This positive birth story is with Grace and the arrival of baby Athena. Grace had a really varied birth and used a TENS machine. gas and air, and water to help with pain relief. Grace also had an oxytocin drip to support labour to progress.

On the 27/02/2021 my waters broke (21:00) whilst I was lying in bed laughing about a teacher from Secondary School. it gushed out and then trickled for a while. Wow, that was such an exciting moment and I knew it was my waters. We called triage, soon after that contractions started. 

Here I took one paracetamol, used the TENS machine (which I thought was great) and would take the TENS off to jump into the bath and have the warm water from the taps hit my back. During contractions my mucus plug was also coming out in the water, another great sign. The plan was to have a homebirth, the Midwives came over to ours at about (01:30 now 28/02/21) they didn’t examine me and said they would be back later on, they recommended my other half should get the pool ready. 

I managed until about 04:00 and my other half called triage to let them know my contractions were regular and I was finding the pain a lot on my own. Looking back we found this bit the hardest and probably most scariest part, as we really did not know what to expect. We didn’t know how far gone I was and I was not sure if the pain would get any worse. This is when we were told that there were no midwives available to come out to us. So we carried on for a few more hours at home and then I decided it was time to go to the hospital. We needed professional support by this stage, as we were a bit in the dark and needed some reassurance. 

The car journey to the hospital is only 10 minutes… although during these 10 minutes the contractions ramped up and I was very thankful for the TENS machine, whilst I clung on backwards to the front car seat.. I wanted to keep upright and forward and there was no sitting down for me!

On arrival (05:30) to the hospital I was told I was 5cm dilated , would I like Gas and Air… “YES PLEASE”. The gas and air was so helpful and as the contractions came I would do one big deep breath in and then breath slowly out for 7/8 breaths. It worked perfectly. I took myself away mentally, visualising things like being on a walk in the woods with as much details as possible. 
My Birth preferences worked really well, the midwives read that I wanted to be in water and was offered a rather beautiful suite with an amazing pool. I got into the pool and instantly felt happier, breathed through my contractions, leaning out of the pool and resting my forehead on my partners. Keeping that oxytocin flowing, chatting to each other and him cheering me on. He was amazing throughout the birth, so thankful for him as he was the best birth partner for me. 

By (11:00) things hadn’t progressed much more, I opted to not have an examination in case it slowed things. My wonderful midwife thought that she should try some her Spinning Baby techniques to loosen the pelvic area. She thought that the baby was not in a great position and that was why things were starting to take a while. I hoped onto a bed, and she worked her magic. Dropping my legs over the edge and rotating my legs, to get some movement in the area, my birth partner helped and so did the Student Paramedic who was also by my side for the birth (what a great team I had, lucky me). All while I was having gas and air through the contractions. 

Positions and places I tried to get baby moving inti a lower position…. on the toilet, the birthing pool, the floor, the peanut birthing ball thingy and the squishy seat with a hole in it… nothing seemed to be working.. I was having examinations by then, but seemed not to be getting to the pushing stage! 

By (16:30) things still had not progressed and my Midwife was under pressure from the Consultants to speed things up and I was offered the Oxytocin drip. I was administered the lowest amount and it made my very regular contractions, much stronger. It also meant that there were more Midwives in the room with us, which I didn’t mind. The oxytocin drip has pros and cons, it can lower the baby’s heart rate and I would need to be monitored so no water or TENS for me. I didn’t mind, as my security blanket of Gas and Air was always to hand. 

By the time they had started to administer the Oxytocin it must have been about (17:30/18:00). This worked well and by 19:15ish my Midwife said I needed to try and push as she could feel the babies head was low down. I want to add here that I never got an overwhelming sense to push, which is what I was expecting. But a sort of pressure on my bum… if that makes sense and thinking about it, I had that pressure for a while before and wondered if I should have started pushing earlier on?
Anyway, I started to push and I had been pushing for about 30 mins…. the Consultant was hovering about by this stage and suggesting that if I didn’t get the baby out in 30 minutes, they would like me to go to theatre for Forceps or a C-section if the forceps didn’t work. 

This is where my other half asked the consultant if it was an emergency and she said that it wasn’t. But she seemed very keen to take me for forceps, even though she had just done an examination and told me my babies head was very low and I was showing the other signs my baby was nearly out…. anyway, I asked for more time. I was being told my my midwife and all the other midwives who had now congregated to really go for it, as my babies head was so close! So I did… 

The consultants must have not had much faith in me birthing her without assistance, as they asked my Midwife to give me the numbing injections ready for them to make the cuts in my perineum, ready for theatre/forceps which I would be taken to another room for… they also were getting me to sign waivers and telling me the risks of a C-section etc, all while I was pushing with all my might and shouting a few swear words. (I am a quite a loud person and I really felt that I needed to make some noise to help me push).

Anyway… back to the story, I had half an hour to push the baby out… and I really went for it. 

A lady had started to put on the special surgical tights for surgery and as soon as she put these over my toes, I had the strongest contraction. I was listening to the midwives guiding me, telling me to push harder.. it took a fair few pushes to get the head out, but I think that was good as it must have been slowly stretching the area. Once my babies head arrived, they then guided me to push a little bit more and a little bit more etc.. 

Then suddenly out came a tiny human (20:30). My partner told me It is a girl and my gorgeous daughter Athena was put onto my chest, he then was shown how to cut the cord and all of the fantastic staff in the room were doing there bit. 

They administered the injection for the placenta. It didn’t take much, but quite a strange sensation. I had to have a catheter to wee and we realised I had quite a full bladder, which may have been why it took a fair few pushes to get my baby down and out. I wasn’t left with any major tears. I had 1 graze and a tiny tear, which postpartum were not an issue for me. I want to also add here that I had purchased the Anibal pelvic trainer and wasn’t able to get it into my vagina to use it.. and was so worried I wouldn’t be able to get the baby out.. so wanted to put it out there that it is probably a waste of money for me. I also wasn’t able to do the Perennial massages as I just don’t have long enough arms and was expecting to have some big tears, so don’t panic about these things.

To sum things up… the initial part was scary for me as I didn’t know how bad the contractions were going to get.. the pushing stage was my favourite part as I felt like the end was in sight and I felt in control. Even if the consultants want you to go to theatre ask them if it’s an emergency and how far away the head actually is, add this to your birth preferences. Make sure you go to the toilet regularly. I thought I was, but obviously not enough… Make sure you birth partner is supportive, and that they can advocate for you… mine did.. he asked the Consultants if things were an emergency and if we could have more time…  When it comes to the pushing stage, find out if you can have the injections to perhaps take the edge of things, I’m not sure if it helped me or not… Get lots of photos during the birth and afterwards if you can, you may look like you have been on a mad bender, but who cares! TENS machines are fab, gas and air is amazing, having a student in the room is also fab, as you have another caring individual with you… so when your birth partner leaves for the toilet, there is always someone with you. 
Good Luck and enjoy one of the most amazing experience of your life. Also. Take a look at your placenta if you get the chance, it’s absolutely amazing to look at… oh and midwives rule.

Our gorgeous baby Athena was born on the 28/02/2021 at 20:30.

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