Love reading positive birth stories? You’re in the right place! This positive birth story is with Hannah who delivered her baby girl Lola into the water at her local birth centre. Hannah discussed how she used EBRAN to make decisions throughout her birth and how she felt she was able to make informed choices throughout.
I had convinced myself for some silly reason the whole way through my pregnancy that I would be early but she definitely had other ideas! I was getting more and more fed up and concerned abut how big she may be getting after measuring on the 90th centile at my last couple of appointments (having been on the 50th the whole way through). I had a sweep at 40+5 which was uncomfortable and unpleasant but not unbearable. My midwife booked me in for an induction for 40+12 which I desperately wanted to avoid. I started to think my body just didn’t want to go into labour naturally and was getting quite anxious and fed up.
Over the weekend I did a couple of long and extremely hilly walks and I think that may have helped! On Sunday evening at 40+7 after a 4 mile walk I had two very small contractions and hoped this was the start of something. Looking back I had felt achey since the Friday but I had no idea if that was the start of something or if I was just uncomfortable from being overdue. I went to bed and then got up about 3.30am as my contractions had become stronger and more regular and it was too uncomfortable to try and sleep anymore. I went downstairs and put my tens machine on and started timing contractions on the Freya app (really recommend as has really nice calming audio too), this said I was in established labour which I wasn’t expecting and I woke my husband and phoned triage and planned to make our way to the birth centre.
My contractions soon slowed a little though so I decided to stay at home for a while longer. I bounced on my ball and found the tens machine really helpful. Throughout the day my contractions slowed right down which was disappointing, I had a bath and napped and I lost my mucus plug. My contractions started to ramp up by the evening and by about 6pm they were fairly strong and regular. I managed at home with my tens machine and breathing and using my ball until about 8pm when I burst into tears and said I couldn’t cope at home any longer! We arrived about 9.30pm and by the time I was assessed and got into the pool it was about 11pm. I needed gas and air just to get onto the bed to be assessed and was 5cm stretching to 6cm dilated at that point. Looking back I’m really proud I got that far at home by myself.
I was feeling awful by the time I got to assessment and was sick so once I got into my room in the birth centre they gave me an anti sickness injection. The relief of being able to move more freely in the pool was amazing but my contractions were so strong by that point and I was so tired I was adamant I wanted to go back to the delivery suite for an epidural. I wasn’t due to be assessed again until 2.30am and in my head expected my labour to still be going well after that and I just felt like I couldn’t continue as I was. I thought I was way off the transition phase and so thought if I felt like that now there was no way I had another few hours of contractions and pushing left it me. The gas and air made me feel sick until the anti sickness injection took effect so I had very little pain relief.
The midwife was amazing and knew I hadn’t wanted an epidural in my birth plan so she kept me going for as long as she could and left me to talk to my husband. I said I knew all the benefits and risks and was confident I needed it at that point. She then told me she had spoken to the doctor and I could go back to delivery but it would be about an hour before I had it. The pool was my only relief at that point and there was no way I was getting out, my husband said I just didn’t respond and started pushing! It really feels like your body is just trying to poo at first but I soon realised I needed to go with it and push, and push harder than I thought physically possible and a few pushes later out she came in the water at 1.18am, over an hour before I was due to be assessed again!
My waters had broken just before she was born and I remember the huge feeling of relief after she was born and also thinking oh that was good I didn’t even tear! After examination I did actually have a second degree tear so hopefully I can reassure anyone afraid of tearing that I didn’t even notice, and the healing has been fine too. I did however have more gas and air for being stitched up than the actual birth! Although at that point all I wanted was for it to be over so I could have tea and toast. (I had done some perineal massage since 34 weeks but found it really difficult and awkward). By the time I had got out of the pool nearly 30 minutes had passed so I opted for the injection to help deliver my placenta as I just wanted to get on with having tea and toast and cuddling and feeding my baby!
Initially I felt that I hadn’t coped very well as I had wanted the epidural and I had screamed bloody murder during the pushing stages but looking back that was just how I needed to cope, I felt so well informed and in control thanks to this course and I feel so lucky to have had the water birth I hoped for. It also dawned on me a couple of days later I had birthed a baby with virtually no pain relief other than a tiny bit of gas and air and felt so empowered by that!
We had a rough first few weeks of breastfeeding, my nipple was so badly cracked I cried while feeding and had to use a shield for about a month to let it heal, I also had mastitis and Lola didn’t gain her birth weight back by her 10 day appointment so I also had to pump and express to top her up with an extra bottle which was quite stressful, but 9 weeks on I am now enjoying feeding her still and she is gaining plenty of weight.
My pregnancy and birth was such a positive experience and I really do put that down to this course as I was terrified initially, so a huge thanks to Beth Kitt and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to any expecting mum.
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.