Love reading positive birth stories? You’re in the right place! This birth story is with first time mum Heather who delivered her baby girl, Phoebe Valentina, on a midwife led unit. Heather had a water birth and used gas and air for pain relief.

I am so grateful for this (Bump to Baby Chapter Facebook) group and the course, without it I would have panicked all day long but thankfully I managed to keep calm even with a few hiccups along the way. This is a pretty long read!!

At exactly 40 weeks I felt like I had reduced movements so I went to the hospital to be monitored and everything was fine with baby. Due to having reduced movements they advised I would need to be induced and go into hospital everyday until my induction to have baby monitored. My partner was not allowed in the hospital with me so I had to make the decision on my own – I used my EBRAN to ask all the relevant questions and decided to let the midwives book my induction. However, I still wanted to speak to my partner and have a think about it more, I could always decline the induction if I didn’t want it. I had a sweep there and then to try and start natural labour and went home having had an induction booked for Sunday 20th of June. 

Going into hospital everyday to be monitored was really tiring especially in the hot weather when the waiting room had no air con. I had appointments booked but I still ended up having to wait every single day. On one of the days I was waiting nearly 3 hours before I even went in to be put on the monitor. All this waiting around meant I couldn’t relax and enjoy the last little bit of time I had before baby came so I made the decision that if she hadn’t arrived by the 20th I was going to go ahead with the induction as it was all getting a bit much going in everyday.

So 20th June arrived and at 5:00am I started to get some tightenings in my stomach and period type pain in my back. I always had a feeling she was going to be born on the 21st of June, which was my original due date so when I felt this tightenIng I thought it was a sign she would be here soon. I went to the toilet and also lost a bit of my mucus plug so I was hoping that labour was starting so that I would not have to be induced. I rang the midwives and told them what had happened they advised to start noting down how long the contraction lasted and advised it could be braxton hicks so just to ring back if I started to have pain more frequently.

I advised I was booked for an induction today anyway and they said I would receive a call when to go down to the hospital.  I used the Freya app to time how long the surges lasted. At this point I tried to sleep through them but it wasn’t long until the pains were getting stronger and more frequent. 

At about 11am the surges we’re definitely getting stronger so I decided to have a bath to try and relax. While I was in the bath I had a phone call from the hospital it was about my induction – it had been cancelled for today and they had swapped it till Monday instead. As the surges had started I was hoping that baby would be here by then anyway!! 

All day on the 20th June I was having surges, I was bouncing on my ball, trying to walk and occupy myself. The surges were getting stronger each time but there was still no regular pattern to the time in between, sometimes it could be 3 minutes and sometimes 20 minutes. I’m the evening the surges were now nearly unbearable so I again rang the midwives. They asked how long each one was lasting and the time in between. They explained that because it was my first baby that the time in between each surge was not consistent and therefore there was no point going down to the hospital as it could be days yet before anything happened so just to take some paracetamol and try to stay at home as long as I could but if anything changes like my waters broke to call back. I felt disheartened by this as I thought deep down that it wouldn’t be long until baby was here. 
By 11:30pm on the 20th June I was finding it really difficult. I was struggling to cope and called the hospital again. The midwife we spoke to was a little reluctant for us to head in but as I had called earlier in the day and was now finding it difficult they advised I could go down to triage. 

When I arrived they put me on the monitor and checked baby and again everything was fine. They checked my cervix, it was soft, short and anterior but I was 1 to 2cm dilated so the midwives suggested I have another sweep to try and hurry things along so I agreed. I was now advised I wasn’t allowed to go home and would be taken to a ward where I would be monitored. All the time my partner was waiting outside for me as he wasn’t allowed into triage due to covid. Going up to the ward I thought he was going to be allowed with me but I was wrong so I got so upset as I felt so alone having to do it on my own. The midwife explained that once I had a bed on the ward I could go out and see my partner so I did but it was the middle of the

night and I was now really struggling and was tired as I hadn’t managed to get any rest from 5:00am the day before. I went up to the ward checked in as if I was staying in a hotel and went out to the car park to see my partner. I stayed outside for a bit sat in the car and walking round the car park but it was cold and I was so tired that I went back up to the ward to see what pain relief they could give in the hope of getting a bit of sleep. My partner was allowed to visit after 9 so he slept in the car in the car park waiting to come back in and see me. 

So the reason I thought I was taken up to the ward was to be put on a monitor however I didn’t have any monitoring all night which was annoying as I could of gone home instead. The only different pain relief they gave me was 1 dose of diamorphine which didn’t really help much either. It wasn’t until the morning at 8:30am that they brought the monitor and checked baby, who was still fine. The midwives were not going to check my cervix either until I asked them too as my contractions were still not in a regular pattern, they were lasting a minute or more each time but the time in between was different every time, but when they did check I was 5cm dilated, they told me to ring my partner as I was going down to the labour ward. I was so relieved that 1. I was progressing and 2. I no longer had to be on my own. 

When I went down to the labour ward I felt so much better, the midwives were really nice and I finally got some relief by using gas and air. I used gas and air for the majority of my labour, it really took the edge of the contractions and in between I was able to drift off and have little naps. Up until about 4 hours before baby was born I hadn’t dilated anymore I was still 5cm so I needed to have the hormone drip to dilate my cervix more. It was this that really ramped up the contractions and at this point gas and air was just not enough. I at all costs wanted to avoid an epidural so I opted for the injection of Pethadine to take the edge off the pain.

About 2 hours after having the hormone drip I was checked again and was now 8cm. At this point babies heart rate was going high so the doctor had to come in. I had 2 options the first was to be taken for a c-section or the other option that could be done was for the doctor to make a small cut on babies head to take some blood to check her oxygen levels. At this point I was really worried and my main concern was baby. The doctor reassured me that the cuts would not hurt baby and it was the easiest way to monitor her. Again I tried to use EBRAN as best I could to make the right decision. I opted to have baby monitored by the blood tests and again every time they checked her blood she was fine. 

I really remember the transition stage! Along with the worry of if baby was ok I just thought to myself I cannot do this anymore and I needed to get baby out – at one point I was seriously considering the c-section but I thought that I had come this far and hopefully didn’t have long left. 

When the time came for me to push I knew I was so close to meeting my baby girl and pushed with everything I could. After the first push the midwives could see babies head and my partner went to have a look. She was nearly here. Baby came out in 3 big pushes and I finally was able to hold her in my arms. My partner cut the cord after it was delayed while I had some skin to skin with baby.

I had the injection to help deliver my placenta which was quick and easy. I didn’t have any tears and only the tiniest little graze which could just be left. The midwives were so impressed with how quickly baby was born and how I didn’t tear. I believe this was fully down to perineal massage and having my partner do this for me every other day.  

The midwifes went away to sort out the paperwork and left us to have some family time, but due to the time Phoebe was born my partner only had 2 hours with us before he had to leave which was upsetting and he only got to hold her once for about 10 minutes while I quickly got a shower. Myself and Phoebe had to stay in hospital for a few days after to establish breastfeeding, which we had some issues with. I was so glad when we could go home on the 23rd of June. The care I received before and after labour was not the greatest but I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience and I believe that was helped a lot but the bump to birth chapter!! 


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