After keeping everyone on their toes and arriving 10 days late, Buddy wasn’t hanging around when he finally decided he was on his way!
By this point, I’d tried everything. And I mean EVERYTHING, but this baby didn’t want to seem to shift. Curry, pineapple, clary sage, long walks, stretch and sweep, even ‘the deed’ – you name it, I’d done it! I was so desperate to avoid induction (although I felt comfortable that I knew what would be happening, and I could be in control if that is what it came to) so I was over the moon when I went into labour spontaneously – to the point I cried when I woke my husband up to tell him I thought things were happening!I’m convinced that the fact I had gone to bed that night resigned to the fact this baby wasn’t coming of its own accord is what sent me into labour. My body finally relaxed because I let it.
Anyway – hold on to your hats! This is a fast one!
I woke up Sunday 22nd Sept morning in the early hours, around five to 4, not really sure what had woken me. After hearing my husbands terrible snoring (no change there!) I assumed that’s what had woken me up so I moved myself over to the spare room to try and get some sleep, because let’s be honest when you’re the size of a whale sleep isn’t exactly forthcoming so you’ll take all you can get! Before I even shut my eyes once in the spare room I had a wave of period type pain, which I thought was strange, having not had one niggle or inkling that little one was on their way on previous days. I put it down to wishful thinking, but clocked the time just incase, and tried to go to sleep. After all, even if this was the start, I thought I’d have hours of irregular contractions. I should atleast try and rest before it all started kicking off. HAHA funny what we tell ourselves and then look back on.
Half an hour passed, with 3 contractions in that time, I thought I better wake up my husband and things really seemed to be on the move already. I thought I’d then take the opportunity to go for a wee – a big help to keep labour progressing as I learnt in antenatal. I didn’t want a big old bladder getting in the way of this baby coming out! That’s when I noticed I was wet – so I guessed my waters were leaking. No big gush of waters like the movies! I hadn’t even noticed! Contractions felt like they were coming thick and fast, without much let up. My husband suggested I have a shower to try and help me relax, and so that I was atleast ready for the day of we were to be doing a lot of walking and waiting around. I did enjoy the shower, but all my contractions were up front under my bump, not in my back at all, so it wasn’t quite the relief I was hoping for. By this point it was 5am. My mum was going to be my second birth partner so I rang her to let her know things were moving, and moving fast, so she came over straight away and was with us by 5.30am.That’s when we called the hospital as my contractions were coming every 5 minutes and were lasting a minute long. I wasn’t prepared for such a fast progress, it took me by surprise that’s for sure!
The lovely midwife on the phone asked us to make our way in as we were about a 30minute drive away, and they could examine me and see how I was doing. Finally the moment had come to grab my strategically packed bags and notes and head out the door.
The car journey is still a blur. I think I sent the most of it ‘mooing’ on the way, and lifting myself off the seat as I didn’t want to be sat down. Not a very helpful passenger! I do remember telling my mum if I got to the hospital and was only 4cm dilated I was having an epidural for sure! A stark change from my chilled water birth I had imagined for myself.
We arrived at the birth unit at around 6.30am where our lovely midwife Yazmin met us and took us into a side room where I could be examined. It took a little while to be examined as my contractions were coming fast I didn’t want to be touched or confined to lying in a bed. Yazmin was great, let me do my thing. It was when I asked for some gas and air she let me know I had to have an examination first to check I was in established labour. After a (impressively quick) examination she told me I was 8cm dilated one side of my cervix but only 6cm the other side, so to help the shorter side dilate quicker to lie on that side for a little bit. Baby’s head was at a slightly tilted angle so was pushing harder on one side and not the other. But bloody hell, 6-8cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it! I was gladly sucking on the gas and air by now – a welcome relief! Although it didn’t take the pain away, it took me away from the pain. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s a real out of body drunk kind of feeling, but you know exactly what’s happening, and you’re oddly OK about it all. You just know you’ve got ride the waves. Then my body just took over. I wasn’t asked to push, there was no momentous announcement of hitting the magic number of 10cm, my body decided it was time to push and that’s what it did. I apologised over and over to Yazmin, worried I wasn’t supposed to be doing it. But she reassured me all was OK, to just go with it and see how we got on. I told her I had wanted a water birth, when in reality I think I knew as much as she did there was going to be no time for that now.
Everything then started to move at what felt like super speed. Whilst pushing, baby wasn’t feeling too happy about it. It’s heartrate was dropping with every push and wasn’t picking up as quickly as it should. Yazmin explained this to me, and asked that I be moved from the birth unit to labour ward – cue the panicked tears from me! Which then also resulted in tears from my husband and he NEVER cries! I remember now what we discussed in antenatal and it really does ring true – labour ward isn’t second best to the birth unit, they just have more stuff in their cupboards! And as I was possibly going to need some assistance to get baby out sooner rather than later, that was the best place for me to be. However I can’t say I enjoyed clambering onto a bed mid labour to be wheeled to the lift! Ha!
I continued to push whilst on the bed in the lift, determined to get this baby out on my own. Yazmin came with us, which I will always be grateful for, for that continuity and support. Once on the labour ward, the sister of the ward came to help deliver me (along with a reem of other people who just seemed to fizzle into the background for me) and thankfully I’d managed to push baby far enough down on my own that I didn’t need forceps or vontouse. All that was needed was a small episiotomy to help the head be born. And all this time, pushing really does feel like one big poo!! You really can’t imagine it before, but then when it’s happening you understand what everyone’s been talking about!
When I was pushing the midwife told me to reach down and touch the baby’s head. That was most bizarre – warm, wet and squishy 😂I’ll never forget that!
And then there HE was. A boy! At 7.25am, all 8lb 3ozs of him – 3.5hrs from start to finish! I couldn’t believe the speed of it! Although I didn’t get the water birth I hoped for, I didn’t end up with the natural 3rd stage I hoped for, I didn’t even get to eat the snacks I had packed for myself, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I in no way feel cheated out of a birth I imagined, as the birth I got ended with my boy in my arms and nothing trumps that!
If you want to know about ways to have a great birth then…
Whoever said breastfeeding was a walk in the park LIED!! Well at least for lots of women anyway.
That latch that midwives go on about sooooo much is so important because…
▪️ If the latch isn’t quite right your nipples can become sore and even cracked.
▫️ Your baby won’t be getting enough of a milk supply if the latch isn’t quite right which means that your baby may not be getting enough milk and this can also in turn reduce your supply.
Both the above can make breastfeeding VERY challenging.
Look at the way the mother in this photo is holding her baby. Just like we do when we grab a drink we tilt our head back- so the best way to hold your baby whilst feeding is by not holding the back of their head… Sounds like an alien concept though, right? Growing up we are encouraged to “hold the baby’s head!!!!” where as during breastfeeding this isn’t the case and supporting them by their shoulders and neck instead is a better way to encourage and support feeding.
We know how important feeding is to new parents and their babies, be that breast or bottle. So we’ve roped in Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife Sue to come and share her tips with you at antenatal class. You know lack of support is thought to be the biggest reasons why mothers choosing and wishing to breastfeed end up stopping, which is why we have your back ❤️ we think if you want to do it, it helps if your breastfeeding journey starts in pregnancy so it’s always included at antenatal.
Another tip for pregnant mothers is to head over to a breastfeeding support group in your area whilst you are on maternity leave before baby arrives. This is so that when you need to go there for breastfeeding support, you have already met some people there, you already know where you’re going and where to park. By doing this you’ll really be helping your sleep deprived & emotional future self.
This is a brand spanking new ANTENATAL WEEKEND that TBTBC Midwife team are offering to expectant couples of the Cotswolds and beyond. It’s a jam-packed weekend filled to the brim to totally prep you for birth and baby in a great country setting with scrummy food, surrounded by other like-minded, expectant couples.
This weekend is designed specifically for couples who find attending a weekly course challenging to fit around other commitments and who want the benefits of meeting other pregnant couples from a group course. We’ve built this course for you.
Being a midwife, I see so frequently how antenatal classes make a difference to women and couples, both in the delivery room and after with their baby. So I have put together this course with the goal that you…
✨Have an antenatal course from a midwife who SEES BIRTH and CARES FOR women and partners in the delivery room and the immediate time after. Who works in Gloucester so that all the information you will get is up to date and relevant to where you will be giving birth. So that the information given to you is real, honest with practical tips that really work.
✨Know what to expect with having a baby and as new parents. To know what is normal and what is not. How to keep your baby safe and well.
✨Have a tribe of mums/dads so that you can share the highs and lows of parenthood with and you have someone to message in the 2am club.
It will cover everything you need to know about birth from an active birth to cesareans and everything in between, all led by midwives who help expectant mothers and fathers during birth in their day to day work. Life with a newborn and those early days are also covered, from how to feed your baby, signs of a well fed baby, bathing, nappy changing, what’s normal and what’s not.
I’m keen to add to the social factor as it is so important to find your village. The classes are really chilled, so relaxed that we have lunch together as a group, two courses off Cowley Manors delicious menu. There’s also a bar at the venue, the partners usually make use of this to have a beer at break.
Remember if you want to add Hypnobirthing to your Bump to Baby Chapter you can do so with a 30% discount for booking an antenatal course with us too. You can also access our post natal courses for FREE when your baby is born, including Sleep, Colic, Reflux and Weaning.
Venue: Cowley Manor, Near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 9NL
Saturday 14th and 15th September 2019 (Due dates October- December)
Time: 10 am start both days – itinerary to follow- 4pm finish. (Overnight stay not included.)
I don’t really know where to start with the labour. I could potentially say I was in early labour for a few days, contracting on and off throughout the days and evenings prior to the birth with it not amounting to anything. For the sake of time, I’m writing this whilst the baby is sleeping, and to save your boredom I’m going to fast forward to when it finally and thankfully stepped up a gear. This was Friday evening. The evening started like all the other evenings before, me bouncing on my ball in front of the TV. Rob had gone to football and I was contracting as I usually did in the evenings. It got to 11pm and the contractions were coming regularly. I said to Rob tonight is the night, he rolled is eyes and carried on watching 8 out of 10 cats does countdown, as I’d cried wolf every day already this week. From how ‘stop and start’ my contractions had been this week I had lost all faith in my ability in judging whether it was happening or not. I went upstairs to take a shower and to have a word with myself. I was probably not going into labour at all.
Half an hour in the shower I rang my friend to come over. The contractions were becoming stronger and staying regular, I was still not totally convinced though and prepped her that it may all stop. I rang the birth unit too and said the same to them, “I don’t think I’m in active labour, but I think I may be getting there.” Being a fourth baby, I knew that being in active labour (from 4cms and regular contractions) to having a baby wasn’t going to be long and I wanted to be in the hospital as I bled last time. They invited me in.
This is probably a good time to give you a bit of background. My 3rd baby was born prem at 34 weeks and I lost more blood than deemed normal. So the advice for me was to have my baby on a consultant led unit as I was “high-risk” of bleeding again. I looked at all my options though and chose to go against this advice after having a conversation with the lead midwife on the birth unit. My last birth, I had polyhydramnios, prematurity, a suspected infection and the cord snapped on the placenta all things that mean you’re more likely to lose more blood. This pregnancy, I had normal waters, a normal size baby and was full term so I didn’t have the same risk factors. With this in mind I chose to give birth on the midwifery led unit and I was supported in this choice.
So back to that Friday evening… I was in the shower. I had my birth ball in the shower too. It was on the bath so that I could lean onto it to have the water on the bottom of my back. I used my breathing here that I’d learnt from hypnobirthing. Counting my in breath and my out breath gave me something to concentrate on and kept me relaxed. Things were going great guns, I was calm, comfortable and getting into the swing of the contractions. My friend arrived and so I got out of the shower and myself and Rob made our way to the birth unit.
It was about 00.30 when we arrived to the birth unit. My midwife was Brenda, she showed us into our room Poppy. It was dimly lit and the pool was half full. I again said to a Brenda that I didn’t think I was quite in labour but knew my contractions were getting there. They were coming every few minutes at this point but they felt manageable. She brought me in some essential oils – Bergamot and Frankincense- on a taper and I got back into the shower leaning over onto the birthing ball. Chui my birth photographer arrived at this point. My only concern here I remember was what happens if this all stops, what happens if I’m just in early labour and I’ve got my friend at my house and Chui’s here. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time! Silly really looking back as it was obvious I was in labour!
I spent a good hour at least like this in the shower. The next thing that happened was at 02.30 when I had my first vaginal examination. I know it was 02.30 because Rob text Emily at this time who was home with the kids. I still wasn’t sure at this point that it was it… I remember saying to Brenda, what happens if I’m just 2cms. If this was going to be the case I didn’t want to know! Brenda thought that would be unlikely and she was right. It’s funny how much you lose your ability to rationalise in labour! As a midwife, I should’ve been able to recognise the signs but I still had in the back of my mind that I may not be dilating at all! I was 8cms. Happy days! I got gas and air at this point which is when all of the fun started.
Brenda filled the pool and I got in. The water was instantly comforting. It was here that I remember really wanting to take it all in. As pregnant mothers, we are so desperate for this moment, desperate to feel the contractions and to know that after 9 months we are finally going to meet our baby. The labour and the birth we prep for, go to classes, pack 3 suitcases for which is more than what we’d take on holiday, we play it out how we want it to be in our minds but the reality is that it’s all done and dusted in a day. That moment in the pool was a nice one, I really appreciated what was going on, that what I’d been waiting for was actually happening that very night. These thoughts were helped from the fact that I was high as a kite too! I actually told Brenda all of this between contractions. She probs thought I was cuckoo!
It wasn’t long after I’d got into the pool that I’d started to transition. I remember saying “I can’t do this anymore!” Whilst thinking that’s a textbook ‘You’re just about to have a baby comment’ whilst uncontrollably pushing. I can’t remember “mooing” here but Rob assures me it happened! This feeling was overwhelming, I had this full feeling, which would have been her head coming through my pelvis. The only thing that helped this feeling go away was to push. All the signs were telling me I was just about to meet my baby and a few pushes later she was born under the water at 03.31. I got to bring her up out of the water myself. Holding her in front of my face, seeing her scrunched up face, feeling her skin, hearing her little cry and knowing that she was here safe in my arms was the most incredible feeling ever.
All went well after – no bleeding!🙌🏼 and we were back home by 7.30 am for when the other 3 children woke up.
There’s a couple of things that I’m so glad that I did.
1. Getting a birth photographer– I felt like a bit of a diva doing this but now I wish that I did it for all of my births. For me, remembering the birth is so much more important than say a wedding day, yet a wedding photographer is something we see at every wedding! The photos that i have are priceless and Delphi is lucky that she gets to see her first moments in the world. Thank you Chui 🙂
2.Hypnobirthing– Through teaching hypnobirthing I have inadvertently been practising the techniques for a lot longer than my 9 month pregnancy and boy did it pay off. Reinforcing that everything in your birth is a choice, learning the importance of keeping your mind calm and how to control pesky negative thoughts like fear and doubt that always seem to enter our minds meant that this birth was by far my most empowering, calm and magical experience. I could live it with such clarity and for me that was I really wanted, I wanted to be able to remember every minute of it and enjoy it! I’ll write another blog on what techniques I used that were most helpful.
3. Writing it down- this little story completes it for me, it’s something else that means I’ll remember what happened that night.
For me sharing birth stories is important. I want pregnant mothers to know that birth isn’t always the fear-filled, ear- piercing shrieks and painful experiences that you see on TV. It can be empowering, calm and beautiful. My births are by far my biggest accomplishments in life. I look back on this birth especially, and it was everything I wanted it to be and I would happily do it all again in a heartbeat.
If you want to know about ways to have a great birth, how to stack the odds in your favour to get the birth you want and feel calm in all births then…
You can get all the information from our award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but from the convenience of your own home on your own time, then you can get our online course.
So…. We didn’t have a birth plan we were just happy to go with the flow and it’s a good job we did! My due date had passed, and I was starting to feel a tad inpatient so I had a bath with a ‘sex bomb’ (bath bomb from Lush!) which was recommended to me by a new mummy friend I had made on the Bump to Baby Chapter antenatal course. I even had to go to my mother in law’s for the bath because the previous week I had got stuck in our bath due to the taps being in the middle!!
I was 5 days overdue so my partner and I went out for athaicurry at lunchtime, again in a bid to get things started. By 4pm that day the contractions had started…. 10 minutes apart and not very consistent however it was all starting to happen. My partner went off to five-a-side football at 5.30pm and when he returned at 7.15pm they certainly felt stronger and were more like 7 minutes apart however still not always consistent.
I had a tiring night, however I managed the pain using my hypnobirthing breathing and visualisations,paracetamoland a tens machine. Sleep was tricky though because well… I was a tad uncomfortable and I was needing to time my contractions. By 4.30am the following day it was time for us to make our way to the birth unit at Gloucester Royal, things seemed more consistent and my pyjamas bottoms suddenly appeared wet! My partner drove us to the hospital saying ‘this is it!’, it reminded me of that early morning trip to the airport when you are feeling a mixture of excited and nervous!!
We arrived at the birth unit and after being assessed I was advised I was 3cm dilated and only part of my waters had broken, thereforediamorphinewas recommended to me so that I could rest and catch up on some sleep for the day that was ahead of me. They also started me on some IV antibiotics because I had Group B strep.
Several hours passed, my waters hadn’t broken naturally, I felt super relaxed and drowsy and I hadn’t dilated anymore. I felt at this point a little frustrated and waved goodbye to any hope of a water birth because I needed to be looked after in the delivery suite and have the rest of my waters broken. It was at this point that I was started on the hormone drip to try and increase the intensity and frequency of the contractions (or so I thought this was).
The level of hormone drip changed throughout the day, and by 10pm that evening I was 6cm dilated, this felt so wrong to both my partner and I at the time after such a long day. However, earlier that night we had a wonderful surprise when Beth came on shift and was assigned as our midwife. Seeing a friendly face was just the best we could have hoped for and my partner was pleased because he could straight talk with Beth! I was shattered and was only using gas and air as pain relief, otherwise I was managing with my hypnobirthing techniques. I remember feeling really quite insular and just focussing in on my breathing. A cesarean was offered and discussed at 11pm however we declined this suggestion on the basis that I didn’t want the recovery afterwards. Albeit, I was very tempted and did ask whether they could guarantee our baby would be born in the next hour so that it’s birthday could be the 16thof the month the same as her dad- barmy I know!! My partner laughed at this reasoning, in my head it was justified given the day I had experienced! Instead we were advised the hormone drip would be increased and we would be assessed again in 2 hours.
Those two hours I remember being really tough, however both Beth and my partner were very supportive and I remember them both being really positive. Finally, at about 1.30am I was more or less fully dilated, however (there are lots of‘howevers‘ in this story!!), our baby’s head was facing 10 o’clock as opposed to 6 o’clock and therefore I needed some help from a doctor to move baby into a more optimum position for birth. I have also learned since that her heart rate was also creating an odd pattern and I wasn’t in any fit state to take instructions on how to push because I was attached to the gas and air for comfort and was exhausted!Therefore,the next part of the story involved signing a consent form and going to theatre. The two options I had were forceps and C section- both of which I had prayed I wouldn’t need so I remember feeling like a failure. Given our feelings about the recovery after a C section, we opted for forceps first.
I recollect being in theatre feeling like I was onHolbyCity- surrounded by lights, legs in stirrups and lots of clinicians around me including an anaesthetist trying to get a spinal block into my back however I couldn’t sit still due to the contractions. I recall him getting more and more cross and frustrated with the situation and perhaps me due to my lack of cooperation (not on purpose I might add!!). Once the spinal block was in, the process started and the one doctor could not turn her head, nevertheless I was lucky enough that another doctor was available to try. She was successful, however our little baby turned back! At this point, I remember Beth saying ‘you are definitely having a girl because she is being a right diva!’ this made me smile because we didn’t know at this point what we were having. The same doctor managed to turn her again and very much gave the impression that this was my opportunity to push my baby out. Beth was monitoring the baby’s heart rate and feeling my tummy for contractions, when a contraction came I was supported, encouraged and motivated to push as hard as I could three times. I am pretty sure after 3 lots of 3 pushes our baby was born! Forceps were used to help direct her out and I had an episiotomy.
Beth told us we had a baby girl and I was ecstatic because my partner already had a boy so I secretly hoped for a girl!Unfortunately,she was born very startled and with a slightly disfigured chest so was whisked off to the corner of the room for checks. My partner recalls how anxious he felt at this time, nevertheless within 15 minutes of being checked over by the doctors, her chest had recovered and all was good in the world. Well for her anyway… I on the other hand was still lay on my back, legs in stirrups feeling quite uncomfortable whilst the doctors manually removed my placenta which got a little stuck, hence my 1.7 litre blood loss. Due to this loss I started to feel more and more unwell- shaky and sick. By now, our baby girl was in my partner’s arms having lots of lovely cuddles and I couldn’t control my shakes whilst in recovery so had to opt for looking at her and stroking her hand for the first hour and a half of her life. Once I felt better I made up for it with some skin to skin contact and a good feed. Holding her for the first time was just the best medicine for feeling better and this is how I have decided to remember her birth.
Winner of 🌟The Best Pregnancy Support Service in Gloucestershire 2017🌟, The Bump to Baby Chapter has something for everyone.
🌟For expectant couple wanting to know all you need to know about labour, baby and those early days we have midwife led antenatal courses.
🌟For a second or third time mother wanting to birth without fear after a negative birth experience. There’s hypnobirthing one day classes for the busy Mum.
🌟Free blogs with tips on birth and baby for all
🌟Buggy walks in Cheltenham for new mothers to bring the sisterhood in motherhood.
So whatever stage of pregnancy and whatever number baby have a look at the page, website and get involved 🌟
Some days the let down reflux doesn’t play the game... and some days you just get a whole lot more than you asked for 😆 💦 👶🏼
It was 7am this morning, after a night shift. I usually feed Delphi overnight so my boobs were, needless to say, FULL. I had nothing more to do during my shift, no more “tasks” no more writing in the notes, everyone was happy and the night had gone well. I was chatting to this new Mum and her 1 day old baby started to cry, watching his little fingers move around and root around like a little bird looking to feed was just too cute 🥰 My head went immediately back to my little baby as I thought how this was her just a year ago looking so tiny in the clear hospital crib.
Meanwhile... low and behold... my right boob was also thinking the same as the let down reflex kicked in and I popped my hand up to feel, you guesssed it, a leaky boob. I folded my arms to cover it, said my goodbyes and went to the toilet to shove some tissue down my bra like my Year 7 ‘desperate to grow a pair’ self. 🍉
So the let down reflex ...
Def: When your boobs decide to release your milk.
🍉 Happens when oxytocin is high- think skin to skin, smelling your baby’s head, when your baby lets out a cry, when you see your baby rooting around for a feed.
🍉 It’s back to the old oxytocin vs adrenaline play off again, so if you’re feeling stressed or busy, your let down reflex can be slow or inhibited. For example, if your baby has been crying for a while and/or if your baby is struggling to latch on and you’re feeling the pressure. This can reduce your milk coming.
In my case, my boobs didn’t leak all night because I was busy. The minute I stopped, felt chilled and thought of my baby ... 🥛 💦
What you can take from this...
🥛 If you’re feeling stressed when feeding your baby then take 5 ⏰. It will be easier for everyone if you pass baby to Dad, go and make a brew then come back and start again.
💦 Anything that increases your oxytocin is good for milk supply. In the early hours/days with your baby it is soooo important that you have plenty of skin to skin with your baby. In the first 24 hours especially, it is more beneficial that your baby has done lots of skin to skin and you’ve been with your baby than how much colostrum your baby has actually had. Plenty of skin to skin in the early days will be great for your milk supply in the up and coming days.
🥛 Breast pads are a must. You may find that when you’re out and about with your baby in the weeks/months after baby then sometimes even the sound of someone else’s baby crying can start your let down reflex.
Anyone got any experiences to share about the let down reflex?
Breastfeeding as well as formula, bottle and combi feeding is something that we always cover at antenatal with our lactation expert and midwife, Sue.