Baby: My positive birth story

From l-r: the last bump shot at 38 weeks pregnant; where I spent most of my labour - loved the birthing pool; first family photo

Birth story time- and it's a long one! When I was pregnant I loved reading birth stories and wanted to make sure I had shared mine, and also had it written down for myself. My birth was really positive, and I did the Positive Birth Company hypnobirthing digital pack which I feel contributed massively towards how my labour went. I can't recommend it enough and am going to do a whole post on it soon.

So, here we go. I'd had no early labour signs like braxton hicks and so was fully expecting to be late- on Tuesday that week I'd been out with my family to a garden centre and was feeling fit as a fiddle;  well, as fit as a fiddle as you can be when you're 39 weeks pregnant! However, on Thursday 17th August, 3 days before my due date I woke up at 11.30pm with period like pains. I thought it was stomach ache at first but soon realised that the cramps were coming regularly and that this was probably early labour. I was excited but knew how important getting rest was so tried to sleep as much as I could, and didn’t tell Chris until the early morning. 

The whole of the following day was spent in early labour. I took it easy and pottered around the house, doing up breathing (basically breathing in for 4, and out for 8), bouncing on my exercise ball and also using the tens machine. Chris was working from home and so was able to tie up everything and do a proper handover before going on paternity. My Mum came over too and kept me company. I had a tuna pitta for lunch and this was my last proper meal as I hardly ate throughout labour.

At around 5pm the contractions were coming very regularly so we decided to head to my Mum’s house as she was my other birth partner and was driving us to hospital. Typically as we got to her house, my contractions became a lot less regular and so we stayed there for the night. They ramped up overnight and at 4am we were told to come in to hospital.

The journey in was tough- I was knelt down over the back seat, doing my up breathing. I was so glad that it was the middle of the night as the roads were clear, and no-one was around to see me crouching on the floor outside the car! Poor Chris had to try and push me in a wheelchair, whilst also wangling my suitcase, the baby bag and my exercise ball - I think I even laughed at the time as it was so funny. 

A couple of hours after arriving I was examined and was 4cm- I found the examinations really hard as couldn’t bear to be laid on my back. At this point I could have gas and air and I was so thankful - I felt the effect straight away, it was like being really really drunk! The next day my jaw ached from clamping down on it so hard! The pool was also filled - I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in as hadn’t enjoyed a bath in early labour but the midwife was amazing and said they’d get it ready but no problem at all if I didn’t want to go in, or if I went in and came straight out. Anyway, I went in and the relief as I hit the water was amazing! It relaxed me so much and I stayed in there for almost the rest of my labour. I was using my up breathing throughout with Chris counting me through it - he basically counted me through my whole labour!

The midwives were amazing and read my birth preferences thoroughly- it saved them having to ask me questions as everything was on there too. They had aromatherapy in the hospital and so put a diffuser in the room, and also oils in the pool, as could see I was into hypnobirthing and it being as relaxed as possible. 

At this point it’s a bit blurry as I just went into my own world and all I could do was focus on breathing (with the gas and air). Chris kept force feeding me grapes (a brilliant labour snack as easy to be fed and not hard to digest) and water, knowing I needed to keep my energy up, and my Mum was on hand with the gas and air and cold flannels. They were a dream team! 

After my last examination at 6cm (I didn’t have another as they could tell my body was ready to push) things seem to calm down and then suddenly speed up and I had a big wobble - this was definitely transition. I said that I had had enough, couldn’t do it and wanted an epidural! Shortly after my body started to push. My breathing went a bit out of the window at this point but Chris was great at reminding me to breathe during pushes - all learnt from the course we did.

I pushed for an hour and a half in the pool, but right at the end her heart rate dropped a little so I had to get out and walk to another room as they wanted to monitor me - the walk was an experience! Walking, and gravity did the trick though as as soon as I was on the bed on all fours, I started pushing and the head was out and then she was here! No monitoring needed! She was born at 2.35pm on Saturday 18th August and weighed 6lb12 (exactly what I weighed when I was born). My labour was technically 8 hours long (as they count it from when you're 4cm dilated) but was 36 hours from the first contraction.

I can’t describe the feeling of seeing her for the first time and finding out that we had a girl! It was such a rush of love and emotion, and everything in our world changed in a split second. We had delayed cord clamping, Chris then cut the cord and I had a managed third stage but it was all fine and I was so pleased to be told I didn’t need any stitches and hadn’t torn at all. The worst bit was having a catheter put in as we couldn't work out when I'd last been to the toilet. It was uncomfortable but super quick luckily.

The hospital were fab (have so so much respect for midwives, they are superheroes) and we were left for over an hour (and could have had longer) to have skin to skin and to recover. I ended up staying in hospital for two nights as the midwives wanted to see me breastfeeding from my left boob (she couldn't latch on to it for some reason!) and I also had the results back from a private Strep B test I'd had done (please do one if your NHS trust doesn't offer them!) and it was positive so they wanted to monitor Florence for 12 hours to check she was ok. Thankfully she was fine and we could go home on Monday 20th August to start navigating our new life!

Daisy x

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