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Birth story

My Birth Story: Becca and Josh

My Birth Story: Becca and Josh

BECCA AND JOSH

When I found out I was pregnant it was a total shock. The prospect of motherhood and the inevitable life change was overwhelming, but it was the idea of labour that terrified me most. One night I actually cried in fear! Eight months later I would deliver our baby on my bedroom floor in an unplanned (but amazing) home birth.  

During pregnancy, I had considered a home birth for about 10 seconds before dismissing the idea entirely. Where would the birthing pool be emptied (in the kitchen sink? Down the drain on the street? In the flower bed?!!) and who would do the aftermath cleaning? I had a vision of blood splattered walls / floors / beds. A home birth was not for me. Or so I thought….

When I woke up from a contraction at midnight on my due date I knew immediately that this was it (my google search for ‘how you know when you’re in labour’ is hilarious in retrospect).  I ran a bath and using hypnobirthing breathing techniques got through two hours before I woke up my boyfriend. How and more importantly why I did that I’ll never know! Four hours into labour and with contractions three minutes apart he called the hospital to announce our intention to come in, only for them to assure me that as this was my first baby it would take ‘hours if not days’ before the delivery.

Two hours later and after another phone call and another guarantee that I was not ready, I questioned whether I would in fact make it at all. I was fully prepared to arrive at the main doors of Chelsea and Westminster hospital completely naked. Probably not the done thing. I couldn't believe that this would take much longer as the level of pain was... pretty all consuming to say the least.  

During this entire time, I had been completely and utterly fixated on counting my breathing. I breathed in for 8 counts and out for 8 counts like a woman possessed. I hadn't spoken for HOURS (probably the quietest i'd been my entire life) and if the tiniest thing (like the dawn chorus) broke my concentration I was livid.

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Eight hours after my labour had started and with contractions every minute, the midwives had agreed that I should make my way to hospital. Things seemed to happen quite quickly here and from the blur of events I vaguely remember bleeding then agreeing that Josh would call an ambulance. Thirty-five minutes after the paramedics arrived, SEVEN minutes after the emergency midwife came and two pushes later, Jude arrived straight into my arms. A wave of shock, relief, disbelief but mainly just LOVE engulfed me. I could not believe what had just happened. And neither, it would appear, could my speechless, ashen boyfriend!). FYI there was limited damage to any fixtures or furnishings.

Having Jude at home was the most incredible thing. Just being able to get back into my own bed with our brand-new baby was amazingly surreal and the whole vibe was just calm, something that I hadn't even considered might be possible. There was no medical equipment or people poking and prodding us and 3 hours after Jude’s birth we were left alone as a family of three, in bed with a take-away pizza. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. So for anyone who is considering it, especially if the thought of hospital sends chills down your spine (like me) my advice would be GO FOR IT. 

For what it's worth, here are ten things that helped me get through an (unplanned) homebirth; 

 

  1. Learning how to breathe. I practised 8 deep breaths in and 8 on the release. It was really, really hard at first and took a lot of concentration. I spent a few months practising on my daily commute - it also sorted out my road / tube rage which was a bonus!
  2. Booking a hypnobirthing course. I did The London Hypnobirthing course which I couldn't recommend highly enough. At the time I didn't know if it would help. It did. 
  3. Rather than focusing on the contraction itself I focused on the break between contractions. Try to think 'its going to be over soon' as opposed to 'another one's coming soon'. 
  4. Don't bother shouting / whinging at your partner (v. hard in practise, I know) this will not achieve anything useful and will just waste your energy. 
  5. Get in water. If like me a hot bath eases back ache etc you will want to be in the pool or bath during labour 
  6. Buy ludicrously expensive water facial spray. This was sooo nice. 
  7. Download a contractions app for the big day. Pressing that button when each contraction came gave me focus and took my mind off it 
  8. No contraction lasts more than 100 seconds, so start to count to 100 each time and before you get there it will be over (I didn't use this technique but it's helped loads of my friends). 
  9. Let go, this is really hard but the more adrenaline your body has, the longer labour will take. Oxytocin is what is needed for birth so the more relaxed you can be and the more you can let go, the quicker it will happen 
  10. Trust that your body knows how to birth a baby and trust that your baby knows how to be born. This helped me through the labour SO much, and believe it or not, I am not a chilled person by any stretch of the imagination. 

 

My Birth Story: Rebecca and Jason

My Birth Story: Rebecca and Jason

My due date was on the 8th May 2016. Bags packed, toenails painted, hypnobirthing cd on replay. We were so ready and couldn't wait for things to begin. My labour began on the 10th May after seeing my midwife for a sweep, she confirmed I was 2cm dilated. Later that day labour started with a show and mild contractions which were 15 minutes apart and quite manageable, so manageable in fact that we decided to go to the local pub that night for dinner as I knew things can take a while to kick in.

The contractions eased up the next morning so started bouncing on my physio ball sniffing a bottle of clary sage whilst sipping raspberry leaf tea.  Jason massaged my lower back and attached the tens machine (incredible at this stage!!)  By 2 pm the contractions were 8 minutes apart and becoming more intense, by 10pm the contractions were far more intense and coming every 4 minutes. It was time to head to the Stoke Mandeville birthing centre. Feelings of excitement, anticipation and the unknown took hold of both of us whilst driving down our bumpy lane (twice as Jason forgot if he'd locked the front door).

On arrival I was examined and disappointedly had not dilated any further, the midwife did a sweep and stretch (ouch!) and suddenly my contractions became intense and all consuming.  She then told me we could go home, I knew I wanted to stay in hospital as I felt so safe and calm there so they agreed we could.

It was so busy that night so we headed up to the postnatal ward. Walking became impossible so I was wheeled to a cubicle to await imminent dilation. This was the strangest part of the labour for me, my contractions were coming every minute, almost feeling like there was no break between them and all I could have was paracetamol until I had got to 4cm. We were in a room with sleeping new mums, brand new babies and another lady that seemed so in control of her labour, all I knew was I felt so uncomfortable to make too much sound. The environment made such a difference to the way I felt I could cope. The overwhelming waves of labour at this stage meant I couldn't relax which made my body fight what was happening. After 2 hours on PN ward they ran me a bath, this helped a lot as we finally had a room to ourselves, the contractions at this point were becoming frequent and far stronger.

Everything slowed down at this point,  in fact I almost feel like it was a blur through these few hours.  After what felt way longer than 4 hours I was examined, I was finally 4cms and ready to head to the birthing centre. I'd had a strep B test come back positive so I needed IV antibiotics, The midwives helped me onto a transformer labouring bed where they put a cannula in my hand, it took a few attempts but finally started to administer the antibiotics whilst taking gas and air. Relief.

The hypnobirthing really helped at this point, I couldn't panic, I had to surrender to the pain, I had to trust my body and wow our bodies are amazing. Jason was so supportive and was in constant discussion about what was going on, this made a huge difference as I had a voice that knew what I wanted. The room was bright and not the place I wanted to give birth so I asked if the water pool was free yet, it was and a midwife ran in to let me know they were running the bath for me. My contractions then changed and felt quite different, expulsive creating a feeling of wanting to push,  the midwife reminded me I would have to wait as the antibiotics needed 2 hours to work. An impossibility, my cervix had dilated completely from 4 cms to 10 cms in an hour.

We arrived in the birthing pool room, it was dimly lit, relaxing music playing and the water felt incredible. After a long wait I was finally in the pool, Jason was right by me and I finally could let go. I think I roared like a lioness, my waters broke and I started to feel pressure, it was her head. Jason started to cry as he saw her little head full of jet black hair emerge. It was all I needed to see to keep going, I kept saying is the midwife here she has to catch the baby as I'm pretty sure they were quite shocked as to how quickly it all happened. With a few more roars our baby appeared, the midwives caught her and placed her on my chest, there she was my gorgeous baby girl it was incredible. Jason was so emotional and we both stared at her in amazement.

After a few moments Jason cut the cord, held her in his arms for skin on skin and I climbed out of the bath to birth the placenta. I needed a couple of stitches but they were really no problem. All exhausted, Eleanor Primrose Pearce had arrived on earth. We were totally in love. The midwives and support enabled me to have my dream birth and I'm so incredibly grateful to the team at Stoke. She weighed a healthy 7lb1.

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