Monday, 23 July 2018

My Birth Story

23.06.18 

I woke up at 6.30AM with contractions. Nearing the end of my pregnancy I kept asking friends and family (who had given birth) how they knew they were in labor. They all had the same response. You just know. At the time I was thinking surely not, surely theres a sign I can look out for, but they were right. I just knew.




I laboured alone for a few hours then I woke my husband and text my mum to make her way to London. My hubby set up our living room with dim lights, candles and our essential oil diffuser and I set myself up on the sofa with my hypnobirthing tracks playing on repeat.

I made sure to rest my eyes in-between contractions, and to eat and drink what I could. At 1PM my contractions were 3 mins apart lasting 1 minute each. So as I learnt in our antennal classes, thats usually the time you should head into hospital / the birthing centre. So in I went and long story short I was only 1 cm dilated. Thats when it hit me that this was going to be a long labor. 

Skip ahead 6 more hours and the contractions were still 3 mins apart and 1 min long but I could tell they were a lot more intense. So back to the birthing centre we went. Which, by the way, we walked to in the London heatwave. Not fun, lol. After an examination they told me I was about 4cm and I could stay and get settled if I wanted. To be quite honest, the though of climbing back up 3 flights of stairs to my flat was enough to keep me there. The birthing centre at St Marys London is literally amazing. My birthing room had a double bed, birthing pool, bean bags and straps from the ceiling. They allowed me to turn off the lights and put my battery candles out making the atmosphere as calming and homely as possible. 

I spent about 3 hours in the pool using gas and air occasionally but not a lot. Turns out I was a bit too relaxed and as I'd been in labour for 15 hours already the midwife was keen to get things going before either me or the baby got too tired. They got me out of the water and shock horror I felt like my body weighed 1000 stone, it was horrible but necessary. My midwife had me move position every 5 contractions as she was concerned about the baby's positioning as he wasn't seeming to move down. 

24.06.18

18 hours in and progress had been slow. So I began to actively push and again changing position constantly to get the baby to move down. The monitored mine and baby's heart rate after every contraction to make sure we were both coping well. Which, thank God we were. 2 and a half hours into actively pushing the midwife broke the news I definitely didn't want to hear... " if baby isn't out in the next 20 mins we are going to have to transfer you to the labour ward to get you some help". OMG - all I could think about is how badly I wanted my baby here safely but I was desperate to do this without interventions, I had come so far. I also REALLY didn't want to recover on the communal postnatal ward. So with strength I really didn't know I had, I pushed like my life depended on it. The midwife helped me but using her hands as a makeshift forceps to help make the path for baby. I was pushing so hard I lifted my husband clean off the floor, its incredible what the human body is capable of in these situations. 

At around 3.30AM our baby boy was born. I actually felt his head with my hand when it was out, which was the most surreal thing ever. His body followed shortly with the final contraction and the midwife put him straight on my chest. While I birthed the placenta and got stitched up I had skin to skin with baby and let him naturally latch on to feed on his own. The staff were so incredibly patient with me as I'm sure it took about an hour but he got there in the end. 

Overall my labor was about 21 hours and I actively pushed for around 3. This isn't usually allowed, but because both our heart rates were strong they gave me the chance to have the birth I wished for. Both my midwifes were actual angels. I really could not of asked for a better birth team. My husband and mum were there the whole time, supporting and massaging me. I literally could not of done it without them!!

Lessons

Hypnobirthing definitely got me through the longevity of the labor. It kept me focused and positive. No it doesn't make labor painless, but it redefines the "pain" that you experience. It allowed me to look at every contraction as a GOOD thing, rather than shying away from them I welcomed them knowing they were bringing my baby closer to me. 

If I could give a few pieces of advice to a women about to have a baby they would be...
  • Do your perineal massage. Religiously
  • Stay positive. Always
  • Welcome your contractions. Face them head on and get through them. One by one
  • Breathe, breathe, breathe
  • Have a birth TEAM. If you only have one partner theres no-one there to support them, and if they step out for a break you may be left alone
  • Practise hypnobirthing from as soon as you can. I used an audiobook for the first two trimesters then went to a class in my third trimester with my partner. I went to Gigi & Pickle in London, highly recommend. 
  • Take a pot of honey with you. It the best to energise you if,like me, you have a marathon labor. I ate the whole pot. No lie
  • Believe in yourself
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