Throughout my pregnancy and birth I have been so lucky to have such an easy time. I know sharing birth stories can be a controversial topic but I read so many positive birth stories when I was pregnant and it really did help me feel prepared and positive about what would happen. Sharing positive stories shouldn’t shame or negate anyone who had traumatic birth, I’m well aware I have had it relatively easy especially considering my mother had two very difficult labours!
As I have said in my pregnancy posts, I practiced hypnobirthing from about week 25 using the digital pack from The Positive Birth Company. If you’re expecting I would 100% give it a go, it really helped me understand my options, what would happen and how to keep relaxed. When my early labour started on the morning of 22nd September I remained calm and bounced on my birth ball and just relaxed right up until we made the decision to go to hospital. My contractions remained pretty mild and irregular until around 9pm where they began to get a little stronger and more regular. My parents came to pick up the dogs and we called the hospital for advice at around 10:30pm, they advised I had a bath and see if my contractions sped up or slowed down. I stayed in the bath for about an hour but it was clear my contractions were getting stronger and were then 3 in 10 mins so we called the hospital to let them know to expect us.
We got to the hospital at around 1:30am and made our way to the midwife led unit where I was examined. I was told I was 4cm dilated already so they set up the room for us. The MLU birthing rooms at Queen Alexandra hospital are brilliant, they’re huge and have all the apparatus you could want to support you in labour with a birthing ball fixed to the floor with supports and a seat for you partner behind it, a huge squishy ‘sofa’, birthing pool and bed. Our midwife ran the pool for me and I continued to bounce on the ball with Dan behind me rubbing my back. Once in the pool I had instant relief, it was truly amazing. Dan put on the Harry Potter audiobook and sprayed my Feather and Down pillow spray to set up the room for me. He sat by the pool and fed me jelly babies and offered me lucozade between contractions. By 3am I was having some gas and air intermittently and by 5am it was getting really quite painful. My midwife examined me again and told me I was still only 4cm dilated and I felt completely deflated after previously being told it was progressing well and the baby could be born by 8am! The midwife broke my waters (not a particularly pleasant experience but it didn’t hurt at all). I then went back to the pool to labour on, this is when it really ramped up and pain wise it was probably the hardest part, mainly because I was so exhausted having not slept since Friday night and it was now Sunday morning! I wasn’t getting a break between contractions anymore and had a constant pain in the bottom of my spine so at 7:30am I asked for the pethidine injection. To take this I had to get out of the pool and onto the bed but I was still able to maintain an upright position.
The next few hours are really quite blurry, Dan said I was basically asleep for a couple hours but would still signal to him for gas and air when I needed it but I don’t remember any of this! My midwife also changed to the midwife I had at my first few appointments so that was really nice as she was a seriously amazing midwife and her student who I’d also met before was brilliant too. When it came to pushing I was amazed at the uncontrollable pushing sensation, at this point contractions didn’t hurt, my stomach just felt like I had been doing an intense work out, it was my back that was the main source of pain. My midwife Susie did her best to make me more comfortable with more pillows and positioning the bed in an upright position. When baby’s head made an appearance she did coach me to push and told Dan to keep the gas and air away if he could but I was having none of that, it was the only time I snapped! I hadn’t planned on coached pushing but had no concept of time to work out how long I had been pushing for already so went along with it. Looking at my notes now it wasn’t really necessary and I may not have tore so much if this hadn’t happened but I was so exhausted I was glad for it to be over! The sensation of pushing out the head was a horrible stinging sensation but from his head being born to the rest of his body was just 2 minutes so it really didn’t last long and as soon as he was out the pain was gone!
Teddy was born at 10:50am, weighing 7lb 10oz.
He was passed up to me and I remember just being completely shocked. Dan was immediately worried that I had given birth to a purple cone head alien but his skin and the shape of his head sorted themselves out before we left the hospital. Dan cut the cord once it had returned Teddy’s blood to him. I have to say delivering the placenta was such a satisfying feeling, I opted for the injection and my midwife tugged it out but it felt like a huuuge relief when it was out! Then came the stitches… I had two second degree tears and stitching them up was an ordeal, especially when I needed extra anaesthetic as I could feel the needle, but the less said about that the better!
Birth is amazing, but it can also be scary, painful and pretty disgusting. My midwives were amazing and I couldn’t fault them, they really did everything they could to support us. I was also so lucky to have Dan there, he was a top notch birth partner.
Teddy is beautiful and such a good baby, I was so lucky to have such a good birth. The key for me was staying calm and remembering my breathing, finding out everything I could about what to expect beforehand also gave me a huge confidence boost and stopped me from panicking.