My beautiful daughter, our third child was born on Thursday 9th Feb at 11:45am. Being an antenatal teacher I had been looking forward to this day ever since I first found out I was expecting. I love giving birth, its what drives me to do what I do. So for those of you who want to hear how it went or are expecting yourself and maybe feeling nervous, here it is…. my birth story.
To be honest I’m really not sure when the ‘labour’ actually started but I’ll start my story on Tuesday. We had been making sure we were walking somewhere everyday to encourage baby down into my pelvis in the hope of starting labour. Today we had walked my daughter to nursery in the snow and ice. I found it quite a hard trek and was experiencing light tightenings by time we got home. I felt really excited as had been feeling anxious about baby over the past couple of days, however today was not the day. After much pacing and rotating, the tightenings faded and stopped! later that evening I noticed that I had been leaking small amounts of fluid but was convinced it wasn’t my bladder! lol I went to bed but couldn’t sleep! something was really bothering me, her kicks! I’d been so preoccupied with thinking about labour that I hadn’t noticed that her movements had reduced. This was not a good nights sleep, I woke regularly, feeling extremely anxious, having numerous nightmares about losing her….
The next day, Wednesday, I woke early. She was moving, but not like normal. I just didn’t feel right. I got up, told my husband something wasn’t right and phoned the hospital. They told me to come straight in, I felt sick! We dropped the children to my mums, grabbed our hospital bag and headed in. I’ve never felt so sick in all my life as we drove in, every scenario possible was running through my head, good and bad! We were greeted at the hospital by the midwife I spoke to on the phone, she was kind and friendly. She got me hooked up to a monitor and we were told to push a button whenever she moved. Which she did! The monkey, and kept moving. I’ve never been so relieved, listening to her heartbeat. The first 15 minutes or so I was silent just staring at the monitor, but after a while I started to relax. During this time I had 3 low level contractions and my mood began to lift. I was signed off by the doctor and told to go home. They reassured me that if I was worried to come straight back in and that I’d probably be back within 24 hours anyway as things were getting started. So home I went and unfortunately the tightenings disappeared as well. I tried to stay positive, thinking I need to relax. So that evening I watched ‘Call the midwife’ and Holby, my fav programs, and went to bed happy that I had heard my little girl.
Through the night I woke several times again, this time with very mild contractions, but each time I went back to sleep. In the morning I got up early (about 6am) and went wandering around the house. I was sure this was it now, they were definitely contractions, although very sporadic and I was definitely losing my waters, although very slowly. I had a shower to help me relax further and Guy got the children up. By 8am the contractions had found a pattern, still about 10 mins apart but regular. So I told Guy to get the kids to my mums as she was on her way. So after phoning the hospital we headed in, arriving at around 9:30am. I was so excited, we were finally going to meet her, I would be able to hold her in arms and know she was ok. We went up to the ward and found ourselves in the same room we delivered Charlie, our son, only 16 months previous. We got settled, labour had dipped a bit in the car journey but I knew I just needed to relax and settle in and it would pick up again. They came in and listened to baby’s heartbeat and informed us that they wanted to put me on a fetal monitor to see how baby is coping with contractions. This made me a little anxious at first but I soon reassured myself and told them that this was only happening if I could stay mobile. They were fine with this and I sat on a birthing ball attached to the monitor. After a while they said they needed to also measure my heartbeat and my blood pressure as it was a bit high. Guy joked that it was high because I was strapped to a monitor! lol At this point I could have gone two ways, I could have panicked, worried about why they were doing this and I think my labour would have suffered. But I remembered to practice what I preach and I used the sounds from the monitor as a rhythm to rock and breath too, in the same way you would to music. Soon my contractions were coming thick and fast, they felt amazing! Feeling my uterus surging forward made me feel stronger each time and I imagined myself climbing a mountain with each breath. (Sorry it wasn’t a wave Julie) I really enjoyed this part of labour, despite the machines, in fact we used it to keep the humour in the room. Joking I was the bionic woman and laughing when the daft thing beeped and said I had no pulse! I was glad when they told me I could take it all off as my pelvis was beginning to become sore in that position. I was examined and told I was 5 cm, which I was really pleased with. I then turned to all fours on the bed and it was like someone hit a fast forward button!! The contractions were very strong now and lasting a really long time, the mooing stage had begun! lol Now even in my own little labour world, which I was in by this point not listening to anything anyone said to me, the next contraction shocked me. Within about 10/15 mins of being told I was 5 cm I felt like i needed to push! At first my logical brain said ‘no wait till they say its ok’ but almost immediately my primal brain took over and said ‘trust your body’ so I started to bear down. Once again amazing! I LOVE bearing down, its the most powerful, primal feeling in the world and you feel like superwoman. It only took 2 contractions! 1 for her head and 1 for the rest! While all this was happening my amazing wonderful photographer, Jess arrived. Just in the nick of time, she ran in as I was crowning, camera ready and we have the most amazing pictures.
So there she was, my beautiful healthy little girl. I whisked her straight up to my chest and on to my skin, I just wanted her close. I was euphoric, so happy, thinking both about the beautiful girl in my arms and my two other babies who I couldn’t wait to introduce her too. My husband and I were left to bond with our little one, so happy on my skin they didn’t even bother to weigh and check her straight away, this wasn’t done until about an hour or so later.
I really do believe that I would not have had a birth experience like this if it wasn’t for my supportive husband and my knowledge and empowerment I received from trusting my own body. Guy acting as my voice throughout the labour as I had little contact with anyone. This allowed me to enter my birthing mind and tap into my own ability to birth, both easily and comfortably. Thank you Guy.
Also I am so glad I went into hospital the morning before to get checked out. I truly believe that my baby did need to be born and my anxiousness and fear surrounding her movement was what was hindering me from relaxing and my labour starting. I never would have had the confidence to call and report the lack of movement during either of my last pregnancies. Meeting a wonderful, brave , inspiring lady helped me to do this. Her charity, count the kicks, empowers mothers to be by giving them the confidence to trust their instincts and count their babies kicks. Thank you Sophia and Chloe x
So there it is. Welcome to the world Elena Grace.
photography courtesy of ‘photos by Jessica’