On Wednesday the 11th I went to visit my class at work and then had a lesson of aqua tums. Those two things must have given me a boost of oxytocin as my waters went at 23.50, an hour after I had gone to bed. I was 38 weeks pregnant.
I felt so excited because it meant baby was coming and knew exactly what to do. Waters were clear and my partner called Bluebell Birth Centre to let them know. They asked us to go and get checked and on the way there, some mild contractions started.
The midwife checked the colour of the waters, my temperature and explained that they would recommend induction if I hadn't gone naturally into labour in 24h due to PROM (waters breaking before labour starts) and risk of infection. I really didn't want to be induced so had faith that my body knew what to do.
We got home and went straight to bed to sleep and get some rest and energy. However, contractions were very close together (every 5 min) and even though they were mild I struggled to sleep. At around 8am they became stronger but less frequent, which allowed me to have naps between them until around 2pm.
By that time, they were much stronger and happening every 5-8 minutes. I then had a bath and bounced on my ball. My partner set the scene with aromatherapy and lighting, gave a massage, did some relaxation exercises etc. We used all the tools that we had learnt in the course and I knew would help me to relax and keep the oxytocin flowing. I also used my up breathing when the contractions came, and I was shocked how much all these helped me to stay calm and in control. The position/posture and the breathing made a big difference and made contractions easier to handle.
With all these, we got to 10pm. By that time I didn't have 3 strong contractions every 10 min but I had them every 12 so I was feeling positive. At 10.30pm I received a call from the hospital telling me that I had been booked for an induction at 12am and where to go, as they didn't consider I was in established labour yet. I told them I wasn't keen on that and that my body was definitely working on it, but they insisted and asked me to go and speak to the doctor.
We got there at 12am, with stronger and more frequent contractions that felt much worse than before, probably due to being sat in the car. When we got there, they took us to a bed in Swan Ward, shared with other people that were quietly sleeping. It was not an ideal place to be as I was a bit loud!
The midwife left us there for around 40 min and started to set up the induction when she came back without saying much. I was completely relaxed and in the "zone" but my partner demanded information and explained how I did not want the induction. We asked the midwife to check how far I was before even considering it.
She then checked and realised I was 4cm and in established labour (around 1.20am). I was so happy and relieved and asked to go into Bluebell as that was my preference. She went to check but due to PROM for more than 24h they didn't want me there. I then asked for the room with the bath or a shower, I got the second one and I was sent to labour ward.
Once in our room, I got more comfortable and my partner set the scene with lighting, aromatherapy and lots of massage. I got straight on the ball as it helped me so much at home. Contractions got more and more intense, so we tried the TENS machine first, which unfortunately did not help me. Then, I asked for the gas and air which helped lots. However, I got a bit unlucky with wireless monitors and baby's heartbeat kept "getting lost", so the midwife asked me to lie down in bed. Apparently this was the only way baby "was happy". This was awful in terms of managing the contractions that felt much worse and unbearable in that position. I was really struggling to breath trough them, considering this and that I was not going to have the water birth I wanted, I decided to ask for the epidural.
I had the epidural and chose to have smaller doses. It didn't numb me fully but I was happy with that as I could still have some control and feel the contractions coming.
At 6am there was a shift change and new midwives came in. They were amazing, explained many things that were not explained before and were very keen on following my birth plan as much as possible. They also seemed to use the monitors way more confidently and successfully than the first one, which was a bit frustrating to see, as we never again lost baby's heartbeat, something that kept happening before.
By 7.20 am I was 10cm, and after 1h of waiting for the body to do its thing, I started actively pushing at 8.30 at my own pace when I felt a contraction. An hour later, there wasn't much progress, so the doctor came, checked that baby was in the right position with a quick scan and offered some help with the ventousse (as baby was facing my right side and I looked very tired).
I had always wanted to avoid intervention so we used the BRAIN decision making tool and asked the necessary questions before deciding. We chose to wait for a while so I could keep trying as baby was ok. He came back 2 more times to check if I had changed my mind but was happy to wait outside, which I think gave me extra strength to avoid intervention and push harder/better. My partner's support and encouragement were so helpful, along with the midwives support and guidance.
At 10.38 am, after 2h of actively pushing, Sienna was born, her whole body came out in one contraction. My cheeky baby hadn't moved and was born facing my right side. She was placed on my chest straight away and we waited until the cord was white for my partner to cut it. I was happy to have the injection for the delivery of the placenta and that all happened really quickly while I enjoyed the cuddles. We did skin to skin for half an hour but then I started to feel dizzy and sick so my partner took over the skin to skin. Once I felt better, she was placed on my chest again and then we started our breastfeeding journey, she latched straight away.
When Sienna was born I felt so happy, relieved and proud of my body, it was a very empowering experience in which I feel I made my own decisions based on what was best for me and baby in the given circumstances. I didn’t need any stitches and recovery was very easy, just breastfeeding a bit challenging but all is on track now.
I have a very positive memory of it all and I couldn't be more grateful to you Amy and hypnobirthing in general for helping me to "enjoy" labour and getting rid of the fear.