Positive Birth Story
I had spent much of my pregnancy refusing to think about this birth due to fear of a repeat of my first traumatic birth four years ago. I was seeing a different midwife at each appointment and was not going to write a birth. I couldnt even read about giving birth. Looking back I can see my state of mind and the fear that consumed me could have led to a self fulfilling prophecy. Luckily deep down I must have known something within me needed to change. I just didn't know then what an amazing journey I was embarking on. One that has changed me so much as a person. Firstly I forced myself to start reading The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill and what a turning point this was.
A few years previously someone on Facebook mentioned they had a doula supporting them with their birth. The idea of someone I knew being there, advocating for me (I felt the midwife didn't listen to me or respect me first time around) resonated with me.
Luckily I was put in touch with the lovely Helena Hamilton. She came alongside me in quite a journey where I dealt with my fears about my daughter's birth and learned about my rights as a pregnant and labouring woman. Helena also helped me identify my own strength and to realise this birth would be different. I also requested to see the same midwife at every appointment and met with a psychologist several times. Consistent midwifery care really does make a difference!
During the pregnancy I got pressure to have an induction at bang on 40 weeks due to risks associated with my age. By then I had challenged my fears and research had shown me any intervention can increase the chances of further interventions. I was determined when I pointed out to my consultant that I was a person not a statistic and opted for expectant management. Still the chat about induction dented my confidence in birthing my baby safely if I went to over. Fear is so insidious and consultants can use such emotive language! I was relieved when at 40+2, I went to the midwife, was examined and already 3 cms dilated.
That night at 11.52pm on the 6th of October I had my first contraction and within half an hour I had three more. I used my relaxation breaths to focus through each one. The contractions came on thick and fast.
I hadn't overcame my fear enough to birth at home though the knowledge that I have gained and the belief in myself means in hindsight I would do so with no hesitation.
...in the end it was all down to me.
I woke my partner Scott, contacted Helena and phoned maternity assessment who advised me to wait at home. I knew my own body and lasted only another 20 minutes before deciding to embark on a very uncomfortable 25 minute car journey to the hospital.Scott drove me. By then it was around 1.30am. My brother was staying and looking after my daughter. I remember him looking nervous as he waved goodbye. The enormity of what I was about to do... have a baby, a silent thought the three of us shared. Sitting in the car seat was agony so had to lean forward during the many contractions. Still I think I was excited. Stupidly we parked far away from the back entrance and we had a bit of a walk. I was rotating and breathing through contractions, leaning on barriers and pillars through the wind and rain. It felt very dramatic as if I were in my own movie scene.
There was very little respite between contractions and I was not a very compliant patient unable to sit still to get the monitor on or cannula in my hand. I didn't really want them but I subconsciously chose to not let them interupt my focus. It was my modus operandi during labour...tune out the midwives, the hospital environment. I was mostly in my own head. There was no time to get out the birth plan I had written. I was very focused working my way through the contractions. Helena arrived and let me lean on her through some of the painful contractions which was very comforting. I was examined and to everyone's surprise was 8cm as I was coping well. I was very much in my own head counting my breaths and rotating my hips. I was getting ready to head to the labour suite when my waters and plug burst spectacularly all over the floor. I remember feeling weirdly vulnerable at that point. I wasn't really capable of making decisions by the time we reached the room I was to birth in. Luckily Helena suggested I get up on the bed on all fours. I hadn't been sure what to do. The room was bright initially and think this stimulated me out of the zone and momentarily I was not in touch with my intuition that had got me to this point. The midwife had wanted me on my back which would have been agony. However Helena got them to dim the lights and I jammed my face into the pillows and was able to block out the clinical environment and the right cocktail of hormones must have got going again. It felt like as soon as I got on the bed I had wanted to push. So I listened carefully to my body as it told me when to push and for how long. I do remember looking up occasionally as at the start of each contraction I found it helped if Scott pushed hard on my lower back at my pelvis. He was very emotional, in tears but I could tell relieved, happy ones. He too had been left traumatized after witnessing our daughters birth. The birth of our son, and witnessing my power was healing for him too.
My wee boy was born after only 14 minutes in the 2nd stage. I ditched the gas and air to concentrate on pushing him out. So I'm the end it was all down to me. It was excruciating pain (ring of fire) but afterwards I felt euphoric as I had been in control and following my body's cues. I saw my little boy being born onto the bed underneath me. I saw his cord pulse and turn white and I got to pick him up and cuddle him. He was born at 4.02am and that day was one of my happiest ever. ❤ I was and still am incredibly proud of myself. I think I am a more confident person and I often wish I could have that moment again. I get such a buzz still thinking about my little boy's birth. It finished up my journey of healing and empowerment. There is so much fear and myths about birth. I am now inspired to help other women to have amazing birth experiences and am training to be a doula myself. I laugh as just over a year year ago I was the pregnant woman scared to read The Positive Birth Book and now I just love reading about birth and am very glad to share my story in the hope I can help other women realise their power when it comes to birthing their own baby.