Marlow's Birth - 2021
I knew there was such a small chance that I would give birth on my due date but still I couldn’t help but feel excited the night before. Lo and behold I woke up at 1.30am with cramps. I’d been having these in the middle of the night for a few weeks now but these ones didn’t seem to go away like usual. They got more and more intense throughout the early hours of the morning but I stayed in bed and fell in and out of sleep. I got up at about 9am and had a shower.
After my shower I was trying to get dressed and ready but the contractions really started coming strong now. I used the Freya app to time them and my mum couldn’t believe how close together and long they were. She had very fast labours so suggested I called the hospital sooner rather than later.
They told me to have a bath and some paracetamol and call back in a few hours but I knew that this was happening fast and so instead I put on my tens machine, got dressed, well half dressed as the surges were strong and close together now that I couldn’t face fully getting ready and I got in the car with my hospital bags, slippers on and we drove to the hospital.
I listened to my tracks in the car but found the seated position of the car so uncomfortable because I just wanted to move.
Two midwives saw us pull up in front of the hospital doors and came down to help us up as they could see I was struggling to walk.
The woman that I was initially examined by wasn’t particularly nice and did not make me feel at ease. She told me that I was only 2cm dilated and that I should go home and come back in 4 hours to see if I progressed. There was something about this that just didn’t feel right. I knew the baby was coming sooner than that but as it was my first time I wasn’t sure.
I was disheartened to think this was the case and that it was this intense so early on. She let me go into a quiet private labour room next door to see how I progressed as I insisted I wasn’t going home. After telling me I was only 2cm and the surges were so strong it made me think that I wouldn’t cope with it if this was only the beginning so I had paracetamol with Codeine followed very shortly by a diamorphine injection whilst rocking on my hands and knees in a dark room listening to my hypnobirthing tracks.
The tracks gave me grounding and I focused on my breath. I found when a really strong surge came that at the peak I would forget to breathe or breathe so fast that it made it worse so to have that to come back to really helped me.
We called the midwife back in to be reassessed. Bearing in mind they wanted me to wait for 4 hours to see if I progressed at all, the midwife couldn’t believe her eyes when after 45 minutes I had progressed to 8cm.
This made feel better as I knew that what I was feeling was so intense and that it couldn’t have been like that at only 2cm. They decided to move me to the delivery room. This was really disruptive and I did not want to move at all.
I was so inwards whilst in the dark room, listening to my tracks that having to get up, with all bags and walk down a public corridor in the bright lights whilst having strong surges felt so unnatural. I tried to remain in my labour land and focus on myself.
As soon as I got to the birthing room they wanted to place an ECG which I found restrictive as they wanted me to be seated but I just wanted to be up.
I tried a birthing stool but hated to that position also, I found comfort in facing backwards on the chair and holding on to the rail.
I said pretty much straight away that I had the urge to push and they confirmed I was at 10cm and could start to push. I used gas and air with each surge and found it helpful to have something to focus on whilst pushing I was breathing out into the mouthpiece.
I focused on my baby and envisioned what I had learnt in hypnobirthing of my cervix opening and my baby descending. This gave me a focus and the strength to push. They were struggling to get a heartbeat with the ECG so placed an fetal scalp electrode.
This is when she asked if my waters had broke because I had said no but she said they must have as if not placing the clip would have broken them. It must have been a small amount as I never noticed.
After pushing for almost 2 hours, they decided they would take me down to the obstetrician delivery room as the pushing was taking longer than expected and baby was stuck on the U bend and they had concerns for baby’s heart rate.
This again was so disruptive and disheartening that I wasn’t doing well at pushing. I found this really halted all my hormones, being in the bright lights in the lift and brought me out of my labour land as when I entered the room it was brightly lit, with about 6 midwives and doctors in the room whilst they told me they would wheel in a defibrillator but not to worry!
I could physically feel the affect on my labour as my surges all of a sudden felt not powerful but painful and I didn’t have the strong urge to push anymore, I felt almost weak.
They told me I needed to push baby out as I was tachycardia and baby’s heartbeat was all over the place. I knew now I had to focus on my baby and if I wanted no interventions I needed to do this.
They told me they could see the head and that baby had lots of dark hair. This gave me so much motivation and made it seem real and that baby really was close.
They prepared me by warning they may need to do an episiotomy so got a cannula in my hand and a local anaesthetic ready.
The obstetrician asked if I had been to the loo since I’d been pushing and I suddenly remembered learning that this can halt labour so I begged for them to let me get up and go to the loo but instead they placed a catheter.
They then let me lay on my side instead of my back which was much better. They said I could have 2 more pushes and then they would use a ventouse to help baby out. At this stage I felt everything was spiralling and becoming out of my control so I decided to take back control, focus on my breath. I so wanted to give birth to my baby without all of the interventions they were preparing for.
I waited for my next surge and decided the baby was coming out this time! So I zoned in and pushed and baby’s head came out!
I felt the ring of fire absolutely but was so just so happy to know baby was coming.
I waited with my eyes scrunched shut for my next surge (which felt like forever when you know baby’s head is out!) and then pushed baby out!
I felt baby come out, I can only only describe it as squirming and slithering, I felt every limb!
They shouted at me to open my eyes and I saw my baby coming towards me! They placed him on my chest and I just looked straight into his eyes and couldn’t believe he was here.
I forgot to even ask if he was a boy or a girl.
They never made the episiotomy cut nor did I tear. I never felt my placenta being birthed and was waiting for it to happen when I found out it already had.
They said they placed the ventouse but that I did 98% of the work with that last push. I lay with my baby on my chest for over an hour and just looked at every inch of him amazed.
I felt so proud of myself, so amazed at my body and my mind and so in love. I relive this story over and over again all the time. Although it was not perfect I have nothing but a positive memory of my labour and I cannot wait to give birth again!
If I hadn’t have been for my hypnobirthing I know that all of the obstacles and what seem to be negative things that occurred with my hospital birth would have thrown me off and felt chaotic made me panic but instead I felt in control.
It was a very fast and intense birth and I didn’t have time for most of the things I planned for such as listening to the playlist I made, putting up fairy lights, massage, birth ball, water but I didn’t mind.
When I tell my friends how amazing birth was they think I’m crazy!
Thank you so much to Romany for giving me the strength, guidance and confidence to birth my baby in the best way.