Beautiful Birth Experience

20 May, 2022

During my 40 week appointment (which was two days early) I was offered a membrane sweep. Using our BRAINS, we decided to take them up on the offer as we knew it could reduce our chance of being induced and I’d had no signs of labour whatsoever so I was starting to worry that I’d need to be induced. Unfortunately the midwife said I wasn’t dilated at all on examining me but said my cervix was far forwards, super soft and had done everything it needed to before labour (except dilate!) so she’d be surprised if we didn’t have our baby in our arms by the weekend (this was on the Monday, our due date was two days later on Wednesday). She said she could massage my cervix and see if that kickstarted anything which I said yes to. This was uncomfortable but not painful.
We came home and relaxed that evening. I wasn’t getting my hopes up about having our baby any time that week as I thought the midwife was just keeping my spirits up because I was so uncomfortable at this point in pregnancy with hip and pelvis discomfort. I woke up the next morning to a big clump of my mucus plug having come away, and felt what I thought were just my usual braxton hicks. I got up, and went for my usual 5k morning walk.
I got back home and noticed my bloody show when going to the loo. I had some breakfast and tidied up the house as I wanted to come home to a tidy house if our baby decided to make an appearance – sounds like nesting to me now! From about 10.30am my surges got more intense – again not painful, but regular enough. I downloaded a contraction timer app and kept timing them. From this point I started to feel a bit sicky and couldn’t stomach any lunch. By lunchtime I realised I hadn’t felt baby move as much as normal. I phoned our hospital and they advised us to come in and get checked. My partner came home from work and we went in to get checked. Luckily baby was all fine but because we’d had an episode of reduced movements before, we were offered an induction. We declined, as our baby was showing to be healthy and the doctors had no concerns about my well-being or our baby’s. They advised us to come back immediately if I felt movements had reduced again. I had an examination before we left and was told I wasn’t dilated at all however the midwife we had examine me didn’t seem particularly sure and there was no one else to double check so she sent us home and said having looked at our CTG monitoring, my surges were being picked up so it was likely I was in early labour but not established labour just yet. We went off home feeling relieved baby was all ok.
Once home my surges ramped up quite a bit making me feel even more sick and nauseous. I now felt I couldn’t stomach water and the idea of food made me want to be sick. I left my partner to sleep upstairs whilst I bounced on my ball with my TENS machine on which we put on at 6pm as soon as we got back from the hospital which massively helped with the surges. It got to 2am on Wednesday morning I hadn’t slept at all and hadn’t eaten since Tuesday breakfast. I felt weak, tired and really sick. I phoned our hospital labour ward who advised it didn’t sound like I was in established labour but I could go in to get an anti sickness jab so I could eat something and feel less nauseous but to try and wait a little bit longer and see if I felt better after taking paracetamol. I phoned back just before 4am feeling even more sick and was told to come in for the anti sickness jab. We agreed and packed our hospital bags in the car just in case we were asked to stay but I didn’t think we would be.
We got to the hospital about 4am and were seen by one of the midwives who gave me oral morph and the anti sickness jab. I didn’t really want pain relief but she said taking both together meant I’d be most likely to be able to eat something and possibly sleep as I’d been awake for 24 hours by now. I agreed and instantly felt less sick as soon as I got the anti sickness jab. I was given some toast and started munching our jelly babies and other snacks we’d packed in our bags (I really recommend jelly babies and haribo for your hospital bags for some energy boosts!) I was then examined by the midwife just to make sure I wasn’t in established labour before we left. To our surprise, I was 3cm, easily stretched to 4cm so we were told we wouldn’t be going anywhere and our baby was coming soon – eeeeek!! We were left in our own room with a birthing ball for me to bounce on and my TENS machine still on. The TENS machine was AMAZING especially the boost button – I really cannot recommend getting one enough as I had this on for most of our labour only taking it off later once I got in the pool. I used the Mama Tens from Amazon – just make sure you take spare batteries!
We weren’t checked again until 10.30am. I hadn’t managed to get any sleep as my surges now were quite intense and I couldn’t speak through them. We had a check in from the midwives looking after us and were advised I take pethidine which would basically knock me out and relax my body enough to allow it to dilate further as being awake for 30 hours now meant I was stressed and exhausted and my body had too much adrenaline to progress. I really didn’t want to have pethidine as I know this can cross the placenta and make babies a bit dozy but because we were early on in established labour using our BRAINS we decided yes to take it as I was starting to feel exhausted and we had a long way to go yet. I fell asleep instantly for two hours and woke up with very intense surges. I used my TENS and kept bouncing on the ball to try and progress with dilation. I was examined again later on in the afternoon and told I was 7cm. Our midwife was shocked because she said she couldn’t tell I was in established labour for being so calm and only using the TENS machine – credit to the hypnobirthing breathing as this is what I was doing throughout my surges with my partner which kept me so calm! I was told I could have my waters broken to get things moving as this may be causing the delay in progression. I agreed as I was getting very tired at this point. I found having my waters broken quite uncomfortable but it was over quickly. Our midwives had swapped over at this point and we had a lovely head midwife looking after us. She said she’d go and get the pool ready and come back for us. The hospital was so busy though so this took quite a while.
Eventually I was in the pool by 7pm and as soon as I stepped into the water, I felt instant relief. I was scared to take off the TENS machine as it had provided so much relief but the water was even better. My partner was so supportive throughout labour but even more so now when my energy levels had seriously dipped, I was exhausted and suddenly regretting not wanting pain relief as I lost all confidence in myself now my surges were so intense. The midwife looking after us finished at 8pm but before leaving she made a blended aromatherapy oil mix for my partner to use to massage my back with – lavender, clary sage and other lovely smelling things! I would really recommend essential oils for massage during labour as this distracted me for a while from my surges and really does help get the oxytocin flowing if you get into panic mode like I had started to. We had our hypnobirthing playlist playing in the background as my relaxation anchor, the lights switched off, and battery tealights all around the pool to keep me relaxed. It really was a beautiful atmosphere and I didn’t feel like I was in a hospital room at all!
We had two midwives take over who were equally lovely. One was a student midwife and I initially said I didn’t want any students in the room as I didn’t want to be distracted hearing two midwives discuss what was going on but I actually loved having two midwives as it meant one could always be on hand to give encouraging support whereas if we had just one because of how busy the hospital was we wouldn’t have had so much midwife support.
Because I’d had my waters broken I was on a timeline for when I needed to be at 10cm as I was now on the “intervention train” as they called it. I was asked to get out of the water for an examination (I have no idea what time this was) and was told I was still 7cm. I burst into tears and felt I’d made no progress whatsoever. It was at this point I went into full blown panic mode as the midwives told me I’d have to go to labour ward and be put on the drip to ramp up my contractions and get me to 10cm and possibly have to have an epidural to relax my body. I immediately refused and begged my partner not to let them take me to labour ward and I begged the midwives to let me back in the pool as I felt pushing sensations (I think this was the start of transition as I was feeling really panicked and scared now). The midwives said I couldn’t stay on the MLU because I hadn’t progressed enough and needed to have intervention from labour ward. They said they’d call the porters to come and transfer me from the MLU to labour ward. I remember sobbing to my partner and then the midwives came back and said there were no beds so I was allowed to go back in the pool and wait for a bed whilst being more comfortable in the warm water.
Back in the water, I started feeling the unmistakable need to push. I remember saying this to the midwives who told me to resist pushing as I was only 7cm and I’d end up swelling my cervix and not being able to deliver naturally. I nodded to them but trusted my body knew what it was doing and went with it and felt myself pushing. I told my partner I was pushing and the student midwife offered me gas and air. I said no as I tried it and felt sick again. But then I felt myself panicking and remember saying over and over again to my partner “I’m so scared” but had no reason why when he asked me what was frightening me. Definitely transition! 😅 he said to try the gas and air as it might help relax me, so I did whilst he counted my breaths for me and I instantly felt my whole body relax (and now everything goes a bit blurry but apparently I just kept saying “this is good shit!”) it must’ve done the trick by relaxing me through transition allowing my cervix to dilate to 10cm as I was gotten out of the pool to be taken to labour ward but I asked for one last examination before I was taken down and to the midwives’ surprise, I was 10cm!!! Listen to your bodies Mamas because I knew I was in transition and knew my body was pushing because it was ready for our baby to arrive.
The midwives told me to get back in the pool and to listen to my body and push when I needed to. I was absolutely exhausted by now as it was about 41 hours into labour with no real sleep. I said to the midwives how much longer and they said it could be two more hours of pushing as this was my first baby. I remember replying saying “nope, ten minutes” 😂. I stopped using the gas and air as I wanted to focus and feel everything at this stage. The feeling of your baby’s head coming down is absolutely surreal. I got really emotional and couldn’t stop crying and making very low moaning sounds during surges. I knew I had some sort of tear as I felt this when pushing which stalled me a little as I was afraid of tearing but I knew I had to get her out regardless so tried to breathe through the stinging sensation. I was able to feel our baby’s head once she’d made her way down and my partner felt it too. This was such a special moment and I think the first time labour felt “real”! A total of 24 minutes of pushing and our beautiful baby girl was born. I was in tears as was my partner as he announced we had a little girl 💕
My cord was quite short so I couldn’t hold her up to my chest whilst we had delayed cord clamping in the pool but the cord turned white within a few minutes and my partner cut the cord and we could cuddle our little girl. I was helped out of the pool and examined for tearing which I had from my labia to inner vagina wall which was quite complex for stitching so stitching took about an hour but we had skin to skin during this time and basked in our newborn love bubble ♥️ we had 26 minutes before midnight when our little girl arrived earth side so she made it on her due date.
Our birth experience was very long, but so beautiful. I’m in awe of what our bodies do during pregnancy and even more so during birth. Trust your body and trust your instincts and remember all of your relaxation anchors to keep you calm, relaxed and focused. Typing this now makes me feel so emotional – and like I want to experience labour all over again!

Posted by Little Birth Company Trained Instructor: Becci Hadzi