First time parents
Surprise baby boy - Richie Henry Paxton
29th May 2020 (40+2)
3:28am (10 hours from first feeling noticeable contractions)
Water birth in midwife led birth centre (Mulberry Suite in Frimley Park hospital)
No pain relief
Birth during COVID
Triggers: Mention of 2nd degree tear & grazes
I am so happy to be able to share my own positive birth story, and hope this helps others, just like reading lots of other stories helped me!
I was lucky to have had a really straightforward pregnancy and was working out right up to the day before my labour started. It took me a while to convince my husband to attend a hypnobirthing workshop (it’s not his “kind of thing”) in the end I decided to book us a 1:1 with Sarah.
I had felt pretty in control through the pregnancy, due to the useful tools and techniques that hypnobirthing provides, so when COVID hit I felt ok. I had a few wobbles when there were lots of changes to the maternity services available.
I had initially wanted a birth centre water birth. After speaking to the midwives and others decided, I would like a home birth, however my husband really wasn’t keen. As this was our first birth experience he preferred the birth centre, so that is what we decided. COVID happened and I convinced my husband home birth was the way for us and he agreed! Shortly after, they closed the home birth service and then the birth centre, so we were due to go to labour ward, which I really didn’t want- however after a minor wobble, we decided it didn’t matter where we gave birth, we would make it a positive experience.
The online community, stories shared, online zoom seminars about birth during COVID, and Sarah’s 1:1 support, really helped me to stay positive and focussed.
We started hypnobirthing around 25 weeks. I listened to the MP3’s most nights before bed or in the bath.
I really didn’t want to tear, so had been doing my perineal massage as often as possible to help prepare.
On Wednesday 27th May (due date) I noticed my mucus plug had come away after some perineal massage- I explained to my husband not to get too excited, as it could be a while yet, plus, I felt so fresh (I didn’t think I would be going into labour for at least another 5 days ... I was wrong)
It was a lovely sunny day Thursday 28th, we got up early for our usual morning walk around the lakes by our house. I just love being in nature as it helps me switch off and relax. I spent the rest of the day in the garden doing some work on the laptop and chilling.
At about 5:30pm ish I started noticing periody/trapped windy discomfort (it wasn’t painful). I noticed these becoming frequent but still didn’t possibly think I could be having surges due to the fact they weren’t strong and certainly weren’t painful!
At 6:20pm I thought I’ll have a sleep in case this is the real deal, I’ll get some rest. I started using the Freya app to time them and it said I was in established labour, how could I be? This felt nothing like I was expecting. I text my husband who was downstairs, blissfully unaware, to tell him I think it was happening.
I decided to have a bath where I listened to the relaxation tracks and was timing the surges. They were coming 1 in every 3 mins and lasting anything from 35-60 seconds but not following a regular pattern and still not too intense; I could comfortably manage breathing through the surges, hold a conversation and was texting friends and finishing up some work emails 🤣. I still didn’t believe it was happening.
After the bath I went downstairs to try and watch my sax teacher = play a live stream gig on YouTube. My husband had lit the candles and shut the blinds, making it all cozy, we had some dinner, and after I just felt like I needed to be on the toilet, so I was up and down the stairs.
I started to feel nauseous and was quite sick, still really calm and contolled breathing - now believing this is actually happening.
I’d said to both sets of parents we would let them know if anything happened but because I hadn’t believed it was happening before now, hadn’t wanted to ring and get their hopes up.
Then at 9:50pm my dad called, I was having to concentrate more on my breathing now so put the phone on loud speaker so my husband could navigate most of the phone call, my parents were so excited when they knew what was happening.
I went back up to the bathroom and was sitting on the toilet or standing in the hallway swaying and breathing for another hour when I said to my husband it’s time to call the birth centre.
My surges were coming every minute to minute and a half lasting 45seconds to just over a minute. But still felt quite manageable. The midwife said to come straight in.
The drive to the hospital was calm and peaceful, I had my eye mask on and the mp3 tracks playing.
I was in the zone.
We got to the hospital just after 11pm and my husband walked me up to the birth centre, leaving me at the door. I was buzzed in and shown to my room. I immediately got down on the mat on all fours leaning over the bed whilst waiting for the midwife to read over my preferences.
I did a urine sample and was quite dehydrated (despite drinking 4 litres of water that day, I think where I was sick at home, I had become dehydrated).
The midwife came and examined me (which I agreed to - and this was my only internal examination of the entire labour.) I was 4cms so called my husband to come up with the bags. I was so excited that it was really happening, but a little disappointed that I wasn’t further along. I continued listening to the tracks and doing my surge breathing techniques.
I had wanted a pool birth the whole time, so when my room didn’t have a pool I was a little gutted, then the midwife came back in and said “were just getting the pool ready”- I was ecstatic!
At about 12:20am I got into the pool and it was instant relief, I loved being in the water. Breathing away, in the spa type room - low lighting, MP3’s playing, my husband by my side- feeding me pick and mix and giving me water, chatting with each other and the midwife inbetween surges.
I felt totally in control, until the pushing stage; my body started doing it on its own- I didn’t really notice the difference between the 2 different types of surges,-‘ so thought I can’t be pushing already, but my body was doing it all for me.
The baby’s head was moving down and up again, and mentally, I found that quite challenging (though this is quite common and normal apparently). I put my hand down and would feel baby’s head coming, then it was gone again. I focused on breathing the baby down. I was getting tired but knew it had to be soon.
The MP3’s were playing in the background and I would anchor down to the words- it was so magical!
My waters went with a pop and 38 minutes later my babies head was born.
Yes there is a ring of fire but I honestly can say it lasted seconds and it was nowhere near as bad as I expected, I was overjoyed that the time to meet our baby was here.
With the next push our baby was born into the water. I had spent most of the labour being in UFO (upright, forward, open) positions.
I reached down and slowly moved baby through my legs and up out of the water, as I sat back.
I lifted him up on to my chest and gazed down at our beautiful creation.
Baby’s hands and feet were huge, baby was A BOY!!!! He had hair, fair hair and was such a long baby boy. The rush of love and emotions hit me! We had done it our baby BOY was here in my arms.
I sat in the pool with him on my chest for a while, my husband and I completely in awe of our new human!
I birthed the placenta with a gentle push within 10 minutes (I opted to deliver naturally without the injection). I can only describe it as feeling like a bowl of jelly 🤣
We did delayed cord clamping and my husband cut the cord.
My husband took our son for some skin to skin. Whilst the midwife helped me out of the pool. I got dried and dressed, then walked back to our room. I then had some more lovely skin to skin with our son, whilst waiting for the midwife to get the things ready for my stitches.
I passed my son to my husband again- he scooped him up and put his hand straight into our son’s first sticky black tar poo, oh how we laughed! My husband cleaned him and our boy up, whilst I was stitched up for a second degree tear and 2 grazes, this wasn’t painful and nowhere near as bad as I had expected.
We were then left to enjoy our little boy in our room, as the sun was rising. It really was so beautiful!
My son was diagnosed with a tongue tie and had some issues feeding, so we were then taken to the post natal ward. I really hadn’t wanted to go initially, I didn’t want to leave my husband but honestly the staff were amazing. Looking back I’m so grateful for the day we spent on the ward as I feel I learnt so much from the midwives and doctors about my new son.
We had help from an infant feeding specialist who took the time with us until he fed and I felt comfortable.
My very skeptical husband has said we would definitely opt for a home birth next time round.
Not only did hypnobirthing give me the confidence needed for such a positive birth, it gave my husband the tools to be a great and confident birth partner!
For anyone worried about having a baby during Covid- yes it is uncertain times but we as women have all we need to birth our babies safely.
Everyone should learn Hypnobirthing - it is fantastic and I don’t think I would have had such a positive experience without it.
13 June, 2020