Sam & Dave
A Positive Birth Story – Oscar:
After going for a long walk on Saturday afternoon, I started to experience waves around dinner time but wasn’t sure whether this could be false labour with Braxton Hicks as I hadn’t had any throughout the pregnancy. By 11pm, the waves were becoming quite intense so I told my husband that it was likely that this was the real thing and that he should try to get some sleep. I set up the living room with a birthing ball, lavender candles and tried to relax and focus on my breathing with some peaceful piano music playing in the background. As I was relaxing on my side on the sofa trying to get some sleep at around 9am on Sunday morning, my waters broke so we went into the hospital for a check.
After having arrived at the UCHL birthing centre, they performed a vaginal examination which I was happy for them to do and confirmed that I was only 1cm dilated but that my cervix was soft so that it wouldn’t be long before the baby was here, most likely that evening.
We went back home and I ran a bath with some lavender oil and had my husband give me back massages through the waves. At this point, we started timing them as we had been told to wait until I was experiencing 3-4 waves within 10 minutes and that they should be at least one minute, long and strong. Once I started to experience these, I was then to wait another hour before going back into the birthing unit.
At 3.30pm, we decided that it was time to go back into hospital and we phoned ahead to let them know to expect us shortly. We had a few issues securing a taxi, so ended up getting an Uber and facing the traffic from Islington into Euston, but by focusing on my breathing I was able to get through the journey and make it into the birthing unit by 4.15pm.
The midwives led us into one of the birthing rooms with a pool, performed another vaginal examination with my consent and confirmed that I was 7cm dilated and started to fill the pool after having read my birth preferences. By 5pm, I was in the pool surrounded by LED candles, fairly lights, relaxing music and lavender scent coming from a cold-water diffuser that we had brought with us in order to create the perfect environment.
We had two lovely midwives with us the whole time who were monitoring both my progress, blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate. By this point, I did also use some gas and air which helped keep the focus on my breathing and take the edge off of the peak of each wave. In order to keep my energy up, my husband fed me jelly beans as the sugar really helped and I hadn’t fancied eating anything since we arrived at the hospital. I also made sure that I was constantly sipping water to remain hydrated.
At 8.30pm, the midwives were due to swap over and performed another vaginal examination with my consent, which required me to get out of the pool on to the bed. I hadn’t been able to pass urine so they inserted a catheter which was a huge relief and confirmed that I was fully dilated and could get back into the pool to try for a water birth that I had hoped for.
After spending another hour in the pool and feeling the urge to push but not progressing they recommended that it might be a good idea for me to get out of the pool into a different position on a birthing stool which I was happy to do. I also came off of the gas and air so that I was able to use the full intensity of the wave to breathe the baby down. Once the head was crowning, I moved onto the bed onto my side and was coached slightly by the midwives for the final push (which I had agreed to) so that they could keep my perineum intact by panting through a wave. I followed their advice and at 10.42pm our beautiful baby boy Oscar was born into the world.
Oscar was placed directly onto my chest and the umbilical cord was left to stop pulsing as per my birth preferences. After about 20 minutes, my husband cut the cord and we sat there gazing at our little boy. I’d asked for the natural delivery of the placenta, for the third stage of labour but after 45 minutes it hadn’t been delivered so I agreed to have it managed with an injection as I was keen to rest together with my husband and Oscar. The placenta was then delivered intact and the midwives then quickly gave me two second degree stitches to help the healing process which they did after applying some numbing gel. It was at this point that they then gave Oscar a vitamin K injection into his heel and weighed him, measured him and checked for a tongue tie in the birthing room with us. We were then permitted to move into a side recovery room at 1am and after a bit of sleep, various people popping in for checks and to help with breast feeding, we were discharged at 3pm Monday afternoon, managing to have this amazing experience and leave hospital with Oscar within 24 hours.
Hypnobirthing was key for me throughout this process. The course and practise up to the birth really helped me to focus on the breathing, remain calm and relaxed in order to promote oxytocin to aid the labour process. I would definitely recommend Mary-Anne’s course to all Mums-To-Be!