“Anything can happen during pregnancy and birth, but I think you can plan for a better birth whatever the final outcome.”

This week’s birth story comes from Alice Jeffery who sent her story in for us to share with you all! Thanks Alice and congratulations!!!

 Florence Jessie Jeffrey was born 13th April 2018, weighing 7lb 5 oz

 “Pre Labour: Things started to happen on Tuesday night; I had some period like cramps down below and when baby started hiccupping it felt like it was really low down in my bits (weird!). I jumped in the bath and added some magnesium flakes to give me a boost, and also weirdly ate a whole lemon meringue pie and a steak with chips and a whole watermelon! Like the hungry caterpillar…

Wednesday morning I woke up at 5.30 am to a bloody show. The show was quite like period blood but browner, and there were a few drops of blood on the floor. So exciting, but a bit like “is this normal?” I popped a pad on to monitor what else might drop out… and tidied the kitchen… and then thought that it was probably best to stop and go back to bed and rest. Then nothing happened all day.

Early Labour: I had a few mild contractions over night that I had to breathe through… weirdly imagining that the womb was a balloon and I was breathing air into the balloon to take the sensations away from the baby! On every out breath I would think of something nice/good vibes to send the baby. These weirdly included thoughts of cherries/love/confetti – literally filling the womb up with love (again weird as this isn’t something that I had learnt or planned to do!).

I rang the midwife and the doula 7am Thursday…. and then nothing.

I baked a Nigella Guinness cake to feed the midwives and pottered around and we got the birthing room ready! We put the pool up and decorated with fairy lights and pompoms, put pictures of my daughter and a favourite picture on the wall.

And still nothing… until midnight.

I had a ‘proper’ intense contraction… the night before had just been a warm up! I got the tens machine out and literally had that on constantly for the following 11 hours! I got the Calm Birth School hypnobirthing mp3’s on repeat and for six hours I lay in bed sleeping in between the one intense contraction every half hour, using my ball on the bed to lean against as I breathed.

At 6 am I rang the doula… (husband was still in bed!). She arrived at 7am, which was a good thing because things had ramped up a bit and stronger contractions were coming every 10 mins or so… I didn’t time anything.  I found looking at timings made things harder to breathe through, as I was fixated on the app not on relaxing and breathing… I was really worried that once I rang the midwife everything was going to stop again… but it didn’t!

The doula massaged my back through each contraction, knowing exactly where to place her thumbs and add pressure. She was so amazing and supportive and sometimes I wasn’t even aware that she was in the room. She gave me all the support/drinks/help I needed at the exact moment I needed it… almost predicting what would help me through each breath. It may sound a bit hippie, but we were really working as one.

I went to the toilet a lot… that was pretty hard work every time and kept things going, I was sick at one point and Sarah held my hair back, never phased by anything. Then weirdly I had a run of double contractions… a short milder wave and then a quite challenging second wave. This was not so fun… I requested that my hubby should fill the pool up, and then realised that it was downstairs in the birthing room and I was still upstairs in the bedroom. It was 10.30am.

Transition: Now this was the not so fun bit, but it was fine and I survived. I breathed… or rather puffed a lot and crawled down the 15 stairs… split by two landings… I never once said the words hospital/epidural…. I did express the understanding of why people book in for cesareans, and asked the doula if I was mad opting for a home birth!

 What seemed like hours of transition crawling to the pool was actually only about half an hour!

 Sarah the Doula helped me in; it was bliss! The contractions were still intense, but the water brought relief. We rang the midwife.

There was a lovely chain of events at this stage that all happened within about ten minutes! I got in the pool, in the dark, looking at the photos of my daughter which gave me a huge oxytocin boost and the relief of pressure taken off my knees and back was incredible. The midwife arrived and my brother in law collected Mariel.

Then after a few super intense contractions and a bit more being sick, I flipped onto my back like a turtle and grabbed the nearest hand who had placed a cold towel on my head and squeezed… something had changed… for the good… and then I pooped in the pool… was kind of aware, but knew that if I tried to run off to the toilet that a) That was probably physically impossible and b) Would maybe cause baby to come flying out and cause a tear.

I managed to whisper, “Gas and Air! The baby’s head’s coming!” In came the nozzle and a big breath… and then the bear like animal growl… long breathing out sound… I felt no pain… just relief!

Once the sound was out there was a short feeling of bearing down… more gas and air… some very short panting type breaths to stop the pushing sensation when things felt too tight…. it was so important at this point to listen to my body and not force anything.

The final stage was incredible. I seriously don’t remember any pain! Breathing the head out, the feelings all eased and it was more of a physical awareness and presence of the baby’s head being ready to be born, such a relief and an overwhelming feeling that I might actually get my home birth that I had worked so hard for!

 I shouted at the midwife to stop turning the baby… which she wasn’t! Baby was turning itself ready for the shoulders to be born. A few more growls and bearing down and gas and air… the midwife and doula gently pushed on my legs to give more room for baby to come… and then baby was here! She had arrived with her membranes intact at 12.10pm, just as the second midwife walked in the door! The midwives broke the membranes and I was encouraged to scoop her out of the water and bring her to my chest. As I did so the cord (which apparently was unusually long!) had gotten around her neck so the midwife had a little shuffle round and she was back with me in a few seconds. Magical, I had done it!

We enjoyed that moment for a good 20 mins of euphoria and feelings of disbelief. There may have been the odd teardrop… I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it and things had gone so well and to plan. I had had no idea that when I got into the pool I would be having a baby within the hour!

We finally looked at baby’s bits and bobs and were over joyed to find out we had another girl! The midwife cut the cord as my husband hadn’t actually found that bit very enjoyable with our first child, and passed baby to dad who had her skin to skin for half an hour whilst I carried on to birth the placenta. That’s a weird one… having just given birth it was a similar sensation as getting the baby out, but easier! With the help of a little bit more gas and air and a small push from me out it came leaving a small burning sensation.

I got out of the pool as the temp had dropped to 20 degrees by then, moved to the sofa and was breast feeding baby. I felt amazing!

Hubby and Sarah cleared up the pool, made me toast and tea and got the bed upstairs made with some lovely bright new bedding set that I had ready. The doula even put some maternity pads in some big pants and popped them on me! The midwife checked my perineum including a finger up the bum (midwifes should have shorter nails!) I had no tears just a slight graze…I had no medical intervention apart from this the whole time.

It was incredible, so different to the hospital/forceps experience first time round. Anything can happen during pregnancy and birth, but I think you can plan for a better birth whatever the final outcome and the Daisy Birthing classes, Calm Birth School Hypnobirthing, Sarah Sayer Doula, Nic the chiropractor from up and about and the birth room prep all helped me to get the birth I wanted.

Alice, Mark, Mariel and Flossy!


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