I felt like a warrior giving birth
This week’s birth story comes from a lovely couple who via the art of Zoom, attended a TCBS Hypnobirthing Course and prenatal sessions with Laura Scarlett of Laura Scarlett Doula covering areas in and around Tunbridge.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us!
The birth of my daughter four years ago had been an incredibly long and difficult one, I’d put off trying for a second baby because I was so anxious about the idea of birth. So when I found out I was pregnant in April ‘20’ I looked into anything that might make me less nervous, more in control and to help me deal with whatever unexpected turns my labour might take this time around.
An ex-colleague of mine had retrained as a doula (Laura scarlet) and I contacted her to see how she could help. We did prenatal sessions via zoom to help prepare me for birth. She helped me so much throughout my pregnancy to help me understand my daughter’s birth and prepare me for birth this time around. She suggested getting my notes from my previous birth and I was able to have a debriefing session with the Listening Clinic at the hospital I was due to deliver at this time around. She also signed me up to The Calm Birth School.
I listened to the MP3s as much as I could (with lockdown and a 4 year old this was less than I might’ve liked!), I wrote out my favourite affirmations and got my partner to read them too so he could help me focus on those during birth.
In the last couple of weeks of pregnancy we found out baby was breech, I had an ECV that didn’t work, was prepared for c section, a second ECV that did work (phew), a host of Covid related stresses, then baby was late and the midwives started talking about induction. I used all my TCBS techniques to remain calm through all this and found myself feeling pretty invincible!
At 40 + 6 I was at home with my daughter, she was laughing at me while I bounced on the ball to try and get the baby to come. Around 2pm I texted my partner who was WFH!! (working from home) to say I thought maybe I was having contractions but I’d had a couple of false alarms so I couldn’t be sure… my 4 year old and I baked a cake (her birthday cake in fact) while I kept an eye on surges – they were mild and manageable. At 5pm my partner finished work and we tried to decide whether our daughter should go to her grandmas yet. I went for a little walk around the block and vaguely started timing surges - they were roughly every 7 minutes but not very strong. Around 7pm my mother–in–law arrived and our daughter was over the moon to be going on her sleepover but I was still unsure if this was actually it!
My partner and I made our house feel cosy and settled down to watch some old movies while I ate ice lollies and sat on the ball. The contractions were getting much stronger. At 9.30pm he called the hospital to let them know I might be coming in soon and they suggested coming straight away, as my previous labour had been so long and also due to Covid restrictions, I was really reluctant to go too soon as it didn’t feel like established labour so we agreed to wait an hour and see. By which time we both agreed we should probably call a cab!
I put a scarf over my head to block out any distractions and listened to affirmations on headphones so I could stay in my hypno zone in the cab, at this point my contractions were pretty intense. (Around 11pm) We went up to triage and they sent us straight through to the birth centre. I consented to a VA and I was 10cm dilated! I was super glad to be given gas and air at this point and used my breathing techniques along with my partner reminding me of my affirmations to remain calm.
The midwife was concerned about loss of blood as my waters hadn’t broken and she asked if she could break them. I agreed and when she felt confident the blood wasn’t from my placenta, I got in the birth pool.
The pool felt amazing and I felt so aware of all the physical changes that were happening – I was visualising my birth canal like a tunnel. I’d like to say I calmly mooed the baby out but I screamed the place down! I found a lot of strength in the sound and I used it! I felt so lucid in between contractions I was even making jokes. We had our playlist on with twinkly fairy lights and just me, my partner and the most lovely midwife who was so calm, controlled and respectful. A few times I panicked but my partner brought me back, reminding me to breathe and repeating my affirmations to me.
It was an insane feeling, feeling my baby’s head come out! I’d had an epidural last time so all this was completely new to me. I felt like I was nearly there but the baby got stuck (shoulder dystosia) and suddenly the room was full of about 15 midwives and doctors – the midwife guided me to stand with one foot up on the side of the pool and to push even between contractions to get him out quickly to avoid the cord being compressed for too long. The midwife helped pull him and I felt myself tear. As soon as he was out (12.15am) she explained that they would have to cut the cord. He was whisked to a nearby table area where the doctors rubbed him down and gave him oxygen. I can’t believe I managed to remain completely calm throughout this, my partner was white as a sheet, but I felt confident my baby was ok and the doctors knew exactly what they were doing.
I got out the pool and lay on the bed and soon they brought my baby over to me, we cuddled, cried and he fed perfectly straight away. I decided to have the injection for the third stage in the end as by this point, we’d all had a bit of drama! I felt so capable of making these decisions and calmly faced the inevitable turns that labour takes.
I felt like a warrior after giving birth to my baby – so powerful and confident. My son was born as Blackbird by The Beatles played on the (enormous) speaker my partner brought along, – a song I always sang to our daughter to get her to sleep at night when she was a baby. The birth experience was unexpectedly beautiful, magical and I believe that set me up really well for a positive start for my new sized family it also helped me overcome some of the trauma of my previous experience. I’m incredibly grateful to TCBS and to my Doula Laura Scarlet for helping me get my head straight to cope with pregnancy and birth in a pandemic!
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!
You can find out more about Hypnobirthing in Tunbridge here.