you might not actually make it into the pool
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I had been having some intense Braxton hicks contractions since Nancy’s birthday on the 21st December. Then during the night of the 23rd I had shooting pains and pressure through my bum. I woke up at 5am and my waters broke, a big gush, whilst I was laying on my side. I took a deep breath and waited for it to finish. I got up and told Russell who was sleeping in the other room. I was uncertain how fast things would progress from here as with Nancy it all happened very quickly and I was soon having surges every 2 minutes.
I got in the shower and decided to wash my hair and do some deep breathing, the surges started coming near enough straight away and with everyone I had I lost more of my waters. What seemed to be comfortable for me was to sit down on the toilet, as the pressure through my bum was very intense when I stood up.
Russell came into the bathroom and we decided to call my mum to come round for Nancy as it seemed to be going the same way as Nancy’s labour and I was already struggling by this point as there was a lot I wanted to do, like dry my hair and pack the remaining bits in the hospital bag but my brain didn’t seem to be functioning. I struggled to answer simple questions that Russell was asking me, my main focus was just to get through each surge. I asked Russell to run me a bath and my mum then came round which was nice. I got my Freya app up and started timing my surges (which instantly told me to head to hospital as they were very close together) and then got into the bath where I decided to stop timing the surges and put on my birth rehearsal audio (I think that was the one I used). Russell called the hospital and they said they had my notes and were expecting me and that we should come in. Nancy came in at one point to have a wee, she was a very good girl. She went to the loo took one look at me in the bath and just went straight back to bed and sleep. The surges were picking up and I was still feeling gushes of fluid coming out in the bath water, I decided to get up and start getting ready. I ended up sat back on the toilet as I found it extremely hard to be standing as the pressure was very intense. I then suddenly felt faint and nearly fainted off the toilet, luckily Russell was there to support me, I then started to gag, it was bizarre. (In hindsight I reckon I was transitioning). I sat on the bed and started to use the fan as I was feeling very hot. I then had a strong sense that I was going to faint and started gagging again. Russell and my mum got me changed into a long top, a pair of maternity pants, I refused to put any trousers on!
Russell started to pack the car and get it warm. I suddenly got the urge to start pushing I was on all fours, gagging and pushing. I was telling my mum ‘aaaaaah I’m pushing already how am I going to make it to hospital.’ My mum explained that to Russell when he came back I was having another surge over the sofa, Russell went and got Nancy who apparently was lying in her bed wide eyed saying mummy is screaming (because by this point I was using the most bizarre primal sounds to get through the feeling of pushing). Russell brought her down and she gave me a cuddle and kiss which was lovely. We headed downstairs and I put a pair of boots on and my dressing gown (legs still bare haha). I walked to the car and had two surges very close together which I hung onto Russell to get through. We got in the car and to my surprise I felt happy to be sat down. We started to drive and then I said ‘wait let’s put some Christmas music on! (as that is what we had said we would like as our labour playlist, it reminds us of Nancy as a new born.) We set off and I barely opened my eyes the whole journey I was focussing on my breathing in for 4 out for 7, and during a surge I would take a deep breath and use primal sounds on the breath out. Russell continued to remind me that I needed to bank my breathing between each surge and keep breathing out (which I found so, so hard when all my body wanted to do was push). We made it to the hospital at 7:07am and I started to waddle (it felt like the head was right there between my legs) towards the maternity entrance, I had 4 surges on the way into the main entrance and had to hang onto Russell every time. Luckily when we arrived in the entrance a lady got us a wheelchair and Russell took me up the lift and through to delivery suit. We were now in reception and they asked us who we were, then we went through to triage. A midwife heard me and clearly knew I was pushing so said right lets go straight through to delivery room. I got the lovely daisy room with the pool and ensuite. I was saying whilst on route, please please can I have a water birth and she said you might not actually make it into the pool.
Russell and the Midwife, Carly helped to take my clothes off and I went over onto all fours with my arms resting on the bed. I was given gas and air and Russell put the tens machine on, which was amazing!!! I wish I had used this in the car on the way there. In fact, there were a lot of hypnobirthing tools I didn’t use because it all seemed to happen so quickly. I carried on getting through my surges and every time one came on Russell would press the boost button to put the tens machine on to contraction mode and push into my lower back. Carly came and asked me if I was happy to be in the birthing led unit and I explained how Louise my community midwife had encouraged this birth environment to support my hypnobirthing wish. She started to run the pool and said shall we check how you are progressing. I had to lay on my back for this and she checked me and said I was 9cm dilated. I did a poo during this examination and was like ‘oh sorry I have just pooed and she said don’t worry I will just give you a wipe and take it away haha.’ Russell gave the birth plan sticker sheet to Carly which she read.
I then got into the pool which didn’t really feel hot enough but I went with it. Every time a surge came Russell would push my back really hard to keep me under the water and I occasionally had some gas and air which didn’t really help with the discomfort by this point so I wasn’t so fussed to use it regularly. Carly would monitor baby’s heart rate every 15 minutes. I was always worried she would say it was too high so I did start asking a lot of questions to which she replied ‘I think you are doing very well you are just thinking too much about everything so go with your body.’ I kept going, trying lots of different positions including all fours, a squat and a half squat just with one leg up. During the time in the pool Russell stuck on the Christmas music and kept giving me water and energy drinks, I drank 3 bottles of Lucozade and 2 jugs of water.
Carly checked me and said she could feel the head and that I could check if I liked which I did and could just feel a little bit of head and soft hair. I kept pushing and Carly eventually said that baby had two raised heart beats in a row so could I get out the pool and try a different position. I ended up on my side, laying on Russell with my leg into the midwifes hip. The Christmas music was turned off so that Carly could hear the heartbeat.
Being out of the pool changed the whole sensation of the surges, on the one hand it felt good to have my back fully supported by the floor but now I didn’t have any sort of pain relief to distract me . Carly said she would check to see where baby was and that I should try and push into where her fingers were, this was so incredibly intense but made it very clear where I had to push. She did that a few times and I started to feel the head coming down stretching me a bit then slowly going back up. Every time I didn’t have her hands to help guide me I found it really hard to feel when to start pushing because I had gone from such an intense feeling to suddenly doing it on my own so that was a bit confusing. Eventually the head was there, and Russell could see the baby and I pushed and the head finally stayed out. Then Carly asked for micro pushes in between surges, this made Jasper rotate and then his face appeared. From this point it all got a bit scary because Jasper’s shoulders got stuck so the alarm was pressed, I was put onto my back with both my legs into my tummy and a lot of people rushed in. I then don’t quite know what happened I just felt a lot of pulling and pressure and suddenly a huge relief as baby Jasper was delivered. He was limp though and didn’t breathe so they rubbed him for a bit and when he still wasn’t breathing they cut the cord and whisked him away, I didn’t even see what he looked like which was horrible. Russell said as soon as he saw him “it’s a boy!” He was born at 10:25am after my waters broke at 5am so pretty quick! Russell gave me a kiss and followed Jasper who was out in the corridor.
After that happened they explained they were worried about my bleeding so I had a medicated delivery of my placenta with some gas and air.
I was then on the floor in absolute shock, I didn’t and couldn’t move as I was in such a lot of pain. So I just kept having some gas and air and the midwifes explained that I would need to go to surgery as I had a suspected third degree tear. I then met the anaesthetist and the Dr who came in to examine me and confirmed she wanted me in theatre as soon as possible. Russell came back from the ICU where Jasper now was. Carly then showed us the placenta and explained what she was looking for. She said if you feel any crystallised bits that that can mean the placenta was getting old and not providing the baby with as many nutrients.
Carly hand expressed some colostrum for me to take to Jasper and then Russell went back to feed him some formula as his blood sugars were looking a bit low. I was quite upset I couldn’t be there to give him his first feed. Time went on and I had gas and air whilst I waited to go to theatre. A catheter was also put in as I wasn’t able to go for a wee.
Carly came in and said I would be going to theatre about 3pm (there were a lot of emergency C sections hence the delay) so I could be wheeled down to Jasper to meet him and give him a feed. This was amazing, I was wheeled in and Russell was holding him, he latched on straight away and fed for about 20 minutes (I was very happy and proud of him)! I was then taken down to theatre where I had a spinal block and stitches for a 3C tear. This wasn’t much fun being apart from Russell and Jasper. We were then taken to triage so that Russell would be able to stay, as once you are on the postnatal ward partners are supposed to leave. The rest of the day Russell went back and forth to see Jasper and I slowly started to drink and have something to eat. Eventually Russell went home about 10:30pm and Jasper was brought back to me about 11pm. I then had the night with him and I was taken through to the postnatal ward and funnily put into the same bay that I was in after having Nancy!
We spent Christmas in hospital and I face timed Russell and Nancy in the morning just after she woke up and discovered Father Christmas had been whilst they were making pan au chocolate for breakfast! Russell was able to visit for an hour from that day. He fed me my roast dinner and then went back home to celebrate with his family and Nancy. Later that evening, he was able to pick us up to take us home. The stitches were still very sore, I was swollen and found it hard to empty my bladder so I was a little concerned about that. When we got home Christine was there and she was able to have a cuddle and Delphine popped by as a surprise and put some bunting on our door. The first night with Jasper at home was perfect, he woke to feed only twice so we both had two long stints of sleep, Nancy came in about 6 and had a little sleep in our bed before waking up and getting to meet her little baby brother. This was a very precious moment.
Hypnobirthing supported me through my labour as it encouraged me to have a positive mindset to begin with. I was able to use the breathing techniques throughout labour, and after to cope with keeping calm, going to theatre and during my recovery. I used the tens machine which was amazing, and listened to Christmas music to help with encouraging positive natural oxytocin. There were a lot of things that I had planned to do but didn’t use at all, such as smelling the lavender essence, watching some light hearted Gavin and Stacey, listening to my audios, and eating some of my snacks such as lollypops and dark chocolate. It all happened so quickly which was intense but amazing and I guess I had all these tools as back up should I need them but you don’t always know what you are going to benefit from at the time! It turns out my labour progressed quite quickly so I ended up skipping most of the latent phase tools and going straight to my breathing. Russell was incredible and although I felt like I was in my own little world most of the time he kept calm and was always there to press my back, and sort things out quickly. Overall, I am extremely proud of my body and am grateful to have experienced a natural birth.
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!