Good Afternoon Beautiful People. I trust life is treating you all well on this fine Sunny afternoon ? As I sit here typing whilst watching my 18 week old Son sleep , it dauned on me that our little cherub was officially 4 months old yesterday ! I know time usually flies by but has it really been 18 weeks since Baby Eco made his entrance into the world?
Anywhoo, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share with you all my planned waterbirth experience before giving you an insight 4 months into Motherhood next Tuesday please god.
For those who are regular readers of This Woman’s Word, you would have been aware of my intentions to have a water birth adopted with the use of hypno-birthing techniques from Suzy Ashworth’s The Calm Birth School.
In summary, I count myself beyond blessed to have had my water birth experience as planned (more on that later) but the whole super calm, hyno-birthing techniques where one ‘breaths the baby out’ in a yoga like relaxed state… NO CHANCE! I did of course try, but failed massively as this Mama went into full blown primal mode.
Overdue By Two Weeks and On The Brink of Being Induced
Before I get into the details of my labour and birth experience, I’d like to briefly talk about the final 2 weeks leading up to labour as it all plays a significant part.
Now Baby Eco’s estimated guess date was 16th February 2016, but by knowing the date we conceived together with the actual date of ovulation thanks to Natural Cycles, my significant other and I knew the hospital’s est guess date was out by at least two weeks and so mentally prepared for our baby’s arrival either in the last week of February or first week in March 2016.
After the routine checks of my urine sample provided, together with checking my blood pressure and baby Eco’s heartbeat during my 40 week midwife appointment, the MW at our hospital’s birth centre discussed the option of having a membrane sweep at my next 41 week check up to encourage labour to start, along with the likeihood of being induced and transferred to the delivery suite on the maternity ward if I didn’t go into labour naturally by 40+13.
As you may be aware, I am huge advocate of all things natural so the sheer thought of being given numerous synthetic medication as part of the induction process did not sit well with me at all. Aside from that, I am a strong believer that if the pregnancy has been low risk throughout, with no signs of danger or distress to both mother and baby, then women should be encouraged to wait for labour to occur naturally rather than it being forced. After discussing the situation with my significant other we decided to give the sweep a try at my next antenatal appointment and mutually agreed that if it was unsuccessful, we will decline the offers of more sweeps and wait for Eco to make his/her appearance naturally.
That week seemed to go by pretty fast and before you know it my 41 week appointment was upon us. During the checkup, the MW on duty attempted to perform a membrane sweep but couldn’t as my cervix was closed. She advised me of the birth centre’s policy that they can only care for patients up to 41+13 and should my baby still not arrive by 28th February, I will be transferred to the main delivery suite where my planned water birth will be unlikely and the pressures of being induced will be high.
I was automatically booked for an induction on Monday 29th February, and sent on my merry way, but not before being advised to try natural methods of encouraging labour to start such as having intercourse as the hormone that is released during sex (oxytocin) is the same hormone that is injected into you as part of the induction process.
After a ton of research via the net, coming across an awesome Facebook community called 10 month mama’s and numerous discussions with my other half later, we decided against interfering with gestation including natural methods and was prepared to decline induction and opt for continuous monitoring for a further 5 days past the 29th 16. If Baby Eco had still not made his / her appearance by 4th March only then would we have considered an induction.
Some maybe reading this with open mouths, with views that I was putting my child and I’s safety at risk by preparing to decline induction in favour of continuous monitoring but let me assure you, I had both of our best interests at heart.
I am a naturally curious individual , and carry out extensive research before making an informed decision on the topic I am researching.
I am also the type of person that questions EVERYTHING, even if that means going against the grain and not succumbing to so called rules and procedures if research indicates otherwise.
Thankfully I didn’t have to go along with our planned scenario as Baby Eco knew how much I wanted a water birth for the both of us.
Eco and I had a strong bond throughout my pregnancy and honestly do truly believe he was listening to his mama’s instructions to arrive before 29th February 2016. Low and behold on the evening of 27th February 2016, at 7.55pm my waters broke in bed whilst dozing off to sleep.
I phoned the birthing centre pretty much straight away who advised us to come in so they could do a routine check to ensure baby and I were OK. My surges were happening every 5 minutes and manageable.
We arrived just after 10:30pm as my other half had to make a detour via his Mum’s to get the car and as expected, were sent back home as I didn’t have at least three surges in 10 minutes lasting a minute.
When we got home (approx 11.45pm) my surges began to intensify. It became impossible to sit or stay still so paced the hallway before opting to get in the bath in an attempt to ease the discomfort and agony I was in.
My surges became more intense and closer together until the O/H confirmed I was having 5-6 surges within 10 mins each lasting a minute (he timed my surges whenever I said ‘now’)
It was just gone 2:30am and by this point I found it hard to control my breathing, and found myself making wail like noises with each surge that passed. Needless to say it was impossible to have a conversation with the MW over the phone to update her on the current situation and was advised to make our way back to the hospital.
The next hour felt like the longest in my life! It was a real struggle to get out the bath yet alone walk or get dressed! In fact, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have made it out the house without the help and assistance of my O/H.
Hospital Bags tow, we set out for the short 15 min drive to our birthing centre. My surges were coming thick and fast by this point and despite my very best attempts to be a good passenger, I could not stay still for the life of me!
Picture this… a heavily pregnant lady at the back of the car sprawled across the back seats frantically moving from left to right, back to centre and repeat. Yep, that was me, along with failed attempts to use the breathing techniques I rehearsed at least 1000 times prior to labour. Whilst all this was happening my O/H miraculously stayed calm throughout and gave me plenty of reassurance when needed.
We arrived just before 3am but was NOT amused to learn the usual way of entering the hospital was closed as it was out of hours and therefore had to indure a 10 minute walk
waddle before finally checking in at the birthing centre.
We were greeted by two young ladies, one a student midwife and the other a qualified doctor. I was encouraged to take a urine sample (this is standard procedure during every check in) but after spending 5 mins trying the sheer agony of my surges distracted me and felt the sudden need to bear down and push rather than wee in a tube.
After explaining this to the Dr, she placed her hand on my tummy with each surge I had but was convinced it was still too early and may need to go back home again.
I recall politely refusing to go anywhere, and kindly asked to be examined as the need to push became unbearable to ignore. Thankfully she agreed and in her words she excitedly said…
Can you feel that? It’s the baby’s head! Darling you’re staying put, you’re 10 centimetres dilated and if I were to send you home you’ll definitely have the baby in the the car!
Emotions took over me as I knew it wouldn’t be long before my O/H and I got to meet our little cherub. We were led down the hallway to our lovely, newly refurbished room at the end of the corridor which was equipped with a large sized birthing pool reminiscent of a hot tub.
I recall looking at the clock before I got in (4:40am) and my did being submerged in warm waters take the edge off these super intense and excruciating surges.
I was now able to solely focus on birthing my baby and got into the position most comfortable at the time . On my knees, I leaned over one side of the tub and gladly accepted the offering of gas and air. I was advised with each surge to bite down, inhale and push with all my might upon exhaling and boy did I do the latter.
Out went the window of calmly ‘breathing / humming’ Baby Eco out just like the countless videos watched of amazing tranquil water births via YouTube, this new sensation hurt like fudge and naturally became very vocal.
With each push “I ROARED” (literally), thus awakening the lioness I never knew I had within me. Before the whole birthing experience I would have considered myself to have a high pain threshold. Let me tell you there are NO words in the English Dictionary that can begin to describe the feelings felt!!
My O/H later confirmed I even swore at I one stage, and given that I hardly ever swear sums up the sheer intensity that labour brings.
I recall only having to push no more than 3 times before Baby Eco’s head was born and joyfully remember my MW and O/H making a delightful fuss when Baby Eco opened his eyes underwater .
I was next advised to stop pushing all together and cough when prompted, to birth the shoulders. What could only be describe as a forceful uncomfortable tug down below, the MW confirmed that one more push will birth the body.
Feeling ever pleased with my efforts up to that point, I was also physically exhausted, and therefore missed the opportunity to birth Baby Eco at the next surge and so had to regain my focus and attempt once more.
Birthing Baby Eco
Trying to imagine craddling Eco in my arms gave me the push I needed (pun intended) to birth my baby at the next surge and roared with such force that Eco shot out, causing the MW to miss the catch!
My knees gave way and buckled beneath me causing me to fall back on my bottom. What’s even more frightening is learning that I almost sat on our newborn baby.
As Eco’s umbilical cord was shorter than usual, our MW placed Eco in my hands and was advised to hold our beautiful newborn baby in front of me underneath his arms.
I will never forget the first time we both laid eyes on each other. Eco didn’t cry at all, instead those big bright eyes stared intensely into mine for a good 2 minutes, whilst occasionally looking around, taking in the new surroundings before eventually letting out a small whimper and rooting for his first ever feed.
I was completely besotted with this tiny human that I totally forgot to check the gender of our child. We have a baby boy, I confirmed to my O/H, who was overjoyed at the safe arrival of our firstborn Son.
He weighed a healthy 7lbs 14oz, scored 9 for alertness on the Apgar chart and passed his hearing test with flying colours the next day when he was assessed.
Fortunately for me, I had a very quick birth with with established labour lasting 1hour45mins. The MW’s on duty within that 24hour period jokingly said I should consider a home birth the next time around.
I did suffer 2 small 2nd degree tears and lost 500ml of blood obtained from the very last push but in hindsight none of that mattered as, through teamwork, my Son arrived into this world safely and healthy.
Special Mentions and Thank You’s
Whilst I may not have been able to breath my Prince out using the calm breathing techniques rehearsed , I owe my positive mindset during the last trimester, labour and birth to Suzy Ashworth‘s amazing book The Calm Birth School. The AWESOME affirmations and knowledge within your book allowed me to remain focused at the task in hand and gave me the confidence going into unknown territory.
The wonderful MW’s on duty during and post labour, you were all incredible, with a special thank you to Anges my MW. I will never forget your positive words of encouragement and guidance throughout labour.
I also want to thank the lovely 10 Month Mama’s support group on Facebook as without your inspirational stories birthing your healthy little over 42 weeks, (some as long as 45 weeks) I wouldn’t have been prepared to decline induction in favour of continuous monitoring given me and my baby were healthy and well with no signs of any complications at the time. Each and every one of you are AMAZING and cannot thank you enough for sharing your wonderful stories 🙂
Finally my significant other..
After over a decade of being together we now share a child and to me, there is no greater commitment than that. Thank You for being you, for everything you have done and continue to do for me and the AMAZING Daddy you are to our beautiful baby boy.
Your my little family I get to call my own, and am truly blessed beyond words could ever describe. Gosh how I love you both immensely xx
Thanks for Beautiful People for reading and sharing in my personal birthing story.
Do keep an eye out for my 4 month Motherhood update as well as a cheeky takeover from Baby Eco next week.