My Labour Story: A Natural Childbirth ExperienceDec 13, 2020
I’ve been meaning to get around to sharing my birth story with you but you know how it is when you’re a new parent! All that seems to matter is keeping your newborn fed, clothed and clean whilst you try to grab snatches of sleep and do your best to keep yourself clean and fed too!
However, sharing this birth story with you is very important to me. That’s why I’ve made a real effort to get it written down.
Not just because I want you to see that it really is possible to have a natural childbirth free from interventions, but also because I want you to know that you can stay calm and in control during labour, even when circumstances don’t turn out exactly as you expect.
So let me share with you the story of my natural childbirth, what I did to help me prepare for the labour journey, and what I recommend you do to ease the experience. Enjoy!
“There’s no way I want to be induced!!!”
Even though my due date had come and gone, I wasn’t really in a hurry to have the baby because I really enjoyed being pregnant, despite those difficult early stages.
Don’t get me wrong- I really was looking forward to becoming a mum but I didn’t have that “Hurry up and get out baby!” feeling that I hear so many women talk about.
Well...that was until we got to my 40 week check up and my midwife Debbie casually mentioned an induction!
I didn’t want to be induced!!
I’d heard so many horrific stories about ladies who had been induced and then had suffered through three to five days of intense contractions only then to have emergency c-sections because the baby was in distress!
So I decided to take matters into my own hands...If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll know that I tend to do this a lot!! Hehe.
I took matters into my own hands!
I put a call in to my acupuncturist who managed to fit me in for treatment just 2 days later.
I also started to do everything natural I could possibly think of just to get my labour started naturally. I started eating tons of dates, enjoyed plenty of sweet pineapple, continued with my yoga and pilates practice, did plenty of walking and also, most importantly of all, I rested a ton.
My husband Darren and I started a one thousand piece puzzle to keep my mind from going into complete overdrive but we didn’t get around to finishing it in the end, for obvious reasons.
About a week later, around 5.30 pm, I started to feel a dull pain.
It felt different to what I’d experienced before but it really wasn’t anything I felt concerned about. I started to track what I thought might be surges (contractions) and they seemed to be coming very sporadically around 30 - 45 minutes apart.
At 9.30pm, I decided that I should head to bed, just in case they really were surges That way I’d have as much energy as possible to get me through the labour process, however long it might take.
Of course when I told my husband that I thought I might be in labour, he was ready to grab my bag and whisk me off to the hospital! But I reminded him that there could be days like this before baba arrived so we managed to go to bed.
All through the night the surges woke me up. But they weren’t too bad and I was able to get some rest at least.
At around quarter to six, things started to get more intense so I woke Darren up and we started the journey to the hospital. I knew that this was it- we would meet our baby soon!!
Hypnobirthing and TENS machines really help
Despite the excitement and the intensity of those surges, I was able to stay pretty calm throughout. This is probably because I’d done an online hypnobirthing course called the positive birthing company as well as a private hypnobirthing session with my good friend Pamela Windle.
I did want to have a bath to help me relax even more, but as soon as I got in, I felt like I needed to get out again and go to the hospital.
So we got the TENS machine on and I climbed into the back of the car, closed my eyes and listened to the playlist of music that I’d put together in preparation for this moment. I was feeling so calm and relaxed by the time I got to the hospital (although I did have a little panic when we arrived and I discovered that I’d left my hospital notes at home!)
Then I was booked in and assessed by a lovely midwife who told me that I was 4cm dilated and also that the baby was back to back because she could feel the baby’s head in my lower spine. Eek!
I’d read that this type of labour could be painful but I didn’t get chance to give it much thought because the midwife also gave me a sweep. I was too much in the zone to care at this point, but it wasn’t what I wanted at all.
At that point, the surges really started to intensify then and I was checked into my room.
Natural ways to experience the surges of labour
Sadly I wasn’t allowed to give birth in the birthing pool because I have fibroids and so I could have lost a lot of blood. Still, I wanted to get into the pool for as long as I could to help me relax and cope with the surges.
Darren was a great help at this point and set up my tealights, put my diffuser on with lavender essential oil and also put on my playlist. I changed into my comfy lounge dress whilst one of my midwives started to run the water in the pool.
It felt like it took forever for the bath to be filled and set to the right temperature so I kept myself busy with some useful exercises from Pilates as well as the new ones I’d learned in my yoga classes. I also used the upward and downward breathing exercises I’d learnt on the hypnobirthing course which were very beneficial and my partner helped me relax by using gentle back massage techniques.
When I finally was able to get into the pool, it was amazing. It felt sooo relaxing and really helped to ease the pain.
After about 45 minutes the surges started to get more intense so I opted to have gas and air. That really took the edge off, but the baby’s heartbeat kept dropping so I had to get out of the birthing pool.
That's when the pain really hit me! The surges started to come very quickly and my midwives started to get really concerned because every time I had a surge my stomach muscles contracted strongly and it got harder to detect my baby’s heart rate.
That’s when I realised that I’d forgotten to mention that I was a Pilates and Barre teacher, so we all had a laugh about my core strength before another surge came and quietened me right down again!
I knew they were wrong
This continued for about another ten minutes before they decided that they were going to put a probe on the top of my baby’s head to try to get a clearer heart rate reading.
I was freaked out about doing this but Darren could see the monitor and told me gently that we didn’t have a choice. We had to do this. At this point, my waters still hadn’t broken so they had to physically break them to get the probe on. Once they’d done that, everything started to happen rapidly. I started to get this bearing down feeling and the urge to push.
The senior midwife who had been called to place the probe onto my baby’s head told me that I was only 4 cm dilated so there was no way I was ready to push and that I shouldn’t.
But I knew how I was feeling and I understood from the training I’d done that I was further along than this so I pleaded with the midwives to have another look. They said they wanted to wait for the doctors who were doing their rounds.
Frustrated by their lack of urgency, Darren took charge and insisted that the doctors were called sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, I tried to keep it together as best I could.
When I was finally examined, they discovered that the baby was crowning. But not just that, my baby had done a poo which can be a sign that the baby has gone into distress. They told me that we would have to move fast to get the baby out, adding “I think we’re going to have to use forceps and suction!”
There’s no way I want to experience that!
As you can probably imagine, that’s when my sense of calm went completely out of the window. My husband said that my eyes changed completely at that moment and he knew that there was no way I was going to let them cut me, use forceps and use suction too.
I think my midwives realised how important it was for me to deliver naturally because they stepped in at this point and pleaded with the doctor to give us 15 minutes to deliver.
So that’s exactly what happened. My legs went into the stirrups (one the wrong way, might I add!) and I started to push. I’d planned on birthing the baby in a four-point kneeling position so I could work using my breath and the help of gravity.
But here I was, having to push into my bottom!!! It went against everything I wanted. But to be honest, I didn’t care by this point because I just wanted my baby out without intervention.
My midwives were amazing. One held my hand and the other told me exactly where I had to push from, whilst I told Darren to keep his eyes on me. When the baby was halfway out, I started to feel pretty tired. Everyone urged me to feel the baby’s head which I did. Although it freaked me out a little bit, it also gave me the energy for one large push, and my gorgeous daughter came into the world.
At last, our beautiful baby girl arrived at 12.40pm, weighing 7 lb. 3 oz.
My established labour was 4 hours and 40 minutes in total and my 3rd stage labour was 15 minutes which is apparently very quick for a first baby.
I think this is because I stayed very active throughout the pregnancy and made sure I did some kind of movement five days per week, including Pilates, prenatal yoga and also plenty of walking. I also made sure that I ate well and I took a great multivitamin to help me stay in tip top condition. I think the hypnobirthing really helped to keep me calm and feeling in control of the labour experience.
So although my birth experience wasn’t quite as I’d hoped, I did manage to give birth naturally and without any kind of interventions. Becoming a new mum does have its challenges but it’s an absolute dream come true.
I hope that by me sharing my natural birth experience, you can get a better insight into childbirth and feel empowered to plan the kind of birth that you hope for.