As I sit here writing this I’m looking at my gorgeous five week old baby and I can’t quite believe the time has flown by so quickly. Everyone always says it will, but when you’re busy getting lost in each and every moment, even the bad ones, it can seem like they’ll last forever.
This newborn stage is so special but before I delve into this new journey with you, I want to reflect on my birth and share the story.
Baby B’s Birth Story
B was born on Tuesday 26th February 2019, at 40+1 weeks of pregnancy. However, we did think he was arriving early! I had been experiencing contractions for about four days, on and off, and we were convinced that he was making his appearance.
In hindsight these contractions weren’t a patch on what I experienced in full blown labour, but they were certainly more uncomfortable than Braxton Hicks and much more regular.
It turns out I was experience something called Prodomal Labour. This is essentially where contraction build up but don’t go anywhere and don’t result in birth. They can be intense and uncomfortable, but more than anything they were frustrating! Every night they would build up until they were sometimes only three minutes apart but eventually they would simply die out. There is nothing more annoying than thinking it’s time to meet your baby and being disappointed day after day.
That being said, those four days were made a million times more easy because of my hypnobirthing practice. I was able to breath through the surges and there simply wasn’t any fear or anxiety. Not only that, but the techniques I had learnt helped me to deal with stress and frustration I was feeling because of the Prodomal Labour.
We made a point of doing nice things during those days to try and boost my oxytocin levels and I don’t think I’ve ever done so much walking! It goes without saying we tried most of the classic methods to bring on labour!
Lo and behold, on Tuesday morning I woke up at 5:15am with incredibly strong contractions! Far from the gently increasing crashendo of contractions that I had experienced before and expected, these were full blown, take your breath away contractions from the get go.
The first two were eight minutes apart, followed closely by three that were five minutes apart. I knew it was go time and at that point woke up R who revved up pretty quickly.
I decided to jump in the shower at this point, despite the intense pains, and in the space of my ten minute (rather shaky) shower I had three mega surges. It was at this point that I realised my labour was progressing much faster than I had expected!
I called my midwife, by which time my contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and we rushed straight over to the midwife led Wallingford Maternity Unit where we had organised to have our baby.
Needless to say the car journey was no fun at all, and the pain actually made me throw up at one point. I had prepared for everything except back labour which appeared to be what I was having! It turned out that whilst B had been in the perfect birthing position for my whole pregnancy he had decided to turn back to back in those last couple of days!
On arrival at the birthing unit my contractions were just a minute and a half apart. After a brief excitement where we thought we might be having him in the car park, we were taken into one of the birthing rooms. My midwife examined me and I was four centimeters dilated, which seemed to me like nothing given that I was already feeling the urge to push!
The pool was run as I knelt on all fours on the bed having contractions thick and fast. I was given gas and air, although it turned out afterwards that it hadn’t been working, and I eventually was able to get into the pool.
It’s hard to explain what my contractions were like, but it’s safe to say they were nothing like I expected. It was like my body just took over. I had no control over my stomach muscles or the noises that were coming out of me, and within minutes of getting in the pool I was pushing hard with each one.
The water in the pool was exactly what I needed to be able to throw myself into the whole process and my hypnobirthing practice meant I wasn’t feeling fear or anxiety despite the intensity of it all. Although in all honesty there wasn’t much time for breathing through contractions, my breathing techniques certainly helped with the pushing!
R was as supportive as I expected, and I don’t think I could have done it without knowing he was there. Although the speed of it all meant that much of what we had expected and practiced never came into play, he was still my rock and carried me through the whole thing.
Just four hours and 20 minutes after waking up with that first contraction, Baby B was born at 9:35am in the pool. The moment he was handed to me was a totally out of body experience and I will always remember the feeling of his little body against my chest.
It honestly felt like a little puzzle piece had slotted exactly where it was meant to go. He seemed to fit into my arms so exactly and the rush of love was immediate.
We delayed cord clamping into the blood had stopped, and then R cut it. I was then given the injection to release my placenta, which I birthed with no problem just a couple of minutes after getting out of the pool while R gave B his first daddy cuddles.
On examination it turned out that I had a very deep second degree tear, which thankfully could be stitched up by the midwives and didn’t require surgery. The stitching up wasn’t too bad and once it was all over I was able to shower and move to my room, where I was able to stay until I felt ready to go home…although things didn’t turn out as we expected on that front (a story for another post!).
My birth was everything I had hoped and planned for whilst being nothing like I expected! It was intense, animalistic, raw and incredible and I will remember it for the rest of my life.