My Birth Story
As part of The Positive Birth Company Digital Pack, which I spoke about in my previous blog 'The Unexpected When You're Expecting', you get added into a Facebook group where people share their birth stories and you're encouraged to do the same. I did not want to read anyone else's birth stories when I first got pregnant, I honestly couldn't think of anything worse at the beginning, but I joined as it was part of the whole thing and thought well what's the harm. It turned out to be one of the best things I did whilst I was pregnant. This is because it totally normalised birth in a way I had never felt or experienced before. Women from all different places, sharing their stories, things that went to their preferences (not plans - we don't EVER talk about birth plans, just birth preferences because plans can fail and however you give birth it is never a failure), and things that didn't go how they thought it would. I grew to love reading people's stories and now I'm obsessed with hearing how people's births went - honestly I love it! So here's my birth story, as I shared it in that group so many months ago, with a few added links for some things I specifically mention that might not make sense if you haven't done the Digital Pack or Hypnobirthing.
⭐️ FTM (First Time Mum)
⭐️ Abel Otis Peter Marchant
⭐️ 40+2 weeks
⭐️ 6lbs 15oz
⭐️ Planned Midwife Led Unit Birth at Royal Surrey Guildford
⭐️ 1cm to 10cm dilation in 1.5 hours
⭐️ Birthed on dry land - no time for the pool as planned!
⭐️ Start of active labour to birth - under 4.5 hours
So everything happened a lot quicker than expected!
As a low risk first time pregnancy, I started PBC Digital Pack alongside local hypnobirthing focused antenatal classes due to fear of giving birth. The Digital Pack course was amazing (and complimented the antenatal classes we chose) and quickly calmed all my fears about birth and labour however it took me a long time to get through the videos due to watching them with my husband who works shifts so only finished the course in my 39th week - fully expecting to get nearer to 42 weeks as it was my first pregnancy, how wrong was I!
Latent labour started quite gently overnight on the Thursday evening to Friday morning, with needing more night time wees than usual and some little cramping. Waking up properly on the Friday I then had period cramping like sensations basically every 10 minutes throughout the day. Late in the evening on Friday they got a bit stronger and started to come closer together so started using my TENS machine which helped. I was so convinced it would all take days though that my husband even worked a shift that night! He got back and at about 11:30 I said to get some sleep because it’s beginning. Then it all started happening! At 11:45 my waters broke, my mucus plug went and the surges stepped it up a gear, immediately tracking on the Freya App as active labour as the screen went green. I had to wake my husband up after only 15 minutes of sleep! We called the hospital and they advised to stay at home a while before coming in. Half an hour later, with the surges intensifying, and with a 35 minute drive to the hospital ahead of us, my husband and I used our BRAINs and called the hospital again to say we’d be heading over. I made it through the car journey using up-breathing, listening to the Freya App and a TENs machine and we arrived at the hospital at about 1am on the Saturday and were taken straight to a lovely room with a pool on the Midwife Led section of the Royal Surrey maternity ward. My husband set up the room with battery powered tea lights, room spray, stuck up our PBC positive affirmation cards and put the Freya app on playing out loud on our Bluetooth speaker - he was in charge of pressing the button for a surge so I could hear Siobhan counting and focus along with her although I also insisted he count along too!
I consented to an initial internal examination but had stated on my preferences that I wanted as few as possible and ideally to not be on my back - unfortunately I had still had to lie down, when all I wanted to do was stand up or sit on the toilet - but I was able to go onto my side for the examination. I had asked not to be told how far along I was unless it was very good news so my husband was then told that I was only 1cm at this point. The midwife took him outside to speak to him and said we could stay as the unit was quiet or we could go home. As the room was all set up we decided to stay and I’m so glad we did! An hour and a half later at about 3:30am everything had become a lot more intense so I took two paracetamol as we presumed I wasn’t much further along. However I then started to feel an urge to push (or as I kept politely saying with every surge ‘It feels like I’m going to s**t myself’), so I used my BRAIN and consented to another internal examination - given on the basis of seeing whether I had progressed enough to use the pool as this was my hope...instead it showed that I was fully dilated and there was no time for the pool! If we had gone home my husband would have been delivering in our very rural home or a country lane so he was very glad we had stayed too!
At this point I got on my knees on and kept leaning on my husband who was keeping me on track with my breathing and 1 hour of down breathing later our little man made his appearance! He was born with his arm up by his head so I needed coaching towards the end of when to push and when not too to minimise any damage. The midwives were amazing coaching me and massaging my back while I leant my full body weight on my husband (he was standing the entire labour with me leaning on him!) and I breathed my gorgeous boy out. I had skin to skin right away but didn’t manage a first feed then as I had hoped as I had to be checked over due to his arm position when he was born but in the long run this didn’t bother me. I had a 2nd degree tear and a labial graze but managed to avoid needing to go to surgery for stitches and instead was moved onto the labour ward and got off my face on gas and air while I had the stitches done by the midwife. Once that had worn off I had more skin to skin and got that first feed in before we moved to another lovely room. The care I received at Royal Surrey was truly incredible throughout.
Overall my birth was so quick I’m still getting my head around that but it was such a positive experience for me thanks to everything I learnt.
So that's my story. If you're not already pregnant, or perhaps in the early days of pregnancy, there may be some words or phrases in there that seem strange or daunting (I'm looking at you latent labour, TENs machine, mucus plug and labial graze!) If you are pregnant I highly recommend learning about the biology of labour. It was covered in both the Digital Pack and in my antenatal classes and it really helped me feel not so scared about the whole process because, at the end of the day, it's biology and your body naturally knows what to do even if you don't feel like you do!
As always if you have any questions please don't be afraid to comment and ask, and I'll do my best to answer, or if you want to share your own birth story please do to!