"I felt the pressure of the baby moving down...so felt confident in just letting my body do its job"
Life flies by and before you know it, your baby is nearly one and you're yet to write your birth story! But it's never too late! This birth story made it's way to me recently after 10 months, which was a wonderful surprise! I worked with Cyd and her partner last year as they were part of one of my group Hypnobirthing courses. Her journey is not without a few hurdles, but she talks about how positive it was and how she enjoyed her labour and felt in control - from being told she couldn't get in the water as she wasn't far enough long, but sticking to what she wanted and getting it; to being told to push, but ignoring the coaching and following her body's lead. Enjoy the read of this honest and powerful birth story.
Iris Esme - Born 12/2/2022 in the water at Truro Birth Centre, 7lb15ozs
I loved being pregnant and although I was looking forward to meeting my baby I didn’t ever have the ‘get this baby out now’ feeling which I think towards the end really helped, I knew the baby would come at some point so I just made the most of every relaxing evening and early night before the baby came. My midwife new the kind of birth I wanted so said she wasn’t even going to mention a sweep or induction until we were approaching the 42wk mark. On Friday 11th February I had a sudden urge to get out of the house, I was 40+5wks pregnant. We decided to go for dinner with some of my family in St Agnes and had a really lovely evening in the pub. When we got home I was having contractions, although as I had braxton hicks every evening this wasn’t unusual although they felt more in my back so I thought it could possibly be the start. We went to bed and at 4am I woke up with a stronger contraction but I woke up smiling. I was really happy this could be the start. I decided to try and get some more sleep and managed to doze on and off until 7am, by this time they were getting stronger. I watched some comedy and sat on my birthing ball for a bit until I got in the bath, although sitting on my bum and having the pressure on my lower back really didn’t help. My partner rang the birthing unit - the Freya app said my contractions were regular and I knew I was in labour.
We made our way to Treliske, the 50min journey wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I had my headphones in and had my eyes shut for most of it. I was examined in the birth unit at 11am and was told I was 1cm, I lost my mucus plug in the process. They said to go and come back at 3.30pm to be re-examined. Luckily my Auntie lives in St Agnes so just down the road from the hospital. My mum and stepdad met us there where I spent most of the time bent over her armchair asking for my back to be rubbed. I kept my headphones in and tried to focus on my breathing but by 1.30pm I really felt like I was progressing and needed something to manage the pain. By 2pm my mum looked at me and said we need to get you back into the birth centre so we rang them and they agreed for me to come back in to be examined. The journey back to the birth centre was a different story, I was in the back on my knees and it felt like it took forever to get back there but again the whole time I just tried to focus on my breathing.
I was examined again at 3pm and the midwife said I was 3cm which I was surprised at as it definitely felt like I was already getting the urge to push. As the birth centre was quiet and my contractions were so close together, it felt like I didn’t have any time in between them, they admitted me into one of the rooms. I asked if I could get into the birthing pool but they said as I was only 3cm it might slow down labour but I pushed for it so they said they’d fill the pool up slightly and I could get in. I was also using gas and air by this point. As soon as I got in the pool I felt a huge relief, not necessarily a pain relief but it felt nice being able to float and relieve the pressure. I kept saying I had the urge to push and asked the midwife to examine me again which she did at 4pm, to her surprise I was now 8cm and she said I could give in on the urge to push down which felt so much better. She also said I could now have the bath completely filled up. My contractions were so close together there was barely a break between them, I tried to use the gas and air still but I was concentrating on my breathing through the contractions and it didn’t feel like there was much time to use it. I felt the pressure of the baby moving down and the midwife said the baby was 'stuck' in my birth canal, but I could really feel the head moving up and down. The midwife kept monitoring the baby so I knew they were okay so felt confident in just letting my body do its job. The midwife kept telling me to push, to the point I actually asked her to stop, I couldn’t understand how I was mean to push if my body wasn’t doing it automatically.
Towards the end I felt my body turning with every contraction so I was completely floating in the water. Once the head was finally birthed it then took two more contractions and the baby was in the water. She was born at 4.56pm, I sat back, completely in shock about what had just happened, I’d asked that I got the baby out of the water but I honestly had no idea what was going on so the midwife picked the baby out and put her on my chest. It took a while for the first cry but her eyes were open and she was moving so it wasn’t a panic.
It turns out the reason she was 'stuck' was because she was born with her arm up over her head, my midwife said given how she came out I’d probably need to go over to the ward to be stitched but when she checked I had a tiny tear that only needed a couple of stitches and I strongly believe that this is because I allowed my body to do it slowly, bit by bit rather than forcefully pushing her out.
Although I found it painful I absolutely loved my birth process and couldn’t believe what my body had done! I look back on it really positively and am very grateful for the information on the birth process that Terri taught us as I genuinely believe it was the reason I had the birth I’d hoped for! I knew what was happening and had the confidence to trust my body to do the rest."
This is a great example of how having knowledge of physiological birth, and knowledge of the maternity system and how it works, can really help you to navigate your journey to get the birth that you want. Knowing you can say no to things, knowing you can request things regardless of guidelines. Knowledge is power! You can find out more about my Hypnobirthing course on my free Introduction to Hypnobirthing on 29th January at 7pm, or take the leap and sign up to my next group Hypnobirthing course starting on March 26th in Newquay. www.cornwallhypnobirthing.co.uk/book-online