Birth story – Megan and baby Ari — The Positive Birth Company

After spending months of my pregnancy afraid of my birth (first time mum), I was recommended the hypnobirthing course, by a friend of mine that had just taken the course and had a really positive birth! During my pregnancy I had noticed that all my ideas of birth were conditioned to be negative from what I’ve always seen on the TV. A course from a ‘Positive Birth Company’s sounded exactly what I needed! After doing the course I felt so much relief and better informed, and that I had control and choices and here’s the story!

At 38 weeks the hospital consultant offered to induce me artificially, because my amniotic fluid was relatively low (8cm) but baby size was fine. Because of my newly discovered informed consent, I rejected the offer and went home. And I waited out for my baby to decide he was ready… all of which began at 8pm on the evening of 39 weeks +2 days! I was on the toilet (just a number 1) and felt something delicate slip out of me. I looked down the toilet, and saw my mucus plug, it was relatively clear and about the size of a raw egg. Two minutes later, water trickled down my legs and pooled onto the kitchen floor, there wasn’t a gush for me. Following this I had fairly gentle surges throughout the night and started to use my Freya app as I knew this was the real deal ! I practiced my up breathing and ran a bath. I knew from PBC course not to rush to hospital as I was fine, and wanted to stay in my calm home environment to help dilation.

About 3am I ran myself a bath as the surges were getting closer together, about every 3 to 4 minutes. I was living with my birthing partner (my cousin) who also did the course with me and was fully prepared for the birth. But I didn’t wake her at this time. I called into the hospital to let them know I would be coming this day in labor so they were prepared. They booked me in for 0830am to be seen by the day clinic. I didn’t sleep all night as the surges were just that little bit too powerful to fall asleep.

Getting into the car, reaching to shut the door and the 15 minute ‘bumpy’ ride was really hard, my cousin dropped me off at the entrance and went to park. I waddled to the clinic and met the midwives, one put me in a small room and monitored the baby’s heart rate and asked to check my dilation, to which I agreed. I was already 2cm which was great, and not disappointing as I’d learned this meant I was producing oxytocin and my cervix had moved from facing the rectum! Great work I thought! They offered to put me onto the labor ward as I wasn’t quite progressed enough for one of their 2 birthing pool rooms. (They knew what I wanted as I had my birth plan with me, crafted with the help of the PBC template).

They put us upstairs in our own little ward room and I had access to my own bath. My cousin put on my calm playlist and ran a deep bath. Being in water was the best for me. A bed, walking etc was much harder than the buoyancy of the water taking all the pressure off. At this point I had only had 2 paracetamol. And I was floating in the nice warm bath and suddenly after some powerful surges I had to be sick, so my cousin quickly grabbed a container and I threw up. I then tried to eat a beautiful tuna and cheese sandwich and get some water down me, in case I was sick again – I have to say it was the slowest I’ve ever eaten in my life, took me an hour to eat half a sandwich, between surges!

At this point when I was laying in the bath, and had a surge, you could see my belly point into a triangle shape with baby in there, from the upwards surges, which made me and my cousin laugh, between surges. I then reached the pre-warned breaking point, in the course she said this can happen, and I started to beg for pain relief, only because it was relentless and, as a first time mum, I didn’t know how long it would carry on for, little did I know, not much longer.

I walked back to my small private room and the midwife offered to check my dilation. Just before she started I stopped her with my hand, in silence, as I was about to have another surge, I managed to say, ‘i’m going to be sick’, and they handed me a bowl and tissue. I put the tissue between my legs as amniotic fluid was squirting out when I was sick, and I wanted to protect my bed. After this surge she checked my dilation and I was 6cm, she offered me gas and air and went to check with the head midwife regarding an epidural. When she left the room my cousin stepped up and said, ‘if you have an epidural, you won’t be able to have your water birth as you will lose the function of your legs, you also won’t feel when you need to push, you’re over half way, you can do this!’. It took all the mental strength I had left, to agree. And with that, she helped me up off the bed, and with a student midwife in one arm and my cousin in the other arm, we took the long walk to the birthing pool room (which would of taken 30 seconds for anyone not in labor , but took me forever).

I got into the room and almost cried, as everything was going according to my plan that I’d worried about for so many months of my pregnancy, water was flowing into the pool at 37°C, there were dimmers, blackout blinds etc. And I just got straight into the pool while it was still running. The second my bum hit the water I threw up for the third time, into a bowl luckily, and then proceeded to have my FIRST downwards surge and let my body push. This was such a relieving feeling. Totally different from the up surges. The student midwife ran to get help apparently as she said ‘we could have a baby in here any minute!’. My cousin put on my playlist again and I rested on my side in the pool.

There was a student midwife facing me, and checking the babies heartbeat under the water after each surge I had. They were a combination of up and down surges now. There was another, qualified midwife with a clipboard, behind me, and my cousin to my right. We were all in silence other than my intermittent surges. After 1.5h in this pool I had a downwards surge and pushed and felt a definite head!! And I knew that the end was in sight. I also remembered not to push hard, and to allow my body to stretch and open up. So rather than push really hard when I felt his head, I let it pass and let his head recess back into the womb. A second push surge and I really felt his head come down this time, I even said to the student midwife, ‘You must have seen his eyebrows that time,’ she said, ‘depends how far up his eyebrows are haha’. I also felt that it was really going to stretch me open and may tear, and so let him go back up inside.

But I knew, and said to myself, ‘he can’t stay inside, let’s get him out on the next one so he has as less stress as possible coming into the world’. The next surge came and I helped my body with a real hard push, I needed to stop and take a breath and push again and again to get his head to make the full way out and into the water! And pop, out came his head, under water, facing away from me. I reached down and felt his head, it was like a fuzzy tennis ball and my cousin said he looked like a gray Buddha facing her haha. The qualified midwife came over from the background now and I said, ‘is he alright there under the water?’ She said, ‘yes, and with your next surge, push extra hard and you’ll meet your baby!’ I waited for my next surge, which was like trying to force a hiccup to come, it took about 4 more minutes, his head popping out, waiting.. and then the surge came, the rest of him literally felt like a soft jelly fish bobbling out of me, the head was the hardest work. The student midwife scooped him up and put him straight in my arms. He did the shortest little cry of about 2 seconds and I put him on my chest and he just relaxed and stared at me through one puffy blue eye.

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