Birth story – Rosie and baby Rae — The Positive Birth Company

I was really lucky to have had a pretty straightforward pregnancy, bar some pelvic girdle pain in 3rd trimester (which was massively helped by seeing a Chiropractor), pretty bad acid reflux, and a lot of paranoia about reduced fetal movement, but each time we went in for monitoring there was never a cause for concern. Other than that, I really loved being pregnant and loved my bump!

We transferred to the care of the homebirth team around week 28 which was the best decision we ever made. From then on, all my appointments were at home (which also meant my husband could join), we had continuity with the same amazing midwife who I got to know really well and even had on WhatsApp which was amazing for all my random questions and concerns , and the care just felt so personal and thorough. Most appointments she was at our house for more than an hour, it never felt rushed and we really got to chat through everything in depth.

My midwife had thought that our little lady may make an early arrival as her head had been so low in my pelvis for the last couple of months and my bump was feeling very compact! However my due date came and went, as did the next 12 days with no sign of baby. I had quite a lot of lightening pains and cramps from around week 36 which got more and more intense in the lead up to her arrival. My midwives knew I wanted as little intervention as possible, so at my 40 week appointment we were given lots of advice on how to try and naturally induce labor.

Apparently the best chance we had of these things working was on 40w+5, so on that evening we did the following: went for a reeeeeally long walk, ate spicy food (it was the heatwave so I couldn’t quite stomach curry and we Opted for hot Nando’s instead 😂), 2 glasses of Prosecco, ate the core of a pineapple, and (very reluctantly after all the previous!) had sex. Unfortunately our efforts didn’t succeed, but I think we may have actually overdone it on the walking front considering it was so hot. I was so exhausted I don’t think my body would have let me go into labor! Outside of that evening I was also eating dates, bathing in clary sage, drinking raspberry leaf tea and trying to do the deed as much as possible.

At 41 weeks I declined a sweep and also had to have the chat about 42 week induction. I said I didn’t want to be induced without a medical reason so she got me booked in for an extra scan and monitoring. On day 41w+5, I went for brunch and a pedicure with my friend. When they turned the massage chairs on and were jiggling us all over the place, I googled to check whether it was safe for pregnant women. It actually said that as long as you’re full term they’re fine to use as the only risk is they could send you into labor, so of course I let it carry on doing it’s thing 🙂

That evening my husband and I went for a beautiful, long evening walk around Virginia water lake, followed by dinner at the pub, which must have really got the oxytocin levels flowing as a couple of hours later I went into labor! I should also note that my husband had been doing DIY reflexology on me, following YouTube videos specifically for inducing labor and of course he claims that was the driving factor!

At midnight I had a cramp that felt much longer and a bit different to all the other cramps I had been having. Straight away I suspected that this could be the real thing! Exactly 10 minutes later the exact same cramp happened again. Then exactly 10 minutes later, another one. By the third one, I knew this was definitely it which was a very weird and exciting feeling! As we had just gone to bed I decided to leave my husband asleep and just try to rest in between them.

The gap was getting shorter pretty quickly and by 2:30am I felt I had to get up, so I woke up my husband and we moved to the living room. By this time they had already gone to 2 minutes apart so I called my midwife. She said to just keep doing what I was doing and she would be with me by 7am to check on me unless I call before and want her sooner. At 4am she called back to check how I was doing and offered to come earlier if I needed her but at that point I was still coping just fine. At this time, we got all our snacks out, watched our wedding speeches video to get the oxytocin flowing, and bounced on my yoga ball. I stood up, holding my hands round my husbands neck and he counted me through each contraction, which really helped me.

My midwife and student midwife arrived at the perfect time, just as surges were starting to get much more intense. They checked me and baby over, gave me some aromatherapy oils and got me into a position that would help labor to progress and for me to relax at the same time as I hadn’t been to sleep at all before I went into labour. This was laying sidesways on the sofa facing the back cushions, with my top knee up over the top of the back cushion. The midwives decided it was best they left me to rest in this position and to call them as soon as I felt I needed them.

Pretty soon after they left, things got very intense and I asked my husband to call them. Clearly that position worked! They advised that he run me a bath and see if that helps to relax me a bit. He dimmed the lights, lit some candles, put my birth playlist on and poured a jug of water over my belly with each surge which I highly recommend! This really helped for a while and bought us another hour before I was asking for the midwives to hurry back with gas and air.

When they turned up shortly after, around 10am, and handed me the gas and air in the bath tub, I was a very happy lady. I stayed in the tub with the gas and air while the midwives finished filling the birth pool. At this point I was struggling to imagine how I would move between the bath and birth pool as my surgeries were so close together. My midwife suggested that as soon as I pass the peak of one surge rather than waiting until the end of it, I start my journey to the pool so that I had maximum time before the peak of the next surge (good tip for anyone needing to move location between surges!)!

We successfully made it to the pool with my husband carrying the gas and air beside me and getting into the pool was well worth it! It felt so good getting into the deep water and having space to move around and change positions. I spent the next 8 hours in the pool, breathing through surges with the help of 3.5 tanks of gas and air. My baby was moving up and down in my pelvis for a long time, which was the hardest part for me. Apparently this is due to having a really strong pelvic floor and it therefore taking a long time for the muscles to relax and stretch. Luckily my midwives were really patient and were constantly checking her heart rate and knew she was still very relaxed and happy so they let me take as long as my body needed.

Eventually she started making her entrance, and again the stage where her head was being born took quite a long time. Apparently because I’m a horse rider, this is why I have really strong pelvic floor and perineum muscles (who knew!), which I guess is a good thing, but just made things a little slower and harder in this case! It was so incredible when I looked down and could see lots of hair waving in the water as her head was just sitting half way out! Freaky but amazing. In this pretty vital moment, my third bottle of gas and air ran out and it’s true, you really lose all your manners when you’re in labor 😂 I made it known pretty loudly that it had run out and proceeded to tell them (loudly ) to hurry despite her being impressively fast at switching the canister. My husband compared her speedy changeover to the tire changes in the pits in formula 1😂.

As her head was stuck like this for a while, my midwife suggested that I try with one more surge, but if her head wasn’t born in that one then they would like to get me out the pool and do an episiotomy, as she was getting a bit worried that I might tear really badly. One of the midwives then suggested getting me into a deep squat in the pool for my one last try, and as I couldn’t even imagine trying to get out of the pool with her head half out of me (plus I wanted to avoid the cut), I pushed with everything I had and her head was born! I don’t remember feeling the ‘ring of fire’ possibly because I had been slowly stretching over a long period of time. I had to wait for the next contraction for the rest of her body to come, but in this time my husband was able to look down into the water and see her little face looking up which was amazing for him.

With the next contraction her body was born and the midwife said ‘pick her up out the water!’. She had to repeat herself because I couldn’t quite comprehend that there was a baby in the water after all that time! It was the most incredible, unbelievable, surreal moment looking down and seeing her floating in the water. I pulled her up, turned around and had my first cuddle with our gorgeous little girl.

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