Birth story – Shonagh and baby girl — The Positive Birth Company

Pregnancy

We found out shortly before Christmas last year that we were expecting, which came as a big but very welcome surprise! Overall my pregnancy was very straight forward with only some mild morning sickness between 6 and 14 weeks. I had always been interested in the idea of ​​a home birth after my sister had a positive experience with her second baby. I was expecting my midwife to try and talk me out of it as it was my first pregnancy but she was really supportive and encouraging which really helped my mindset.

After being given Siobhan’s book as a gift, I decided to sign up to the course at around 25 weeks, which was amazing. It made me feel more confident in planning for a home birth while keeping my realistic expectations so I was prepared for whatever was to come. While I was planning for a home birth, my main goal was just to have the most positive experience regardless of the way it all unfolded so I made sure I set out my preferences for each type of birth.

After it through the course myself and then going again with my husband, I spent the remainder of my pregnancy practicing the breathing techniques, affirmations and using the mp3s to encourage a positive mindset.

Lead up to birth

When my due date came and went, I thought I would start to get agitated and impatient. But I actually really enjoyed the extra time I had to spend with my husband and family and really take in the fact that life was about to change forever (not that you’re ever truly prepared for the change).

I had a sweep on my due date with nothing happening afterwards and then one done at 40+3. I was convinced the second one was going to work because it was so uncomfortable and I lost some of my mucus plug, but again nothing happened.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit nervous about the prospect of induction. When my midwife came to perform my third sweep at 40+6, I was prepared for “the talk” having already decided I was as going to say I would consider an induction 42 weeks but didn’t want to book in yet (as long as there were no immediate concerns). Thankfully, my midwife said “oh don’t worry, we don’t even have to even talk about that until you’re 41+3 and we’d only ask you to come in for observation at 42 weeks anyway”. I was so relieved and genuinely think it instilled the confidence in me that my baby would come when ready before we even got to that stage.

While I was calm and happy, I of course did all the things you can do physically to get things going. My favorite things to do were curb walking (without a care for the strange looks you get), climbing stairs sideways, lunging and I also did the miles circuit at least twice a day (the miles circuit only takes 90 mins and was really good for movement and I definitely think it played a part in my labor starting)

During those 10 days, even with all of the above, I only had Braxton Hicks and lost small amounts of mucus plug, but these things kept me focused and determined if nothing else while waiting for baby to arrive.

On the evening of Monday 23rd of August, I completed the miles circuit at around 9pm while watching the office (my favorite show). I went to bed shortly afterwards, waking up at 1am not able to sleep. As I lay there I started to become concerned about baby’s movement so decided to get up, have a cold drink and a biscuit and lay down to monitor the movements. I was getting at least 10 kicks in a couple of minutes but they felt softer than normal so decided to call triage to get some advice. They told me that it sounded fine, but try a sugary drink and lie down again to monitor. I drank half a bottle of lucozade and went back to bed. After a 2 hour sugar high, I was happy baby was moving and went back to sleep. I was woken up on Tuesday by a text from my midwife asking if she could pop in at 8:30 to check me over. I spent the 30 mins before the midwife came on the toilet having a total evacuation of my bowels and losing large amounts of my mucus plug… I knew something was happening for real this time, but still no contractions.

My midwife checked me over and while she was happy with me and baby, saying it could be anytime now, she seemed concerned about the issues I’d had with movement overnight and asked me to call triage again to potentially go in for monitoring. I really wasn’t keen to do this as I just had a feeling that if I went to the hospital then I would end up staying there (my instinct was right!!). My midwife left at 9:15 and I called triage straight away. They said it was my call and that perhaps I should go and have some breakfast and decide after if movement was ok. I had some breakfast and was happy to feel baby moving around normally….

Labor

At 9:30 (yes, just 15 mins after my midwife left, I called triage and had my breakfast) I felt my first contraction. I then had my second contraction exactly 5 minutes later and then my third 5 mins after that (and so on). At 9:45 , I started timing them on the Freya app, using the breathing counter to get me through. Straight away it said I was in established labor (5 mins apart and about 45-90 seconds long). My husband kept working while checking in on me every so often. I was using the tens machine and had taken some paracetamol but felt I needed something else so I got into the bath at about 11:30 where I lasted about 30 mins, breathing through each contraction. Labor got extremely intense way quicker than I had ever imagined and I had to fight with my mind to stay positive and calm. I got out the bath at 12 and tried to sit on my birthing ball while leaning over the bed but I found myself lying on my side feeling sick. My contractions were coming ever 2-4 minutes and lasting anywhere from 1-2 mins. When my husband came to check me at about 1pm, I was sick into a bowl. I instantly felt better, but still found myself in the foetal position on the bed.

We decided it would be good to call the midwives and ask if someone could just come and check that myself and baby were ok. They told my husband to try and get me back to and upright position if possible so I managed to get myself back into the birthing ball leaning over the bed. At this point I had a word with myself to reset – I could do this, all I had to concentrate on was going from red back down to green in between each contraction and breathing during them.

The midwife arrived at about 2:30 and could see I was quite advanced in labor (not that I knew this – I was convinced I still had 18+ hours to go ). It took us 30 mins to do all the checks as we paused for contractions but we finally did the VE and I was as shocked when she said I was 7cm. I got back on my ball now motivated knowing I didn’t have far to go and asked for the gas and air, now confident I wouldn’t run out!

By 3:30pm I had fully transitioned to 10cm and completely involuntarily, my body started to push. When I told the midwife, she’d said if I wanted to give birth in the pool then I had to get in now. Thankfully she’d been instructing my husband on getting it ready behind the scenes so I got into a lovely warm pool in the living room.

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