Hi Folks- HERE IT IS! The first in our series on ‘Birth Stories’. Im so excited to have my closest baby mumma pals guest blogging for me. Laura, over to you….!
Hi parents to be!
I’ll start by saying that I remember my birth story as positive experience, not without a few bumps in the road (literally and figuratively), but not nearly as scary or troublesome as I’d imagined. A pretty big statement from someone that was terrified of being pregnant and giving birth!
When I went into labour at 11:02 on 16th December 2015, the date my husband confidently predicted our baby would arrive (having forensically analysed dates) it was 5 days before my ‘official’ due date.
Let me give you a brief background… My name is Laura. I’m 37 years old and this baby was three years in the making. Following multiple trips to the hospital for fertility issues we had pretty much given up hope of having a baby naturally (but that’s another story) so while we were away on our winter break, the last thing we expected was to conceive our daughter. Peeing on that famous little stick had become as routine as brushing my teeth and so when two blue lines appeared we were shocked!
So on with the labour story… You’re probably wondering what I did to bring on my labour five days early. A LOT OF RESEARCH. I’ll never know if anything I tried actually worked, or, if things just happened naturally, but for sure I’ll be doing exactly the same next time! Here are my top tips:
1) Eating dates to help soften the cervix, seriously, Google it, I did this WITHOUT FAIL
2) Massages, every other week in the last two months. I found an amazing masseuse that I still use now (although far less frequently)
3)Walking EVERY DAY (strong legs also mean you stay upright longer in labour)
4) Acupressure. There are two key points one in the soft tissue between your thumb and your pointer finger and the other between the ankle bone and Achilles’ tendon, I spent evenings just giving myself acupressure.
I think everyone hopes that they won’t go into labour at night, I mean, who wants to manage labour without a full nights sleep. Not me. But here I was recording my contractions on my Pregnancy Plus tracker thinking shit, this is it. I remember our NCT leader specifically saying that labour did not always happen like it does in the movies, with a gush and immediate pains, but that’s pretty much what happened. Baby was on her way!
My contractions started at 3 in 10 (typically the rate at which they tell you to head to hospital) so I called the midwives and explained the pain was all in my lower abdomen. I was told that as labour progressed the pain would move up on top of the bump and if this happened to call back. The midwives made an appointment for us to get checked out at 8:30 the next morning and so that was it, I settled down for eight hours at home.
I’d never had period pains, but now, in hindsight, and with an experience of period pains, I’d say contractions feel just the same but ‘slightly’ stronger. I really tried to think positively throughout my labour, I concentrated on my breathing, took myself to my happy place and with each contraction I told myself that our baby was inching her way a little closer to meeting us. I used a tens machine from the start. After a brief spell in the bath, I even sent my husband to bed for some sleep. Personally I felt like I’d need his strength for later but I know many ladies want their partner with them throughout their experience. Before I knew it we were off to the New Forest Birthing Centre exactly as I had hoped. The pain never really increased (nor did it move upwards as the midwife described) but the car journey was, let’s say, fun. It was rush hour on a Thursday morning and we sat in traffic pretty much the whole way to the New Forest. When we arrived I was four centimetres and still coping pretty well (so they told me!!). One small hiccup, baby girl wasn’t pushing down on my cervix in the correct position and so a senior midwife was called to manually manipulate her into position. I don’t really remember it but it’s probably the one thing my husband will remember for the rest of his life given the feral noise I apparently made. At this point I was fully enjoying the gas and air!
I’d opted for a water birth and I’d definitely do it again. I found the water so relaxing. Between contractions I was even able to doze/or at least zone out. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the topics of conversation or the music that was playing (despite the fact I had spent weeks carefully choosing specific tracks) My husband later told me that he had only Ben Howard on his phone!!) It was just me and baby high on gas and air and progressing nicely.
A couple of hours in and I felt ready to push but I was told to get out of the water for a check up. I wish I hadn’t. From this moment everything slowed down and ‘labour failed to progress’. Midwife could see baby’s head but between contractions but she would regress back into the birth canal. Despite me pushing well, the contractions just lost their power. Not fun. Baby girl was cool as a cucumber though (they were constantly checking her). The staff had to call the ambulance, I was going to need some help. I hadn’t expected to be strapped to a stretcher but that’s how it was and within minutes of hitting the road, back came my contractions! I don’t remember much else about the journey but I do remember my husband shouting just before the doors slammed shut ‘Just don’t have her until I get there!’ He followed in our car and later told me that the midwives had warned him not to panic if the sirens went on as it was probably to avoid traffic jams. The sirens did go on, and he did panic, as I disappeared up the street……he didn’t know the way to the Princess Anne hospital (bad planning) and had no one to follow!
When we arrived in hospital we were taken directly to the labour ward where I was now told ‘push push push’. Babies head was in clear view but still not delivering. I was told to keep trying to deliver the baby naturally right up until the surgeon was in the room. I pushed with everything I had, I did not want an assisted delivery, but baby Madelyn Wynne Coulborn was born at 16:56 by vontouse delivery about half an hour after I arrived at hospital and with my husband by my side.
The most painful part was being sewn up after the birth. I had to ask for the gas an air back. I remember asking the surgeon if he was pleased with his work and he replied ‘absolutely’! Good news indeed!
So that was it. We were parents and we hadn’t even told anyone I was in labour because there is zero signal at the New Forest Birthing Centre. I called my mum and announced ‘I’ve just had a baby!!!’ And all she could muster was ‘What?!?’ Ironically it was less than 24 hours after my parents had left our house after visiting for a couple of days ahead of the birth. They live in Gloucestershire so we have to arrange visits!
Maddie Wynne Coulborn is now 9 months old, and she is a little ray of sunshine. Just as chilled as she was on the day she was born and we are totally in love with her.
If you have any questions about birth, the New Forest Birthing Centre the hospital or anything else, please ask. I’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like to get in touch with Laura, or would like to know more about her birth experience, please comment below, or email her at: email@example.com