‘ I had no signs of labour at all in the weeks leading up to Sophie’s birth, and she was still not very low in my pelvis when I had a midwife check the day before she was born. But that night (39.6wks) I woke at about 2am with a few tiny niggles so I thought that seemed promising. I slept until about 5am and then got up and thought I better finish packing a hospital bag and wash my hair! The contractions were still mild and quite irregular.
Anyway, contractions became regular at 9.30am and were about 6-8mins apart but still pretty mild. I called my midwife and she knew I wanted to stay at home as long as possible so she said just persist until they get to 4mins apart or become too painful. I had a TENS machine on, which I wound up with each contraction. I drank heaps of water and ate some lollies. I tried music for relaxation for about 5 mins but wasn’t interested so turned it off again (so much for my carefully planned playlist!). I had intended to get in the bath but the TENS was so useful I didn’t want to take it off, so never tried water either. We used some visualisation & counting down techniques which really helped. We decided to go to hospital at about 12pm when things were stepping up.
Adam was really relaxed and helpful. We both were actually! I met my midwife at the birthing suite and she knew I didn’t want continuous monitoring, so she just checked the bub’s heart rate with a Doppler and did my blood pressure – all was fine. She continued to put the Doppler on my abdomen at various times throughout the birth and it all remained perfect. She left Adam & I alone for most of the labour.. Just popping in to check on us now and then. My waters broke at about 2pm and I started to need to push at about 3pm. I kept using TENS and it was becoming painful but I could still chat between contractions and it never felt too much. I still thought I was ages away from transition or the birth, but Adam told me later that the midwife had told him I was close! It was a good way to be, as I had in my mind “it’ll get worse so I won’t want pain relief yet”. But I was actually already at the strongest point, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it may be! We tried counting down, light touch massage, the main thing that helped was breathing techniques though.
The pushing was really hard work and seemed to take forever! But apparently up to 2hrs for this stage is quite normal for first births… I took 90mins. I tried J breathing but it just didn’t seem to work, so I went back to the bearing-down style of pushing which was more effective for me. But was able to stay relaxed between contractions and still saved energy that way I guess! I could feel bub was moving down, which was so encouraging. I still birthed her very slowly and didn’t tear so I think it worked fine. I think I visualised the opening rose – that part isn’t as strong in my memory! I also still had the TENS on .. Didn’t really feel a need for pain relief but my “crisis” moment was more about “I can’t push hard enough to get her out!” Adam was brilliant and talked me through it, I really needed the support at this stage as I was working so hard and felt like I was getting nowhere. The encouragement and support from Adam and my midwife got me through!
She came out looking around at Adam and cried before her body even came out! She was APGAR 9&10. Adam and I both found out the sex at the same time, they passed her to me and we lifted her umbilical cord to check out her bits.. Haha. We’d had a feeling all along she was a girl. I didn’t tear or need stitches. I had a physiological third stage - they drew up Syntocinon in case of PPH but didn’t need it. I delivered the placenta after 15mins and had 250mls blood loss, which was fine. They actually said I could go home after 4hrs as we hadn’t had any drugs or intervention, but it was getting late so I stayed the night.
Anyway it all went to plan and the “active” labour was only 7hrs, with only 4hrs spent at the hospital before she was born, which suited me perfectly! Afterwards was amazing, so much bonding with Adam and the baby, it was one of those experiences we’ll never forget, we were on a high for ages afterwards! Hypnobirthing worked wonders for us in the education, the confidence we gained, and the techniques to embrace birth and enjoy the experience. ‘
~Anna mother of lovely baby Sophie
I thank Anna for sharing her birth story and the beautiful images captured by Bree at The Birth Story.