So, up until I gave birth to bubba (number 1), I was scared, very scared!
It’s the unknown that makes it difficult, as you just haven’t experienced anything like it before and don’t know what to expect – it’s all new! Additionally, all you ever hear are the horror stories – days and days of labour, major tears, emergencies during labour – no wonder we all end up in a panic as that due date approaches. Although some births may be like the above, there are a small amount that are positive, and I wish I knew this before hand! THANKFULLY, I had a positive birthing experience and think it’s important to share.
I went to bed 4 nights before my due date having had what I thought was “the show” – however, hadn’t really had any braxton hicks so didn’t think anything of it. Labour could still be a week or so away, and it would be at least 12 hours as it was my first baby – at least that’s what I had repeatedly been told and read – WRONG!
I had made a rough birth plan – water birth with gas and air. Being a pharmacist you would think that I would go for every drug going, but I had just wanted to try going without, but had an open mind that should I need more, I would ask for it. I also had a TENS machine that was borrowed from a friend for the long first stage of labour at home which I’d been told could be hours or even days.
Mr S had packed our hospital bag – the biggest bag you have ever seen which was half full of snacks! “Well, if we’re potentially going to be there for a day or so before you give birth we need to make sure we have plenty of snacks for energy”. Hmmmm……ok, if you say so!
That night having gone to sleep at 11pm I woke up at 1.30am with period pain like cramps. I got up, went to the loo and then got back into bed. 20 mins later, the same thing happened again. I woke Mr S and told him I thought this could be the start of labour. We weren’t too concerned as knew from our antenatal classes that contractions could come and go, and it could be a long night ahead. We got the TENS machine hooked up and I got my birthing ball into the bedroom. An hour into being awake the contractions had become more frequent (every 10 minutes) and lasting a minute or so.
At 3am my waters broke, we called the hospital and they asked us to start making our way in. I was giving birth at a hospital half an hour away so Mr S thinking we still had a bit of time went downstairs, put the bins out (it was bin collection day the next morning!), put the hospital bag in the car, helped me get changed and off we went.
The entire journey to the hospital I had my eyes firmly closed! The contractions were coming thick and fast at this point and I was just trying to concentrate on the breathing exercises that I had learnt whilst doing pregnancy yoga. We got to the hospital and Mr S parked up on a side road as it was the middle of the night and he took me in (with a view of coming back to get the bag once I was safely inside). I went up to triage and was asked to do a urine sample – as I got to the toilet I couldn’t go – I thought maybe it was due to all the sweating I had done during my contractions. But, right then, I felt a massive urge to push.
I was whisked into the triage room and the midwife examined me – I was already 10cm dilated on arrival to the hospital! My birthing plan went out of the window and I was taken up to the birthing centre to start pushing. We were both in total shock – we were told a first time birth was at least 12 hours long!!
The pushing stage took 2 hours and we had a brilliant midwife who told me when to push and for how long. The thing that made this easier was the controlled breathing I had learnt at pregnancy yoga – this helped me keep it together and I’m sure this helped with the pain!
When the head was coming out I made sure I remained calm and pushed using my breath rather than straining. Calm yes, but this was THE most painful experience I have ever had! And by this point, it was too late for any pain relief. The midwife helped me with this pushing and was absolutely brilliant!
Our baby was delivered at 7.05am and I was ecstatic when Mr S told me it was a baby boy (albeit a little delirious and shaking from the shock).
Next was the delivery of the placenta which was quite quick as I had opted to have the injection. After this the midwife examined me for tears (which is something I had been scared of and let the midwife know of the concern during the pushing stage). It was a miracle – ZERO!!!
She asked me if I had done any perineal massage – which I had (but not properly by any means as the thought of it was disgusting!), but, according to her, what I had done was enough to have saved me from tearing! Result, I was super super pleased!
So all in all not bad – 6 hours from first contraction to giving birth – and zero tearing! Giving birth CAN be a positive experience! And the two things that I feel made it possible?
- Pregnancy yoga
- Perineal massage
For you first time mums out there, don’t panic & remember that not every birth is a “traumatic” experience!