I always knew that when my time came to be pregnant and give birth that I wanted to calm birth and do it all natural with no drugs. Being a midwife I had seen many different labours and births and had thought about what I would do on several occasions. I had a pretty set idea of no intervention or medication.
Becoming pregnant straight away was a bit of a shock as I have PCOS and I had been told it would be a long difficult journey to conceive. We were thrilled, however I was anxious from the start as my risk of loss and complications was higher. I had heard of Tracey's Calmbirth course through work and my midwife Ali at Coast Life Midwifery and knew it was something I needed to do. Tracey told me to take my midwife hat off and put my mum one on which was easier said than done! It was also important that my husband Mitch attend Calmbirth so he could be a little more prepared for what was to come.
As the pregnancy advanced I was excited to see what my body could do but also nervous at the same time. I had Gestational Diabetes and ended up on Metformin and insulin in late pregnancy and had growth scans telling me my baby was on the 90th percentile and growing! I was headed for induction at 38 weeks due to the size of her and dependance on medication. I knew she was a good size as I could feel she was big and knew it was the right thing to do.
Knowing what I do about inductions I was scared and really did not want the Syntocinon drip and to end up stuck on a monitor or be a failed induction. I absolutely did not want an epidural due to back issues and the effects on breastfeeding and increased intervention risk.I tried everything natural to try bring on labour and prepare my body, tablets, oils, acupuncture etc you name it I did it. I also had a significant birth plan that covered every possible outcome including a c section or assisted delivery and if Hannah needed assistance once born.
The week approached of induction and I had chose a Cooks catheter method however I was too soft and 1cm dilated already so was booked in for Prostin gel a day earlier than expected. Thankfully Tracey was on shift which made it so much easier walking in with the nerves and anxiety! The gel went in at 2pm and I had the after pains which lasted a couple of hours and I had felt her head drop as I had a lot of pressure and sudden sciatic pain. The pains died down around dinner time so I ate, showered and tried to rest. I started getting tightenings around 6.30/7pm which started getting more frequent and stronger. I got back into the shower and breathed through and even tried to sleep through them listening to music in a dark room. This was great practice for the Calmbreath as they were rather easy to breathe through.
I was reviewed around 10pm and I was 3cm dilated and they could break my waters so off to birth suite I went. I was relieved that I wouldn’t be going all night long. My waters were broken at 11.30pm and from then on it was go time! I found it very difficult to focus due to the sudden intensity of the contractions. Mitch and my student midwife Candace were amazing reminding me to breathe. I had to get into the shower and relaxed immediately as the water on my back was amazing. The contractions intensified and I hit transition pretty quickly as I remember not wanting to do it anymore and wanting her pulled out and a range of other irrational things! However by the time I thought these things another contraction came and re focused me until the next one. I breathed them through one at a time which helped me to manage.
Ali our midwife arrived quite quickly which was a great relief and reassurance. I started feeling grunty and pushy not long after and couldn’t believe it was happening so quick. We moved from the shower to the toilet to rest my knees and then went onto the bed when I was pushing. After 22 minutes of pushing on the bed on all fours/kneeling our beautiful Hannah arrived at 1.53am! Weighing 3785g 52cm long at 38 weeks and 3 days. Due to the very quick intense labour I haemorrhaged but Mitch and I both stayed calm and used our breathing and focused on Hannah. I also used the Calmbirth breath techniques in theatre as a few hours later I had to go down for stitches which required a spinal block which was complicated due to my back issues.
Looking back it definitely was the most intense thing I have ever done and meeting my girl was worth it all. She is happy and healthy and breastfeeds so well. Which was our ultimate end goal. Not everything went as I had hoped and I am working through some feelings surrounding the birth but having the breathing techniques to use certainly helped and not just for the for actual birth as I still use them now. I don't know if I actually did calm birth, at one point during a contraction i even said "I don't think I am calm birthing!" However I have since been told I was breathing very well!
Birth is unpredictable no matter how prepared you think you are but having the the tools to cope and get through is important and I am so glad we attended the course. I can not imagine what we would have done if we did not attend and I highly recommend it to everyone!
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