Ana, Chris and Alice; Our Birth Story
I was 40 weeks when my midwife offered me a sweep… I was nervous about saying yes to it but she reassured me that she would only do it if my cervix was favourable. At 40 weeks + 6 I woke up and went for a long walk with my dog and my neighbour who was also pregnant at the time. Afterwards, I went for my appointment and my midwife performed the sweep – the procedure didn’t hurt but after I left the clinic I cried all the way home overwhelmed with emotions.
I was still working so I phoned my boss and told him I needed the afternoon off and went for another big walk with my neighbours, my dog and their dogs – I walked 16km that day!
The next morning I woke up at 8am feeling a slight pressure on my lower back and a sort of period-like (mild) pain. I phoned Chris, my husband, and I told him that I thought I was feeling my first surges but I wasn’t 100% sure and therefore I would call him again if it was actually the real deal. Of course, he didn’t listen to me and after 20 minutes I got a call from him saying he was heading back home from work. When he arrived we had a nice breakfast together and waited…
My surges started building up and I used the Freya app to help me focus on my breathing. At around 12pm I rang my midwife as my surges were about 4 minutes apart and 1 minute long. She told me to start packing slowly and to think about heading to the hospital. I tried moving around the house but that made my surges stronger so I sat on my pilates ball for the next hour or so… It felt really comfortable. I wanted to wait as long as possible because I didn’t want to head to the hospital too soon and be sent back, but at around 2pm my surges were 3 minutes apart so Chris decided for us, got the car and drove us to the hospital – I’m glad he did, I think I was being a bit stubborn! I realised that when I had about 3 surges trying to get from the front door to the car, which was only a few meters away!
We had our ‘hollywood movie moment’ as soon as we arrived at the hospital! I got in the lift and had a surge (quite an intense one), so I faced the wall of the lift, closed my eyes and focused on my breath… When the surge ended I looked around and I had a group of about 10 people, hospital patients, staff, doctors and nurses, holding the lift door and waiting for my surge to finish. They all started clapping and shouting “You go girl, the maternity unity is just over there, you can do this” – It was awesome, I felt like a rock star and fully energised once again!
My waters broke at triage – coolest feeling ever, like a balloon popping inside my belly! And that was when the triage midwife told me I had meconium in my waters and therefore they had to monitor the baby’s heart rate. She also gave me gas and air which I hated at first… She said I had to try it for at least 4 surges and then decide. That’s what I did… And afterwards it became “my best friend”, I really didn’t want to let go of it as apart from helping with pain management, I really thought it helped me focus on my breath.
Initially we planned on having a water birth at the MLU, but because of the meconium in my waters I was told I wasn’t allowed to, so they moved me into a room and monitored the baby’s heartbeat and my surges. I wanted to stand but the monitor on my belly kept moving so they told me I had to go on to the bed and lie down, which I really didn’t want to… So I “negotiated” with the midwife and the bed was set in a sitting position which was a lot more comfortable for me. However, the action of sitting down on the bed gave me the most intense surge I had all day and actually made me question my decision of not having an epidural: “If I can’t have a water birth, if I have to sit on this bed and barely move, why don’t I just ask for an epidural?”. But then I closed my eyes, I thought about my baby, I thought about how my body was prepared for this moment, I took a deep breath through the next surge and kept going!
At around 7.30pm, I was told I was fully dilated but because it was my first baby we were going to wait for about 2 hours before starting to push. Those 2 hours flew by, and even though I was having very long surges, very close to each other, I managed to get some rest. Chris bought all these different foods and kept telling me to eat and drink water, which really helped me build up some strength for the final stage – if it wasn’t for him, I was in such a bubble that I wouldn’t have had anything to drink the whole day!
Close to 10pm the midwife told me I was ready to start pushing, so they looked at my surges on the monitor and told me to push. I did, over and over again, with all I had, but it just didn’t feel like my body was ready for it yet. I told them this and they helped the best they could, but I think it just “wasn’t the time yet”. After 45 minutes of pushing and nothing happening I was getting pretty tired and suddenly the obstetrics doctor came in the room and told me: “If this baby isn’t out in 10 minutes I’m coming in with my nasty metals”. I think that if it wasn’t for Chris this would’ve set me in a right despair mode… But he looked at me and said: “Don’t listen to her, you are amazing, you are doing great… You can do this!”.
The head midwife came in shortly after and said that I was doing great and that she wouldn’t let the obstetrics team come in: “We are going to deliver this baby together!”. She prepared me for an episiotomy and told me to focus on her hand and push towards it… That’s when I felt my body was ready, I had a push coming from the inside, like I barely had to do anything… And Alice was born at 11.07pm, head, shoulders, legs, all in one push – healthy and amazing!
Only after Alice was born, did I realise that we were being considered a high risk birth, because she had the cord around her neck twice, and so every time I pushed her heart stopped. I didn’t notice this and I managed to stay in “my bubble” because Chris was next to me the whole time, filtering everything that was happening, paying attention to details, talking to the midwife, holding my hand and keeping me strong.
Hypnobirthing gave us the tools and information we needed to complete the first part of our journey into parenthood and we will forever be grateful to Sally and UB Academy.