Saturday, 4 August 2012

Birth Story

When I had Will, my first born, I went into hospital on a Friday night after having contractions since the Thursday morning. They were close together and I was struggling with the pain. I was only 2 centimetres dilated. I started off in the birth centre but was moved to the labour ward when his heart rate dropped. Over the following 24 hours his heart stopped three times. I had two epidurals, my waters were broken for me, I was continually monitored, put on a syntocin drip to speed things up and ended up having an episiotomy and he was dragged out of me using a ventouse. He was fine and I was fine but it was a traumatic start to parenting, not least for my partner, Shaun who had felt utterly helpless watching it all happen. So, when we fell pregnant again the birth was a huge mental barrier for both of us.
Harriet's birth, however, was a glorious experience for both of us. It could not have been more different to Will's and I am certain it is because we did a course in Hypnobirthing. Hynpobirthing meant that we worked as a couple throughout the pregnancy to connect with each other and the baby. We dealt with our anxieties about the birth and felt like a team going in to it. Contractions started at 5.30am on a Wednesday. I had had some contractions on the Monday that had disappeared after a few hours, was expecting the same to happen again and so sent Shaun off to work and went about our normal day. When Will went down for his midday nap I settled into bed to do the same. I listened to my hypnobirthing and managed to drift off. After 20 minutes my contractions woke me up and I knew if I couldn't sleep through them then things must be progressing. I called Shaun and told him not to rush home but not to be home late. We spent the afternoon at the Banc with some Mums who were due around the same time as me. Having Will to chase after was a welcome distraction! When we were putting Will to bed at around 7.30pm I was having to hold onto the new babies cot to steady myself through the contractions but was still managing the pain well. I cooked and ate a massive roast dinner and sat down to watch One Born Every Minute! I very soon realised that I couldn't concentrate on TV and went and ran a bath. In the bath I read my affirmations and tried to concentrate on the breathing techniques we had learnt. I was in the bath an hour or so and Shaun was keen for us to get to the hospital. I was coping well with the pain and was so desperate to avoid being told I was only a few centimetres dilated again, I wanted to stay at home. Shaun was reading the Hypnobirthing book and said that I would know when the time to go to hospital was. I scoffed at this because I had got it so wrong last time and didn't understand how I would know. Then something happened. All of a sudden I knew. I had to get out the bath and we had to get to the hospital. The breathing techniques and affirmations were no longer working. We called a friend to come and stay to watch Will and then called a taxi. The poor taxi driver. I had my head out the window like a puppy and was screaming profanities with every contraction. Between them I kept reminding myself to apologise to him but then another one would come and I would be off again. He wouldn't drive through the barrier at The Whittington and so I had to walk through the car park. It took me 4 contractions and then another 3 to get down to the birth centre. By chance the midwife on duty was the same one that had delivered Will. She rushed us into a room and said she needed to examine me before I could have any of the drugs I was begging her for. I had an overwhelming urge to hold onto Shaun's shoulders and sort of hang off him and as I did my waters broke. The midwife managed to get me onto the bed, examined me and said "Alison, you are fully dilated, all you need to do is push". They are the best words I have ever heard. I wanted her to say it over and over again! I had some gas and air to help with the contractions but it meant I no longer had the urge to push and so after a minute or two they took it off me. It took four pushes to get her head out and just one to get out her body. She was 10lbs and I gave birth with no drugs and no stitches. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced but the most exhilarating and wonderful too. I have nothing but positive memories from it. 


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