Anna’s birth story

12 Jul

Thought I would share this lovely email I received from new mother, Anna. She sent me her birth story and it’s a very lovely read, enjoy!

My Labour Story

When I first found out that I was pregnant Lee and I both wondered how I would cope with the labour. I am not known for having a high pain threshold, so from the very beginning we assumed that I would need all the painkillers going. When a friend of mine who had had an epidural said her experience was almost ‘serene’ I thought, ‘yep, that’s for me!’

And then I saw Heather on OBEM.

From that moment on my attitude, plans, hopes and fears completely changed. I read her blog and can honestly say that it’s been a long time since I felt so inspired and encouraged. I bought a few of the books from her reading list, exchanged a few emails with her … and so the preparation began!

I’d say the three most influential things that I learnt along the way were that labour can be pain free; that the main cause of this not happening is fear; and that if you are as relaxed as possible throughout labour you are much more likely to have a more speedy and less painful experience. Well, who wouldn’t be interested in that??

At 8am on Wednesday 30th May 2012 I woke with tummy cramps. Nothing too painful, but I kept an eye on their frequency (they were about every 7 minutes), watched a bit of TV, and at 9am woke my husband, Lee, to tell him that my labour may have begun. We stayed very calm, took the dog out for a walk and saw a friend who lives on our street. She’d had a baby in January and when I described how I felt she said she thought I was indeed in labour. It’s funny how emotional women can get at times like this – towards the end of our conversation she gave me a hug and with tears in her eyes said she hoped everything would go to plan. I welled up too and headed home, now even more excited about the day ahead.

Back at home we had a visit from my Mum and Stepmum (too excited to stay away I think!!). They offered any help I needed and wished us well. After they’d gone (which was about lunchtime) we decided I should get in a nice warm bath. We dimmed the lights, lit some candles and played a relaxation CD that I’d been listening to in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I’d probably been in the bath about 90 minutes or so when Lee decided that we should make a move to the hospital.

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We arrived at the hospital just after 5pm. When I was examined at 5.30pm I was 4-5cm dilated, so they started filling up the birthing pool straight away. (Unfortunately the pool hadn’t been plugged properly so it was another 75 minutes before it was full… in the meantime I stayed sat on the edge of the bed completely in ‘The Zone’). It’s funny but until you have tried to relax your muscles when you’re in pain, you don’t realize how hard it is! It took so much effort that I had to block out any and all distractions. From this point on my eyes were closed, I concentrated on breathing deeply, and relaxed as much as I could. Because of this I was not always aware of where my husband, Lee, was in the room. At one point he must have been stood directly in front of me, because a wave of Mars bar smell wafted in my direction. Even that was too much of a distraction and without opening my eyes I pointed to the corner of the room and told him to do whatever he needed to do to ‘Get. That. Smell. Away. From. Me … Now!!’ There may or may not have been some expletives thrown in there for good measure (blush, sorry Lee!)

Time passed quickly, and before long it was time to get in the pool. It was lovely and warm and just what I needed. You may or may not believe this, but at one point I was so relaxed in the pool that I actually fell asleep in between my contractions! I am sure that my relaxed state helped to make my labour such a quick one. I repositioned from sitting down to kneeling in the pool after about 40 minutes, when the contractions were getting much stronger (I only referred to the strength of the contractions rather than how painful they were). At this point I also had some gas and air. Because I had my eyes closed throughout, Lee had to put the gas attachment thingy-me-bob into my mouth each time. The poor guy had to work out what I wanted as I just kneeled there opening my mouth every now and then (he soon twigged that during the contraction I wanted the gas and air, and afterwards I wanted a sip of water!)

As I had only wanted one examination when I arrived and everything was going so well, I didn’t have to get out of the pool once I’d got in. Unbeknown to me the midwife was checking me by using a mirror in the pool. She was very discrete and calm and let me trust my own body. When I felt the burning sensation that I had read about and felt that I needed to go to the toilet, I knew it was time. This was it. Time to push. All the reading and preparation done, there was nothing else to do now but push. I remembered reading that even the pitch of your voice affects whether your muscles are tense or not. A high-pitched scream makes you tense, a low-pitched one relaxes you. So halfway through a push as I was groaning I changed my pitch and thought to myself that I must have sounded a little strange (try it and you’ll see what I mean!) … but if it helped I was going to do it! Think of the groans like the players at Wimbledon – they’re not in pain; they’re just exerting themselves so much physically that they can’t not make a noise.

After three strong pushes the midwife told me the head was out and that at the next contraction I was to push the body out and catch my baby. I remember thinking ‘Eh?! CATCH my baby?! I have got enough to think about without having to CATCH my baby as well haven’t I?!’ Of course she only said that because she’d read my birthing plan and that’s what I said I wanted to do, but at the time I was so deep in ‘The Zone’ that I couldn’t think about anything but pushing, relaxing, breathing …pushing relaxing breathing …pushing relaxing breathing!

One more push. That’s it! The baby was out! I looked up at Lee, shock all over my face, then at the midwife next to him. I said ‘It’s out. I’ve done it. It’s out!’ So the midwife said ‘OK, catch it then!’ Oh, yes, of course, so I quickly put my hands in the water and scooped my baby into my arms. Oh what a feeling. Absolutely brilliant. To be finally holding my little baby was the most amazing feeling in the world. What an experience. One of the midwives asked whether we’d had a girl or a boy, and as I couldn’t take my eyes off my baby I remember thinking ‘how do you even need to ask, look at my beautiful baby, she’s so obviously a girl!’

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And so Georgia Mae Chapman had arrived. 7lbs 15oz at 19:48 (less than 3 hours after we’d arrived at the hospital!) And at midnight, we went home without even seeing the maternity ward. Sometimes you just want your own bed!

Had Heather not been on OBEM, and had she not started writing her blog, I can confidently say that I would have had a completely different labour. It is with massive gratitude that I say thanks to her. A speedy and painless labour is possible, and whilst a labour can go in many directions and we must stay open-minded and flexible in our hopes and plans, there are definitely things we can do ourselves to help. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my experience.

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Thank you Anna for taking the time to send me your birth story! I’m sure the readers will enjoy reading your inspiring story. You have more joy to come with your baby now here.

All the best to you and your beautiful new family!

This a wonderful story and so great to hear my blog is inspiring women to stay positive and hope for the best.
The main message I want to share is not about the type of birth you have, it’s about inspiring women to enjoy their experience regardless of what happens, it’s about trying to have the right mind set and focus on the beautiful gift your about to receive.
All you mums are my heros

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One Response to “Anna’s birth story”

  1. libby July 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Dear Heather & Anna,
    As a Midwife I love reading such great positive birth stories, i can only hope that other women can follow suit, after all it’s what we can all do, sadly we no longer believe this, we rather to put all our trust and instinct into the doctors and midwives, when really, women know what is best for them i wish that women would take more control, be more confident and actually realise they are so fantastic and powerful, midwives just help them along the way, but it’s the women doing ALL the real work!! keep it up ladies! 🙂

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