My birth and how prepared for it.

27 Jun

I’ve had hundreds of emails, tweets, Facebook messages asking about my labour whether i did hypno birth or meditation the answer was no. So I thought I would run through the whole process of exactly what I did.

My story began as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I had to get my mind and body aligned so that they were completely in tune and both working in the right direction.

I started the research of child birth and read every possible bit of literature in relation to a good birth, I gathered all the information and made my own assessment and came up with this,
I believe we were created by God and put on this earth to populate it, every aspect of our body was designed to make this process happen, from the fact that women were designed with a womb, ovaries and breasts, everything you need to carry and care for a new life, if this was the case then our bodies are made to cope, I knew what I needed to do and I trusted the mechanics of my body to do the job efficiently,

Here are a few things I researched that helped with my birth

King Louis XIV;
I found out a very interested fact about
Louis XIV who made his wife give birth lying down so that he could watch the future king being born, prior to this mothers would squat or stand up as it’s proven that it is easier to labour in this position, this new trend became popular not only for the women but for the convenience of the doctors as delivering babies from mothers lying on tables is much easier to do than if they are squatting, standing, or on hands and knees too. Sometimes, doctors today will even tell us that it is for our own safety that we delivery on our backs, but is that true? I thought that women for years were having no problem squatting so if it was good enough for them then it was good enough for me.

Animals and their habitat;
Another thing I researched about was how animals give birth, essentially we are animals and we can learn so much from our 4 legged friends, when an animal is giving birth the environment they surround themselves in are essential to the labour process, take this for example, when a sheep is due to start labour, it will leave the rest of the flock and find a quiet corner of the field where there are no distractions, it almost always happens at night so there are no bright lights to startle them, if a predator happens to take advantage of the sheep, the labour process will slow down as adrenaline kicks in and fear will stop the labour going any further until they find a safer place. The main thing an animal desires is a quiet, safe and comforting surrounding

Water birth;
A French doctor came up with the concept of water birth in the early eighties, his theory was that water can act as a counter balance to adrenaline, it soothes the muscles, therefore relaxing you, another interesting point he makes is that water births take away most, if not all intervention from doctors, leaving you in control of your body, I don’t know about you but I know my body better than anyone else, especially a doctor, the third point he makes on the subject relates to the environment in which the new born enters the world, for nine months it’s being surround by water and to bring the child out into the same surrounding it is used to stops the baby becoming distressed, as you have probably seen on my birth, Eivissa came out very quiet and relaxed( if you haven’t seen it, log onto the channel 4 website or check out the link on my page)

I found all the above very interesting and very true of what our experience can be like, I too wanted a quiet, serene atmosphere, low lighting and to feel safe and without fear. When your body is in it’s most relaxed state then your state of mind will follow, often after we get home from a stressful day at work, a nice hot bath will make us feel relaxed and clear our thoughts but if we come home from work and talk about our stressful day, then we remain stressed and tense, apply this situation to child birth, if we approach it in a calm, relaxed state, free from fear and focused on the end result then we are never going to give the opportunity for adrenaline (which acts against our body in the berthing experience ) to occur and make the process difficult or even slow.

The start
Late Thursday evening I felt what seemed like a period pain, I had a dull back ache that would work it’s way round to my front in waves, the feeling came and went perhaps 6 times in the next 24 hours but didn’t really cause me any concern,

7pm; Friday evening was when the dull aching turned into mini contractions, each one lasting 15 to 30 seconds and happening every 9-15 minute, you know that it’s a contraction because it feels like the wave you get when you have a period pain, the first few hours of these were fine and I was even able to go to McDonald’s( I reccomend chicken Mayo burger, small fries and sprite) perfect labour snack, hehe!

20120118-134423.jpg
In labour in McDonald’s

10pm; the contractions became more intense, I was still able to move around but once a contraction came I found laying on the bed with my knees against my chest eased them. I called the hospital at this point and told them my symptoms and they advised that it is the early stages of labour and to stay home and keep relaxed

2am; contractions coming hard and often, every 3-5 minutes, decided to speak to my cousin in America who just had a great birth, she told me to focus on one spot in the room, to imagine my body was floating, letting each contraction wash over me, this exercise was brilliant and really helped me focus. I called the midwife again just to let them know my progress and we both agreed that should stay at home as long as I could.

5am; decided to have a bath, played some really soothing music and was softly singing songs to my tummy.

9am; I got to the point where my contractions were every 5-6 minutes consistently, the feeling was very intense and at times took me off my balance, I called the hospital and we all agreed it was time to come in.

The contractions continued as I travelled into hospital, Danny drove and was keeping me calm and relaxed,
I think it’s very important that your partner is in tune with your wants and desires, he knew what I wanted and the experience I was hoping for, if your both pulling in the right direction then if one is struggling in an area then the partner is there to pull you back up. Danny knew my birth plan inside out so if for whatever reason I wasn’t in a state to say what I wanted then he knew what was going to be best for me! As we entered the ward they put our microphones on and directed us to the water birth suite which thankfully was free. Once inside, the midwife asked to examine me internally just to see how far dilated I was, I was fine with this as it gave me an indication of how far I’ve got to go,
I laid on the bed and my surprised midwife informed me I was over 4cm dilated, she started to fill the birthing pool( takes about an hour to fill) and I decided to keep active and walk around the birthing suite, I found that during contractions I felt most comfortable sitting on the toilet, weird, I know, but it worked
The birthing pool was ready, the water is the same temperature as the womb and needs to be kept at this temperature, I kept active in the pool, standing,sitting, squatting, dancing, anything that felt comfortable.

Throughout my labour I wanted to have music playing and Danny wanted to be connected with me so we shared an iPod and listened to some soft soothing gospel music. Danny was amazing at encouraging me, he knew that his support to me was invaluable and that his positive words were helping me to stay focused on the goal!

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I kept my breathing controlled and found that listening to music helped me keep a rhythm, I didn’t let myself have any freak out moments as I wasn’t going to slip out of my zone, after 10 minutes of pushing my waters broke( this can happen anytime in labour),it was like a water balloon bursting in mid air, I think me and Danny did a high five! Then the midwife informed my that she could see the crown of my baby’s head and I knew that I wanted to push as my body was telling me to do so, through out my labour the midwife didn’t intervene in any way, only to check my heartbeat after a contraction, when I told her I was ready to push, she said go for it, after my first push I asked if the baby was going to come out of my bum, I was convinced it was going to come out of there but she assured me that it wasn’t, the midwife told me that the head was visible and to give a big push, 2 pushes later, the head was out and I only needed another 2 pushes before Eivissa was fully out.

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I then took her from the water and laid her straight on my chest and began to cry tears of joy! We wanted to wait until the chord stopped pulsating before Danny cut it, this took about 7 minutes in which time we were able to just stare and admire the miracle that was before us.

The midwife then took Eivissa to be weight and checked and she immediately passed her back to me so I could breast feed her. She must have been hungry as she latched on straight away and started sucking, the bond I felt in this moment was the closest bond I have ever felt to anything in my life, looking down at her, I knew that she was dependent on me to care and look after, she was the image of perfection and the overwhelming love was uncontainable, I was already so proud of her even tho she was less than 30 minutes old!

At the end of the day it’s called ‘labour,’ the very definition of the word means ‘physical work, done by people’, it’s not always going to be easy but the end result is so worth it! I would recommend it to anyone!

What an incredible feeling and perfect experience I had, I thank, firstly, my husband, for standing with me in every single area of the process, for supporting, loving and caring for my wants and needs, secondly I thank the hospital staff, from the tea ladies to the incredible midwives, each and every one of you are angels and last to my closest friends and family who encouraged my wants, even if at times they didn’t understand them, they still believed in me!

Some of the books I read were
‘Childbirth without fear’ by Grantly Rick-dick
‘Birth Reborn’ by French obstetrician Michael Odent
‘Supernatural childbirth’ by Jackie Mize

When reading books don’t take everything as a fail proof formula. Pick and chose what u feel suits you and apply it to your life. Every experience, person and baby is different but what you can learn from books can be amazing

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23 Responses to “My birth and how prepared for it.”

  1. Julia Allden January 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    I must admit, even your blog brought a tear to my eye!

    I’ve been absolutely petrified at the thought of giving birth in 3 months but reading this sounds like you used some very useful techniques and i will be taking on board. Also loved the idea of making your own labour outfit. Am definitely taking that idea on board too!

    Congratulations to you both, i hope you and baby Eivissa are doing well! xxx

    • heatherfrancesca January 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      Thank you for your message and Congratulations! Birth is an amazing thing! Go in to it excited and keep focused on the end result! Your beautiful baby!
      Heather xx

  2. Shantelle Dickson January 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Amazing! I watched your episode of one born and it really put my mind at rest about labour. I am 13 weeks pregnant with my 1st baby and I hope to have a labour like yours ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations on your lovely little girl xxx

  3. Laura Jayne January 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Reblogged this on laurajaynespry and commented:
    A really inspiring birth story- proof that a calm and controled birth CAN be achieved. Thankyou Heather for sharing, I really enjoyed reading your story and hope to have a similar birth myself in a few weeks time. xxx

  4. Emily January 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    I’m loving your blog and saw you interviewed on live with Gabby this morning. Your birth was amazing to watch and is very similar to what i want for my second birth in April, fingers crossed i can be as motivated and focused as you were. xxx

  5. witchysparkle January 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    I watched One Born every minute last week, being 30 weeks into my pregnancy. Your birth story and watching it was truely inspiring. I am hoping that I too am able to have a calm and relaxed as possible birth while keeping my mind open to what may or maynot happen! I’m not sure if I can have a water birth for the whole of the labour, but I know I want to be in water for as much of it as I’m allowed due to blood complications. Thank you for sharing both your birth story and for allowing your birth to be seen by the world. You are amazing and so is your hubby and beautiful daughter ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  6. Jenny January 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Wonderful positive birth and amazing that you shared it will everyone – I watched it on 4oD last night – hopefully my birth will be as calm and relaxed in a few weeks time.

  7. Christina Marie January 19, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Your birth story inspires me to believe that there are positive labours out there! I guess these stories get lost amidst all the fear we’ve been exposed to all our lives, so it’s refreshing and overwhelmingly comforting to hear your story! I’ve always been extremely maternal so I cannot wait to have my children (I’m only 19). Even though I hear about all the pain and hardships that labour brings, I’ve always thought that I could override that by thinking that by the end of it, I’ll have my baby, and your story certainly solidifies my belief. So thank you for sharing!!

  8. claire January 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I am 53 and have had 3 daughters – all now in their 20’s, and have watched many films over the years of childbirth, yet the film of your labour and beautiful baby’s birth is the most inspiring, emotional and overwhelmingly moving I have ever seen. I was in tears.
    I was interested to read that you’d researched the history of giving birth and the various positions which are most natural. I walked around for the majority of the time when in labour with my third child and only lay down to deliver, thinking to myself continually that millions of women throughout time have had children, – my great grandmother was with me in spirit that day I am sure (she gave birth to 7). I remained calm, focused and needed no pain relief. It was a joy to relive my own birth experience whist watching yours.

    Thank you both for sharing your amazing experience.

  9. Melanie January 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Hi Heather,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the world.

    I wish more women could realise what a positive experience giving birth can be. I also had a water birth first time, and am hoping to do the same this time (I’m due in 3 weeks!)

    Did you read Ina May’s book on childbirth? Much of what you say in your article relates to what she teaches. It is the most influential book I’ve come across in preparation for giving birth. I think all mums-to-be and midwives should read it, so that they know what their bodies are truly capable of.

    I wish you health and happiness as a family ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Katie January 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Heather,

    I think your both amazing and truly inspiring. Would it be possible to have a list of books you read before your birth?

    Many thanks
    Kate

  11. Fiona Ellingham January 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    One thing people may be interested in is about the differences between animals and humans giving birth, is that Animals can give birth alone whereas humans can not. We visited the Ontario Science recently in Canada and their exhibition to do with the birth process highlighted this which I thought was fascinating. We are made to be in a relationship with people right from the moment of birth and Women need the support of others.

  12. laura April 8, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    After having my first daughter, 3 years ago, I have been petrified of giving birth to our 2nd, due in 4 weeks.

    But seeing your birth on OBEM and reading your blog has given me more confidence in myself and my body -just wanted to say thank you and you did so well!

    I remember texting my sister when the episode aired saying ‘she’s not in labour-too calm, she’ll be sent home in a min!’ Even my sis a student midwife was shocked you were indeed in labour, and coped so well!

    You and your little family seem like lovely people and I wish you all the best. Thanks for sharing your story and showing scaredy cats like me that it can be done very differently!! X x

    • heatherfrancesca April 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Thanks for your kind words Laura, I’m glad my experience can help you,it gives me great encouragement. I hope you have a Great time in your next labour, keep us posted on how it all goes, Much love heather

  13. Milla87 July 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Congrats. I love One Born and am now considering training to be a midwife. Your birth was the most inspiring I’ve seen out of all the episodes. I showed the clip to my boyf because it’s exactly how I hope and imagine ours will be (whenever that will be!). I thought it was so interesting that you didn’t attend pre-natal classes as you didn’t want to focus on the pain – and just look how it worked! So much of the pain is due to tension. Danny was so sweet, just how I imagine my partner will be, and you were so focussed and..quiet! I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t choose a water birth. Well done!

    • heatherfrancesca July 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Thankyou for taking time out to write such lovely words, I’m sure when your ready you will have a great time no matter what experience you have, just stay calm,positive and focus on the end result,a beautiful baby Xx

      • susan August 27, 2012 at 8:11 am #

        Heather and Danny
        I am a nurse, living in New Zealand where OBEM has just starting showing. I was so incredibly moved watching your birth experience – the love you and Danny have lit up the screen! What a beautiful couple you are. i’ve had two children – they are grown up now but watching OBEM made makes me wish i could go through it all again – and I’d want a birth exactly like you had! What an inspiration you are. My very best wishes to you all

      • heatherfrancesca August 27, 2012 at 11:07 am #

        Hi Susan
        How exciting that our story is now being shown in NZ! Thank you for your lovely message. Glad you enjoyed the program. It was such a lovely experience and my hope is that we can show how wonderful bringing life into the world is! Hope you and your family are well?
        God bless
        Heather Francesca

  14. Lovely Vibes September 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    I love your birth story and after watching you on OBEM you inspired me to search for the same. I have done a hypnobirthing class and find myself actually excited about labour and not fearful at all. I also believe that birth is a natural process and we really need to trust our bodies and our babies.
    For such a young woman you are very wise. Thank you for sharing.
    I’m due in 3 weeks… Hoping for a similar birth story of my own ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Kim October 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    Hi Heather
    I have just watched the Youtube video after the tv didn’t record your episode when it aired (and because I’m in Australia, I can’t watch it online on the Channel 4 website!).
    I am so grateful for people like you to allow a show to film you in such a personal moment. For anyone considering having children or pregnant, it is extremely informative and is so rarely discussed properly… shows like OBEM really show what child birth is really like, from the mundane, the waiting, the pain, the tears and the joy.
    Thanks and best wishes to you and your new family!
    Kim (Australia)

    • heatherfrancesca October 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Hi Kim
      Thankyou so much for your message so great to hear our story is having and impact! We are very glad we decided to do to the show and have had some great feedback.
      Thank you again for your encouragement. Xx

  16. Amy December 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Hi Heather,
    I first watched your birth story on OBEM earlier this year. We were trying to conceive at the time and it all seemed so far away. Now I am now due at the beginning of March 2013 and I am (or have been) absolutely petrified about labour and what will happen, I don’t always deal with pain very well! Anyway, I have been re-watching OBEM on channel 4 on demand and watched your episode again and I really want to have an experience like yours! I too, am hoping for a water birth, but i know I have to rely on whether it is free or not.
    I have had a look on Amazon for those books you said you read – I may just have to get one!
    Amy x

    • heatherfrancesca December 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Congratulations on your great news, your going to love been parents. I’m glad you liked our episode, hopefully my birth showed another side to labour.
      I highly recommend the books, really helped me out.
      Keep me posted on your progress.
      Heather Francesca xx

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