Emma’s Birth Story – 17 April 2009.
As a first time mum I decided on a positive action plan to prepare myself for the big day. I enrolled myself in Hynobirthing, Nadia’s Pregnancy yoga and enlisting the expertise of Independent Midwives Teresa and Annie .
Two days overdue, in a remarkably civilised way, it all started.
After an unusually unbroken night’s sleep I woke feeling strangely refreshed to find rather an icky looking show. Teresa came round to check on me, and we discussed that as it was my first pregnancy things were likely to be slow, many hours or even days before things kicked off… or so we thought… Her colleague Annie would be in touch with me at around 12ish to find out how I was getting on.With seemingly some time before things would happen my husband Rory headed off for a business meeting, leaving my mother and I to ‘busy’ ourselves. My nesting instincts had taken over some time before now, and being two days over due, the entire house smelt of pine fresh floor wash. It was a matter of minutes after Rory closed the front door that I started to feel surges, quite unlike any of the niggles I had felt in the past few weeks. Something told me to get Rory back and for him to miss his meeting.
It was 11.30am and on his return we decided that a walk on the common would move things along a bit and help with the intensity of the surges These seemed to be rather regular. Odd I thought as things had only just started.
I told Rory to count my contractions. We agreed I should say “start” then “stop” at the beginning and end of each contraction. So as we walked towards the common I did just that. Rather amusingly my husband began to complain that his finger hurt pressing the button on the stop watch so frequently. “How close apart are they then?” I asked, thinking to myself it is lucky that women give birth and not men. “They are around two minutes apart and vary in length 40 to 60 seconds” Slightly alarmed we headed back home a 5 minute waddle. Just as I walked through the front door I felt like I had wet my pants, my waters had broken. This was it…we were going to meet our baby!
Midwife Annie was called, and whilst she headed to our house, Rory and I started to use some of the Hypnobirthing techniques we’d rehearsed. It was not long before Annie arrived and she confirmed what I had suspected, there was mild amount macconium in my waters. Annie called St Georges ahead to explain and I was bundled into the car, we followed her at some speed to the hospital. It was lunch time by now and the corridors and lifts were fairly packed. It was like a comedy sketch, ‘pregnant woman in labour in packed lift’. To add to the chaos, I simply couldn’t remember which floor the labour rooms were on!
Annie checked me in and I was whisked to a very civilised new wing which had been opened the day before, I was in a spanking new delivery room with on-suite bathroom… what luck! It was now 2.30pm. Rory followed behind with what looked like luggage for a two week holiday, including my gym ball which I proceeded to sit on for the entire length of the labour, until the ‘pushing part’!
‘Is she having contractions’ the St Georges midwife asked Annie and Rory as she strapped a monitor round my bump and got ready to examine me. I was clearly being too stiff upper lip about the whole experience. I need to be more vocal I thought. “Well done you, you’re 5 cm dilated” she said.
Settled into the room, on my gym ball, with Annie and then Teresa crouching beside me to keep the monitor fixed in position and prevent loss of contact (what stars) I settled into a Rhythm. We’d discussed birth plans and my intention to do a Hypnobirth with only gas and air and the need for as little noise as possible. I was the only one who could break that rule!
Between contractions I sipped from small bottles of water and sucked on fruit pastels which were duly spat out to take a swig of gas & air (delightful). So it went on like this. I found huge relief moving in circular motions on the ball. Arms and head stretched forward over the bed. I focused on my breathing, relaxing my jaw and allowing farm yard noises to come out my mouth. All inhibitions were gone. I plucked at the tools I had learnt from yoga and hypnobirthing to give me strength. Visualisation and thoughts of meeting my baby proved really powerful along with total focus on the job in hand. Annie and Teresa provided an ongoing dialogue of encouragement and my husband remained constantly by my side – I could not have asked for better support.
There was a clock on the wall above my bed. I had glanced at it twice, first when I arrived at the hospital, and a second time when I felt a sense or total calm after what must have been ‘transition’. I knew it was transition because the surges seemed to intensify and I needed to focus hard. It was 7:10pm. The Midwife on call asked me to get off the ball and onto the bed. I have to be honest this was hard because I felt a lot of pressure down below. I was fully dilated and it was time to push. Adopting an all fours position, push I did! At 8.30pm on the dot, just in time for supper, our darling baby arrived and just as we’d requested in my birth plan Rory announced the sex.
So after just 9 hours of what seemed a surreal, exciting, and sometimes intense labour our beautiful Ruby Constance Gordon, 8lbs 10 oz was born.