I’ve been writing my darling girls birth story and have been feeling so positive about it that I decided I want to share it for anyone interested in reading. After having complications with Pre Eclampsia and Hellp Syndrome in my first pregnancy, going through a labour with a lot of intervention and an almost 3 litre blood loss, I swore I would never have children again… (and I’ve always counted myself as one of the lucky ones as many I have met on this journey have lost babies, their health or their lives to Hellp.) However I made the decision to not let fear get in the way of my wanting for a bigger family and the love I could give to another child.
This pregnancy came with anxiety but even more faith…
The day before Chloe was born I had a sense of knowing that tomorrow would be ‘labour day.’ I spent it ticking off my ‘to do’ list, while Ari was at his Nana’s house, and in the afternoon went for a quiet walk on the beach. During my walk I listened to my birth playlist which I had created a few weeks prior, I enjoyed watching the waves as they would build in the ocean, crash into the sand then head back out to sea. I thought about how the movement of the waves was so similar to labour surges… how they build, peak and then ebb away. A small seashell caught my eye so I picked it up and decided I would take it into labour, to help me visualise my relaxing walk along the beach.
That evening I started to feel more frequent braxton hicks. I was able to go to bed early and have a good sleep before waking at 3.30am to slightly stronger and more regular contractions. I went to the bathroom to discover a small amount of blood which appeared to be another sign that I was going into labour. I lay in bed timing and feeling the motions of the surges until my Ryan’s alarm went off at 5.00am. I told him that I thought I was going to labour, but that he should still go to his normal gym session as I was sure it would be awhile off. After he left I again went to the bathroom to find a larger amount of bright red blood. This time the colour of the blood concerned me so I called our wonderful midwife Deyna, (who had also delivered Ari,) and it was decided that we would meet at the hospital so that she could check me out. Surprisingly at no point did I feel stressed or overly worried, I was happy to wait for Ryan to arrive home and for my parents to make the half hour journey to look after Ari.
As the surges got stronger I decided to pop my ear phones in and listen to my Calm
Birth tape supplied to me by my instructor Karen (the same lady who took the Calm Birth course we attended whilst I was pregnant with Ari.) Once Ryan got home he arranged the last few items which needed to go into our hospital bag. It was helpful that I had put a note on the pantry door with anything that we needed to do/pack so he didn’t need to ask me anything and I could continue in my labour zone. Once my parents arrived I had one last dance in the living room with Ari (to my birth tape) like we did every morning. I felt quite emotional saying goodbye to him knowing this could be the last time I cuddled him as my only child.
During the half hour drive to the hospital I felt four strong surges which were quite intense as I was sat in the car. It gave me flash backs to Ari’s labor where I was pretty much stuck to the bed because of all the tubes I was attached to (stupid Pre Eclampsia and Hellp Syndrome!) Still, I felt great and we even stopped and got Callipo ice lollies on the way there.
When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by our midwife. We did a few tests including my blood pressure and urine. We had been doing these weekly to make sure I wasn’t developing PE or Hellp like in my last pregnancy. The results showed that my blood pressure was high and the urine sample indicted that there was protein present, this made me a little nervous. While we waited for a decision on what course of action to take we decided to watch a funny movie ‘What to expect when you’re expecting!’
A doctor then came to see us. She said that due to the high BP and protein in my urine I could be trending towards Pre Eclampsia again, so some blood was taken to confirm what was happening, and they decided to do a few more tests including an internal which showed that I was already 4cm dialated and that the bleeds I was having were due to a placental abruption. It was decided that the best course of action would be for my waters to be broken to help encourage the labour to progress a little quicker. I was given four hours to develop into good active labour before we would try some Syntocinon (proper induction like what I had to have with Ari). It was so important to me that during this labour I didn’t have any drugs for pain relief or for complications. I required a lot of help with Ari’s birth to keep my body from getting sicker, and I really didn’t want the same thing to happen again, so I set my mind on getting this baby earth side as soon as possible… it felt like a race against the clock but in a good way.
Our midwife went ahead and broke my waters which didn’t hurt at all. When she did this we realised that there was meconium in the waters, which meant that the baby had poo’d inside of me. This can be serious for the baby so another good reason to get it out quickly.
We got my birthing kit out and Ryan started to pin birth affirmations onto the hospital walls, he also stuck up a picture of the babies scan in the bathroom shower and scattered candles across both rooms. (I had also done all of the same preparation for Ari’s birth.) I put on a bracelet that some friends had bought me to wear in labour, and held tightly onto the seashell I had picked up from the beach the day before, and popped my earphones back in which then stayed firmly in place for the whole labour. I listened to music by some of my favourite artists like Flume, Florence and the Machine and Bob Marley. I had chosen each song for a reason mainly from special times in my life and music that took me to a beautiful place in my mind. The song that stuck with me the most was Florence and the Machine “You’ve got the love” and the words “Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, but I know that I can count on you…” seem relevant and made me think of my husband. At one point I looked over at Ryan who was laughing at me, when I asked why he said, “You are literally dancing through your contractions.” I used to listen to the birth tracks when having breakfast with Ari and dance around the kitchen making him laugh too.
Right after my waters were broken the surges got more intense and more regular. I didn’t want to be on the bed at all, and instead found myself walking around the room. When a contraction would begin I stood still, let my whole body relax including my knees and let the pressure/pain wash over me. I found that I actually enjoyed the feeling of the contraction coming on, peak and then fade away… again like the waves I had watched in the ocean the day prior. I also tried a few different positions on the floor like kneeling with my body resting on the side of the bed. Then our midwife suggested the shower so I moved in there. I grabbed the fit ball and sat on it with one shower head on my back and the other on the front where I felt the contractions. It was so good to be covered in water which really is my happy place. At this point I entered what I believe to be transition (the most challenging part of the labour I think.) Because I had laboured before the feelings I felt seemed familiar, and I could recognise that it was a good thing, and that when I started to get frustrated and irritable it was ok. I just kept on staring at my babies scan and stayed in ‘the zone’ as much as I could. At one point things got quite funny when I was blocking the shower drain with the fit ball, and Ryan kept telling me I needed to move off of if or I would flood the room, but I kept refusing because I didn’t want to move!
After awhile I started to feel that I was getting closer to pushing (I also had in my head that if I kept telling myself that then it would start things off sooner.) Just before this stage I decided to swap from my music to my Calm Birth tape. I skipped to a part of the track where it talks about transition being challenging but short, I felt like I needed to hear that familiar voice that I had listened to so many times. I then started to make moaning sounds and heard our midwife say to Ryan that this was a good thing, and it showed that I was progressing. She also suggested that I start doing figure 8 motions with my pelvis. This felt uncomfortable, but made a huge difference in helping to open up my pelvis and move the baby into position.
Next I felt that same incredible sensation that I had felt with Ari, where my body involuntarily started pushing my baby out. I had no control over it at all, it just happened like it had done before and it felt amazing. At this point I still had my underwear on so Deyna asked me to take them off, I really didn’t want to move but after a couple of requests I managed to get my feet up enough to remove them just in time! I went to my knees and I felt one huge push of my body and Ryan said “The head is out!” I couldn’t believe it and was in shock that the head was there so quickly in just one push! It felt like such a strange feeling to go from nothing to the head being there (Ari’s pushing took 45 minutes) that I kept saying “get it out!” I had a few moments to get myself together and prepare for the next push. Then it came… that same involuntary sensation, and with a push from me and our midwife moving the baby into a better position, it was born and Ryan caught it in his arms. I was still facing the wall on my knees at this point with the umbilical cord between my legs and Ryan holding the baby in his arms behind me. We heard that beautiful cry of our baby and knew everything was ok. I was in complete shock that it had happened so quickly, that when Ryan told me to turn around and have a look I needed a minute to compose myself ready to catch eyes with our baby for the first time. Then as I turned around our midwife said to Ryan “have a look a what you got” and he replied “it’s a girl!” And it was at that exact moment that I saw her for the first time and it was love at first sight. She was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I felt quite shocked at this point on so many levels… that here was the girl that I had dreamt of her entire pregnancy, shocked that she birthed in just two pushes, and shocked that I had accomplished the completely drug free labour which I had spent months preparing for. I was desperate to hold her and my husband passed our baby girl into my arms and I just couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. We made our way to the bed with the cord still attached and lay there falling more and more in love with her. My body was shaking because of all of the adrenaline, which made me nervous but Deyna assured me it was completely normal. Our darling was alert and looking at us so intensely and after a while she fed for the first time. I was given the honour of cutting the cord which was incredible. We spent some time talking to each other and to our midwife about the labour while I birthed the placenta. Once that came out it was discovered that a blood clot had formed between it and the uterus wall, (where the placenta had pulled away) so it was the blood cot that had be shedding and coming through all morning in that bright red colour. We spent 6 hours getting to know our beautiful girl, taking photos and smothering her in kisses before going home to our own bed. Being able to take Chloe home that night was a dream come true, our families had a cuddle straight away and when Ari woke up in the morning he got to meet his little sister.
Chloe Marie was born one week early at 39 weeks weighing a very healthy 8.4 pounds. Active labour lasted just two hours and those very few pushes took just five minutes.
When I look back at both of my labours, even though Ari’s came with the challenges of Pre Eclampsia and Hellp, I have always thought of it as beautiful and looked back with a huge sense of pride for my body at what it could achieve and how sick it could get but also how quickly that it bounced back. I used a lot of the same tools like Calm Birth for his labour that I did with Chloe’s, and I think that is what made what could have been a ‘traumatic’ birth a beautiful one.
With Chloe’s labour I will never be able to properly explain the relief and gratitude I feel to have achieved a calm, natural birth and that I was able to go home so quickly. This was the birth that I had always dreamt of and worked so hard for over two pregnancies to prepare for. I have a new sense of pride in myself that I was able to overcome my fears of having another child, and work through any anxieties during the pregnancy to achieve this beautiful, calm, natural and drug free birth.I guess it’s true what they say that all good things come to those who wait.
Thank you to our midwife Deyna delivering both my babies, for easing any anxieties I had and who I have 100% trust in. The staff at our local hospital including Dr Weaver who bet me a Mars Bar that I wouldn’t get Pre E or Hellp again (yes I went back and gave him the Mars Bar.) And my husband Ryan who is the most incredibly supportive pregnancy and birth partner that I could ever imagine. These people are my dream team and I owe everything to them.