• Jemma

Keeping a cool head with a little snow baby

I've had this birth story up my sleeve for a while and been waiting for the right time to post it, it seems apt to follow my post about induction and due dates. I'll hand over to Jen to tell you how she brought the beautiful Finn in to the world, her story is interesting as she was over due and starting to lose faith, she managed her labour wonderfully and stayed calm using hypnobirthing techniques when things didn't all go to plan.

I’m not an anxious person, In fact I like to think I’m pretty calm but if anything can ignite anxiety it' s going to be thought of child birth when you're a first time mum! I decided early on in my pregnancy that I would do anything I could to maintain a calm, positive outlook and try to enjoy the experience of the birth as much as I could. Hence hypnobirthing!

I had a great pregnancy and was very excited to meet our little man. As the days crept past my estimated due date I was feeling less hopeful about having my preference of a natural water birth at the birth centre at Chelsea & Westminster. I saw my midwife at 41 + 2 days and have to say the support I got from her, as well as the birth choices midwife, at C&W was incredible. They were hugely supportive and very happy to accept my wish to wait until 42 weeks before making any further decisions. I was booked in for a scan at 42 weeks and was to be monitored closely until then. One evening I was concerned about reduced movements (the paranoia is real) and went to C&W to be monitored. All was fine, though as expected (and I was forewarned by my midwife) they put strong pressure on me to induce straight away, which in itself I found quite stressful. I held out as I knew in my heart I was being paranoid and the doctor agreed to support the plan I had with my MW. Whilst on one hand he kept saying he wanted me to stay in and induce me immediately on the other he could not give me a medical reason why I should do that. My husband used BRAINS which we had learnt on Jemma's course and I just kept asking re: any medical need to induce and he did not have an answer that we felt justified an induction for us. He talked us through options, implications for some time and supported our decision to wait.

I did however agree to have a sweep at that point. I felt that on balance this would be my best chance of going into labor and having a natural birth in the birth centre. When the MW did this she said I was 1cm dilated and that night (Tuesday) I had the show which all seemed very positive...but two days later nothing was happening besides some minor cramping. Having tried reflexology, walking, clary sage...the whole lot...I decided that I would have another sweep on Thursday and that if it didn't work I was happy to be induced on the following Monday. I had been getting increasingly stressed, which I knew was not conducive to a calm birth and felt that if I did just book an induction, I didn’t need to use it and I might relax which will let things happen themselves! I was right...

My midwife came to my home to do the sweep on Thursday. As she did the sweep she gave me the standard warning that it is possible for my waters to break during the procedure...as soon as the words came out of her mouth she gave a little start and lo and behold for the first time in her career my waters did indeed break! It was a strange one to say the least...we had a little moment, a laugh and she simply said ‘well no need for an induction then’! She did say that there was meconium in the waters and whilst it wasn’t an emergency it did mean I needed to get to hospital asap. I called my husband, told him to stay calm, we were going to meet our baby today and asked him to come home and get me.

Once my surges started, shortly after my waters broke, they became intense quite quickly. After a quick stop at the triage I was brought to the labour ward. Sadly due to the meconium a water birth and the birth centre was not an option. The midwives and staff reassured me that I could still have as close to the preference I wanted, ( I didn’t need to be lying down or be monitored) and could make the room as comfortable as possible. I was happy with all of that...I had my preferences but was also prepared to go with what was best in the moment.

Crossing the hall from triage to the labour ward I had to stop and lean against a wall as the surge was so strong. I remember thinking I haven’t prepared for them to be this strong! M