It has been around 12 weeks since I published my last blog installment, so it has been an absolute treat to put pen to paper and document my labour journey.
Back in February I posted ‘Part 1’ of my birth story, which outlined my Hypnobirthing journey. This covered; What is Hypnobirthing? Why I was using the method. Which Hypnobirthing mentor I was following. Rounding off with my labour worries.
I promised ‘part 2’ would be the birth, start to finish – no holding back!! So here it goes… (side note & spoiler, if you are concerned about reading a birth ‘horror’ story, I assure you my story is happy one with the odd ‘ouch & wow’ moment, so keep reading!)
Wednesday 3rd May
I discussed my due date rarely and generally shrugged the date off – how many people go ‘on time’ after all? My mind was focused on being overdue and staying relaxed, in the hope I would not need to be induced. This was not meant to be… On Wednesday 3rd May, Bump and I were involved in an unfortunate road traffic accident.
YES, I KNOW, SHIT!! I could not believe it. I was 39 weeks (to the day), it was really the last thing I needed to happen. I was distraught. Bump and I were fine, but the other person had a small injury (nothing major). The whole situation shook me up. I was breathalysed and had to give a statement (all totally routine). The police officer dealing with the accident was great, he came to my home to carry out the statement, mainly so I could chill out and get a cuppa. When we arrived at my house, things just felt different – I was experiencing mild pains and discomfort I had not had before. I ran upstairs to the bathroom before giving my statement to discover my mucus plug had come away (this remains in place during pregnancy to prevent infection. Generally, after coming away, labour is not far behind!) I thought – please, not right now. I was hungry, tired and emotional; my head was not in the game to have a baby right now. I didn’t say a word to anyone and casually gave my statement. My Mum and Dad were round at our house as they were having dinner with us that evening (sorry again Mum and Dad, as you didn’t get your food!) As soon as the police left I told Liam (my husband) the situation – he took me straight to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital where I was planning to have our newbie. On arrival, given the accident, the baby and I were monitored straight away for two hours. The pain and discomfort I was experiencing was actually contractions, around 10 minutes apart and relatively mild. The contractions eventually eased off and I was sent home and ordered to relax. The midwives expected to see me back within 48 hours to have this baby. I was all kinds of emotions; excited tears, tired tears, upset tears. I needed rest, lots of rest, sleep, food & fluids. I needed to get my head ready to have our baby!
Thursday 4th May
The next day, my Mum chilled with me all day; we watched movies and ate food all day. I had a much needed long bath and the weird thing was, I didn’t even have a niggle all day. This was the perfect day for Hypnobirthing relaxations. I listened to my mindfulness audios in the bath, practiced my breathing – it was perfect!
Friday 5th May
Friday arrived, after a much needed (amazing) night’s sleep, I still had no niggles or pain. BUT, I just knew this was it. This was my last day before becoming a mama. During the day I took a lovely walk in the gorgeous Spring sunshine with my friends Steph & Louise. Afterwards I went for a meal with Liam at one of our favourite locals. When we got home, following Hypnobirthing advice, any film or TV that might get me anxious was off the cards. So we settled down to watch The Hangover, a much needed laugh!
CUE THE NIGGLES & PAINS, THIS IS DEFINITELY IT… I stayed relaxed, didn’t say a word to Liam and we went to bed.
Saturday 6th May
Sometime around 1am, I woke up with the contractions after only one hour sleep (very light sleep). I still didn’t wake Liam to tell him, I wanted him to get as much sleep possible. I concentrated on my ‘up’ breathing and ‘up’ visualisations that I had learnt through our hypnobirthing training. Around 4.30am I felt a sudden pressure and very obvious POP. My waters broke! Without thinking, I rolled off the bed to save the bed sheets. Which, to my surprise was a success, my waters were all over the floor. I got to the bathroom, soaked and a touch flustered. I cooled down and thought it was time to wake Liam up.
Liam jumped up, got dressed and within seconds was the most amazing birth partner. He was straight in to coaching my breathing and encouraging me to get a better position on my birthing ball. As soon as my waters broke my contractions were established at one minute long and 3 minutes apart. My aim was to stay home for as long as possible before heading in to hospital. All you mamas know, it is so hard to tell with your first baby what stage of labour you are in. I managed until 9.30am before deciding it was time to head in to hospital.
On arrival we were greeted by the amazing Olwin, a healthcare worker on the midwife led unit, luckily for us there was no wait for a room. I was straight through and examined at 3cm, admitted on to the unit and assigned a fabulous midwife named Jane. Jane felt like a Mum; reassuring, calm, cool and my kind of person. I was instantly settled. Jane also gave me a good sweep on examination (ouch!) and sent me for a walk around the hospital grounds. This really ramped up the contractions, WOW – they were intense. Liam and I grabbed some breakfast and a cuppa at the hospital canteen. I reluctantly had a piece of toast to help energy levels, by this point I was subtly trying to ride through my contractions. Around 11am we headed back to the labour room, I really needed to hit the gas and air – which by the way is great! I was handling the contractions well, Liam was doing an amazing job with the back rubs and baby K’s heartbeat was happy and well on every check.
12pm arrived and my next examination. 3cm…STILL 3cm. I had not progressed any further, to say I wasn’t a little upset would be a lie. I was literally shattered, running on one hour sleep and empty. I was handling the pain but needed a sleep. I agreed with Jane the best option would be a little pain relief to get much needed rest before established labour and the pushing phase.
From 2-4pm I was floating on diamorphine and I am forever grateful to Jane for her advice, no pressure, I needed this.
My birth plan outlined, ideally, no pain relief as I wanted to concentrate on Hypnobirthing solely. BUT, I also didn’t want to be a hero, if it was needed I will take it. The downside of the diamorphine for me was the sickness in the hour coming down from the drug. I struggled to focus on anything, my eyes would just roll to the back of my head, I was completely aware of this which was frustrating. Those two small hiccups aside, by 5pm, I was back in the game!
5pm was the shift changeover time, so no more Jane. I was gutted. We really thought we would have a baby on Jane’s watch. So, introducing Kelly, our second amazing midwife. Kelly was lovely, relaxed and adamant we were having the baby on her watch…I loved her! As soon as Kelly came on shift she examined me. 5cm!! YES YES YES…I was in established labour. Now get me to that birth pool. Kelly setup the best birth pool room for us; dimmed lights, tea light candles, setup our music, it was perfect. The pool itself was hot, total bliss, I was immediately relaxed. My contractions changed, I changed…I was enjoying it.
By 6.20pm I told Kelly the pressure in my back was unbelievable. It was almost an urge to push, which I resisted. Kelly asked to examine me again…on this exam I was between 8 and 9cm. This progress had happened in 20 minutes, I couldn’t believe it. I got straight back in the pool, back to a crouched position, with my head lying forward on a rolled up towel. Liam was constantly talking me through my Hypnobirthing breathing and rubbing my back. I was taking gas and air and was no longer on any form of pain relief (as I would not be able to use the pool). I was feeling in control and great!
7pm, I was ready to push. No further examination was carried out. Kelly trusted I knew my body and told me to start with a small short push. Kelly was using a mirror to check on my progress, I remember hearing “I can see a head, and lots of hair”. Liam was talking me through the ‘down’ breathing and visualisations, which was a great focus for me. I am convinced the baby would have been out quicker, but I took the pushing phase nice and slow to help minimise any damage, down below!
Around 7.30pm, the head was out, hoorah! I slowly tipped my body to a position on my back with my head resting on the pool side. On my next push, the shoulders were out. I reached down and grabbed under our little babies arms and pulled the rest of her tiny body out and up straight on my chest. It was so calm, surreal and perfect. So perfect we didn’t even look or ask what the sex was. After a couple of minutes the midwives asked if we would like to know what we had. Liam and my mum were behind me, looking down at our little bundle of perfection, we couldn’t believe it…a little girl. Bobbi Rae Knowles, born 06/05/2017 at 7.36pm weighing 6lb 7oz.
Another midwife, Rachel, led the delivery of Bobbi, she was amazing and with me every step of the way post-delivery.
Now 10 weeks on, every day I want to rewind to that moment in the pool. The whole 9 months I was pregnant I prepared for the delivery. I longed for a drug free (almost), pool birth delivery. I did it!! I could not be prouder.
I owe a lot of thank you’s to Liam, my Mum, the midwives at Liverpool Women’s Hospital & Hypnobirthing. The combination of the four meant my birth was nothing short of perfect.
I hope you stuck with my birth story and see not all birth stories are horror stories.
‘Part 3’ of ‘The Birth’ will be a (very) honest account about the hours post birth. The things all new Mum’s should really be prepped on.
To end, some pictures of our beautiful Bobbi Rae in her first week!