I am writing this blog with my newborn baby sleeping in her bassinet on not much sleep and copious amounts of coffee, but I am in the most beautiful little baby bubble after giving birth to my gorgeous baby girl on 31st August 2020. For anyone new to my blog, I took up an online digital hypnobirthing course, with The Positive Birthing Company after my original course was cancelled due to covid-19. The course takes you through a number of videos about the concept of hypnobirthing and how you can have a positive birthing experience. You can watch the videos in your own time, join their Facebook group and listen to meditation on mp3. No matter what happens on my birthing day, I was fully prepared.
Two days before my due date I was appointed to Stepping Hill hospital for a growth scan to check on baby’s size. She was hitting just above the normal average for my BMI so they advised me to book in for an induction the day after my due date. With me being petite, they didn’t want me to incur any problems birthing a big baby that going overdue could cause. Hypnobirthing promotes allowing your baby to come when it is ready, that your body is born to birth and knows when it is ready, so the induction process is not hugely advised. But this was a health issue so I had a cervical sweep that day to get things moving and booked in for my induction on Sunday 30th August.
It was a sunny weekend, by mum was over to look after the boys, my bags were packed and Paul and I went for a lovely walk for coffee and cake in our local village before heading to the hospital. It was organised, stress free and I knew I was going into hospital and coming home with my baby! I was so excited to say the least.
My mid-week sweep didn’t have any affect on me, so once I was bedded into hospital they gave me a pessary gel at 6pm to get things moving. After 6 hours and another check later, still no change, so at 12am I was given another gel and told to get some sleep. I was in slow labour all through the early hours of the morning with just paracetamol and some meditation music. I knew that this was going to be a long stretch so didn’t alert the nurses, I just breathed through each surge whilst dozing off. I actually felt quite rested at 6am when the nurse came back to check on me, but still not much movement. My cervix was still long but slowly softening. The next step was to break my waters, and as soon as that happened I was sent across to my labour suite with gas and air as my surges started to get more intense.
Paul was allowed to visit as soon as I moved to the suite, he arrived around 8am and I was in the full swing of active labour bouncing on my birthing ball. I had appointed Paul ‘Keeper of the Cave’ a very humourous hypnobirthing term that we had an ongoing joke about in the run up to the day. He lit my Neom candles, plugged in my bluetooth speaker and played some old school Usher and Ibiza chillout music on my playlist. He was in charge of keeping my environment safe and calm. My water birth was out of the question as I was hooked up to too many machines during the induction process. But the room was spacious and I closed all the blinds to give the room a dimmer ambience.
Once the doctors and midwifes did their visit, checking my medical notes, where I was up to labour wise and what pain relief I was eligible for, I made it clear I wanted to stick to the gas and air. I was really in the swing of using it along with my breathing techniques. I had epidurals in the past with both the boys and was bedridden for hours, labour slowed down, both babies heart rates dropped, I was rushed into theatre, given an epesiotomy (a vaginal cut) and told to push baby out as quick as I could. I didn’t want the drama this time, I wanted the control. I moved around the room whenever I wanted to, took a rest on the bed, and bounced on the birthing ball when things got intense.
After 8 hours of sporadic contractions, the midwife suggested putting me on the hormone drip to speed things up as they didn’t want me getting too tired. I was determined to push this baby out with limited pain relief. Once I got hooked up to another drip my surges started to get closer and closer, I knew than baby was coming soon and got a little emotional. Happy, anxious tears. I asked the anaesthetists for a remifentanil drip which is a form of pain relief attached to your hand with a button you press before each surge which gives you a 30 second shot of relief and then it goes after each surge, so I was in control if I wanted to press the button or not.
I was now 10 hours into active labour on gas, air and remifentanil and knew my labour was changing. I couldn’t speak, I jumped up off the bed, grabbed Paul and said, ‘she coming’. Laying on my back didn’t feel right, so I quickly got on my knees, upright and forward on the back of the bed and let out a loud ‘mooooo’. I could hear the midwifes shuffling around trying to untangle all the wires, as I leapt into my birthing position. I could feel my pelvis open and I could feel my baby passing through my body. It was so surreal. I didn’t have time to push any buttons or gasp for the gas and air pipe. The next push I could feel the head crown, and the third push she just plopped out. Weirdly no pain, just a release of huge pressure leaving my body.
I heard the midwives saying she could see a full head of hair, so that explains all the heartburn, and the cheer when I birthed my baby. The first thing I said was, ‘that was amazing…she’s here.’ She was brought up to my chest through my legs and I waited for her cord to turn white (delayed cord clamping) which meant she got all the blood and oxygen from the placenta, and latched her on to breastfeed.
She had these gorgeous chubby cheeks, full head of black hair and skin so clean and soft. I fed her for a good 45 minutes before they took her away for weighting and checking over. There was no rush, I just wanted to bond with my baby. Whilst I was in this baby bubble, I had an assisted placenta delivery with the injection in my leg and requested to see it all in tact..cord and water sack still attached. I find it mindblowing that women grow a brand new organ during pregnancy, an organ that basically keeps your baby alive for 9 months giving them oxygen and food to survive. Its an amazing piece of kit!
Once I had fed baby, it was time for Paul to have a cuddle and I couldn’t wait to give him his baby daughter I’d waited so long for this moment. We called her River Cheetham-Karcz, born at 16.15pm on 31st August weighting a not so hefty 7 pounds 13 ounzes, we were totally in love.
I managed to get through the labour with no tears or cuts, and I was discharged after 5 hours and home with my husband and baby at 21.30pm with a Chinese take away waiting for us. The boys stayed up to meet their new baby sister and are pretty much just as obsessed with her as are.
My birthing experience was amazing, and one I wish I had previously with my other two. But this is my last and it was everything I wanted and more. Even Paul enjoyed it this time. No drama. No trauma. The recovery is always the hardest part, having developed mastitis and needing antibiotics. But taking time to recover is so important. I have no interest in going back to the gym yet, just eating healthy and enjoying my new found appetite due to breastfeeding!
I am enjoying lots of walks with baby in her buggy to get some light exercise two weeks post partum and soaking in every second of the newborn stage, as it flies by so fast! Even the sleepless nights aren’t too bad, I am enjoying the extra cuddles and midnight snacks!
Happy mummy, happy baby!