When we found out we were pregnant we were so excited. Since having Jonah we had never been happier and we got so excited about our family growing. I had been teaching the Wise Hippo birthing programme since Jonah's birth and couldn't wait to put it into practice what I teach others to do.
My previous birth had been a lovely experience however this time if all was well with baby and me I was keen to have a vbac (vaginal birth after caesarean) more for the practical reasons of recovery and being able to drive my little boy to nursery. Due to being a previous section I was considered 'high risk' so was consultant led during my antenatal care so they could monitor me incase anything deviated from normal. However when I met my consultant he couldn't have been more supportive of my choices. I explained I was keen for a vbac and keen to birth in the midwife led unit and he was completely on board. This made me feel determined and even more focussed on the ideal birth I would love.
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One of the first homework tasks in the wise hippo is to write down your ideal birth as if it has already happened. Stuart (the Hubby) and I did this together and it was something I found very emotional and it made it feel much more real. This was something I read often and focussed on as part of my practice for birth.
Our labour started on Friday the 26th August. I had been having niggles on and off for a few days so wasn't sure things were not going to settle again. I had been to see the consultant that morning and I chose to have a membrane sweep and I was 3 days past my estimated due date and the consultant advised I was 2cms dilated. I didn't look too much into this as I firmly believe the cervix can change so quickly so did not want to focus on numbers too much.
I went home and had a lovely day playing with Jonah but was aware of some cramping sensations that came and went and I relaxed and watched Dexter while Jonah napped and enjoyed a pink magnum ice cream (not sure if a real craving or just too delicious to resist.) Stuart came home and we decided to get a takeaway and I continued to relax/ bounce on birthing ball when I could feel niggles coming and going.
Jonah went to bed and I was aware of actual surges now. Surges feel different for every woman but for me I felt period like cramp in my lower back which then went to the front and travelled up my stomach to a peak then eased off but my wise hippo breathing techniques got me through them with ease. At this point they were coming even ten mins and Stuart was timing them.
We had been watching television but at this point I felt I wanted to become more focussed so Stuart put my birth playlist on and lit the candles in my living room and sprayed the relaxation scent I had been practicing with.
Soon the surges were six minutes apart and we debated whether or not to call my mum to come and stay with Jonah so we informed my mum we thought things were happening but wanted to wait a little longer.
The surges kept on coming but they were easy to breathe through and I kept thinking I'm sure these will settle and I'll be in bed soon fast asleep.
After another half an hour I contacted the midwife led unit and as I was explaining what had been happening I had to pass the phone so I could breathe through the surge and passed the phone to Stuart. Due to us being about 35 mins away from hospital they advised we make our way in.
I listened to my wise hippo mp3s on my earphones so I could stay focussed on my breathing during the journey which even included a pit stop to McDonald's so Stuart could get a drink.
On arrival we met our lovely midwife Margaret ( who I knew from training at the hospital but she is also one of the hypnobirthing midwives and acupuncture midwives.....jackpot!!) she was truely the perfect person for our labour and birth and although I was in a new environment it did not feel stressed in any way.
I was 2-3 cms and by now the surges were much more regular. She offered me acupuncture and the option of staying in the lounge to see if things became more regular. We went into the lounge and I had my music playing and moved between the cub and birthing ball and things picked up quickly.
I was so focussed on my breathing and Stuart was doing soothing strokes massage and I was completely calm and relaxed. Soon after I could begin to feel some pressure in my bottom and asked Margaret if the pool was available.
This next bit felt like a dream. As a midwife when I worked in the hospital I always said I would love to birth in the pool and couldn't believe the pool that was running was for me.
I soon got into the pool and it felt amazing and soon things picked up. Stuart and Margaret were an amazing support. I just kept using my techniques and could feel the baby moving down.
I then hit the transition stage and told anyone that would listen that I couldn't do it and this is when Stuart and Margaret were even more amazing at keeping me focussed. I felt an intense pressure as my membranes ruptured.
I just kept focussing on the song that was playing 'a thousand years by Christina Perri' and the lyrics kept saying 'one step closer' and I knew I was.
Soon the head was out and before I knew it I had done it!!!!!
I pulled the baby towards me and onto my chest and opened my eyes. What an amazing moment our beautiful girl was here safely and I had done it! No drugs just amazing breathing techniques and an amazing supportive husband and midwife.
We are so in love and so is Jonah. I feel so lucky to have completed our family and we definitely had the right birth on the day but for me it was perfect!