Hannah and Olive's Birth Story

Our beautiful daughter was born on 4th September 2019 at 1am weighing 7lb 2oz - I really wanted to share my story as my birth was such a positive empowering experience - even when it didn’t seem like things were going to plan I managed to stay calm and in control and want other women to know they can do it too!

Being a pregnant midwife I would say is a help and hindrance in equal measure - it’s so good to be informed of all your options and does take away the ‘fear of the unknown’ element of birth. Also working on the birth centre I see natural, empowering birth all the time but also know that sometimes things don’t always go to plan. I really tried to focus on the excitement of finding out what labour was going to be like and read my hypnobirthing books to reassure myself how natural and normal birth is.

I feel very privileged that I knew I would be in completely safe hands and trust all the midwives to look after me and my baby with the best care possible.

My husband and I had considered a home birth with a pool but after some discussion decided we would feel most comfortable going to the birthing unit to have our baby - I planned a water birth with hypnobirthing techniques and thought I would go with the flow with regards to pain relief. I got myself a tens machine and then the next step would be gas and air or anything else as needed.

I finally accepted a membrane sweep by my midwife when I was 9 days overdue - I had been offered one on my ‘due date’ but wanted to give my body more time as baby clearly wasn’t ready to come yet.

I was 1cm dilated when my midwife did the sweep and my waters broke at the same time! I do wonder if they were ready to go anyway as it’s pretty tricky to break someone’s waters even when trying to!

Once your waters break there is a very slight increased chance of infection so I was offered to be induced after 24 hours of my waters breaking. I really wanted to get into labour naturally so I went home and had a bath and a long dog walk but nothing seemed to be happening.

We went to bed that evening with a plan to go to the hospital the next morning. I was awake most of the night with tightenings every 10 minutes - I knew they were not regular enough to be doing anything but they were so strong I was worried I wouldn’t be able to cope when I was actually in labour. I had a bath and put my tens machine on but couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep.

We went up to the hospital at 9.30am as planned - I was quite upset and worried that by choosing to be induced I was possibly sending myself down a path of intervention however I had to balance this with the well-being of my baby - I tried to remind myself to keep calm, take each stage as it came and let go of the idea that things could have been any different.

My tightenings had settled by the time we got to hospital. The midwife monitored the baby and all was well, she examined me and at 10.30 my cervix was 2cm dilated and had completely thinned out which I knew was a good sign and I at least felt all those strong tightenings had helped with effacement (thinning out) of my cervix. The midwife inserted the prostin gel and the plan was to wait 6 hours to see if I got into labour and if not I would be offered a syntocinon (hormone) drip to start off my contractions.

Straight after the gel was put in I started having regular contractions 3-4 in 10 minutes which felt pretty powerful. I had to be monitored for an hour to make sure the baby was happy which was quite uncomfortable laying on my back as I just wanted to be upright and mobile.

Once the monitor came off I started mobilising around the room, put my tens machine on and was sniffing some lavender oil on a flannel - this really helped me focus on my breathing and helped me stay relaxed and calm.

The midwife could clearly see things were getting going so she moved me round to the birthing room. It was lovely and dark  with nice mood lighting and I put my hypnobirthing cd on and some led candles around the room. I got in the pool but found I didn’t like it and preferred to be standing, leaning over the bed and swaying my hips - this is how I remained for most of my labour!

6 hours after the prostin I was re-examined and was relieved to find out I was 4cm - actually in established labour! I was so pleased, I started on some gas and air at this point which felt amazing and made me feel quite drunk! Combined with my tens machine I felt like I was coping really well, I could do this! I would really ramp up the boost button on my tens machine when I felt each surge coming over me. We also put on a playlist of music I had prepared in my pregnancy at this point and I started getting really emotional at some of the lyrics and the realisation I would soon meet my baby.

Just before the night shift handover around 8pm the midwife heard a deceleration in the baby’s heartbeat - I got on the bed on my left side and they put a CTG monitor on me and called one of the doctors, everyone was really calm so I wasn’t worried - I knew I was in the safest of hands. They left the monitor on for half an hour and all was fine, no further concerns with baby’s heartbeat so they took it off and went back to listening every 15 minutes.

I was 6cm at this point so progressing well but feeling like I needed some more pain relief. I decided to try the pool again but didn’t like it as I couldn’t get in a position I was happy with and didn’t feel the water helped very much.

I decided to have some pethidine and try to rest - I had been snacking despite the awful heartburn I kept getting and drinking loads of water but was getting exhausted from standing the whole time.

I had some pethidine and got back onto the bed on my side.

Shortly after I could feel a huge change in my body and an overwhelming feeling of wanting to push came over me. I really felt like I was losing control at this point which I know is normal for transition but I couldn’t control my body and this noise was coming out of me that I also couldn’t control! My midwife was incredible at calming me down and got me to really focus on bearing down. I really didn’t want to as it was so painful every time I pushed but I knew I had to to get my baby out!

I was on the bed on all fours at this point with Tom at the head of the bed holding both my hands - the counter pressure of holding hands and pushing against him really helped ! I think I was also biting on a vomit bowl but hey whatever works ! I was pushing for about an hour in the end - it didn’t feel like that long at all but it did feel like her whole head was out when the midwife said she could only see a small amount! I could feel her head slipping back in after each push but the midwife talked me through every push and eventually I got her round the corner and I could feel the ‘ring of fire’ as she began crowning

Tom had a look between my legs as her head came out and a minute later her body followed - the strangest slippery sensation but also total shock and amazement that I’d done it!!

Tom announced we had a baby girl and she was passed to me skin to skin. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before Tom cut it then he had the baby on him skin to skin while I walked out to the toilet to deliver my placenta - again that took around 40 minutes but it didn’t feel that long at all!

I held Olive skin to skin while I had some stitches and then we all had some tea and toast and were left alone for some bonding time as a family of 3. Then the midwife weighed and checked her over.

Olive was born at 1am so Tom went home around 5 to try and sleep which he said he couldn’t as he was buzzing with adrenaline ! Olive and I managed a little nap and then we phoned our families in the morning to let them know the news 🙂

I definitely feel the breathing and relaxation techniques I learnt through hypnobirthing and pregnancy yoga made a massive difference to my labour along with aromatherapy oils, staying upright and mobile and my amazing tens machine!

Untitled (391 × 391px) (46)

Hannah and Olive's Birth Story

Untitled (391 × 391px) (46)

Our beautiful daughter was born on 4th September 2019 at 1am weighing 7lb 2oz - I really wanted to share my story as my birth was such a positive empowering experience - even when it didn’t seem like things were going to plan I managed to stay calm and in control and want other women to know they can do it too!

Being a pregnant midwife I would say is a help and hindrance in equal measure - it’s so good to be informed of all your options and does take away the ‘fear of the unknown’ element of birth. Also working on the birth centre I see natural, empowering birth all the time but also know that sometimes things don’t always go to plan. I really tried to focus on the excitement of finding out what labour was going to be like and read my hypnobirthing books to reassure myself how natural and normal birth is.

I feel very privileged that I knew I would be in completely safe hands and trust all the midwives to look after me and my baby with the best care possible.

My husband and I had considered a home birth with a pool but after some discussion decided we would feel most comfortable going to the birthing unit to have our baby - I planned a water birth with hypnobirthing techniques and thought I would go with the flow with regards to pain relief. I got myself a tens machine and then the next step would be gas and air or anything else as needed.

I finally accepted a membrane sweep by my midwife when I was 9 days overdue - I had been offered one on my ‘due date’ but wanted to give my body more time as baby clearly wasn’t ready to come yet.

I was 1cm dilated when my midwife did the sweep and my waters broke at the same time! I do wonder if they were ready to go anyway as it’s pretty tricky to break someone’s waters even when trying to!

Once your waters break there is a very slight increased chance of infection so I was offered to be induced after 24 hours of my waters breaking. I really wanted to get into labour naturally so I went home and had a bath and a long dog walk but nothing seemed to be happening.

We went to bed that evening with a plan to go to the hospital the next morning. I was awake most of the night with tightenings every 10 minutes - I knew they were not regular enough to be doing anything but they were so strong I was worried I wouldn’t be able to cope when I was actually in labour. I had a bath and put my tens machine on but couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep.

We went up to the hospital at 9.30am as planned - I was quite upset and worried that by choosing to be induced I was possibly sending myself down a path of intervention however I had to balance this with the well-being of my baby - I tried to remind myself to keep calm, take each stage as it came and let go of the idea that things could have been any different.

My tightenings had settled by the time we got to hospital. The midwife monitored the baby and all was well, she examined me and at 10.30 my cervix was 2cm dilated and had completely thinned out which I knew was a good sign and I at least felt all those strong tightenings had helped with effacement (thinning out) of my cervix. The midwife inserted the prostin gel and the plan was to wait 6 hours to see if I got into labour and if not I would be offered a syntocinon (hormone) drip to start off my contractions.

Straight after the gel was put in I started having regular contractions 3-4 in 10 minutes which felt pretty powerful. I had to be monitored for an hour to make sure the baby was happy which was quite uncomfortable laying on my back as I just wanted to be upright and mobile.

Once the monitor came off I started mobilising around the room, put my tens machine on and was sniffing some lavender oil on a flannel - this really helped me focus on my breathing and helped me stay relaxed and calm.

The midwife could clearly see things were getting going so she moved me round to the birthing room. It was lovely and dark  with nice mood lighting and I put my hypnobirthing cd on and some led candles around the room. I got in the pool but found I didn’t like it and preferred to be standing, leaning over the bed and swaying my hips - this is how I remained for most of my labour!

6 hours after the prostin I was re-examined and was relieved to find out I was 4cm - actually in established labour! I was so pleased, I started on some gas and air at this point which felt amazing and made me feel quite drunk! Combined with my tens machine I felt like I was coping really well, I could do this! I would really ramp up the boost button on my tens machine when I felt each surge coming over me. We also put on a playlist of music I had prepared in my pregnancy at this point and I started getting really emotional at some of the lyrics and the realisation I would soon meet my baby.

Just before the night shift handover around 8pm the midwife heard a deceleration in the baby’s heartbeat - I got on the bed on my left side and they put a CTG monitor on me and called one of the doctors, everyone was really calm so I wasn’t worried - I knew I was in the safest of hands. They left the monitor on for half an hour and all was fine, no further concerns with baby’s heartbeat so they took it off and went back to listening every 15 minutes.

I was 6cm at this point so progressing well but feeling like I needed some more pain relief. I decided to try the pool again but didn’t like it as I couldn’t get in a position I was happy with and didn’t feel the water helped very much.

I decided to have some pethidine and try to rest - I had been snacking despite the awful heartburn I kept getting and drinking loads of water but was getting exhausted from standing the whole time.

I had some pethidine and got back onto the bed on my side.

Shortly after I could feel a huge change in my body and an overwhelming feeling of wanting to push came over me. I really felt like I was losing control at this point which I know is normal for transition but I couldn’t control my body and this noise was coming out of me that I also couldn’t control! My midwife was incredible at calming me down and got me to really focus on bearing down. I really didn’t want to as it was so painful every time I pushed but I knew I had to to get my baby out!

I was on the bed on all fours at this point with Tom at the head of the bed holding both my hands - the counter pressure of holding hands and pushing against him really helped ! I think I was also biting on a vomit bowl but hey whatever works ! I was pushing for about an hour in the end - it didn’t feel like that long at all but it did feel like her whole head was out when the midwife said she could only see a small amount! I could feel her head slipping back in after each push but the midwife talked me through every push and eventually I got her round the corner and I could feel the ‘ring of fire’ as she began crowning.

Tom had a look between my legs as her head came out and a minute later her body followed - the strangest slippery sensation but also total shock and amazement that I’d done it!!

Tom announced we had a baby girl and she was passed to me skin to skin. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before Tom cut it then he had the baby on him skin to skin while I walked out to the toilet to deliver my placenta - again that took around 40 minutes but it didn’t feel that long at all!

I held Olive skin to skin while I had some stitches and then we all had some tea and toast and were left alone for some bonding time as a family of 3. Then the midwife weighed and checked her over.

Olive was born at 1am so Tom went home around 5 to try and sleep which he said he couldn’t as he was buzzing with adrenaline ! Olive and I managed a little nap and then we phoned our families in the morning to let them know the news 🙂

I definitely feel the breathing and relaxation techniques I learnt through hypnobirthing and pregnancy yoga made a massive difference to my labour along with aromatherapy oils, staying upright and mobile and my amazing tens machine!