Lucy and Frankie's Birth Story

As I sit here with my 3-week-old baby sleeping next to me, it’s hard to believe how his birth panned out. Not to over dramatise things but Frankie’s birth was exactly what I had planned and the opposite of what I expected.

 

I woke at 4.30am on 24th April with some pains at the front of my pelvis. I was 41 weeks pregnant – according to my due date calculator. Up until this point I had been waiting weeks for labour to start, I had been having regular cramps as my body started to prepare but I had become so used to them that I’d started to shrug off any new signs as just another warmup round. I didn’t think much of these new sensations – it was probably just ligament pain. I went back to sleep and then got up as normal to start the day.

 

After we had breakfast I packed Ivy up for nursery and dropped her off. I then took myself off to a local café for a second breakfast (needs must at 41 weeks pregnant!). My laptop came with me so I could do some work. As I sat there plugging away at a spreadsheet the pains kept creeping in. Coming and going in waves. It was mild but noticeable. This was the first time a little thought seed popped into my brain – is this it?

 

I had decided over the previous weekend that I would ask for a sweep during my next midwife appointment which was booked that afternoon. I felt I needed something to tip me over the edge and to get labour started. A sweep is a form of intervention, it’s a way of helping your cervix to soften ahead of labour. Up until this point I decided against any proposed intervention, I had experience of having lots of intervention with Ivys birth - most of which was unnecessary. I was keen to avoid as much as I could this time around and give my body the chance to do things spontaneously. By 41 weeks I felt OK to give my body a little nudge.

 

It turns out there was no need for the sweep… as our midwife Laura was doing her thing I was having contractions and she confirmed I was already 2cm dilated. She stopped and looked at me – it’s happening.

 

My partner, Steve was pretty excited by the good news that my cervix was on the move, albeit very slowly. He was a bit like Dick Van Dyke doing a sideways click of the heels as Laura talked him through what was happening with my nether regions. Laura suggested that we go for a brisk 20 minute walk to get things moving along. So, we chucked on our shoes and went off down the road with a slight skip in our stride as we got the pre labour jitters of excitement.

 

It was lunchtime and Steve had given me the reigns of where we would eat – his treat seeing as I was about to push a baby out… seems fair I guess. We settled for Nandos – I needed peri peri fuel to see me through!

 

Very excited Steve - in Nandos, phoning his mum to tell her I was in labour.

 

When we got home we worked through birth logistics – the birth pool went up, I phoned my mum and we arranged for her to collect Ivy from nursery, I got my notes together and then started setting up a ‘zen den’ for us to relax in. I then got on my birth ball and started to bounce, bounce, bounce while clutching a comb through every contraction. My contractions had started to lull by this point but the birth ball really brought them back and the comb was so useful in releasing much needed endorphins to see me through. I carried on bouncing and squeezing the comb for the next few hours as we watched TV, snacked and had a lovely time together! By about 6.30pm things had picked up considerably and I had my TENS machine on as I was having to breathe through contractions. They were still sporadic but they were much stronger. I could still talk through them and when I came through a contraction I was totally back to ‘normal’ - a sign that my body was still pretty far away from active labour.

 

Blowing up the birth pool

 

Then, we came across our first twist in the road. Our first re-route. Birth rarely goes ‘as planned’ and guess what, I was no exception to the rule.

 

 

Earlier that day, Laura had mentioned that your waters smell a bit like cleaning fluid. It just came up in conversation. At some point that afternoon as I was relaxing and bouncing on the birth ball, I went to the loo and smelt something very strange. I didn’t think much of it but when Steve went near the toilet it was enough for him to comment on the strange smell which was a little bit like cleaning fluid. It could only be one thing – my waters must have partially broken.

 

My contractions were a bit stronger by this point so Steve phoned Laura to give her the heads up that things were progressing well. Sadly for us (but not sadly for the other labouring woman) Laura had been called out to another homebirth and was unlikely to make it to us. There was no back up midwives available so a hospital birth was suddenly looking more likely. Laura asked how we were doing and I thought I should mention the funny smell – this led to us being asked if we had felt baby move recently, I couldn’t remember….  She suggested that it was best that we head to triage to be checked out – just in case.

 

So, we darted around, suddenly preparing for a hospital birth. Who would have thought things could change so quickly. We chucked a few bags together and got in the car for the 5 minute trip down the road to our local hospital.

 

We arrived in triage at 8.30pm with all our ‘luggage’ – ready for the long haul. My contractions were still sporadic but strong. After a quick assessment, we were told I will still 2cm dilated. This wasn’t disappointing at all, I was still progressing nicely but what it did mean is that we were suddenly up against the ‘system’. You won’t be admitted into hospital until you’re 4cm dilated which is what the NHS class as ‘active labour’. So, we found ourselves in some strange limbo land where we had 2cm to go before we could have a private room to you know… have this baby in.

 

After a quick wait in the waiting room, we were given our own bay in triage while we waited for the doctor to come and assess then admit us. A hospital bay is a hospital bay – you have a curtain to give you privacy but not much else. My contractions were still sporadic but very strong by this point and I had started to use the gas and air that is plugged into the walls of triage. I guess by this point it was about 10.30pm and I was holding onto Steve as I breathed through every contraction. As I came down the other side I’d return to my usual self and be able to hold a conversation so I definitely wasn’t in active labour yet but I was very close…

 

Then, everything changed and my god did it change quickly.

 

At about 11pm I suddenly had an urge to get onto my knees. I don’t remember much of it but I remember going down as Steve grabbed a pillow to put under my knees. I was propped up on the bed, gas and air firmly planted in my mouth, teeth gritted around the mouth piece as very long, very deep groans started to come out of me. I remember looking to my left and I could see through to the next bay – a pregnant woman sat with her feet up having a chat with the doctor. It all looked very calm whereas in the next bay – I was definitely in active labour. Something had suddenly taken over my entire body and things had progressed very quickly.

 

Steve realised he had to do something and fast so he darted out of our bay to find staff standing outside. He politely but urgently ushered them in – we were definitely in a ‘situation’ that warranted some action. As the bay suddenly filled with 6-7 medical staff my waters broke all over my trousers. Steve whipped them off very quickly as a wheelchair appeared. I remember sitting in that wheelchair while lifting myself off it – I had a baby coming down the birth canal while I was being wheeled from triage to labour ward.

 

We got through a set of double doors and into a room immediately adjacent to triage. I got onto the bed and was told to slow down. I felt the ring of fire for a milli-second. Steve looked down to see a head, then a body and then a boy!

 

According to NHS records the 1st and 2nd stage of labour took 5 minutes. 5 minutes!!

 

The length of my labour from my NHS records

 

It was utterly fierce, powerful and ever so slightly chaotic. In every way apart from giving birth in triage – it was exactly the birth story I wanted - a physiological birth with no intervention, very little pain relief, no tearing and a healthy baby on the other side.

 

 

 

After the placenta was born (taking a lengthy 8 minutes compared to the 5 it took for Frankie to come out!) all of the post birth checks were done on my chest so that Frankie and I could stay skin to skin and allow him time to have his first feed. The midwife who was supporting us at this point made sure all of that happened for us and I’m so grateful she did as it was another part of the ‘plan’ I had really wanted.

 

 

At about midnight we were wheeled from labour ward up to the recovery ward where we were given a bed for the night. I sent Steve home so he could sleep and come back in the morning – I spent most of that night looking at Frankie as I processed what had happened that day – quite the story that I’ll never forget.

 

So I guess the questions I might be asked - why it was such a quick labour? Was it painful? Am I traumatised by the speed at which things unfolded? In answer to your questions…

 

The power of hypnobirthing

 

Now, I don’t know why it was as fast as it was but what I do know is that before I went into labour I had zero fears about the process of birth. In my mind, my body would just start labour at some point and get on with it. I learnt everything I know about birth through hypnobirthing – by reading and researching, constantly writing about birth and essentially delving into the process of birth so that I left no stone unturned.

 

I won’t ever know why it was so quick but I do believe the power of your mind is not to be underestimated and birth preparation will take you a long way in feeling informed and confident.

 

When the time came, my body had no fear in holding back. It knew it was safe and perhaps – my body just went for it – with ferocious speed!

 

Managing pain in labour

 

Endorphins (your pain relieving hormone) have already removed the memory of pain so I can’t say that it was definitely painful but what I can remember is power. Pure power, nothing like you’ll ever feel anywhere except the labour room. My body took over, I don’t even remember pushing because it was uncontrollable – I just went with my body and let it do what it needed to do (despite the pleas from my midwives to ‘slow down!!’… sorry guys – this baby is coming out so you had better get ready to catch it).

 

I know it was uncomfortable, it was totally overpowering but it wasn’t painful. It wasn’t the same pain that you experience when you break your arm or cut your finger – it was different, I had no pain signals that told me that my body was in any danger. My labour was intense but it was manageable. It was loud – I was loud, I am not a silent birther – I am very VERY loud and I am very sweary.

 

Post labour trauma

 

I’ve had a number of people say to me that the issue with a quick birth is that you can be left traumatised. That is true but luckily, I haven’t experienced trauma from the speed. Again I think this is down to hypnobirthing – knowing so much about birth helped me to trust the process. I know my body did exactly what it was supposed to do. I know that Frankie was born as a healthy baby, covered in microbiomes, filled with colostrum post birth. I know that the levels of oxytocin in my system must have been very high because I didn’t tear which must mean my perennial muscles spread open while he crowned. Everything worked perfectly and as it should do and for that I am really, really thankful as I know that isn’t the case for many.

 

The power of saying no

 

My only concern about my labour was heading into hospital – I know that if you’re in hospital then you’re much more likely to come across intervention which I am not against if it’s needed however I have experience with Ivy’s birth of unnecessary intervention which I was keen to avoid.

 

While in triage, I did have to advocate for myself and It was amazing how easy it was to do. I was told at one point that the amnihook would be used to break my waters if my labour didn’t progress. This was a completely unnecessary comment to make and was made quite flippantly. How did I deal with it? I just said ‘no thank you’. I was listened to and the suggestion of an amnihook went away. The only other form of interference I came across was that I would be strapped to the CTG so that the baby’s heartrate could be monitored. I had gone into triage to have movement checked so was absolutely fine with this as it was necessary. I was asked to lay on my back which was really uncomfortable for me. I declined and we found a work around so I could remain on my feet and move as I needed to.

 

I am really thankful to the staff who listened to me and respected how I wanted to do things as I know for many that just isn’t the case.

 

So there you have it, a fast birth that took everyone by surprise. Frankie is currently in a milk slumber on my boob, having a little snore. So sweet. I am so lucky to have him and we’re all so in love with our little pocket rocket… Frankie the canon ball boy.

 

If you would like a comb to help you through labour then check our Yuula official's Etsy shop and enter the code BUTTERBEAN10 for a 10% discount.

Lucy and Frankie's Birth Story

Lucy and Frankie's Birth Story

Lucy and Frankie's Birth Story

As I sit here with my 3-week-old baby sleeping next to me, it’s hard to believe how his birth panned out. Not to over dramatise things but Frankie’s birth was exactly what I had planned and the opposite of what I expected.

 

I woke at 4.30am on 24th April with some pains at the front of my pelvis. I was 41 weeks pregnant – according to my due date calculator. Up until this point I had been waiting weeks for labour to start, I had been having regular cramps as my body started to prepare but I had become so used to them that I’d started to shrug off any new signs as just another warmup round. I didn’t think much of these new sensations – it was probably just ligament pain. I went back to sleep and then got up as normal to start the day.

 

After we had breakfast I packed Ivy up for nursery and dropped her off. I then took myself off to a local café for a second breakfast (needs must at 41 weeks pregnant!). My laptop came with me so I could do some work. As I sat there plugging away at a spreadsheet the pains kept creeping in. Coming and going in waves. It was mild but noticeable. This was the first time a little thought seed popped into my brain – is this it?

 

I had decided over the previous weekend that I would ask for a sweep during my next midwife appointment which was booked that afternoon. I felt I needed something to tip me over the edge and to get labour started. A sweep is a form of intervention, it’s a way of helping your cervix to soften ahead of labour. Up until this point I decided against any proposed intervention, I had experience of having lots of intervention with Ivys birth - most of which was unnecessary. I was keen to avoid as much as I could this time around and give my body the chance to do things spontaneously. By 41 weeks I felt OK to give my body a little nudge.

 

It turns out there was no need for the sweep… as our midwife Laura was doing her thing I was having contractions and she confirmed I was already 2cm dilated. She stopped and looked at me – it’s happening.

 

My partner, Steve was pretty excited by the good news that my cervix was on the move, albeit very slowly. He was a bit like Dick Van Dyke doing a sideways click of the heels as Laura talked him through what was happening with my nether regions. Laura suggested that we go for a brisk 20 minute walk to get things moving along. So, we chucked on our shoes and went off down the road with a slight skip in our stride as we got the pre labour jitters of excitement.

 

It was lunchtime and Steve had given me the reigns of where we would eat – his treat seeing as I was about to push a baby out… seems fair I guess. We settled for Nandos – I needed peri peri fuel to see me through!

 

Very excited Steve - in Nandos, phoning his mum to tell her I was in labour.

 

When we got home we worked through birth logistics – the birth pool went up, I phoned my mum and we arranged for her to collect Ivy from nursery, I got my notes together and then started setting up a ‘zen den’ for us to relax in. I then got on my birth ball and started to bounce, bounce, bounce while clutching a comb through every contraction. My contractions had started to lull by this point but the birth ball really brought them back and the comb was so useful in releasing much needed endorphins to see me through. I carried on bouncing and squeezing the comb for the next few hours as we watched TV, snacked and had a lovely time together! By about 6.30pm things had picked up considerably and I had my TENS machine on as I was having to breathe through contractions. They were still sporadic but they were much stronger. I could still talk through them and when I came through a contraction I was totally back to ‘normal’ - a sign that my body was still pretty far away from active labour.

 

Blowing up the birth pool

 

Then, we came across our first twist in the road. Our first re-route. Birth rarely goes ‘as planned’ and guess what, I was no exception to the rule.

 

 

Earlier that day, Laura had mentioned that your waters smell a bit like cleaning fluid. It just came up in conversation. At some point that afternoon as I was relaxing and bouncing on the birth ball, I went to the loo and smelt something very strange. I didn’t think much of it but when Steve went near the toilet it was enough for him to comment on the strange smell which was a little bit like cleaning fluid. It could only be one thing – my waters must have partially broken.

 

My contractions were a bit stronger by this point so Steve phoned Laura to give her the heads up that things were progressing well. Sadly for us (but not sadly for the other labouring woman) Laura had been called out to another homebirth and was unlikely to make it to us. There was no back up midwives available so a hospital birth was suddenly looking more likely. Laura asked how we were doing and I thought I should mention the funny smell – this led to us being asked if we had felt baby move recently, I couldn’t remember….  She suggested that it was best that we head to triage to be checked out – just in case.

 

So, we darted around, suddenly preparing for a hospital birth. Who would have thought things could change so quickly. We chucked a few bags together and got in the car for the 5 minute trip down the road to our local hospital.

 

We arrived in triage at 8.30pm with all our ‘luggage’ – ready for the long haul. My contractions were still sporadic but strong. After a quick assessment, we were told I will still 2cm dilated. This wasn’t disappointing at all, I was still progressing nicely but what it did mean is that we were suddenly up against the ‘system’. You won’t be admitted into hospital until you’re 4cm dilated which is what the NHS class as ‘active labour’. So, we found ourselves in some strange limbo land where we had 2cm to go before we could have a private room to you know… have this baby in.

 

After a quick wait in the waiting room, we were given our own bay in triage while we waited for the doctor to come and assess then admit us. A hospital bay is a hospital bay – you have a curtain to give you privacy but not much else. My contractions were still sporadic but very strong by this point and I had started to use the gas and air that is plugged into the walls of triage. I guess by this point it was about 10.30pm and I was holding onto Steve as I breathed through every contraction. As I came down the other side I’d return to my usual self and be able to hold a conversation so I definitely wasn’t in active labour yet but I was very close…

 

Then, everything changed and my god did it change quickly.

 

At about 11pm I suddenly had an urge to get onto my knees. I don’t remember much of it but I remember going down as Steve grabbed a pillow to put under my knees. I was propped up on the bed, gas and air firmly planted in my mouth, teeth gritted around the mouth piece as very long, very deep groans started to come out of me. I remember looking to my left and I could see through to the next bay – a pregnant woman sat with her feet up having a chat with the doctor. It all looked very calm whereas in the next bay – I was definitely in active labour. Something had suddenly taken over my entire body and things had progressed very quickly.

 

Steve realised he had to do something and fast so he darted out of our bay to find staff standing outside. He politely but urgently ushered them in – we were definitely in a ‘situation’ that warranted some action. As the bay suddenly filled with 6-7 medical staff my waters broke all over my trousers. Steve whipped them off very quickly as a wheelchair appeared. I remember sitting in that wheelchair while lifting myself off it – I had a baby coming down the birth canal while I was being wheeled from triage to labour ward.

 

We got through a set of double doors and into a room immediately adjacent to triage. I got onto the bed and was told to slow down. I felt the ring of fire for a milli-second. Steve looked down to see a head, then a body and then a boy!

 

According to NHS records the 1st and 2nd stage of labour took 5 minutes. 5 minutes!!

 

The length of my labour from my NHS records

 

It was utterly fierce, powerful and ever so slightly chaotic. In every way apart from giving birth in triage – it was exactly the birth story I wanted - a physiological birth with no intervention, very little pain relief, no tearing and a healthy baby on the other side.

 

 

 

After the placenta was born (taking a lengthy 8 minutes compared to the 5 it took for Frankie to come out!) all of the post birth checks were done on my chest so that Frankie and I could stay skin to skin and allow him time to have his first feed. The midwife who was supporting us at this point made sure all of that happened for us and I’m so grateful she did as it was another part of the ‘plan’ I had really wanted.

 

 

At about midnight we were wheeled from labour ward up to the recovery ward where we were given a bed for the night. I sent Steve home so he could sleep and come back in the morning – I spent most of that night looking at Frankie as I processed what had happened that day – quite the story that I’ll never forget.

 

So I guess the questions I might be asked - why it was such a quick labour? Was it painful? Am I traumatised by the speed at which things unfolded? In answer to your questions…

 

The power of hypnobirthing

 

Now, I don’t know why it was as fast as it was but what I do know is that before I went into labour I had zero fears about the process of birth. In my mind, my body would just start labour at some point and get on with it. I learnt everything I know about birth through hypnobirthing – by reading and researching, constantly writing about birth and essentially delving into the process of birth so that I left no stone unturned.

 

I won’t ever know why it was so quick but I do believe the power of your mind is not to be underestimated and birth preparation will take you a long way in feeling informed and confident.

 

When the time came, my body had no fear in holding back. It knew it was safe and perhaps – my body just went for it – with ferocious speed!

 

Managing pain in labour

 

Endorphins (your pain relieving hormone) have already removed the memory of pain so I can’t say that it was definitely painful but what I can remember is power. Pure power, nothing like you’ll ever feel anywhere except the labour room. My body took over, I don’t even remember pushing because it was uncontrollable – I just went with my body and let it do what it needed to do (despite the pleas from my midwives to ‘slow down!!’… sorry guys – this baby is coming out so you had better get ready to catch it).

 

I know it was uncomfortable, it was totally overpowering but it wasn’t painful. It wasn’t the same pain that you experience when you break your arm or cut your finger – it was different, I had no pain signals that told me that my body was in any danger. My labour was intense but it was manageable. It was loud – I was loud, I am not a silent birther – I am very VERY loud and I am very sweary.

 

Post labour trauma

 

I’ve had a number of people say to me that the issue with a quick birth is that you can be left traumatised. That is true but luckily, I haven’t experienced trauma from the speed. Again I think this is down to hypnobirthing – knowing so much about birth helped me to trust the process. I know my body did exactly what it was supposed to do. I know that Frankie was born as a healthy baby, covered in microbiomes, filled with colostrum post birth. I know that the levels of oxytocin in my system must have been very high because I didn’t tear which must mean my perennial muscles spread open while he crowned. Everything worked perfectly and as it should do and for that I am really, really thankful as I know that isn’t the case for many.

 

The power of saying no

 

My only concern about my labour was heading into hospital – I know that if you’re in hospital then you’re much more likely to come across intervention which I am not against if it’s needed however I have experience with Ivy’s birth of unnecessary intervention which I was keen to avoid.

 

While in triage, I did have to advocate for myself and It was amazing how easy it was to do. I was told at one point that the amnihook would be used to break my waters if my labour didn’t progress. This was a completely unnecessary comment to make and was made quite flippantly. How did I deal with it? I just said ‘no thank you’. I was listened to and the suggestion of an amnihook went away. The only other form of interference I came across was that I would be strapped to the CTG so that the baby’s heartrate could be monitored. I had gone into triage to have movement checked so was absolutely fine with this as it was necessary. I was asked to lay on my back which was really uncomfortable for me. I declined and we found a work around so I could remain on my feet and move as I needed to.

 

I am really thankful to the staff who listened to me and respected how I wanted to do things as I know for many that just isn’t the case.

 

So there you have it, a fast birth that took everyone by surprise. Frankie is currently in a milk slumber on my boob, having a little snore. So sweet. I am so lucky to have him and we’re all so in love with our little pocket rocket… Frankie the canon ball boy.

 

If you would like a comb to help you through labour then check our Yuula official's Etsy shop and enter the code BUTTERBEAN10 for a 10% discount.