Jad and I classify my birth to Amelia as amazing.
The reason it was amazing is because of our HypnoBirthing training and the fact that we were informed!
From 36 weeks, my fundus was measuring small. The hospital told me that if I was 37 weeks, they ‘would induce me’. For the next couple of weeks, we did regular fetal monitoring of baby and amniotic fluid. We found the amniotic fluid to be low. This could mean the placenta was slowly failing.
We researched and decided to refuse the induction and allow labour to come at its own time. But at 38+3, my fluid was even lower and the conversation moved to a discussion about a potential stillborn. Of course Jad and I knew the hospital was dropping the worst case scenario on us, but it was definitely a different level of concern now. I agreed to an induction because of this. On the grounds that Amelia was currently strong and the placenta was in a good state for labour.
I was examined internally and after two stretch and sweeps in week 38, I was dilated enough to not need the balloon the night before the induction. I’ve been told this is a very uncomfortable procedure so I was glad I didn’t need it and could sleep in my own bed with Jad the night before.
However, the night before the induction I was very, very anxious. I was nervous about how my body would react to the drug, how baby would react and if they drugged me too much to cope with in labour which would result in the ‘cascade of interventions’. I sat in the shower for ages doing my calm breath and listening to my affirmations – baby will be here soon.
On Friday the 7th September, Jad and I calmly made our way to the Mercy. At 8am, I was connected to a cannula. I refused it in the hand or elbow (where you normally get a blood test) so they put it in my forearm. I was appreciative that they honoured my request.
By 9.30am, surges were ramping up. I tried the ball, listening to relaxation piano music and doing my calm and surge breathing. My body responds really well to the surge breath, so I was doing that the majority of the time. I had my affirmations printed and placed on the bed and my throw rug from home as well.
By 10am, I was in active labour. I preferred to be on my knees on a mat on the floor with my upper body leaning over the bed with my fingers and face on the throw rug. The surges felt like intense period pain but I consider them to have been bearable. The only thing was that I felt I was not getting a good break between so I was unable to focus my attention on the break, only getting through each surge.
Between surges, I was myself, thoughts were normal and I could talk and respond to questions and conversation. Jad was amazing, with a bottle of water to offer me sips between surges.
When things got more intense, I asked Jad to squeeze my hips as hard as possible during the surge. This was by far the most amazing thing – better than drugs (even though I didn’t have any). I needed him every surge so he was participating in labour with me – something he may not have felt confident to do had we not done HypnoBirthing.
By 12:30pm, I was pushing. My midwives were waiting to see a head and I felt a bit of pressure from them to perform. Having ‘all eyes on you’ during labour definitely hinders it. Labouring at home with only one midwife and your husband would be amazing.
After 1.5 hrs if pushing, baby’s heartrate was disappearing from the monitor (at this point they needed to use the clip in baby’s head as the monitor kept falling off my belly because I was moving around (????). This scared the midwives and obstetricians so they said to me that baby and I were getting tired and he/she needed to come out. They said I was doing amazing and pushing amazing but they could see things were slowing, most likely because he/she needed to pass a bone. I knew that the hospital was following their ‘own clock’ that they like to have your labour go by, so I was weary but at the same time, I wanted to know baby was ok and I needed to see him/her. Jad attests to recognising that my pushing was subsiding.
The ob’s came in and gently offered me the vacuum or forceps. With the forceps, they perform an episiotomy as standard. The vacuum night not work, and they know the forceps would, but it is way more invasive. That was my worst nightmare – I didn’t want a cut or the forceps – absolutely LAST RESORT. At this point I started to whine, and losr my cool for about 30 seconds. Jad quickly reminded me to remain calm and to ‘stay with him’ as did the ob. ‘Stay with us, Mariella’ she said. So I did.
I said to try the vacuum first.
I was in my back in the bed (the opposite to what we were taught in training) with my legs on this stirrups.. Jad was upset that this was the opposite to what we wanted.. but that is how it happened.
Now they were directing me to push… They reminded me to breath, so it was not purple pushing, but I had tiny popped blood vessels all over my face and shoulders from the pressure. I heard the midwife say to the ob how amazing I was pushing and it was all me. They told me to open my eyes, and there was her head. The pain was minimal, no burning at all, just pressure. Turns out they only pulled baby very, very little – just enough to get her past the bone, then I pushed her on my own.
In the next surge, they said ‘Mariella, reach down and catch your baby’. I had written this in my birth plan and they reminded me. Oh my goodness, it was incredible. There she came in a split second. Jad was calling out in amazement as she entered the world.
Even though there was about 12 people in the room, I didn’t see them, just heard Jads voice and baby coming through the air to my chest. I lifted her up and announced she was a girl (we didn’t know the gender) and everyone around us was smiling their heads off! It was so lovely. Jad was tearing up and kissing and stroking me, telling me how amazing we were and how well we did.
We requested delayed cord clamping and they did as they were told. I wanted a physiological 3rd stage (which the student ob & midwives had never seen) and they honoured it. The placenta was born 7 mins later.
Even with the intervention, I felt I was incredibly respected and loved by my team. They spoke to me with honour and always kept me informed .. not making decisions without Jad and I knowing all the facts.
So in the end:
1st stage: 2 hours
2nd stage: 2 hrs 19mins
3rd stage: physiological – 7 mins.
Amelia was 2.88kgs and 47.5cms with a head circumference of 34.5cm.
Thank you so much for informing us – I honestly loved my labour and how close it has brought Jad and I together.