Jade had a natural first birth with her daughter, on a midwifery unit which was a positive experience. Her 2nd birth was a little different as she was induced for reduced fetal movements, this time she gave birth on labour ward. Overall a more medicalised experience but a positive one none the less! Here is her story…
The birth of my daughter was almost 6 years ago. A textbook low risk pregnancy which resulted in an amazing hypnobirth – in water with 1:1 care from a wonderful midwife on the midwifery led unit. No pain relief, no perineal trauma. I will now share the story of my second birth – a slightly more medicalised affair but with the same end result – a normal vaginal birth and a very healthy baby.
Labour with my first baby started at T+1 with birthing happening at t+2 so with this pregnancy I was becoming increasingly impatient as term came and went. I tried to focus my energy on my yes mum pregnancy and birth affirmation cards, swam lots and practised relaxation to remain in a positive mindset. I also had 2 membrane sweeps. At t+5, as I watched my daughters carol concert in the church, I began having regular tightenings. We even packed her off to my mums for the night once the concert was over as I was convinced I was in early labour! I was so disappointed to wake in the morning having not gone into labour! You think a midwife and second time mum would know!
At t+7, I woke early. My baby had not woken me up with lots of movements as usual. I tried everything – cold water, lots of poking and prodding, eating breakfast – nothing worked. We took our daughter to school and made our way to Labour Ward for a check on baby’s wellbeing as I was really twitched. I knew the implications of presenting past my due date with reduced movements (induction of labour) but I couldn’t ignore the fact that my baby wasn’t moving. When we arrived, I was greeted by two of my wonderful senior midwifery colleagues who reassured me and hooked me up to the CTG fetal heart monitor. Surprise surprise, the CTG wasn’t completely normal and I now saw my birth experience to be taking a very different turn to the last one.
The consultant obstetrician on duty came to review me and suggested as my cervix had been really favourable during my last membrane sweep, it would be a good idea to perform an ARM (artificial rupture of membranes) to start labour. I was gutted but was hopeful that my body would remember what it needed to do and we had lots of home comforts with us to make the experience better, even if it were to be a bit more medicalised. We were moved to a bigger room and hubby got to work adding lavender oil to the diffuser, putting the playlist on, getting my yesmum cards out, spritzing the room with essential oils and dousing a Muslin cloth with essential oil spray. I was hooked up to the CTG monitor again – this time, the telemetry version, to allow freedom of movement. An ARM was performed at 10:40, nice clear liquor, which reassured us. I then got up onto my feet – I needed to be upright and mobile if I was going to start tightening enough to avoid the Syntocinon hormone drip and also, to aid baby’s descent through the pelvis! Within the hour, I was tightening every 5 minutes, though they were quite short in duration. I remained on my feet the entire time, inhaling the gorgeous scents on my little muslin cloth and popping jelly babies into my gob for energy. At around 12:20, my baby had started to have decelerations on the CTG and was becoming increasingly tricky to monitor. My wonderful midwife advised me to get on to the bed in to a left lateral position to try and rectify this. As soon as I did this, I felt the unmistakable urge to bear down. Surely, I couldn’t be ready just yet?! I hadn’t been tightening for very long at all! I heard my midwife say that she could see “the purple line” and asked hubby to use the buzzer to call for a second midwife! A quick internal examination confirmed that I was fully dilated and almost ready to meet my baby. I continued to bear down with each tightening. It felt as though baby wasn’t quite in the right position however, as I felt I wasn’t moving baby down through the birth canal. The decelerations to the heart rate continued, becoming longer and slower to recover so the obstetric registrar was called to perform an instrumental birth. I opened my eyes and saw my obstetric colleague at the foot of the bed waving a ventouse cup around. No! I could do this. With LOTS of encouragement from my colleagues and birth parter, I found a new wave of energy to bear down. I birthed my baby boy without the need for assistance at 13:07. Just over a whopping 4kgs! I had done it! I required no pain relief during my very quick labour and no stitches afterwards.
I felt good and got in to the shower not too long after I had birthed my placenta. I was bleeding quite heavily so my colleague suggested I have a dose of the Syntometrine injection to help my uterus contract down which I then had. About half an hour later when I was breastfeeding, I bled quite heavily again. I started to feel a bit weak and faint by this point. The consultant came to examine me and felt there was a piece of placenta still inside. Off to theatre I went for a manual removal of my placenta under spinal anaesthetic! My husband came with me to theatre while my mum (who missed the birth by 15 minutes as it happened so quickly) stayed with our baby boy. The retained bit of placenta came away easily and we were soon out of theatre to recover. I lost almost 1 and a half litres of blood in total. A day of firsts for my second birth! Spinal anaesthetic, urinary catheter, postpartum haemorrhage, a drip in my hand to deliver fluids to make up for those i had lost. I didn’t once feel scared or nervous about any of these things however. I think practising hypnobirthing and relaxation helps one to navigate any twists and turns your birthing may take with calm and confidence.
I do recognise that I am in a fortunate position in that i know the wonderful people providing my care and that I am a senior and very experienced midwife of almost 10 years. For anyone doubting their ability to birth their second baby after an amazing first birth, have confidence and practice relaxation as much as possible. You CAN pull it off again.
I am also fortunate enough to have been able to call upon my hypnobirthing colleague and friend to prepare my husband and I with a fear release session prior to birthing. Like with most things, you get out what you put in. Preparation is key!