Birth Stories No. 13: Dinu’s Calm Birth

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My due date came and went and I felt no closer to my baby being born – I’d had no Braxton Hicks contractions, nor any of the other signs one might feel in the lead-up to labour.

However, four days past my due date, I woke up feeling a surge at 1.40am.  The date was 22 April 2016 – the first thought that went through my head was that if my labour lasted until the following day, then the baby would be born on Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary – which I thought would be an auspicious day!

I took a couple of paracetamol and went back to sleep but was woken up by stronger surges at 2.40am. My husband timed the frequency and length of the surges and by 3.30am they were already coming pretty frequently – about every 5 minutes and were lasting about 30 seconds each, so we called the Whittington Birth Centre where we were due to have the baby.

The midwives asked to be kept informed and reminded us to come into the hospital when the surges were 3 minutes apart and each lasting 1 minute long.  By about 5.30am, the surges had ramped up in frequency and intensity and they were approximately 3 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute.

The midwife at the Whittington told me over a call to get into a warm bath.  If that slowed down the surges, then we should wait at home, but if they continued every 3 minutes lasting a minute, to make our way into the hospital.  I heard her tell my husband that it may well be a few hours that the surges continued at this frequency so I don’t think any of us thought the baby was coming imminently, particularly as this was our first.

dinu2My husband ran a warm bath for me around 6am.  Initially it was quite uncomfortable getting into the water, but at some point I relaxed.  The impact of this was that the labour intensified, to the extent that I announced to my husband that I needed to push and get the baby out then and there!  He reminded me that I had wanted to have the baby in the birth centre of the hospital.

The urge to push was so strong that I responded that I couldn’t get out of the bath and it would be OK if the baby came in the bath. Perhaps understandably, my husband wasn’t keen on the idea of delivering the baby all by himself!  Eventually after some coaxing, I agreed to get out of the bath and go to the birth centre.

My husband called a taxi and we left for the Whittington at 7.10am.  During the entire journey I had a strong urge to push.  Having never had a baby before, though, and given how quick everything had been to that point, I was quite worried that the hospital would assess me and say I was not progressed enough to be admitted for the labour and would need to return home.

On arrival at the hospital around 7.30pm, the walk from the entrance to the Birth Centre felt like a marathon – luckily, a nurse saw me leaning against a wall and got me a wheelchair.  I was then rushed to the Birth Centre, where the midwives were waiting.

As soon as they saw (and heard!) me, one of them said that they thought I was pushing the baby out.  I quickly got onto a bed to be examined and everyone was surprised when one of the midwives said that they could already see the baby’s head.  This was of course the biggest motivation I could get to conclude the whole process swiftly!

My waters broke a few seconds before the baby arrived at 8.28am.  Our little daughter is called Aliza.

dinu1 Aliza seemed content throughout the labour – her heartbeat remained constant for the short time we were monitored in hospital.  My recovery was very swift – I was walking around within an hour of the birth.

I had envisaged a slightly more sedate water birth and our labour bag had a variety of relaxing things in it – aromatherapy oil, a birth play list, and battery operated tea lights.

In the end there was no time to use any of these.  I also hadn’t ruled out the idea of taking pain relief at the hospital if I felt it were necessary, but again, things progressed at such a pace and I was so focused on the moment that it didn’t enter my mind to ask for any.

I really think coming to Janet’s pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing classes had a big influence on me (and my husband) and kept us calm, focused and able to normalise the surges throughout the birth.

Throughout my labour I visualised the physical changes that were taking place inside my body to allow the baby to come out, and also the journey the baby was making.  I didn’t allow myself to focus on ‘pain’, but thought instead about my primary motivation – which was to meet my baby at the end of the labour.

Also due to Janet’s classes, I also knew exactly the best positions for me to labour in – this was very helpful and no doubt speeded things up.

My husband also knew how to support me, both through various massage strokes and through appropriate encouragement.

I was apparently periodically reassuring myself out loud that: “my baby is moving down” and “I can do this” (phrases which will be familiar to anyone who has attended Janet’s classes!).

So very many thanks to Janet from all (three!) of us for all her encouragement and help.  I will miss her classes (particularly the relaxation parts!) not to mention her very old woollen orange baby (although I think you will agree that my real one is cuter!).


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