Monika prepared for the birth of her daughter by coming to our Pregnancy Yoga classes with Lynn Murphy. This was her second baby, and this time she chose to give birth in a birthing centre. She would like to share her birth story to show it is possible to have a very personal and intimate experience away from the home environment.
Monika’s Birth Story:
“I gave birth to a little baby girl, called Alba, on Sunday 24th August, two days before her due date. She was born in the Birthing Centre at UCLH and both my husband, Stuart, and I agree that it was a great experience. This was my second delivery and it all happened a lot quicker than the first time, it seemed like my body knew what it was doing.
Everything started on Saturday night…
I had quite a disturbed night with broken sleep and felt really rough (almost nauseous), but did manage a few hours’ sleep here and there. The next morning, my husband took our little boy to the park and I stayed home. Initially I felt ok, but by the time they came back I was lying on the sofa with back pain and cramps.
Lunch time Sunday – I still didn’t think I was in labour, but by lunch time I was clearly having contractions. These were rather frequent (two contractions every ten minutes) and very intense, so my husband called the hospital and we were told to go in for an assessment.
3.00pm – Around this time we got to the hospital. The pain was quite strong and contractions were happening every time I moved or stood up (when I sat down nothing seemed to happen). Upon examination the midwife told me I was 6cms dilated and we were asked to go to the birthing centre.
We got a nice room with a birthing pool, a ball, birthing stool, sofa, chair, etc. (There were no mats or cushions or pillows, so it’s a good idea to take some if you are planning to be close to the ground or want pillows for extra comfort.)
I sprayed some scent I brought with me and we put some music on. My husband had prepared a playlist with some music I had requested. The ambience is very important for me, as I quite like calm environments and I tend to close my eyes and go to a “quiet zone” when dealing with pain.
I think we have discussed this in the yoga class, as I tend to go silent and don’t want to be touched, whilst other people prefer to scream and let it all out, it’s a matter of what works for each person.
My husband was amazing…he had lots of words of encouragement and knew exactly what I wanted and liked, and what I didn’t. It is so important for the birthing partner to be aware of all these details.
We had a lovely midwife who was with us from the moment we arrived until the birth of our little girl. She was completely in control, very encouraging and non-intrusive. It was really nice to be just the three of us (me, my husband and her) for the whole time (no shift change). She happened to live close to Archway and was familiar with the Active Birth Centre, so we talked quite a bit about active birthing, what I wanted, etc.
She never imposed anything and always asked what I wanted. She knew I would not take any pain relief, so she didn’t even offer it, instead she had words of encouragement and told me how great I was doing, which was just what I needed when I thought the pain was unbearable. My husband was amazing too, he had lots of words of encouragement and knew exactly what I wanted and liked, and what I didn’t. It is so important for the birthing partner to be aware of all these details.
I mainly used the ball, but noticed nothing was happening unless I moved around, so the midwife suggested that, as much as I could, I should try to walk to speed things up.
6.30pm – My waters hadn’t broken yet and I hadn’t dilated any more, so she said that she was going to break my waters for me and hopefully that should get things moving. After breaking my waters, she left the room to do some paperwork, and I got up to move a bit. At that point I got a very strong contraction and the urge to push. My husband had to call her back as things progressed very quickly from then on.
Once the baby was born, the midwife put her on my chest for some skin to skin. It was such a nice feeling! We let the blood pulsate for a few minutes before cutting the cord and after that I gave birth to the placenta.
I was on all fours on top of the sofa. I kept remembering what we had discussed in the class about gravity helping baby down! The “pushing” period lasted literally 30 minutes, a lot shorter, but more painful and intense than during my first birth. Things progressed very quickly from then on and less than 30 minutes later our little girl was born!
7.16pm Birth! Once the baby was born, the midwife put her on my chest for some skin to skin. It was such a nice feeling! We let the blood pulsate for a few minutes before cutting the cord and after that I gave birth to the placenta. I was very lucky and only needed one little stitch as one of my worries was to avoid any tearing or an episotomy. I have to say all the tips (perineum massage and muscle exercises) learnt during class helped. I was able to put into practice quite a lot of the things I had learnt in class, mainly due to the great midwife we had.