Zoe's birth of Isabelle - When labour is quicker than expected.

You will be glad to hear that we had a positive birth experience!

Our baby girl Isabelle Rose Masfen was born on Monday, five days after her due date. We are all doing really well!

So here is my birth story...

After having period like pain on and off since the previous Saturday 16th and increased braxton hicks contractions, real surges started around 10pm on Sunday night. I was in bed and tried to carry on sleeping to get some rest. By 1am surges were too strong and I had to move around. Scott joined me in the lounge and I started using a tens machine. The first hour after being up was hard to manage as my legs wouldn’t stop shaking and even my teeth, I think linked to the restless leg syndrome I had throughout my pregnancy.

I had planned on sitting on our gym ball but the pressure and shaky legs made it too uncomfortable. This made me feel a bit out of control. Scott helped me focus on my breathing as we had practised which helped me gain back control. I walked up and down the hallway and rested my head against the wall and found having a foot on a reversed chair and lunging into it helped. Scott called the midwife who suggested I had a bath and take some paracetamol. So I took off the tens machine and got in the bath with a little relaxing bath oil, candle and Scott timing the surges. Being in the bath helped my legs to be less shaky and I could breath through the surges and visualise blowing out bubbles.

I needed to let Scott know when the surges started and finished as he couldn’t tell from looking at me. I was in there for hours, with Scott speaking to the midwife who wanted me to stay at home as long as I was coping to limit the risk of having to send me home. As the surges were now only two minutes apart I wanted to get to the Carmen Suite. I spoke to the midwife who said that I could come in. Scott helped me out of the bath, got our things together and ordered an Uber. I put my headphones in and had my eye mask ready to put on in the taxi. Scott put down some plastic for me to sit on. The journey was short, around 10 minutes over speed bumps and I was very uncomfortable, I raised myself up onto my hands to feel less pressure.

We arrived at the Carmen Suite at 9.30am, a midwife, Jenny took us into the Summertown room. She was very calm and took my obs and read my maternity notes, while I was having contractions. This seemed to me to take a long time. She then examined me and I was 9cm dilated and said baby could come anytime between 30 minutes to a few hours. I had planned to get in the birthing pool from 6cm and then get out to have the baby on land. I had also taken a picture, tea lights, clary sage, pillows, and a massage ball to help, but being nearly fully dilated threw us a little and we didn’t get any of these out the hospital bag.

The surges slowed down a bit and I tried different positions and walked around. I carried on with my breathing and could talk quite normally during transition and following. It seemed like ages for baby to come down with just breathing and I became very tired. Jenny used a catheter to drain my bladder and there was some amniotic fluid sitting on her head which needed to break as my waters had not already broken. This finally went, and I had a bite of a bar, was sick, and started gently pushing. After some time, lucozade and jelly babies, I pushed her out in a few surges, being raised up on my knees with my arms around Scott’s shoulders, at 2:53pm. She was making a noise when her head was halfway out! The midwife moved her between my legs and we moved over to the comfy bed for some skin to skin, delayed cord clamping and Scott cut the cord. Scott then had skin to skin while I gently pushed the placenta out naturally, trying a bit of gas and air.

Jenny examined me and found two grazes and no tears! I had been doing perineal massage daily from 36 weeks which may have helped. After Isabelle fed and I had a rest and a shower, the midwives were happy and asked whether we would like to go home or stay a night. I felt comfortable feeding and wanted to be at home rather than on the ward, and they recommend we went home as there wasn’t anything else they could do for us, so we were discharged after six hours.

Hypnobirthing definitely helped me feel in control and relaxed, allowing me to breath through the surges, focusing on softening and opening, and then breathing baby down slowly.