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Guest Blog: Charlotte’s Birth story – The Real Life Hack

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Guest Blog: Charlotte’s Birth story

I am so delighted to have a guest blogger share her amazing home birth story here. Nikyy is a good friend of mine and the birth of her new baby daughter is awe inspiring.

On Thursday night 28th March I began feeling mild surges that were about 10 minutes apart for about 2 hours. I gave my Doula a heads up, and said I was going to bed to see if they went away. They did and I had a good sleep. On Friday hubby went to work and I got my 9 year old and 5 year old to school. One of the midwives from my rota, who hadn’t met me yet and as I hadn’t made it to an appointment on Monday, came round and did the 38 week checks, she thought baby would be around 8lb. After that I did some organising and nappy kits (I help run a Nappy Library) and had a nap. At 4.45pm I got up from the nap and went to collect the kids from day care. I was still feeling tired so I lay down and hubby went for chippy dinner. As I finished eating the surges started again.

They went almost immediately to 7 minutes apart and needing to use the Up breath to make them more comfortable. I was meant to be volunteering at the Sling Library NI and Nappy Advice Service NI meet in IKEA the next morning so I had been getting nappy kits washed, dried and re-bagged the previous 3 days and had two more to get ready, so as I was getting that done and hubby was putting the boys to bed I was getting inceasingly frequent and stronger surges, but I thought it was because I was bending over and twisting a lot, so I tried to get to the end of the kits to take a break. It became immediately obvious to me that they were indeed increasing and I should really be getting hubby to help get the space ready for birth. He was alsleep next to my youngest and was feeling dizzy. Up he got anyway. I texted my Doula first and said I’d try lying down. I also messaged my friend and her daughter, a third year midwifery student and they headed over just to help me chill out in case it wasn’t the real thing. I contacted the midwives and said I was going to try lying down. I got hubby to put my TENS machine pads on and started to feel the benefit.

I couldn’t get comfortable lying down and felt like there was no way I’d be able to sleep anyway, so messaged back the Doula and midwives to get them to come over. Between calling everyone to make their way I was starting to crave the relaxation of my hypnobirthing tracks. My friend and her daughter were first to arrive and I let her palpate my abdomen to see where baby was lying and how engaged her head was. My hubby and friends were getting the pool blown up while I was on the gym ball in the kitchen starting to get deeper into my relaxed state. I started to use a hypnobirthing track and getting frustrated that I was having trouble getting it to work. Finally got it to work and I was chilling out listening in the kitchen as my waters broke and the midwives turned up. Perfect timing to know for sure that this was it and we were ready for it.

My Doula came into the kitchen to help me relax and I decided to get a bite to eat. We chatted and she took a picture of me eating, I found it hard to eat as the surges were starting to be very frequent and strong enough that it took what felt like ages to eat a bit of potato bread toasted. During surges the midwives did their baseline checks, temp BP and sonicaid. I had previous made it clear that there would be no VEs, but it was clear to everyone that I was progressing. One of the midwives offered to do some reflexology and I jumped at the chance. So we moved the others out of the birth room and I got settled on the sofa, hot water bottle on the lower abdomen, Doula reading the dipthometer script to help me get nice and relaxed and then the fawn in the forest. The midwife used the reflexology and concentrating on areas of my feet that related specifically to the areas my doula was helping me relax. What a great pairing!!

We stayed doing this for quite a while, the Doula helping me deepen my relaxation and go deeper and deeper during surges and the midwife using points to compliment. Between surges I was able to come out and enjoy a chat and a bit of craic (Northern Irish for having a laugh, for those of you reading this not up on the lingo) This was when the midwife asked if she could take the second set of obs and amazingly my heart rate was in the 60s. While we were there the hot water ran out and pool was being filled with kettles of water. I started to feel the need to get up and let gravity help things along. Getting up from the sofa triggered transition. My breathing had to change to breathing down. I felt like I couldn’t cope with the surges and I had to get in the water right then to get back in control. The few surges it took me to get from the sofa, out of my clothes, and over to the step stool very intense, the TENS machine feel off as I’d forgotten it was there. Doula was helping me try to deepen and double my relaxation which was very much needed right then. Hubby helped me get in the water and it was a real help, but surges were still intense.

My Doula asked if I would like some quiet time with just my hubby and myself. I thought it would be nice, but as another intense surge started I asked her to stay. She started whispering hypnobirthing suggestions and helping me relax. another set of obs while in the water. It was then that I felt I needed a bit more help as I had felt down below and knew the head hadn’t crowned yet so I thought I might have a fair while at this level of intensity and so asked for the gas and air. This helped but I knew it was very intense and was listening and trying hard to breath in the gas and breath down with the J breath as my Doula was explaining to my friend as she brought in another kettle of water. Shortly after about three very intense surges on the gas and air I suddenly felt her head start to emerge. It was an incredibly intense urge to push but I knew I wanted to let the Foetal Ejection Reflex happen and also I didn’t want to tear so I consciously refrained from pushing while saying, ‘Oh my goodness’ over and over. It was happening I was getting my dream birth. There was a strong feeling of burning as the head moved down and a distinct feeling of relief as the head popped out. I few breaths before the shoulders started to emerge and whoosh she was out and in the water face down. I picked her up and realised my friend’s daughter was struggling to figure out if she’d actually captured anything on the camera. I loved that the whole team and my hubby were there to see her arrival. It felt so special.

It took a few seconds for her to start breathing when I brought her up to my chest. I tried to get her to latch on the left but she wasn’t happy and much preferred the right and happily stayed latched for 45 minutes or so. I knew the placenta was ready to come away but as I was sitting on it there was no way out. I shifted position with a bit of help and gave a few pushes to help the placenta deliver.

My friend got to cut the cord and the midwives got to play with the cord tie to work out the best way to tie it. I had got into the water as a transitioning pregnant woman and when I got out of the water, I was one half of a brand new breastfeeding dyad. What a beautiful experience with an incredible team of women and, of course, my hubby, that have a passion for positive birth and a calling to be ‘with woman’ at her most intense and vulnerable and fill it with joy and empowerment. I am woman, this is power.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @life_hack_mum_

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