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  1. 93652702_236637747460104_8799378135318528000_n

    So my first birth was what many people would describe as a perfect birth. I had a water birth at the hospital and used gas and air for pain relief. However I was absolutely terrified throughout the whole experience as I hadn't done any research/learnt any breathing techniques/ done any hypnobirthing. I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't trust my instincts or my body and I came out of a relatively positive birth feeling traumatised.

    Now my second birth was definitely not perfect! But it was a million times more positive and that's all thanks to hypnobirthing. Around 5 days before my due date I got my bloody show. I was shocked because my daughter had been induced for being "late" at 41+5 and was born at 41+6 so I was expecting to go over again. The show threw me off a little and i kept expecting something to happen... but it didn't! I got a little negative and realised I was putting too much pressure on myself so on my due date I decided I would pretend I wasn't pregnant any more. We had a lovely day with our toddler and went to the park and I completely relaxed that evening telling my partner to have a drink and I had some nosecco whilst watching BGT the champions.

    Around 10 o'clock I got my first surge. I'd been having Braxton hicks that felt similar to this for days though so I didn't think too much of it. Around 8 minutes later I had another one and then another so I told my partner to make coffee. I bounced on my ball and breathed through the surges with ease. They were coming around 5 mins apart but one would be super intense and then the next one would be much less intense. I decided to have a bath and see what happened. I was in the bath for around half an hour when the surges were now around 4 mins apart but still with one being intense and the next not so much. I decided to phone in as with my daughter I had a quick labour and they had told me to phone in quite early on. I spoke to a lovely midwife and asked if I could go in just to see what was happening as i felt this would help me to stay relaxed.

    We arrived at the hospital just after midnight and it was really busy. I asked if the pool was available and was horrified to discover it was not!!! My back up plan of going to the mlu for a water birth was also not an option as all the midwives were taken up at the hospital. I asked if I could be examined to find out what was going on as my surges were getting closer together and the pain in my back felt constant but still some surges were more intense than others. When the midwife told me I was only 2cm and my cervix was still far back I had a major wobble with the entire plan feeling like it had flown out the window. I told my mum and Ryan I couldn't do it without the pool and I needed pethidine. They were both amazing at bringing me back to reality and reassuring me using the positive affirmations and helping me with the breathing. The midwife asked what I would like to do and i asked if i could have a bath at the hospital and see how things went. Then came the next dilemma... the delivery suite had no hot water!! The midwife said I could go to the post partum ward so off we went down to have a bath. In the bath I managed to breathe through my contractions but I was still really struggling with the constant pain in my back which was beginning to make it feel like I wasn't getting any break between surges.

    After half an hour or so in the bath I decided to get out as Ryan doing the light touch massage on my back was a good distraction and was really helping with the back pain but was difficult for him with me in the bath as I was so low down. Trying to walk back up to delivery suite was really difficult because of the pain in my back and so they gave us a wheelchair and Ryan pushed me back up. I had UFO in my head and trying to keep active but the back pain was making it impossible and actually the place I felt comfiest was in the wheelchair. When we got back to delivery I continued to labour in the chair for a while and asked my mum to go and ask if I could have some pain relief. My midwife was on a break and so another midwife came in but then disappeared again! I continued to breathe through the surges in the wheelchair with Ryan using the massage on my back and positive affirmations constantly flowing through my head. I kept telling myself that the calmer I stayed the sooner my baby would be here and this was actually my favourite part of my labour. I felt calm and in the zone and the affirmations were amazing when having a surge.

    When my midwife came back at around 2:30am she asked me what I would like to do and I knew I wanted to be examined to find out what was happening so I could make a decision about pain relief. If I hadn't progressed much I knew I would need some pain relief as I was feeling really tired and I knew I would need energy for what was to come. When she examined me I thought she said you haven't progressed much but luckily I misheard her and she said I had!

    In around 2 hours I had progressed to 6-7cm. The midwife told me if I wanted pethidine it had to be now as if I carried on progressing quickly it can make the baby drowsy on delivery but the positive boost of having achieved good progression gave me the boost I needed and I asked for some gas and air instead. On my next surge I had one puff of the gas and air but realised it was more of a hindrance than a help as it got in the way of my breathing. I also started getting this urge to push that I could not breathe through. The midwife was telling me not to push and I was trying my hardest not to and breathing through instead and the gas and air was making this harder so after another puff on the next surge I realised I didn't want the gas and air so threw it at my poor mum!
    I got a bit panicky here as the urge to push with the midwife telling me not to I found really stressful but my mum used the affirmations and the midwife telling me she didn't think it would be long till I was meeting my baby really helped. Looking back now I realise this is where I should have moved to my 2nd type of breathing but in the moment I carried on breathing through the surges as I had been without realising it was time to change! My mum and Ryan were amazing at keeping me calm throughout the next part and kept reminding me of my relaxing place and imagining myself there with a newborn baby helped me to feel positive.
    Gradually as the surges got stronger and the intense feeling of my body pushing my baby down got stronger I couldn't resist the urge to push anymore and now the midwife told me to go with it asking my birthing partner to press the button so a second midwife would come in. The pressure was really intense particularly in my back passage which was really tough and I asked if we could stop and get the baby out a different way but my birthing partners and the midwives all talked me round and helped me through. The midwives took the baby's heart rate and realised it was dipping and told me I had to get the baby out now so with one final intense surge I pushed with everything my body had and my baby came out in one go with his head facing up!! The midwives were both shocked to discover that baby had been back to back all along and that is why i had been having so much pain in my back!
    My partner told me that baby was a BOY and we had amazing skin to skin straight away with delayed chord clamping. He latched on after a few minutes and I tried to birth the placenta naturally. Unfortunately after 50 minutes there was still no sign of it and I was ready to just get everything over with so I had the injection. Unfortunately when the midwife examined me it became clear I had suffered a tear (probably from the extreme exit in one surge) but it was unclear how bad it was so she had to get the doctor in to look! At this point I burst into tears because I had just birthed my baby completely naturally and they were now telling me I might have to go to surgery and have an epidural to get stitched up! Luckily this wasn't the case and I got stitched in the room. As I had such a simple birth I was allowed to go home a few hours later and take my gorgeous boy to meet his sister

     

  2. ec5f98ae-a00b-41e3-b779-d0e249b69ef5

    I turned 38 weeks on Saturday July 13th 2019, which also happened to be the weekend my husband & I had booked for our final weekend away as a couple - we were heading to a spa in Falmouth!

    We arrived, dropped our bags, walked into town, had lunch, walked back to the hotel, got changed, went to the spa, I had a swim, got out of the pool… and my waters broke. In the spa. I had always wondered whether I’d know it was my waters for sure or whether I would think I’d wet myself, but trust me - you’ll know. I waddled back to our lounger by the pool & desperately tried to get the attention of my husband; the hot tub bubbles in his ears drowning out my calls. We both agreed this was my waters and headed back to the room (handing back our towels at the spa reception and trying to explain that they may just want to burn one of them).

    I was now looking forward to meeting our baby as I assumed labour would begin shortly after. We got back in the car (nothing like driving 2.5 hours there to spend 3 hours, then to drive 2.5 hours home again), rang the delivery suite who advised us to wait for my labour to begin at home & they’d see me soon and settled into what could be a tricky, surge-filled car journey. Unfortunately, nothing happened. When we arrived home it was late in the evening so I spent some time bouncing on the birthing ball, listening to birthing tracks & relaxing - trying to encourage that oxytocin to flow! I went to bed expecting to be woken at some point with my first tightenings, but again this didn’t happen.

    24 hours later I attended the birthing suite to be assessed & they confirmed using the ‘amni-pad’ that this was my waters & I should head to the John MacPherson ward in Torbay. I was given my own room where I continued to relax & focus on positive labour thoughts! I had to be monitored regularly due to the infection risk - around 36 hours after my waters broke I was given a pessary to try, I was reluctant to be induced (seeing my water birth in Newton Abbot Hospital birth centre slowly disappear), but having been in a swimming pool just before my waters broke, the hospital were keen to get labour started! Fast forward through 24 hours of walking laps of the hospital grounds in the sun, being monitored, snacking & the Wimbledon Mens Singles Final… Still no signs of early labour.

    At this point the midwives were keen to get me onto the Syntocinon Drip which wasn’t my ideal scenario, but I still felt calm, I trusted everyone around me & I was now feeling very ready to meet Baby Blackmore.

     

    I was taken down to the delivery suite & our midwife helped to set up the room as I had asked in my birth plan - main lights were turned off, the dull lamp was on and pointed into the corner, my diffuser with my chosen oil was on & I was listening to my calm birth playlist or audio books. The first drip was put in & the early stages of labour began within the first hour, due to my induction, baby and I had to be monitored at every moment which restricted me slightly, although didn’t worry me too much as the bed was able to be in a sit position. Through the next 4 hours I was able to remain in a trance like state, listening to my music & dozing in and out of sleep - breathing deeply throughout every surge (although these were still small). After 4 hours, the midwife came into the room with a doctor & explained they had been watching from the desk & had been noticing baby’s heart rate dropping during each of my surges but that as it had been raising again immediately they weren’t too concerned but would want to restart the drip at the lowest level & raise it again more slowly. At this point they asked to examine me, I agreed & they found I was 0 cm - a little disheartening, but I wasn’t too worried at this point!

     

    The drip began again and after another 4 hours of breathing, focus, audio books & monitoring the same thing happened. This time it was a different doctor who calmly explained that I had two choices: 1 - start the Syntocinon drip again one more time and see if an even slower rise in amount would help to keep baby & I calm & safe, or 2 - have a cesarean. The doctor was incredible and actually held my hand while explaining my choices, answering every question & using hushed tones. Now, this was a tricky moment for me, having been in a totally tranquil, relaxed state I was now having to make a big, very medical decision. This was the point when I could have easily lost my head with my labour, but I have the most supportive husband who was an incredible birth partner and led our discussion, asking questions without me having to prompt him & helped to lead me to my choice of giving the drip one more try. He quite rightly said that I would have always wondered, ‘what if’ if i didn’t give it another go & that they wouldn’t be offering it if they weren’t absolutely sure it was safe for both me and baby.

    Again, after a further 4 hours of managing surges and dwelling in my calm state, the midwife came in with the surgeon again and told me that the same thing had happened but that this time baby’s heart rate wasn’t picking up as quickly as they’d like so that I’d have to have an emergency cesarean. By this point, I had laboured for 12 hours and still felt incredibly calm & in control. They prepped me for surgery and wheeled me in - I was in such a calm head space that I was chatting to the surgeon & the anaesthetists, asking them all what they thought I was going to have (although I was utterly convinced baby was a girl). The room was calm & the vibe was so positive. They asked me how they could facilitate a happy environment for me, so they turned the overhead light away from my eyes, turned the radio up (their aux lead had broken that morning, so I couldn’t have my own music) & dropped the drape at the earliest moment.

     

    I watched my baby be born on July 16th 2019 - my little (6lbs 10oz) baby boy! No-one was as surprised as me to see that baby B was a boy! He was also born with an extra long umbilical cord that was more than double the usual length & was wrapped around his legs, chest & neck - this was the cause of his heart rate dropping, he was literally being squeezed like a boa constrictor on each surge. After he had been born, they passed him to me for skin-to-skin, Rory (my husband) sobbed for the remainder of our time in theatre & burst again every time he held him for a long while after. My anaesthetist told me that Bill had been born to Lewis Capaldi - Hold Me While You Wait. It was the best moment of my life.

     

    While I was being sorted after the cesarean, my body went into shock & I started being sick. An odd sensation when you’re numb from the nipples down! But I was in safe hands and baby Bill was here safe, he was passed to Daddy which was lovely for me to see & we took my mind away from the shock by choosing his name! 45 minutes later, we were back in our sun soaked room on the delivery suite, I was feeding Bill for the first time & 9 months later I haven’t looked back - other than growing & birthing him, breastfeeding Bill has been my biggest achievement in life.

     

    My birth wasn't at all how I'd imagined, yet I've still never felt so powerful or in control of my mind and body - I can't wait for next time.