A Baby & Mummy are Born

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“Between contractions I found moments of peace by focusing on my breath, remembering the birth affirmations and reassurance that the primitive part of my brain knew how to birth and that my body was designed to ride out the process”

Lucy is a first time mummy, whose baby arrived at 39 weeks and 6 days. Lucy gave birth to beautiful baby Florence in the Rosie Birthing Unit.  Here is her precious account of her birthing experience.

My baby’s due date was the 11th December 2019. Being my first pregnancy, both myself and husband were frequently told by friends that all first babies come late. This is a myth! However, I loved being with my baby bump, and was happy to believe this would be true for me and my baby too. Also, many of my friends had long first births, so again I assumed this would be standard for me too. I set to go with a hospital bag full of paraphernalia … a massage mitt and essential oils, oil diffuser, music speaker, hypnobirthing tracks, drinks, cereal bars, bananas, biscuits and sweets, and a fine-detailed birth plan – I was prepped for a long journey!!! The reality for me was that none of these items (except the Ribena and sweets) were touched! In striking contrast to what I imagined, my baby decided to promptly arrive on the 10th December, and was on a race to get out! She luckily gave us just enough notice for my husband to travel 100 miles home, get me to the Rosie Birthing Centre and for the excellent midwife Sue, and midwife support worker Sam to deliver her. My birth experience also unexpectedly included my friend! She’s now seen more of me than any friend might care to see!

In hindsight, the first signs that labour were imminent were perhaps happening the day before.  I was cleaning the house, checking the hospital bags and strangely feeling the pesky first trimester nausea! However, I didn’t consider I could be close to labour until 5.30 am Tuesday when during a regular night trip to the loo I noticed a faint tinge of pink – ‘could this be a show?’ I wondered. Within 11 hours our baby would be safely born. However, Google informed me that labour could be either imminent or still days away. With no other signs, I casually text my husband (who was away on work) and went back to sleep, listening to a hyponbirthing track to prepare me. When I woke three hours later, I was experiencing mild period-like dull aches. Still under the illusion that first births are slow, I calmly informed my friend (who thankfully lives across road and was working from home that day), took a shower, and asked my husband to come home. We were in  no rush, we thought we had days to go.  

Fast forward a couple of hours, and after some crocodile waggles (learned in Lisa’s yoga class), we put on the hypobirthing track and laid down. WOW – two strong contraction waves hit me within minutes! About 15 minutes later I was on all fours, hind-waters broken and saying we need to go NOW!! Minutes later myself, husband and friend were in the car, hooting at the Amazon van that was blocking the drive – my goodness, it felt like the baby was coming out! To my surprise I found myself ‘bee’ humming like in yoga class. My friend had also attended Lisa’s yoga 2 years previously, and together we hummed through the vowels with each contraction – she was like having a Doula and I felt safe, despite the rushed 8 mile journey through Cambridge traffic. Those 20 minutes to the Rosie were noisy, and I imagine an interesting sight for any cars we pulled up alongside at roundabouts! Only after the birth did my husband tell me that the Midwife had given him the option of an ambulance for a home delivery! I’m glad he made the quick decision to get us all in the car. We arrived at the Rosie Birth Centre at 13:50 – our baby was born at 16:15!

Between contractions I found moments of peace by focusing on my breath, remembering the birth affirmations and reassurance that the primitive part of my brain knew how to birth and that my body was designed to ride out the process. I had wanted a water birth, but only got to spend a short period of time in the soothing water, before noticing signs of meconium. In the end, our daughter was delivered on the bed, but it didn’t matter, my mind was so far away from my birth plan. My only focus was bringing my baby out safely. I remember my husband telling me after each contraction that we were one closer to meeting our baby – he really had read the ‘Birthing Partner’ chapter! His words, together with the calm and supportive work of the midwives, was all I needed to get through it (and biting on the gas and air mouth piece).

It’s an intense sensation when baby emerges, but amazingly it all faded in an instant when our baby was laid alongside me, suckling to encourage the third stage of the birth. There was an overpowering moment of emotion and sobbing – I wanted to take in every second and etch these memories on my heart forever. After the third stage, my husband cut the cord, and finally we were ready to discover we had a baby girl. This was a lovely moment and surprise! We had heard so many people predict we were having a boy due to how I was carrying my bump. We happily spent the next 24 hours at the Rosie Birth centre, not because we needed to but because it’s so calm and I was enjoying the beautiful bubble of just being with my new family and the reassuring safety of the maternity team. What if I was asked for advice on how to prepare for birth? The most beneficial thing for me was the mindful preparation, taking the time for relaxation at the yoga class and trusting my body. I’d tell my former pregnant self not to worry about the birth, this is the shortest part in the motherhood journey, and in hindsight I would prepare more for those first weeks of welcoming your precious baby into the home. They are beautiful, emotional, exciting, terrifying, exhausting, joyful… it’s a rollacoaster with many lovely surprises at every stage!

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