I hope you're well.
I thought I'd write to you about my amazing birth experience, when we welcomed our son William on his due date, 4th of October.
After we attended the Calm Birth sessions, we were really grateful to understand a little more about the process of birth, the types of interventions that could occur and how to advocate for ourselves. We walked out of those sessions with you with a really clear idea that we wanted to go medication-free and hopefully intervention free, but with an open mind that we would do whatever was right for the baby, and myself.
We had had a very drama-free pregnancy with no issues at all, so we predicted that my contractions would start on my 40 week gestation, and we weren't wrong! I woke up at 5:30am with contractions and tried to stay in bed for as long as possible, knowing I potentially had a long day and night ahead. We never allow our golden retriever onto the bed, but I was pretty keen to get the oxytocin flowing so we allowed her onto the bed for cuddles, so that was a very special start the day for all of us :)
I knew I wanted to labour at home for as long as possible, and despite the contraction timer app telling us to "get ready to go into hospital" or "head into hospital", we ignored this so we could be home longer.
I was labouring with combs, the TENS machine, and using my breathing exercises to get through the contractions. I had a meditation playlist however I didn't use it because I was so focused on riding out the contractions that I couldn't focus on much else! I also found my preferred position was standing and swaying or leaning on my husband. I couldn't sit, kneel, or use the labour ball.
By 5:30 pm, after 12 hours labouring at home, we decided it was time to go in and when we did, the nurses were sceptical that I was in full labour due to how calm and collected I was. When they checked my dilation, they were surprised to find I was 5cm and I was taken to the labour ward. 35 minutes later, my waters broke.
2 hours later, the OB arrived and my dilation was 8.5cm. I was offered gas, but didn't want it, nor did I really feel that I needed it. It was at this time that I started feeling the fetal ejection reflex and I couldn't stop myself from pushing. I remember just how shocking this was for me, when I looked at my husband and just yelled "PUSHING!" I had been so calm throughout, but this had really thrown me because I wasn't expecting the urge to be so powerful. It took over. The problem was that I wasn't dilated enough, so the midwives told me to use my breathing exercises to combat the urge to push, which worked really well. I used a combination of 4 inbreaths and 6 outbreaths, plus horse's breath to stop myself from pushing (although it didn't always work!!).
The OB was called back an hour after her first visit and I was 9.5cm dilated by then and she pushed the additional .5cm away so I could start properly pushing. For another hour, I pushed my heart out, until baby's heart rate started slowing and he started to become distressed. I could sense the change in the room when the OB started to worry and talk about an episiotomy and vacuum. I gave it one more solid attempt and pushed with every fibre of my being and his head emerged, then his little body. He was absolutely fine, perfect and stole our hearts immediately. The total labour time was 16 hours.
We had 2 hours of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time after a beautiful pain killer-free natural birth... and I managed to avoid all interventions! (I understand cervical checks are a form of intervention). No tears also! It was the perfect labour and everything I wanted.
I felt completely empowered and it was the best thing I have ever done. I am so happy I was able to have the experience as I intended and I would do it again and again!!
Thank you Martyna for providing us with the information we needed to make the choices that were right for us. Morgan, my husband, was able to support me throughout, and nothing came our way that we weren't prepared for. We recommend your calm birth classes to everyone we speak to.
Thank you :)