UPDATE: Actually Mummy has put together a linky to share birth stories, so if you love a good birth story as much as me click on the pic to read some more.
It’s hard to believe that 5 months ago I was just getting to know Shine, mesmerised by every little crinkle and enchanted by her sweet eyes. A very good friend of mine is about to pop a new baby out any minute and it’s got me thinking about Shine’s birth and making me all nostalgic for the newborn days.
I should put a note in here that if birth stories bore you to tears don’t bother reading on. I won’t be offended! This is a long post but one I want to write for me, so I can remember the little details that blur out of focus over time.
Sun’s birth was not exactly what I had planned. I don’t think anyone plans a 26hr labour, a back-to-back baby, the dreaded ‘failure to progress’ tag, syntocinon & epidural, failed ventouse and an episiotomy leading to a brutal forcep delivery that leaves their baby looking like they’ve gone ten rounds in a boxing ring. No thanks.
I was secretly apprehensive about Shine’s birth. On the outside I was all hynobirthed up and nodding in agreement when people told me that every birth was different. On the inside I was a teeny bit fearful that history would repeat itself. I didn’t worry too much about it as, awful as Sun’s birth was, I had a beautiful baby at the end of it and I survived.
I was absolutely amazed then when Shine’s birth went to plan. I didn’t think anyone actually got the birth they planned. The birth plan was just a wish list that you could spend hours obsessing over when pregnant, right?
The day before she was born Bird went off to work as usual and about an hour after he left I started getting pain in my lower back/bum region. I hung around the bathroom feeling like I needed to go but it was too painful to sit down. After about 15 minutes I was on all fours on the bathroom floor rocking back and forth to ease the pain. I called Bird and said he’d best come home as I’d heard that back-to-back labour could be like this and I was panicking, even though there weren’t any clear cut contractions to time, I was in agony.
Of course by the time he got home everything had stopped and I felt really silly. He decided to stay home in case things were starting and I began burning the clary sage in the hope that it would get things rolling. Looking back, I think the pain was Shine turning and engaging as she was back-to-back at my last antenatal check but wasn’t when I gave birth to her. Who knows though!
The rest of the day was spent frustrated that everything seemed to have stopped. I dragged Bird out on a walk in the early evening and that got some contractions happening but they were mild enough to talk through and they stopped when I got home so I went to bed annoyed that things weren’t happening faster. I woke about 2am with contractions strong enough to keep me from sleeping so I started timing them but they were all over the place so I dozed when I could until morning.
By about 9am the contractions were 4 mins apart and I was having to block out everything else and focus on breathing to get through them so I thought I’d best call the Birth Centre and let them know something was going on. I was also hopeful that I could use the birth pool too so wanted to let them know in case I could reserve a room.
I totally lucked out and the head of the Birth Centre answered my call. She was lovely, very calm and we chatted for a minute or two before she listened to me have one contraction and said she thought I should stay home a little longer as it sounded like I was doing well. I was about to hang up when she said ‘it is your first child, right?’. ‘Er, no,’ I replied. ‘In that case you need to come in, NOW,’ she said.
So we got to the Birth Centre about 10am and the contractions remained strong and 3-4 mins apart. I had a contraction in the lift up to the Birth Centre, which totally freaked out the man sharing the lift, and then proceeded to go down on all fours in the reception area of the Birth Centre as it was the only bearable position.
The midwife came through and ushered me into a pool room. I couldn’t believe it, the lilac pool room. I was so happy to be in there after never making it past the doors with Sun, due to my blood pressure being too high, and being sent to the labour ward for monitoring. The midwife asked if she could examine me. I said I was freaked out if she did and I wasn’t dilated enough I’d have to go home and I didn’t want to slow things down. She laughed and said she didn’t think I’d be going anywhere given the state of me. I agreed to the exam and I was 3cms dilated. I remember her saying she thought I’d have my baby before the day was finished and I was sceptical!
Then she basically left me to it. She knew I was doing hypnobirthing and Bird was being an amazing coach so she said she’d do regular monitoring of the baby but that was that. I couldn’t believe that I was being allowed to stay in the Birth Centre! About 3 hours later the contractions were about a minute apart and the midwife asked if I wanted to get in the pool as until then I’d been rotating between the ball and the low bed and standing and had kind of forgotten there was a pool there to be honest. Until then I hadn’t had any pain relief. Not because I was trying not to particularly, more because I thought I should save the pain relief for later when I would need it more, thinking I still had hours and hours to go.
I got into the pool and it was like heaven. Warm and so amazing to be able to float between contractions and relax. During the contractions I was nearly pulling Bird into the pool with me. I had his hands pinned to the floor of the pool at one stage. After being in the pool for 2 contractions I felt the urge to push. I told the midwife and expected to be told I’d have to get out for an examination, but no, she said if I wanted to push to go with it. I was still really shocked that the midwives were so hands off, it was brilliant.
Then came transition and the terrifying thought that I was going to have to get this baby out all on my own, no turning back now. I seriously thought she was stuck and was never going to come out, which the midwife assured me wouldn’t happen! I didn’t have any pain relief in the end. I was so focused on each contraction and getting through them that I didn’t consider it really. Still can’t believe I gave birth with nothing. Either I was mad or that hypnobirthing lark is really good!
Giving birth to her there in the water was the most amazing thing. With Sun I hadn’t felt anything as I had had an epidural so this was all new to me. Totally bizarre. More painful than anything I’ve ever felt during the contraction and the pushing, and then the stark contrast and relief between contractions. Very odd.
Shine was born 4 hours after arriving at the Birth Centre and 6 hours later I got to take her home. It was unbelievable the difference between Sun and Shine’s births.
We got home late in the evening, Sun was asleep, and we got into bed and cuddled our gorgeous new baby. Sun running into our bedroom in the morning and seeing his baby sister for the first time is something I will never forget. And so, just like that, Sun had a sister and Bird and I had a daughter. Amazing how the world can shift and change so completely in such a short space of time.
Thinking back to Shine’s birth and writing down the memory has made me thankful for what I have today and so happy. New life is such an amazing thing.