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Elliot - A Loving Birth

In the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy I tried to do a relaxation exercise each day.  At first I found that they just put me to sleep, but after a while I got the hang of it.

 

 I was overdue and had an appointment booked with my obstetrician on 1 March to discuss induction. I was very eager to give birth however was still fairly relaxed about everything.  I was disappointed that I might need to be induced, but was happy to take things as they came.   On 28 February, I felt a bit off all day and had quite strong Braxton hicks contractions during the afternoon/evening.  I didn't think anything of it because I had been getting these quite regularly and I didn't feel they were particularly strong or any different to those I had experienced earlier.  After watching some rather crap TV we went to bed at about 11.30 pm.

 At around 1.30 am on the 1st I woke up to a strong sensation similar to period pain and sat bolt upright in bed.  I didn't believe that it was a contraction so I tried to get back to sleep, however there were more and more.  The sensations were coming very close together, but I was still in denial that this was labour.  I asked Gavin to ring the hospital while I paced up and down the hallway.  The midwife asked about the contractions and was of the opinion that I was probably still in early labour and suggested just trying to sleep through them.  She said that if I didn't feel I could sleep through them I could come in to the hospital.  So I sent Gavin back to bed and continued to pace around the hallway.  I was starting to feel a bit anxious as I had expected the waves to build up over time and as a result was surprised that they were coming every couple of minutes.

 So off we went to the hospital and arrived at about 2.45 am.   On the way to the hospital I was saying to Gavin, they'll probably send us home because I'm still in the early stages.  On arrival at the hospital the midwife did her initial examination and it turns out I was already 8 cm dilated.  This was a huge shock to me as I had only really just come to terms with the fact that I was in labour.  I guess I was either in the early stages the previous night when I thought that I was just having Braxton Hicks contractions or else I slept through the first part.  The funny thing is, that in my final weeks of relaxation when I was visualising the birth, for some reason I always visualised that I would get to hospital and be far more dilated than anticipated, and that is how it happened.

 After the initial examination I had a shower for ages and was trying to breathe through the waves, but I found that while they were manageable, I still felt pain.  I started to feel too hot though so got out and started walking around the delivery suite.  This was probably a mistake as I found that I started to get more and more anxious and concentrate on the pain and was breathing through my mouth rather than through my nose.  One thing I found that did help me during this period was that I kept muttering I trust my body to birth my baby.  Each time I came back to this mantra I found myself becoming more and more calm.  Once I realised that I was not doing the relaxation breathing, I gave myself a mental shake and sat down in the armchair.  From there, I concentrated on my breathing and suddenly the waves came and went much more easily.  I was still aware of them, but the anxiousness that I had been feeling was gone.

 A couple of hours went by and I decided to try another shower.  While I was in the shower I felt the need to start pushing.  Unfortunately my waters hadn't yet broken and while our preference had been for them to rupture naturally, I decided to allow the midwife to break them for me.  Once this was done I continued my breathing and started pushing while standing beside the bed.  I was making a number of primal noises which I think were probably a bit unnerving for Gavin, but I was not in any pain, they were just coming out of me.  After around 10 minutes the midwife examined me only to find that my cervix was still not fully dilated.  So I had to stop pushing until that had been rectified, I was told for at least an hour after the rupturing of the membranes had taken place, another 50 minutes by that time.  During discussions with the midwife, I started to prepare myself for the possibility that I may need to have a caesarean as that seemed to be where things were going.  I was trying not to get upset at the prospect and started to visualise how it would pan out if a caesarean was needed.  After about another 10 minutes the urge to push was too great and fortunately the cervix had fully dilated and the head was on its way down.

 All that was left to do at this stage was to push.  I couldn't seem to master the CalmBirth method of breathing to push and because I was concentrating on "getting it right", I was not being effective so I just did what felt natural which seemed to work out fine for me.

 After about 50 minutes of pushing little Elliot was born.  I have never before felt such a rush of love as what I did the moment he was in my sight and then placed on my chest.  Gavin and I were both so consumed by him.  I was lucky enough not to tear, I just had a small graze as Elliot's hand was up by his face when he was born.

 Elliot had his first breastfeed within roughly half an hour of being born and it was the most overwhelming experience for me.  Elliot has fed well from day one and we have not had any breastfeeding issues and I believe it is as a result of the early skin to skin contact and the initial breastfeed.

 I should also mention that Gavin was a great support through the whole birth.  He was on hand to help me in whatever way I needed.  He also made sure that the midwives knew what our wishes were and always checked that I was comfortable with what was happening. 

 I know that the CalmBirth course helped me immensely and gave me the tools I needed to have a relatively pain free, joyous and loving birth experience.  After the birth one of the first things I said to my obstetrician and midwife was "well that wasn't so bad after all".

 After doing the CalmBirth course Gavin and I recommended CalmBirth to everyone who we knew that was also pregnant.  I can't wait to tell everyone my birth story and I make sure they know the important role that CalmBirth played in it and give it my highest recommendation.  I cannot thank you enough. 

 

 Jo