Story by Jo
My husband and I attended your Calmbirth class and found it so helpful to understand not only the labour process but also discuss how we may prepare for this and work together to bring our first baby boy into the world.
My ‘ideal’ labour was to have a vaginal water birth without pain relief. As much as this ‘ideal’ is important to work out your preferences, I also found it was extremely important to take a calm and informed approach as things do not always go to a rigid plan.
I woke up at 1am during the night with a bleed. This was not uncommon in my pregnancy so I wasn’t too alarmed but contacted the hospital who asked me to come in for a check-up. I told my husband to stay at home because he had a big day at work the next day and I suspected it would just be a short check-up as we had 2 weeks still to go. A couple hours later, the doctor confirmed my water had been leaking and I would need to be induced into labour. The doctor said let hubby sleep in as he will need his rest. Well, after texting my husband, there was no chance of him sleeping in.
He grabbed my labour bag and came rushing to the hospital via an uber. I surprised myself at how calm I was during this process.
At the time of induction, we set-up the labour room how we planned. Dimmed the lights, put on a beautiful lamp from the hospital, incense, my own positive affirmations flag, calming music and battery operated candles. I also provided my Calmbirth written preferences to our midwife who discussed these with us and was supportive of using words such as ‘waves’ rather than contraction. Some preferences were not possible due to the change in circumstances with my labour and bub, but they made every effort to apply the ones that were possible.
I was induced into labour at 6.30am and the midwife needed to break my waters fully. As my plans to birth my baby in the bath could not happen due to the many cords I was attached to, we worked through alternative options.
Unfortunately, it was too painful to sit on the labour ball that I brought in, particularly as my son was posterior facing at the time. Learning about birth positions that will promote bub to move into the right position for labour from the Calmbirth course, I was reminded by our midwife that I could get onto my knees and rest my head and arms on the end of the bed. I remained in this position for most of the labour.
My husband and I worked together through each wave focusing on breathing whilst hubby held a heat pack on my lower back and I used the TENS machine. We managed like this for a couple of hours with the midwife providing encouragement and support when I needed.
We were so lucky to have the most amazing midwife who had done a Calmbirth class and birthed her child this way 6 months before!
After a couple of hours the midwife said we were 8cm dilated. At some point, I asked for gas as pain relief and I am so glad I did because this was extremely useful as a focusing point for my breathing during the later stages. My labour was very intense and quick with our baby boy being born at 11am that morning – 4.5 hours after induction. The midwife said I had a 2.5 hour active labour.
My experience of labour was feeling really intense pressure rather than pain. This does not mean it was easy – it was very hard but there is no need to fear the pain.
It was not until my bub’s head was coming out that I felt sharp pain and this contributed to him coming out with his hand next to his head and the 3 internal tears as a result. Nonetheless, I didn’t feel any pain after that despite being stitched up by the doctor as I was too distracted by our beautiful baby boy in my arms!
I am so thankful for my experience because I had a positive and amazing labour. And despite it not going to my original ‘ideal’ plan, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. And yes there are times that medical intervention is needed to ensure mum and bub’s safety, but that’s perfectly ok too.
The Calmbirth course reinforced that our bodies know what they need to do and that we don’t need to be afraid of labour – it can be an amazing challenge and beautiful experience. I look forward to doing the refresher course for bub no. 2.