On Friday 23rd March 2018 Margot Betsy Taylor arrived earthside.
We had planned a home birth.
I feel like the world is full of negative birth stories. Unfortunately things don’t always go right. But I think it’s important to share that birth can certainly be a positive and amazing experience. I think a positive mind set is so important when it comes to birth preparation.
I’ve been there. The nervous first time mother. Scared of the pain. Not educated or informed on my birth rights. Stressed and tense. And looking back I feel like these negative emotions really impacted how I dealt with Elijah’s birth. I was screaming for an epidural at 3cm. Not even established labour! Fast forward to last Friday, I birthed a baby on two paracetamol and a back rub. I don’t think I would have managed as well had I not had a positive mind set.
I decided to do hypnobirthing this time round. What I actually found most helpful was learning about the process and all stages of birth. Knowing exactly what was going to happen to my body was really interesting.
I struggled more with the breathing and relaxation. I’m not a chilled person. Always stressed, on edge and anxious. So getting into the zone with that was hard.
Ultimately I think it was a brilliant thing to do and would recommend it to anyone!
Craig also bought me The Positive Birth Book. If you are pregnant or planning… BUY THIS BOOK. It was amazing. It had so much helpful information. And as the name suggests, whether you’re having a planned csection, birthing centre or home birth, it is really positive on how you can make your birth a magical experience.
You often get people telling you not to bother with a birth plan because “it all goes out of the window anyway” followed by a harrowing story of their horrendous experience. And you’ll see later on that my plan well and truly went out of the window! But for me personally, I think planning or at least sharing your preferences is important in allowing you to feel in control and empowered.
With Elijah I wasn’t aware of my birth rights. I’ve found that unfortunately some hospital protocols aren’t always in your interest and more down to their convenience. This isn’t always the case of course. They will give recommendations or suggestions. But I’ve realised now that ultimately the decision is mine.
I, effectively, was not “allowed” to have a home birth. I have a high bmi. And as a result this falls out of the criteria for who they would allow a home birth. (Despite the fact that I was a low dependency patient under midwife care).
I decided to question this. Why? What are the risks? Can they be prevented? Can any issues be remedied at home with midwives present?
I won’t go into all of the details but after reading through pages and pages of medical research, two consultant appointments and two growth scans I had decided the risk to myself and Margot were minimal. My second consultant agreed and signed me off very quickly.
I would never actively encourage someone to go against medical advice. The advice is there for a reason. But I would say, if you don’t feel comfortable with something, feel free to question it. Ask for a second or third opinion. Do some research and come to your own informed decision. You may then decide to go ahead with the advice given. You may not.
My birth plan was quite extensive. I’m really glad I did it though. It helped me with my anxiety giving me a sense of control. I won’t share the full plan but here’s a snippet of what we wanted:
– Birthing pool
– Low lights and fairy lights
– Gas and air available as pain relief
– Free to move
– Snacks and drinks available throughout
– Music playlist
– Craig to take photos throughout
All of the above…. went completely out of the window!
On the Friday I woke up in a nesting mood. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing every room. Naturally I was feeling lots of aches and pains as I had throughout my pregnancy.
It wasn’t until lunch time when I finally sat down that I realised something might be happening. I was resting but still feeling a periodic ache at the bottom of my abdomen.
I asked my mam to pop round after she had finished work. The pains were getting worse and I was struggling with Elijah at home alone.
By the time she arrived I knew these were definitely contractions. They were very irregular so I just assumed early labour which could take a while. I had a bath then came down stairs.
By about 4pm I told my mam I wanted to go to her house (we were planning to birth there instead of my house due to it being a bigger space). I messaged Craig to come home and timed my contractions. Every 5 minutes lasting a minute and very intense.
When I got to my mam’s house Craig was already there. I called the delivery suite. They said the first midwife would be round within an hour to assess if I was in labour. I decided I wanted another bath.
The midwife arrived at about 530pm and came upstairs. She looked at me in the bath and said “I don’t think you’re in labour yet”. I was absolutely gutted. I do have a rubbish pain threshold so I was just thinking I didn’t fancy a few more days of early labour!
I got out of the bath and she examined me at 6pm. She looked surprised and turned to Craig. “I think you should blow up the birth pool”. She told me I was 5cm dilated but babies head was high so we should have plenty of time for her to move down.
She called the second midwife and asked her to bring the gas and air.
I felt desparate for a wee so nipped into the bathroom. The moment I sat down I felt a sudden urge to push. Surely that wasn’t right? I was 5cm two minutes ago!
I put my hand between my legs. I could feel her head! Still in the amniotic sac.
“She’s coming! I need to push!”
The midwife and Craig took me back into the bedroom. I got on my knees by the side of the bed. Within about 10 minutes I had a baby in my arms.
I was in a state of shock. Looking back I think I was in shock for a good 2 or 3 hours afte the birth. Craig was having a cuddle with her at one point.. and I remember being in a complete daze asking “… but where did she come from?!”
Margot was 7lb 10oz of perfection. We had a beautiful golden hour of skin to skin where she had her first feed. I cried.
Elijah was down stairs when she was born. He came up to the bedroom to meet his baby sister. He was in awe of her. He was so happy. He loves her to pieces and always wants a cuddle and a kiss.
Even though it didn’t go to plan I am SO happy with how everything turned out. And in so so happy we decided to continue with our plans for home birth. It was an amazing experience.
I love that my daughter was born at her nana’s house. And I think my mam is really proud of that too. She was born in my old bed room!
I hope this may give some pregnant mamas some reassurance that birth doesn’t always have to be scary.