A first time mother’s natural birth in CUMH

So I thought that nearly 17 weeks later it’s time to get my birth story down, before I forget any of it. Our son Daniel was born on the 5th June at 12.25am, it was a totally natural birth which I really, really wanted (even though everyone told me to be flexible I was determined not to take drugs or have an epidural). I was aided by my fantastic hypnobirthing CD and my also fantastic TENS machine. I had a really positive experience and I can honestly say that I didn’t really feel any pain once I put the CD and TENS machine on, only pressure and the will to push like the bejasus.

So the day before Daniel arrived I’d been swimming in the sea and washing the windows in about 27 degree heat! It was SO hot that week and I just wanted him out. My friend called round to check on me and gave out that I hadn’t packed my bag for the hospital, choosing to wash windows instead…There was a part of me that knew things were happening when I was standing on the chair with the cloth in my hand! ‘Eh this is a bit mad’ I thought. On our way home from the swim James and I stopped for chips and I wolfed them down but I was feeling a bit restless and couldn’t get comfortable in the car.

The next day I had a check up with the doctor who assured me that though Daniel was in position he probably wasn’t ready to arrive yet, sure he was due in a weeks and as I was a first timer I was more than likely to go over. After that I went and met my friend and off we went to the spa where I visited the steam room, hammam room, cold showers, hot showers, warm recliners and the indoor and outdoor pool. Looking back on it, what chance did the poor child have! No wonder he came early! Then off we took ourselves to the pub for lunch. After I’d polished off a pretty gross cheesecake (didn’t stop me eating it all) we were getting ready to go and I stood up to go to the toilet.

First I was saying that I wanted to go home but then really quickly I figured she was right and I was in the best place. After this they wanted to put a trace on me and there was NO WAY I was letting that happen. I just couldn’t have laid down no matter what.

Halfway across the room I felt that my trousers were all wet, ‘Ah sure that’ll be all the water I was in this morning’ I thought to myself foolishly. I went to the toilet and the water was still coming, quite alot of water too! At this point I kind of wanted to go home but my friend wouldn’t let me drive, so we had to pick her daughter up, bring her partner’s mum into town and then bring me up to my husband’s work. I was really nervous and excited so I put on my CD but wasn’t really able to concentrate so I took it off and tried to relax and enjoy the view from the car, sitting on her raincoat so as not to ruin the upholstery! Eventually we got to my husband’s work and then we had to drive back into town to pick our car up! Waaahhh! Never had I been so happy that we’d moved to Cork from Dublin before, it’s so much smaller and easier to get around.

At this point fluid was still coming out but not very quickly and it did have a slight red tinge but I wasn’t worried about that. I rang Tracy and she hold us to go into the hospital, get checked out and then I could come home to labour. Ho Ho Ho. We came home and pottered around for a bit (packing my bag!) and then I felt it was time to go. I started feeling surges in the car on the way but I wanted to stop on the way to pick up a pyjamas…we went around New Look and then Penneys, I found a cool pair of white pj’s with big pink stars on but then I had to find a matching top. All the while my surges were about 3 minutes apart. While we were in the queue to pay I started to really feel that I needed to get to the hospital and I think I may have sort of shouted at the cashier who was really slowly putting my stuff into the bag that ‘I had to go to hospital NOW!’

Off we headed across the road to the hospital where I had to wait for AGES before they admitted me. I walked up and down while I was waiting, my husband finished off his last essay for college in the waiting room! There were three kids in the waiting room running round and screaming and it was doing my head in so we moved to the main reception. At this point I hadn’t put on my TENS or my CD and I started to feel a bit out of control, the sensations were starting to get stronger and I was kind of bent over. I felt like I couldn’t do it and I started crying. My husband at this point was great, he made me put on my CD and the TENS and within 5 minutes I was walking around chatting again.

Then a midwife came out to examine me and I kept saying I wanted to go home, I wanted to go home to labour. She did an internal which after she told me would make the surges stronger (thanks for telling me beforehand!) and then about 10 mins after that things really started to kick in. A doctor came out to give me the all clear to go home, she took one look at me and said ‘you’re not going anywhere, you’re in labour and you’d only have to come back in once you got home’. First I was saying that I wanted to go home but then really quickly I figured she was right and I was in the best place. After this they wanted to put a trace on me and there was NO WAY I was letting that happen. I just couldn’t have laid down no matter what. It’s such a shame that most women think that they have to have the trace put on cos I reckon it really makes things harder. I said that I wanted the doppler used and that if they really wanted to know when my contractions were happening then I’d tell them. So they eventually agreed but I had to sign a waiver form (imagine!). I was very happy and confident to do this.

Then after awhile we went up to the ward where I tried to walk around a bit but just couldn’t, the pressure was too much. The poor girl I was sharing a room with, I was being pretty vocal about the whole thing, but not out of control. I just felt I needed to make some noise so I did. I kept listening to the colour part of the CD, which brought me to the field that I walked round a lot with the dog when I was pregnant. It was amazing how relaxed it made me feel, I thought about the dog a lot too, weirdly!

Two pushes later and the little fella was out, all 8.10lbs of him. A grand big lusty fella. I was so expecting a girl that after I was actually able to look down my first words were ‘Oh my god, look at the size of his balls!’ I think they were a bit taken aback by that reaction!

We then got ready to go down to the labour ward, the nurse tried to get me to sit on the wheelchair, of which there was no chance. Then she said I’d have to walk so, I tried a step or two and that wasn’t going to work either. In the end I kneeled up on the chair facing backwards, she wasn’t happy about that at all and I had to promise I wouldn’t fall off. I then started feeling like pushing. It was such an unusual feeling, it just came on me, I didn’t have to know that I was 10cms dilated, I could’ve told them I was. So I started to push. And push and push and push! After about 10 mins of being in the labour ward the nurse said ‘get a baby gro and nappy, the baby will be here very soon’. That kind of put the fear of God in me and I felt a bit shakey for a bit but then refocused on the CD and kept on with the TENS.

James gave the midwife our birth plan and we’d had the lights dimmed. They were very receptive to our wishes and I felt very relaxed. At one point the midwife said did I want to feel his head so she took my hand and I touched it as it crowned! So off I was pushing and pushing and pushing. And pushing. And pushing. About an hour later the midwife said that she knew we didn’t want assisted pushing but she really felt that the baby needed to come out as his heartbeat was slowing down a little bit, we had a go at that but nothing happened. Eventually the doctor came in and said she was concerned and wanted baby out pretty much now, she gave me the chance to push through 2 more contractions and then we all agreed an episiotomy was for the best. Two pushes later and the little fella was out, all 8.10lbs of him. A grand big lusty fella. I was so expecting a girl that after I was actually able to look down my first words were ‘Oh my god, look at the size of his balls!’ I think they were a bit taken aback by that reaction!

Then he was put up on my tummy and we waited for the cord to stop pulsating. I wanted to wait and deliver the placenta but by then I was cold and tired and just wanted to get it over with so they gave me the injection. The midwife also offered me gas and air for the stitches! Jaysus I just gave birth to a baby without it, I think I can handle a few stitches! I got a local anaesthic for that but it was a bit sore anyway. I breastfed him just after he was born and declined the Vitamin K injection (so we have to give it to him orally every month now till I stop breastfeeding).

It was an amazing, challenging and sometimes unnerving experience but like I said I felt totally in control and didn’t feel much pain, just pressure. It’s taken awhile to get used to our new life but I’m reallly starting to enjoy him now, we still manage to go out for dinner most weeks and have a few glasses of wine now and then so that’s good enough for me! I have to say I think the hypnobirthing not only helped me in the labour but has also helped me become a more confident, positive person all round, I still practice affirmations and listen to the parenting CD. Daniel is also a very happy, smiley, relaxed baby and I’d put some of that down to all the work I did with the hypnobirthing when I was pregnant.

All birth stories and images featured in 42 weeks have been generously shared by members of the public in Ireland. If you would like to take part and share your story, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch through the website http://www.42weeks.ie, through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/42weeks or follow us on Twitter at @42_weeks.

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One thought on “A first time mother’s natural birth in CUMH

  1. Congratulations, it sounds like you were in control of your birth throughout and made the right choices for you and your baby. It sounds like CUMH was pushing interventions at you all the way, not happy for you to labour totally naturally. when you say trace, do you mean the strap they include with the ECG that monitors contractions? They really don’t need to do that, so it’s mad that they make you sign a form to opt out! It’s a shame they pressured you into a episiotomy, because the baby would have come out anyway, but hey that’s hospitals for you. You probably don’t want to think about next time yet, but Cork has a brilliant community homebirth midwife scheme where you would have the dream birth with no traces and no cutting and no pressure! Thanks for sharing your brilliant story.

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