I delivered my daughter Hannah by emergency c-section in 2016 and although I don’t consider her birth a negative experience (I dilated quickly and felt completely calm and at peace in theatre), it did leave me feeling slightly apprehensive when I fell pregnant again in 2017 as I worried I was unable to give birth naturally. I had attended a hypnobirthing course prior to having Hannah which I definitely felt helped in her birth and the lead up. However during my labour I allowed panic to take over at points and I was very keen to have another go using the techniques better second time around. I was also determined to have a good go at a VBAC mainly because I had a busy (and needy) toddler at home.
When I hit about the 34 week point I started religiously reading and watching positive birth stories which helped tremendously in creating a positive mindset. On the run up to my due date (25th May) I remember telling friends I was going to ‘kick it out of the park’. I really felt like I could do this!
On the morning of Thursday 24th May I woke with mild cramps and thought it may be the start of something so my husband decided to work from home to help with our toddler. I was unable to keep any food down all day but the cramps never came to anything so we finished the day watching ‘The Greatest Showman’ and my husband slept in the spare room as I was quite uncomfortable and he wanted to let me have a full nights sleep.
I woke around 1am to use the toilet and I remember thinking, 'oh well nothing is obviously going to happen' and went back to bed. I then woke at 4am with what I thought was a contraction. I lay calmly in bed land started timing contractions at 4:30am. Shortly after my contraction app told me it was time to go to hospital. I phoned my husband just before 5am to tell him this was it. Between 5am and 6am my contractions rapidly intensified but I managed to get myself dressed, brush my hair and even clean my teeth and put perfume on (!!). My husband went for a shower before he called my Mum who was coming to look after our little girl and I remember thinking what is he doing we really need to leave!
He later told me he hadn’t realised I was so far on as I was so calm which made me feel really proud. We arrived at the hospital just after 6 having had numerous contractions during the 10 minute journey as well as in the car park. On arrival I remember telling the midwife I felt I needed to push and after being examined was told I was fully dilated. I knew from my experience with my first labour that there was no time for any pain relief, so I just continued to focus on my breathing and was very much in my own little world.
At one point I was told they wanted me to go to theatre to have forceps as the baby's heart rate wasn’t picking up as quickly as they would like and I had been pushing almost 2 hours. But then I began to feel a burning sensation which I had read meant the baby was coming and at 8:09am, almost exactly 2 hours after arrival and 4 hours since my contractions started I gave birth naturally to our precious Bella Hope.
I can honestly say I look back on Bella’s birth with a sense of triumph. Yes there is pain in birth but it is manageable and I really felt like I enjoyed the experience and I have been left with a real feeling of empowerment and satisfaction that I accomplished what I set out to do.