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POSITIVE BIRTH STORIES: AMY

FIRST TIME MUM, HOME BIRTH, VAGINAL BIRTH

Amy is a first time mum who had an undisturbed water birth at home at 37 weeks. Her experience was calm and positive. Read her story below.

By sharing positive birth experiences written by real women, we can empower.

“As a first time Mum I was expecting to have my baby sometime around 41 weeks. I had my home birth all planned and had just tested the pool out and got the right adaptors for the taps. A few days later when I was exactly 37 weeks pregnant (to the day) I had quite a lot of energy and was going about my business as usual. I cleaned the house, popped to shops and went on a long walk with my dog. After walking up a big hill I felt an ache in the side of my belly. It didn’t even cross my mind that this would be anything to do with labour I just thought it was a weird pregnancy pain. This ache continued until I was home so I had a nap for a few hours and by the time I woke up, the ache had gone so I carried on as normal. 

At around 7pm I sat my big old pregnant bum on my husband’s knee and gave him a squeeze. When I got up to walk to the kitchen I felt something run down my leg…”hmmm I don’t think I weed myself” I thought, before realising that this was probably my waters breaking. We called the midwife who asked us to monitor the situation and call her back in the morning. I had some dinner, had a shower and washed my hair.

A bit after that I lost my mucus plug (promptly took a photo of it which I still look at to this day) and started to think things might be kicking off a bit quicker than expected. At around 9pm I started getting quite intense surges and was just sitting upstairs on my yoga ball thinking I would have to deliver my baby myself…we called again and our lovely midwife said she would be on her way. She got stuck in traffic so I had a slightly worrying few hours breathing through my surges upstairs while my husband inflated the pool and got my birthing cave ready. 

“I had so much respect for my body and what it could do, without my conscious mind getting involved.”

When she finally arrived I had been having intense surges pretty close together, for a while (I didn’t time anything so I don’t have the details) I was surprised how much I felt it in my thighs, something I wasn’t particularly expecting. I had no vaginal examinations as I had requested and everything seemed to be moving very quickly. I had all these lovely active birth movements ready in my mind but in reality all I wanted to do was sit cross legged and bolt upright on my bed. My midwife just sat in my room and chatted to me in between surges. It was immensely comforting and reassuring. 

I think it was around 2am I shuffled down the stairs and hefted myself into the birthing pool. I think at this point I was in transition and having really intense surges, pretty much back to back. My midwife gently suggested that I try turning around and kneeling up leaning my arms over the side of the pool, which I did, and things seemed to kick up another notch. I decided that although it was even more intense in this position I would stick it out as it would probably be over quicker! Then I did the typical thing of thinking I needed the loo, hefting myself out of the pool and padding my wet feet to the toilet and realising I didn’t need to go after all! I got back in the pool and back into that same position leaning over the side and my body just started to push. This wasn’t a voluntary thing at all, my body just did it for me which felt totally bizarre but a relief from the back to back surges. I am not sure how long the pushing lasted for, my husband says it was 45 mins to an hour (if you asked me I would say it could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours, I have no idea). For a while my son kept edging down the birth canal and then what felt like him shooting back up again (this was alarming to me as I had not been warned it might happen) but around 4.30 am all 7lbs of our beautiful little guy eventually emerged, and was in my arms within seconds. 

I actually found the second stage easier than the first as it felt really productive and my mind was totally overridden by my body’s natural instincts, meaning I wasn’t completely aware of what was going on. I just went with it. Yes it was incredibly intense, yes it was incredibly challenging, but I would not have wished it any other way. I had so much respect for my body and what it could do, without my conscious mind getting involved.  I had a physiological delivery of my placenta and then after examination my midwife realised I had a small tear and so she stitched me up on the sofa, using the torch on her phone to keep the cosy atmosphere.

An hour or so after giving birth little baby Noah managed to latch on nicely and the three of us snuggled in bed, in disbelief that this had all happened so quickly! I believe that in addition to a certain amount of genetic luck, the preparation I did previous to my birth (pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing, reading and watching positive birth videos) as well as my decision to have a home birth all strongly contributed to my straightforward and quick labour. Thanks to this I decided to retrain as a pregnancy yoga & hypnobirthing practitioner so I could help other people have a similar experience. 

Women’s bodies are incredible.” 

If you had a positive birth experience that you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you. Please send your story and any pictures you’d like to include to info@theintuitivedoula.co.uk.

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MY DOULA JOURNEY

It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post. When I came out of university and was taking my first steps in the world of fashion, I started a blog to update about what I’d been up to and how my career was progressing. I was 21. I am now 30 and following a completely different path, which I am so unbelievably grateful for! 

It was during my first pregnancy that I read and researched so much about growing and birthing babies that I knew I wouldn’t be returning to a career in fashion.  My first pregnancy was unplanned… by no means unwanted, but due to being slightly irresponsible, myself and my partner (of five years at the time) found ourselves having to grow up very quickly after falling pregnant aged 23. Fast forward a couple of months we were extremely excited and prepared to welcome our baby earth-side. I think it is important to realise pregnancy has many different meanings for people, many different reactions and many different outcomes. I draw on my experience of finding out I was pregnant for the first time and understand that some people don’t feel immediately ecstatic but that news may also come from a place of shock, worry or panic, and it may take a while to digest the news. I know that it did for me. I had always had that mothering instinct, perhaps from having three younger siblings (the youngest of which is 16 years younger than me) but at that time, I felt like the least likely person to have a baby. With that being said, I was in awe of the whole process. We had a dating scan at 7 weeks because I genuinely had no idea when my last period was, so was completely unable to estimate how many weeks pregnant I was. From the moment of the scan and seeing that tiny kidney bean with a flickering heartbeat, all fear left me. From then on I was absorbed in it. I read books, started a pregnancy yoga class, listened to podcasts and joined every forum and group online that I could. I wanted to know and understand everything that was happening to my body and how it was growing a baby. 

Finding out I was pregnant for the second time, with my daughter Wren, was much more relaxed. I felt ready. I always kept track of my monthly cycle by this point (which is where my fascination with women cycles started, but thats a whole other blog post) so I was sure, when my period was a week late, that we had another baby on the way. I was very lucky with both of my pregnancies, they both went very smoothly.

“I am extremely passionate about
women receiving the right support during such a transformational period of their lives and that is what fuelled my desire to become a doula.”

I went on to have two very different but equally empowering births. Elba was born in the water at the hospital in a dark, cosy birthing suite with a little gas & air for pain management. It was the birth I had hoped for and felt so lucky to have had everything go to “plan”. My second birth was an unplanned, unassisted home birth… & although it may sound it, it really wasn’t that scary and it didn’t occur through lack of giving enough time to get to the hospital. My waters had started trickling that morning so early evening we went to the hospital to be assessed, where my waters literally gushed and contractions had started to come on a little stronger. But because they were irregular & not lasting a specific amount of time, I was sent home with the advice to “have something to eat, take a bath and wait to be in established labour” before going back up there. Wren was born in our downstairs toilet an hour after arriving home from the hospital, with just my partner & mum there to assist the birth. It was an incredible experience. It happened pretty fast but everyone was so calm, allowing instinct and intuition to take over. In hindsight I wish I’d planned a home birth after toying with the idea throughout my pregnancy. 

I am extremely passionate about women receiving the right support during such a transformational period of their lives and that is what fuelled my desire to become a doula. I really wanted to have the most natural labour possible, so I armed myself with tools that I felt would make this happen. I felt calm, confident and welcomed birth. I couldn’t wait to experience it. I want to empower women to feel this way, to rid them of any fear they are withholding and coach them through in the gentlest way possible. I am fascinated by women’s health, our cycles and everything childbirth, & genuinely feel it is my calling to support women in this way.