The birth of Emiliana

Second time mum / VBAC / Epidural / Hypnobirthing

 

 

Written by Michelle

On the morning of the Thursday before due date (due date was Monday) my waters broke at 4am after a night of period pains and lots of movement from baby. I woke up to a warm sensation between my legs (not enough to wet the bed but enough to wake me up) and asked my partner to check if it was blood. He quickly grabbed a towel to put on the floor next to the bed and as I got up, my waters gushed…I couldn’t believe it. I knelt down and let them continue to come away for the next 10 minutes. I could see the streaky blood in my pad and was satisfied that the waters were clear and odourless…it was definitely my waters breaking!

 

My mum arrived as I was on the phone to triage informing them of our situation and I then hopped in the shower to freshen up. At this point I had only a very dull ache come and go so was able to sort myself out and the final bits needed for my hospital bag without any trouble. My partner and I then headed off in the car very excited (after waving goodbye to our toddler who thought we were heading off to work bless her!).

 

We arrived at the maternity ward around 5am and it was confirmed my waters had broke. I used this time to stay in an upright position and to revisit the Hypnobirthing videos for the labour stage. Due to my positive Group Strep B (GSB) result at the start of my pregnancy, it was advised that I needed to go straight to labour ward to get the required antibiotics going for me and the baby (labour ward was always the plan due to my precious c-section). The midwife informed me that normally a 48 hour window is given for labour to start after waters breaking however this was reduced to 24 hours when GSB is a risk.

 

I was determined to go into natural labour and avoid any intervention with inductions as much as possible after my previous birth ended in a emergency c-section. I felt super confident and had my Hypnobirthing tools at hand to stay focussed. Having this 24 hour deadline was certainly not ideal but I wasn’t going to let this get to me and my midwife was incredible for supporting my wishes, as well as the consultant who came to check me at around 8am. We agreed that we wouldn’t start any hormone drip until midday to see whether my body went into natural labour.

 

It was slow but I did start to have mild contractions which I recorded on the Freya app around 9am. They were coming every 6-10minutes until I had my first VE…and then annoyingly everything stopped for a good 40 mins. The VE also showed that my cervix was unfavourable and very set back.

 

I got focused and set myself up on the birthing ball with the hypnobirthing audio tracks playing through my headphones. The contractions were very irregular and still quite mild. Around 11am I was given the option to have a clip on baby’s head to monitor the heart rate instead of the wireless monitoring around the tummy, as this was not working very well. As the clip was being inserted the midwife noticed very little change in the cervix so struggled to get it connected. During this time, I had 2 strong contractions so she stopped and asked for a more senior midwife to try instead. To our surprise the second midwife revealed I was now infact 2cm and the cervix was anterior…I let out a little cry with joy! Turns out those 2 contractions were Emi nuzzling her head down 🙂

 

Because of the progress and the fact my natural contractions had started to now ramp up (back to every 5-6 minutes) the midwife held off starting the hormone drip. Back on the ball and dimmed lighting, along with a bag full of treats, I focussed on building that oxytocin. The room was very calm and my midwife let me do my own thing for another couple hours.

 

The surges were still quite mild and with the clock ticking to get into active labour I agreed to have the hormone drip but at a very low level to begin with (I was still determined to go as natural as possible). I already had the cannula in my hand due to the antibiotics being administered every 4 hours so I barely noticed the drip going in, as the midwife didn’t make a big deal about it starting (at this point I had headphones in and an eye mask).  

 

I very quickly went to 3 contractions in 10 and the surges were strong. My partner had to support me through them and I opted to start using the gas & air after a couple hours of the drip. At about 6pm, the midwife told me that I really needed to get to 4 in 10 for things to progress which made me slightly worry as I felt I was at my limit with handling the contractions. Because I was being monitored I was limited with what positions I could try and I wasn’t able to labour in water sadly.

 

After about another hour of labouring with the drip turned up, I started to feel a sharp pain lower down near what felt like my c-section scar. This was always a concern opting to try for a VBAC birth as I had been informed that there is a risk of rupture and it will be painful. The pain I felt was much different to the surges so I did unfortunately start to panic and I couldn’t get myself back down to a ”green” headspace. Sadly, my partner was also panicking so wasn’t able to help me either, however we both thought it best to bring in a second birth partner to try and reset. My older sister was more than willing and the moment she arrived, it instantly gave me the boost I needed to get focussed again. In the meantime, I had requested the epidural mainly because I was not coping with this new pain near the scar but I had also lost control of dealing with the contractions.

 

Once the eipidral was in, I was able to relax into the most calm state using my Hypnobirthing tools and listening to the Freya app on repeat. I used the gas and air through every contraction still to aid my breathing and take the edge off the pain that I still felt down one side. I was able to dilate from 4cm to 9cm in just a couple hours which was incredible and I cried with joy again. The Hypnobirthing was so powerful, I cannot recommend this enough..I was in full control and even managed to have the hormone drip turned off as my natural contractions took over 🙂

The Hypnobirthing was so powerful, I cannot recommend this enough… I was in full control and even managed to have the hormone drip turned off as my natural contractions took over!

 

My sister left us around 11pm with just a tiny bit of cervix left to dilate. I cannot thank her enough for saving my VBAC birth as she was what I needed to get back on track mentally. I quickly dilated the last cm and was advised by my amazing midwife to rest for an hour and to keep in the relaxed state I was in as it was working so well. I could feel the surges change to a more pushing down feeling and breathed through them whilst I drifted in and out of sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

The epidural was wearing off enough for me to feel more of the surge in order to aid with pushing when the surges ramped up. The midwife had me on my side and coached me through a squeezing technique rather than the breathing out one I had practised. It was all very calm and gradually my little girl made her way down the canal. I was reaching the 2 hour stage so a dr was now with us in case the need of intervention was needed, however the head was so close to coming out she held off and with a little cut, out the head came. At this point I had my legs in stirrups so I had the most amazing view of my daughter arriving in the world with the next surge and she was lifted on to me for 3 hours of skin to skin.

 

 

My partner cut the cord after delayed cord clamping which is something we didn’t get the chance to do with my first birth experience. Emiliana was so calm, barely a scream came out which I believe was hugely down to the calm delivery we managed to maintain.

 

I’m so so chuffed I was able to get the VBAC experience and I cannot thank the midwife team enough for supporting me with this and help create such a calm environment for my birth.
Baby Emiliana born via beautiful VBAC on labour ward on 27th Jan 2023. 8lb 10z at 39+4 weeks.

 

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