First time parents Gemma and Mark remained calm and in control throughout a long labour. Gemma’s story is so inspiring, I love how positive and calm she stayed, using her Wise Hippo hypnobirthing techniques throughout every stage 

Our daughter Lucy Lomas was born 10 days early on Saturday 21st May at 9.44am. She certainly knew how to make an entrance!

I’m not entirely sure when my surges started.  I hadn’t been feeling well since the weekend before and had a few signs of pre labour. My bloody show started on Sunday, but there were no other signs that actual labour had begun, other than the odd surge feeling which I assumed were braxton hicks. On the Wednesday evening before she was born, the surges became regular. At 11pm they were 10 minutes apart.

Mark was snoring away and I decided to sleep in a different bed, as I wanted to try to relax and not be irritated by his snoring noises! I checked my phone to see what time the surges were coming and the more I was getting, the more I felt like I must be in labour.

They were not as bad as I thought they might be and I was able to sleep until 4am, when I then needed to use some breathing techniques we had learnt in class to get through the surges.

I woke Mark up to let him know that I thought our baby was on her way.  He asked if I needed him or if he could sleep for longer – men hey!!!

The surges started to get longer but were still only 8 minutes apart when, at 11am I felt some waters trickle and at 1pm a lot more water, so rang the hospital and they asked us to come down to check if in fact my waters had broken.  Mark did not believe I was in labour as he said I was too calm.

We got to the hospital and they did an examination to confirm my waters had broken, but said that my contractions were too far apart at this time and that I should go home and relax and return when I had 4 in 10 minutes lasting longer than one minute.

They booked me in for 1pm the following day for an induction in case my contractions were not closer together on their own, as I may be at risk of infection after 24 hours.

We went home and I started to realise that when I was sat down and relaxed that my contractions were getting further apart so I tried using my bouncy ball, rocking back and forth, walking up and down the stairs.  Slowly but surely the surges were getting closer together and lasting over a minute.  Mark was timing them and around bedtime I had 3 in 10 minutes.

I realised that the surge was most intense around the third deep breath so once I was past that I knew I could cope with the feeling of it.

At 11pm Mark suggested we try to sleep until I had 4 surges in 10 minutes.  I somehow was able to sleep again until 4am, waking as I felt each surge then sleeping in between.  At 4am I realised that resting wasn’t the best idea as the surges went back to being 20 minutes apart.

I got up, did the same routine as the day before, using the bouncy ball, staying active until eventually at 10am I was getting 4 surges in 10 minutes.  I felt determined to get to the hospital before the 1pm induction deadline.

When we arrived I was examined and told I was 2cm dilated.  The midwife in the birth centre was so lovely and encouraged hypnobirthing techniques. She suggested we go to the canteen to get some lunch for energy and that she would examine me again at 1pm.

We walked to the canteen and it felt so hot, for the first time I felt out of my comfort zone. I did not want to be in labour in front of all these people so we grabbed a sandwich and walked back to the birth centre, stopping whenever the surge felt too much.

I was examined again at 1pm and told still only 2cm which was quite disheartening.  I was then taken to the labour ward where the rest of my waters were broken.  I was expecting this to be painful but did not feel a thing apart from a lot of water come out.

Unfortunately for me at this point, my midwife was called back to the birth centre and I was left in the labour ward with a new midwife who I have to admit I was not so keen on.  She dismissed the techniques as if to say that I wouldn’t cope well without pain relief.

I was told that the baby needed to be monitored so I had to stay on the labour ward strapped to a machine.  This was the last place I wanted to be, but I was quite tired by this point and just wanted to get on with it.  The surges were getting more and more intense and I was having to hold onto Mark for support when they came.  I tried gas and air but after one attempt it tasted disgusting and I felt I focused better on breathing through the surge without it.

I was examined again and still only 2cm.  The midwife suggested I have the hormone drip as I was not dilating on my own.  They told me that they expected it to take another 10 hours before I reached 10cm and said it would be more painful as the hormone was artificial.  At this point I had been feeling the surges for 40 hours and felt more exhausted than anything else.  I was told to consider pain relief.  I think if I did not know it would be another 10 hours and took each surge as it came I would have coped better.  But with my new midwife’s negative attitude and feeling incredibly tired I opted for an epidural.  I was glad I made this decision in the end as it actually took another 18 hours until I was 9cm dilated.

I was monitored all night and examined every four hours to check my progress.  It was still very slow.
By 8am on Saturday morning my temperature had risen and they were concerned that I would get a fever or that the baby would be affected, so they asked if they could deliver her by C-Section.  I felt quite relieved at this point that I was finally going to meet my daughter and no longer have to lie in the hospital bed playing a waiting game.

I was taken to theatre and did not feel a thing other than a sensation that someone was shaking my belly.  And then I heard my baby cry… she was finally here after 58 hours.

I think I was slightly delirious with the exhaustion but so happy to meet Lucy at last.

I just realised this has turned into an essay! I wanted to say thank you so much for the Wise Hippo classes in preparation for this long labour.  I think even though it was not the labour we had planned, I was able to stay calm for each decision we made and get through 40 hours of surges without pain relief!!! It was a case of the right birth on the day.

Whenever people hear my story they all say ‘Oh no it sounds terrible’, but I don’t feel that it was bad at all. I would do it again! The only downside was how long it took as I went into motherhood with no energy.

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