First time mum Vanessa stayed calm and in control throughout her long labour even when things didn’t quite go to plan. As she says ‘ what mattered most was that I had all those feelings of support and love and reassurance throughout’ Read her wonderful first birth below

A wonderful first birth story

I woke up at 2am during the night on Tuesday 4th with cramps, and didn’t think a great deal of it as I’d had a few days of feeling cramp. But given that my due date had passed three days earlier, I did suspect that this might be it!

I excitedly started timing, and was pleased to note that they were coming regularly every 20 minutes and after an hour or so that became every 10.

I didn’t wake Jake up, as still wasn’t completely convinced that we were in action, and was worried that it might slow down and we’d be back to playing the waiting game. Sure enough though, by the time Jake woke up at about 6, they’d been coming through consistently and I knew it was time!

Jake queried going off to work, but I told him to just go – the cramps were manageable and I would call if things hotted up.

With him gone, I decided to just push on with my day as planned, and went for a dog walk, met my mum and even went to an osteopath appointment!

The surges were uncomfortable, but I put my breathing techniques into practice from the off, to help them pass.

Even though I could feel them getting stronger, and I was having to lean over various surfaces while they passed, I still had that nagging feeling that it might all stop!

I refused to take any paracetamol or use my tens machine for fear of it still not being the real thing. By 3pm I was ready to start with the tens and was glad of the relief it gave through my surges. I felt what I thought was my waters breaking then too, so called Jake and said I thought he should come home.

I was determined to labour at home for as long as possible, so when he called the triage line and and they gave us the option of going in I said ‘no way’. I was petrified of driving back and forth multiple times and wanted to only go in when I was sure it was crunch time! Part of me just thought I’d wet myself – rather than it being my waters’ that had gone!!

By 9pm the surges were really strong and coming thick and fast, and I jumped in the bath on Jake’s recommendation, which seemed to really speed things up. I got out and felt my waters go more, so Jake suggested it might be time to head to hospital.

I was surging intensely every few minutes by this point, but was still resistant! I was just so paranoid that I’d be sent home, having only dilated minimally, and be really disheartened. My family have always joked about my low pain threshold, so I was sure I would be told that I just wasn’t coping well with the surges and still had ages to go.

I knew to trust Jake’s judgement though, and was happy to be led by him, so off we went. On arrival, the midwife checked my maternity pad and found meconium in the waters. This meant that the baby would need constant monitoring, and my hopes of delivering on the midwife led birth centre were ruined. Happily though, I was 5cm dilated so wasn’t going anywhere until we’d met our baby!

The birth had taken an unexpected turn and I was momentarily upset about the monitoring situation, and having to be on the delivery suite. I knew it was the safest thing to do though. Remembering my birth affirmations I decided to stay relaxed and go with the flow – and that’s just what I did.

It turned out that the universe had it all mapped out perfectly!! By complete fluke I was put in the care of a midwife I had met by chance when she covered one of my prenatal appointments. During that 20 minute meeting we just clicked and I had thought ever since how lovely it would have been to see her during the birth. I was completely elated when I saw her, and kept saying to Jake ‘I can’t believe it, she’s the one! It’s Karla!’

From then on I had the dream team; Jake who gave me constant comfort and reassurance, Karla who knew exactly what I needed when, and gas and air – my new best mate!

The labour passed in a blur then, as I danced around in my bra, sang and gave Jake and Karla a right laugh with my gas and air antics! And just like you said, Deborah, when I decided I couldn’t carry on and had to have a little cry, Mr Fred appeared just twenty minutes or so later, at 3.52am, and we had done it!

The feeling of achievement was overwhelming, and I can honestly say that my positive experience was largely down to the preparation we’d done with our hypnobirthing.

While the length of labour (I’d hoped for a quick few hours’ job…!) and unexpected change of circumstances would normally have panicked me, I understood that these were just logistics. All that really mattered was that I had all those feelings of support and love and reassurance throughout, which thanks to Jake and Karla I absolutely did. I can’t recommend the course enough to anyone I meet!

A photograph of a dad and his newborn baby boy, from a wonderful first birth story

Thanks for all your guidance and support Deborah, and I will see you soon at one of your meet ups!

Lots of love

Vanessa x

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