First time mum Jess was induced two weeks after her estimated due date and went onto have a truly amazing water birth, just as she’d hoped – read her incredible birth story below and be inspired by how calm and in control she was

I always thought becoming pregnant would be the most exciting thing to go through. And yes it is, but it has it’s scary factors, naturally.

I also had another worry on top. I’d recently had a big operation on my lung, just 6 months previously and had been on a lot of medication.

So, when becoming pregnant it was exciting but scary, Will my baby survive? Will I be able to carry? Will My body be ready to carry? And will I be strong enough to give birth?

I’d never been scared of giving birth, it’s always fascinated me to be honest. But there had grown a new-found fear when becoming a weaker version of myself, due to illness.

I was put under consultant care which meant having regular appointments with a consultant at the hospital.

That was fine, I didn’t mind that, I was so used to hospitals by now, just this time there was an added bonus of seeing my baby on a screen more often.

When having my first few appointments they’d pretty much decided they’d only take me to 36 weeks and I’d have a C-Section. I had half expected that, but my aim had always been to try to be able to give birth naturally. I was disheartened slightly, not necessarily about the C-Section but more by the fact I didn’t want that to be my only option.

I felt that I had to make myself as strong as I could to give my body an opportunity for a second option.

I always knew I wanted to try hypnobirthing and luckily my sister had used Deborah so she came highly recommended!

Chris was happy to go with trying whatever suited me, but he openly admitted he was sceptical, which he told Debs on the first session… But by the time the first hour was up he was sold. (Myself included, but I knew I was from the start), so with my hypno classes, MP3’s to listen to and carrying on my yoga practice with some private sessions I was well on my way to becoming a stronger me to carry this baby on its journey. I was feeling pretty positive.

I got a few knock backs from the consultant – he was still undecided, would I have enough oxygen? Without oxygen from me the baby will lack oxygen. At times I felt I could just cry but concentrating on my ‘5,4,3,2,1 relax’ breathing whilst in a meeting with them I could help control my anxiety.

When 36 weeks approached I was feeling ok-ish, pretty tired and breathless when holding conversation but I convinced them to let me carry on, they were happy for me to go away and see them at 38 weeks, but they wanted me to keep in mind that if things got difficult for me I was to go in and have this baby by scheduled appointment…then 38 and 40 weeks came and went.

I was so happy, I’d cooked my baby to the max and even went 2 weeks past my estimated due date!

I had an induction booked in and signed off from my consultant to go with my own plan which was a water birth using my hypnobirth techniques. But with a promise that I’m to request help if I feel there is too much strain on my breathing.

At 42 weeks I was ready for this baby! It’s funny because one of the first things Debs had asked us to do was write out our perfect birth story as if it’s happened. And I’d written that I’d give birth on my grandad’s birthday- 6th June. At that time I didn’t calculate that was 9 days overdue… so in my subconscious my baby was always going to be a June baby. Just the 11th, instead of my due date- 28th May.

10th June- Induction day..
Such a surreal day, like going on a exciting holiday instead this time not coming back with a tan but a baby instead!n

I had no nerves I just felt so excited for the experience.

12noon – We set up camp in a room to ourselves with a cup of tea whilst waiting for the lady to start the induction off.

When the midwife was checking how dilated I was and inserting my pessary I used my breath to concentrate on relaxing.

Time just went away with us really. They left us to it with instruction to keep active, take the stairs and go for walks, as this would help get things moving.

On our second walk Chris had started to notice I was slowing down and getting a few twinges so started to time them.

I was unsure if it was a surge so we were both pretty laid back about it. By the time we’d got up the three flights of stairs to our room I was pretty tired but was also too excited to sleep. Instead I read my book whilst bouncing on my ball.

I’d put my diffuser on with some Lavender oil, which helped to give our room a relaxing feel. By this point I’d noticed I’d read the same page of my book about 5 times and decided it was time to concentrate on timing what I gathered were my surges.

I’d asked Chris to turn the lights off and dampen my flannel with some water. I then stayed in darkness for the whole duration, with the flannel over my eyes for pretty much my entire labour.

At some point I had two paracetamol and then carried on. The midwives wanted to monitor the baby to check heart rate and asked me to lie on my back, but when ever I did a surge would come on and I’d roll on my side – to manage it and get comfy. I asked them to leave me for a bit and come back, which they did and all was good.

At one point the midwife came in to talk to me and Chris ended up replying – she then left and Chris asked why I hadn’t spoken and it was because I was having a surge. After that he would just say to the midwives that I was concentrating and to come back in a bit, once my surge had gone.

After a little while I said I feel like I need to push and the midwife said  ‘not yet, go and sit on the toilet first because it might just be that I need the loo’. I sat on the toilet and felt nauseous. I threw up into the sink and my waters’ broke. All this movement pushed my pessary out!

The midwife checked how dilated I was – but I can’t remember how far along I was now, but she said I didn’t need another pessary to be inserted. To me this showed that my baby was ready to born, he’d just needed a nudge.

I carried on in silence I concentrated on my breathing with the flannel over my eyes, Chris went to rub my back but that made me feel sick. Instead I just needed his hand there for contact, that was really reassuring.

Then when my midwife came in, she brought a trainee with her. I never looked at their faces (as I had the flannel over my eyes). Although I couldn’t see them I could hear their voices. And I  reached out for one of their hands, and she stroked my arm – I was so chilled, I wasn’t scared at all.

Then things started to get stronger and I asked Chris to tell them that I wanted to go to the pool. They said ‘tell her to sit on the toilet’.

At this point I felt like I’d heard this one to many times, I said I know I’m ready it won’t be much longer. My midwife was amazing, she looked at me and just knew. She said ‘OK if you feel your ready I’ll phone ahead.’ I felt like she really trusted me and I really trusted her.

Originally I was meant to go to the birth centre. They said they’d phone ahead to get the pool ready and told Chris to pack our bags.

Poor Chris – I had one bag with Lucozade and flapjacks, his stuff, my stuff, baby’s stuff.

Then my midwife came back and said – ‘change of plan – we’ll be going downstairs to the big birth pool on the delivery suit’. They put me in wheelchair, with a blanket over me and off we went.

We went in and Chris said, ‘it’s like nirvana spa in here’. He said by the time he’d put bags down and turned round I was in the pool!

I was so excited by this point. It was all I’d ever wanted, to be in the water. to have my baby in water.

It was just me, Chris and the midwife Louise. Louise got Chris a cushion to kneel on. He knelt behind me with his arms under my armpits holding me up, (I was on my back) and I felt like I was floating.

I remembered Debs explaining about staying mobile to help baby move down, so I thought if I keep moving my baby will move with me – I would just roll to the left, right and onto my back.

Louise was the other side of the room filling in paperwork – with each surge Louise would check heartbeat and say ‘you’re doing great Jess, just keep doing what you’re doing’.  Chris kept reassuring me too, and kissing the side of my head, which was amazing and encouraging for me at that point.

And then it was all just quite quick – on my next surge Louise said ‘I can see the baby’s head – next push baby’s head will be out’. And, I never felt like I couldn’t do it – I felt so sure of myself. There was no doubt in my mind. I felt a sting but just carried on.

Louise had said earlier ‘you have to have two midwives to deliver baby, but I won’t let the other midwife in till the very end’. At this point she said ‘your baby’s going to be here on next push, Chris can you just pull the cord behind you to call the other midwife?’

The other midwife came in and it was really funny, she just said – ‘hi I’ve come to watch a baby being born! Gosh it’s calm in here. Don’t mind me I’m just here for support.’

So on the next push – my body was pushing – I was just breathing, on the next push he got a bit stuck. Louise asked me what I thought, and I said ‘I’ve got to wait for my next surge’.

On that last surge he was born and Louise guided him out onto my chest and I saw his balls so I was saying, ‘it’s a boy’ and I remember hearing Chris laughing and crying. He lay on my chest and was so chilled, no crying. I wasn’t worried, i knew because my birth was so chill and because he was in the water that he’d be chilled too.

I held him and he just looked up at me and blinked twice and murmured a bit. Then after about 30 seconds I asked Louise to get a quick photo, because I wanted that instant photo. And I adore it because it captures the emotions of that amazing moment.

An image of a new mum just after her baby has been born - from an amazing water birth story

Then Louise checked and said, ‘he’s definitely a boy’.  I was a bit shaky so I lay and relaxed. We’d decided on the name Orin, so we told the midwives and Chris held Orin on the chair. I remember looking over at them and just feeling so happy and proud.

Then Louise asked about placenta  and I’d said I’d like to have a natural third stage. She said – ‘it looks like it’s coming away so it won’t be long.’

They just helped me to get out of the pool and squat my legs, i climbed out and out came my placenta.

I then had the best tea and toast ever! And it felt like Christmas morning but 10 times more exciting.

I hadn’t torn but tiny graze, so a couple of tiny stitches but I just did my 5,4,3,2,1, breath and didn’t feel anything. In fact I felt awesome,  like I could take on the world.

The experience was as perfect as I could have imagined, especially for someone who was told at the start that they wouldn’t be able to have a vaginal birth – and they said it was so textbook good I could have a home birth next time!

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