This is such an incredible birth story from first-time mum Jenna – check out this snippet from her story: (full story below)
‘They quickly found me a room and examined me, where I was told I was fully dilated and the baby would be coming soon! I couldn’t believe it, as this being my first baby I had imagined labour taking much longer. I was also amazed that I had essentially slept through the first part of the labour process and only woken up at the point where I was very close to giving birth.’
Ben and I welcomed baby Max to the world on Friday 25th January and we just wanted to update you on how the labour went.
As you know, I was quite anxious about giving birth prior to coming to see you. Two of my biggest concerns were being able to get to the hospital OK and Ben being able to park up without too much trouble. They seem like silly things to worry about, but living in Wokingham the traffic can be particularly bad going into Reading. Plus Ben had already missed our first scan due to lack of parking at the Royal Berks.
With your advice I focussed on visualising the labour happening late at night or on a weekend to get around those issues, and that is exactly what we got!
I had been into hospital the day before my due date to check on a couple of things – the level of fluid in my bump looked a bit low so the hospital gave us an additional scan to reassure us.
I was having quite strong Braxton Hicks at that point and the consultant could see I was quite uncomfortable, so one of the midwives gave me a sweep at the same appointment. The midwife told me at that point that I was already 2cms dilated, so I had a good feeling that something might happen soon.
After leaving the hospital Ben and I went for a nice lunch and when he went back to work I spent the afternoon bouncing on my ball, catching up on some TV and listening to my hypnobirthing downloads.
I didn’t feel anything significant happen for the rest of the day, so had started to think the sweep might not have been as effective as I’d hoped.
However, when I went to bed at about 11pm that night I did have some stomach pains, but a constant dull pain rather than waves, and similar to what I had been feeling in the weeks before. Because of this I wasn’t confident they were actual surges or that labour was starting, so we went to bed as normal.
At 1:15am I awoke with a jolt of pain in my stomach that came and went. I felt sure this was the surges starting so I timed 2 waves and they were 6 minutes apart. I left Ben in bed and called the maternity triage phone line – they told me that I should stay at home until I was having 3 surges in 10 minutes, and in the meantime I should take 2 paracetamols and have a bath.
I was told to give the paracetamol an hour to work and then reassess whether I needed to call the triage line back. I took the paracetamol as instructed and opted for a shower so that I could wash my hair.
Once in the shower I wasn’t able to time my surges on my phone, but they were coming much more quickly, probably about every one or two minutes.
I woke Ben and got him to call the triage line back whilst I was drying my hair, and still they encouraged us to stay at home. The midwife Ben spoke to said she had spoken to me 45 minutes ago and I really hadn’t sounded far enough along to come in, and if we did come in we would likely be told to go home again.
However, I knew that I was much further along than they understood, so Ben and I made the decision to go to the hospital anyway. It’s a good thing that we did!
The journey to the Royal Berks at around 2:15am was about 20 minutes – there was absolutely no traffic on the roads!
In rush hour it probably would have taken over an hour, so I was relieved that the journey was as straightforward as it could have been, and Ben was able to talk to and reassure me whilst he was driving as there were no other distractions.
Despite the journey being quick and smooth the surges were coming strong and fast, and the paracetamol hadn’t been that effective in terms of relief.
As soon as the hospital came into view I felt a wave of relief and I knew that there was no way they would be turning us away.
We checked in at the delivery suite and were asked to wait in the waiting room. After a minute or two I told Ben I couldn’t wait any longer without pain relief, so he went to go and find a midwife to see us straight away.
They quickly found me a room and examined me, where I was told I was fully dilated and the baby would be coming soon! I couldn’t believe it, as this being my first baby I had imagined labour taking much longer. I was also amazed that I had essentially slept through the first part of the labour process and only woken up at the point where I was very close to giving birth.
Ben and I shared our birthing plan with our midwife, which explained that I was hoping to use a birthing pool. She called up to the Rushey Ward and asked them to prep the room for us and we headed up.
I could feel that the baby was really close to coming and still having had no pain relief I remember feeling that I might not make it to the birthing pool, and on the way up my waters broke.
I tried to concentrate on my breathing to try and give myself something to focus on, and soon we were in the room getting ready. As Ben and I had rushed in we hadn’t bought in any of our bags, so I wasn’t able to change into the vest top I had bought for the birthing pool, but luckily the top I was wearing still provided the coverage I wanted to have in the pool.
I got into the pool, but it was taking a while to fill up and I was eventually told I needed to get out as the water was too shallow and the baby was coming.
I was directed to the bed, and I was so disappointed as this was not what I had envisioned at all. The midwife told me I could adopt any position on the bed I wanted, but I didn’t know what to do as I hadn’t considered any alternatives to the birth pool.
I think the midwife could tell I was unsure about this option so she left the taps running in the birthing pool, and luckily enough if filled up just in time for me to jump back in.
Using gas and air in the pool, our baby was born in about 10 pushes, the whole process from arriving at the hospital taking no more than about an hour!
Even once Max was born I was still surprised at how quickly the labour had been. During my preparations for my labour I had focused on it being quick, but I had still expected to be in hospital for some time before the pushing phase, allowing me to use my TENS machine, birth ball, and make the room relaxing with my music and battery powered candles.
As we didn’t have time to get our bags out of the car none of these things were used, but I didn’t mind as it meant the labour wasn’t dragged out.
Max was born before 4am and we were discharged from hospital at around 10am, this was great for us as it gave us time to get home and get settled as the 3 of us before our friends and family started to visit.
I believe that by practicing what I had learnt through hypnobirthing I stayed as relaxed as I could during my labour, despite it escalating very quickly.
I also believe that by visualising that my surges would start late at night meant that this became a reality, and this really helped us. Had they started at 9am on a Monday morning, I think it is unlikely we would have made it to the Royal Berks in time, and even then, the journey would have been panicked and stressful.
In all honesty I did find it hard to use some of the breathing techniques I had been practicing because I had no build up to the surges becoming intense and close together. But throughout the labour our midwife checked Max’s heartbeat and at all times he was really relaxed, which was the most important thing.
I’m really glad we chose to attend the hypnobirthing sessions as they really prepared us for what to expect, and in particular meant that Ben could be genuinely helpful when I was feeling panicked or in discomfort.
I’ve been told that if I plan to have children in the future I should strongly consider a homebirth as it is likely that the labour would be even quicker.
I’d definitely want to revisit hypnobirthing at that point so that Ben and I could fully prepare for having a baby at home rather than in the hospital.
Thank you again Deborah for everything, building up to having a baby can be quite a stressful time and I really believe that hypnobirthing meant that I was able to enjoy my pregnancy rather than worrying about the labour.
Ten days in Max is proving to be the most chilled out baby, and I am sure hypnobirthing has a part to play in that as well!
Ben and Jenna Green