This special birth story from first-time mum Megan is amazing. Megan remained calm and used her techniques throughout, despite complications. The way her husband supported her is wonderful. I also love that Megan baked a cake in labour and laboured in the bath for what felt like an hour but was actually 4 hours! Plus the icing on the cake? Baby Dexter arrived on the exact day they’d focussed and wanted him to arrive.
Interestingly Deborah asked us to write our “birth story” out as if it had already happened so we could visualize, like athletes do. And altough ours didn’t go 100% to plan, the bits that did were strangely the same.
On the 31st January we got up, I was 39 weeks pregnant and we went on a lovely dog walk, followed by our cheese and coleslaw sandwiches (like in the birth story we’d written in advance) and Mike went off to work.
At 18:30, after a lovely long soak I was getting ready for bed and my waters broke. I had leaking waters 2 weeks before and even then I questioned whether this was the real deal. Once I had satisfied myself that I hadn’t just wet myself I contacted Mike to let him know, and my surges began while on the phone.
They were uncomfortable but not too bad so I decided to bake a cake. A birthday cake for our imminent arrival. Mainly because I was very excited and we had agreed not to let anyone know we were in labour, so I tried to take my mind off things.
After speaking to the triage line they asked us to pop in, so we could make a plan as my waters had broken, I was 1 cm dilated and my surges were manageable with my breathing techniques I had learnt. So we agreed midday on the 1st February I would be induced, but I knew I wouldn’t need it.
On the way home we ordered a pizza and by the time we had driven the 15-minute drive back my surges were 4 minutes apart. We put a funny film on, ate our pizza and then they really ramped up and sadly the pizza didn’t remain there long.
But I was okay, breathing and relaxing over my birthing ball and then into the bath to soak. My surges were 2.5 minutes apart and regular so we headed back in. The car journey was not great, we have a small car and I struggled to get comfortable. We got there and were very disheartened to know that in 4 hours whilst my cervix had progressed we were still “only” 1 cm dilated.
So we went back home where I tried to rest to my MP3 tracks. After an hour of labouring I decided the bath was my best bet. I felt I was in the bath for an hour, Mike tells me I was actually in there for four hours!! I went into a deep state of relaxation with the tracks playing in my darkened bathroom – I rewarded myself after every surge with a top up of hot water. Apparently Mike kept checking on me periodically and would sneak back out when he realised I was okay but focused on the tracks.
After 4 hours Mike decided that my surges were very strong and regular and they told us to come back in. This is where things started to perhaps not go as I had hoped. We realised we were in rush hour so I tried to get dressed quickly, get in the car and of course we hit awful traffic.
Mike was amazing; keeping me breathing we had the tracks going with my eyes closed. I don’t think I’ve ever been so unhappy sat on the Gosbrook Road in my whole life. Once we had got there I’ll be honest I was struggling to stay calm and relaxed and was just frightened they would send me home through that traffic again. But they didn’t, however, on inspection my little man was back to back and I was starting to struggle, so started on the gas and air.
I had been losing blood and there was a very small concern for my placenta, so I agreed to be transferred down to the delivery suite. My water birth wasn’t really an option by now and I was starting to struggle so asked for more pain relief.
The midwife was amazing; she gave me a lot of strength and strangely was called Lesley – my mum’s name. She reminded me so much of her, which was a great comfort and she was really great at trying to keep me calm and relaxed.
Once I got to 8cm dilated I had an epidural, it was the last thing I wanted but I felt it was what was needed and it also gave me back the control I craved. I could still feel my surges and pressure but not the pain so was able to get myself back into a good place ready for the last hurdle. We agreed to let my epidural run out and then I was at 10cm ready to go.
I tried all the positions to help my little guy into the world and after an hour they decided they needed to check what was going on. He had got stuck and with every push breath he was going back up. They decided a manual turn was likely but they needed to scan him to check. Once they scanned him they realised he had also turned and was “stargazing” It all became a bit of a rush at that point.
I was told I needed to go to theatre for a manual turn and forceps and if this wasn’t successful then it would be straight to a C section. I was very concerned now, but I asked for my mouth piece from the gas and air and tried to use my hypnobirthing techniques to calm myself down whilst I signed all the scary forms.
Once we got to theatre and I had been drugged up to my chest they began. I asked that they didn’t tell me anything unless they needed consent or for me to do anything. So I chatted to Mike, Lesley and the rest of the team. They told me I’d have limited attempts at pushing him out but I didn’t want the pain of an episiotomy and then a c section and was determined to push my baby into this world. And I did, it was amazing, it was overwhelming and there were lots of tears. But he was here and he was perfect.
I know my birth story isn’t a conventional hypnobirthing story of this magical drug-free water birth but for me, I stayed in control of my fears and anxiety, I felt my Mum’s presence and Dexter Gareth Merrick was born on the 1st February 2018, our 9 year anniversary. And the day we had even written in our birth story before. I genuinely don’t think I would have coped through the labour without the techniques I learnt with Deborah, they were invaluable.