Esther's Birth Story
After a pretty traumatic birth with my first child Felix (for both of us) I knew that it HAD and must be able to be different or how else has the human race existed for so long! I had not prepared myself for my first both and had been very frightened so I totally threw myself into filling myself with facts and positivity and did a Hypnobirthing course with Rachel at Kent Hypnobirthing.
A few weeks before Esther's birth I felt niggles and had a huge increase in discharge. Hypnobirthing had made me very in tune with my body and was listening to myself. I felt like I wanted to stay close to my home and my partner. (He wanted to go to the supermarket the evening before and I remember feeling bereft!)
I woke in the early hours of the morning with a huge rush of strong sensation. I got out of bed and saw that my discharge was now a brown colour. I bounced on my ball and then tried to go back to sleep. When I woke an hour or so later to the sensations coming in waves about 15 minutes apart. They were not hugely strong so I carried on with my day. Some of my siblings visited, I considered a walk (but felt the urge to stay close to home and listened to this!) and rested. I listened to some relaxation scripts and my partner did a little bit of tidying and cleaning.
By 4pm they were still pretty much the same time apart but maybe slightly stronger. My midwife (and lovely friend) Sue came to see me and agreed that I could be in early labour but I could be like this for some time or it could stop and start so I should rest. She thought we should blow up the birth pool and put it to one side, just in case.
I listened to music, bounced on my ball and used a hot water bottle for a bit. I spoke to my mum on the phone at about 6pm and told her that all was well, she should carry on working and I would ring her if anything changed. Her own mother instinct told her that she should come to me though so we agreed that she would come by 8pm.
When my mum arrived Ben thinking that I could be in labour for a while went to take my son, Felix, to bed. Things were a lot stronger and so I started on a cycle of sitting on the sofa, standing and rocking, leaning on a chair, bouncing on the ball and going to the toilet (and repeat). My surges were coming about 4 minutes apart but only lasting 30 seconds or so. This stopped me from ringing Sue even though in the back of my mind I did want her to come even if it was just to confirm that I was actually in labour now! I focussed on my up breathing and remained relaxed, calm and focussed. This was harder to do with Ben out of the room and my Mum went to try and take over putting Felix to bed but Felix was not having any of it! My mother in law came over just after 9pm and we began filling the pool. My mum rang Sue and she arrived at 10pm and carried out the checks that we had agreed on. (no VE's for me!)
Ben finally came downstairs and I believe that allowed me to truly let go and really focus on birthing Esther. I entered the pool at about 10.45pm (it wasn’t fully filled but I wanted to get in before I reached the pushing stage) , the second midwife arrived at 11pm. I felt strongly the urge to push which I had not felt with Felix because of the circumstances of his birth. I became less relaxed at this point as I felt the change in sensation- I said ‘I don’t want to do this today, can I do it tomorrow’. I leaned on the side of the pool and held my partner as he stood by me. Holding him and feeling him there reassured me and helped me to refocus and I allowed my body to do what it needed and I followed my instinct and pushed. Seeing my mother’s face and the familiar face of Sue helped me to feel safe and that all was well. My waters popped, and I moved to the position where I felt I needed to be, upright on my knees. The surges calmed and the next part happened very quickly. Sue asked if I could feel her head and I could not. The next surge came and then I could feel Esther's head with my hands. It felt absolutely incredible to touch her. Her body followed quickly after and she was born at 11.21pm. Sue leaned forward quickly, nearly falling in I think! She lifted her out and guided her into my hands to her and I held her.
She slept on me and I guided her to my breast, my surges started again but much less intense. I exited the pool and waited for the placenta to birth. My partner cut Esther's cord a while after she was born when the cord had stopped pulsing and then my partner held her skin to skin on his chest while I went to walk to get the placenta moving. I decided, after waiting for a while, to have the injection to aid my placenta to be born. We did this lying in my own bed. My son who beautifully had woken up 10 minutes after his sister had been born watched my placenta birth and was so interested and awed by Esther springing into the world.
Having my family there was amazing and to be able to go to sleep in my own bed with my two children next to me was incredible. I felt so empowered and like a superwoman. I was so proud of myself and what me and my daughter had just achieved. The perfect birth for me and I was in complete control and made every decision. Hypnobirthing was instrumental in achieving this, it also helped me and my partner to be a strong team. We are so much closer now than we have ever been and I will look forward to my next pregnancy and birth now!