My due date of the 28th May was fast approaching, however our daughter Ava obviously wanted to make an early appearance! My mucus plug went in the day the Thursday before my due date, everyone said to not get too excited as it could be days before anything happened, Chris even went to the pub that evening! I felt like things were beginning to happen later on the Thursday and I was right, my waters started to dribble at about 1am on Friday 23rd. That was something I didn’t know, I thought if your waters broke it would be all of it but my waters continued to come out throughout the birth. The contractions started mildly after that, but I didn’t wake Chris up till 5am when I thought they were coming a bit more frequently. We’d been in contact with the labour ward from the previous day and at around 6am they said they would send someone out to examine me at around 7.30am.
Chris was all action when he woke up, getting the living room ready for our birthing pool as we had decided on a homebirth and he also seemed intent on going to the shops to get ice creams and biscuits! Chris ran me a bath and I relaxed with some candles listening to the hypnobirthing CD. Throughout our hypnobirthing practice I didn’t really listen too much to the affirmations track, I preferred the relaxation one but on the lead up to the birth and the labour it really resonated with me and I listened to it non-stop throughout the birth. Tor, our first midwife turned up at 8.30 and I asked for an examination. She confirmed that the birth had started but I wasn’t advanced enough for her to stay or to really get in the pool yet. Chris and I spent the morning walking in the garden and watching box sets to try and keep my mind occupied. Around midday I felt things changing slightly and Chris called Tor to ask her to come back. Another examination and she confirmed I was 4cm so she could stay and I could finally get in the pool. A shift change in midwives and 8 hours later I was still at 4cm. The midwives were amazing, just leaving Chris and I together for each contraction, heads together getting through them, and asking my permission every time they wanted to listen to her heartbeat and if they felt they needed to examine me. I felt really relaxed throughout the whole thing and I know this was because of the hypnobirthing practice.
Another shift change happened at 8pm and we all had a conversation about whether we needed to think about transferring into hospital as I was coming up to 24 hours since my waters had ‘broken’. At the time I felt that if I had to go in that I might as well go now, but Chris convinced me to wait for an hour to see what happened! My silver back gorilla was right I dilated from 4cm to nearly 10 in 45 minutes. Our midwife Ruth couldn’t believe it when I said I needed to push!! As it happened so fast the second midwife hadn’t been called so Ruth said I needed to get out the pool as it wasn’t safe for me to be in there and birth with only one midwife. Before I begun to push the second midwife arrived so I was allowed back in the pool and I managed to birth her head in the pool. Unfortunately she didn’t turn as she should and I had to get out the pool and birth our beautiful baby girl, Ava Carmen Rivera, a whooping 8lb 13 on our living room floor! Absolutely gorgeous and healthy, she immediately did the breast crawl, not completely latching on but she knew exactly where she wanted to go.
It was a bit scary for Chris at the end and because I had to get her out quickly I received a third degree tear meaning I had to be transferred to hospital to be stitched. Although not an ideal situation as I had to stay in longer than expected it allowed us to establish breast feeding and get Ava properly checked over by a paediatrician. Chris said I was so relaxed going into hospital and I was on such a natural high I was laughing and joking with the anaesthetist at 3.30am!
Our little hypnobaby is so chilled out, eating and sleeping so well. She was so alert from the beginning and I know that’s because I didn’t have any drugs during the labour and because of the hypnobirthing practice. I know Chris would say that he was sceptical of hypnobirthing, but even he would now say how amazing it was and that it really helped us have a relaxed and natural birth.
One thing that I wasn’t really prepared for was the baby blues a couple of days after and the anxiety I felt. They say no one can prepare you for being a mum and that first week I felt like I wouldn’t be able to cope and I was extremely anxious. However our beautiful baby and my wonderful husband helped me through and after the first week I felt back to my normal self. Being a mum is amazing, being with Ava and seeing her grow has been truly wonderful and it’s amazing to see the world through your babies eyes!