In the early hours of August 29th 2014, at 41 +1 days pregnant, my waters broke. Only a few hours before, I had been at my 41 week midwife appointment declining a sweep and any form of induction and I am so thankful that I did.
Thanks to all I had learned and researched during my hypnobirthing course, I trusted my body and that my baby knew best and would make their appearance when they were ready. I had also started acupuncture at 38 weeks, a natural induction technique to ensure that my body was getting prepared for what lay ahead!
I had opted for a homebirth and at 10am the first midwife came to see me. My surges had started, just like menstruation cramps, and I had started my up-breaths with each surge that came. As I wasn’t in established labour, the midwife left and didn’t return until around 2pm, at the same time as our doula, when my surges were now regular and coming more frequently. My husband got our birthing pool ready. He prepared the room with fairy lights, candles, lavender oil and he brought out the chilled flannels with clary sage oil from the freezer. (I found inhaling the oil really helped with my surges.) Ian created a beautiful and calm space for me which helped me relax and focus on the process. Preparing for the birth together in our classes really gave my husband a strong sense of how he could be involved in the birth of our child and he totally rocked on the day!
During this time I never lost focus of how to approach this incredible experience with utter confidence in my body and my baby. Eventually I got into the birthing pool and spent some time in there. The water helped me to feel comfortable and weightless and also created a natural space for me to move around in with an ease that isn’t possible ‘on land!’.
My midwives and doula were amazing. They monitored the baby’s heartbeat when necessary and it was wonderfully reassuring to hear that my baby was happy and calm throughout the entire process. They also respected my decision not to have regular internal examinations. However, after reading other signs they suggested it may be helpful to have one to ensure that everything was as they thought it was, so I agreed. I was fully dilated as suspected but the baby’s head was slightly askew and pushing on my pelvic bone. The midwives told me that the simplest solution would be to go for a little walk and let gravity straighten everything out. I walked up our flight of stairs to our bathroom and that was how our daughter, Teddy Jean Robins, was born on the toilet! Not quite the water birth we’d had in our heads but once I started moving around mixed with the squatting position I assumed resting on the toilet, my body and baby decided that it was now or never. The breathing down stage only lasted 40mins and there she was! No pain relief required!I was on a genuine high for the next couple of days and sometimes I still can’t believe that I did it.
For me, the affirmations and the breathing were the most helpful techniques I learned. Similarly, the confidence I gained from feeling fully informed on how my body works and my rights to choose how I give birth also enabled me to have, what my doula called, ‘a textbook birth.’