Helen White’s Story

“Following a curry Thursday evening (2nd July) I had a little show late in the evening after feeling dull period like pains. I awoke at around 3 am on 3rd July with what I thought was me peeing myself, I then realised that I wasn’t actually trying to pee so it must have been my waters breaking. I couldn’t believe that it was actually starting 2 days before my due date as I had been expecting to go over.

After finishing on the toilet I thought I’d try and get some sleep as I wasn’t sure how long I would be until contractions started. During the next hour or so, I was getting regular contractions every 15 minutes. My sleepless night continued with Kev timing each contraction until around 10 am. By this time they were every 8-10 minutes. I phoned the hospital and they said to pop down and they’d check that my waters had broke.

At the hospital they put me on a monitor and monitored the baby’s heartbeat and movements and carried out an internal to check my waters, but at this point they could not confirm for definite that they had gone and they also didn’t seem too interested in my contractions. The 2 students which checked me said that the pains were probably a sign that things were starting to move and could be anytime in the next week, I was then sent home around midday and advised to have a nice bath and take some paracetamol.

Once home, I decided to lie down in bed once again thinking I could save my energy. Over the next few hours the pains were getting stronger and closer together I did actually think that if these weren’t real contractions that I would ask for an epidural as soon as I could get to hospital as I didn’t think I’d cope if the pains got worse.

At around 3.30 pm, I telephoned the hospital again as the pains were now every 3 minutes. We then arrived at the hospital at 3.45 pm after what seemed like the longest journey as every single set of traffic lights were on red.

At the hospital I was taken into the midwifery led unit and offered an internal examination to check my progress only at this point did they actually believe me as I was 7 cm’s dilated with contractions every 2-3 minutes. I told the midwife that I didn’t have a birth plan as thought it was difficult to predict what it would actually be like and was open minded about positions, drugs etc. I asked whether I was too far gone to have a water birth and the midwife was delighted that I suggested it as the midwife that was due to take over was a huge fan of water births.

It took about 20 minutes for the birthing pool to be filled and the relief of the warm water when I climbed in was very relaxing. Kev sat at one end of the pool supporting my shoulders, holding my hand and holding the gas and air tube providing so much encouragement.

I was asked whether I minded a trainee paramedic to sit in the room as she hadn’t seen a water birth which at this point I wasn’t really bothered about my dignity, she actually helped considerably by holding a leg when I was pushing.

The midwife was fantastic and advised when to push and for how long each contraction and I was constantly reminded by Kev to do my yoga breathing. The only technique which I actually thought about was the straw technique as I had used this quite a lot during pregnancy to keep calm when under pressure in work etc. I had even packed a couple of straws in my hospital bag but that was in the car and there was no way Kev wanted to chance missing the birth.

After a couple of hours of pushing the midwife suggested getting out of the pool as the baby’s heart rate had increased slightly, so I lay on the bed for about 10 minutes, then the midwife said to get back in the pool as if I wanted a water birth then I should have one.

Within half an hour the head was half out and I could feel it. As it stung as I was stretched the midwife said not to push for a few contractions but to do my breathing technique so that I didn’t tear. Then, when I was told to start pushing again my baby was delivered under water and straight onto my chest, this was the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced and both Kev and I cried. I held our baby for a couple of minutes whilst the cord was still attached and the midwife said shall we see what you have, and then we saw we had a beautiful daughter. Kev then cut the cord and I got out of the pool to deliver the placenta, which I thought I was having an injection to speed up the delivery, and within 5 minutes it was delivered naturally.

I am so thrilled that I had a natural birth and without drugs and Kev said he was so proud of me as he has always called me a wimp when it comes to me being in any pain. But the pain of childbirth is all worthwhile when you hold your baby in your arms, something no textbook can ever prepare you for.

I think that the yoga had helped me significantly during my whole pregnancy as after using my birthing ball each night and keeping my posture rather than slouching my baby was in the best position for delivery. The midwife also said that people who do yoga tend to have fewer drugs in labour.”