Our gorgeous little Emlyn was born at 0400am on Friday 15th February 2019.
Around 0200am on the 14th I received a rude awakening when I turned over in bed and my waters broke. No mistaking it. It was literally a pop and a gush of liquid that just kept on coming! I managed to roll clumsily out of bed in the hope of saving our much loved orthopaedic mattress. I managed to wake Ged who staggered out of bed and fetched a towel to pop on the carpet where I was kneeling by the bed. The bed and furnishings were spared. Within 10 minutes the contractions started.
With a water birth planned at home we ventured downstairs and started unpacking the pool and all the equipment and getting it all inflated and ready in case labour progressed quickly. Within 20 minutes we were all ready and my contractions had started although very irregularly varying from 1 in 10 minutes to one every couple of minutes. At around 0400am i got back in bed and went to sleep. From the long first stage of labour I had with my first child I knew I needed as much rest as I could get. The contractions faded and I managed to get some sleep!
When I got up the contractions had disappeared! I had a lovely hot bath with some clary sage oil (which can encourage uterine contractions) and although I did go in to have a few more surges they were hours apart and not intense or painful enough to be productive. Following a chat with a midwife it was decided that if my labour had not progressed by 10pm that evening i would have to be admitted to Arrowe Park to begin the induction process as the risk of infection for mother and baby dramatically increases if the membranes spontaneously rupture and labour does not follow.
After 4 walks round the park, nipple stimulation, clary sage through the diffuser and frequent squatting and yoga balling, labour did not naturally commence. At about 2000pm I felt another gush of fluid except this time it was blood so we packed our bags and headed of to the hospital a little earlier than expected to get this labour going! Our home birth was not to be.
On arrival I was hooked up to the monitor for a good hour to see how baby was doing and all was well. Because my waters had already broken and I was already 2cm dilated the synthetic hormone drip that initiates labour was connected to my now cannulated arm. Within 30 minutes the REAL contractions started. As it turned out I was the only person on the labour ward that night so I was lucky enough to have access to the only high dependency birthing pool available, a huge room and all the staff to myself!
For the first part of the labour up until I was around 5cm dilated I just sat on my birthing ball rocking and circling my hips through the contractions, closing my eyes and breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth focusing on the ratio of inhalation to exhalation ensuring my outward breath was longer. As they became more painful and more frequent the pool was filled and I started using some golden thread breathing. I did have some straws in my bag which was the next tool up my sleeve but as you will hear I never got that far…
Although quite painful and coming every few minutes my contractions became much more manageable when I submerged myself into to warm water of the birthing pool. My muscles relaxed and I felt a huge sense of relief and weightlessness that really helped manage my pain. My next examination revealed I was now 6cm and in active labour and things started to move very quickly! The pains started coming very thick and fast and at this point I started using some gas and air alongside my breathing techniques. Very soon after this examination I felt like I needed to push and due to my increased movement in the pool and the fact that the underwater fetal heart rate sensors kept losing contact I needed to exit the pool so the medical staff could monitor the baby more accurately. Just the action of climbing out the pool and getting on the bed caused the labour to progress at lightening pace and before I knew it, i felt like I was going to die from the pain and it was time to push! Ged prompted me to remember my breathing techniques as at this stage I felt out of control as transition and my body took over. After this I regained my focus and concentrated on my ratio breathing and at 0400am on the 15th after a couple of pushes and pants Emlyn literally shot out like Spider-Man (according to Ged) and our healthy baby boy was in my arms squealing away.
In the dimmed lights of the hospital room and with the invaluable techniques I learned in the yoga sessions and birthing partner classes I had the confidence and tools I needed to have a very relaxing, positive and spiritual birthing experience with just a birthing ball, focused breathing techniques and a bit of gas and air.
I can’t thank you enough Ann.
Emlyn Alba Buckley. 15/02/19. 7lbs 9.5ounces.
Lisa & Ged