As you know I was overdue and keen to go into spontaneous labour rather than be induced. You’ll be amused to know my contractions started just 1 hour after attending my last pregnancy yoga class, so I was able to put into use some of the things I learned in that class. Early labour lasted 10 hrs but it was totally manageable this time without pain relief, I just did my birthing ball exercises which really helped, did puzzles and had hot baths. My waters broke in the bath, so we decided to go into hospital at that stage, then I used the TENS machine as it always seems to take ages being assessed in triage before getting some real pain relief. When I rang the hospital to say I was coming in, I asked about the one and only birthing pool (the midwifery led unit still not open yet on that day) and to my great luck it was free, so they got it ready for me.
I spent 4 hours in the birthing pool on gas and air, and used yoga to keep calm during contractions, and finding random things to focus my attention on during each contraction, like marks on the wall, and anything with a round shape, which encouraged me to think of an easy birth! Again a tip I learned from yoga. Also I repeated a mantra in my head to get through the stronger contractions, and not give up. I think the midwife was convinced by the way my contractions were progressing and by my urge to push that I was nearly ready. Unfortunately, I was very dismayed to learn that I hadn’t dilated at all during that time and was still only 5cm dilated, and just like with my first labour, the baby who’d always been in optimum position had been suspected of moving into back to back position (again as with the first one, I had multiple examinations to identify the position of the baby, because he also had a full head of hair and they had trouble identifying which way the fontanelles were). At this point, I was so disheartened I temporarily lost my focus and found it hard to cope with the contractions. Luckily the midwife Kirsty was brilliant, and she had a plan of action and when I asked her should I just throw the towel in and have an epidural which I really didn’t want again this time, she convinced me it wasn’t inevitable and not to give up on my birth plan.
I had to be moved into another room to go on oxytocin and I had some diamorphine which unlike last time I found really effective in conjunction with gas and air as it took the edge off the contractions. At this point my husband put into use the things he learnt in the birth partner classes, such as massaging my ankles and applying pressure on my lower back.
When the diamorphine wore off my contractions were quite close together due to the oxytocin, so I asked for more and was given pethidine. This made the end of my labour absolutely bearable and even enjoyable. I felt very able to do it and in control. The downside is the baby was very drowsy when he was born and didn’t cry or respond as much as they’d like. But then compared to the indignity of being delivered by forceps like my older son, I guess its all relative. I was so exhilirated when the midwives said I could push, it felt effortless this time. The pushing stage probably lasted only 15 mins (according to my husband, as I’d lost all concept of time due to the drugs!) I just ceased stopping myself pushing, and it happened all on its own it seemed. I even became curious to see what was going on, unfortunately I’d never dreamed I’d want to see so hadn’t brought a mirror, but I peered round my bump and saw the baby’s head just after it was born. It seemed to take forever for the next contraction to happen, in the meanwhile I was so excited and happy. Then his body was born and it was all over. This time, the baby’s head had turned again into the correct position, he’d nearly gone full circle during the labour hence the long middle stage. Ironically it made me feel better about my first labour 3 years ago, as it put into perspective that the complications weren’t my fault for not being active enough (trust me I couldn’t have been more active that time) and probably something physical to do with my body (if I had anymore children I’m certain it will happen again).
Anyway, Jude is now 5 days old and wants to feed every hour virtually! But other than being a demanding feeder, he’s a good natured baby. I’m shattered but I have lots of help at home, and every day is better.
My recovery is much better this time, so hopefully I’ll be able to come back to yoga sooner rather than later.
Many many thanks for all of your advice, I really feel the pregnancy yoga made a big difference during each phase of labour. Both the midwives Kirsty and Geri commented on how calm I was and how well I was coping, and I made sure to tell them its down to the yoga.“