I gave birth to my daughter Anna, in July last year and it was the
most powerful experience of my life to date. I did alot of preparation for
her birth and even though we ended up as an emergency admission to
hospital after 19hrs labouring at home, I was still able to stay focused
and give birth to my angel without medical intervention. I put all this
down to the brilliant people who taught me about labour and birth, whilst
I was pregnant. I have met so many women who have been emotionally wounded
by their experiences of childbirth and have felt that some of what they
experienced could have been avoided if they had been better supported,
prior and during labour and birth. I want to be able to support and to
give to other women, what was given to me and made the birth of my
daughter so rewarding and exhilarating.
Here is Anna's birth story. (She was born in England).
My forewaters went at 5pm on Thurs 19 July. My contractions started
gently at 8:30pm and were 5 mins apart. The midwife, Sheila, arrived at
9:30pm. She had never been to a waterbirth or led at a homebirth. I was
fairly nervous about her. I put the TENS on probably after 2 hours or so.
Sheila just sat in her chair, while Andris my partner, pressed down on my
back and helped me through each contraction.
At 12:30 I was only 1cm dilated, it had been pretty hard work. This was
quite demoralising and things slowed down a little. I stomped about the
house trying to get things going again. It was a strange feeling trying to
actively bring these painful contractions on.
Things continued and
appeared to be getting well established, but by 5am Friday morning had
dropped off yet again and I was only 2cms dilated. The midwife left and I
went to bed.
At 7:15am I was woken by painful contractions and we were off again.
The second and brilliant midwife Joanne, arrived at 11:30am, my
contractions were regular, painful and intensifying - I had reached
4-5cms!!! I could now get into the birthpool at any time! I felt great,
things were progressing, I could do it!
By 2pm it was all slowing down again! Joanne suggested that we break my
hind waters otherwise I could be in labour all night! I wasn't sure and
would make a decision based on how far I had got at examination. This
showed that I was only 6cms, but my waters went anyway - all over the
Labour took off like a rocket!
I took off the TENS machine
reluctantly and got into the pool. Contractions came at 2mins apart.
Joanne checked Anna's heartrate and the panic started.
per minute, Anna was distressed. She checked 5 or 6 times over 10 mins,
but still the same.
Joanne called her supervisor and the registrar at the maternity
hospital and within 20 mins I was in an ambulance, strapped to a stretcher
with monster contractions streaking through my body!
I started having
visions of the operating theatre - how else were they going to get my
distressed baby out of me if I was only 6cms dilated?
In the delivery suite, the team arrived, but the doctor felt that the
fast heart rate was linked to the size and frequency of the contractions.
Anna was getting no breaks in between, so she couldn't relax.
actually going to let me labour! I couldn't believe it!
After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only an hour. I
had another examination. I had reached that stage where I was sure that I
couldn't cope, I had grabbed the gas and air and was pulling it down as if
my life depended on it. I had to be in second stage - but I wasn't, only 8
cms. I wanted to push my baby out so much and couldn't understand why my
body was telling me to push, though my cervix wasn't ready.
This was probably the hardest thing, having to resist what my body
desperately wanted me to do. I kept my breathing regular and slow, the
resistance to the pushing seemed to come better that way.
Then I felt her shift - Anna moved across my cervix and started her
journey into the world. Only my husband was in the room at this point. I
shouted that she was coming, it felt like no one had heard me.
The midwife came back and I heard her say that she could see Anna's
head appearing. After only 9 minutes of pushing, my perfect daughter left
my body and took her first breath at 5:40pm Friday afternoon.
I gave birth whilst leaning over the head of the bed and so I couldn't
see her. I kept thinking 'I've given birth, I've given birth' then it
occurred to me to ask who it was.
My husband said, 'It's Anna'. There
she was in his arms, with her eyes open staring into his face, my
beautiful baby girl.
(Anna's mother is Victoria)
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