Positive Birth Story: First Time Mum on a Labour Ward in Ireland

I was so lucky to have the birth I always imagined I would have, so similar to when my mum had me. I experienced such a positive birth and would do it again tomorrow! I have to thank Megan at Positively Birthing for the wonderful Hypnobirthing course, it was the best decision I made and money we spent during my pregnancy!

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I was originally under the care of St Thomas in London, with the Midwife led unit. I felt calm and comfortable and ready to have my baby there. At 34 weeks, we moved home to Ireland, where I would be seen by a consultant (there’s only a few midwife led units in the whole of Ireland). They tried to book my induction at my 38 week appointment (I refused) and I was frustrated with the very medical view they had of birth. I tried to remain positive, I had visions of interventions and everything I didn’t want, which looking back, I had no need to worry about.

My waters started to break at 2pm on Sunday 14 April. At first I was scared, and disheartened that I knew deep down I had to ring the hospital and they were going to make me travel over (45 minute drive) to them as there was a risk of infection once my waters started to break. I had this plan to stay at home as long as I could, right until I could take no more, and I felt like that plan was going out the window. After a quick cry, I pulled myself together and took a few deep breaths and settled myself.

I rang the Maternity Unit and they advised me to make my way over. I organised my bag, I even tied laces onto my new trainers, all the time my waters continued to leak/gush out of me, changing incontinence liners every so often. By 6pm we were at the maternity unit in the assessment room where they checked me over and hooked me up to a monitor for 1/2 hour. They confirmed I was having contractions, even though it only felt like I was about to get my period.

They brought me to an antenatal Ward (there were only 4 beds) and I stayed there, with the lights dimmed, I listened to my Hypnobirthing scripts, sniffed enough lavender on face cloths to fill the whole ward with the scent, read my positive affirmations, and relaxed as much as I could. By 9pm, Line of Duty was on and I tried my best to watch it but had to start moving more at this stage! I walked down the hallway and with each surge, I had to stop and breathe. My husband would walk with me and I would stop and lean on him, he rubbed my back if I asked and made sure I was drinking water.

The midwives left me to my own devices up until they had to decide whether my husband was going to be staying and baby was coming, or if he had to go and get a hotel room as there was no where for him to stay. I agreed to be examined for the first time (they were reluctant to, as not to introduce infection as my waters were breaking) and we found out I was 4cm (and that our baby had a full head of hair!), so my husband was going nowhere, this baby was going to come before the morning!

I was brought to the labour ward, and asked for pethadine. My midwife knew I was practicing Hypnobirthing and was so respectful of that. She supported me so much and encouraged me at all times! I tried some gas and air first, but it made me feel sick (I got sick straight away). After she gave me the pethadine with the anti sickness, I was able to use the gas and air without feeling nauseous!

The surges were coming thick and fast, sometimes with no break in between. I asked my husband to put the radio on, and he found a station with classical music and I found that helpful. I breathed using the visualisations, I kept hydrated, used the loo often (sometimes I would end up having a surge in the loo, that was interesting) and honestly, all the pethadine and G&A did was help me to completely relax in between surges ( I was almost asleep at some points).

Our 2nd midwife turned up and the 1st one went on her break. By 12.30, our 1st midwife had just returned from her break, I had a strong heavy feeling in my backside during contractions and when they examined me I was 8cm dilated! Our midwife couldn’t believe how quick it was happening! After spending all of my labour standing and bent over the bed (I felt most comfortable this way during surges), with my husband handing me lucozade sport (lifesaver) and spraying my face with the water spray (also a lifesaver), after being examined, I physically could not get back off the bed and decided that lying on my left side was the position I wanted to be in to push!

By 1am, I was 10cm and ready to go, i held my leg up as I pushed, my head in my husbands arms. By 1.25am the head was out, and, after baby’s heartbeat dropped a little, the midwives and my husband helped by giving me the motivation to push and get baby out (even though I thought I didn’t want this, at the time it really helped me). At 1.26am, to the sounds of traditional Irish music on the radio (the radio station was not just classical music we discovered and this is something we still laugh about!) he made his appearance, was plopped on top of me and I stared at our little boy in awe. I couldn’t believe what I had just done, I was in complete shock!

My midwife praised my use of Hypnobirthing, it really helped my husband and me to have such a calm and wonderful birth. I walked back to the postnatal ward with my little family feeling like Superwoman, high on adrenalin and oxytocin!

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Thankyou Emma and Ruairi for sharing your amazing birth story!