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STEF & BABY JESSE

First time mum, natural waterbith in hospital

After a 5 year long infertility journey we are so happy & incredibly grateful to start our adventure with our beautiful baby boy (Jesse Robin Stevens) who entered the world on 17.06.21 naturally in water after an amazing positive birth experience.

I truly believe that how well it went was due to the tools provided and knowledge learnt throughout the Positive Hypnobirthing course ran by May and Jan. I wished to share our birth story to hopefully assist & encourage others to be able to have a positive experience too.

Those that know me well, know that although I am a fairly relaxed & laid back person, I have tendencies to panic and due to the infertility ‘rollercoaster ride’ we have been on - I have worst case scenario planted in my head a lot of the time. The 5 week course with May & Jan really did help educate, empower, calm & relax me. It also stopped me from googling stupid things. Throughout the course & even after I felt in a comfortable environment to ask all & any questions which came into my head. I must mention as part of this story that after all the lock downs & isolations it was incredible to be in a room surrounded by real life pregnant people, who I know will turn into friends & support throughout this next chapter.

So without further ado, here goes my birth story…. On Tuesday 16th after a slow North Coast dog walk I definitely started feeling slightly different and walking turned into more of a waddle. I had an instinct that our baby could be coming sooner than thought (due date was 25.06.21). I took it easy for the rest of the day and waited for further signs. At Midnight on 17.06.21 I woke up to go to the bathroom and saw my mucus plug. This happened again at 3am followed by my first stomach cramp contraction. As we had been taught this early stage of labour could go on for days, I got myself back into bed and set up my Freya app so I could record any further signs and rest up inbetween when possible. The contractions then started progressing quicker and went from every 15 mins to every 10 mins. By 6am they were starting to become every 7 mins and by 7am they were every 5 mins. I decided it was time to wake my husband and give maternity a call. This came as a shock to him as he had been fast asleep throughout this whole time! My partner explained to maternity the surges and they stayed on the phone as I went through one or two. They kept me relaxed and told us to take our time but start making our way into the hospital…. Today could be the day!!!

We packed up the car with big smiles on our faces, laughing together throughout the contractions and getting excited about next time we come home it could be with our very own real life human baby!!! … we timed the car journey perfectly with rush hour traffic (8:30am) !!! When we arrived into hospital, we were taken into our room & introduced to our midwife Rachael (she was amazing & we owe a lot of our positive birth experience to her - thank you so much). Myself & my partner were both swabbed for CV19 and PPE had to stay in place until we received results. I was checked over and told I had made it to 4cm - meaning I could stay. We went over our birth preferences, which were understood and they started getting the birthing pool set up. Our playlist was on and lights were turned off to keep the environment calm & a happy place.

By 10:30 the pool was ready and our CV19 results had come back negative. The moment I stepped foot in the pool, I knew it was the right place for me. My body relaxed into the building contractions and using my tools learnt I breathed through them with positive affirmations in my mind. The intensity was building and by 1330 I was asked if I wanted to get out the pool to be examined for progress - I said yes as I wanted to get an idea of ‘how long’ it could be. Turns out I had progressed to 9cm and it was nearly time for active labour. When I got back in the pool I requested gas & air which was an instant relief. The babies heart rate was monitored every 15 mins which calmed me and bought smiles to my face each time. When it came to active pushing I was able to allow my body to instinctively change to down breathing and the pushing sensation began. My waters never broke resulting in my membrane being stuck in front of the babies head - for me this was mentally affecting my progress and I asked for it to be released during one of my contractions while remaining in the pool. The moment this was done I was able to focus again. By 3:30 )in-between contractions) Rachael was letting me know the next stages for when the baby arrives into the water. I couldn’t believe it was so close & he would be in my arms. At 3:44 our beautiful baby boy was born into the water and I could finally hold him against my skin. It was instant indescribable love!

We had requested delayed cord clamping. I stayed in the pool throughout this process holding our baby in my arms and my partner preparing to release him onto the world. Rachael talked it over and assisted the whole process (funny story!). After the cord clamping i was asked how I would like to birth the placenta and I had originally written down that I would be happy to have the oxytocin injection to speed up the delivery. Turns out I wasn’t far away and Rachael encouraged me to push through again naturally. I wanted to try so after 15 mins and a few contractions the placenta was birthed naturally in the pool. I was so pleased to be given the opportunity to do this and change from my ore-written birth presence sheet.

I was then assisted out of the pool and guided to another room where I could enjoy the golden hour, plenty of skin-to-skin and our first latch for breastfeeding. I never once felt rushed or pressured on time to have him taken away for weighing.

We also took part in the additional day course for breastfeeding with May & Jan. From this course I felt prepared and educated going into the forth trimester. I truly believe all of these tools, support, guidance & education allowed me to have a positive birth & recovery period. I will be forever grateful & we could not recommend the courses more highly to anyone. Thank you for more than you will ever know.