EMMA'S BIRTH STORY
You can read Emma's blog here or find her on Instagram @theblondetonic
"Originally I hadn’t planned on sharing this story with anyone but, someone said that I really should write it down because if I don’t I might just forget the experience and it’s something to treasure forever, so here I am. I feel so grateful to have this story as you just never know if it’ll be your first or last so hold it close to your heart for always.
I have to say that this is a happy and positive tale. I know that birth is incredibly complex and doesn’t always go to plan, however… sometimes it does. I was utterly terrified by the prospect of labour and birth and yet I hope that my story installs hope to other women that it doesn’t need to be something to be frightened of.
I’ll start by saying that via recommendation from numerous people, I attended hypnobirthing classes that were run by Positive Birth Jersey. Now, I can see your raised eyebrow from here, it’s not what you think. Hypnobirthing is not about being hypnotised or tranced into thinking you will experience a pain free birth. I’ll tell you now that childbirth doesn’t tickle BUT, there are ways to make it easier for yourself. It’s mainly about breathing, control and preparing your body to do what it was naturally designed for. Conduct your own research but I would recommend hypnobirthing to any expectant mother, be it your first baby, second, third or however many you’re brave/crazy enough to have.
It all began on Friday 11th January. Christian and I had planned to go out for dinner as my due date was just a couple of days away and we wanted to enjoy all our final moments alone together. I was a little reluctant as I didn’t feel very well but thought it was nothing a little food wouldn’t sort out. The evening was lovely and after returning home I immediately changed into pyjamas, climbed into bed and suggested a little pre-sleep Netflix comedy. I’d been watching and doing a lot of oxytocin related activities all week as I heard all the good vibes can help labour start. Laughter and raspberry leaf tea, those were my only methods to get things started. So, there we were lying in bed dying with laughter. There was one comedian in particular Nick Swardson and one particular joke involving flatulence on an aeroplane that honestly had me laughing so hard that I was struggling to breathe.
We finished our comedy and turned out the lights. I just lay in bed staring, unable to sleep, at the ceiling as I’d just developed a mild tummy ache (ha!). The ache didn’t go away and a couple of hours later I hopped out of bed and just had a feeling something was starting. I went into the lounge, popped on my vapourizer and some relaxing music. Sure enough, though inconsistent my surges had started. I was totally chilled and in the zone just concentrating on my surges and having fluffy cuddles with the dog. As the sun rose on Saturday morning, Christian and I decided it would be a good idea to take the dog to kennels. We’d also initially planned a breakfast date and I insisted we still go because… well, I was pregnant and as usual very very hungry. So, after a spot of breakfast and shopping I was ready to return home and really start to get my hypnobirthing on track. Yummy snacks were to hand and we decided to pop on the film ‘The Land Before Time’ to help release those happy vibes as that is where our Little Foot had originated from. WRONG! Who else remembers his Mum dying in the first ten minutes? My good vibes had taken a short detour but nothing a maple glazed pastry couldn’t sort out. The surges at this stage were coming roughly every five minutes and I didn’t really know what that meant so rang the hospital at 5pm to check in with them. We decided to head in as we live just a minute away. After being checked over I was told that I was 1cm dilated but my cervix had completely thinned so the exciting stuff was about to start. I was actually pretty excited to go home and build my atmospheric hypnobirthing cave.
I had already created both a labour and birth playlist and turned it on loud as soon as we were home. Lights were dimmed and candles lit. My vapouriser was filling the room with lemongrass and bergamot to help instill an element of calm in our living room. I moved around the room from yoga mat, to birthing ball, to birthing ball on yoga mat but never seated. It felt natural to move around and keep moving. Christian massaged my back or arms through my surges with Tahitian tiare oil that we’ve used ever since our honeymoon to again help bring all those happy and uplifting feelings. The surges grew stronger and I thought perhaps I should try and sleep as it had been nearly 24hrs of no sleep and I still had to actually give birth. Sitting down hurt, lying down hurt even more but I tried my best to get some shut eye. I was just starting to snooze when I was rudely awoken by the strongest of my surges and I grabbed the headboard of the bed and just knew it was time to go. At this point the surges were striking every 2-3 minutes and I definitely knew this was a promising sign. It was a strange emotion leaving the house knowing that when we returned, we’d have our baby with us. The mind boggles and you find yourself pondering the most absurd thoughts such as “I wonder if the milk will still be in date when I’m home as I’ll definitely want a cup of tea when we get back."
After a short drive to the hospital and a calm walk to the maternity ward I was ushered into a room and was examined to then be told I’d done really well and had progressed already to 6.5cm. I felt pretty powerful and knew I could go the rest of the way without any drugs, I felt I was in complete control. This was the motivation I needed and I knew at this point that the only assistance I wanted was Christian. I’d got this far and I was ready to power through to the end, so they rushed off to prepare the birthing pool. The baby was very happy and incredibly calm and the heart rate remained consistent through-out my labour, someone was clearly very eager to meet us. At around 7am I climbed into the pool and it felt utterly incredible to my mind and body. With the gas and air next to the pool and my music playing around the room, we’d created quite the dark, moody and private grotto I was hoping for. My midwife Hollie was a dream and she turned off all the lights and only the sunrise from outside dimly lit the room.
The surges came fiercely and more regularly with very little time in between to breathe or even think clearly. I do remember in one particular moment sitting in the centre of the pool, head drooped down and eyes closed preparing myself for what was to come. With every surge that came, it would linger and then all of a sudden I started to get the urge to push at the end of each one. The midwife advised that our baby would be arriving in the next hour or so and yet I knew that my baby had a different schedule in mind. Just a few minutes after we had this conversation my water broke in the water and I could feel the baby moving. Considering I had been practically silent throughout my labour, my vocal chords came to life and I sounded like some kind of wild animal, I barely recognised myself, yet it was the most natural and primal feeling in the world.
I had the support of my midwife and Christian by my side and they both just let me do what I was designed to do and slowly birth my baby. As our baby moved down, I could feel the intensity of everything that was happening but needed all my focus to breathe and so I didn’t watch any of what was happening. After just 30 minutes of pushing, I remember the moment when I opened my eyes again and could see and feel a little head. The sweet relief of knowing the hardest part was done urged me to gather my strength and push the rest of our baby out. Sure enough, our little mermaid met the water and slowly but surely I lifted her onto my chest. So calm and relaxed, she didn’t scream…. even if she had I wouldn’t have noticed as Christian was crying, I was shocked and the midwives were ecstatic and so the whole moment took us all. I gazed down at that perfect little person in awe, surprise and definitely pride. As nobody else had told me the gender, I took it upon myself to have a little peek and there was my biggest surprise of all (or lack of), a beautiful baby girl. The words “Oh my God, it’s a girl” slipped from my mouth and I was instantly head over heels in love with our daughter.
In the water I sat with her and I tried to absorb what had just happened as best I could. However, I’m not sure you’re ever really able to fully revisit that moment in your memories but I’ll always remember the magic of it all. For nine whole months I carried this little human and there she was, in my arms snuggling me as though her life depended on it and squeezing my hand with the teeniest fingers I’ve ever seen.
So in answer to the age old question “Do you believe in love at first sight”?
Yes, yes I really do."