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Positive Forceps Birth of Frank

My labour started with my waters breaking, just as I'd gone to bed at midnight, 11 days before my due date. I felt a distinctive pop and a gush and instinctively knew that this was it. I'd been aware of Braxton-hicks contractions since 16 weeks, however with hindsight, I'd noticed these getting more intense and feeling like they were working more into my pelvis for 4 days before this. We called maternity and were advised to go in to be checked, so finished packing our bags and headed in. Within 30 minutes I was having mild period pain like cramping every 2-6 minutes. 

We arrived at maternity at 1am and were advised to stay in due to the presence of meconium in my waters and because my blood pressure was slightly elevated, despite never having had any problems before. We were closely monitored and my blood pressure responded well to the recommended tablet medication. Things progressed well - I concentrated on my visualisations of opening buds and flowers and listened to the rainbow meditation. By 2am I started needing to concentrate on my breathing techniques and asked for a birthing ball to help stay upright and open my pelvis. My husband was incredible - as the surges increased he repeated positive affirmations such as 'each surge brings me closer to my baby', 'my body and my baby's body are created the right size to birth naturally'. By 6am things were more intense, so I started using the tens machine I'd brought with me. By 8am I felt like I needed a bit more help so I requested gas and air - which was amazing! It really helped focus my breathing and reduced the intensity of the surges - there was a delay before it took effect but once I understood how it affected my body it was so helpful. 

By 10am I was examined and found to be 6cm dilated which was amazing, but that the baby had turned to lie back to back. This was causing my body to push uncontrollably each time I had a surge despite my cervix being incompletely dilated. I tried to stop the overwhelming urge to push but it was becoming increasingly difficult, so it was at this point I discussed my options in the break between surges and opted for an epidural. Unfortunately, the first one didn't work completely, but once it was repeated 3 hours later the relief was instantaneous. I was still able to feel the surges but the urge to push had gone and on examination I was 9cm dilated. 

Over the next 2 hours I relaxed and chatted with my lovely midwife and student midwife who had been looking after us. Unfortunately, the baby was showing signs of distress; his heart rate was dropping with each surge, so despite being fully dilated, and the baby having turned completely we were advised to have a delivery in theatre in case an emergency C-section was required. Having been through the hypnobirthing course I felt calm and able to ask the right questions to ensure we had the right birth for us and our baby despite what could have otherwise been quite a stressful turn of events. In theatre my epidural was increased to a spinal block, an episiotomy was done and within 3 pushes our baby was born safely with forceps, 16 hours after my waters broke. As soon as he was checked over by a paediatrician he was brought back to us and placed on my chest for skin to skin - one of the best moments ever. 

I truly feel that thanks to hypnobirthing we were able to remain calm throughout labour even though it wasn't as intervention-free as we had hoped; I firmly believe that this was the right birth for us and our baby. I have no regrets or anxiety about how things turned out and am truly grateful to May and Jan for helping make our birthing experience so special.

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