- Boy (gender not known until birth)
- Evan James Maddox Miles
- 40 weeks (due date!)
- Prolonged rupture of membranes (PROM)
- Tens machine + gas and air during stage 2
- Labour ward delivery with inflatable birth pool
My water broke at 2.15am spontaneously on my way to the toilet. I then had very mild surges throughout the night but I managed proper sleep 6.30-8am. I decided not to wake my husband as I wanted him to have lots of energy for the day (s) ahead!
Based on the guidance from my doula, that day my husband helped me use a rebozo to perform some inversions on the advice of our doula to get baby in position. I continued to have irregular surges and all I wanted to do was sleep! The labour ward said because my waters had broken I was advised to come to hospital within the first 24 hours (by 2am on Thursday morning), due to an increased risk of infection. It also meant intervention was more likely because of prolonged rupture of membranes (PROM).
The idea of going there without being close to established labour seemed silly to me, so I made the call to stay at home with my husband overnight and see how I felt in the morning. It was important to me to let my baby dictate the labour given I was low risk. The next morning surges were about 8 mins apart and ~1min long each. I got into the shower at home and sat on my birth ball for relief. I started having spasms/shakes, and my doula confirmed this was due to hormones kicking in.
We then made our way to the hospital, and my doula suggested I rest in the footwell behind the passenger seat. This was game-changing as I couldn’t see out of the window so was able to stay ‘in the zone’, with a bit of extra help from my thick eye mask and the Positive Birth Company‘s Gentle Face Relaxation MP3 to relax.
Upon arrival the midwife confirmed I was 4cm dilated but because of PROM I couldn’t use the birth centre so had to use the labour ward. Our room didn’t have a birthpool but they had electric candles and turned the lights down low. I also had more strangers coming in and out of the room, which was distracting. One senior midwife even asked me pointless questions while I was having a contraction (“where do you live?”) and told me I could have an epidural and should really consider it. This angered me because my birth preferences explicitly said NOT to offer me pain relief unless I ask for it! My surges then stopped for a whole hour as it got me out of my headspace. I had a small nap and then continued labouring, using the en-suite shower for relief and holding on to my doula or husband for support during contractions.
After ~11 hours there, a midwife mentioned I could actually have an inflatable birth pool (finally!) They prepared it and once I got in the relief was like nothing else. I swiftly moved to stage 2 and used gas and air to get through the surges as I ‘pushed’.
Down breathing made my labour truly beautiful! I’m so grateful to the Positive Birth Company and their videos about it. I felt fully in control and this stage took roughly just 23 minutes. It was incredible to see and feel my son’s head underwater, and after another push he was halfway out trying to swim in the water! I felt motivated to double down on getting him out, so used all my concentration and down breathing to deliver him.
I pulled him up onto my chest myself with no intervention. After delayed cord clamping, a quick meal and a first feed (I was out of it so not sure if he just tried or actually fed!) we paid for a side room and stayed overnight on the ward.
The next morning, I tried several times to feed Evan. He was sleepy and fully clothed, which meant he was super warm and kept falling asleep at the nipple. I think his gentle birth also made him less awake for learning to latch!
Evan was only properly feeding from one boob, but not consistently and so I had to express colostrum into a syringe to help give him energy to feed. It was small amounts, 0.5ml at a time but again my doula helped reassure me low volume is to be expected. I stayed in a second night as I needed to demonstrate more successful breastfeeding. That night I asked for emergency formula (30ml) as he would latch but not suckle on me. I was distraught and felt like a failure.
The next day he got the hang of it a bit more, feeding 15-20 minutes x 3 sessions, so we headed home. Again, he decided not to feed so my husband had to rush out at 8pm for bottles, formula and a steriliser. Thankfully that night he then started to breastfeed properly and we’ve been exclusively breastfed ever since.
The only thing I would have done differently is preparing a bit more on what happens post-birth (reading up on the the labour itself and hypno-birthing was my focus!). I was so thoroughly unprepared for breastfeeding issues and what to expect with a newborn, but several months on we’re all good now 🙂