This is where is got a bit more crazy and I think the Gas and Air had a lot to do with the 'crazy'. My first breaths on the Gas & Air on the ward and I kept thinking that I was in a night club. The cubicle opposite us were watching a show on a phone I think but to me it was the music in the night club……i knew none of this was real which made me feel super weirded out.
My chariot arrived to take me up to delivery, but I had to walk to it…… ahhhh walking during labour was just the worst and then sitting on Pearls Exit route in the wheel chair was horrible. I was shaking violently as I got wheeled around the hospital shielding my eyes and face from the world as I tried to concentrate on getting to delivery suite.
Finally we arrived at delivery. It gets a bit blurry here. I feel like at times I was not even in my body…. As if id gone to some special place that mamas go when they are about to squeeze, push (I had wanted to 'breathe my baby out' but I had to push) and roar their baby into the world. Its like part of your body, your brain needs to go into sleep mode so that all your energy and power can be focussed on birthing your baby.
This part of my journey was the most scary, empowering, rewarding and life changing. We are now 4 weeks down the line and I still cant believe that this part was real……that it happened, that I journeyed it, it all feels so surreal. It is like nothing else in life. From deep within the little micro universe that my body had created, Pearl was safely guided and moved purley by my own bodies mechanics into the physical world. It just blows my mind.
Arriving at delivery suit 2 hours before I held our baby in my arms (it feels like lit was less time than that) was a little intense. I didn’t get a chance to meet the midwifes, get my bearings, feel safe and familiar with the space. Instead it was all a blur as I navigated trying to move into the room, onto the bed, meet new people, hear the plan, deal with the pain and birth my baby.
I could hardly talk and remember being asked if it was ok for a student midwife to join us. I just wanted them to telepathically know that my answer was "yes"…. Instead I had to muster everything from my depths to communicate YES, and even then it was like a grunt. I am so glad they heard me because Shaneen was incredible and I remember her as being this lovely, glowing part of Pearls birth.
DONT BIRTH ON YOUR BACK - I am sure you have heard this advise. It was all that I was thinking of. I was adamant that I shouldn’t be laying on the bed and that I should be leaning over the bed-head, or on all fours allowing gravity and my body’s natural contours to work together. The team helped me move into this position. I was sure that the babies head was stuck on my scar ridge (vbac birth you are told constantly about the scar rupture risks so I was really aware of my scar during birth). This was Shaneen's (our student midwife) 4th birth experience and Im so glad she was there. Her positivity and confidence shone through like a beacon of pure energy. She didn’t hesitate to place her hand on my scar to support & reassure me. Or to hold my hand with her face so close to mine as she told me it was all ok and I could do this. The room then filled with Drs as there was a concern about Pearl. I was moved onto my back as Pearl didn't like the position I was in and the stirrups came out…….. Shaneen was such a comfort after this I was so worried it was all going wrong like Rens birth. I loved holding her hand, it really boosted me.
Brad (my husband and birthing partner) was amazing. Lots of staff and other pregnant mothers commented on how great he was at telling me my affirmations, supporting me, holding me and talking to staff. He was such a comfort and tried so hard in a role that I am sure is at times boring, tiring, worrying and full of wonder.
Id like to take a moment to chat about 'pushing'. My body just took over and almost forced me to push. Id always thought I would be silent during birth…...that id go into myself. The reality was I was like a tennis player that grunts on every hit of the ball. When my body gathered itself and then released I couldn’t hold back I had to push and release this noise that I can only describe as a liow….. a lion/cow noise sounding like a roar crossed with a moo. I was aware I was making this noise, I could feel it surging out of me but I had absolutely no control over it. My body was just doing what it needed to do and this was part of it.
Did you know there is a specific way to push?!…...I thought you just, you know 'pushed'. Nope there is a specific way to push (I was trying to breathe and push when actually I had to just hold my out breathe and push deep deep down) so I was taught this and coached into doing it correctly and effectively by our amazing Midwife Catia.
Catia was wonderful, so knowledgeable, encouraging and a total leader. She kept us both safe and encouraged and nurtured our student midwife at the same time. Then I was told her head was born it lay resting between worlds. Shaneen beamed as Pearls head rested in her hand she took her first breaths of air and those sweet, delicate first breaths tickled her hand…… I am so glad that Pearl had that moment with such a loving woman and midwife in training.
So what was it like? What was 'giving birth like?' Yes I inwardly thought 'im never doing this again, this is terrifying and painful'. But I honestly think that the 'terrifying' part of it was because I turned up at delivery without a chance to get my bearings, meet my team etc. I think that feeling familiar and safe is so important and had I felt this strait away I would not of felt so scared. My team (Catia & Shaneen) were wonderful but I didn’t know them and after my last experience in hospital with Ren it took me a moment to trust and feel secure with the people around me…...in the end I totally did.…….. because Catia & Shaneen were exactly what I needed and wanted, full of knowledge, warmth, kindness, compassion and love, THANK YOU!
Trust and believe you can do it. For me I treated birth as a whole experience not just physical but spiritual as well. I am so glad I did, because it made such a difference and I absolutely have the most wonderful memories of Pearls birth for which I am so greatful for.
xx Colette XX
special thanks to.........
My birthing partner and companion THANK you for the company, the space, the laughs, the cuddles...... for it all I needed you and you were perfect.
Mum Dad you looked after Ren so well and kept me updated on all his fun. Your messages kept me going.
Clair at Rolling Hills Hypnotherapy. Without your Birth Trauma Session im not sure i would of been so chilled and happy to go into hospital and to have navigated the journey.
The Ashridge Home Birth Team and in particular my midwife Abby. See you, having continuity of care was amazing. Thank you for ALWAYS being there for me, I felt so supported and cared for.
Consultant Midwife Antonio you made me feel safe and heard. I never worried about our meetings and knew I was in honest and caring hands with you.
Benny our midwife on Victoria Ward THANK YOU for getting us up to delivery suit. When i saw you were on the shift i immediately felt better and like we would be cared for.
Our midwifes in delivery were just wonderful!! I am so grateful to you both and so pleased that I found my voice in the midst of it all to say YES to having a student Midwife.
The smallest bit of kindness, doing that extra little bit can make such a difference to someone. Thank you to the Midwife who listened to me and got me the scan that I needed (the unit was trying to turn me away). It was this pure deed of loveliness that highlighted there was a new risk involved with Pearls birth, so I will be ever grateful to you.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone above, to all our friends and family who have supported us, given us food parcels, love and uplifting energy. Thank you to all the VBAC & home birth Mamas who gave me advise and courage, You have all been so appreciated, keep being supertastic xx