eve's birth story
Ever since I obsessed about learning as much as I could about vbacs, home birth and physiological birth.
I got pregnant again in October 2018 and immediately I knew I wanted to have a doula help me along the way so I researched some more and met Anne.
As I had gestational diabetes with my boys I was monitoring my blood sugar levels from 11 weeks onwards, got officially diagnosed again at 28 weeks but apart from that the whole pregnancy went smoothly, even the GD was well managed with diet and - from 32 weeks onwards - with metformin. Baby grew steadily and stayed on his curve so I decided to decline routine induction at 38 weeks and remain on track for my dream of having a home birth.
My team of community midwives and consultant midwife were absolutely amazing and supportive and of course so was my doula. We practiced hypno birthing that even my boyfriend got into.
Due to the GD I decided to be induced at 41 weeks if nothing had moved by then so I started to feel pressure by 39 weeks as I hadn't even had a niggle at that stage. But baby was happy so at least everything looked well.
After my last routine appointment in Antrim on Tuesday Anne visited me and read a hypno birthing script to let baby know we're ready for him to be born. The same evening I also went for a session of reflexology, which was an amazing positive experience. I had a long chat afterwards with the reflexologist about positive birth and attachment parenting and left elated.
On Thursday I had a sweep that I decided was at that time the best option for me, I was 39+6 and my deadline was creeping closer. The sweep itself was again a very positive experience as unlike before it had happened based on my decision and was done gently and on my terms. That evening I started feeling crampy which I had expected to be a result of the sweep and became hopeful that it would lead somewhere.
Friday and Saturday I had some frequent mild contractions for a few hours at midday and in the evening but they stopped again at night.
On Sunday I had frequent contractions throughout the day and I was sure that they would be leading somewhere, they were quite short, around 40 seconds, but frequent every 5 minutes. I spent a lot of time in the shower for relief that afternoon, texting with Anne. We decided that she would pop round around half 8 after the boys had gone to bed to check in.
Once the boys had gone to bed I thought I'd call the hospital to alert the midwives (I was so happy my main midwife was on call) as we had discussed, just to give them a heads up. While I was waiting for their callback the contractions started to ramp up, I put my tens machine on and used the birth ball to lean over. They told me they would come over and both the midwives and Anne were here at around 8.30pm.
At that stage I was focused on breathing and wasn't really in the mood for chat any more. I was listening to relaxation music and had the flower clip of Moving Art on Netflix but I didn't consciously notice either. I did feel a bit nauseous so Anne used some peppermint oil near me and that helped.
I found standing more comfortable and stretched my legs by standing on my toes. Anne felt my legs as the temperature is an indication of dilation, I had requested to not receive any vaginal exams, only Doppler checks of baby.
Ross was filling the pool at that stage and by a stroke of genius he found a tap with more water pressure than what we had practiced so the pool was filling a lot quicker.
I started using gas and air as the contractions became a lot more intense and finally the pool was filled so I jumped in immediately, it was heaven! According to the notes this was at 10pm although I had absolutely no concept of time, looking back time passed faster than it seemed but the contractions, which were still quite short, seemed to last forever and it took all my focus to go with them and not fight them.
They did calm down a bit after getting into the pool and I was grateful for the break to regain some energy and focus.
Once they ramped up again I loved both Ross's steady presence and mental support just being able to lean on him, I learnt later that he read me the rainbow script following my request but I have no recollection of that. I'm sure he was glad to have something to do though.
Anne's more hands on approach was equally amazing, she was pouring water over my back or bump, depending on my position, helped me not tense up and whispered affirmations.
By around 11.45 I knew I was in transition, based on the typical "I can't do this any more". Everything had gotten very intense but I still felt reassured, despite my desperation, that it wouldn't be much longer if this was transition. I felt a lot of pressure and was desperate for my waters to go, thankfully they listened to my wish and popped a few minutes later, heavenly relief!
I think it was around that time as well that the dreaded poo came along, I think I was quite vocal about it but in hindsight it's a lot less mortifying than a lot of women think. Shit happens, you move on and there's more important things to be dealt with.
My contractions were still short (30-40 seconds every other minute according to my notes) but things changed. I heard it described as mooing I think but it was more like an involuntary Hulk-like grunt. The insane sensation of him moving down, I'll never forget it. My body just pushed by itself, no way of stopping even if I wanted to. I checked myself a few times and felt his head. I got to feel him when he wasn't even born yet and this time I was the first person to touch him. In my mind I was floating a few feet off the ground, my dream was coming true!
I did try to hold back from pushing as I didn't just want him to shoot out and tear but things can't be helped. He was born at 00:59am, fast and furious. As soon as he was out, time stood still. I feel like I looked at him forever (probably didn't though) but holding him was the best thing ever! Me and Orla unwrapped the cord from his neck and then we just sat.
I was aware of his blood sugar levels being a potential issue and the pool was already getting cold so we got out after about half an hour, just after I had cut the cord. The placenta came a few minutes later as well. I found out that I had a second degree tear so that was sorted and then I got to enjoy cuddles with my little man.
Thank you for sharing your birth story, Eve. Instagram: @eve_mcd86
*birth story kindly shared with consent*