phyllida's birth story
The free HBAC of Juno Ffion at 42+2
After seeing my midwife at just before 42 weeks I agreed that if I got to term I would go into hospital and have a CTG. At 42+1 I went in to be monitored. I declined a sweep and induction and agreed to another CTG the following week. I wasn’t worried about going post 42 weeks as I just knew she was fine.
As I made my way to my reflexology appointment I felt the familiar rumblings of the beginnings of labour. I had sporadic contractions until about 2pm where they became strong enough that I breathed through them and were coming every ten minutes. They continued throughout the evening and night at the same regularity but not increasing much in intensity. I ate and rested, getting up and leaning into each one. The next day the same continued and although I hadn’t slept I felt content and well rested. My Doula was teaching a class that evening (she was expecting to be done with me by now!) but only for a few hours so we agreed to risk it and my wonderful Hypnobirthing teacher was also on stand by in case I really wanted someone there and Sarah couldn’t make it.
By 2pm things had picked up and I knew i was heading for active labour. I spent the afternoon at home with Chris, my partner, resting, walking and sitting on my birth ball listening to my Hypnobirthing tracks. I had hoped my elder two would be with me during labour but as things ramped up I only wanted privacy and quiet so my mum collected them. My contractions were not painful but were growing in intensity and were quickly one on top of the other. By 6pm I called Triage to be told there were no midwifes available until 9pm. I wasn’t concerned as my first labour had been very long so I thought I could potentially have hours ahead of me. By 7pm I knew she would be here before that, Chris had let Sarah know and I rang triage back to ask again for them to find someone to send. They offered me a room on labour ward or paramedics both of which we declined. By this time the birth pool was filled in front of the roaring fire and I got in. It was total ecstasy.
My contractions were coming thick and fast and although deeply intense, and requiring all my attention, it wasn’t painful. Even though I knew no one was coming it all felt very calm. It had been in the back of my mind- somewhere bubbling away deep inside, An inexplicable knowing, that I might end up Birthing unassisted. I had been in contact with my midwife in the lead up and I knew the home birth service was sporadic so I had mentally prepared for this possibility. It felt perfect.
Sarah texted to say she was leaving her class early, I think she just -*knew* and said she would be with us in ten minutes. What a gorgeous surprise. Only a few minutes after she got through the door I felt the familiar sense of transition followed by lots of pressure. At this point I said ‘I can’t do it’ which I knew even as the words were leaving my mouth meant I was definitely, absolutely, doing it! Sarah asked if I could feel her head and I could! It was right there. With a couple of powerful contractions her head was born and my waters went. The time between her head being out and the next contraction felt like forever- A peaceful psychedelic gap in time and space, as we all waited for her body to join us. With one last contraction out she came. I reached down into the water and scooped her into my arms. She was here! And it was so... easy! We sat in the pool for a while and then I got out onto the sofa. After an hour and a half her placenta still hadn’t arrived and Juno’s cord was so short it was hard to get comfortable. I decided to called Triage to let them know we had had our baby and request midwifes to do paperwork & potentially have some assistance with my placenta if it hadn’t arrived. They arrived about 11pm.
After trying different positions and waiting over three hours I requested the injection to help deliver the placenta, and after 10 or so minutes it was out.
We snuggled up in our bed, drank cups of tea and Sarah brought us some birthday cakes that she had baked. Bliss!
phyllida's instagram @somerset_doula
*birth story and photos kindly shared with consent*