MummyNatal Birth Story - Kayleigh on the Birth of Cora

A water birth at home

 I really enjoyed having the opportunity to experience MummyNatal as both a teacher and as a pregnant mum. The time to completely relax and talk all things pregnancy and birth related each week was a welcome break from busy life with a toddler. I also got to really feel the benefit of our amazing birth ball movement section. 

I love being sent birth stories. Reading them is probably one of my favourite parts of my job. Hearing how mums use all of the skills that they’ve learnt in MummyNatal in their births and how unique each mum and birth is. I had promised myself that no matter what journey my birth took I would share it truthfully with you.

So put the kettle on and grab a couple of biscuits as my birth story is a long one.

On Wednesday 24th Jan at 41+5 (by scan dates) I saw my lovely community midwife for an appointment. I’d been having some on and off tightenings and a bit of a show so I asked for an examination to see what was going on. The midwife examined my cervix and said that things were starting to change and she offered to perform a membrane sweep, which I accepted. On the Wednesday night I felt a bit crampy but didn’t think much of it and went to bed.

On Thursday morning I woke up to some mild tightenings and the beginning loss of my mucus plug. As my first labour had progressed quite quickly we decided to send my daughter into nursery for the full day thinking that today would be the day. My husband took the morning off of work and we went for a walk along the river into town. On the way back from town I noticed that the tightenings had become more intense and a couple I had to stop walking to breathe through. They continued for the rest of the day but didn’t increase in intensity (we hadn’t timed them). My husband went to collect my daughter from nursery and my tightenings completely stopped. I managed to help bath her and put her to bed before they started up again. The tightenings carried on through the evening. I was struggling to get comfortable anywhere so sat on my ball where I found rocking side to side (cheek to cheek) most comfortable.

Throughout the night on Thursday the tightenings that continued. Some I slept through, some woke me and a few I had to get out of bed and breathe through. 

I woke up on Friday morning and it was like Thursday had never happened! The tightenings had stopped! By this point I’m extremely tired and well and truly fed up. I’m 42 weeks (by scan dates) and I’m wondering if this baby will keep me waiting for another week or more. I had been induced with my daughter and started to question whether or not my body knew how to go into labour. I had to sit down, calm myself down and tell myself to stop negative story telling. Nobody is pregnant forever and she will come when she’s good and ready. 

My husband took Friday off of work and my daughter went to nursery for the day. We decided to have a relaxing day and go for another walk and have some breakfast in town. I had the odd mild tightening but nothing that I really noticed if I wasn’t paying attention. Friday afternoon I saw the midwife again where we discussed a plan for post dates monitoring beyond 42 weeks. I had agreed to go into triage daily for CTG monitoring to listen to baby’s heart beat. She gave me another examination and there had been a small change but my cervix still wasn’t favourable. She gave me another deep and we went home.

Friday evening my husband went out to pick up a take away for us and as I went to take a bite of my burger I had a contraction. This was definitely a contraction and not a mild tightening. My daughter was sat in the back to back position (with her spine against mine) so I felt a lot of pressure in my back. I found it most comfortable to stand leant over the sofa arm and to sway my hips through them. They weren’t lasting too long and weren’t very close together (I managed to eat my burger). They continued throughout the evening and into the night. By 3am they were 4 minutes apart and although not really intense close enough for us to think we should call the birth centre and let them know. 

The birth centre decided to send a community midwife out to got to us around 4am. She arrived and did my observations. She examined me and said that I was only a cm dilated and my cervix was still posterior and that I was certainly not in labour! This came as a bit of a shock as I was most definitely feeling something. She felt my tummy and said that baby was in a back to back position and that is what would be causing the contractions without much dilation. The midwife left at around 5am and now feeling very disheartened and tired I ran a bath to try and slow things down enough to try and get some sleep. One I lay down the contractions became further apart and I was able to doze in between them. 

Saturday morning at 42+1 (by scan dates) I woke up to the loss of lots and lots more mucus plug. The tightenings were still there but I was thing to carry on as normal as I was aware that I could have a few more days of slow early labour.

At 1pm my husband and my daughter went for a nap. In this time things started to intensify. I got into a birth ball hug, put my music on and tried to just let the contractions come and go. I rocked from side to side and forward and backwards and completely focussed on the sound of my breath. I must have been like this for 2 hours as the next thing I know my husband and daughter are awake and it’s time for us to go into hospital for my daily CTG monitoring. I text a friend who will be watching my daughter whilst we go to hospital and let her know that we are on our way. She jokes that I’ll relax as soon as we’ve dropped my daughter and my waters will go. I’m now finding it uncomfortable to stand still so I ask my husband to help me put the TENs machine on and I hurry everyone into the car. We pull out of our road and POP! I shout to my husband to turn the car around. He’s confused and I say that my waters have gone. 

We get home and my husband calls the hospital. The Midwife on the phone says that someone will call back and I vaguely remember shouting to my husband that someone needs to come now. As my waters went my daughters head dropped and I could feel that she was very low. 

In the 40 ish minutes from calling the hospital to the Midwives arriving the contractions continue to intensify. My husband starts to fill the pool. The breathing techniques I’d been using start to become less effective and I move from a birth ball hug to sitting on my ball and using vocalisation with each contraction. The release from vocalising on each out breath is amazing and really helps me to focus. 

The Midwives arrive and I ask them to read my birth plan. I had asked for no examinations so I get into the pool whilst they are reading. On getting into the pool my contractions completely stop which was a much welcome break. After some time they start back up again and have increased in intensity. After a few contractions in the pool I ask for gas and air. This really helps me to focus on my breathing and to relax me. I continue to use vocalisation during contractions and I use the mini body scan during the rests. paying particular attention to my mouth, hands and pelvic floor. At some points I tell myself out loud to rest. 

I feel my jaw start to shake and know that this means I’m entering transition. I tell the midwife that I’m in transition and that it won’t be long. 

Shortly after my body starts to push. The feeling of my contractions change and I don’t want to use the gas and air any more. With each contraction I visualise energy coming up through my knees, through my body and to my mouth and then I breathe that energy out all the way back down. 

The midwife asks me if I can feel the baby’s head as she is unable to see. I say that I can feel baby’s head but then it keeps popping back in. This happens for a few contractions as the urge to push disappears before the baby’s head has crowned. I then have a very intense contraction and feel a stinging sensation and her head is born. I tell the midwife who reminds me to reach down and catch her with the next contraction. With the next contraction Cora is born.

I sit back in the pool holding my baby in shock that she’s actually here. 

After the 3rd stage of birth and a quick stitches check we head upstairs to bed for a cuddle, her first feed and some Pizza.

My husband goes to collect our eldest daughter who comes into bed with us for cuddles.

Baby Cora Elizabeth born on the 27th January at 5.25pm weighing 10lbs 4oz