Birth Stories
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Natalie

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Holly May on October 6th 2007 and it was an amazing experience.

Holly is my first child and I was probably the most apprehensive mum-to-be in the world (well it felt that way anyway). I wasn't worried about bringing up the baby as I was far too focused on and scared about the impending birth. I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to cope with labour so went religiously to prenatal yoga, read up on hypno birthing and eventually signed up with a private midwife. I felt the one-to-one care would help keep me calm and therefore make labour go more smoothly. Matt also liked the idea of someone we both trusted being there to help take the pressure off. We were both right! Teresa was great and helped make the whole experience wonderful. She understood our needs and was fully supportive of our choices. I wanted to do it naturally if possible and quite liked the idea of a water birth but didn't want to plan too much. We also wanted to be in hospital for the birth and had chosen St Thomas' but I wanted to labour at home for as long as possible. Teresa made all of that possible. Knowing that she would be there from the early stages, enabled me to relax (a little anyway!) and my plan was simply to go with the flow as it happened.

I was convinced that, being my first, the baby would be two weeks late but much to our surprise, six nights before she was due Holly started rumbling! I couldn't believe it - I was actually having contractions. They started at about 3pm and by 6pm I'd called Matt and we were both at home clock-watching and counting. The contractions started coming thick and fast but were irregular in length. We spoke to Teresa and she confirmed that, while they were irregular, we had a long way to go. We settled in for a long night candles lit and me in the bath - when at 2am everything stopped. I was gutted. It was a false start. I'd heard about pre-labour at my yoga class but didn't expect it to happen to me. The following morning Matt and I went for breakfast and then he headed into the office late. I tried to relax and not get too stressed about it but I found the whole thing emotionally tough. I took myself off for a walk in the afternoon and, there in the middle of Clapham Common, felt the contractions once again. That evening I was back in the bath - getting excited and scared all at once - as we were convinced it was happening for real this time. Unfortunately Holly had other ideas and once gain everything stopped in the early hours of the morning. I had now missed two nights sleep and was feeling pretty depressed.

The contractions continued to come, at intervals, throughout the next day. I spent the whole day in bed, desperately trying to conserve energy, strapped up to my Tens machine. At this point I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to handle it when real labour kicked in because I was absolutely exhausted. Teresa was great and popped in through the day (mainly to feed me but also to help keep us both sane). This was by far the hardest part of the whole thing for me. I was an emotional wreck. But then, thankfully, the contractions started to gain pace and we were off and running by the evening. At last I was in full, established labour. I did my breathing as the contractions got stronger and both Matt and Teresa continued to feed me spoonfuls of porridge. It was lovely being at home and in familiar surroundings I think we even had the TV on but I have no idea what was on!! At 9pm Teresa put me in the shower which really helped me to focus on the task in hand and helped to relieve the pain. At 10.30pm I was 5cm dilated and we were soon on the way to hospital. Now I started asking for gas and air.

It's all a blur but I do remember the speed bumps and being on all fours, in the back of the car telling Matt to slow down as a contraction came and then to 'floor it' once one had passed. I lost all concept of time as my thoughts and energy went on breathing through each contraction. It's amazing how your body just takes over and you just get on with it.

We made it to reception (with only a few stops for me to drop to all fours en route!!) and, after a little convincing, I headed to the 'home-from-home' room - affectively opting out of pain relief. Things were happening pretty fast and by this stage I was in transition. Needless to say the contractions were very intense so it was a tough decision to go without the drugs but I'm so glad I did. Within an hour I was in a birthing pool and immediately my whole body relaxed. Being suspended in water was such a relief after hours of being on all fours and doing various yogic positions. I felt an overwhelming urge to push almost immediately the moment I got into the water and the midwife confirmed I could. I pushed as hard as I could with each contraction and pretty soon Holly's head was out. I was so relieved. It was an amazing feeling. I'd nearly done it, not much further to go…..

Natalie and HollyA couple more pushes and then our beautiful baby came out it was 2am. The midwives guided her up through the water between my legs and I cuddled her until the cord stopped pulsating. It was so calm and lovely. Matt then cut the cord and we got out of the pool about forty minutes after she was born.

It was the perfect ending to what had been an exhausting couple of days. I feel so lucky to have had such a smooth birth and I do believe that coming into the water in such calm and tranquil surroundings has helped make Holly the calm baby she is today. She is six months old now and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I'm still proud of how I managed to do it on the day - but if I can ….. You can.

Motherhood is simply the most wonderful thing I have ever done or achieved. You'll love it. Good luck and best wishes for an equally happy birth.
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