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Sophie's Story

I always had a vision of what my birth would be like. Calm, positive mindful. I wanted my birth to reflect me and what I valued, and I wanted my baby to be born into an environment of peace and positivity. Unfortunately, like many women… I didn’t get the birth that I had dreamed of. Planned home birth I had always visualised myself having a home birth, with lots of candles, relaxing scents and a birth pool. But the more I read online, the more I got scared. People reacted so negatively about my choice and asked me why I wanted to take the risk? Especially with it being my first child. But the closer it got to my due date and the more I spoke to my midwife and husband about it, the more I wanted to trust my gut instinct. And even though it didn’t end the way I wanted it to, I still don’t regret making that choice. Beginning of labour I went into labour on 29th May (baby’s due date) and started getting contractions about 1pm. Within a couple of hours my contractions were about 3 minutes apart, so we called the midwife who decided it was time to bring the birth pool around. At this point, the contractions were painful and so close together but once I was in the birth pool that night, surrounded my candles and my labour playlist I was positive and excited to meet my baby (that night I hoped). However, after a whole night in the pool I was still only 2cm dilated. I hadn’t progressed at all despite my contractions being so close together. My midwife checked the baby’s position and it was down, but its head was to the side slightly. She gave me some exercises to try and get the baby’s head to turn while she went home for a sleep (taking the gas and air with her).

I spent the whole day trying to get the baby’s head in a better position, whilst hopping in and out of the bath, bouncing on my ball and walking around the house mooing like a cow. The contractions were still every 3 minutes apart and I was exhausted. The midwife came back later that night to check on me, and I had progressed…But only to 4cm. I was upset, but she assured me that once I was in the birth pool again it might speed things up.

So, I persevered and spent another night in the birthing pool trying to relax and practice my hypnobirthing breathing. By 4:30am there was still no sign of baby and I wasn’t dilating any further. I made the decision to go to the hospital because I was beyond exhausted and desperate for pain relief. Off we went in an ambulance (don’t know how we managed that one!) and I was given diamorphine to help me sleep. Not long after, my waters broke, and I was whisked off for an Epidural. Going to Hospital

I had always had such a negative opinion of Epidurals. I was terrified of them and something going wrong. But honestly, the doctors made me feel so at ease and the sense of relief I felt after it had kicked in is something that I’ll never forget. I was given some tea and toast and told that I would be ready to push in an hour! After such a long labour at home I was relieved to know that I was going to finally meet my baby.

I started pushing which was quite difficult considering I was numb from the pelvis down. But the midwives talked me through it. After about 30 minutes of pushing, the doctor came in to say that the baby’s heart rate was dropping, and I needed some assistance. She was going to cut me and use a vontouse, but she assured me that with one final push the baby would be here. At this point I didn’t care what they did to me, I just wanted the baby here safely. I gave one final push as she attached the vontouse to ease the baby out.

The final push All I saw next was the baby being pulled out by the suction cup and I saw that it was a boy and cried ‘It’s a boy!’ (which was the biggest surprise ever!) and they placed him on my chest. The sense of relief when your baby is finally here, and the labour is over is the most amazing feeling and one that I’ll never forget.

I was told by the doctor that he was back to back which is why my contractions were so close together and intense and his head just wasn’t in the right position to give birth without assistance. She said that next time I wouldn’t be as unlucky, and it would hopefully be easier. How I feel about my labour now I don’t regret my decision to have a home birth even though it didn’t turn out the way I planned it. I still look back with love on the time I spent at home in the pool with my mum and husband there trying to relax me. If I knew that the next labour was going to be quick and straightforward, I would try a home birth again. But I have learnt to not rule anything out because that Epidural really did save me in the end.

They say you forget about the pain afterwards once you’ve held your new baby. And I agree to an extent and I would 100% go through it all to have another baby. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge that it is still an extremely traumatic event and we should be able to talk openly about our experiences. Not to scare anyway off birth, or receive a medal for the most difficult labour but for us to be able to talk through how we felt about the birth openly and hopefully find some relief in other people’s similar stories.

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