Alice and Fenella

My Birth story, it’s a rather long read!
💜known baby girl: Fenella Florence Rose
💙8lb 8.5oz
💚EDD: 3rd July 21
💛birth date: 8th July 21 (40+5)
🧡preferred and actual birth: water birth at home
❤️ pain relief: TENS machine, up breathing
Completed online hypnobirthing course by the Positive Birth Company
We planned for a home birth as my labour with my first was relatively quick (12 hours from waking up with niggles to baby arriving) and we live 45 minutes from the AMLU (2nd choice).
22nd June (38+3) - I went to my midwife appointment feeling extremely uncomfortable and with lower back pain, and when having my fundal height measured my MW was convinced she could feel my tummy tightening. I went home excited that things could be starting, but didn’t get my hopes up too much.
24th June (38+5) - my son develops a persistent cough and we go into self-isolation awaiting a COVID test and results. Thankfully it came back negative, but the stress of this situation made the feelings in my back and tummy stop.
27th June (39+1) - started to lose my mucus plug and started to get excited that things were starting up again and immediately got on my birth ball and spent the evening watching comedies. This was misplaced excitement though as nothing more appeared for over a week.
 6th July (40+3) - I went to my MW appointment, again incredibly uncomfortable, thinking I’d been having niggles and a little bit fed up. I had been convinced this baby would be early (no idea why). My MW was also surprised to see me as she had also been convinced at my last appointment that I would be having her soon. I had previously told my MW that I did not want a stretch and sweep, but we had another discussion and given how uncomfortable I was, I used my BRAIN and decided I wanted to know where I was and have the stretch and sweep if possible. Unfortunately my cervix was still really far back and my MW was unable to carry out the stretch and sweep properly. I went home a little disappointed, but reminded myself that ‘my baby would come when she is ready’ and fully expected to be seeing a MW again the following week.
7th July (40+4) - I had some cramping most of the day, but I put this down to the stretch and sweep the previous day and didn’t think much more of it.
At about 5pm, the cramping started to become more regular and strong enough for me to have to use up breathing through them, but I still thought nothing of them given the position of my cervix the day before. I didn’t time the length of these cramps or the time between them because I didn’t want to get my hopes up (my MW had told me she was on call that night and I really thought I was just imagining the cramps because I wanted baby to be delivered by her). By about 10pm the cramps had eased off (I’m blaming being subjected to watching the football), and at the time, this convinced me that I had indeed been getting my hopes up and I went to bed thinking nothing more of them. I now realise this was definitely the start and I was in early labour and I should have switched off my brain and gone with my gut and given the MW a call to warn her, but never mind!
8th July (40+5)
3.30am - I woke up needing the toilet, I went for a wee and had a surge whilst sat on the toilet. Again, I wasn’t 100% convinced that I was in labour, but I woke my husband and said I was going downstairs to sit on my birth ball for a bit to see what happens, but it was probably nothing.
4am - after 30 minutes of bouncing on my ball and watching Friends I was no longer comfortable and went back to my husband to tell him I was going to have a bath. He immediately got out of bed to start setting up the birth pool as he knew that it was starting (I still wasn’t convinced but started using the FREYA app to time the surges)
4.45am - after 30 minutes in the bath (it took forever to run), the surges were coming thick and fast and FREYA said I was in established labour. I text my husband asking him to bring his phone up so we could ring the MW. It took him 10 minutes to get my text and make his way up. In this time I had got out of the bath and was back sitting on the toilet as this was the only place I felt comfortable. We rang my MW’s number, but she had already been called to another birth so the call got diverted to the labour ward and this was the most stressful part of the whole experience as they couldn’t find our names on the home birth list, and it wasn’t until they went to find my MW on the unit to ask her, that they believed we were booked for one. I was probably only on the phone for a couple of minutes but it felt like hours! The labour ward said a community midwife would ring as soon as possible.
5.20am - a community midwife rang, but said she was over an hour away and she would ring the other midwife in case they were closer, but if I felt like I was going to push then we would have to ring for an ambulance.
I made my way downstairs, at this point the surges became really intense and I had to switch my up breathing to in for 3 out for 6. I then remembered about the TENS machine and ended up sat on the toilet again as this was the only place I was comfortable.
6.15am(ish) - the first MW arrived and got set up on the kitchen table, I was still sat in the toilet at this point and stayed this way for another half an hour, by which time the second midwife had arrived.
6.45am(ish) - I moved into the living room so that the M could examine me (externally). I couldn’t lie down immediately and was knelt leaning over the back of the sofa. Whilst in this position I overheard one of the MWs say to the other that my name MW was on her way, and upon hearing that I felt myself completely relax.
7am(ish) - I manage to lie down on the sofa so that the MW could check baby’s position. The surges during this time were really intense and I started to feel the urge to push. Unfortunately they struggled to determine her position and weren’t convinced that she was head down. This worried me as baby had been transverse at 31 weeks, and although I’d had a growth scan at 39 weeks and baby was head down then I was worried she had turned back and was going to require a transfer to hospital. So I agreed to a VE where they measured me at 6cm dilated and babies head was definitely down (thank goodness). I asked for gas and air at around this point, but only one MW had brought a canister and it turned out to be empty!
Very soon after I got into the pool and felt an instant relief. I was on my knees leaning over the side of the pool and I was able to completely relax in between surges, something I had started to struggle with since leaving my comfortable position of the toilet.
At about 7.20am, my named MW walked through the door, greeted me with “well this is rather different to when I saw you on Tuesday” and I felt myself relax even more knowing that she had made it in time to welcome our daughter into the world. The urge to push with each surge then became even stronger. I tried my best to do down breathing, but it sort of went out of the window and my body took over. One of the first MWs asked my names MW if she wanted to “catch” just as I felt babies head descend and there was a bit of a scramble for her to get some gloves on.
At 7.34am Fenella Florence Rose entered the world exactly as I had hoped.
My little boy slept through the whole thing and was woken up by my husband to bring him down to meet his sister! He is absolutely besotted, as are we!

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