Jess' positive birth story - Hospital birth centre
I’m so sorry its taken so long to write this but we owe you a huge, enormous thank you and we wanted to let you know how the birth of Sylvie Clementine Martin Laurie went down!
"It was like a tiny holiday!"
I went into labour at 5am on 14th March, when I was 40 weeks + 6 days. My surges were quite dull and far apart but Grey stayed home from work anyway and we spent the morning watching Parks and Recreations and eating pasta. It was like a tiny holiday! At some point in the afternoon my surges got a bit more intense and I moved to our little cave bedroom, where Grey had closed the blinds and lit candles.
I took naps throughout the day, listened to Katherine Graves, Grey read some hypnobirthing scripts and we had The Lioness playing.
When the surges got particularly intense, I put on a black eye mask (which also was invaluable on the way to the hospital and once there!), rocked on all fours, imagined balloons floating over the tops of trees in a forest and ‘moo-ed’ through them.
transfer to hospital
Leading up to the birth, I was particularly nervous about making the 25 min journey to the hospital and being sent home for not being far enough along, so we were very focused on waiting until I was having 3 surges lasting at least a minute each, within ten mins. When this was happening, we got into the car and drove to Homerton. We arrived at 8.05pm which we had been told in our antenatal classes was the worst time to arrive - the new shift had just begun and the midwives were all busy on the change over. I locked myself in the bathroom off the waiting room, put my eye mask on and waited in there until a midwife was ready to see us.
At 8.30pm a midwife took me to the birthing suite to be examined, where she told me, with surprise, that I was fully dilated. I hadn’t had any contractions in the car and while I was worried the labour was slowing down, it would seem that I was actually in the transitional phase. I was already experiencing the down surges by this point so the two midwives filled the pool in the birthing suite while I hid in the bathroom again!
creating the nest
Meanwhile, Grey was ensuring all the lights and screens in the room were off or dimmed and placing battery powered candles wherever he could. He also put on Agnes Obel (our chosen birthing music which I had been listening to in candlelit baths in the latter stages on pregnancy) and sprayed the Neals Yard calming room spray you recommended.
The room was so calm and lovely - the midwives were really into it.
down stage of labour
We waited while I had few more down surges in the pool, did some down breathing and thought about waterfalls, and then the midwife told me that it was time to let the baby come out. I had written a birthing plan, however in the shift changeover and the fact that I arrived fully dilated, the midwife had not had a chance to read it so she wasn’t aware that we did not want her to coach me through the second stage. At this point however, I really liked and trusted her, felt she understood what we were trying to do and also, I did feel that I wanted her her, so she coached me through that stage. I did feel confident enough (thanks to hypnobirthing) to tell her when the urges to push were beginning and ending so that I was at no point doing something my body was not supposed to be doing.
sylvie is born!
An hour and a half after getting to the birthing suite, Sylvie was born - in her amniotic sack which was incredible, and placed on my chest for skin to skin while we waited for the cord to stop pulsating. Once it had done so and Grey cut the cord and Sylvie was passed to him for skin to skin while I was helped out of the pool and onto the bed to deliver the placenta. Sylvie weighed in at 6lb 13oz and was perfect and I just needed once stitch in the pocket.
Apparently we were the talk of the midwife station - the couple who walked in fully dilated, had no pain relief and gave birth to a baby in her waters…so hopefully we’ve done some good PR for hypnobirthing at Homerton!
I feel incredibly grateful to have had such a smooth, calm birth; it wasn’t easy - it was incredible emotionally and physically challenging but I feel that hypnobirthing and all the prep we did beforehand (starting super early on at 17 weeks) meant that we had the confidence and tools to handle whatever happened.
It also really united us as a team, with Grey playing a fully active role so I felt really supported all the way through the pregnancy and the birth - it sounds a bit soft but I felt like ‘we’ were giving birth, that it wasn’t me on my own. There were plenty of times when I was knackered and wanted to sack off doing a hypnobirthing script in the evening and Grey read it to me anyway - often when I was already sleep! He also feels really bonded with Sylvie which I think is because he was so invested and involved from so early on.
Phew! So there we go! She’s 4 weeks old today and last night slept for 6 and a half hours at once. She’s so lovely, really calm and content and I’m recovering really well (after an initial idiotic mistake of running with the dog on a walk a week in!)
Something that has been super helpful to my recovery is Anna Jones’ Golden Turmeric Milk which is basically like a healing hug.
So thank you so much, you and what you do are completely wonderful and we will be forever grateful xxx