Oli and I just wanted to let you know that our beautiful little girl Lottie has arrived safe and sound.
It was a slightly longer labour than we had envisaged but thanks to all we had learnt on our course with you, I’m pleased to say it was still overall a hugely positive experience.
It all started on Monday when I began to feel some on and off Braxton hicks. Although I had been feeling these for a few days, by midnight on Thursday I knew something was happening! I couldn’t sleep so I paced up and down the stairs, had a bath and remembered what you had said about making sure I had eaten so I started munching on some energy bars.
By lunchtime the next day, I rang the maternity helpline where they asked about baby’s movement but to be honest, I couldn’t remember! They suggested I go in to get checked and the midwives were brilliant – great with positive language and very encouraging but still being constructive with what I needed to focus on to help labour continue to progress. After some monitoring, they said that a VE (vaginal examination) wasn’t necessary at this stage and that we go home and get some rest.
Once home I had a short nap, we went for a walk, had supper and went for another walk. I decided to run a bath which was when I noticed that my surges had started to ramp up quite a bit! I called the maternity line again and they asked if I wanted to come in and said yes. When we arrived at triage, I agreed to a VE. I was already 4cm dilated.
Although we had wanted to go to Midwife Led Unit (MLU), we were informed that unfortunately it was full. Although disappointed, they asked if we would like a private room on the Labour ward, which turned out to be their birth pool suite. It was much nicer than we had expected so we felt relaxed and chilled about being there which was great.
A short while later, we were told that space had come available in the MLU. We were shown into a rather palatial room at 3am and immediately noticed how different it felt. The lighting especially was different being much softer, and it felt very welcoming.
They were checking baby’s heartrate every 15mins and asked to perform a VE every 4 hours which I was happy to do. By Saturday morning I was 8cm and although I had been trying very hard not to push, apparently my cervix had become very swollen due to spontaneous pushing.
I got into the birth pool but was feeling pretty tired by this point, so I lay down on the big bean bag that was in the room. The midwives suggested that we try some aromatherapy using a blend of clary sage, lavender and grapefruit. Oli did some lovely counterpressure massage on my lower back which felt amazing.
At 9am the midwives decided to give me a bit of a helping hand and broke my waters. They checked me again at 1pm and my cervix was no longer swollen, in fact I was almost fully dilated!
They asked where would like to have the baby to which I said in the pool. The midwife was brilliant, no coached pushing but instead suggested that I use my outbreath to breathe her down. Oli was great at prompting me with the down breathing we had learnt. Just 45 minutes later, Lottie was born!
Oli cut the cord (after delayed cord clamping) and then had skin to skin with her. She pooped on his hand whilst he held her which was very funny.
Karianne, thank you very much for all your help, guidance and support as we prepared to welcome Lottie into the world. We loved the course and credit you and the techniques you taught us with our hugely positive experience. We both felt empowered and in control with Oli being an active part of the birth as we worked together to bring our little girl safely into the world.