Content Warning: This story mentions episiotomy and traumatic birth.
Laurna is sharing this story on her son’s first birthday so happy birth day to his mama first of all and of course happy first year celebrations to him!
On paper, my second birth was more traumatic, both for me and baby. But on the whole, it was such a positive experience because I trusted my body.
During the last two weeks of pregnancy, I had tried every old wives tale and trick to encourage a natural labour. Nothing worked and we had agreed to go for induction on my due date. We were booked in for a 9pm induction on the Saturday night. Saturday morning we got a call asking if we would like to go in earlier. We had a nice family day planned, but 12pm was a better time than waiting all day and labouring overnight.
So Daddy took our daughter to Grannies house as planned for an exciting sleepover, and the dog went to the other grandparents house.
We were ready and headed in! Thankfully we didn’t wait long and I was examined in the ward. I’d had this feeling like my waters were about to go all week. So when the doctor said she could easily break my waters to start I wasn’t surprised they were ready.
Within 2 hours of arriving, we were taken up to labour ward and my waters were broken. They went naturally for me the first time and this was not pleasant, but I concentrated on my breathing and it was done.
I was also glad we were in labour ward quickly as we had our own room and was nice and relaxing. Also I knew that my other half would not be asked to leave at a certain time.
Once my waters went, I went to town bouncing on the ball, I was doing squats and benign as active as I could. I think after half an hour of speed walking the labour corridor we were offered to go walk around the hospital. So we headed out and walked right up to the 7th floor and back down again. Trying to encourage baby by moving as much as possible.
I was told that if contractions hadn’t started naturally by 6pm, then I would be given the drip to get things going. This is something that I really didn’t want as knew there was no way I would be allowed in the pool. I was also then told that due to being induced I would not be allowed in the pool either. This is something I was not advised before so of course I became emotional.
This is when my other half just embraced me and reassured me that as long as baby gets here safely and in our arms it doesn’t matter how. He calmed me down and we started to focus on the drip induction.
My midwife was so nice and gave us extra time to try and start naturally, but it just didn’t happen.
I asked for numbing cream as I hate needles in my hand and decided to stop the movement for a while and rest as I would soon need my energy.
Once the drip started, it was only about half an hour before things got going. And once they started there was no time to relax. I was still able to be as active as I liked with the drip and monitor on. I started of standing leaning over the bed rocking my hips. Once a contraction started Gavin rubbed my back till it was passed. For the first part, I concentrated on my breathing and hummed each contraction. My best affirmation that I repeated in my head was “with every pain, my baby is closer to me”.
Once things got stronger, I was on the bed kneeling leaning over the back and I asked for the gas.
I had forgotten how hilarious it made you feel. I remember feeling like I was on a ski lift in the French alps going up to ski. I was saying how I was looking forward to skiing and it must be my new happy place. Then the thoughts changed and I was in a bad at the top of the slope and buying everyone shots! This coming from me who is tea-total! But it’s probably to do with Gavin asking is it like feeling tipsy with the gas.
During my first birth, I had double contractions and relied on the gas so much I was very sick. This time I concentrated how it made me feel and was able to stop mid contraction so that it helped but not to the point of sickness.
I felt so empowered listening to my body and knew that I would soon probably stop talking or making sense. So I came up with a morse code for Gavin using my feet.
One tap was for contraction ending and two was for him to rub my back harder. Also every fourth contraction, he was to give me water. We were such a team and he was so amazing, I remember the midwife telling him so too!
The contractions were coming thick and fast, after a long wait, baby boy was in a hurry to meet us and if felt great. I could tell when each stage was peaking and all I could say was “middle stage” so they knew where I was.
Pains stepped up again and I breathed through the gas and could feel the start of transition. For me this felt amazing as I knew I was listening to my body and not listening to anyone telling me what my body is doing.
I stuck my arm in the air and this was my sign, although they wouldn’t know till I told them after. When baby did start to transition, my arm went straight up and made circular movements. This was me signing that baby was in transition, but also so I could remember what it was like. After the contraction I told them what my sign meant and the midwife asked to examine me.
I lay on my side and knew I was fully dilated and ready to meet my baby soon. I then decided that because I was more in control and more aware of everything this time, I asked for slightly more pain relief. Looking back, I’m glad I was able to acknowledge this and ask clearly and calmly.
I told the midwife baby would be here soon as I was going to start pushing. I was still concentrating on my breathing and staying calm to respond to my body.
I didn’t have to push for very long before I could sense that there was a bit of urgency needed. The midwife suggested I change sides to help and I did and continued to push while grabbing Gavin in a headlock to give me support.
Once his head was out, I asked to feel and was amazing to meet my baby that first time. It was then that the midwife said they needed to cut me a wee bit to help as baby was getting stuck. I tried not to panic and stay calm while pushing.
I had kept my eyes closed the whole time as I was concentrating but Gavin said that it went from one person in the room to about 7! Very fast and he could tell there was something wrong.
Baby boy had his shoulders stuck and needed to get out very quickly. I was cut one side and with pulling, I was torn the other side! Once baby was out, I went into a bit of a daze and shock.
Baby was not breathing, the cord was cut straight away and he had to be resuscitated. Gavin said it was very quick and then we heard that amazing first cry!
Baby boy was then placed on me for skin to skin and that first feed. But it wasn’t over. Due to the trauma, I had to deliver my placenta quickly and be taken to theatre for repairs to my cut and tear.
Thankfully I was still given enough time to have skin to skin and feed baby and get some pictures.
In my birth plan, if I was unable to or was taken to theatre, baby was to be left with daddy for skin to skin until I woke.
So after theatre when I came to, seeing my baby in his daddies arms enjoying skin to skin filled my heart!
I ended up with an cut and a third degree tear and a catheter after birth. I won’t go too much into detail, but a 4th degree tear is right through your anus, so you can imagine a 3rd is not that much better!!
So, I did not get my water birth, I did not get delayed cord clamping, I did not have a physiological third stage, and I did not get to see my baby attached to his placenta. BUT I had such a relaxing labour listening to my body, I had an amazing partner who was my team mate, and we had our baby safely in our arms.
Birth plans are great to have, but things can change and babies have their own plans.
So even though it was a pretty traumatic birth, it was more positive than my first. I know that I will not suffer from PTSD or PND this time. This first week has been amazing so far, I can’t wait to enjoy our new wee family unit every day!
Coorie in With Love
Laurna is a babywearing consultant based in Inverness. She has a lending library, runs workshops, sling-meets, walks and more. If you’re not local to her, I recommend following her on social media as she always has fun and informative posts about carrying!