Laura gave birth in June, three months into the Covid-19 crisis. Luckily her baby came in advance of her due date, so she didn’t have to deal with the – when to start induction dilemma – that so many mums are currently finding themselves faced with. Laura did pregnancy yoga with me through both of her pregnancies, in-person for the first and online for the second, and she feels this, along with hypnobirthing and birth preparation classes, set her up well for a chilled labour.

I am happy with how both my births went but I did feel extra proud this time round, as the lead midwife said she had delivered a lot of babies and this one was up there as one of the most chilled births she had experienced.

Baby Ivy’s Chilled Birth

It’s such a shame I didn’t get to see you in person this time round Donna, but I loved doing yoga across the last three months of my pregnancy, especially during lockdown when I wasn’t as active as I usually would be.

I’m so happy to have had another positive birth experience, even though I didn’t get the chance to have a water birth again, I wouldn’t change my labour. I think having an open mind, preparation and breathing, was key for me. Yoga, hypnobirthing and antenatal classes allowed me to prepare for both my births. 

On Wednesday 24th June I woke up with tummy ache, like dull period pains and I knew that baby was going to come on this day, I just had that instinct. I said this to my husband but he was still half asleep and didn’t quite believe me. Luckily, it was a nursery day for my toddler, so my husband took her and I called my mum to say that I think I was going into early labour and that it was best she collected Ella from nursery and had her overnight. 

I spent the morning at home getting on with some bits I had planned to do and kept taking regular breaks to sit and enjoy the sunshine, as it was set to be the hottest day of the year, and I wanted to ensure I was rested for labour. My mucus plug was also falling away throughout the morning and the surges became more frequent and intense.

I found walking up and down the garden helpful and standing up, leaning over a table/chair/kitchen work surface helpful too – like in yoga when we stretch out over the chair – I did this whilst focusing on my breathing throughout the surges. I also had a filling lunch for energy. 

My surges were coming every few minutes but seemed to be manageable. I called Stoke Mandeville and they said they didn’t think I was ready to come in yet but because I was in Amersham and it was my second baby it wouldn’t hurt to come in and get checked, I was happy with this approach.

I got to hospital at about 2pm, my husband had to stay outside due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I was checked and was 2cm dilated – I wasn’t bothered by this as I expected I was in the early stages and had kept an open mind. I was told I could stay if I wanted to, or go home, I said I would go home and come back when I felt like I needed to.

I met my husband back in the car and before going home we decided to visit a place called Coombe Hill which is about ten minutes from the hospital, it’s up on a hill top and has amazing views, and during the summer months there is always an ice cream van parked there. So we decided we would go and get an ice cream, as this would be a nice distraction. Each time I had a surge I held onto my husband for support and breathed through it.

After our walk and ice cream we headed home, whilst driving home I thought to myself I don’t think we’ll be there for too long as my surges became stronger. For the short time we were at home I put my hypnobirthing music on and did stretches such as hip circles and rocking back and forth on all fours, alongside focusing on my breathing.

At around 5pm we decided to get ready to head back to Stoke Mandeville, as my surges were still a few minutes apart but were getting longer and stronger. My husband had been timing them which helped us make the decision to leave.

I arrived back at Stoke at 6pm and had to go in by myself again. I tried calling the hospital on my way over to say I wanted a water birth but my signal was terrible and the phone kept cutting out. When I entered the unit, it seemed busier than earlier in the afternoon and there were no beds free in the check in area. The staff could see I was having strong surges so put me in a room and said to wait for the midwives to join me shortly.

I was in the room by myself for a short time and I was starting to feel pressure, I remained stood up and bent over during this time, as it was most comfortable. I ended up ringing the alarm as I felt things were progressing quickly. I was soon joined by two midwives and asked if my husband could join me, as I felt like the baby may be coming soon. They said I needed to be examined first, which they did pretty much straight away.

On examination my waters broke and I was 4cm dilated, and I was told my husband could now join me. I said to the midwife that I would like a water birth and luckily a room was free and they started running the water. They said it was best not to get in the water straight away, as sometimes it can slow labour down. My husband brought our bags in and put my hypnobirthing music on.

I was told I needed to be monitored due to baby’s heartbeat being high, this happened with my first daughter as well, but this time round I asked for wireless pads so I could move around but, unfortunately, they weren’t available or working.  I asked to remain standing up leaning over the chair/bed.

Not long after my husband joined I started to feel more pressure and the midwife said she could see the head and that baby was coming, I asked if I would be able to get into the water and was told it was now too late to move rooms and get in the water, as baby was making its exit. 

For the delivery I moved onto the chair/bed and remained in an upright position as it was most comfortable – I had my back to the midwives and held onto the chair/bed whilst on my knees. My husband used a massage ball on my back and kept holding up Lucozade for me to sip on, alongside using some gas and air in the final stages.

At 7.30pm Ivy was born, and by 12.30pm I was back home in my own bed. I had been given the option to stay overnight but with the heat and Covid-19 restrictions I decided to go home and I am so glad I did. Ivy’s head had come out quickly but her shoulders got stuck and my episiotomy cut from last time tore slightly, due to this I needed a few stitches – so far it is healing fine, like last time.

One watch out I have is, with everyone wearing masks and with me having my back to the midwives/being in my own zone, I couldn’t hear what they were saying. My husband soon realised this and was relaying messages and information back to me.

I am happy with how both my births went but I did feel extra proud this time round, as the lead midwife said to my husband that she had delivered a lot of babies and this one was up there as one of the most chilled births she had experienced. Ivy is content and chilled just like Ella was, and I do believe this may be down to the births I had, and the use of hypnobirthing.      

Sorry that seems to be a super long encounter but hopefully will be useful for others. I wish everyone in class the best of luck with their births and thanks again for everything. 

Laura x