Baby Orla’s Birth Story

Baby finally arrived!! Yay!! We had a beautiful baby girl, called Orla, on Friday 4th December, 9 days after due date. On Wednesday 2nd I was getting increased braxton hicks and had some diarrhoea, so I was convinced something was starting. My husband and I went to bed and the braxton hicks were becoming stronger, although still without any sensation, but they had developed a pattern.

In my worry about not making it to the hospital in time, due to my previous two fast labours, I called Stoke Mandeville to ask for advice. They offered for us to come in and spend some time in the birth centre to see if anything developed. We called my mum to come look after our other two children and headed to Stoke.

The midwife examined me and said my cervix was only slightly open, and this can be open from previous births. She then said, “while I’m here I will give you a sweep, if that’s ok?” I was quite horrified that she was saying this whilst examining me, I told her no I didn’t want that. She said, if I wanted to be admitted to the ward I could, in case things did happen quickly. We decided to go home and arrived home around 2am.

I woke up the next morning feeling frustrated that I had gone at all and that I’d let the fear of a quick birth get the better of me – and feeling nervous about birth altogether. I called a friend who had had a home birth in October, she helped me get my thoughts together. I regained my confidence and was able to relax, knowing what ever happened we would be totally fine, and I started to once again feel excited.

That night at 1am I had a contraction, it was amazing how I knew this was the real thing compared to the night before. We decided to get ourselves ready to go and I called Stoke on the way. I was so pleased with how relaxed I felt. I actually found it hard to get out of bed and go out into the cold.

We arrived at Stoke at 2.10am, by this point my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart about and about one minute long. I was focusing on the breathing you teach us. A lovely midwife showed us into a room and told us everyone was having babies tonight and that she’d be back shortly. I enjoyed this time being left as it really helped me get into the zone.

She came back and examined me and said I was 5cm. I was beginning to feel like our baby would be here really soon. We unfortunately couldn’t use the birth centre as it was full, so we ended up on the labour ward. I tried not to feel disappointed, having been on the labour ward with my other two I really had wanted to experience the birth centre!

Once in our room I got changed and used the ball to do some gentle rocking, whilst leaning forward on the labour chair. I decided not to use my tens machine as I felt it would annoy me. At 3am my waters broke and my contractions intensified a lot. I took some paracetamol and had gorgeous images of my two children in my mind, laughing and playing, to help me through. I kept reminding myself to dig deep and hold on.

Luc reminded me to get into any position I wanted and to remove my trousers, (with my son I still had my trousers on when I felt his head and needed to start pushing). I was very reluctant, as I was comfortable, but my memory served me well – it’s very hard to get into position and remove trousers at the pushing stage! Eventually I took my bottoms off and got onto the chair, kneeling and holding the bar, I knew I was transitioning and baby would soon be here. I decided, no idea why, that kneeling wasn’t right and sat very upright on my side holding onto the bar of the chair.

I came over very hot and Luc gave me a cold flannel which felt amazing. I declined gas and air, as previously it had made me feel woozy, and I preferred to feel more present. The midwife was amazing and kept her distance and just occasionally reminded me she was there if I needed anything.

I felt the urge to push and told her so, she told me to hold off as long as possible. I looked at my husband and shook my head and he couldn’t help but smile knowing I wasn’t listening to her at all. I said I needed to, and I started pushing. She asked if she could examine me to see if I was fully dilated and I did quite loudly, shout no!

The midwife reminded me to do little pushes, which was helpful, and Luc reminded me to focus on my breath. She asked Luc to press a button to call another midwife as she prepared some hot compresses. After a few pushes baby’s head was born and the rest quickly followed, Luc announced it was a girl! She was born at 3.59am, and she was placed on me straight away, we were so delighted.

My placenta came within 5 minutes, which was a surprise, as did the additional midwife. Obviously too late, but it didn’t matter as all was well. Orla weighed 9lb 2oz and I felt so happy to have just a small, first degree tear. She breastfed within 20 minutes or so and has been doing great ever since. I felt like the luckiest woman alive knowing I had a gorgeous new daughter and my girl and boy were safe and sound at home.

Donna your classes for all my three babies have been invaluable and I soaked up everything you said along the way. You really helped me feel so prepared for this birth, and I really couldn’t have asked for it to have gone better.

Thank you for being there for us pregnant ladies this year when we’ve had such little support and everything’s felt so unknown. Your Tuesday class has been my weekly golden time to focus on my baby. I wish all the ladies in your classes the best of luck with their births.