Claire and Russell attended my November group course and were brilliant! With each of my courses, I offer a one to one session after the group has finished and try and book it in as close to the guess date as possible! Claire was actually booked in for her session on the 21st Feb, but thankfully we moved it forward a week and this was the right move because little Jack made his appearance 4 days after our session.
Grab a cuppa and enjoy Claire & Jack's story...
Throughout my 38th week, I was feeling mild cramps on and off. This being my second pregnancy, I knew that was completely normal and that it was my body getting ready which made things very real and exciting. My first pregnancy ended up in an emergency C-section due to ‘failure to progress’. I since found out at my 16 week VBAC appointment this time around that my eldest was brow presentation hence it was difficult to descend in the usual way. My husband and I hired a doula and attended a CBS course with the lovely Ashley to prepare ourselves for the journey ahead. We felt excited and empowered throughout the whole pregnancy and looked forward to the birth, whatever may happen.
My surges started around midnight on Friday night when I was 38+6. I was woken up every hour with mild cramps but managed to rest in between. We got up for the day around 7am and I sent my doula a text to let her know this could be the start of things (I think I was still in denial at this point, I apologised in advance in case it was a false alarm!). We kept the curtains drawn, creating my ‘nest’ and carried on with our usual routine.
On Saturdays, my eldest attends rugby so even though I was in labour (no false alarm here!), I was calmly breathing my way through the surges so I sent the boys to rugby and our doula came around. We hung out, watched TV and breathed through the surges until the boys came home. We made plans for my eldest to go to his friend’s house for a sleepover so said our goodbyes around lunchtime – I’m not sure he realised what was happening or that the next time we’d see him, his baby brother would be here!
The surges were getting more uncomfortable at this point (but interestingly not much longer or closer together than earlier in the morning) so I put on the Tens machine which helped distract me from the surges and not long later at 1:15pm, my waters broke. Last time they were artificially ruptured so I’m glad I got to experience it happen spontaneously. My husband called the hospital to let them know and they told us to come in to be checked out as my waters had gone but if they hadn’t gone, she said my surges weren’t close enough together to warrant coming in!
Getting to the car took a while as I needed to stop with each surge but we made it and drove 10 minutes to the hospital only to be told there were no free beds in triage – cue several surges in the hospital corridor on my hands and knees! They did find a room and my doula communicated some initial wishes to the midwife along with a paper copy of our birth preferences. One preference was to have minimal vaginal examinations but we were happy to have one upon arrival to determine progress. I did not want to know the answer to this however unless I was quite far along. To my surprise, the midwife said to me,
‘you’ll want to know how far along you are – you’re 9cms!’
We couldn’t believe we had managed to make it this far using breathing and the Tens machine. I was wheeled through to the delivery room at around 3pm where I promptly threw up, that’s one way to make an entrance!
At this point, I agreed to continuous fetal monitoring even though I had said no in my birth preferences, as the CFM was wireless. I was still able to move around and felt comfortable deviating from our preferences. We did have a minor setback at this point as CFM was showing the baby’s heart rate was dipping with each surge so the doctor came in and requested to take blood samples from the baby’s head to check oxygen levels. We consented to this and the samples came back normal so we continued on. I should note at this point that the doctor confirmed I was fully dilated but wanted me to labour longer as baby was still high up and he wanted baby to move down more before pushing. This was heart-breaking at the time as my surges were more intense at this point and I remember saying several times that I couldn’t do it any longer – I’d like to say I remained calm but with the onset of each surge, I could not help but become more vocal. My doula and husband would remind me to keep breathing and if I needed to shout out, to make it lower pitched rather than cry out. Between the both of them, they helped me return to a calm state so I could breathe through the rest of the surge.
After a little while, I felt an urge to push so listened to my body and pushed with each surge. I have no idea how long I pushed for but at 5:45pm, Jack was born weighing 3.6kgs to one of our favourite songs. I can’t believe I managed to have a natural VBAC but my doula caught everything on camera so I definitely did do it – it still feels like a dream!
Jack is now 4 weeks old and we’re still getting to know each other but enjoying life as a family of 4! Thanks to the Calm Birth School for equipping us with the tools and techniques to prepare for the birth we dreamed of!
To sign up to the next group course on 4th March - get in touch! Don't miss out on the best preparation for a calm pregnancy and birth.