I am so excited to share this! I shared my first birth story with my first son on our Forking Wellness podcast and I felt really good about it at the time. No interventions were needed, it was freaking painful, but I delivered my baby safely and he was healthy so it seemed like that was all I could ask for. Second time round I did want things to be different. I wanted to be calmer… And after the experience I had with my second son, I realised a lot. My mental health was not in a good place after my first so I spent time fighting anxiety over how I would cope with another baby. I spent so much time in my second pregnancy strengthening my mind and body. I may do a separate post on this because damn did it pay off! The power of the mind is incredible and all the self work I did had me walk into this birth with the most amount of confidence and self belief. So here it is –
My first son was born at 38 weeks so when I got to 38 weeks this time and no baby, I was a little surprised as the everyone says ‘second baby comes quicker’. But it turns out 39 weeks was the sweet spot for us. At 2am on 14th August 2023, I woke up with period type pains and thought it was too good to be true. I got back into bed and dozed on and off trying to ignore the pain then woke with my alarm at 5am. I went into autopilot and got up to do my workout but decided to do a slower paced one being that I had some sort of tummy ache . Throughout my attempted workout I found myself stopping every 5 minutes to breathe through what I know now for sure we’re pretty strong contractions. I swiftly made my way upstairs to shower and get ready whilst still in denial over the fact I was in labour 🙈 by 6am, the contractions were coming every 3 1/2 minutes & I then allowed myself to believe I was in labour. Ash hooked me up to the tens machine. I called my mum to tell her so she could come and be with Romeo. Although I was desperate to see him before he woke up, I couldn’t deny the pain I was in now every 3 minutes just after 7am. Romeo and I feel each others feelings, he hates seeing me sad and I knew if he sensed my discomfort it would distress him so we left for the hospital before he woke. We got to the hospital at 7.30am and I was 6cm dilated. I was so happy. There was a strike that day and only one room with a birth pool was open… and it was available. I was even more happy 🙏🏻 I was so committed to having an unmedicated birth. It’s what I’d been training for the last 9 months and being that this is my last baby, I wanted the experience so badly.
At 9am I removed the tens machine (which I found so helpful) and got into the birth pool. I was so ready. I felt so in control and so confident. With my first birth, I fed myself the narrative that it was so painful I couldn’t do it. This time I refused to believe anything other than I could do it. When a contraction came, I tried to enjoy it and feel empowered by it, reminding myself I was strong, and one step closer to meeting my son. I had to remain calm and in control to keep going. Ash would help to remind me that I could do it, he brought me back to the present moment when he saw me slipping. I had a tactic. A certain amount of controlled breaths and another contraction was over. Inbetween the contractions I would sway side to side in the birth pool imagining myself at the beach in Southern California. I also had my labour playlist on in the background which helped keep me there. When another contraction came I breathed the gas and air, controlling my breath and telling myself I was another step closer. At around 10.30am, the pressure below was intense to say the least. I knew he was almost ready. I felt his head and our (incredibly laid back) midwife confirmed he looked ready to come. H and I were ready. After 2 more contractions that allowed me to breathe through my body’s urge to push, my waters broke and on the next breathe my second little miracle was out. After his head was out my body took over to breathe the rest of him out and I was able to hold him in my arms.
There are genuinely no words to describe how incredible it was. It was a once in a life time experience that I am so incredibly proud of and grateful for. It has also confirmed how immensely powerful and important our mindset is in challenging times. I got through the most intense situation with so much calmness and confidence, because I had trained my mind to do so.
This birth has made me realise how clinical and chaotic my first birth was. The vibe in the room with R was ‘get him out’. It felt urgent, painful and out of control, like my fate was in the hands of the doctors. Not this time. I was in control and I knew i could do this on my own terms in my own way, working together with Ash and baby.
We hear (and see on TV) a lot of negative connotations around giving birth. It doesn’t have to be like that. I hope this inspires future Mothers to go into birthing a baby more confidently!
Once I’d held him in the pool for 10 minutes, we got out to birth the placenta and continued skin to skin for 2 hours whilst he had his first breastfeed. He then did skin to skin with Ash before we got him weighed. It was total serenity 🏻
I also just want to give a shout-out to Emiliana from The Mindful Birth Group who supported me so much before the birth. She made me believe I could have the birth I wanted and I genuinely heard her voice in my head whilst labouring!