Maya's birth story - a drug-free waterbirth at home using hypnobirthing...
Maya's birth story...
I gave birth to my daughter Maya Faye at home, at 41+6. I had declined the induction and monitoring routinely offered as I felt that all was well. To me, the chance of any problems felt very small indeed, so I was happy to wait until I knew that my baby was completely ready to be born. For this reason, neither did I really try any so-called 'natural' induction techniques, because I felt there was nothing to fix. My partner Andrew supported me - respecting my right to make an informed choice (by the way, there's no absolute right or wrong here - make your own choice based on the evidence and what you feel comfortable with).
In any case I didn't have to wait long... After two nights of irregular surges which were easy to cope with using hypnobirthing (and the ignore it technique!) something felt a bit different on the morning of the 3rd day.
Contractions were stronger and more regular, around every five minutes, and they required my full attention to relax and breathe through them. From around 8am to midday I sat on my birth ball leaning over about a million cushions and pillows Andrew had piled on top of the bed, in a darkened room, just breathing deeply through each surge.
Around lunchtime I got bored and joined Andrew in the living room where he was watching TV. The noise annoyed me and I couldn't get comfy so he ran me a bath. After I got in I instantly relaxed and felt like things were hotting up. I began to feel some pressure and make 'birthy sounds'.
We called Evony and when she arrived I was surprised that my cervix was already 6cm. Andrew began filling the birthing pool (hooray!) and I got in after around 2pm, which was bliss. After ordering him around for a bit - "Shut the curtains, light the candles, put the music on" I found my contractions and the downwards pressure to be intensifying. I needed to increasingly focus inwards, getting into my 'birthing zone'.
Hilariously, the pool began hissing as it had a slow leak. Luckily using a liner meant that the water was contained but after a while it started listing to one side! There was no way I was getting out... I vaguely remember Evony and Andrew taking it in turns to bob up and down with the manual air pump!
I experienced a gradually growing and irresistable urge to push my baby down a few hours later (though time seemed irrelevant). At first what I'd hoped was my baby was actually a gigantic poo! Andrew didn't appreciate fishing that out of the pool, though I was strangely very proud of myself, haha.
Evony rang for my 2nd midwife Mandy to attend, and at some point I remember feeling the distinct 'pop' of the amniotic sac. As time went on I was reassured to be able to reach down and feel the top of her head quite easily... What an amazing memory, the first time I touched my baby!
In what seemed like no time my body was actively, automatically and amazingly pushing her out whilst I tried my best to relax and breathe through... It felt really good to open my mouth and make loud primal noises!!
Maya was born at 7.15pm and Andrew leant over the side of the pool to catch her.
I got out pretty quickly afterwards and rested on the sofa where Maya began to feed well within 20 mins. When it had stopped pulsating we tied off her umbilical cord with dental floss before cutting it.
Maya's placenta took almost two hours to come naturally, but all was well throughout (it eventually plopped out onto my foot when all the lights were turned off and my midwives deliberately left the room!) She weighed a dinky 6lb 10oz and is still a skinny wee girl :)
Why we chose to pay for continuity of care...
My independent midwife Evony took over my care at 36 weeks - conducting all of my antenatal check-ups, attending the birth and visiting us postnatally until day 28... My wish for the future of maternity services is that every woman has the chance to access such gold standard 1:1 care...
I wanted to guarantee that I would be attended by a chosen and trusted midwife who I'd built up a positive relationship with - who knew me and what I wanted.
My check-ups with Evony were unrushed and in my own home, during which time we planned, laughed, drank tea and looked forward to the birth together with my partner Andrew. This really helped to bring a sense of normality and humanity to our birth preparation.
On the day Evony's care was completely woman-centred... Because we'd built up an easy trusting rapport she knew instinctively when to step back (and 'drink tea intelligently') and when to step in with encouragement and reassurance. I felt completely safe in her care, and with the additional back up of her colleague Mandy. This allowed me to completely relax, 'let go' and birth in the way I wished.
Evony's care was invaluable postnatally too - helping me to adapt to breastfeeding with relative ease, and reassuring me that all was well. It helped to see a familiar face who knew the whole picture at such a potentially vulnerable time!