When I first spoke to Lucy on the phone it was obvious how nervous she was about labour, and I knew she'd been doing everything she possibly could to prepare the big day. She was so adamant that she remained in control throughout! I was thrilled when she booked a private workshop and it was such a huge pleasure to work with Lucy, Gavin and Lucy's lovely mum (a retired midwife!) and I'm so excited to be sharing this beautifully written and wonderfully positive birth story with you. I love how this story shows the honesty of labour and how important it is to accept what ever turn your birth may take. Thank you so much Lucy xxx
Birth story of Henry Dennis Thorndyke born on 13th January 2017 weighing 7 pounds 9 ounces.
I booked a private session with Georgie after a recommendation from a friend in my ‘aqua bumps’ exercise class.
Although child birth has always fascinated me, I saw it as an amazing thing other people could do but felt extremely anxious about doing it myself. I had little confidence that my body could birth a baby without complications, mainly due to being a size 6/8 and having a very small frame but also due to my OCD tendencies and my need to be able to plan and prepare things, something which giving birth does not fit well with! I was especially worried about needing interventions in labour such as forceps and was certain I would suffer a nasty tear. I had seriously considered asking for a C-section due to Tocophobia (fear of child birth). I felt so sure I would start to panic when my contractions began and was scared about losing control. However, after just one session with Georgie where I talked through my fears with her and my partner Gavin, I already felt less anxious.
Georgie talked through the process of childbirth and reassured me that my body was designed to give birth and that I could trust in myself.
I came to accept that although many things were out of my control, I could use relaxation and breathing techniques to help me stay calm. I would have a baby to hold in my arms when it was over and there would be so much to be proud of. I could do this!
I started listening to the MP3s Georgie provided after my first session. Each night I had a bath whilst listening to the relaxation music and then I would listen to either the relaxation or birth rehearsal track before falling asleep. I found the birth rehearsal track very reassuring and I loved spending time breathing down to my baby and visualising holding him/her in my arms after the last ‘satisfying push’.
I have played the relaxation music to Henry since and he immediately recognises it. He becomes very still and listens intently! The music reminds me of such a special time and I still can’t believe that the baby I was visualising is now in my arms- so perfect!
Additionally, I selected some positive affirmations from Georgie’s list to look at when I was lying awake in bed at night and the doubts would creep up on me. I even saved one as my phone screen saver. Every time I looked at my phone I was reminded ‘I can do this’!
During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I booked another session with Georgie. I wanted to re-cap on the breathing and massage techniques she had taught Gavin and I in our first couple of sessions. Georgie warmly welcomed my mum to the session this time. This meant that both she and Gavin could support me in the way I wanted and this helped to reassure me. I spent the time leading up to my due date making sure I was relaxed and rested. I also kept active with many walks along the beach (which was the place I used in my visualisations). When I passed my due date, I used the birth rehearsal track to remind me to stay calm and accept whatever turn my birth would take. Although I didn’t listen to the MP3 tracks in labour, my mum (who was with me throughout the birth along with Gavin) used many of the comforting words and affirmations I had practised and I recited the words ‘one last satisfying push’ in my head as I was bearing down.
It made me feel in control and powerful.
When I was three days overdue I had acupuncture to try and induce labour. The following day I went for a sweep. I was absolutely dreading it as I’d heard it was painful but the relaxation and deep breathing techniques really helped. When my waters went at around 7am the next morning I felt excited and to my amazement not at all panicked. I took the time I had before my contractions started to calmly have a shower, phone the hospital and get myself prepared. I made sure I ate a good breakfast (a bowl of porridge with blueberries) and then the cramps started and got progressively stronger. My mum came round and encouraged me to move around and bounce on my ball to move the baby down. Once the cramps got stronger still, I started vomiting which wore me out so I went to lie down. I took this opportunity to listen once more to the birth rehearsal track and reassure myself I was doing this and I would stay calm. I even managed to fall asleep for a little while between the sensations. Once the contractions became more regular I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I used the positions I had learnt from Georgie and my ‘Lush Tums’ yoga classes to manage the pain. I found circling on all fours or leaning over my kitchen worktop and moving my hips the most comforting. I had learnt from Georgie that between each contraction there is absolutely no pain and I should use this time to get myself together again, relax and prepare for another contraction.
My mum and Gavin were great at letting me focus quietly during a contraction, showering me with positive and reassuring praise when it passed and also entertaining me in between. We laughed and even booked a holiday together!
Contrary to my previous negative thoughts about home birth, I actually signed up for one myself! I always saw home birth as something for ‘hippies’ and swore I would never do it! My views were changed through talking to Georgie and the midwives who ran my ‘ABumpsABaby’ antenatal group. Although I knew I wanted to have the baby at hospital, preferably in the pool, I realised the benefits of signing up for a home birth so I could remain at home for as long as possible and be assessed in my familiar surroundings which would avoid unnecessary trips back and forth to hospital. I learnt about the many benefits of oxytocin and I knew that the more comfortable and safe I felt, the more oxytocin my body would produce and that this would help with a quicker labour.
I didn’t actually stay at home for as long as I wanted as my sickness meant I had to go in for an anti-sickness injection. Although I was a little disappointed as this wasn’t my plan I stayed positive and told myself I could come home again once I’d had the injection. This never happened as my contractions became more powerful when I arrived and when I was examined I was 5cm and in established labour.
My mum was amazed. She couldn’t believe I was 5cm and was still so calm and in control.
Once I was settled in a labour room I started using the gas and air. I kept using the deep breathing techniques and found myself tuning in to the sound of my breath.
I was not really aware of anything going on around me as I was so focussed. I had no concept of time, I only listened in to the positive encouragement from my mum and Gavin.
I was also extremely lucky that the midwife looking after me (Sonya) was my mum’s friend and I knew and trusted her. I felt extremely safe and calm. Sonya used essential oils and took over from my mum with the back massage while Gavin stroked my shoulders- reminding me to keep them down and relaxed as Georgie had taught him. With every contraction Sonya massage my lower back and the strong pressure she applied really eased the pain and made each contraction bearable. My mum kept reassuring me and with every pain reminded me that the worse would soon be over and the pain would ‘come down the other side’.
I could visualise myself climbing to the peak of the mountain and then sliding down the other side!
Once the birthing pool was ready for me I actually decided I was more comfortable staying where I was- another change to my plan but again it didn’t matter! When I started to question myself and say I couldn’t keep this up for much longer, we all knew it meant I was nearly there. I even recognised it in myself and this reassured me. I couldn’t believe it when I heard Sonya’s voice telling me that if I felt the urge to bear down I could go with it.
Just as Georgie had told me, my body just took over. I didn’t have to think about it. I was just allowing my body to do what it was designed to with the gentle encouragement and guidance from Sonya. Then the words from my mum- ‘Get ready to meet your baby Lucy, get ready to hold your baby in your arms’….and he was there. I had done it! I’ve never felt so proud of myself and never had other people be so proud of me.
Holding our baby for the first time felt so natural. Gavin told me we had a boy and he cut the cord. Henry was happy and healthy with an apgar score of 9/10. We were left together as a little family whilst we had skin to skin time. Unfortunately, my placenta didn’t follow so I had to go to surgery for a manual remover but it was all dealt with calmly and professionally and I never felt worried. Gavin had the time whilst I was in surgery to have quiet bonding time with Henry himself.
Now I love it when people ask ‘How was the birth?’ The look of amazement on their faces when I say ‘Good. So much better than I ever imagined,’ makes me smile. One of my closest friends said ‘I never thought I’d hear you say that.’ I have even started to say I enjoyed it! It’s true. I loved being pregnant and feel so empowered after giving birth. I am so grateful to Georgie and the Mellow Mumma approach and to everyone else for supporting me and completely changing my mindset. I am looking forward to doing it all again (in the not so near future!).