My birth story - Theo (2020)
Updated: Aug 18
I thought I'd start off the blog by writing a bit about the birth of my wonderful son, Theo. I found out I was pregnant on 20th March 2020...3 days before the first UK lockdown (yikes!) and Theo was born at 40+6 on 23rd November 2020 (in another lockdown...yay!).
There are definitely a few things I know I'll want to do differently next time around but it was an amazing and positive birth!
It was a bit of a strange experience having my entire pregnancy working from home and going to appointments alone but being my first baby I didn't know any different so for me it didn't dampen the excitement at all. It's only when I look back now that I work with so many pregnant women that I realise it was actually quite different...I didn't see a midwife until I was 28 weeks! I was fortunate enough to have a very straight forward pregnancy.
I didn't know much about hypnobirthing at this point but I had seen lots of good things about it online so I decided to do an online pre recorded course. I loved it and found it really helpful but I didn't realise at the time the importance of having my birth partner involved and so he only watched some parts with me - if I could change anything it would be doing an interactive course with my husband. I think having the chance to ask questions and have ongoing support makes a huge difference.
I was planning on giving birth on the labour ward at Good Hope hospital. Unfortunately their new midwifery unit wasn't opening until a few months later and the home birth teams were closed due to covid. Although at this point in my hypnobirthing journey I hadn't given too much thought to a home birth other than 'it would be nice'.
As if being heavily pregnant in lockdown wasn't enough we moved house on 6th November and then had to isolate for 10 days taking which took me to my estimated due date of 17th November so I was actually hoping baby would stay put a little bit longer!
As we approached 17th November I was quite set on not accepting a sweep or induction as my biggest worry was having to be in hospital without my husband because at this point in covid birth partners could only be in the hospital once you were in, what a midwife deemed to be, 'active' labour. Luckily the midwife at my 40 week appointment was lovely and didn't actually offer me a sweep but said we could talk about it if I had a 41 week appointment. Turns out I didn't get to my next midwife appointment.
Being my first baby I had convinced my self it would be a really slow labour and a lot of stop/start because that's just what everyone tells you. I started to get cramps at 1.30am on Monday 23rd November. I hadn't been to sleep yet because the kicks were always crazy until about 2am for those last few weeks. I went downstairs to let my husband sleep but I only lasted 30 mins until I woke him up and asked for his help. My contractions we're ranging from every 10 to 3 minutes right from the start and I spent most of the time leaning over the ball with a hot water bottle in my back listening to my affirmations and using up breathing.
Around 4am we phoned the hospital because my contractions were consistently a few minutes apart and they suggested I try a bath and to see how I go as I was managing quite well and talking a bit. The water was lovely but I couldn't get in a comfortable position in our tiny bath so didn't last long. We phoned again at 7.30 because I'd started getting pain in my back/bum and couldn't cope at home anymore. So my husband packed up and we left about 8.00 for the 30 minute drive to the hospital. All I was thinking was that I wouldn't be getting back in that car if they sent me back home!
I was asked to lie down to be hooked up to some monitors to check on baby but I didn't want to sit/lie so instead agreed to a quick examination at which point I was 5cm, my waters went and soaked my socks and my husband was allowed in. Myself and my soggy socks were then whisked straight down to the delivery ward.
It's all a bit of a blur from there! I couldn't get the timing right with the gas and air so just used my breathing techniques and after a short time 'pushing', baby arrived at 11.09am, just over 2 hours after we got to hospital. He came straight up to my chest and after we knew he was a boy he was named Theo. I'd decided to have a 'managed' third stage so I had the injection and the placenta came out fairly quickly. Looking back at photos it was about an hour and a half later that he was weighed (8lb 15z) so we had a lovely hour and a half of skin to skin and feeding (plus a couple of stitches).
After about another hour it was decided that I was losing too much blood so I had a trip to theatre while Theo stayed with Dad. It wasn't what we imagined but it wasn't too long before I was back with them both. We had a 2 night stay in hospital which was disheartening because Tom wasn't allowed back in to visit (covid) but whilst there I had lots of help with breastfeeding that I would have really struggled without!