This is Chetna and Sean’s story. Exciting and interesting and of course inspiring. Sean – so calm and such a rock. Chetna – so instinctive. She knew she was progressing faster than the midwives were expecting. Such an amazing story! 🙂
“I had been listening to the tapes and had become most attracted to the rose relaxation as we got closer and closer to our due date. About a week or so before the due date I’d convinced Sean to take me to Tesco to do a late night shop but I had an ulterior plan altogether…I actually wanted to buy a really big bunch of full blooming large headed roses – I thought if I watched these roses bloom open then somewhere in my subconscious I was inviting the same thing to my body and maybe I could take them to the hospital with me.
I woke up in the early hours of the morning for one of my numerous visits to the loo, something felt a little different, not quite braxton hicks but more like a dull period ache in my lower back. I decided to get back in bed, I was so bored of having Braxton hicks that I thought there was no point in giving it too much attention. When I woke up I felt different, the period feeling was still there and I remember rolling over to Sean and telling him that I didn’t want him to go into work as I thought today would be the day.
We went for a really long walk, taking little pauses as the contractions came on and picked up a coffee on the way back. I had a really long hot shower and then my waters broke. It was just a trickle so I wasn’t really sure what had happened, had I peed myself? Sean very calmly said ‘That was your water’s breaking, why don’t you get dressed and call the hospital’.
They asked me to come in for an examination. I decided to take my time, no rush to get there, it was going to be rush hour soon anyway and they would only say go home and come back later anyway so I pottered about, did my make up (errr!!! haha – it was more having something to do to distract me than wanting to look good) and we made our way to UCLH.
The MFAU reception was packed full of people, it took 15 minutes for reception to even ask me what they could do for me and then I had to wait in line to be seen by a midwife. Not pleasant at all. By the time we saw the midwife I was told i was 2cm’s and to go home and ring when the contractions were 3 mins apart.
We drove home in rush hour, again not very pleasant but being home was brilliant.
We put on some music, Sean made some dinner while I bounced away on my birthing ball through the contractions. I tried lying on my side on the bed, back to the ball and onto the loo which became my favourite place to be. Sean gave me massage every time I had a contraction which was so so helpful. My contractions were consistently 3 mins apart and when we called the hospital the midwife said I didn’t sound like I was ready to come in and to keep going. I explained that I was hypnobirthing but to no avail, she recommended I stay at home for now, maybe take some paracetamol which we then did.
The intensity of the contractions were increasing and Sean recommended we get the Tens machine out. I thought I was fine, I wanted to keep going without it until I really felt I needed it but Sean very gently suggested he thought I was ready for it. I found out later that his thumbs felt like they were going to fall off and he couldn’t massage me anymore as I’d been asking him to do it harder and harder each time! We were two and a half mins apart and I had started getting onto my knees with the contractions, we called the hospital again, and again we were told that I was able to converse comprehensively so wasn’t ready, the midwife actually said that I shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation, that’s when I would be ready to come in. Again I explained I was hypnobirthing.
We were now getting to between two, two and a half mins apart, Sean told me to ham it up over the phone, he was getting nervous as he could see me now on all fours with each contraction. I too was now getting concerned with the midwife’s attitude, I called again. This time I spoke to a different midwife who was lovely and she told me to make my way in.
But I didn’t want to leave now!!! I felt nervous venturing out of my little den, I understood where I felt comfortable and by now during my contractions I was producing this low animalistic drawled out groan. The last thing I wanted to do was get into a car! And I really didn’t want to go to that packed out horrible MFAU surrounded by people. I wanted to be alone and quiet.
I put on my headphones and closed my eyes once I got in the car and concentrated on breathing through the contractions and magically, with no bumps in the road, Sean got me there. The walk to the hospital was quite funny looking back, if it had been daylight god knows what passers by would have thought. I took my time and got onto all fours when I needed with my low grunt and at one point held onto some railings in a frog position, something was changing.
I let Sean take over, I was in the zone, I couldn’t speak to people, I didn’t want to! By the time we got into the MFAU reception I could feel my body wanting to push, it was an involuntary motion, I wasn’t trying to push. Luckily the MFAU was really quiet, apart from me…it was about midnight by now. The receptionist asked me for a urine sample, I thought she was insane, I couldn’t give her that. The TENS machine by this point was literally my best friend and I was using it through all the contractions. The midwife called me in, I really wanted to push now which I shared with her, she said I needed to get onto the table so she could examine me…I really didn’t like the way she spoke to me, I didn’t want to be on my back but she brusquely got me onto it as if I was endangering myself in some way if I didn’t..she said I didn’t need to push and I shouldn’t as I wasn’t ready. After the examination she told me I was 4 cm’s (I really question this…I felt like I was alot further on but given that I wasn’t comfortable with what was going on around me I wonder if I might have zipped up a bit..) I felt like I was slightly working against my body having been told not to push.
But at this point all I was interested in was if I would be transferred to the birthing centre. Which I was..
By the time we got up there we were told the room wasn’t ready, the pool was being cleaned, so was asked to wait in another room…I just wanted a toilet to sit on and be left alone.
The midwife came in and asked if it would be ok to have a student in with her for the delivery, I didn’t want any more people in the room than I needed so I said no, I wanted Sean and her and that was it. She was fine with that, she explained that she needed to take a couple down to labour ward and as I would be a couple of hours yet, between 4 – 6 hrs she said, would I mind if the student came in to check on me..I said this was fine.
There I was in this little bathroom, sitting on the loo, listening to the scripts on my headphones, animal grunting through my contractions, Sean was just outside the toilet in the room and checked on me every few minutes but I was so in the zone that I needed to be in my little den all by myself.. I could feel my body pushing more and more…I decided while catching myself in the mirror that I knew my body a hell of a lot better than any of the midwifes ever could and if I needed to push, thats what I would do, I would do whatever my body was telling me to do, I let go…when the student midwife came in to check on me I said that I was told not to push, that I wasn’t ready and then came on another massive contraction, I grabbed hold of her hand and told her the head had come out and was creeping back in. She said she was happy to examine me/have a look if I was happy for her to and I leaned off of the loo, she bent down to have a look and said err yep, we need to get you off of here now, you’re having a baby!
As I started to get up, the other midwife came back in through the door, the student midwife told her it was time and she made a joke about how she thought I would still be a few hours and how lucky it was that she had come back in… all I wanted to know was whether I could get in the pool now… but they explained it was too late and I got on all fours over a beanbag and a few minutes later our beautiful daughter Saffran had arrived. As soon as I delivered her I scooped her up and put her on my chest, her eyes were open and she was looking around. She found her way to my breast and started feeding.
I’ll never forget the first time she heard Sean’s voice, she stopped still, came off the breast and focused in on him – it was truly magical and still makes me cry thinking about it.
The biggest lesson I learnt through birthing was to trust my own body and that I was the expert of my body, I knew it better than anyone else. Saffran was born in 1 hr and 9 minutes..that was including the time we spent in reception and the examination before being transferred to the birthing suite and the delivery itself. She was 6lbs 12 oz when she was born. Placenta was delivered physiologically.
I needed to be examined after she was born to check for any tearing etc. I was offered some gas and air but having just delivered Saffran using the TENS machine it seemed unnecessary to me to now take up the gas and air so I asked for a few minutes, put my headphones back on and let them know when I was ready. Some superficial tears but nothing too serious so we made a collective decision to leave it be and allow nature to take hold of the healing process.
I realise now that even with a hospital like UCLH who promote hypnobirthing, your still gonna get some midwives who ‘get it’ and some who don’t! Some people are nice and others not so much… just is what it is.
Working with you gave me the confidence to trust myself as the expert of my body. Instinct takes over and is far more powerful than someone telling me what I can and cannot do.