Second Time Round Birth Story
Rafferty Cameron was born at 23.23 on Saturday 6th September after just over an hour of active labour. (Small compensation for the long pre-labour I had endured the two weeks previously.)
The first sign that things might be warming up came on Bank Holiday Monday in the form of a very heavy show lasting several days. This was followed by the first of many ‘waves’ of strong Braxton Hicks contractions that had me periodically nudging my poor husband in the middle of the night and whispering ‘I really think this might be it’. Only to feel them die away several hours later.
After a week of regular midnight walks, unable to sleep, not to mention the odd ‘come home now’ phone call to my husband during the day, I was truly exhausted both emotionally and physically. Something Nadia was quick to pick up on when we spoke after she returned from holiday the following week. Unlike others I spoke to, Nadia not only reassured me that what I was experiencing was not uncommon but also sought to find an explanation as to why this was happening – something that I was desperate for by the time another week had passed. Having spoken several times she agreed that perhaps our baby wasn’t in the best position so I hastily arranged an appointment with the excellent paediatric osteopathy clinic on St John’s Hill for that same afternoon.
At my appointment I was told that Raffy was indeed in a less than optimal position, and although he was fully engaged (and had been for the past 10 days) his head was the wrong side of my pubic bone. But after a few gentle manoeuvres designed to create as much space in my birthing area I felt him drop even more deeply into my pelvis. Surely he couldn’t be too far away now….
I returned home feeling more relaxed than I had in a long time and that night we indulged in our preferred natural induction method, together with our favourite Indian takeaway and a bottle of our favourite Chardonnay (all on Nadia’s orders I hasten to add!).
The next morning I woke from an unbroken nights sleep with strong period-like cramps accompanied by light bleeding. While I secretly hoped this might at long last be it, we decided to carry on our day as normal and took our daughter to the local park. Although the cramps soon worn off the bleeding gradually became heavier until 6pm when I saw I was losing heavy clots. Knowing that this is something that needed to be checked out I called the hospital and was told to come in, hastily grabbing our labour bag as I left – just in case.
On examination, I was told I was already 4 cm dilated (but could stretch to 6cm), that my waters were intact but bulging and that although they thought the bleeding was probably just another show, they couldn’t rule out a problem with my placenta in which case the home water birth we had planned was out of the question. Having discussed our options with my husband we decided to agree to their breaking my waters (as we were already 40+2 weeks) to try and induce labour rather than wait it out any longer.
All I had to do then was wait for Fraser and Nadia to arrive while they hooked me up to the monitor to see what our little man was up to. Sure enough, just a few minutes after being connected to the monitor I started having the same, regular contractions I had been having, which even though they were coming every 5 minutes, were still not registering as painful. The midwife remarked that she had never seen anyone so relaxed and joked that she didn’t think I would be long when things finally did get going.
After what felt like ages, Fraser eventually arrived, followed soon after by Nadia. We lit my candles (thanks to a sympathetic midwife!) and I started routinely taking my Bach rescue remedy and Caulophyllum to help increase the strength of my contractions. At around 9pm they broke my waters while the three of us chatted away jokingly, before Nadia left us briefly to allow things to progress naturally.
Soon after I was up off the bed and rolling on my birth ball while listening to my chosen birth music (Flores by Mirabai Ceiba in case you’re interested!). Having been reminded of the 2 hour ‘window’ within which my contractions had to have picked up or risk being given Syntocin – something I wanted to avoid at all costs, I retreated into the toilet, locking the door behind me, and turning off the light. When I re-emerged some 10 minutes later, my midwife said that she would need to monitor me every 15 minutes to establish whether things were picking up – otherwise we would be left in peace.
Her ‘hands-off’ approach clearly worked because within an hour of my waters being broken I was having wave after wave of regular contractions. By this stage I had taken to leaning over my birth ball while kneeling on the floor and instinctively felt that we weren’t too far away from meeting our baby boy at long last.
I will never forget looking up from my ball to catch my midwife’s eyes briefly – a look which I can only assume conveyed – ‘our baby is about to be born and fast.’ Just 5 minutes later, I was scooping him up into my arms.
Even though it was very different to the intimate home water birth we had planned, the whole experience was still truly magical and one I would strongly advocate you all to try and replicate. Whether planning a home or hospital birth, all that matters is that women are allowed to labour within a relaxed environment, surrounded by people they both know and trust, and with confidence in their own ability.
Frederick LeBoyer, M.D.
excerpt from Inner Beauty Inner Light
There is nothing to do. Just as in lovemaking.
Open and let go.
Surrender. Allow it to happen.
Being, merely, a witness.
To your utter amazement you watch yourself and the baby being carried, as it were, by an uninterrupted, continuous, flowing, beautifully rhythmic process,
Yes: nothing to do.
Just be. And flow with the process.
The inner power
And the baby have done it all for you.
Keywords: induce labour, Caulophyllum, birth ball