Empowered and Positive Caesarean Birth at CUMH for a 3rd time GentleBirth Mum

Realising that I was expecting my third baby was a moment tinged with both elation and anxiety.  While the birth of my first child was a positive experience, my second child’s birth story began with the baby having reduced fetal movement.  My consultant was away and my son’s birth was a series of interventions culminating in an emergency caesarean section.  To be honest that night remains one of the scariest experiences of my life and the whole experience left me feeling confused, traumatised, and disempowered.  I knew that this pregnancy would be my last and so I wanted to reclaim the experience as my own and give myself and my baby every opportunity for a positive birth.  

I suppose one of the big things I took from the course was to be prepared but flexible. You can’t get answers if you don’t know what questions to ask and the course gave me the questions to ask. 

With my consultant, we decided to plan for a VBAC.  I wanted to actively prepare for it and so I looked into hynobirthing and found Mary’s course.  My partner and I weren’t sure what to expect but we both really enjoyed the weekend and I left feeling that a positive, gentle birth was possible for us.  I suppose one of the big things I took from the course was to be prepared but flexible.  Through the course, I realised that for me, understanding what was happening and why it was medically necessary was vital.  You can’t get answers if you don’t know what questions to ask and the course gave me the questions to ask.  At each prenatal appointment I would have a topic for my birth plan ready to discuss with the consultant and I found that talking things through really reduced my anxiety.  I had two birth plans prepared, one for the VBAC and one for a gentle c-section.

Given how difficult my second child’s birth had been, I realised that I needed some help to process what had happened two years before.  I sought out some counselling and I realised that I was holding myself responsible for not giving my second child the birth I had wanted for him, even though what had happened was largely out of my control.  I began to focus on all the love, care and attention that give my son every day since before he was born and I was finally able to let go of the guilt I felt about his birth and move on.

My daughter’s birth started on a similar note to my son’s in that she had reduced fetal movement and again was own consultant was not available.  The difference was that this time my partner and I had the knowledge and language to be empowered to ask for the birth we wanted.  

My daughter’s birth started on a similar note to my son’s in that she had reduced fetal movement and again was own consultant was not available.  The difference was that this time my partner and I had the knowledge and language to be empowered to ask for the birth we wanted.   We met the on call consultant and he was very supportive of the VBAC and was generally very open and positive.  Given the reduced movement, my waters were broken to see if labour could be induced. The staff didn’t suggest continuous monitoring and I was allowed to walk around the hospital.  Despite walking up and down the stairs a thousand times, my contractions never really became regular.  The consultant then suggested that we try a low dose of the drip to see if that would help.  At that point, we went through the gentle c-section birth plan and the consultant was very open to everything I asked for.  I opted for the epidural at that point.  

My midwife was fantastic.  I had my own playlist playing and lemon and lavendar essential oils in the room.  I also used the peanut ball.  Even with the drip, my labour never became established and there came a point four hours later when the baby became distressed and I asked for a c-section.   Things did get scary but I found I was able to cope much better and even though I got upset, I stayed in control and held on to positive thoughts.

The team were great, I was allowed to have my own music playing in the theatre, and they agreed to milk the cord.  The drip etc were all placed in my non-dominant arm so that I could hold the baby.  The biggest difference between my son’s birth and my daughter’s was that they lowered the drape as the baby was being born so that I could see her and that was just an amazing moment.  At times we had to be assertive in insisting that my partner could stay with me and once I got the baby I insisted in keeping her with me.  I didn’t get to do skin to skin immediately as they wrapped the baby up in a blanket in the theatre but once I got to the recovery room I did it and also fed her myself there.

I kept the baby with me all the time in the hospital.  The Midwives offered to take her on the first night and on the last night but there was no way I was letting her go!  I was lucky that I felt physically and emotionally able to keep her close and breastfeed her as much as possible during those early days.  

Even though I had hoped and prepared for a VBAC and my daughter arrived by emergency c-section, I have no regrets.  I felt informed, empowered and prepared. 

Even though I had hoped and prepared for a VBAC and my daughter arrived by emergency c-section, I have no regrets.  I felt informed, empowered and prepared.  I always understood what was happening and I feel that I  adapted to the change of plan as well as possible.  My partner and I were very much on the same page and he was a rock of support.  Because he had such a clear understanding of what I wanted he was able to advocate for me and look after me.  My strongest memory of my daughter’s birth is a very joyful one of the blue drape being lowered and seeing her enter the world.  Given all of my previous history, being able to hold that moment in my mind that means more than words can say.  

My strongest memory of my daughter’s birth is a very joyful one of the blue drape being lowered and seeing her enter the world.  Given all of my previous history, being able to hold that moment in my mind that means more than words can say.  

This Mum kindly shared the birth preferences she drew up for her VBAC birth (click to download PDF) as well as her Gentle Caesarean preferences (click to download PDF of these). 

Positive GentleBirth Induction with Epidural for First Time Mum in CUMH

Just to let you know our baby boy was born in April weighing 7 pound 10 ounces. 

I was scheduled to be induced on Wednesday due to Gestational Diabetes.  I had gel at 4pm, did a good bit of walking and mild cramps started. Started TENS which subsequently packed up! Typical!  Had second gel at 10pm and had fairly regular pains after that. Although was manageable. Used yoga poses and lavender/Vicks stick and breathing techniques. 

Baby hand
I found the actual course with you guys invaluable. It really got us to start the conversation about birth and baby between ourselves as a couple. It really geared my husband up for the delivery and he really was an excellent support on the day!

The consultant came in at 7am and broke my waters at 1cm. This put me into true labour pretty much straight away. They wanted to start me on drip but I advised that I felt that 1. I didn't need it as was progressing really fast and 2. I would need to be provided with epidural before. By the time my husband got in at 9.30am I was using the gas and air and was having very regular surges. Each surge was over a minute with less than 50 seconds between them. I requested epidural then which I had previously indicated I would more than likely be having due to being induced. I think they were a little wary of whether I was really that far gone as baby very relaxed and they were finding it difficult to pick up contractions on CTG. However, staff were great and I got a delivery ward really quickly. 

I had to wait a small while for epidural but in fairness consultant and midwife were fine for me to have that and then be examined and then decision on drip to be made. I think I got the epidural at about 12pm. I was then examined and was 7cm. Baby was down but it was felt that drip would help with descent.  Drip was put on at very low level and not increased. Fully dilated an hour later and an hour for passive descent was given. I hadn't needed top up so was really able to feel the need to push which was great. At 3pm it was agreed that vacuum delivery would take place. While baby was anterior, there was some swelling to his head which was making it difficult to get him to crown. I had an episiotomy and vacuum delivery. 

We had delayed cord clamping and both Mom and Dad had skin to skin. 

It sounds on paper probably very medically managed but funnily enough it didn’t feel like that at all. I really enjoyed the whole process. I felt I was listened to and treated with the utmost respect.

It sounds on paper probably very medically managed but funnily enough it didn't feel like that at all. I really enjoyed the whole process. I felt I was listened to and treated with the utmost respect.

The advice on feeding and caring for a little baby was second to none during my stay at CUMH. Home now and settling down. I am exclusively breast feeding and that is going really well. 

In terms of GentleBirth I would say I was very lazy listening to the tracks. However, I found the actual course with you guys invaluable. It really got us to start the conversation about birth and baby between ourselves as a couple. It also thought us to be inquisitive and to plan what we would like to have happen. It really geared my husband up for the delivery and he really was an excellent support on the day! 

Positive Birth for Third Time Mum in CUMH

Always lovely to get positive birth stories from Mums that have taken a GentleBirth workshop with me. It brightens up my day to open my Inbox to a Mum who had a great experience. This is from a third time Mum who had been hoping to avoid an instrumental birth this time around (which she did). Sounds like she was supported by a fantastic midwife in CUMH (Mairead). A supportive midwife always makes a huge difference to a Mum during labour. 

It's also great to read about Spinning Babies being used in the maternity hospital. Lots of the midwives in CUMH have taken the training with Spinning Babies and are now skilled in this so do ask during your labour if things have stalled or slowed down, as some of the techniques might be of use.  

Fantastic second GentleBirth for Mum in CUMH

Had the most amazing GentleBirth this morning that surpassed all my wildest expectations. Full story to follow but basically I was due to present at CUMH for induction at term+14 this morn, but Katherine Rose had other ideas. Surges started at 6pm yesterday evening, we got to labour ward at 3am and she was born at 4:02 with tens machine and gas and air and the support of my amazing husband and a beautiful GentleBirth supportive midwife who held me and reassured me when I wavered.

Having waited so long for baby to arrive and having a very long back labour the last time, I was in complete denial that baby was coming. When midwife rang my consultant to come in, I gave out to her saying not to bother waking her I would be ages yet. She was telling me baby was on the way, but I was saying no, I just needed to go to the toilet. But baby was here ten mins before my GentleBirth supportive consultant! Couldn't believe it when she said the head was out, as I barely felt it! Another birth without a scratch to me!

Couldn’t believe it when she said the head was out, as I barely felt it! Another birth without a scratch to me!

Katherine is breastfeeding like a pro and is so far super chilled like her older brother. Interestingly same weight as her brother, 7lb9oz, both labours started on day 13. Had Fish Pies on both days so forget the curries ladies go for fish pie!

I feel so freaking amazing and cannot believe I did what I did.

Thanks so much to Mary Tighe for being available to give me pep talks during the week and being a fantastic support. And to my wonderful GentleBirth mummy cheerleaders and supporters.

Speedy GentleBirth for First time Mum in CUMH

First time Mum Deirdre and her partner Brian did a Gentlebirth workshop with me a few months ago. They kindly shared their very speedy birth story with me a few days ago. 

I had a really great experience and GentleBirth was definitely a huge part of that.

Ferdia arrived in rather a rush on Thursday morning at 6.26am. I woke around 3.20am with what felt like period pain, felt a trickle, woke my husband and told him what was happening. Because I'm a first timer and we expected it to take a while, we just made sure the bag was ready, made tea, and settled in for the anticipated slow early labour.

I had my tracks, my essential oils, tens machine etc packed and was rather looking forward to the pool. At 4am my waters broke properly and I felt surges coming as close as 3 minutes together, by the time we reached the hospital 20 minutes away, they were closer still and as the emergency room midwife was examining me for admission I began to push.

Although I didn't get to use *any* of the physical tools I found out about through GentleBirth, I found the whole 'trust your instinct' mindset was so incredibly useful - I told the midwife when the baby had crowned as it all happened so suddenly, she had just examined me and thought it would take a lot more time. The mantras really helped as my body completely took over and thinking about the surges as just productive in helping Ferdia to get where he was going with a minimum of complications was so beneficial. I had a really great experience and GentleBirth was definitely a huge part of that.