My Positive Birth Story

Written by Zaina Ahmed on Monday, 13 March 2023

I had been in prodromal labour from 37 weeks. On and off I was experiencing period-like cramps, lower back pain and occasional short surges. I knew this was something that could go on for some time, however with my crippling pelvic girdle pain, I was hoping our baby would be born sooner rather than later. By 39 weeks I was having more signs of labour- my mucus plug was going, and my surges were more apparent. At this point I could feel a level of frustration and would use a lot of relaxation techniques to help get me through the day.

At exactly 40 weeks, I made an informed decision to be seen at my MAU to have an examination. On examination, my doctor found that my cervix was still very high up and babies head still not low enough. Therefore, we both agreed that doing a membrane sweep was not in my best interest as my body was not ready to give birth yet. In my head I felt like baby was not going to be born for another two weeks, so I decided to mentally prepare myself for this.

The next day I continued as normal, spending time with my other two children, finding time to relax in-between. By around 6pm I suddenly started experiencing strong surges- initially they were only lasting around 30 seconds and happening every 30 minutes. I did not think much of this as I had already had many false signs of labour previously.  By 9.30pm I was having regular strong surges, around every 10 minutes and I was having to use breathing techniques to guide me through. I was still in denial that I was in labour and kept telling my husband not to worry about calling the MAU yet- luckily, he did not listen to me.

I was booked in to have a home birth, so I was disappointed when my husband had called the MAU to find that the service was suspended due to ambulance strikes. However, I let it go, I knew this was not in my control. What did worry me was when I could see worry from my husband’s face- he had been told that our local hospital was at full capacity and I was going to have to drive to the sister hospital which was 45 minutes away. Luckily my in-laws were at ours- so the kids were taken care of by my mother in-law and my father in-law drove us to the hospital. My surges were intense and regular at this point, so I kept praying baby wouldn’t be born in the car!

At around 11pm we arrived and we were greeted by the most lovely midwife. She was aware that I wanted a home birth and brought me into a room which made me feel at ease instantly. My midwife had the lights dim lit, tea lights put on around the room, the birthing pool was being filled up and the room was surrounded by wonderful positive affirmations. I asked for a Vaginal examination (VE) and I was at this point around 3cm. I was happy with my progression as I could feel my body doing what it needed. My husband put on some music in the background. My husband was amazing at helping me through my surges. With every surge he would massage my back and remind me to breathe in and out slowly to reduce any tension I had. By around 1am I began to feel more pressure so asked to be examined again- I was 5cm…at this point I decided to get into the birthing pool. The moment I stepped in it was bliss, the warmth really helped relax my body. It was not long until I felt a change; I felt a massive pop and a drop downwards- I knew our baby was coming. I had my husband call the midwife to let her know my waters had gone and I had the urge to push. This all happened within 30 minutes of me being in the pool. I began to worry as I thought it was too soon post my VE to be pushing, however my midwife was so calm and reminded me to trust in my body. She made it very clear that I was in control and would only intervene if clinically indicated or if I felt like I needed her. Holding onto my husband’s hands, with each surge I could feel our baby coming and that was when I felt that all mighty burn. I knew her head was to be born soon- I could feel myself initially panicking- but reminded myself to gently breathe baby out. Our baby’s head was born and I remember the midwife telling me how much hair was on their head.

Before I knew it, at 02.01 our baby girl was born- I gently was able to scoop her into my arms and she gave us a very gentle cry. She was covered in vernix! My husband and I couldn’t help laughing as we had such gentle music on in the background and then as she was born the song 'A-Punk' by Vampire Weekend came on! The whole experience was so surreal and positive. I held her to my chest and as requested was able to keep her attached to the cord for optimal cord clamping. I had opted for my placenta to be removed via the injection, however my body had other ideas and I managed a physiological birth of my placenta. From there I had a wonderful blissful hour with my baby girl, with no disturbances- she managed to latch beautifully, and I could instantly feel myself creating the bubble of oxytocin around us. My husband was also able to gently do 'adhan' (call to prayer) in our little girls ears, which is something Muslim families do when a baby is born, to welcome them into the world- it is seen to be a blessing. She was weighed while I had a shower- 8lbs of squish! And once I had freshened up, I cuddled up with our baby again, whilst my husband and I enjoyed the best cuppa tea with toast!

After having two very traumatic previous births, it was so lovely to feel in control and have such a positive birth. All be it, it wasn’t a home birth- but I still had the birth I wanted in hospital with an angel of a midwife. My husband and I will forever be thankful for her as she supported us and advocated for us in the most perfect way.