I have been meaning to share Nikki’s Water Birth story for a few days now. I received a comment from Nikki a while ago about Hypnobirthing, so we had a brief exchange of emails at the time. Then a few weeks ago I got back in touch with Nikki to see how she got on. She kindly sent me her Water Birth story, which I was thrilled to read (although bits made me feel sorry for myself what with my low pain threshold! – read on, you’ll see!). She had a similar experience to me, in that her waters broke before any other action, but her’s ended with more of the splash I had wanted!
Water Birth…Ernest Penna Jagger (aka Jiggy) on 27 December at 9.32pm.
Well, perhaps it started with a bit more of a trickle than a splash. My waters broke first thing on Boxing Day morning and it was from reading your own birthing story on your blog that I knew that meant I only had a finite period to try and kickstart my labour before I’d need to be induced. So it was exciting but also a bit disheartening since I knew that if nothing happened before then, I wouldn’t be able to have my baby in the birthing centre (where I wanted to have a drug-free, water birth). Anyway, we casually made our way to the hospital so that they could check Ernie was ok (he was) and they gave us until 11.30am the next day to see if I went into labour naturally.
Once we returned home from the hospital, I spent the whole day indulging in old wives’ tales about how to kickstart labour – we ate super spicy curry, I munched on pineapple, used shiatsu pressure points, contorted my body into various yoga poses, danced, practised breathing exercises, and we went on long walks with lots of hills and stairs. By that evening, all I had was a lower back ache and some pressure in my pelvis. ‘Could they be contractions?’ Jim excitedly asked me. But I said no, as the pain was mild and constant, and I wasn’t having any tightening sensations in my stomach. Resigned, I went to bed at about 1am and sure enough, when I woke up the next morning, I didn’t have any pains at all and felt like a million bucks. I’ve never been so disappointed about feeling so good!
So we went for one last walk, up to Calton Hill, with its many stairs, to admire the views over Edinburgh, before making our way back to the hospital so that I could be induced. On our way, the back pain and pressure in my pelvis returned. ‘Maybe it is contractions!’ said Jagger excitedly. But I wasn’t convinced.
When the doctors came to give me the artificial hormones to induce labour, even though I didn’t really think I was in labour, I still had a glimmer of hope and asked them if I happened to already be dilated when they examined me, was it possible not to have the hormones? They smiled at me nicely and humored me. ‘Well, if that’s the case when we examine you, we can discuss it but what we’re going to do is give you this hormone and then it could take up to 12hrs for you to go into labour.’
The doctor’s jaw noticeably dropped when the intern first examined me and said to the doc ‘I can’t feel her cervix.’ ‘Do you mind if I take a look?’ she asked and then said ‘wow, you are 3-4cm dilated. You must have a very high pain threshold!’ (I’m sure they say that to all the ladies to make them feel better). Based on this, they decided to let me labour naturally for 4hrs to see if I progressed further instead of giving me the induction.
As you can imagine, I was pretty happy! The only thing was that I had to spend the next 4hrs in a shared ward (with 3 other people) and I had very limited space to walk around in my little section (I didn’t want to lie down). There also wasn’t any pain relief on this ward other than paracetamol, which I declined since I didn’t feel in much pain.
So Jim and I decided to walk around the hospital instead to pass the time. As soon as we walked outside, I suddenly noticed an intensity in my back & pelvis pain, which would come and go in waves and when we went to the hospital cafe to grab some food, I suddenly was like ‘Jim, I can’t be around this many people – I need to go back to the ward,’ and I had to stop walking whenever the waves of pain came and breathe through them. When I was back in my ward, there was a piece of storage furniture next to the bed and I would use this every time I had a contraction to lean over and breathe through. As soon as a contraction was finished, I was fine again but the space between them kept getting progressively shorter and shorter – I was sure I was gonna pop this baby out in the shared room! Anyway, the 4hrs came and went, and I was finally transferred over to the labour ward (I still wasn’t allowed to go to my hippy birthing centre as I was deemed a higher risk case due to my waters breaking prior to labour). However, they had found a birthing pool for me to use though I felt so far along in my labour that I didn’t think I was going to get a chance to use it!
Once I got to the labour ward, my assigned midwife established that I was 9cm dilated – only 1cm to go before Ernie was on his way. At this stage, I decided to use some gas and air to make it easier for me to breathe through the urge to push. And then—ah bliss, finally!–I was able to jump in the pool (although more of a bath, really). I seriously have no idea how any woman gives birth lying down. Any time I had to lie down (to be monitored/examined etc), the pain I was feeling amped up x10. No wonder women want drugs if they’re lying on a bed! Jumping into the pool was awesome – the water really helped to dissipate the intensity I was feeling.
It wasn’t long before the midwife told us to reach down and feel Ernie’s head. Jim changed into his boardies and then jumped in the pool with me so that he could catch little Ernest when he came out and then about half an hour later of pushing, there he was! I think Jim perhaps shed a tear or two, but to my surprise, I didn’t cry at all, I just said ‘Hey, here you are, you made it!’ Ernest was wide eyed and calm (tho’ a little blue!) and the three of us stayed in the pool for about an hour, having cuddles and staring at each other in amazement. He didn’t cry until we got out of the pool.
In total, the labour was about 8 hours long and went pretty much according to plan. Ernest was a healthy 3.66kg (or 8 pounds 1 oz) and 52cm long (has lovely long legs). The poor fellow has my pointed ears but they’re very cute on him and otherwise, he’s a very cute baby…
Thank you for sharing this, Nikki, he really is a gorgeous baby and I love these photos of him, such lovely shots!