Birth of Scarlett by Anita
I’m so happy to introduce my baby girl, Scarlett Lara Mills, born on 17th February weighing 9lbs 1oz.
My first labour in 2015 was pretty long…around 28 hours with 3 hours of pushing, culminating in an episiotomy before our gorgeous baby boy was born. I didn’t get to use the birthing pool as I’d hoped because the birth centre was closed when I arrived at CUH. Despite it being a positive experience overall, I really hoped that this time I’d get to have the water-birth I had hoped for.
My due date was 3rd February 2018. It came and went with no sign of baby. I wasn’t convinced the dates they’d given me were right so I never really expected baby to arrive ‘on time’. At 41+2 weeks I opted for a sweep, mainly because I was impatient to see whether anything was happening! The midwife told me baby’s head was engaged and I was 2cm dilated. That night I started having mild contractions and thought it was all starting. I went to bed to get some sleep and when I woke up the contractions had stopped. Nothing happened the next day. At 41+4 weeks I had another sweep. This time I was 3cm dilated. That night the mild contractions started again, but it was the same story.
At 41+5 I went to East Surrey hospital for monitoring. I had decided to decline induction provided all was well with baby. The monitoring showed that baby was perfectly happy. The staff were lovely but there was a lot of language around potentially ‘not being allowed’ to go past 42 weeks. Luckily I had done Leah’s birth preparation course, attended Positive Birth Movement meetings and done my reading, so I knew the choice was mine and was confident I wasn’t taking any undue risks. I met with a doctor who advised that because I was already 3cm dilated, induction wouldn’t involve a pessary but would mean them artificially breaking my waters. I told them I was happy to wait for my waters to break naturally provided baby was happy. I did agree to a further sweep and was told that I was now 4cm dilated. I agreed to come back each day for monitoring and to meet with the doctor to review the situation at 42 weeks. That night the mild contractions started and stopped again! Monitoring at 41+6 was all fine, but still baby was showing no sign of making an appearance. I had been trying all sorts of natural induction methods to no avail! I began to think my ‘plan A’ wasn’t going to happen, as I had been told I wouldn’t be able to use the birth centre after 42 weeks. I spoke to a lovely matron midwife at East Surrey who advised that if I couldn’t use the birth centre, there could be the option of a water birth on the labour ward and wireless monitoring would also be an option, which made me feel more positive about the situation.
That evening my partner and I went out for a long walk and a curry and went to bed hoping for the best! At 12.30 I was woken up by strong surges and this time I knew it was the real thing. The surges were long and already 3 in 10 minutes so I called the hospital and they advised me to come straight in. On arrival the midwife asked if I would agree to a short period of monitoring before going onto the birth centre, which I did. All was fine, so we went through to the birth centre. Our midwife started filling the birthing pool and my partner put on the birthing playlist he had made. The surges were really intense by this point, but I was breathing through them using the techniques I had learnt at our birth preparation course with Leah. I also found myself repeating affirmations to myself in my head. I hadn’t really thought affirmations were my thing, but when it came down to it they really helped. My favourites were ‘My surges cannot be stronger than me because they are me’ and ‘Every surge brings me closer to meeting my baby’. Our lovely midwife, Tracey (one of the home birth team), left us to it but was just outside the door if we needed her.
As soon as the pool was filled I got into the water. I immediately got an intense urge to push and my waters broke with a pop! My partner called our midwife in and I started to push, continuing to breath through each surge. I was surprised when after just a couple of pushes, she said she could see the head and that baby has lots of hair! After just 16 minutes of pushing our baby made her way into the world and I got to hold her in my arms in the water. I was really surprised to find out she was a girl as I had been totally convinced I was having another boy! My son had been saying ever since we told him I was pregnant that he wanted a little sister, so I knew he would be happy!
We got to stay in the lovely birth centre room until we were discharged just a few hours later.
I’m so glad I trusted in my body and baby knowing when she was ready to come and I could not have had a more positive birth experience!