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Olivia's second positive birth story

Olivia took a course with me for the birth of her first baby Ted, and came back to do a refresher course with me for the birth of her second baby Sandy. You can read Ted's birth story here.

The birth of Sandy

Tuesday 4th July @ 39 weeks + 6 days pregnant

I was woken at 5am by a wet feeling. I got up, feeling slightly excited. This excitement was confirmed by further trickling as my waters continued to leak. I went back into our bedroom to wake my husband, Roland - “it’s happening” I said.

Roland got out of bed and we had that feeling of getting up early to go to the airport before a holiday-excitedly getting everything ready. Having had a quick Labour with my firstborn, Ted, I knew I wanted to leave for the hospital promptly but didn’t want to rush.

Everything stayed very calm. I called for my mum to come round to look after Ted and told Roland to have a shower. I got ready, putting my bikini on under my dress (hoping for a water birth). I even made teas and coffees for everyone-not something I expected to be doing but wanted to pass the time!

Starting off with some positive anchors to keep myself in a calm state, I spritzed myself with the perfume I wore on my wedding & honeymoon, and carried one of Ted’s pyjama tops with me-it smelled of him.

Once mum had arrived and all of our stuff was organised and ready to go, I got back into bed and snuggled up against Ted who had got into bed with us during the night for the first time all week. I gave him a big cuddle and kiss. Within minutes my first contraction came. Not too strong but strong enough. I went back downstairs, “Roland, we need to go”.

The journey to the hospital had been something that I was dreading as I had visions of having heavy contractions in the car and getting stuck in traffic. But being so early in the morning the roads were clear and I felt very calm. Roland & I chatted and listened to music.

I had only mild contractions by the time we arrived at the hospital and was unsure whether to go in or to for a walk. We agreed to go in and have a chat to the midwife and go for a walk if needed.

As soon as we were inside the Oasis, my contractions started to ramp up. We had a lovely midwife, who respectfully asked if I’d like a vaginal exam, giving me the option to decline. I opted for the examination and I was 4cm-this was quite surprising as the intensity and feeling at this stage compared to my first Labour was quite mild. She also took the time to read my birth plan in detail and understand my preferences.

We transferred through to the pool suite (the same room I had delivered Ted in 3 years earlier!) and I used gas and air whilst the pool filled up. I leaned on the bed and swayed through each contraction. Even though the pain was increasing I had a euphoric feeling and chatted with Roland & the midwife in between contractions. Everything felt so normal and chilled.

Once the pool was ready I got in, and it felt like getting into a lovely warm bath at the end of the day. Unfortunately, the gas and air by the pool wasn’t working! I wasn’t prepared to continue without gas and air, and luckily there was another pool room available.

I got out the pool and used the gas and air whilst I waited for the other room to be prepared. Getting out of the pool and changing rooms didn’t throw me, I stayed very calm. The midwife and Roland hurried around me, getting everything ready and organised. I was really in my own zone during this time and they were like blurred images in the background. I remember closing my eyes and thinking “this is AMAZING, I want to remember this moment forever”.

We moved through to the new room and Roland needed the toilet. At this point the midwife came over and gave me a hug, this was really lovely as it meant I didn’t feel alone.

Once in the new room and in the pool, we played some music (the greatest showman sound track!) and put up a photo of my son for me to look at. I had a few snacks and the midwife brought some toast. We also had a look through a photo album that I had made with photos of proud moments, times where I had felt really strong and photos/videos of Ted.

The midwife stayed very much in the background during this time, giving Roland & I privacy. Towards the end of her shift she came over to explain that she would be handing over to the day midwives soon. She asked me questions about Ted and how he’ll be as a big brother. This made me feel so emotional and practically filled me with oxytocin! My mum had also sent Roland a message saying Ted woke up to see Nana and said “mummy has gone to hospital to have a baby”. I was so happy and proud that he understood what was happening.

At 8am the night shift ended so we had two new midwifes, both of which were lovely. As with the first midwife, they stayed away and quiet as much as possible so that I could stay in my zone. I really needed Roland during this time and held his hand throughout contractions.

I kept thinking I should probably make myself go for a wee but really didn’t want to get out of the pool. The midwife suggested I just go in the pool! A bit gross but I remembered that wee is sterile, so I did as she suggested!

As my contractions got closer together and the Labour became more tiring and difficult, I really needed to draw on my inner strength. Stuck on the wall right in front of me were some positive affirmations which I found really helped me believe that I could press on and do this.

As the baby started moving down, their heart beat dropped. The midwife advised that I may need to get out of the pool but we agreed to wait for another contraction as she could tell from the noises I was making that I was close to delivery. As she had predicted, after the next contraction, the baby’s heart beat had picked up again and I was ready to push. I came off the gas and air at this point, which is apparently quite common.

I felt really happy when I started to feel the urge to push as I was ready to meet my baby! I asked if it was too late for an epidural, part of me thinking that I couldn’t make it though the pushing stage but also part of me wanting to check how much longer the midwives thought I had to go. I think we all knew that the baby would be arriving very soon and there was no way that I’d be having an epidural!

A couple of very intense pushes and the baby’s head was out. I felt a huge sense of relief. He started wriggling which was a very strange but funny sensation. Roland said I was laughing which he found bizarre! Another push and the baby’s body slid out and the midwives passed me my son! ‘He’s here!’ I said to Roland through happy tears.

Just 4 hours after my waters had broken, Sandy was here! He was covered in really thick vernix and looked so big compared to Ted. I cuddled him in the pool for a few minutes and then we got out of the pool together. I laid on the bed with Sandy whilst the midwives delivered my placenta.

I had arranged placenta encapsulation so needed my placenta to be quickly checked and placed in an ice bag which we had brought. This was all so straight forward and easy (and as a side note I think the capsules really helped with my mood and energy post partum).

I had a second degree tear, which the midwife stitched up with care and precision-I was numbed and used gas and air so this did not hurt at all. All whilst I was breast feeding Sandy and chatting to the midwife. I also took every last opportunity here to use the gas & air which was amazing - I thought this may be my last chance to experience the feeling if I choose not to have any more babies!

We had a long time for cuddles and breast feeding with Sandy before he was weighed and his checks were carried out. A true golden hour.

We were also lucky to be able to stay in our room for a long time after having Sandy meaning I could shower at my own pace.

By the evening we were happy that Sandy was doing well and feeding was fine so we decided to go home. Having the first night with our baby at home in our own bed (with a glass of champagne!) was the BEST FEELING EVER. Not only that, but a stark difference to the experience I had with Ted where due to Covid, I spent my first night alone with him on a ward, terrified to go to sleep in case he stopped breathing.

I didn’t think I could have a better Labour than I did the first time round with Ted-I thought I had just got lucky. But Labour second time round was everything that I had hoped for and possibly even better! Not once did I feel scared. I felt so calm and at points euphoric. The Oasis was the perfect environment for me and the midwives were amazing supports. Roland did another amazing job as a birth partner, focusing on the plan that we had put together so that I didn’t have to. Birth can be a truly magical experience, and I’m so happy that I’ve had two positive labours to bring my children into the world.

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