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  • Writer's pictureerinbetterbirth

Positive birth story: Hayley’s birth

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

Hayley and Jon did a 3 hour essentials course with me to prepare for the birth of their daughter. She's kindly shared her story with us! Her story shows the importance of prep, not just for the person giving birth but also for birth partners to be able to advocate confidently. She perhaps would have given birth on labour ward had Jon not known her preferences and intervened!

Florence Evelyn was born on 12 September at 41+1 weighing 7lb 1oz… not the 10lb baby the Dr predicted! We were keen to let things happen naturally and avoided induction. In the lead up to the birth we did a Better Birth 1:1 course, listened to the Better Birth podcast and surrounded ourselves with helpful, evidence based birth social media channels.

Our plan A was for a homebirth despite being classed as high risk due to measuring LGA.

Contractions started early in the morning on the Saturday so I left my husband in bed and went downstairs, lit the fairy lights and bounced on my birthing ball. They seemed to subside around 7am so I went back to bed. Saturday daytime I had no further contractions, my husband and I went about our normal day until they restarted at 6:30pm on the Saturday evening. They continued all night and all day Sunday but appeared to be varying lengths and varying times apart.

They seemed to be getting closer together around 2am on the Monday morning and by this point I felt exhausted so I called the homebirth midwives out and they came to assess. My preference before birth was to have minimal vaginal exams however knowing how long Labour had gone on and being informed of the risks, I consented and was 3cm. They recommended I try and go back to sleep which I couldn’t do as contractions seemed more intense lying down so I got in the bath with some fairy lights and candles and sat in the nursery for a while trying to keep motivation high, dozing between each one.

At 7am contractions we’re getting more intense so I asked my husband to call the home birth team again. The lovely midwife who had been conducting my antenatal care come out to see me and again I was only 3cm. At this point she recommended because early labour had been so long that I go to hospital to be monitored then come home. I was exhausted by this point so knew if I chose to go in, I wouldn’t be coming back home.

We travelled to the hospital at 9:30am. Before Labour I was worried that the car ride would stall things as we were 40 minutes from the hospital but in reality the change of environment gave me a break from the intensity of the situation.

I went to the reception while my other half was parking the car and was greeted by the amazing midwives looking after me who took me to a cubicle on the Labour ward.

They read my birth plan thoroughly and asked if I wanted to go to the birth centre at this point I was too tired to care but my husband said yes (I’m glad he did because deep down it was what I wanted and in the plan - another reason why it’s so important for couples to do the better birth course together .. he totally advocated for me the whole way through!) Off we went to the birth centre and were left alone for four hours to see how Labour progressed.

At 2pm I was feeling like things were getting more intense and asked for more pain relief (up to this point id been using your breathing techniques, baths, aromatherapy and had two paracetamol). The midwife’s commented how great my breathing was so thanks for the coaching!

I was offered another VE which again I consented to because I wanted to know that things were progressing… to my surprise I was 8cm.

From there Florence was born en caul 3 hours later on all fours using only gas and air. We were able to have optimal cord clamping, physiological third stage and an hour of golden time. Unfortunately I had a PPH but my husband had lots of skin to skin while I couldn’t be with Florence.

Wanted to say a huge thank you for helping us prepare for the birth, we had a brilliant experience despite things not going to plan A, but we were prepared to not hold onto plans too tightly and so as we went to plan B we felt in control and informed. We’ll be recommending Better Birth to all our pregnant friends. Thanks for all you do Erin! Xx

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