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Louisa's Birth Story

I had started taking yoga with Nerissa after using her video at home. I was eager to gather as much nformation about pregnancy, birth and labour as possible like most pregnant ladies. However, I was also trying to avoid a repeat caesarean. My last labour had been long and painful and although we had planned an all natural, home birth, I eventually gave birth to our son by emergency caesarean. I was told this was due to 'failure to progress' and the baby showing signs of distress. They had also felt I was getting too tired to be able to push. I felt it was essential to prepare my body, mind and emotions for my next labour.

It all began early hours of the Saturday morning. I was woken with strong period like pains. Although uncomfortable they were not too bad and I was able to happily breathe through them. I woke my husband and we were very excited and we got up and went down stairs so as not to wake our 2 year old son. We rang our Doula to let her know things had started and told her we would ring her again when we felt like we needed her to be here. We were intending to labour as long as possible at home. After a while we decided to go back to bed as the contractions seemed to get quite irregular and were quite mild.

Further on into that day the contractions came on quite strong again so we sent our son to my mum?s house and called the Doula. We were taking homeopathic remedies to help the labour progress and we had the labour essential oils on the go. Helen, our Doula, was timing the contractions and they were mostly 5 minutes apart and lasting over 60 seconds - I say mostly because every so often I would have a gap of about 10-15 minutes with no contractions and some contractions were very mild.

We made a decision to go up to the hospital. I had 3 contractions in the car on the way, but as soon as I walked through the doors at the hospital everything changed. The contractions more or less stopped and my frame of mind changed, it was like bursting my labour bubble.

I was monitored and it was kind of reassuring to know I was really having contractions and it hadn?t all been in my imagination but upon being examined (at my request) I was only 1cm dilated. I was so disappointed and a little bit embarrassed as my husband had rang friends and family to tell them my labour had started. The midwife explained I was in pre-labour and I was softening up slowly. So we returned home I tried to carry on as normal but also tried to take it easy. I did lots of yoga and squatting and walking and also tried to sleep.

I was up most of that night as the contractions were just painful enough to keep me awake. This carried on, coming and going for a few days. I had a reflexology treatment from a friend and kept up with my yoga and breath work I had learnt in Nerissa's classes. I was relieved to have a night completely free of contractions on the Monday and caught up on some sleep. In the afternoon I had a small 'show' which was a little encouraging. On the Tuesday night things got quite painful again and I got my TENS machine out. By this time I was beginning to get quite fed up and depressed. I was getting very worried about being too exhausted for labour.

At 5am on Wednesday morning I woke my husband in tears I had been up all night again. He got up and ran me a bath which was very soothing. Jon rang the Doctor's surgery and they sent the midwife around to see us. Upon examination she told me I was a good 4 cm dilated and that I would be having my baby today! I was so happy, all that hard work was paying off. I calmed down and had a renewed energy. The midwife told us to go up to the hospital but I wanted to make sure things were really getting going. We had read in the Spiritual Midwifery book I had borrowed from Nerissa that it is 'loving that gets the baby in there and so loving will get it out' so we thought what the hey! I then had a bath shaved my legs and washed my hair, stopping to breath through my contractions! I then had a very obvious 'show' and Jon and I went for a walk before finally giving in and going up to the hospital at about 4.30pm meeting our Doula up there. Upon arrival I was monitored again, contractions still regularly irregular!

The midwife came in with a student .She was very casual and asked if I would like to use the birthing pool. I was very suprised about this as we had been told I would be unable to use it because of my previous c-section. I was relieved at how relaxed she was and she hadn't mentioned my previous birth. However, she returned after having read my notes. Her whole attitude towards my birth seemed to have changed, she said I couldn't use the pool and I was to be monitored most of the time. She also started talking about breaking my waters and having an epidural! I remained strong as I had great support from my husband and Doula. We were a team.

At 6.30pm I was examined and I was now 6cm dilated. I decided to go along with the midwife?s advice and have my waters broken. This was a good decision as it really got things going. I went into my own little world my 'labour bubble.' The pain was quite intense and consumed all of my attention. My husband took over my TENS and I was having gas and air and I also had some Pethidine. I was kneeling up over the bed. I heard the midwife say I was fully dilated and she told me to push but I couldn't quite figure it out. I didn't have this uncontrollable urge to push.

There was a shift change at about 9pm and I had a new midwife and student. The atmosphere really changed in the room, it went very quiet and I was a little confused about the change of voices. I also remember being told to 'shush' at one point as I was using my voice to help with contractions. Interestingly, Helen noted that my contractions slowed down quite a lot after the shift change. The midwives called in the doctor as I had been in the pushing stage for a while. The doctor said she was going to give me 20 minutes and then she would come back to give me a hand. In my little 'labour bubble' I thought this meant that doctor wanted to give me a c-section (of course she didn't, I asked her later and she said she was going to use ventouse). I was so determined to do this myself, I concentrated on pushing and it clicked and I pushed the baby out in three pushes. It was a very satisfying sensation.

We had a little baby girl, weighing 8lb 5oz (2 oz more than my son!). She was born on Wednesday 14th July 2004 at the Leicester General Hospital. I had a small tear because my daughter's hand had been on her shoulder when she was being born.

We are so delighted and the birth was an amazing experience. It has been very healing for me and how I felt about my son's birth, I now feel incredibly grateful for having two very different but amazing experiences that bought my two children into the world safely.

Louisa