Kathryn's Story

My baby boy is 4 weeks old tomorrow, and I've finally got round to writing down my birth story for your website!
I had hoped to give birth in the birthing pool at St Mary's, but I went overdue. The midwife tried a sweep at week 41 but the head was not engaged at all so she was unable to do it. She also said that she thought that the baby was back-to-back and booked me in for an induction the following week. I was really quite upset about this turn of events, and not at all relaxed over the weekend. But on the Tuesday of the induction I went swimming and actually felt something move, and when I went into Leicester General later that evening I was 1cm dilated! They gave me a 24 hour pessary and told me not to expect anything to happen throughout the next day. But things started quite quickly afterwards. I woke with pains at 4.30am on Wednesday and by the time my husband Ian arrived at 8am I really wanted him to help me on with my TENS machine. Soon afterwards I had a show. We went for a walk outside mid-morning and my waters broke on their own. I was hooked up to a monitor to keep track of the contractions and the baby's heartbeat, but was able to kneel upright on the bed and against my birthing ball. I found it too uncomfortable to sit on the ball because of the downward pressure on my pelvis. The TENS machine was great and I breathed through the contractions, but didn't find them to be too strong or unmanageable at all. The midwife examined me somewhere near midday and I was gobsmacked to be told that I was 9cm dilated and was being taken to the delivery room. I couldn't believe how easy it was!

But then things slowed down. Although the baby was back-to-back I didn't have any backache. I was on the monitor the whole time because of this, but for most of the time I was able to kneel up against the head of the bed. However, I wasn't dilating any further, so mid-afternoon I was put on a drip to increase the contractions and had to lie down - I was able to lie more on my side than my back. I was offered an epidural, which I refused, as I was doing fine on gas and air as well as the TENS, and felt I had plenty of reserves left. I was able to time my breathing to the contractions and the gas and air, and I'm sure this was all down to the yoga training. I kept thinking that the contraction would end, and just went with each one of them, riding it out till it finished. I don't even think that the contractions were as painful for me as holding the ice cube in your class!

I tried to push the baby out at 4.30pm but his heart rate started to struggle after the contractions so at that point I consented to go into theatre to try an assisted birth, and failing that a caesarian. I had a spinal anaesthetic - this was the worst bit, simply because my gas and air and TENS had been taken away so I had to go through a couple of contractions without any pain relief. Also because Ian was away in another room waiting to be brought in for the operation, and it was a bit scary to be without him. When he came back in, the doctor tried forceps, but she didn't try too hard as she didn't want to have to give me an episiotomy unless she was positive she could get him out that way. He was wedged in the wrong place so they went straight to caesarian. This took quite a while as he was all the way down the birth canal, almost out, and needed a lot of pushing and pulling to get him back into the uterus and out. The doctor said she'd put her own shoulder out trying to shift him! Apparently I also lost quite a lot of blood as my womb was a bit torn. However, the staff assured me that the only reason for the caesarian was the baby getting into the wrong position, and that there would be no reason why I shouldn't have a natural birth in a subsequent pregnancy. The staff were all great and we felt that we were informed at every stage about what was happening and why.

Our lovely son George was born at 18.34pm on 15 June 2011, weighing 6lb 15oz. I never wanted a caesarian, and the recovery in the first week was tough, but four weeks on we're both doing well.