Here is another positive birth story for you!
Sinitta was determined to have a positive birth and her partner Roscoe was determined to provide her with the best support possible!
She researched physiological birth, tooks classes to ensure that she was informed, connected with midwives and doulas, persisted in changing to a model of care that was going to provide her with the continuity that she wanted and was aligned with her birth preferences.
Which is all to say that she did a lot of work to ensure that her positive birth become a reality!
I think sometimes when women have a positive birth, it is tempting to chalk it up to luck.
And certainly there are aspects of birth that are out of our control.
But there is usually a huge amount of learning, planning, practicing, and preparation that goes into a positive birth!
Here is Sienna’s birth story as told by her amazing and determined mother!
On Sunday 2 August, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Sienna!
I had been very anxious about child birth before becoming pregnant. I think this was because when you hear birth stories they are usually the most horrific, traumatic stories…not stories of what should be the most beautiful and empowering event to take place in your life. Also, giving birth in a hospital would be the first time I had ever had anything done in a hospital setting so for me, this was a scary prospect in itself.
I am glad that because of COVID my face to face antenatal classes were cancelled. Had they not have been, I would have never thought to do any of my own research and really delve into finding the tools needed to make me achieve a positive an empowering labour and birth.
Doing this research, I first came across B, a midwife who was hosting her own free online antenatal classes on her Facebook page Core Floor Restore. I loved the passion she had for promoting natural, vaginal, drug free births because this is exactly what I had wanted for myself.
In her online sessions, B discussed different positions for labour, how your birth support partner can support you during your labour, ways to achieve a natural and drug free labour, weeing and pooing post birth, breastfeeding, bathing your baby and changing their nappy (just to name a few)! She also explained in her sessions where you can find evidence for the benefits and risks for interventions such as epidurals.
My biggest take away from B and her sessions was to use “horses breath” during contractions and to say “oooooohh cha” if constipated. To be honest Sienna was oooohhhh cha’d out in the end!
B also recommended the following things to get the body prepared for birth.
Start taking vaginal probiotics.
Eat 3 Medjool dates or 6 normal dates a day from 33 weeks.
At 37 weeks you can practice natural induction methods like acupressure techniques, sniffing clary sage and mixing it with a oil to massage on your back and feet, expressing colostrum.
I had two friends who had taken hypnobirthing classes prior to having children – I was so amazed by their positive birthing experiences and I knew this was something I needed to do before giving birth.
Naturally, I was excited when COVID restrictions had eased and when face to face classes had become available with Caitlin AKA Mother Down Under, an Australian hypnobirthing practitioner.
Roscoe and I attended a weekend course with Caitlin and it was a brilliant way for us both to practice techniques that could be used before and during labour. We watched quite a few birthing stories during the course and we were amazed at how calm and relaxed each of the labours and births were! We learnt about affirmations, the TENS machine, acupressure techniques, Rebozo, the the use of essential oils during labour, and so many other tools!
Caitlin gave us a great tip for labour and that was to have a visual plan ready of what things you would need to facilitate your positive birth and where these things would need to be placed in the room so that once labour had kicked off, your birthing partner could get these things ready for you.
I completely resonated with the birth preferences found in the hypnobirthing book I was given and sent these to my midwives prior to my birth. There was even a section on birth preferences during an emergency c section had this been necessary for me.
Caitlin was great and was very informative throughout the course – I felt I had complete support from her not only during her weekend course but after it too. She made a point of saying that if anything were to change, your care provider recommending induction for example, she would be there to support you and to get in contact with her. Caitlin made me feel empowered to make informed choices about my labour – for example, because of her I felt confident in declining a vaginal exam during my labour.
During my pregnancy, I also connected with private midwife named Lauren. I had explained to her that I did not know about my choices when the GP had asked where I wanted to be referred to for my birth. I explained that at my 26 weeks GTT blood test, I came across another pregnant lady who told me she was going to birth at the Birth Centre at the RBWH and that I really wanted to birth there had I known about it earlier. I said I felt devastated that I was now in my third trimester and was not able to birth there.
Lauren encouraged me to ring up maternity outpatients and put myself on the waiting list for the Birth Centre. Being 32 weeks pregnant I thought my chances were very slim of being accepted into the Birth Centre but at 34 weeks I got a phone call from one of the midwives from Team 1 (Corinne) inviting me to birth with them at the Birth Centre. I felt like the luckiest girl alive when I received this phone call and the phone call came just after I had finished my hypnobirthing course! Corinne explained that she and two other midwives (Kelly and Nicole) would be taking over my care and that they were all trained in water births and had done Caitlin’s hypnobirthing course – I couldn’t believe my luck! I don’t think this was coincidence to be honest!
So that was my preparation, and this is how all that planning resulted in a positive birth!
Last Saturday after sleeping for about an hour, early labour started! This went on between 11:15pm until 4:30am.
I was so well informed of techniques to use during contractions and in between contractions, I had even written up cues for my husband to read once labour had started – talk about wanting to be in control of a situation!
My husband knew exactly what to do and he worked like clockwork, pressed start on the contraction app, then quickly used the acupressure technique of pressing the back of my hips during the contraction, and then had to stop the app. He did this each and every contraction whether I had the TENS machine on or whether I was in the shower or whether I was sitting backwards on the toilet.
He was the icing on the cake during my labour and birth – I have never felt so loved and cared for and he was the most amazing birth support partner. In between contractions he worked so efficiently preparing hot water bottles, ensuring I drank and ate, and he even took my 5 hospital bags to the car quickly to ensure he didn’t miss a contraction.
I was pretty nervous about the drive to the hospital because I was very active during my entire labour and I was thinking how am I going to be able to manage just sitting there and not being able to move around! At first I watched every traffic light turn red which made me get frustrated that it would take even longer to get to the hospital but then I closed my eyes, focused on doing the horses breath, and used my TENS machine. I think by the end of that car journey I had upped the tens to B50!
For only a ten minute car journey it did feel a bit like eternity!
My husband parked up in a disabled car spot where we were supposed to meet our birth centre midwife, I remember wanting to hop out as the car wheels were still rolling!
Once I hopped out my midwife was no where to be seen and my husband had to find a car parking space so I turned my attention to focusing on my breath once again and leaning forward over the car park wall. A few hospital workers passed me by and asked if I was ok and I said I was in labour – they were probably not expecting that answer!
A midwife passed and she kindly waited with me till my own midwife came with a wheelchair.
Once I got to my room, I stripped off naked (it was a good thing I felt comfortable with my midwife) and she asked if I wanted the water running for the tub so I said yes please! I said I’m going to go in the shower for now whilst I wait for the tub to be filled. So that’s what I did, I used one shower head on my tummy whilst hubby placed one shower head on my back. It felt like bliss, my midwife came in and asked if I wanted to hop into the bath and I said I was actually fine for the time being so stayed in the shower.
My midwife advised me that the doctor on that day wanted me to be on a CTG machine and wanted me to have a vaginal exam (because since 34 weeks my baby was measuring small and was sitting around the 11/12th percentile and her head circumference was below 5%). I declined both – there was no way I wanted to be restricted in my movements with that CTG on. She said that the doctor would probably want to come in and have a chat with me but I could decline this too.
She asked if she could feel my cervix to make sure it was dilated as by this time I was feeling the urge to push. I said I was happy with this and she actually made me aware that my waters hadn’t broken (I thought they had when I was at home as a little pink stained water dribbled down my leg). She asked if I wanted them broken but I said no and said it would be pretty cool if baby came out en caul.
During my pushing phase I leaned on the gym ball in the shower and was on all fours – I literally ooohhh cha’d that baby out.
After the head came out I couldn’t believe how quickly the rest of baby came out – it literally felt like she “fell out” of my vagina!
My husband watched the entire thing with a mirror and a light shining onto it – he was loving it, something I’m so amazed with as he usually feels a bit faint with clinical things in general! I think the birth videos from the hypnobirthing course got him through that one to be honest!
After I held my baby for the first time my midwife helped guide me to the darkly lit room where I sat on the birthing stool ready for my physiological placenta delivery – she said this could take up to an hour but within 10 mins post birth that placenta had “fallen out” too!
Later on, I was pleased I was able to see my placenta – my midwife explained so much about it – I loved it and got photos of it, to me it is the tree of life!
After giving birth to my beautiful Sienna I felt EMPOWERED, it had literally trumped everything else I had done in my life and I’ve done some pretty amazing things!
I never doubted that my body would be incapable of giving birth and I trusted in what my body could do. A big thank you to those that made me NOT FEAR birth. I was surprised that I did not ask for even one intervention like gas and air for example. I had so many things to use for birth like a stress ball, tennis ball, hair bands, comb, Rebozo scarf, but I didn’t need any of these things in the end. I’m glad to have known about them and would have used them if my horses breath, TENS machine and acupressure techniques hadn’t worked.
I am so grateful for coming across B’s vibrant antenatal classes and the hypnobirthing course run by Mother Down Under.
Because of these amazing women who also happen to be mothers too, I was well informed about the tools needed for an empowering and positive birth and felt confident with my decision making during my pregnancy and birth.