It takes a while to really find your rhythm when it comes to blogging. I tend to lean on a reflective, analytical and informative approach. Sometimes I don’t want it to be light, flowery and emotive in a positive way. Also sometimes it can be hard to find guest bloggers who really fit what you are about. We hear a lot about some of the not so great things about birth or health but I want this quiet place I occupy on the web to contain things that inspire and encourage you. I feel like we need an air of light, we need relief, we need to exhale… Nikita was kind enough to share her birth experience with us. Have a read about how the birth of her daughter differed from her first birth with her son. Thank you so much Nikita!
When I fell pregnant for the first time, I had an idea in my head about the kind of birth I wanted. It was based on how my grandma gave birth…she gave birth 13 times and each time she worked on the farm till the minute she went into labour and then gave birth at home with no interventions and with only one midwife present.
However my first birth was far removed from the notion in my head. My waters did break amidst 300 people but I gave birth in the hospital and it was full of interventions! It left me very disappointed and somewhat angry with the hospital as some bits I felt could have been avoided.
When I fell pregnant for the second time, I was well equipped with the information I needed to have my ideal birth. First time round I couldn’t push beyond a point as I suffer from a herniated disc in my lower back and therefore ended up with a ventouse delivery. But since giving birth first time round, I had started practising Pilates three times a week. This had strengthened my back. I continued with Pilates throughout my second pregnancy. This assured me I could have an unassisted vaginal birth.
My next big complaint was with the hospital. They hadn’t listened to me or my husband on things that had mattered to us. Therefore we decided to have a reflection on my first delivery. A birth reflection is a chance for the parents to go over your notes and experience with the hospital. This gives the parents a chance to bring up their grievances and for the hospital to provide feedback. The reflection helped us iron out all the negative feelings we had about our first birth which in turn assured me they wouldn’t hinder me with my second birth.
We wanted someone knowledgeable who would be on our side at the birth.
Additionally we decided to have a Doula with us. We wanted someone knowledgeable who would be on our side at the birth. She would be our sounding board. She would give us the right advice at a time when we are riding high on emotion and unable to think straight. We met 3-4 Doulas and we picked Alison as we felt we got along really well with her and she understood us.
I knew second time I was pregnant with a girl. My first child is a boy. As the due date of 23rd November got closer, I was getting very excited to meet my daughter. My first one was born 5 days before the due date. The midwife at the hospital thought my daughter would be a little early too. She told me an interesting thing…she said Indian babies were rarely overdue. They were either a bit earlier than due date or born on the due date. I have now confirmed this by asking a large proportion of my family and Indian friends and majority said their baby/babies were either early or on time!! It seems like all that spicy food seems to help us!!
On 19th November, I was very tired as I hadn’t slept for 2 nights. I knew my body was getting ready to give birth and sleep had decided not to visit me! My husband, son and I decided to go for a really long walk and at the end of the walk, we rewarded ourselves with curry. I was quite tired when we got back and decided to jump in the bath with some Clary sage oil in the hope to kick things off as I was ready to meet my daughter!
I went to bed at 10. I fell into an uneasy sleep but woke up at 11 as I needed to pee. That’s when I realized my waters had broke. It wasn’t a gush like the my first birth but rather a trickle. My adrenaline kicked in as I knew it was time! First thing I did was call my parents so that they could come to collect my son. I then let my doula know; who advised me to go back to bed if I can and let her know as soon as my contractions started. I finished off the last minute packing, sent my son off with my parents and went back to bed. This was around 12am.
However I couldn’t sleep. I could feel a period kind of pain starting to creep in and getting strong. I got out of bed. My husband hadn’t gone to bed and I joined him in front of the telly. I started pacing to cope with the pain. I also used the birth ball. My husband had started using an app to time my contractions. They were already quite strong and frequent. We called the hospital around 1am. They asked us to come in as this was my second birth and the contractions were frequent. We let our doula know and we asked her to meet us at the hospital.
We got to the hospital at 2am where Alison met us. I wanted to give birth in the birthing center, preferably a water birth. We were quickly provided with a room and the midwife started filling the tub with water. I changed into my bikini and started walking around the room. At that time I was 5cms dilated. As soon as the pool was full I got in. I found it helped with the contraction pain a lot and I started to relax. In fact I relaxed so much my contractions started slowing down. Which I definitely didn’t want. I started alternating between walking around and being in the pool.
During this time I kept on going to the loo to pee. And each time I felt I wasn’t emptying my bladder fully. I remember one of the last times I was in the loo and my husband was with me, I told I wanted to give up now!! And the same time I had the thought, I read somewhere that when you feel like giving up during labour that is when you know you are very close to giving birth!! I also remember looking at the clock and feeling the time was going really slow but the midwife reassured me I was progressing well. However around 7.30am, when she checked me she said I still had some water on top of the baby and until that didn’t come out, I wouldn’t be dilated enough to push the baby out. I had a choice to wait for the remaining water to break naturally or they could break it for me. I agreed for them to break my waters.
“you are doing very well, just one more push”.
I will never forget these two sentences.
Once the waters were broken, I had a strong urge to push and didn’t want to get back in the tub. I found a comfortable position on my knees while holding onto a fixated stool. With each contraction, I pushed. When the head came out, the first thing the midwife said, “Oh my god, her eyelashes are very long!” Then, “you are doing very well, just one push”. I will never forget these two sentences. And the next push, my daughter was out. The midwife then handed me my daughter and she looked exactly like her brother! She was beautiful and perfect.
I had asked for delayed cord clamping and was really happy when i saw they weren’t in a rush to cut it. They left us attached for as long as the cord had stopped pulsating. I also wanted a natural delivery of the placenta but for some reason I suddenly became aware of the pain I was in. All I wanted was to do skin to skin with my daughter but due to the pain I was in, I was unable to hold her. I asked at that point to get the placenta out of me. As soon as it came out, I held on to my daughter while she breastfed and I was getting stitched up as I had second degree tears. I was keen to establish breastfeeding quite soon after the birth.
I had an urge to go to pee once I was stitched but when I tried to stand up, I felt very dizzy. The midwife said it was probably because I had lost a lot of blood. She asked me to pee in a pan and when I tried I was unable to empty my bladder. Due to the loss of blood, I was told I would have to be taken to the labour ward. I was not happy with that. After having a natural birth, all I wanted to do was spend some alone time in the birthing centre with my husband and daughter. Very reluctantly I was led to the labour ward where they checked and found a clot in my uterus. They also found my bladder quite full.
To get rid of the clot, I was put on a drop of oxytocin. And this was way more painful than actual contractions! I told them and the only thing they offered me was gas and air, even after telling them it doesn’t have any affect on me! Thankfully I didn’t have to be on it for long since the clot came out fairly quickly. They had to insert a catheter in me as I was unable to empty my bladder. During all this, I held onto my daughter and fed her whenever she wanted. Sometimes it was uncomfortable and during that time my husband would have her and do skin to skin.
I came out of the hospital, thinking, “yes!” after my daughter was born
We spent a ‘not very comfortable night’ in the labour ward. I was just glad I had a drug-free and relatively interference-free birth. I wasn’t pressured into anything I didn’t want to. They didn’t push Vitamin K on us to give to the baby. I came out of the hospital, thinking “yes!” after my daughter was born. It wasn’t all well but I was just glad that I had my daughter naturally and assured she didn’t have any unwanted drugs in her!!
A disappointing first birth doesn’t mean your subsequent births will be terrible too. Make a note of everything that you felt was disappointing the first time round. And for the next birth/s, take steps to make your experience. Two things I highly recommend are:
1. Have a birth reflection with the hospital you had your first birth in. Go over your notes and raise any complaints who had with their staff, procedure, etc. This helped me get rid of the fear I had thinking my second birth will be terrible too and gave me the confidence to ensure my second birth would be nothing like my first one!
Have a birth reflection with the hospital
2. Get a Doula. When you are in labour, you and your husband are emotional and sometimes unable to think right. Having a Doula you can trust and get along with you, can do the important thinking for you. A good Doula will know your birth plan well. She can speak to the midwife for you. She can offer you suggestions that you are unable to think off amidst all that you are going through. A Doula can ask the right questions, say the perfect words of encouragement even when you are thinking of giving up!
A Doula can ask the right questions, say the perfect words of encouragement even when you are thinking of giving up!
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