Here's the funny thing, I never planned on having a water birth!
Throughout my pregnancy my journey into mindfulness and mindful birthing strengthened. I always knew that I wanted to use water as part of giving birth. I naturally gravitate towards water and having grown up next to the sea I always find great comfort in being near or in the water. My birth plan wasn’t rigid or set in stone and I never had my heart set on a water birth. I just figured that I would try to use the water to ease any discomfort in early labour and see how things progressed. I truly believed that my body and my baby would know what to do when the time came.
Going into bonus time
My due date came and went and during my subsequent appointments at the birth centre they began to start putting pressure on my to consider induction and wanted to book me in for a sweep. I really didn’t like the idea and was always confident that my 'baby knows best' and will arrive when she is good and ready! However I did allow the birth centre to book me in for a sweep on the day I would be 41 weeks but I had no intention of really having it!
The Dream Begins
Early in the morning of 15th May 2018 - the day I was booked in for my sweep my waves started for real - there was just something different and I knew it wasn’t Braxton Hicks. I stayed home listening to my positive affirmations and mostly just pacing back and forth in my bedroom where the black out blinds meant that it was dark and cosy. When we called the birth centre to let them know they suggested a bath so of course I thought that was a great idea. I kept breathing through my waves as my husband ran a bath and then helped me in - it was a lovely gentle relief from all the pacing I had been doing!
We had a bit of a false start at around 11am when my husband thought it was time to head in so we went over to the birth centre (which was quite a short journey) but they didn’t think I was ready and suggested we return home where we would be more comfortable so we did that and I had another bath ; )
You’ll just know when you are ready to go!
Later that day when it was time to go to the birth centre, it’s true what people tell you - you’ll just know when you are ready as you will literally head out the door and this is exactly what happened. I started walking out the door armed with my big black sunglasses to block out the outside world and my earphones so I could keep listening to my affirmations!
In the cab
The black cab ride was quite funny looking back on it - my husband knew his role and was doing all the communication with the driver so I could stay in my love bubble so unbeknownst to me the driver was in a bit of a panic that I might have the baby in the car and was speeding through the streets of Central London breaking all the red lights to get us there as quickly as possible!
Arriving at the birth centre (round 2!)
We arrived at the birth centre at 4pm and my husband got us all checked in and shown to our room, its honestly a bit of a blur to me as I really was in a dream like state. I wasn’t talking to anyone and was leaving all the communication to my husband. He had called ahead and the midwives had the pool all set up in our room so I immediately knew I wanted to get into that pool to centre myself and relieve some of the pressure I was feeling as it had been quite a bumpy cab ride!
The Birth Pool
I got into the pool and in typical Dream Mama behaviour I let my body guide me to the most comfortable position which for me was with my back against the edge of the pool holding onto my husbands hands behind me or the midwife whenever he needed a quick break from the incessant hand squeezing I was doing!
The environment at the Birth Centre
The environment was just perfect - our room in the the birth centre was spacious with a large birth pool which was really like a big indoor jacuzzi! The lighting was really low so its very subdued and calming - a bit like a spa. I had my affirmations playing in the background so it was a constant positive reminder and a familiar sound on loop.
I really had no concept of time and the whole experience really was quite dream like. I was aware that there were other people in the room, but anytime I heard the midwives speak or if my mind started wandering I brought it back to my breath and continued to focus on just that moment that I was in.
Using the Breathing Techniques
For me counting was a key part of my breathing - perhaps a throw back to my days in the Boat Club at university where counting the stroke during training and races was a super effective way to keep going and to power up when needed - something I have always carried with me and use for running and any aerobic sports.
Counting through my birth waves
Anyway there I was in the pool silently counting through breaths and riding each wave as it came. I used the gas and air as I found the loud sound it made (similar to what you hear when breathing when you are diving) really helped me to stay focused on my breath.
The moment when it all got too much
There was a point right before she was born where I thought - "No... I have had enough now", I don’t want to do this anymore - I sort of came out of the bubble a little and started becoming aware that it was getting quite painful so I had to really centre myself and that’s when I knew… this is it, she’s ready to come out now and sure enough with the next few breaths and a strong urge to breathe all the way downwards with as much power as I had then out popped her little head into the water I didn’t really know what it was until I heard the midwives saying so and then little Isabella took a moment, turned herself into the correct position for the rest of her body to emerge and out she swam into the water. It truly was they most magical, surreal and beautiful experience I have ever had.
The midwife them scooped her up and put her on my chest and there in the pool we had our first snuggle and our Golden Hour began. She was born at 20.18 just over 4 hours from the time we arrived at the birth centre…the dream birth experience!
Funnily enough at just 2.8kg she was quite little so I’m definitely glad we didn’t try to induce her to get her out any earlier after all baby knows best!!
The best gift you can give yourself and your baby
As a founder of The Dream Birth Company I’m often asked about my birth experience and I love being able to share but also to empower other couples to plan and prepare for their own Dream Birth. No matter what type of birth you have, preparing your mind and body so that you can focus on your breath and remain calm is the best gift you can give yourself and your baby.`
Written with love