Healing Home Birth After Trauma
📅 17th July 2020
🏴 Planned home water birth
👶🏼 Poppy Jayne 7lb 11oz
⚡️ 4 hour established labour • 12 minutes pushing
💊Tens, Gas & Air, Birth Pool
⚠️Talk of previous traumatic birth & use of the word contractions.
I wanted to firstly talk about my previous birth to hopefully help some other stm (+) who are hoping for a more positive healing birth experience this time around as I found reading these hugely comforting and empowering during my pregnancy, knowing I wasn’t alone.
If you just want to hear about my amazingly positive birth of Poppy you can skip forward to that bit ☺️
Birth of Harley in 2010
I had my first baby almost ten years ago now, I very much had the go with the flow mentality and just expected to ‘have a baby’. Which looking back is crazy…. it’s one of the most monumental moments of your life and you don’t plan or research a thing? Apart from being told about all your pain relief options in the hospital! You spend months planning a wedding or training to run a marathon ..why don’t we give birth as much attention? Learning about how our bodies labour and how to help facilitate a physiological birth, for me, was the best part of hypnobirthing. I’m not saying all the knowledge would’ve made my previous birth outcome any different. But, it would’ve changed how I felt about what was happening to me as that background understanding would’ve helped me make informed decisions and feel in control.. THATS what I think is so important. Giving women that power back 🔥
Anyway, that’s my two pence .. back to his birth. I ended up being induced at 42 weeks and he arrived early hours at 42+3 .. 😴! I was exhausted. It started off with two pessary attempts and then being taken to the labour ward for ARM and a drip. He arrived in to the world via forceps, ventous & an episiotomy followed by a PPH. I’ve never felt fully healed from his birth until the day I had my daughter, I can’t explain the feelings behind that but for anyone else who’s had a traumatic birth, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean. You are not alone ❤️
The Birth of Poppy 💕
As soon as I found out I was pregnant again my mission was to educate myself as much as possible. For me it wasn’t about trying to have a ‘perfect’ birth at all, it was about having the education on all the possible outcomes and options I had, that would help me face whatever situations arised during my labour in a calm and positive manner. Planning the right birth for ME & MY baby ❤️ With the added breath work & skills learnt during hypnobirthing to help keep calm and focused I felt completely at ease and ready to welcome my baby.
17th July 2020
My son had two ‘catch up’ days in school so the day before I’d spent relaxing watching chic flicks on TV, then on the Friday I nipped to the local shops treated myself to a few last minute bits and bobs (including a costa peach ice tea I hadn’t had in months and craved every day 😂!) I caught up with a family member from down south.. it was a super lovely chilled day. I was completely relaxed and birth wasn’t on my mind at all!
My husband arrived home from work after being allowed home early, which was super lucky as Wales had just been opened up for people to come for a holiday so traffic was absolutely crazy and if he’d have left his normal time he probably wouldn’t have been home until about 6pm!!
We sat down and started watching a Gordon Ramsay together and he noticed me concentrating to breath a little more than normal and asked if everything was ok, I said don’t get excited I’m just a bit uncomfortable that’s all. By half two if noticed this had happened three times now, but I thought nothing of it as at this point aches and pains were normal. We both decided to get our son Harley from school together as it was his last day, outside the gates waiting I had another pain that took my breath away and had to lean on my husband, at that point I said, ok I’ve not felt anything like that before. Walking home I had another two! But still in denial we came home and finished the last few minutes of our episode of Gordon 😂
It was a pretty warm day and I was getting hot and bothered so decided to take a shower, I also needed the toilet (sorry tmi!) which made me think, see it was just trapped wind.. I need to calm down. Had my shower, relaxed a bit .. then needed the toilet again!! That time I was like ok this could be me ‘clearing out’ (still don’t get excited). I made sure I plaited my hair and put it up out of my face ‘just incase’ all while having to take a breath, sit on the floor a few times and try to keep hold of my plait 😂
The reason I was so unsure was because they didn’t feel how I expected ..especially after my first birth being an induction, the pain was all really low down and concentrated over my pubic bone in a really small area like a period pain cramp, I expected to feel something over my whole bump.
After a very quick tidy round the house and folding away washing I decided to lay on the bed for a bit and see what happened, laying on my left side helped ease the contractions and slowed them down a little. I then decided to time them with the Freya app (a must have!) which immediately told me I was in established labour .. of course I didn’t believe it 😂 I lay there for around half an hour before I’d had enough and went downstairs, Dan bless him had been busy setting things up for our home birth and had blacked out all the windows and put on all my fairy lights. I said do you really think this is it? He said well it won’t take a minute to remove it all of it’s not, do you want me to phone my parents now to get Harley? Me carrying on in denial replied with no!! it’s far too early yet! (Haha!!) I rocked around on all fours with my head on my birth ball listening to the positive affirmations on the app. Walked around a bit and just generally tried to make myself comfy. I then needed the toilet again and of all times our downstairs loo was broken!! So off up the stairs I went .. greeted by Dan at the top again asking me if he should phone his dad ..I just said I don’t know I’m not sure, what do you say?! As I curled over on to the floor as another contraction came. Luckily Dan took the decision himself to ask them to come and get Harley! He just told them that I’m having some pains I’ve not felt before and we are going to contact the midwife to come and check me out. (We didn’t tell anyone about our homebirth plans)
Dans dad came and got Harley and I carried on rocking around on my ball completely unaware of anything around me. Dan then said about phoning the hospital.. you can guess I said no it’s far too soon I just need to relax as its all taken me by surprise. Then shortly after everything started to feel really intense so I agreed for him to phone the hospital.
The community midwife called back and started asking me the usual questions and very soon in to the call a contraction came and I couldn’t talk.. all I could here was Hello .. hello? I couldn’t even manage to tell Dan to talk as he sat there in silence I just started tapping him on the leg 😂 he told her ‘I don’t think she can speak she’s having a contraction’ the midwife said she’d make her way over now.
The midwife came! I think she established pretty quickly by my low groaning noises I was in established labour however I still asked her to feel my bump and tell me if this was a contraction as I wasn’t sure and if it wasn’t she needed to take me to hospital NOW!! (Clearly heading in to transition 😂) due to my previous birth experience I’d asked for no VE’s as I didn’t want the anxiety that surrounded them for me to distract me from my labour bubble, but by this point I didn’t care and needed to know how far dilated I was as it had only been an hour and a half since I’d started timing contractions and if I had a long road ahead then maybe home wasn’t the place for me 🙈 bless her she really wanted to respect my birth plan and was double and triple checking it was what I wanted and said we should wait for the second midwife. I agreed to wait but wasn’t really sure why, I was just too focused on my contractions (Dan thinks it’s because she had the gas and air which would allow me to relax a bit more for a VE) I found myself a comfy spot on the rug, again laying on my left side, peddling my right leg when a contraction came 😂 While Dan rubbed my back/arms/legs and stroked my head (heaven !) I had no concept of time but in the end just begged her to check my dilation as I really was worrying about how I’d cope now. My midwife agreed and told me I was 8cm then quickly told Dan to fill the pool now if I wanted a water birth 🙈 I couldn’t believe my ears.. I’d bloody well done it and was getting my homebirth, my nerves turned to pure excitement. Midway through my VE the second midwife arrived!
Turns out the other midwife had been stuck in traffic with the ‘birth van’ and it was half seven before she arrived! I then began to use the gas and air which really helped me control my breathing. I stayed laying on the rug letting out low groans with every contraction.. I just couldn’t help myself, hearing the deep sound & vibrations from inside me really helped me focus. I lay there and just waited to hear the words .. the pools ready! By this point I’d taken my headphones out and we had my labour playlist playing from the tv which included a lot of our wedding songs.. I really recommend a playlist to everyone! I listened to it throughout your pregnancy, it was so lovely to hear I even sang along at some points! We now use it with Poppy when we are rocking her to sleep or helping calm her down. It instantly relaxes me too.
THE POOL WAS FILLED AND AT 37* 🤩
I had all the plans of wearing a lovely little bikini tank top to get in the pool.. I honestly didn’t care and got on to all fours my waters popped & off came my nighty. Think I pretty much spring boarded in to the pool.. the relief was instant. It helped slow my contraction’s down a little as they were coming thick and fast, it helped me catch my breath. I was really thirsty at this point and remembered the fanta lemons I’d saved for labour, so in between contractions I sipped this sweet sweet nectar 🤤 I couldn’t actually vocalise my request for a drink so just stuck my tongue out and made slurping noises at Dan until he lifted my drink to me 🤪
I quickly felt my contractions change to pushing and I got so excited.. I reached down to feel her head which was so so close and it was so so motivating 😍 I didn’t actively push, just let my body do what it needed to do. 12 minutes after getting in the the pool our beautiful little Poppy entered the world, with Bastilles cover of I can’t fight this feeling. (Apt song when your pushing out a baby haha!!)
I caught her myself and lifted her up on to my chest ❤️ my first words we we did it we actually didn’t it!! Oh my god I can’t believe it!
We then just lay there in the pool together waiting for the placenta. It was magic.
In the end I decided to get out to birth it and have the injection to speed it up whilst daddy got cuddles, no sooner did she administer the injection and it came out anyway! It was HUGE! Even the midwives commented on its size. I know lots of people are a bit squeamish but I was in awe, the midwife checked it over in front of me and showed me all it’s parts and functions. Incredible 🤩
I had two small stitches, then it was on the sofa for cuddles and a feed .. bliss! We then FaceTimed family who were in complete shock after only speaking to us hours earlier! It was amazing.. Harley was soo happy!
The midwives left, we cracked open our champagne we had saved from our wedding and just sat soaking up our newborn baby ❤️
Having a home birth hadn’t always been my plan but after lockdown and my home becoming my little bubble for the last few months the idea grew on me. I liked having it booked knowing if I was labouring happy at home I could stay here whereas I didn’t want to be happy at home but in the back fo my mind thinking about how/when I needed to get to hospital, likewise I knew if I wanted to go in I still easily could. I liked knowing I had the option ❤️
After discussing with a friend about potentially having a home birth she added me to Home Birth Support Group UK on Facebook. It is 100% what gave me the confidence to go ahead. What a beautiful, inspiring, positive, empowering group for women! It’s full of mummas lifting each other up, helping each other out, sharing their stories.
It is a pure oxytocin boost reading such beautiful messages, hearing about other women’s labours and just seeing everyone helping each other, especially when women are meeting resistance for health care professionals. The wealth of knowledge in the group is phenomenal. I recommend the group to everyone I know! I wish we could all live in our own little village for real 🤣 thank you Samantha ❤️
I didn’t end up with this quiet tranquil place I imagined but instead enjoyed hearing the midwives and my husband chatting whilst I did my thing! It was comforting hearing them. I also didn’t completely follow the breath work but did in my own way whilst use deep humming and groaning. Honestly, there are some things you can plan but most of it you don’t know what will work for you until your in that moment! I wouldn’t change a thing. ❤️
If you don’t know your options you haven’t got any.
I always tell people that they can have an amazing birth after a traumatic first birth and this is one of those amazing stories that prove it.
Hugest congratulations on the birth of Poppy Jayne.
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Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly Doula. SOS Doula, Telephone and online support is always available.
If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact her HERE.
“Your Journey, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth“