Ezra's Beautiful Birth Story

Ezra-newborn.jpeg

Ezra’s birth story starts at my 38 week appointment. It was a Tuesday afternoon and after the midwife did her usual checks, she told me she was going on holiday for two weeks. She wanted to book me in for an appointment when I would be 40+5 to discuss induction. As I entered the date into my phone’s calendar, I had a strong feeling that I wouldn’t need it. Just before I left, I made sure I had the phone number for the birth centre and knew the protocols. Luckily I did, because at midnight ‘the show’ was on the road!

For the next 48 hours I was in ‘early labour’. I breathed through the surges, bounced on the birth ball, listened to my ‘Baby’s Coming’ playlist and slept on and off. This part took longer than I expected but I think that was partly due to concentrating on timing the surges. My husband encouraged me to go for a walk, close the timer app and just take some time to breathe in the fresh air, so we went for a walk at our local reservoir.

We got back home around tea time, and I thought I’d stick a bit of telly on whilst Andrew cooked. I couldn’t even get through one episode of ‘Jane the Virgin’ before the surges kicked in even more strongly and frequently. I put it down to the laughter and a good release of oxytocin!

It got to the point where I didn’t want to be downstairs anymore, so I waddled up to my bedroom, got straight onto the bed, into the most comfortable position, (some sort of child’s pose) and swayed from side to side, remembering to breathe. What felt like only a couple of minutes later, I sank onto the birth ball that Andrew had kindly brought upstairs, leaning forward over the end of the bed.

I instinctively knew when it was time to ring the birth centre. But when I did, to my horror, the midwife on the phone said that there was already someone in triage who wanted to use the birth centre and there was only one midwife scheduled to work the centre. At this point I panicked, but they said to go in and they’d see how far along I was and go from there.

When I got off the phone, I’d regretted my decision to go to the birth centre and wished that I’d booked a home birth. I really didn’t want to leave home. My mum arrived, and between her and Andrew convincing me, I put my headphones on, pressed play on Classic FM and got in the car. I also put an eye mask on to block out any visual stimulation.

We arrived at midnight, and met a lovely midwife called Rhiannon at triage. She looked friendly, familiar and around my age, so I instantly relaxed. She assured me that she’d read through my birth preferences and would do everything she could to meet my needs and wishes. She left the room for a few minutes and when she came back, she asked me if she could do a vaginal examination. I agreed to this first examination as I wanted to know where I was and whether it was possible to get into the birth centre. When she told me I was already 4cm dilated, she congratulated me and said kindly ‘we have to send most first time mums home so you’ve done amazing!’ This gave me a huge confidence boost and for the first time in a long while, I felt proud of myself and trusted in my knowledge of the birthing process and the hypnobirthing techniques I had to hand. She got me a birth ball and said she would try her best to get me upstairs into the birth centre and again left me to it. Not long after, she came back with a huge smile and told me she would come upstairs with me, and that there was a lovely warm pool in the room waiting. I had never felt so relieved. Not only had I managed to get into the birth centre, I had the most amazing midwife who was doing everything she could to give me the birth I wanted.

Rhiannon asked me to walk to the birth centre, so I very slowly made my way. When I was offered a wheelchair by a nurse walking by, I looked at the midwife who shook her head, smiled, and said ‘no, we’re walking!’ A wheelchair had never looked so good.

After what felt like a mile’s walk, we finally got to the birth centre and into a lovely spacious but still cosy room. It looked like a room you’d find in a hotel, with lamps, a sofa, a bed and ensuite bathroom. The birth pool was in the corner and looked so inviting.

I sat on the birth ball and leant over the bed whilst Andrew dotted my battery candles around the room and connected the bluetooth speaker so my ‘Baby’s Coming’ playlist sang gently in the background. I asked for gas and air, which Rhiannon got pretty quickly. It took a while to get used to using as I was concentrating so much on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth before. I soon got the hang of it and enjoyed the drunk feeling in between surges. Around half an hour later, I asked if I could get in the pool, as long as I could still use the gas and air. Rhiannon laughed and said it was fine and helped me into the pool. More relief flooded my body. There was a lovely cutout on the side of the pool where my bump fitted perfectly as I knelt and leaned over the edge.

I concentrated on my breathing whilst the surges got more and more intense. At 2:30am, Rhiannon said that she’d do another exam at 4am if I wanted her to. An hour and a half seemed like days away, but before I knew it, my waters broke. I felt another huge relief and 5 times lighter! Things were getting more and more intense and I started to think I couldn’t do it anymore. The highest intensity only lasted a minute or so, then everything paused for a split second. I felt this strange sensation and could see my baby entering the birth canal in my mind’s eye. I looked at Andrew, then at my mum and shouted ‘HE’S COMING!’

All the intense surges in my back had gone. I felt no pain. My body pushed without me even having to try. I could feel my baby move down and down. I noticed Rhiannon was looking into a mirror under the water, but there were no bright lights. She told me that in a moment, I’d have to catch my baby. There was no time for her to put gloves on! One more push and he was born. I bent down and picked him up out of the warm water and into the air. He took his first breath, and didn’t even cry. He just looked at me with these big blue eyes and I looked at him. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I was shell shocked at what I’d managed to do. I couldn’t move and I didn’t want to. Everything around us had disappeared and it was just me and my baby. Ezra and me. A good while later, Rhiannon and another midwife helped me out of the pool and onto the bed. I laid Ezra on my chest and had never felt so much love in my entire life.

He was finally here. Born at 3.32am weighing 6lb 8oz.

Jessica Neal