Natural birth in hospital–first time mother

Penny’s natural birth of Toby

This is a birth story of a first time mother that had a natural hospital birth, including natural ‘third stage’ of labour. Penny developed her birth plan with Gifted Birth Support.

Penny writes:
My little baby is 5 weeks old on Saturday! How times flies. I wanted to FINALLY thank you for your help with my birth plan. Not only did you help me write a birth plan that made sense, you made it easy to read and the birth plan was followed exactly.

I couldn’t ask for more for my first birth!

Toby’s birth story

Friday 12/8 at about 9.30pm, I was lying in bed and felt something that resembled my waters breaking! I did not think much of it as I was 39+ 2 weeks and people had kept telling me first time mums go over! I had period-like cramps all night… so no sleep for me!

Saturday 13/8 at about 8.30am, I woke up and thought “yes, my waters have begun to leak.” Every time i stood up they definitely leaked some more!!!! I rang the hospital and they asked me to come in…but no rush they said!

So not wanting to be on ‘hospital time’ I didn’t go in until 1.30pm! Once there, I was hooked up to the ECG for nearly an hour (mum had to get them to come back, seems like they forgot we were there)… A midwife performed an internal to see if waters had broken. She said “no, you’re waters haven’t broken, it was just hind waters, but looks like you’re in early labour so you’ll probably give birth Monday”.

I was relieved to go home. Got home by 3.30pm and this is when things kicked in! My contractions started up straight away, so I wanted to rest and eat in case it was the real deal. Because I hadn’t really experienced Braxton Hicks contractions and the midwife estimated Monday, I was worried about getting run down.

By 5.40pm I was crying through contractions. My mum started timing and they were 40secs long and 3 mins apart! I COULD NOT do this till Monday!!! So i jumped in shower as nothing else was working! This took the pain right away, so at 6.30pm I decided to go to hospital so I could use their endless supply of hot water!!

We arrived at 7.10pm, and as I was wheeled to the ward the contractions were insane and intense! Another internal exam was done because I was told they “HAD to do it, and there is no other way to check your progress”. I had used a technique I found the xiphoid “fingerbreadth” method online for measuring dilation and progressand I estimated I was 7-8 cm using this method. The midwife told me I was 6cm, and said for a first timer I was looking at 4hrs more of dilating and 1 hr pushing.

At that point I didn’t think I would make it any longer. So they wheeled me into birth suite and straight into the shower. At this point the midwife that performed the internal check argued with me for 5 mins, telling me I was not allowed to put my undies back on because I was jumping in shower. Being in active labour and arguing, I found it very hard to explain to her that I didn’t want to be naked in front of everyone for the next 4 hours! She was rude so I decided to ignore her and got my mum to get me other undies!! OMG fighting with me in labour, not a good idea!

The midwife I was actually assigned to labour with arrived – ‘K’ she is a lovely midwife who is going independent next year! Having her take over my care was such a relief. She already had the bath running and said she had read my birth plan and wanted to get everything ready for me, so it could be followed. I was in heaven!!!

So moving from bath to shower, bath to shower, I worked through the contractions. Hours went by, or so I thought! I ended up on a birth stool in shower. Because I was told the waters hadn’t broken, when I felt something shaped like a ball coming out of me I presumed it was the waters (bulging membranes). This is when K said “oh my God, it’s your baby!” She caught him just before he hit the ground!

At 8.40pm, 1 ½ hrs after arriving at the hospital and only 15 mins of pushing/breathing my baby out, little Toby was born! The first boy in the family. I was shocked!

As planned, we waited until the cord had stopped pulsating before clamping. K asked if I wanted an injection (of artificial oxytocin) or to have natural third stage “as outlined in your birth plan.” I chose to move to the bed and wait for the placenta to come out by itself.

We had uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact from the moment he was born for 4 HOURS! Only then were the checks were done on baby and we moved to my room. But then I felt like we were forgotten again. The birth suites were busy and as I was first woman in there to give birth they took care of everyone else.

K’s shift ended at 9.30pm, and unfortunately at the shift change the midwives were rude and abusive! I am so fortunate I had K for the birth. I believe my birth would not have been so amazing without her being there!!! Mum told me later that she even ate her dinner in the room with mum while I was in bathroom as she just knew my labour would be quick.

I stayed in hospital from Saturday until the Tuesday. The whole time my mum and I were verbally abused and yelled at for silly little things. Like when I was getting checks done midwife1 told mum to take Toby out of room in his little plastic bassinet – but then midwife2 yelled at mum, accusing her of stealing him! Toby cried the whole time, mum couldn’t settle him and his tags had fallen off- they never fit in first place and he was only about 10 hrs old!

The hospital experience didn’t end there! I’ve made a complaint to hospital about this care so I will see if I get a reply! Oh and the midwife that checked my waters early on the Saturday asked me “did you get the birth you wanted or did you end up giving in to drugs like everyone else?

Mum and I proudly said, “yes I did have it the way I wanted!”

I felt like saying to her “unlike you, K believed me when I told her I thought my waters had broken!”

So in all, the birth was fantastic and just the best experience – thanks to K and my Mum.

The hospital stay, on the other hand, was the worst! I have never been more stressed, anxious in my life! As soon as we got home, baby and I were instantly relaxed and happy and we could finally sleep. I don’t recommend staying in the hospital so long – being a first time mum and with a 24:7 nurse button I had assumed the staff would be friendly and keen to help. My experience was the complete opposite, unfortunately.

I believe that if I didn’t have such a great birth plan, supportive mum and amazing midwife, my birth probably would not have gone as smoothly as it did!

And I also credit not using any drugs, my research on natural birth and trust in my body to give birth to having such a great experience and being able to remember every little detail about Saturday the 13th!

And I really believe Toby is more content and alert because I didn’t allow anyone to “inject” him or alter his natural journey into the world.

It was so fantastic and reassuring to have K quoting my birth plan and making sure I still wanted my wishes constantly through the night!

Thank you so much again for helping me with my birth planning!!

Penny

Toby – born 8.40pm | Sat 13 Aug 2011 | 3565g | 52cm

About Kate Emerson

Kate Emerson, BA (sociology/politics) Kate is a clinical student pursuing her interest in neonatal transitional physiology and clinical cord clamping practices. She produces articles and popular media to increase the level of awareness about delayed cord clamping, for parents, students and interested practitioners. Please visit www.cord-clamping.com to read more.

Posted on September 23, 2011, in Birth Plans, Birth Stories, Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Congratulations.!!!

  2. Yes! Natural hospital birth IS possible! It sounds like you had to be very prepared to get the birth you wanted, but you did it. You should be so proud of yourself! Every woman who does this makes it easier, I believe, for the next woman, so this was not just for you. It was for all of us!

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