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Birth stories and testimonials


The  Birthing of Jenefer Ruth

The following is a birth story from 1978 (hence the comment on shaving and enema’s), but time period aside, it demonstrates several really useful and interesting points (highlighted at the end).

August 30th 1978.

Rosie’s Version.

My first sign of starting labour was when my waters broke at about 5.45 a.m. On Wednesday August 30th, I wasn’t sure at first whether it actually was the waters breaking, but there was a slight trace of blood. After going to the loo and having my first contraction I thought “I’d better put the cat out” which I did (Bess had been sleeping with me all night!). I then went back to bed and had another strong contraction. I used levels A and B for both contractions – for practice, I thought. After another contraction – about two minutes later – I thought I’d better wake Ian. I still wasn’t sure I was in labour: the contractions were much too close together. We had a short discussion about whether to ring the midwife and decided to wait and see what happened.

I then had diarrhoea and a contraction. I can remember thinking that I least I wouldn’t need an enema. I went downstairs to feed the dogs (just in case this was really ‘it’). I felt like a drink of tea but as contractions were coming every 2 – 5 minutes I went and lay on the settee instead – and was promptly sick. “Oh”, I thought, “the Joys of Labour:. Ian rang the midwife – I had thoughtfully been sick on the newspaper and cleaned it up. As I was sure Ian would panic if he knew the contractions were so fast (and also about 1.5 – 2 minutes long), some straight after each other, but sometimes a gap of about 5 minutes, I told Ian and the midwife that they were every 5 minutes! I was managing well with them, using mainly levels B & C, breathing depending on the strength of the contraction.

The midwife was telephoned at 7.10 and arrived at 7.35. Up to the time she arrived I wandered miserably around the house, had diarrhoea and stripped the bed ready. When Sister Thompson arrived she decided I was quite advanced in labour – she shaved a small part of me and we both agreed I didn’t need an enema – I didn’t have time for a bath. The internal, to my surprise, showed I was 8 cm dilated with only about 2 cm to go. Due to the contractions coming very rapidly, there was only time for the one examination at that point, and the blood pressure reading. Ian and the midwife seemed very busy, the Doctor had to be telephoned and another midwife called as Sister Thompson was due off duty at 8 a.m., though she thought the baby would arrive before then. It was obvious that there would be no time to get our co-helpers to us.

I’m not sure if I had a transition stage – I know that for one contraction I puff-blowed for a short while and felt very peculiar, as if I was fainting and going away – my hands were tingling – the midwife said I had overbreathed. (Ian and I later agreed that this could well have been a very short transition). Just after that the other midwife and a trainee arrived and I was into second stage. It started at about 08.30. All through the first stage I had used up to Level C although contractions were strong I had never felt I couldn’t cope, or needed level D. I think I never really appreciated how far advanced in labour I was. I found second stage the hardest. I never felt Jeni moving down and the contractions slowed down. I really had to concentrate to push – and I didn’t have much desire to. I would much rather have gone to sleep – it also hurt to push. I felt (from the classes) that my uterus could do the pushing for me! When the tip of Jeni’s head appeared I wasn’t really interested – I knew she could never get out – I think I tried to hold her in. Ian showed me the top of her head in a mirror, but I wasn’t very interested – it looked just like the film. After some more pushes her head was nearly out and I was assured I was nearly there. Once her head came her body followed, immediately, and she was delivered onto my tummy.

She was beautiful, but not very big – arrived safely at 9.28 a.m. It was at this point that I really appreciated Ian being there – she was OUR baby – and perfect. I’m not sure when the cord was cut – not straightaway I don’t think. The injection for the placenta was given just as she was born, and it arrived about 6 minutes after Jeni – I pushed it out very easily. When my contractions slowed down in second stage, Dr Roberts stimulated the contractions by applying pressure to my calves – and the contractions started quite soon after this. At no time was I offered any drugs – I never needed any. Jeni was very alert on arrival: she didn’t want to suck but lay there grissling. Ian had a long chat with her while I was being cleaned up – I needed two stitches for a small labial tear. Jeni weighed in (or rather, out) at 8lbs – larger than I thought. I think if I’d’ve known she was going to be that large in second stage, I’d definitely have gone to sleep. With being two weeks before my given date I thought she’d be about 6 lbs. The feeling of elation when she arrived was marvelous. The labour was not at all what I expected: much faster, and the first stage a lot less painful – the NCT classes were certainly worthwhile even though my labour wasn’t typical.

Points to remember:

First labours do not have to be long and difficult; Rosie had witnessed many farm animals birthing whilst growing up and had full confidence that she could do it.

It is quite possible to labour and birth at home and without pain relief - even for first time mums!

Breathing through contractions really does help!

Contractions often do slow down in the second stage – this can be a natural rest period.

Some doctors can be very supportive of home-birth and have alternative ways of stimulating contractions without artificial oxytocin.

The urge to push doesn’t always come and it’s likely that Jeni would have been birthed without Rosie pushing.

The feeling of elation that is experienced after birth in a drug free labour. This is due to a huge rush of oxytocin that gets disrupted in the wrong environment, but is instrumental in early maternal-infant bonding and for the release of breastmilk (including colostrum).

Rosemary cuddling Jenefer in the hours after birth

Rosemary 35 years on!