Lou's Birth Blog
I can’t believe that this time 3 weeks ago I was in the birthing pool squeezing Jos’ hand so tightly that I’m surprised I didn’t break it (I would have been very popular with the England Cricket Team!) and about to meet our gorgeous Bubbalula Margot “Maggie” Lula Buttler.
Labour really is something extraordinary and this time round I felt very in control and was thinking about all my prenatal clients the whole way through and knew I wanted to share the whole experience to hopefully help, support and give you all that bit of confidence that it’s going to be ok - it is the most unbelievable experience and in a weird way enjoyable - perhaps because it makes us women feel so empowered.
Both my pregnancy’s and labour’s have been very different to each other but one thing (a complication) I had with both was Obstetric Cholestasis. You’re now thinking what on earth is that?! In short, OC is a potentially serious liver disorder that can develop in pregnancy. Normally, bile acids flow from your liver to your gut to help you direct food, however in OC the bile acids do not flow properly and build up in your body instead. There’s no cure for OC, but it should go once you’ve had your baby. A little biology lesson for you.
I developed OC in both my pregnancies around 35 weeks - the main symptom is itching all over the body, usually without a rash & it made me feel nauseous too. I also had Covid at 36 weeks which sent my bile levels through the roof! The risk of stillbirth rises with OC and therefore it is advised to be induced sometimes as early as 35 weeks.
My OC levels were relatively stable and therefore I got induced at 38 weeks and 4 days gestation. The thought of induction can be quite scary and so many thoughts go through your head - will the baby be ready? Will my labour be very long? How long will it take for my body to react to the hormone drip? Will the baby and I be ok?
Thankfully Margot arrived safe and sound and pretty quick! :)
Here is a dairy of my induction & some little tips which will hopefully make the whole process that little bit easier.
31st August evening (night before my induction):
I had a 60 minute Reflexology session. Leading up to the birth, I had regular reflexology sessions with Denise Cameron, whose powerful hands worked their magic. With over 20 years experience specialising in fertility, pregnancy and beyond, she helped me prepare for the delivery. The evenings I saw Denise always guaranteed the best night’s sleep so transformative was the state she left me in. (I will definitely continue to see Denise postpartum).
10:30am: Jos and I arrived at the Chelsea and Westminster with a huge picnic bag full of sandwiches, sweets & chocolate (!!); a water bottle with a straw (a must!); a heap of cold flannels which had been in the freezer over night - again a must for me - I put them over my face and on the back of my neck during the contractions - I would highly recommend!
11:30am: The induction process started with my midwife Hannah putting two “water balloons” inside me. Again you are thinking - what on earth (!!) I was thinking the same. They were two balloons with only water inside them which is a natural way to soften and loosen the cervix. Jos and I were then sent home again to allow time for the balloons to take affect. We then went about our day as normal - we took Gigi for a haircut and I rested at home and slept until 5am.
6:30 am - Jos and I arrived at the hospital and were taken to our room which was spacious and had a birthing pool
7.30am - my midwife broke my waters and I started on the gas and air from this point. I felt very nervous but kept reminding myself that my body knows exactly what it’s doing so try to let go and trust it.
8.15am - I started on the hormone drip and relaxed on my bed. I then got up and walked around the room & bounced on my ball to try and get things going!
9.30 am - My contractions started. This is the part where breathing comes into its own. Take long deep breaths (Just like we do in all my Pilates sessions). When a contraction starts breathe in through the nose for 5 slow counts (ask your birthing partner to count for you) and breathe out for 7 counts. I used gas and air which really helped me breathe slowly and concentrate on the breath. I visualised the breath going in through my nose and down my entire body - jaw, breastbone, rib cage and so on. Really try and let go of your shoulders and allow your breastbone to move down towards your pelvis on the breath out which is going to help you take longer, deeper breaths. With every contraction, Jos reminded me to breathe into my hips - a great tip for your birthing partner and he also put a freezing cold flannel over my eyes/face and on the back of my neck to help me zone out.
10.30 am - My contractions were coming on stronger and faster. I got into the birthing pool, onto my knees & leant up against the side. Jos sat next to the pool so I was able to squeeze his hand during each contraction and hold the gas and air in the other hand. This time around I felt in control and was aware that it wasn’t long until bubba was arriving. This is the time to dig deep and relax as much as possible with every contraction and know that you have the strength to do it. Your body completely takes over and you will know when to push - again try not to force it just breathe slowly and deeply and think about pushing out your pelvic floor on the exhale (i.e. pushing out a poo (!)).
11.47 am - Margot was born :) in the pool and I pulled her up between my legs and she instantly latched onto my boob.
Labour is such an incredible experience. To all you mummy’s to be remember how strong you and your body are, breathe long & deeply and keep telling yourself you will be meeting your baby in no time. Be Brave, Good luck and sending Love. Lou x
My top must have items for labour:
- A bottle with a straw (orange squash!) & picnic (sandwiches cut into bite size pieces & chocolate/sweets)
- Freezing cold flannels which have been in the freezer to put over the face & on the back of the neck
- A Swiss ball