The Birth of Aoife

After two traumatic births most women would have been deterred from having a third child. Thankfully my wife is made of sterner stuff, so rather than being put off she was determined to make the last experience a positive experience. We discussed home birth and agreed to investigate further, Claire then put forward hypnobirthing.

Initially I was sceptical and before reading about it thought it was a bit of nonsense like the stuff I used to watch with Paul McKenna. Thankfully after researching and ongoing discussion with Claire about the desire for home birth and positive influence I was well on board… and thankfully so.

We had our classes with Hannah at home while the other two kids were sleeping, this was really convenient and made the whole experience very calm and relaxing. The first session was focusing on all the positive emotions, creating a positive atmosphere and mapping out the perfect birth. However after two problematic births and a real desire to avoid intervention and induction we were diverting off topic. Hannah was very positive and answered all our questions very openly and honestly with lots of tips, guidance and positive influence. With her help and from reading the previous birth notes we were able to establish the perfect back up plan to our main wish of a Christmas home birth.

We had meetings with our community midwife at 36 weeks and then 38 weeks to go through our birth plan and expressed our concerns and wishes to avoid induction. We created the perfect nest for the home birth which included the birthing pool (which our eldest two thought was an amazing bouncy castle), Christmas tree, Christmas lights, log burner, closed shutters, affirmation cards, music and relaxation tracks. We had oils, aromatherapy and massage all planned but it was clear that sensual arm tickles were off the list as Claire giggled hysterically every time we practiced. Everyone was ready for the perfect home birth… except baby.

At 10 days overdue we met the midwife at home for an assessment and to discuss induction, something we had already expressed our wishes to avoid. We agreed to attend antenatal clinic at +14 days for an assessment and scans and to ensure baby was safe. After positive scans and assessments we confirmed our decision to leave the hospital and let nature takes its course. We then went back to hospital on +15 days and twice on +16 days for scans where everything was positive. However after using the BRAINS technique we decided that induction on +17 days was the best option and one we were happy with. We were asked to attend hospital at 5:30pm on +17days as we wanted to give ourselves a little longer that day to relax and sort the kids out.

On arrival on the induction suite we were told there was a long wait for induction due to the labour ward being so busy before Christmas. Some other patients were waiting up to 3 days for induction so we were very happy we brought a good supply of food and drink. Everyone knew we were in no hurry so we unpacked and made the cubicle our new home. We felt relaxed knowing the kids were safe, we were safe and we were armed with lots of hypnobirthing tools to make sure we still had a positive birth.

We agreed to CTG monitoring at about 8:30pm and during the monitoring Claire started having mild tightening sensations. Throughout the monitoring these sensations became more powerful and after 30 minutes the surges were arriving every 4 minutes or so… labour had begun. Baby was safe and happy so we asked to be taken off monitoring so Claire could move around. She found a birth ball the perfect place to relax during the surges which were building very nicely. Over the next two hours we laid out the affirmation cards, candles and photos of our kids onto the bed for Claire to focus on. Using these positive images, TENS machine, listening to the relaxation track and me risking the sensual arm tickles (which she really liked) Claire became very relaxed in her own little world. As the surges became more regular Claire used all the techniques perfectly to ensure she was always in control.

At 11:30 we agreed to a physical assessment and Claire was showing at 6 cm dilated and we were promptly transferred to the labour ward at around 00:30am. Claire kept her headphones and TENS machine on during the move and on arrival we set up candles, cards, dimmed the lighting and reconfirmed our birth plan with the midwife. The midwife was amazing and very supportive and conscious of our wishes which really helped building a positive atmosphere. We did agree to the monitoring and Claire found her side very comfortable whilst still using the TENS machine and affirmations.

Over the next 6 hours the surges continued to grow and the labour continued to establish. Claire felt the need to push but was advised against this as her cervix wasn’t ready, Claire used the up breathing technique to control her body and stay in control. After an h hour Claire was given the green light to push when she felt ready…. With three really big pushes Aoife was naturally delivered very quickly at 7:28am weighing 10lb 3oz.

Due to the speed of the birth the Neo Natal crash team were called as Aoife was unable to clear her lungs. Aoife was given oxygen and then admitted to the Neo Natal ward for additional checks for chest infection due to the amount of meconium in the water. Aoife is absolutely perfect and after 2 days on Neo Natal both Aoife and Claire were discharged on Christmas Day.

We are so pleased with our third and final birth story. It wasn’t the birth story we visualised but because of all issues with Aoife it was fate and the perfect story for us to complete our family.

Claire, Lee, Maeve, Hugh and Baby Aoife