Here we hear the amazing story of first time mummy Luiza, who planned a c-section but baby Sofia had other ideas….leaving Luiza marvelling at the power of the body. Her story is told to her Daisy teacher Pippa.
A difficult journey
I feel like my positive birth story needs a (not so) brief overview on our journey to get to where we are now. Note that I say ‘our journey’ as it takes two to make one! When we decided we were “ready” for parenthood we didn’t realise I was going to fall pregnant so quickly. We also didn’t realise the statistics for an early miscarriage or that we would now be part of them. TWICE. To cut a long story short, after two miscarriages, a few (many) panic attacks, finding out I have PCOS, convincing myself I would never be able to actually create a human, getting a dog so that I could be a mum (I know, I’m a bit dramatic) and a year and a half of acupuncture, we finally got our shit (are we ok to swear here?) together and decided to give it another go…
From that 1st positive I knew I had to keep my cool and prepare for the worst but also allow myself to prepare for the future. Whilst on holiday in Spain I woke up soaked in blood but no pain. I was then sure I was on my 3rd miscarriage. I put on a brave face and ate all the chorizo and drank all the cava available. If I couldn’t be pregnant I was at least going to be drunk.
It was a surprise going into hospital when we were back to find our little bean with a strong heartbeat! Turns out I had a bruise in my uterus and the pressure of flying made it bleed (sorry for all the alcohol Sofia!).
An unwelcome addition!
A few weeks after that I started feeling some pains on my left side and back to hospital we went. A stinking ovarian cyst measuring at 5.8cm. This little bugger continued to grow throughout my pregnancy and measured, at its peak, 33cm!
I was basically carrying twins. We named it Sally.
This stupid fluid filled balloon left me almost on bed rest. I was working from home and when I wasn’t working I was laid in bed. Apart from Sundays. I refused to give up Daisy. I needed it for my own sanity and I also enjoyed the mystery of what cakes we were going to eat!
All the breathing I learned at Daisy I was using to cope with the cyst pain. The Escalator Breath worked a treat!! My dream of delivering my baby naturally seemed to end there as, for fear of the cyst bursting or twisting during labour I opted for an elective c-section. They booked me in for the 21st of April, a day before my due date. Seemed a bit risky but most 1st time mummy’s go over their due date so I was certain I would make it.
Braxton Hicks…or something else?
Sofia had other plans that she did not care to share with me. On the 14th of April I spent the day saying how strong my Braxton Hicks were but that I was still fit and well to go car and food shopping. Why wouldn’t I be? My baby is not due for another week!!
I had a friend over for lunch, we played with her toddler and watched a movie (I was sat on my pregnancy ball and rotating to dilate without really knowing I was helping things progress nicely).
At around 8pm I decided to download a contraction app thingy as my pains seemed to come and go more frequently now. After a few markers the app said “it’s time to go to hospital”. I obviously ignored that and assumed the app was broken as my baby was not due for another week!! I had a shower, dried my hair and put on some clean pjs. Couldn’t wait for a long night’s asleep!
At 9pm my waters broke. I calmly announced to my husband “my waters have broken”. He then asked me “what should we do”. It took a great deal of control not to smack him in the face. We clearly left our birth plan at home along with most other things we needed or thought were going to need. Luckily, I remembered to grab the frozen face cloths I had prepared just the night before with a little lavender oil (definitely recommended).
At that point I still thought I was going to have a c section. Who would let a girl give birth to a baby whilst having a gigantic ball of fluid inside her ovary? The whole of St Michael’s is the answer to that question.
The power of the body
From my waters breaking to me going into 2nd stage it took 4 hours but I could swear it was only an hour. I was breathing throughout and being the calmest person in the room. My husband had eyes wide open and felt the need to tell me when the monitor started to mark that a contraction was coming. I think he could feel the rage in my eyes when I CALMLY asked him to stop telling me as I could very well feel them.
He reminded me to breathe when I stopped (he remembered to do that from the Daisy Parent day-thanks Pippa!) and the contractions were getting stronger. But he was also blowing hot air on my face. At that point I felt that nothing he did was right but I remembered I was about to give birth to our child so requesting the divorce papers was not the right move.
When they offered me paracetamol I laughed. We clearly weren’t on the same page. I then took oral morph. Big mistake. It all came back up with the lovely lunch I had eaten with my friend. I then decided to move on to gas and air. I had gas and air years ago and loved it. Turns out I now hate the thing. Did not sit well with me at all.
When I felt that I could no longer cope I announced I NEEDED an epidural. Like, right now. “No time” the midwife said as she checked how I was progressing. They could see the baby was coming. And now, this is the part of my labour that I love the most. My body, without me asking, or doing anything, started pushing. It wasn’t pain I could feel it was an enormous amount of pressure and fascination! I could see my belly doing waves as it pushed my baby out. It was the best sensation I’ve ever felt! It took 13 minutes for my body to push her out but it felt like seconds. And it’s my only memory for labour that is not fuzzy. I honestly loved it!
I did apologise profusely to the midwife as I was sure I had a poo (or poos). Oh well, who cares? I had given birth to a real life human. She had a full head of hair, 10 fingers and 10 toes as well as two eyes MY NOSE AND MY LIPS. She was put on my chest and latched on straight away.
They asked if I was ok to have the injection for the delivery of the placenta. I was just so besotted with my little girl that I said yes to it but my husband clearly reminded me that I did not want that. He’s a good egg really. I didn’t want to divorce him anymore. I ate toast, drank tea and had a bath whilst my (almost ex!) husband had skin to skin with our little girl.
For the next 40 hours I did not sleep think or cared about that nasty cyst. At the end of the day, it didn’t impact my labour, my body did exactly what it was meant to do and we were both safe and enjoying each other. The cyst is still there today and still not impacting our lives as much as it did before.
Whilst I can definitely wait until I have another baby, I won’t be doubting the power of the body again, or the power of breathing!