My little girl, you are my everything.
There were many things I avoided during the pregnancy, one of them being negative birth experiences.
Every story is unique but I tried to keep my mind as relaxed and as optimistic as possible.
I am so glad and thankful I am able to share a positive birth story of my baby girl and her delivery during the pandemic. We are living in the strange times but it’s amazing that even in the midst of the chaos, there is hope and new life.
It is the hardest but also the absolute best thing.
Nothing can prepare you for childbirth. Neither physically, nor mentally.
No book, no hypnobirthing technique, no pep talk.
The moment comes like a cluster of waves that are pulling you into the ocean, and there’s no going back.
You dive in, without resisting…
… and what a swim it is.
Positive Birth Story of Eliana: Delivery During The Pandemic
04 Sept 2020
Think I was playing a game on my phone to get sleepy. I took a long nap in the afternoon so I was buzzing with energy. Little did I know what was about to happen.
I couldn’t get to sleep until about 12:30AM.
I woke up because of sore stomach / full painful bladder. It wasn’t intense pain but it did wake me up. I quickly got up aiming to go to the bathroom (something you do many times a night in your 3rd trimester – excuse the TMI). That’s when I felt a trickle of fluid (again – TMI but it’s part of the story).
I knew exactly what was happening!
By the time I got to the bathroom more fluids came out.
My waters broke.
It was definitely happening and I almost had to pinch myself!
You wait for this moment for 9 months and you’re still never fully prepared for when it actually happens.
I came out of the bedroom and announced to my husband: “It’s happening! My waters broke!”. He was sleeping soundly but, having heard, he quickly got up and told me to call the Labour Ward. After speaking to a midwife for about 5 minutes, she told us to make our way to the hospital. I even managed to jump into the shower after that conversation. Then, we quickly put last bits and bobs into my hospital bags (phone chargers, tooth brushes, etc.) and went out the door.
It was a surreal feeling thinking that the next time we’d be coming home together, we will be a family of 3.
I started contracting on the way to the hospital. Mild pains at that stage. I thought to myself – wow, this is nothing, I can handle this. Ignorance is bliss haha.
We got to the hospital and went through to the assessment room. They strapped my bump to the monitors to keep an eye on the baby and track my contractions. Because I had Strep B pre-pregnancy, they would treat it as if I still had it. So the midwife said that they might have needed to speed up my labour with a hormone in order to put me under the drip faster. However, she warned that the whole process could take up to 3 days and that we should potentially prep for that. Tommy and I just looked at each other. 3 days?! Little did we know, we were going to meet our daughter MUCH sooner. Didn’t need that hormone at the end – my labour was about to kick off!
I was in A LOT of pain. I went to the bathroom (barely walking at that stage) and I remember thinking I could just lie down on the floor right there and cry rivers. I did keep it together though. I simply kept reminding myself that I’d be meeting my baby SOON.
The midwife who was looking after me came in and offered me Paracetamol. Then she was going to check my cervix. She quickly told us not to get discouraged if I was to be only 1 or 2cm dilated.
Well, she couldn’t believe it herself – I was 5cm dilated (!) and it was time to move to the delivery room.
I was given a really lovely room, spacious, with a birthing pool and pink/purple lighting which was very soothing. Lights were dimmed, it was almost too dark in there. But I knew the exact reason why* so it made me feel secure and comfortable.
*according to my hypnobirthing book: a woman needs to feel secure and relaxed going into labour. They compare it to going to the bathroom (= privacy) or going to bed (= dark room, comfortable space to relax). All about that oxytocin.
I was in a lot of pain at that stage but I felt cosy and happy to be there. I changed into my labour gown and was monitored on the bed as well as got antibiotics through an IV (preventative for those who test Strep positive, in order to protect the baby on the way out).
The midwife who was on duty was nice but quite disattached. Even though pain was swallowing me whole, I did catch myself thinking that she just wasn’t fully there, with me. Tommy was excellent – helping me through each contraction so well – I couldn’t have done it without him.
Contractions were getting stronger and stronger. I was then given Codeine and offered Entonox aka gas & air. I only took a few puffs. It wasn’t helping at all but messing with my breathing. I was gasping for air and needed to take deep breaths. At that stage the contractions were so strong that I struggled to control my breathing.
I was then offered Diamorphine, which I was strongly against. But I did keep my options open with Epidural – in case I needed it. Surprisingly, I said no to it too, and managed without it.
This was my FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE moment, and I was definitely in the FLIGHT mode!
And then a little miracle happened. God heard my every prayer through my pregnancy and in that delivery room. There was a shift change. Enter Becca, the midwife my heart has been praying for. The connection I felt + the hands-on approach from her was exactly what I needed. She came in with a big warm smile, introduced herself and said: “You’ve got this girl!”
I remember that I quickly said “Hi Becca. Is it okay that I really need to push – like RIGHT NOW?!”.
She said I might be about 7 or 8cm and might have to wait with pushing but she quickly checked me, and said my cervix was gone. I was beyond 10cm! It definitely was time to push.
We all couldn’t believe how fast things were moving. It was the most surreal experience ever. It was so unbelievably sore (on Paracetamol & Codeine only) but, at the same time, my body knew EXACTLY what to do.
I tried all imaginable positions haha. First I was lying down. Then I was on all fours standing near the bed. After that, I was kneeling down on all 4s beside the bed. I honestly thought at one stage that the baby would just pop out of me onto the floor. Becca was down there, right beside me, on her knees, ready. With Becca behind me and Tommy in front of me across the bed, helping me through every push, I was powering through it.
With every contraction and every push, we were getting closer and closer.
Then, the baby’s heart rate started going up.
Becca let me push a few more times, and checked on the baby once again.
The heart rate was still quite high.
It meant baby girl was in distress and they had to move things faster.
I was asked to get onto the bed and we gave it one more go. The screams coming out of me at that stage were unearthly. I was practically howling, not being able to contain those screams. Becca helped me generate them into more powerful pushes: by keeping my chin down and not letting those screams out.
I was crowning but because baby’s heart rate was still measuring higher than normal, Becca told me the doctor will come in now and that I might need an episiotomy because the little one had to come out ASAP.
Once the doctor came in, I gave it one more go and she quickly did a little cut! Eliana’s head came right out, and a few seconds later, the next tiny little push from me delivered her body.
All I felt was an instant relief.
No more contractions, no more pain.
I opened my eyes and saw my baby. It was the most surreal feeling.
She was placed on my chest and I felt like I’ve known her my whole life.
Then, they quickly gave me the medicine into the cannula to help stop the bleeding as I lost quite a lot of blood because of the episiotomy. Then, I got an injection to help deliver my placenta (part of my birth plan). It came right out, very fast. Then, there was some poking, pushing and stitching going on down there. But the main thing was that the baby was here, and she was healthy and well.
We got some quality skin-on-skin time, she also latched really well. We all stayed snuggled up for more than an hour.
Then Becca came back and helped me get to the shower. I was sore, bruised, and bleeding like mad (all very normal). I felt like I was hit by the bus physically but I was buzzing emotionally. I was SO HAPPY!
Tommy stayed behind in the delivery room and got his first daddy-daughter cuddles with our sweet baby girl.
I came back from the shower and we were moved to the postnatal ward. We also got our own little private room with a private toiler too, free of charge. I think they must have really liked me. The postnatal care that both Eliana and I received was out of this world.
We were discharged to go home the next day. I couldn’t be more thankful for how everything went.
I would do it over and over again.
2 Corinthians 9:15
First time holding our daughter
Gestation: 39 weeks 2 days
Onset of labour: spontaneous
Length of labour: 4 hours 38 minutes
Mode of delivery: Spontaneous Vertex OA (natural delivery, baby’s position: head down facing my back)
Pain relief: Paracetamol & Codeine
Type of care during labour: midwifery led
Birth partner: my husband
Baby’s weight at birth: 2.92kg
Labour experience: incredible, empowering, would do it over and over again
Love for my baby: unconditional
In case you feel like traveling down the memory lane with me,
here is a recap about my pregnancy experience during the pandemic:
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Positive Birth Story of Eliana: Delivery During The Pandemic
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