Livia, Sean and Miguel's birth story
Lívia did a group Hypnobirthing course to prepare for the birth of her second baby, Miguel, who was born at Preston hospital.
“Miguel’s pregnancy was peaceful, healthy, without any medical concerns. And the plan was, once again, to wait for my body to do what it knows and start labour naturally when the time came. But life has its own plans, doesn’t it?
On June 8, I went for a routine appointment. My mother-in-law was going with me, but providentially Sean got a break and was with me when we were surprised by the news that my amniotic fluid was low and the baby had stopped growing as it should for gestational age. The protocol in these cases is not to wait and artificially induce labour as soon as possible to avoid possible complications.
As it turns out, WAIT was what we did most in the hours and days that passed until Miguel was born!
Every choice comes with its risks and although the statistics gave me room to decide to wait a little longer, order more tests and be monitored daily, I decided not to put myself or my son at the risk, however low, of our situation. On top of that, I was already pretty exhausted and that weekend, everyone in our tiny support network would be available to help us. We understand that it was time for Miguel to arrive! And instead of going home for a “day off date” 😅 we came home running to get organized and have a child.
On Thursday, June 9th, my birthday 🎉, we entered the maternity ward to begin the process of inducing labour. The process has several stages and if at the end of each of them things do not progress, we end up on the operating table for caesarean section. Everything I read about it seemed to be intense, more painful, faster and with much more risk of ending up under the knife. And while I understand that, well recommended, caesareans save lives, I was very, very afraid of ending up needing it. Fear of complications, fear of postpartum and for our reality more limited in terms of support network. I thought Miguel would be born there on my birthday, but this is where God and the NHS 😅 kept us waiting and bringing the right people to be with us until Miguel arrived.
After a night of little progress, we had to spend Friday, June 10th, waiting in the ward until a delivery room vacated. Meanwhile the baby and I were frequently monitored. Mothers came and went and we kept waiting. We did everything in our power to make me relax and try to disconnect myself from going in and out of the hospital and the anxiety of waiting: Netflix, video calling with family members, walks through the hospital garden, sneaking out to eat junk food, Hypnobirthing…you name it! It was a beautiful sunny day and I thought it would be a perfect day for Miguel to arrive…
At one of the midwifes’ shift changes, Sarah introduced herself with a smile, good humour, and a genuine interest in helping me not only go into labour, but have a good experience despite the circumstances and change of plans. She taught me some exercises, made me a little mix of essential oils for me to inhale, asked my preferences for during and after delivery and took notes, even though she most likely wasn’t the one with me. These careful details make a lot of difference
They tried to break my waters when we went up to the delivery room. But for some reason the liquid didn’t come down and the contractions didn’t engage. They gave me 5 hours to see if something happened. Low lights, background music, pilates ball and nothing…
The day dawned and nothing…around 8am we went to the penultimate stage of induction and they put me on the cannula with synthetic oxytocin to start the contractions in earnest. In 1h I was already in real labour and the contractions were coming strong and in a super short interval, 1-2min.
I was managing the pain with breathing exercises and entonox, as well as lots of affection from Sean and a back massage. But I was exhausted, I remember thinking and probably saying “I want to sleep!”. Because of the hormone drip, me and the baby needed to be monitored constantly and this limited me at times. I tried to keep myself moving, the monitoring belt came out of place, causing the nurses to come and go several times, taking my concentration. I also couldn’t use a hot tub or shower to relieve the pain. I was asked to lie down and as comfortable as I was, I still had many contractions but without dilating any more…Another midwife shift change and this is where everything changed! The new midwife was Sarah again! 💓and I was sure that I was in good hands and everything would go well and so it was.
When Sarah arrived, I asked for more pain relief. She suggested examining me first to see my progress, as the drug I ordered, if applied too close to the baby being born, could make him a little groggy and influence breastfeeding. I remember her not talking about centimetres of dilatation but about “we still have time” or “we don’t have time”. The language used during childbirth is extremely important, it is a way to avoid anxieties and unnecessary stress.
I slept between contractions after the medicine 😴 I felt it in my body, in Sean’s voice and in the midwife’s encouragement that it wouldn’t be long.
“Blessed be the pain. Blessed be pain, loved be pain, sanctified be pain… Glorified be pain!”. – I felt an uncontrollable urge to push and three contractions later, at 4:02 pm, Miguel was born in silence for a few seconds, but soon he filled the room with life and his wide open eyes found us for the first time.
And what a wonderful feeling, what a joy! 🥰 How is it possible from so much waiting, from so much pain to come so much love? It’s divine yes! The first small way of the cross that unites our humanity to the greater Love.
The cry of joy, the hug from my husband who went through this little ordeal with me, the immediate anesthesia of hormones and our beautiful reward: our Miguel! ☀️
God’s care for us continued down to the smallest detail. I didn’t need any other intervention, no stitches, that is, faster recovery as I needed and asked for. Instead of the classic toast with postpartum tea (yes! A classic in English maternity wards 😅) they brought a full meal for me and Sean. We should go back to the ward to wait for us to be examined and released to go home. But instead, our midwife transferred us to a suite just for us, so we could rest before heading home. And to our surprise, it was the same as when David was born.🥰
After a few hours of well-deserved rest, bath and routine exams, we were discharged on the same day 🙌🏽
And we return home, with our love once again multiplied, certain of chaos ahead 😅, but also of many new stories, memories and small everyday miracles to fill our lives with even more meaning.”