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I’ll cut straight to it, as I know birth stories have a habit of being very long, so I will try to keep it concise but I want to make sure that all the important bits are in there as I absolutely loved reading up on birth stories when I was coming to the end of my pregnancy. This story is a positive one, so I hope it helps to give you some confidence if you are getting ready for your little one to arrive.

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At 40 weeks + 6 days I called up the birth centre in my hospital as I had noticed reduced movement. My bump was usually very active in the mornings and evenings and today it just wasn’t moving like it usually did. They advised me to go in to get checked over so we decided to put the hospital bag in the car just in case but I was pretty sure we would still be going on a walk later that afternoon as planned. In typical fashion, as soon as I was hooked up to the monitor I got lots of kicks and immediately felt silly for worrying but they didn’t mind and said that anything that doesn’t feel normal for you should be checked out. The doctors were consulted and they decided that even though the baby seemed ok in there, they would prefer to get things going as I had said even though I was feeling kicks it was nothing like what I normally felt. I assumed I would come back tomorrow for an induction but they wanted to do it today! As George wasn’t allowed in the hospital I was allowed to go and meet him to have some lunch and then was to come back to the hospital with all my things. I got a bit emotional once I saw George, I never imagined that it would be so controlled and that I would have time to think about what was about to happen. He hugged me so tight and said “we have waited so long for this, we are going to meet our baby, you can do this!” I burst into tears but was ready to go!

INDUCTION …

As soon as I got onto the induction ward, I was welcomed by the kindest midwives that put me at ease immediately. They hooked me up to a monitor to listen to the baby for an hour or so and then explained that they were going to insert a balloon into my cervix to act as a weight to help it dilate, but before this they had to check whether I was a tiny bit dilated or not as it’s impossible to insert it unless there is at least 1cm. I had a vaginal examination and luckily I was 1cm dilated so the induction could go ahead as planned. Having the balloon inserted wasn’t the most comfortable thing but it wasn’t unbearable. I used some deep breathing and before I knew it, it was done. Once in, it was filled with liquid so it would put pressure on my cervix and I was told that they would leave it in for a minimum of 12 hours and once they take it out they expect to be able to break my waters and get things going. I had a shower and got myself set up for a restful night in the hospital.

MY WATERS BROKE …

That plan was quickly aborted when my waters broke on their own just under 4 hours later and I immediately started having contractions. George was quickly called in and he arrived to me standing, leaning over the bed swaying my hips left to right moving through each contraction. They felt pretty strong to me but the midwives assured me that they were just “gentle tightenings” and the early stage of labour so I tried to breathe through them. They offered me paracetamol to take the edge off which I took. We started timing the contractions as we knew we were on the look out for 3 in 10 minutes. To our surprise it showed that I was already having 5 in 10 minutes with about a minute rest in-between each one. Once the midwife came back in to check on me after a while, she could see that things had ramped up a fair bit and offered me pethidine so that I could rest a little, to which I quickly agreed. It kicked in quickly and made the rest periods much nicer and more relaxed but because they were so short it wasn’t long before the next contraction came on and I was getting exhausted pretty quickly.

We spent an hour and a half managing them well, with George rubbing my back and helping me use my hypnobirthing breathing as much as possible through each one. The breathing definitely helped, and gave me a focus. There was a sign on the wall and I read every single word slowly through each contraction to keep my mind busy too. Another midwife came onto her shift and arrived to take us into the labour ward, she promised me gas and air in there so I was keen to go as soon as possible. I had to stop midway down the corridor for a contraction to pass but it wasn’t long before we were in our own room. The lights were dimmed and we settled in, I took up my preferred position of leaning over the bed swaying my hips side to side and got back into my zone but the contractions were getting more and more powerful and I was getting more and more exhausted.

Since I was only 1cm at the last vaginal examination, I was concerned that I would be too tired to push when the time came so I asked the midwife if I could have an epidural so that I could get some rest, she thought it was a good idea and the anaesthetist was called in. I will never forget that feeling of cold that flooded my back when the epidural went in and the pain just gradually disappearing. It was heaven. The midwife wanted to do a second vaginal examination just before she left us to sleep a little bit so she could have an idea of how far along I might be, and the next thing we heard was “you will never guess what … but you are fully dilated, I can’t feel any cervix whatsoever. Let’s get pushing!” George jumped up in disbelief, and I had to muster up some energy but was excited to get this baby out!

LET’S START PUSHING …

It was strange to begin pushing with no feeling of whether I was even doing it right so I had to listen to the midwife’s instructions very carefully. With each contraction I managed 3 or 4 pushes and started learning which ones were more effective. She was so encouraging and sweet, I felt empowered as she said the head was coming down and what I was doing was working. In-between contractions George would give me water and I would close my eyes and stay in my zone as much as possible to prepare for the next one. The rest periods remained a minute long at most so I had to use that time very wisely. Every so often I would start feeling very nauseous and was actually sick quite a few times (poor George was in charge of catching it!) but I was assured that it was very normal and immediately felt better afterwards and was ready to push again.

I was pushing for just over 2 hours and things were going well, then I noticed other doctors and midwives coming into the room to check the monitor and even they were all very calm, I had watched enough birthing documentaries to know that they were concerned about something so I asked them exactly what they were looking at and they just said that the baby’s heart rate seemed to be dipping after each contraction and they were monitoring it. Even though they weren’t hugely worried because it was coming back up each time, they did want to do another vaginal examination to check the baby’s position. I was very happy for that.

CHANGE OF PLAN …

They could see that the head had turned 90 degrees and the widest part was trying to come out which was obviously not happening, and there was now also a shoulder half blocking the way. They told me that I could keep on pushing but it was unlikely to come out without some help, so the midwife tried to manually turn the head but with no luck. I did feel a little deflated because we were doing so well on our own, but at this point I just wanted to get this baby out so agreed to give forceps a go as they suggested was the best thing to do now. As they were a little concerned about the heart rate dips, they informed me that they would have to take me to theatre and prep me for a c section in case the forceps didn’t work and all of a sudden we noticed a rush of activity in our room and I had to sign a consent form while they explained what they would be doing. It sounds scary but actually I felt completely safe and trusted them entirely so could remain as calm as possible.

I was wheeled into theatre as of course I couldn’t feel my legs much from the epidural so walking was out of the question now. George was all dressed up in scrubs and was given the opportunity to put our own music on in the theatre while the anaesthetist was working at making sure I was completely numb before anything started. Again there were a lot of people in the room but they made every effort for us both to know exactly what everyone was doing which helped to keep us both relaxed, and distracted. Once everyone was happy, they instructed me to push again with the contractions so I did and they got to work on helping turn the baby’s head whilst I did so. They had to do an episiotomy to help make room for the forceps and initially I was upset at the idea of it but now we were here I was happy to do what the doctors suggested in order to get the baby out safely.

IT’S A BOY …

I pushed as hard as I could through 4 contractions and all of a sudden a baby was lifted up and over my body! It was almost as if it were in slow motion I remember it so vividly. Bright, wide open eyes staring back at me, and then George told me that we’d had a little boy. I couldn’t believe it, I had no words. He didn’t make too much noise initially but when he eventually made a tiny squeaky cry everyone seemed a little relieved. He was taken off to be cleaned and weighed just behind my bed and George went with him. I suddenly heard everyone laughing and then was told that he had wee’d over all the doctors and midwives which made me giggle. He weighed 7lbs3 and had long legs. I was given an injection to help my placenta come, but to be honest I couldn’t have cared less what was going on at this point, I couldn’t feel anything and was just staring at our baby boy who was now on my chest so I was totally oblivious as to what was going on around me.

RECOVERY WARD …

Next thing I knew, I was being wheeled into the recovery ward and that is where the three of us stayed for the next few hours. We decided that Alfie was going to be his name after testing it out a few times, he just looked like an Alfie and it felt so right all of a sudden. Our lovely midwife came with us even though her night shift was now over which was so kind, and she encouraged me to try breastfeeding as soon as I could and to my delight he latched on straight away and started feeding. After what has seemed a lifetime waiting for Alfie to arrive I just welled up watching him on my chest feeding. I was in heaven! I couldn’t feel my legs, I was exhausted but I was in absolute heaven. George and I spent two hours just staring at him, crying on and off and just falling completely in love with our little baby boy before we messaged our families to tell them our good news. That time together was really special. I stayed for one night on the postnatal ward but the next day we were allowed home.

Walking through the front door with our baby was just the best thing ever, and something we have waited so long for but he was worth every second.

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22 Responses
  1. Katie parrish

    Just so so happy for you both! This made me well up! Well deserved happiness to two wonderful people! And Alfie is sich a lucky boy too!♡

  2. Cassie

    Absolutely amazing 🥰 I’m due in 3 weeks and getting a touch nervous. By reading your experience you’ve given me a focus and can’t wait to meet our little boy too!! Alfie is absolutely gorgeous, congratulations 💕💕

  3. Ruth Waller

    Thanks so much for sharing, very similar to my story ❤️ I think as long as the little one arrives safely, us mums will go through pretty much anything to make sure that happens! So happy for you all. Xxx

  4. Philippa

    I’m so grateful for this – I’ve been following your workouts for months and am currently 41+3, facing induction and am so, so reassured to read a positive story even when all doesn’t go to plan. Thank you!

  5. Luisa

    This has made me feel quite emotional Charlie. Lovely to write it all down when it’s all so fresh in your mind.
    I’m so pleased for you guys and Alfie looks like a little charmer already. Huge congratulations! welcome to the world little man.

  6. Kate Parsons

    Well done you for adjusting and remaining calm through every chapter. I have a similar story with my first 😁 Am now expecting my second and feeling a little anxious but you’ve reminded me of ‘the zone’ and that we are amazing! Congratulations xx

  7. Bekki

    Thank you for sharing your story. My due date was today so I am trying to wait as patiently as I can for our baby to arrive! I’ve loved following your journey x

  8. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing, I’m literally in bits. 7 weeks to until our due date, and this story had made me feel less frightened about the delivery and so excited. Congratulations, enjoy this special time, Sarah x

  9. Caroline

    Congratulations Charlie, and what a wonderful birth story. Alfie is a little beauty.
    Like you I was induced with my first baby and he came super quick too from the start of induction to birth was only 7 hours! My husband had to rush back as he went home as we thought it would be hours 🙈 xx

  10. Emma Jane Fitzpatrick

    Am in floods of tears… Beautifully told. Am 36 weeks and cannot wait… It sounds weird but I feel like I know you from the online classes- those classes from you and your b&b team have been getting me through pregnancy in lockdown! So grateful and so so happy for you and your family ❤️

  11. Chanda

    I’ve been following your journey as I too was expecting with a due date at the end of September. I battled with unsuccessful fertility treatments for a year and then conceived naturally between IVFs. This pregnancy was watched very closely, but she continued to progress perfectly. Your workouts helped me feel so strong and your strength during your pregnancy empowered me. I’m so grateful for all of that because my baby decided to show up 11 weeks early at the beginning of July. Quite dramatic. She’s still in the NICU, but is a little powerhouse and is tackling her milestones like the strong woman she will grow up to be. All the positivity and love to you and your new family! 💛

  12. adele mann

    I’ve been following your journey on instagram as me and hubby are expecting with a due date of 24th September. Although I’m very prepared to go over due…my mum did with both me and my sister! We are having a little girl and just can’t wait to meet her. Thank you for sharing your birth story…so well written and positive! Alfie is gorgeous…please don’t stop with the baby spam, its just so lovely. Take care and thank you, Adele x

  13. Kirsty

    Sat here with my 8 week old baby in tears and hugging him, his birth was so similar to Alfie’s. Reading your story reminded me of those strong overwhelming feelings I had from start to end and how empowered I felt after. It’s so lovely to read such a positive story especially after such a long journey.

  14. Charlotte Layton

    At 30 weeks I needed to read that. Thank you for sharing and lots of love to you and your family x

  15. Clare

    Awwwww! Charlie I cried reading this happy tears of course. We were one week apart and even though I had a c section, you nailed it when you said you were in heaven starring at him, that’s how I felt with my girl. The lowered the screen for me to see her being pulled out and once she was on my chest and they were stitching me up I honestly didn’t care what was happening. So beautifully written. Xxx

  16. leanne

    thank you so much for sharing! i know one born e every minute makes me cry but i didn’t think reading a birth story would! its really good to have an insight into a positive but perhaps a little complicated birth story, and not to worry if things don’t go as you envisaged! well done, i know alfie is totally worth it x

  17. Pebz

    I love this. I have followed your journey for so long! I am a MW myself and have such a passion for exercise in pregnancy so following your journey was so exciting! Congratulations! He is gorgeous!