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A positive birth story; Ashleigh

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A positive birth story; Ashleigh

Ashleigh Waggott and Abigail


Another fairly straight forward pregnancy with my second baby, this time we didn’t know the gender.  From early on they were concerned that we might have a small baby, as Philip had been a low birth weight and they then detected low PAPP-A hormone.

That meant I then fell into the ‘high risk’ category, meaning growth scans and regular midwife appointments to have my blood pressure checked. This also meant that they would highly recommend I be induced, meaning I felt that I had the chance to go into labor spontaneously, taken away from me. It also meant I was less likely to have the birth pool again, although there was a chance this time if I only had the pessary.

I left work earlier than intended, after having some pain and discomfort one day. The midwife suggested this was muscular but I realised I was exhausted and whilst I had planned to go off at 37 weeks, this meant I was going a few weeks earlier, and so had more time to prepare.

This time around, as well as attending the same pre-natal yoga, I read Hollie De Cruz’s book, Your Baby, Your Birth. I downloaded the daily affirmations and relaxation tracks. I wrote out my own affirmations on the back of two postcards that had relaxing images on them, and included these in my hospital bag. I also took a good supply of chamomile tea, a lavender pillow lots of chocolate to help get the happy hormones flowing and make myself feel relaxed.

My induction was booked for 40 weeks and my husband took some holiday time from work so we had a bit of time to prepare together as well. Here is my labor story:

  • On the morning of 06/03/20, I was lying in bed and started to worry that I couldn’t feel the baby moving. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, so we dropped my son off at nursery and headed to the maternity unit. They attached me to the monitor and were quite happy with the movement and heartbeat, however, because I had been in more than once for reduced movement, they asked if I could have a scan that afternoon, just to check the growth and make sure baby was happy. We were OK with this, and went home to do a few jobs, and check our hospital bag list, just in case.
  • The scan was fine, but baby had fallen off its growth curve from 25th percentile to 10th percentile. After a few health checks, the midwife had a chat with my consultant and she advised that they wanted to bring the induction forward to the following day. This was a bit of a shock and I got a little upset, but we agreed to do it.
  • The next day, after a busy morning, we went to the hospital for 2.30pm. Similar to last time they did the health checks, then gave me my first pessary. I spent the rest of the day bouncing on a birth a ball and going for walks with my husband.
  • 6 hours later, I hadn’t made any progress so they gave me another pessary and I continued as I had, and then went to bed to try and rest. Another 6 hours passed, and I hadn’t progressed at all, so I then had to wait 18 hours before they could do the next one. The following day involved a lot of crying from me, as well as bouncing on the ball and more walking. It was very frustrating, and I felt scared at the unknown. I like to have a plan in place, and I was trying very hard to remain calm.
  • Once the 18 hours were up, they gave me another pessary. Each check was getting more and more uncomfortable, but the midwife was quite confident at this point that they would be able to break my waters in 6 hours’ time.
  • Just after midnight, they took me along for check and sure enough, I made just a tiny bit of progress, enough that they could get in to break my waters. I called my husband and just after he got there, they broke them. My contractions started almost instantly.
  • My midwife had me on the monitor for the whole of my labour, because the baby’s heartbeat was dropping with each contraction. She put me on a saline drip.  My sister was present again as my second birth partner.
  • We played smooth radio, and the midwife dimmed the lights to make the room peaceful. Even though I was on the bed, I managed to relax between my contractions and went a couple of hours without any gas and air. I even started to doze at one point, while I thought of my happy place – Strawberry Fields in Central Park – and my son, toddling about in the woods near our home. They came stronger and faster in no time at all.
  • The midwife encouraged me stand for a bit, but she still couldn’t get a good reading on the heartbeat, so instead put the clip on the baby’s head. I stood again, but I could feel my body started to push and I let it do its work. I could feel the clip, it felt as though it was starting to come out.
  • The midwife did a quick check of me, then went off to update her notes. I wasn’t there for long before I had a very strong surge, and started to say that I couldn’t handle it anymore. Then I got the sudden urge to push and told my husband that I needed the midwife to come back, because the baby was coming. She came back in, a knowing smile on her face and told me she hadn’t thought it would be long. She was so encouraging when I felt like I was going to give up, and although she needed me to stay on my back, because of the heartbeat dropping, she didn’t put me in stirrups and she didn’t make me hold my breath to push.  I did force my pushing a bit, but I tried so hard to breathe through my pushes and surges.
  • At 6am, the baby came out, and even though it felt like I was tearing in half, it was also the calmest experience of my life. They told me to look down, and they held my baby girl up in front of me, and I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. A beautiful 6lb5 girl. They went along with our wishes to leave the cord attached for as long as possible, but this placenta also split, so I then had to give birth to it. I had very similar tearing with Abigail as I did with Philip.

Again, this birth didn’t go to plan in the sense that I didn’t go into labor spontaneously, and I couldn’t have the pool. It was an even quicker labor, and it was so calm and peaceful. I felt so grateful to my midwife who seemed to really understand my need to use hypnobirthing, and to my husband and sister for providing soft touches and reading my birth affirmations.


I feel that both of labours were amazing, my second one being closer to my birth plan (although I did have a large haemorrhage after Abigail was born, and at that point, I lost my hypnobirthing techniques!  But I think I was so exhausted after a weekend of a pessary, vaginal exams, little rest, and then labour and I feel so happy when I think of them.


I really hope my story can help in some way, I know they aren’t particularly different or exciting, but they are important to me. The birth of my first baby and Abigail are two of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in my life.


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