Anna’s Birth Centre Story
Hi I’m Anna a student midwife and mum of 3.
The evening of the 25th August 2020, I was 38 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby and we had decided to visit a local Indian restaurant and enjoy a meal together. Just as we finished eating our meal I noticed a little pop sensation.
I turned to Rob and said I think my waters may have just popped, and then a second later I felt the warmth of the amniotic fluid in between my legs. I turned to Rob and said they definitely have gone and as I stood up a gush of fluid poured onto the floor.
At this point I wasn’t having contractions as such but I thought there were irregular Braxton hicks, not painful and nothing of concern. I rang my Midwife Angela who was my midwife from booking and luckily she was going to be on shift, this was lucky as it was her last shift before she was going on annual leave. I was very lucky to be given continuity of care throughout my whole pregnancy, and not once did I see another midwife for my antenatal appointments. This is something I loved and valued during my pregnancy, the continuity of care and seeing the same midwife throughout.
The staff in the restaurant were in as much shock as we were that my waters had broken, as I walked from my table upstairs to the exit my waters were gushing out and mine certainly was not a little trickle. The liquor was clear I wasn’t concerned, so I went home to get changed and collected my hospital bag and we made our way to Ingleside stand-alone Birthing unit in Salford to be assessed.
As we arrived, we were greeted by my lovely midwife Angela and taken into lavender birthing room, I was assessed and I was 3 to 4cms dilated, and I said I will go home use my pool at home to relax in and when things start happening i will return to the Birth centre in a few hours as we live local.
Once we got home my contractions started coming every 2 to 3 minutes and I was breathing through them, for about 25 mins then they were every 2 mins lasting a minute and i was unable to speak through them at this point. I was relaxed and totally focused just breathing with each contraction, but I said to Rob and my mum we need to go back to the birth centre so off we went.
We had only been back home about 30mins or so, I rang Angela to tell her we were returning as my contractions were every 2 minutes lasting a full minute and stronger than ever. So, Angela started to run the birthing pool for our return.
As I returned, I was greeted again by my midwife and maternity assistant Alice and taken back into Lavender. The birthing centre is so peaceful and relaxing and I felt so relaxed every time I was there. I had all my antenatal care here and my scans.
The pool was running, the lights were nice, and dim and I was feeling a sense of calm and tranquillity.
Then I was re assessed with consent and I was 6cms, ( 40 mins ago I was 3-4cms) so I was progressing and quick it seemed.
Then as I stood up I remember a strong contraction so I put my arms around Rob and instantly it felt like the pain was less. He was a perfect birthing partner, he always keeps everything so calm and relaxed, but I love labour it is honestly something I have never feared. I believe my mindset of believing in myself as a woman that we are born and designed to be able to grow and birth babies helps me so much.
I quickly got into the birthing pool and it just felt so relaxing and nice, the warm comforting soothing feeling of the water during labour is something I will always remember. I was kneeling over the side of the pool, with my head on rob as he was sat facing me but on the outside of the pool. He poured water on my back, and there was lots of oxytocin flowing in the room.
I think I had a few more strong contractions and I could feel myself bearing down, then I had an instant moment to not do anything and at this point I could feel my babys head coming, so I had a few nice pushes and her head was born.
I didn’t want any pain relief, I wanted to try and do it with nothing other than water and my mindset, I had been reading all about hypnobirthing and read a hypnobirthing book which was useful, and I did it all with no pain relief
At this point I turned over in the water so I could see our baby be born and I wanted to bring her up onto my chest myself. It was a magical moment; my baby’s head was born and I was able to see this then the next thing I felt was her shoulders turning and then she was born into the water with a few more pushes. She came into the world in water gripping onto her umbilical cord.
That moment we will cherish forever, our beautiful daughter was born, 40 minutes after our arrival to the birth centre.
My midwife was brilliant, hands off most of the time she let me focus on what my body was doing. As soon as our daughter was born I instantly picked her up onto my chest and began skin to skin whilst still in the pool.
We also opted for delayed cord clamping and we had around 20 minutes of delayed cord clamping, I had read all the research and evidence around the benefits it has for baby and we were able to get the full amount of time.
I even delivered the placenta in the pool with my baby still in my arms. My blood loss was minimal, and I had the most amazing birth.
Then I handed baby to her dad for more skin to skin when I got out the pool to be assesed to see if any suturing was needed, but I had no tears, no grazes nothing. I commenced back to skin to skin with my baby and then I began breastfeeding. we was feeding for over an hour undisturbed.
The atmosphere on Ingleside is so calm and relaxing and the rooms are all so beautiful, they also had a big screen on my room with relaxing waterfalls which was playing in the background.
This was my 3rd labour and my shortest, my last was a forceps delivery after a very long tiring labour, but I was determined to not let my experience hinder this one.
During my pregnancy we used spinning babies techniques to help with optimal fetal positioning and I really believe this helped us during labour.
My experience this time was everything I had dreamed and hoped for, from continuity of midwife, my low risk pregnancy, my partner, my choice of birthing centre as it was a stand-alone unit, my labour and delivery and use of the pool, the overnight postnatal stay and discharge home. Everything I wanted apart from obviously having restrictions due to covid, but in August 2020 things were beginning to ease off a little and some normality resumed in some way.
Why I chose to birth on a freestanding birthing centre?
I had worked on one for around 7 years as a maternity assistant and I had read research on the safety of giving birth on a free-standing unit. The evidence I had researched and witnessed in working on one, had shown me and taught me that women can do it if they believe in their bodies.
Plus, I have confidence in midwives who care for women and deliver babies safely into the world every day. Yes, I knew there maybe risks but I had the confidence in myself and my choices to give birth this way even with a previous failed water birth and a transfer to a central delivery obstetric unit, I was going to try anyway.
I would choose a home birth or birthing centre again if I was to have another child without hesistation. It ensured me and Rob had the most perfect experience this time and allowed us to bring our daughter calmly and safely into the world and we will forever be grateful to the wonderful staff at Bolton royal hospital and especially my super midwife Angela Walters.
Tilly-Anne Maas born August 2020 at 23.21 38 weeks weighing a healthy 7lb 13oz
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