Welcoming Anneliese Rose

Let me just start by saying Anneliese Rose was born on Wednesday 2nd of November 2016, all 9.5lbs of her, and I felt like an absolute queen. Seriously, I nailed it! More than that, I enjoyed it, it was wonderful, and I would have done it all again in a heartbeat!

A little context – the birth of my son 5 years earlier had been a rather miserable affair. For someone, who by her own admission, is a bit of a control freak (I mean find me someone who isn’t secretly!) my need to control a seemingly uncontrollably situation would inevitably be my downfall. When ‘D – Day’ eventually came (a week late) I had been violently sick for a couple of hours, the hospital told me to come in, they strapped me to a bed, hadn’t really given me much info (mind you, I hadn’t the guts to ask for it either) and left me and my husband frightened in a sterile room to ‘get on with it’. After a day of failed epidurals, being reprimanded for trying to have a drink of water and something to eat, generally just freaking out, the room started to fill up. Nice pleasant faces masking the authoritative  whispers of concern… Suddenly I had 15 mins to get my distressed little one out or off to Theatre we went! Anyway, in summary I avoided Theatre by the skin of my teeth, and spent the next 8 months despising this little bundle of love that I could not connect with, that I couldn’t fit to a schedule – that I couldn’t discuss objectives and my reasoning, for what I deemed reasonable requests. The colic and reflux teamed with the fact he appeared to not need to sleep… EVER (!) Didn’t help, and eventually I was diagnosed with PND (I digress) My point is this – it took me almost all of 4 years to get even half the nerve to discuss another baby with my husband, and when we fell pregnant almost instantly, I was excited yes, but I was utterly terrified.

My friend, having just had a baby a few months back, mentioned Keri and her course. How it had completely changed her mentality, her viewpoint on how she approached everything, and what’s more, on her ability to have the best birth possible for her and her baby.

On taking the course, I couldn’t have wished for anything more supportive, friendly and informative. True, having had one, some of the ‘process’ of childbirth my husband and I were well aware of, but what I did get from Keri was invaluable – to have the confidence to question ‘the norm’ , to voice my thoughts and concerns and to involve my husband and let him drive when necessary, working as a partnership. I felt so empowered after day one by the time we returned for day two my whole ‘plan’ had changed, I wanted to be at home, in MY home, with a pool if I could make it happen. (We already have fairy lights up on the front room!!)
I practised the breathing techniques in earnest and felt my self relax over the coming months. I’d had everything assessed and after a short course of iron I was good to go, Keri and her wonderful networking having sourced me a pool!

Everything was fine, until… a week before my guess date, I began to panic. Not about how I would handle things when the kicked off, but IF they would kick off. I was so set on a home birth, I just couldn’t relax about the possibility of being induced. A week pass my guess date, my wonderful midwife came to do her routine checks. We discussed my concerns and I’d told her I was trying to counter it by jumping on a last minute spot for Keri’s relaxation course. We chatted it through and she offered me an examination, just to see if she thought I was ‘close’ to getting going – obviously there was no guarantee but did I think it would help ease if I at least had an opinion… I decided it might do. So… turns out I was already 3 centimetres! We were both surprised (and thrilled) I hadn’t even realised!?! I floated off to relaxation knowing I would be meeting my little one very soon.

The following morning, I woke to what I hoped was my waters breaking (they hadn’t naturally broken first time!) went downstairs, and started a steady bounce on my birthing ball, this was 7am, time for my husband to get my son ready for school and put in place our plan for him, we read his school book while I bopped up and down, just starting to feel the beginnings of what I knew were to be my surges. Called my midwife as the boy went to school and she was delighted she could work her shift to be with me, we both were. Another midwife would arrive first to assess when I gave the nod, I knew we were a while off at this stage and was happy bouncing and watching telly. We turned all our fairy lights on, started my relaxation tracks and we just chatted, it was so calm, I almost forgot why we had the quiet time! Around lunchtime things had picked up some what, I was still happy but had decided a shower wouldn’t go amiss, hot water does magic doesn’t it!

As I was doing this, the midwife was called again, and she asked if the students she had with her could come. Sure – the more the merrier, I was totally in control and what was a few extra people? Especially those learning a trade to inspire and support birthing women! By the time I was out of the shower the pool had started to be filled, I was still enjoying breathing through the waves of my surges and although they were strong, I knew I was stronger! One of the other great things I got from Keri’s course was the ‘transition stage’ knowledge, knowing a wobble didn’t not mean everything was coming crashing down, but that it was actually a step towards baby, so although concerned, I knew what it was, and when I started to voice concerns  – I even heard one of the midwives tell the students the same thing! My husband had been totally empowered by the course and later I found out had heard the midwives saying my blood pressure wasn’t great and I needed to be getting more in me, and so began making me drink and eat small amounts between surges! I had decided on chewing on the gas and air tube as something to distract through my more powerful surges and it seems to be doing the trick. We were even able to have a laugh (I mean, I got hit over the head with a sick bowl by my dearly believed at one point!) and the midwives were superb, just ducking in discreetly to monitor baby and retreating once done, to leave Glen and I to our own safe space.

There came a point where I knew, for want of a better word, I was stuck. I had been pushing for a while and I knew despite my best efforts baby wasn’t moving anymore. My husband intervened, he’d heard the midwives quietly discussing they would need to get me out the pool to make an assessment shortly, and Glen had asked me if I thought I might want to do that sooner rather than later, knowing that I thought I was ‘stuck’ . I did. Out I came, and after giving permission to be examined it transpires I had essentially, another sack of water on babies head stopping her going any further. I agreed to have this broken as I wanted baby now, I was getting impatient I must admit! As soon as the now familiar woosh of liquid happened, I felt baby completely drop… as in baby was coming!

I was hurried back into the pool (well as much as a fully pregnant, birthing women can be hurried!) and began pushing with a renewed vigour – this was it!!! Focusing myself again, babies head was soon with us! I was very lucky with my support – I trusted my midwives completely, my main midwife was no nonsense but in an absolutely caring way, exactly what I needed. She had all but left us utterly alone so when I heard the ‘I need you to stand up now’ said calmly but firmly, I obeyed without any hesitation. She knew. Baby had got slightly lodged and the movement of me standing dislodged her and she was caught and handed straight to me. I sank back into the pool absolutely smitten, literally in awe of what we had both achieved!

I cannot thank you enough Keri, for inspiring and empowering me to absolutely own my birth! 💕

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