Inspiring Birth for First Time Mum in CUMH who laboured in the Birth Pool

This is a post Donna shared with me in 2015 which I am resharing again as it is so inspirational for first time Mums. 

I am so excited to share these amazing pictures of first time Mum Donna during her labour in CUMH recently. Donna and Pat attended my GentleBirth Workshop in May 2015 when she was approximately 38 weeks pregnant.

She emailed last week to say:

'Hi Mary. Our little girl Fiadh arrived last Friday. Weighing 8.5lbs. I had a natural birth and laboured at home until I was 7cm. When I got to CUMH I went straight into the birthing pool until it was time to push. After 1.5 hours of active pushing out she came. She was so bright eyed and alert. My experience was a calm one and it was all thanks to the workshop.

Thanks again from myself and Pat and baby Fiadh xx'

Labouring at home on the birth ball. It looks very cosy.

using the birth ball at home

using the birth ball at home

Donna was able to use the pool in CUMH which only took approximately 20 minutes to fill.

She found the pool really helpful and said: “The pool was amazing I felt like I was at a spa day” Donna noted that 'The midwife sat in the corner doing her paperwork and she left me too it until the baby was ready to be born. I was never so relaxed in my life.'

LABOURING IN THE BIRTH POOL IN CUMH 'I was never so relaxed in my life' - donna, gentlebirth mum

LABOURING IN THE BIRTH POOL IN CUMH 'I was never so relaxed in my life' - donna, gentlebirth mum

'I was ready to come home after I had a shower after the birth but they encouraged me to stay for 2 days which I did.'



“‘I’d do it all again tomorrow’” — Donna, GentleBirth Mum

Donna out walking 3 days post partum and in her words ' feeling great.'

Donna out walking 3 days post partum and in her words ' feeling great.'

The new arrival - fiadh

The new arrival - fiadh

Thanks so much to Donna and Pat for sharing such incredible photos of the birth of Fiadh. I think they will be very inspiring for other couples attending CUMH.


Positive GentleBirth for First Time Mum in CUMH

On 30th January I thought I was getting contractions. The pain was pretty intense on and off and I was timing them, but there was no consistency. So I was bouncing on the ball and walking around, using the TENS machine, taking paracetamol when I felt I needed it and using a heat pad on my lower back. I then thought, as the evening went on, the contractions were getting closer. I was in touch with the CUMH that day, so rang them again and filled them in. The midwife said to make my way in for a check-up. So my partner and I got all our stuff in the car and headed into CUMH after dinner. I was thinking that if I was in proper labour I probably wouldn't be able to eat dinner, but I did, so wasn't sure if it was the real thing. The pain was pretty intense, so I was hoping it was real! I noticed on my way in that the contractions were getting further apart time wise. 

Our little baby was born eyes wide open just then, at 10.30pm on 31st January. It was and has been the best feeling ever since. I am so delighted with how my labour and birth went

We went into the hospital and I was checked and the midwife confirmed I was only 1 cm dilated. She said I was only in the very early stages of pre-labour and that it would probably be best if we headed home. We were gutted! But we headed home and I had more contractions on the way home in the car - only one or two and nothing major. When we got home, we unpacked the car and went to bed. I couldn't really lie down, as the pains were really intense and I felt like I needed to go to the loo!!! I stayed up watching rubbish on Netflix. I slept a bit on the sofa and about 6 am woke my partner and asked him to get up and keep me company!! 

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He suggested running a bath for me to help ease the pain. From that point on, I had very little pain. I stopped using the TENS machine, as I felt it was a bit cumbersome to bring around the house with me. I was taking panadol as much as I needed to and found that and the heat pad on my lower back very effective. 

I had pretty intense pain on and off as the day went on, felt like I needed to go to the loo, but couldn't. About 5, or 6 I thought my waters went but I wasn't really sure. I rang CUMH, they said to make my way in when I was ready, but not to be disappointed if I was sent home again that night. So off we went again, packed up the car and headed into CUMH. I listened to my tracks on the way in and slept most of the journey from our house (which was about 40 minutes away). When we got to CUMH, I joined the queue in the ER again (second night in a row!). My partner went off to get food as we hadn't time to get dinner. I didn't feel like eating anything. When he was gone I ran out to go to the loo again twice. The third time the door into the ER was open, so I walked in there. The nurse at the desk said I should use the loo out in the hallway, but I said 'no I'm afraid I have to go here'. When I got out of the loo, I asked the midwife if someone could please check to see if I was in labour, as I was in a lot of pain and couldn't go back out into the waiting room. The midwife sent me into one of the cubicles and said she would check me out in five mins. 

The midwife came in and checked me and confirmed I was fully dilated!!!! She asked who was with me and went out to the waiting room to get my partner. He came back with her and helped me out on my shoes. She said normally they would bring people down in a stretcher, but she thought I looked like I could walk, so off we went following her downstairs to the delivery suite. There were two midwives in the room waiting for me. I walked into the delivery suite smiling and they were shocked that I was fully dilated! Oliver went out to get my bags in the car. They said they would leave us to get settled and would ask me to start pushing after about half an hour/40 mins.

I used the gas and air for contractions after that and found it a huge help. The pushing was very difficult and I was pushing for about an hour. My doctor was there and she used a little bit of suction for the very last push, but I needed a hand then as I was completely exhausted. 

Our little baby was born, eyes wide open just then, at 10:30 pm on 31st January. It was and has been the very best feeling ever since. I am so delighted with how my Labour and birth went. 

I've been promoting Gentle Birth and will continue to do so. As well as GentleBirth, I was going for regular reflexology treatments and found those to be another vital part of my pregnancy, labour and birth journey. So there you go, it only took me 8 months to update you!

Wishing you all the best and I'm happy for you to share my story.

GentleBirth in an Ambulance

After having a difficult first birth, full of interventions; episiotomy, forceps, very roughly done stitches & a very slow recovery, I was eager to have a calmer birthing experience this time around. My baby arrived at 40 + 1 but she certainly did not want to arrive calmly! 

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At about 6 am I woke feeling crampy but it wasn't unbearable so I went back to bed for about half an hour. I woke again with a pain but still wasn't sure, as the pain was very much on my front whereas my first labour mainly consisted of back pain. However, we called our sitter for our toddler as they are 30 minutes away. In the 30 mins it took them to arrived things had progressed significantly, the contractions were coming in fast. We went to the car to leave for Cumh, approx 50 mins away & by the time I got to the car I needed to push!! The pressure was unreal!! My partner was on the phone to the midwife in CUMH & they told us we had 2 options, get me into the car & get a Garda escort to Cork or call an ambulance! There was no way I could sit so he called an ambulance. A rapid response arrived approx 20mins later & the ambulance followed shortly after, they decided, with advice from Dr Jason to try take us as close to Cork as possible. 

...I definitely feel GentleBirth helped keep me grounded & calm amidst the madness

We set off in the ambulance, I was up on all fours in the back and the contractions were getting stronger & stronger. I concentrated on my breathing & the affirmations. I was given gas & air but didn't have the patience for it & the mouthpiece kept falling off, so it was just annoying. We only made it about 20minutes over the road, when we had to pull in & my little girl arrived. All of this was in the space of 3hours. It was stressful & it wasn't ideal but I never once doubted my body or my baby. 

The paramedics were amazing, they took the time to check my birth plan, most of which had to be disregarded, except the delayed cord clamping & skin-to-skin. The cord was around her neck & I had a significant bleed in the ambulance so I was so grateful they were there. My partner did skin-to-skin after she was born & while the team got my bleed under control. We headed for the hospital, I needed stitches, as I did after my first (due to episiotomy) but I definitely feel that the tear was far less painful having naturally occurred! I was very sensitive when getting the stitches & in shock, (given the speed of her birth), but the staff were so fantastic & respectful given my previous negative experience! She was weighed when we arrived at the hospital, 8 pounds 7 ounces. I was home the next day & have found the recovery a lot easier this time. While I didn't get the gentle birth I had hoped for, I definitely feel GentleBirth helped keep me grounded & calm amidst the madness.