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Born into a Pandemic!

Millie contacted me on Instagram when she found out she was 4-6 pregnant with her second baby and desperately looking to document her birth. We spoke again after her 12 week scan where we pencilled in a date for a cup of tea and chat around the 20 week pregnancy stage. Unfortunately nobody knew at that point what 2020 had in store for us and so the first lockdown scuppered our plans and we had to have both our nitial consulatation and our catch up chat via Facetime instead!

Millie & Martin's first child was born at 39 weeks so we were all expecting something similar to happen again. As if! 39 weeks came, as did 40 weeks! Just as we approached the 41 week mark Millie contacted me on a Saturday to say she had been having lots of period type pains (which she had been having on and off for weeks anyway) but they were seemingly more regular and is if they were hitting a 'peak' which was different to the pains before so we started to keep an eye on them and communicating more. Sunday brought more of the same, surges that were a bit stronger but still averaging 9-10 minutes apart. Monday, the contractions felt further apart but stronger so we used that as our goalpost. I had a feeling that the contractions were not going to follow a regular pattern and that we were going to have to go on intensity and the 'quality' of the contraction as opposed to the quantity and I asked Millie to let me know when the surges were intense enough that she wasn't able to talk through them/or stand upright.

Monday evening things intensified a little and Millie used her TENS machine to help her - surges moved to every 7-10 minutes and as tired and deflated as she was from not knowing what her body was doing, she soldiered on with slow walks outside, lavender and clary sage oil to rub on her pressure points, a massage from her Mum and continued to breastfeed her toddler maximising the oxytocin available as much as possible. Tuesday morning the mucus plug came away - huge hurrah from us all! That Tuesday evening at 7:46pm Millie texted me to say that the surges seemed to be every 6 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds. At 9pm Millie texted from her birth pool to say contractions were lasting a minute so I grabbed my bags and headed over! For once I had a client who wasn't over an hour away from me - 20 minutes and I was there!

I arrived about 20 minutes before the Midwife who coincidentally delivered their daughter 2 years ago! The stars had aligned as Millie was desperately hoping this would be the case an that she would be on duty that night! Millie was able to chat a little between surges but it soon became evident that she was building herself her own little bubble, retreating inside herself to be able to anchor down and labour in a way that she naturally felt comfortable with. There was a lot of deep breathing during those surges, the breath control was magnificent -hypnotherapy was kicking in - mixed in with humming and rocking in the pool and then quietly resting. We all took notice and the three of us, myself, Martin and the midwife followed suit and moved quietly around the room only as and when we needed too and only spoke when necessary.

For this reason I decided to also not use my flash for large sections of the labour. Without a doubt, the noise of the shutter in that particular silent situation, would have disturbed her. So the camera went onto silent. All that means is that there is some added grain within the image but worth it to protect and hold space for my client as she was birthing at that moment in time. Using the flash is always something that I talk to my clients about when I first see them. I tend to use it in situations where I feel I can (so more often that not!) but its always optional and I make a lot of decisions in the moment based on judgement.

Just after midnight, Millie's waters went and three minutes later after only 90 seconds of pushing, Julius roared into the world on what would have been his Great Grandads birthday!

“A strong intention, a relaxed body and an open mind are the main ingredients for an active birth."

—Janet Balaskas

Despite Millie being in labour for 4 long days, her body did so much work in that time, softening and opening, ready for Julius to be born. Despite doubting herself during that time, and doubting what her body was doing, she made great efforts to allow oxytocin to flow as freely as possible and to stay as positive as she could. Millie you were just awesome and huge congratulations to you and your gorgeous family.

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