Hi, I am Lauren (or Lolly to my nearest and dearest) and we live in Buckinghamshire, somewhere between MK and Buckingham in a lovely little village. I became a mummy for the first time at 37 years. Refreshingly, I was never referred to as a geriatric mother. Apparently, the age was lifted!
My daughter, Eliza, was born on 6th August 2019 and weighed 4.175kg (that’s 9 lbs 3 oz in old money!). So, not bad for baby number one!
In March 2018, shortly before I got married in June the same year, I suffered a subanachroid brain haemorrhage out of the blue on a freezing cold day (do you remember when the Beast from the East arrived that year?). I was rushed to MK hospital before being transferred to the JR in Oxford, where I spent nearly two week. At the time I was told I couldn’t even think or talk about my wedding, let alone having children.
On day 11 my consultant came in to my room and said, ‘so tell me about your wedding.’ I knew I was out of the woods. However, the children thing still had a question mark looming over it. Then, in September that year I had my 6 month MRI and told everything was ‘occluding satisfactorily’ – medical for healing well and that, if we wanted to we could try for a baby. Obviously, we did. And on the 24th November 2018 I found out I was pregnant! Halleluja!!!
From day one, having been told by a medical professional at the time of my haemorrhage, I was advised that if I did have children then I’d need to be under consultant care and would need a c-section. At the time this was very reassuring as I had no idea whether or not my head could take all the pushing! My midwife was adamant she thought this was best. As did I, my hubby and my family.
Now, here is the interesting bit. When we eventually got round to seeing my consultant, everything was turned upside down! ’I don’t understand what you are doing here’ were her first words to me! Not ideal as you can imagine. Ultimately, they would not support me in a c-section… despite being treated for a brain haemorrhage at the same hospital only months earlier! I felt like I had been hit by a bus! To this day, I feel this consultant had no bedside manner and no compassion! What do we do now? I suppose we tried as soon as we could because we though the birth bit would be ok and that I didn’t need to worry about a natural labour and the impact that may have on my head and the life of both me and my daughter.
We got to the car and I burst into tears. I called my midwife who was wonderful and we agreed to switch hospitals to the one our surgery fell under. We went out of catchment initially because of my head!
On meeting the consultant there, we were put at ease. Yes, they would support me in which ever birth I wanted. Wait a minute, whichever birth I wanted? All of a sudden I thought, just maybe this is an opportunity rather than something to fear!
To cut a long story short, we continued to discuss options with the consultant and the consultant midwife, who answered all my questions and were so, so, so kind and supportive. And, as a result we opted for a natural birth. It took a lot of convincing my husband and family. Being a yogi and rather spiritual, I really wanted to give birth on all fours in our field, surrounded by nature. Alas, no one was willing to let that happen! Certainly not my midwife!
BUT, a natural birth at the midwife led centre was possible!
Where was your birth?
Stoke Mandeville Maternity Led Birth Center
Did you have a plan about the type of birth you wanted?
I did! Throughout my pregnancy I did hypnobirthing. I did attend some local classes but what found most helpful and empowering was Hollie de Cruz’s book – Your Baby, Your Birth. I had the book and listened to it on audible.
There were so many take home aspects in the book, from the visualisations and guided relaxations (which my husband read to me every night) to the fact I could stand up for myself if I was not happy and visual birth plans!
Having been oblivious to everything about birth when I thought I would have a c-section, I soon devoured everything. I was passionate about the birth I wanted as well as being perfectly accepting if it took a different turn on the day!
We planned essential oils, crystals, music, snacks, WATER and gas and air if needed. So many people I spoke to said that I should consider other pain management too. I did. BUT I was so determined that, if possible, I wanted to feel everything!
What type of birth did you have?
We welcomed our girl earth-side in the water! Although, it nearly did happen as the pool was too warm initially!
It was a relatively quick labour I believe. From having my show and waters going at 5pm to seeing her swim to the surface at 0.50am.
I didn’t go as smoothly as possible as I needed antibiotics due to a UTI during pregnancy but by the time we got to the birthing room my contractions were literally 90 seconds long and 3 seconds apart so getting a canula in was tricky! They did after seven attempts!
I think I slid into the water at 11pm and it felt like heaven! And, I did it all on some gas and air and the support and encouragement of my wonderful husband and two amazing midwives. Oh, and we didn’t have time to unpack the oil or crystals!
There are so many. I love recounting my birth story as you can probably tell. It is so empowering and I am filled with so much pride and love.
I adored the fact that I was in an inflatable birth pool. It felt like I was cocooned in a womb myself. I remember roaring like a lioness which I just love. I found it hilarious that there were little nuggets of poo bobbing around the pool. But, seeing my girl floating up to the surface and revealing herself to me from the water is such a wonderful memory! And then there’s the tea and buttery toast… to date the best meal of my life!
Best thing you packed in your hospital bag (or used if you were at home)?
My essential oils and crystals. Although, everything happened so quickly we didn’t get a chance to even unpack!
Anything else you would like to share?
I could go on and on and on but I may have already shared enough!