Birth Stories – Isla’s Caul WaterBirth

That incredible moment...
newborn baby
Calm and contented Hypnobubba

SIAN & SCOTT welcome baby Isla Rose

We woke on Monday the 28th May, day 3 after due date. I was tired as I hadn’t slept well at all, I stressed to Scott that he must keep his phone close as I felt uneasy about him leaving for work. He reassured me that it’ll be ok, labour will probably start slowly, like period cramps and he is a phone call away!

Sure enough about an hour and a half after he left I was lying in bed at about 8am when I had a sudden wave of period like cramping and felt an odd twinge down below. I had passed some watery bloody discharge that I thought could possibly be my waters breaking! I rang Scott and said to him “I’ll just have a cuppa and see how I go”. Well I never finished that cuppa! The cramps intensified and became regular - I rang the midwife and told them what was happening and was told to come in (it’s an hour drive).  I rang Scott back and said to come home straight away, we need to go to hospital – “this feels like game on”

We found our way to the hospital and got a park not too far from the entrance. I felt instant relief once I got out of the car and stood up right; gravity is a wonderful thing! We got to the maternity ward and checked in at reception; the midwives expecting my arrival were so blasé at that point... saying things like “oh it’s your first baby, this could take a long time, we may even send you home!” As I brace myself over the counter during contractions I assure them I am not going home!! 

The midwives put me in an assessment room, I lay on the bed which was more uncomfortable than I’d imagined - the one thing I so desperately wanted to avoid during labour was being on my back. The midwife placed the CTG monitor on me to track our heart rates and contractions - my heart rate averaged about 70bpm and baby’s about 140bpm,  contractions were about 2min apart lasting about 1 min and were strong and regular!

Much to my surprise and dismay they discussed sending me home vs doing an internal exam to see how I was progressing - after again telling them that I’m not getting back in that car with these contractions, they decided to go ahead with an internal exam to check if my water had broken and if I was dilating. My waters in fact hadn’t broken yet and were still intact - it must have been a ‘show’ this morning.

I was however dilated on exam, the midwife proceeds to say ‘oh wow you are actually in active labour, we better get you into the birth suite!’ I felt like saying “OMG I told you I wasn’t going home!!!”, but instead I cried and rode the wave of another heightened and hefty contraction probably stimulated by the internal exam. Scott remained so calm as he talked me through my breathing.

We waited for the short respite between contractions and he escorted me to the birth suite. I was so relieved to be off the bed - again I felt that wonderful gravity and a bit of relief being upright. I made it to the room and I headed straight for the shower - Scott turned the double shower head on hot, just how I liked it, and directed it toward my lower back as I braced myself on the rails for the coming contraction. I remember thinking at this point - wow, I’m having a baby! He or she will be here soon!

We had planned a water birth and it would take a while to fill up the bath. Scott thoughtfully set up the room - filled the bath, placed tea light battery candles, dimmed the lights, and played music. It was beautiful. I think I was in the shower for close to an hour, my contractions were coming very hard and strong, gradually amplifying as time went on. Every now and then the midwife would silently appear and very discreetly and gently place the Doppler on my belly to check baby - still 140bpm consistently.

The bath was full, so in the respite of a contraction Scott helped me from the shower to the bath - it was quite the task and stimulated a big contraction. I lay in the bath with my arms and forehead braced against the edge, candles surrounding me, music softly playing with dim lights and rode each wave as it came. The water was warm and soothing.

Scott spoke to me softly reminding me to breathe through each contraction and sip some water in between while he massaged my lower back. I remember being very much in ‘my zone’, I didn’t speak much during the whole labour, I used all my focus and energy concentrating on one contraction at a time. I was really keen on having a drug free birth but there were definitely times when I didn’t think I could do it and the thought of gas or an epidural came to mind.

There weren’t many words exchanged between the midwife and myself the whole time; the only two times I remember speaking with her I said ‘I can’t do this anymore!’ She replied with “you’re in transition!!” and the second time I said to her again “I don’t think I can do this”, she replied with “but you ARE doing this!” - which sat strong with me; it encouraged me and pushed my determination to deliver my baby naturally and get this done! 

My waters still hadn’t broken and I remember the midwife discussing with Scott about whether to manually break them but this would mean getting out of the bath which we didn’t want. They decided that by the time they got me out of the bath and broke the waters that the baby would probably be out so let’s just continue. I am so so grateful that Scott advocated this decision for us and stuck with our birth plan.

The midwife was so fantastic at respecting our wishes for the birth; we had written some birth preferences and she actually took the time to read and consider them; sticking to them 100% where possible. She did the least intervention possible and did not disturb me whatsoever, merely just the Doppler to check baby’s heart rate from time to time between contractions- and I was so focused that I barely knew she was there. 

The contractions reached a peak and I began to feel that increasing pelvic pressure, each time feeling the need to push several times, harder and longer each time. Scott was now in the bath with me, continuing to coach my breathing and massage my aching body. The pain of labour was absolutely incredible, like no other, but I knew my baby was closer with each push.

I felt an enormous amount of pressure as baby started to crown; I could hear a bit of fuss from the midwives and Scott, there was now more than one midwife voice in the room. I heard a few clicks of a camera and then I realised that she was being delivered in the caul!  

My waters had not broken! It also meant that I was pushing not only a baby but the huge amount of fluid within the sac that the baby was in.
A baby being born in the caul is extremely rare, it happens to less than one in 80,000 births! The midwife said in her 20yrs she had never seen one and was very excited, hence why she asked if we would take a photo. 

With the last few intense pushes I felt a sudden relief as her head delivered, then shoulders, then pelvis. Scott delivered the baby as he/she entered the world in the sac, as he lifted baby up the sac gently broke away over his fingers. When baby was placed on my chest above the water he/she took a first big gasp of air...Wow!

I was sitting on Scott’s lap in the bath as I held baby in my arms; I remember feeling winded, breathless even, utterly overwhelmed with happiness, joy and so, so much love! It was the most incredible feeling I’d ever felt. This tiny little human on my chest was our beautiful baby that we created, it was a magical moment.

A few minutes had passed when the midwife looked at Scott and said “well what do you have? Boy or girl?” We were so overwhelmed that we totally forgot about the gender! was a girl!! A beautiful perfect baby girl - Isla Rose! The name suited her perfectly! She was so alert straight away, she breastfed straight away! It was amazing, she knew exactly what to do! 

Although I hadn’t had any drugs for the labour, I still felt ‘high’ and completely euphoric as I indulged in the amazing feeling of being a new mumma! We sat there together as a family, Scott, Isla Rose and I; completely smitten, relaxed and mesmerised by the moment and feeling of happiness as we start our new chapter together. 

Thank you.
Sian, Scott and Isla Rose X