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Hi Nerissa,

Its Carla from your Thursday summer class, I know its taken a long time but here is my birth story finally!! Oliver is 2 months old now and an absolute joy! I had a fantastic birth no doubt to all the breathing and position techniques learnt in your class. I would be happy for you to put my story on your site as i want others to know that birth doesnt have to be scary and you can stay in control, the breathing really does work!

Ok, here goes....

I was due on the 10th July but by the the 15th there was still no sign of him so i decided to go to town with my partner Phil. All was well apart from the fact that i felt like i was 'wetting' myself and needed numerous trips to the toilet. I knew I couldnt possibly be wetting myself that much so decided that if it carried on through the night i would go to the hospital in the morning and get checked out as it may be my waters that i was losing. Well it did continue so the friday morning i went in to LGH and was told that my cervix was closed and i didnt appear to be losing any water so i was probably wetting myself (i knew this wasnt true but what could i say!) and i was sent home.

I was due for a sweep the next day so decided to wait till the midwife came round and would ask her to check me again if the 'leaking' continued. I had had a niggly back ache all morning and by the the Friday afternoon, after being sent home, it was getting ever so slightly worse and felt like it was coming in waves. Instead of making a fuss and assuming it was anything, i just carried on as normal and even walked to my friends house with a hot water bottle in the back of my trousers to take the edge off the dull aches!

By the Friday evening i was convinced that these 'dull aches' in my back may be contractions so we decided to call the hospital and ask for advice. They told my partner that we should aim to go in when they were every 5 mins, 4 mins if i could stand it and they were lasting for more than a minute, when the pain was taking my breath away and i couldnt talk. Mine had no pattern whatsoever and i was happily chatting and breathing through them so we decided to just wait and chill at home. My mum came over as well to keep us company. I went to bed that night with a hot water bottle firmly down my trousers!! I got about 3 hours sleep as these pains were waking me every 20 mins, i just blew through them and dozed back off.

By Saturday morning the pains were becoming more intense and i was finding it harder to get comfortable in any position. I just walked and swayed through the pain shaking my hands vigorously ( i dont know why but it definitely helped!). The midwife called to cancel her apointment that morning (!) and i told her that i thought i was in labour so she agreed to call back at lunch and see how i was doing as my contractions were still erractic. In the meantime, as i was happy to chat and deal with my contractions with my breath, my mum and partner just chilled and watched tv! As it got to late morning the pains were getting more intense and harder to cope with. My mum told me that they would get worse as my contractions were still erractic and far apart. She told me to expect the pain to get get far far worse (thanks mum!!) as this was just the start. By midday i was slowly starting to struggle with the pain and wanted to go to hospital but was terrified of being told i wasnt far gone enough and get sent home. I held on as long as i could and when the midwife rang back she told us to go in as the LGH was quiet.

I had 4 really painful contractions when i got to the hospital and whilst i was in the loo the midwife told Phil it didnt look like i'd be kept in as my contractions werent regular! When he shared this news with me i swore i'd lay on the floor in the hospital and refuse to leave as it was getting too painful!! Luckily when i was examined the midwife was shocked to see loads of hair and invited my partner to look! I knew this would mean i was going to stay in and i relaxed! She was then shocked to find that i was 7/8cm dilated and asked my shocked partner if i had a high pain threshold. I was just using my breath!!

I continued to use my breath and gas and air as i was made to lie on my back whilst they monitored Oli's heartbeat, as the pain as all in my back this was torture but as soon as i was taken off the monitor i got on my knees and leant over the back of the bed, it was great!! I mooed, grunted, hummed and growled through the contractions and continued to breathe and was cracking jokes with the midwife! When my mum arrived she quickly apologised saying that she hadnt realised how much pain i was in as i was coping so well. I was then asked if i wanted to go in the birthing pool. Getting in the pool was such a relief for my back and was fantastic!! However, i relaxed so much that my contractions slowed right down and pretty much stopped and after an hour and a half of pushing i was made to get out. They also took the gas and air off of me so i could focus.

Back in the room i was offered 2 options by the midwife, empty my bladder to see if that was blocking the babies path or give me drugs to make contractions stronger and longer. I was happy with either of these but then the doctor came in who offered me 3 further options as she wasnt happy the baby wasnt moving further down, forceps, ventouse or an episiotomy. At this point i freaked as an episiotomy is my worst nightmare. I decided there and then that i was going to have my baby without any intervention. With my next contraction i took a deep breath and pushed and felt him move down. As soon as he started to crown i just blew hot soup like i'd never blown before!! I just blew and blew until Oliver James arrived at 8.39pm weighing 8lb 5ozs. I needed 5 stitches and after having a shower was sent home 2 hours after his delivery.

We quickly adapted to family life and Oli is thriving, losing only an ounce in the first week but gaining 10oz the week after, not bad for a breast fed baby!! My first birth was everything i could've wanted and more all down to the breathing skills i learnt in the yoga class. I would advise any pregnant woman to attend prenatal yoga as i really does help and i truly believe that i got to 7cm without much stress due to my breathing.

Thank you Nerissa, you will be seeing me again for the next one!!

Love Carla, Phil and Oliver.