FLORES'S BIRTH ...with thanks to Anoushka & Pali

How are you? I tried to call the other day to say a massive thanks for all your support in the run up to the birth of baby Flores (the course, the techniques and the 'live' advice near D day). We honestly could not have done it without you.

Floe's birth story keeps being described to me as 'traumatic', 'very difficult' and 'hard' but I can hand on heart say it was the most amazing, intense and positively challenging experience of my life. I'm so proud of myself, Pali and our baby for working together throughout the whole experience.

As you know my waters broke on Monday evening and we held off going into hospital (and leaving our lovely hypnobirth nest at home) to be induced until Wednesday afternoon because the GBS virus was detected and I needed antibiotics. Resisting hospital was no easy task as we were getting a lot of pressure from the midwives who were concerned about infection.

After a lot of waiting around I was given a bed on a shared labour ward. It was horrible. But Pali pulled down the blinds, stuck our love playlist on the headphones and reminded every single person who came into contact with me (and there were A LOT of different people) that we were doing hypnobirthing. I was examined and told I hadn't dilated at all despite being told by my home birth midwife that I was 2cm on Tuesday evening. So I was induced. I had no access to water (pool, shower, not even a hot water bottle for health and safety reasons !!) - we felt we were drifting further and further from our birth plan. So we really focussed on each other, the breathing, the affirmations and the light touch massage.

The surges came pretty quick and hard but at 2am I was examined again and told I still hadn't dilated. So again we refocused and really leant on our hypno techniques. I was given gas and air but it made me throw up a lot. So I went through the night of extremely strong surges on 2 paracetamol, no food and no sleep. I couldn't have done it without Pali. He was incredible.

By 9am Thursday morning the surges were so strong I asked for an epidural. Again not in our birth plan at all but my attitude at that point was 'I'm in hospital now so I might as well make use of what's available'. We were transferred to our own room (at last) which Pali quickly made our own with fairy lights, affirmations on the wall, music system set up.

My midwife was absolutely amazing, she examined me and I was 7cm! I had gone from nothing to 7cm in 7 hours on two pain killers and hypnobirthing techniques, I felt like Wonder Woman. Then the epidural kicked in which meant I could sleep for the first time in 36 hours while my body continued to surge.

By 7pm on Thursday I was 10cm and ready to bear down. We agreed to let the epidural wear off so I could connect with the urge to push. I was assured that this phase took 30 mins to 1 hour max. Four hours later she still wasn't coming out. We could see her hair but she was stuck with her face to the side. I was running out of steam. The consultant was called and I was told that I needed to get to surgery for either suction, forceps or cesarean delivery. I had been fully dilated for so long they were worried about me bleeding after the birth. So at 11.30pm on Thursday night I had my first ever experience of theatre. Pali took our sound system so our calming playlist was on throughout. After a failed attempt with the suction cup they explained that forceps were the last option before a cesarean. I was determined to birth her vaginally after the journey we'd been on. So when a surge came I pushed with every bit of energy I had.

And there she was – born at 12.03am on 5th June. On my chest covered in vernix, looking like an old Peruvian man.

We stayed in hospital until Sunday so she and I could be observed and looked after. Again Pali put the fairy lights up and we had our birth playlists on the whole time. It was surprisingly enjoyable being cared for at hospital and our little zone made it even more pleasant.

So thank you, thank you, thank you.