We asked one of our lovely new mums, Kimberley some questions about her labour. Here's some of her advice for a positive, prepared labour.
What techniques, tools and people helped you during labour?
A: I had a bag of tricks at the ready after reading JuJu Sundin's book called 'Birth Skills'. I didn't end up needing many of them since my labour was so quick, but what I found helpful was my husband distracting me by counting, a heat pack on my shoulders, walking/stomping around the house, squeezing a stress ball, and listening to this calming music over and over again.
What did you particularly like about the TENS?
A: Ease of use and that it helped to be a distraction, and that I could move around with it. It didn't completely get rid of the pain, but it helped me to cope better. My waters broke at 7.20pm and shortly after I started using the TENS machine. It was fairly simple to use and was a good distraction. I held off on using the more powerful modes as I wanted to save them until the contractions were at their worst. But, I never needed them in the end, as my baby was born at 12.27am!
Did you give birth at home, hospital or a birthing centre? What helped in your environment?
A: Almost at home, but just made it to the maternity unit in time! At home I felt relaxed and safe and didn't have to worry about anything or anyone. It was just me and my husband.
At the maternity unit, I felt well looked after by the midwives and they said encouraging things as I pushed.
Would you have done anything differently for your labour?
A: No, I don't think so. It went as well as it probably could have.
I do wish my midwife could have been there for the birth, but sadly she was helping with another emergency birth at the time! She did arrive afterwards to do the paperwork, which I found really comforting since we built a nice bond over my pregnancy.
Any other general advice for new mums heading into labour?
A: Be prepared with lots of tools at your disposal, as you don't know what you'll like when in the moment. I thought I would want to bounce on my Swiss ball, but turns out I hated that! I also was imagining a water birth at the maternity unit, but the bath didn't fill up fast enough for me to be able to use it.
I just let my body do what it wanted to do, and was amazed by the progress I made. I think it helped to try and stay calm and upright as much as possible (use gravity!).
Also, not sure if it actually helped to spark labour, but the day my waters broke I had done an hour of aquajogging and eaten some dates!
Did anything surprise you about your labour?
A: That it was so fast, and that it started with my waters breaking.
What/who were you grateful for?
A: My lovely husband, who has been super supportive both during labour and after. And that I had an uncomplicated fast first birth which gave me a beautiful healthy baby daughter.
Also, I am grateful for my wonderful midwife and the midwifery system that we have in NZ, which allows continuity of care and provides a lot of support to expecting mums (and also postpartum).
Thank you so much for sharing Kimberley.