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Relieved & Elated!

Birth Story childbirth Labour TENS TENS

Abigail enlisted a whole range of pain relief options to support her through giving birth to her beautiful baby Elijah. Read her full birth story now.

"I recently hired a TENS from tens hire, after my friend Rachelle's recommendation. I used it constantly for more than 2 days straight during early labour, and also during active labour while in the birthing room in between using water as a pain relief. I found the tens genuinely helpful, and will certainly use it for future births!

I was 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant. It was Sunday morning. Around 10 a.m. I felt some vague achy feelings in my lower tummy. I got up to use the toilet, and noticed a bloody show when I wiped. The mild achy feeling continued throughout the day, and was more noticeable when I was in a standing position. I was very comfy throughout the day, though, and visited my husband Luke at his work site, then came home around 1500 and was ravenously hungry, so ate lots of food. I wonder if my body was stocking up on energy, as it knew labour was imminent. I Started having period-like cramps at around 11 p.m. that night while lying in bed. I asked Luke to put the tens on me at 2am. The period cramps were coming every 5 mins or so and lasting around 10-20 secs. They were too uncomfortable and too frequent to really sleep in between. The tens really seemed to help, even just as a distraction from the discomfort. I kept the tens on, pressing the boost during the pains, which gave a pleasant pulsing sensation almost like a massage. 

I had some periods of dozing overnight thanks to the tens. Morning came. I slept most of day, as the period pains kind of stopped apart from tightenings at the front which happened infrequently throughout the day. 

The next day, the period cramps continued intermittently. I had to breathe through them, but they were very manageable and inconsistent. I did short walks on the street; pelvis-opening exercises from pregnancy fitness class; and bouncing on the Swiss ball to try and bring on labour. By around 6pm in the evening, the cramps began getting acutely uncomfy. I had been feeling very calm and positive, but the increased intensity made me start to feel a bit distressed, and I had a moment of crying. Luke called the on -call midwife phone, and she said we could come into the maternity unit. We arrived there at 7:30pm. I was examined by the midwife, and my waters broke all over the place during, as they had been bulging. I was only 4cm dilated, but my cervix was thin and stretchy. We were told we could go home, or settle into the birthing suite if we wanted.

We went into birthing suite. I had had the tens on almost constantly since Sunday night. I took it off for the first time since then and went into shower. The warm water was soothing.

As the contractions increased in intensity, I started to think I’d made a mistake thinking I could do it without an epidural! I started to say I didn’t think I could do this. I came out of shower and started on the gas. Thought it didn’t work, as I didn’t feel spacey/light headed like she said I would. I realised later that it definitely was taking the edge off. The midwife thought baby was slightly on a posterior angle, so suggested I lie down on the bed with one leg over the other to try and move him. I lay there, sucking on the gas for a while. Luke supported me, so I didn’t fall off. 

Luke suggested putting the tens back on me while I lay there because he thought it would help. It did. He was pressing the boost function as I had contractions. The pool was being filled while I lay down. It was rather peaceful. The room was dimly lit. I remember the sound of the running water was soothing.

When it was filled, Luke took off the tens again, helped me off the bed and into the pool. Like the shower, it was instant relief of some of the pain. 

I stayed in the pool for a while. My contractions were intense and in my tail bone. Luke pushed on my lower back and tail bone area to relieve some of the pain. I sucked on the gas as if my life depended on it! I asked Heidi, the midwife, if I could have some morphine, and how effective would it be. She said it sometimes only takes the edge off, and that it would mean I would have to come out of the pool for a VE, and have baby monitored more frequently, so I decided it wasn’t worth it. I transitioned in the pool, and my contractions slowed right down. This was a relief. I had a chance to rest. It was a peaceful atmosphere. I was in the pool, resting. The lights were dim. My mum was in the room, and she and Heidi were chatting in a relaxed way. And Luke was beside me, outside the pool. It was a very calm and positive atmosphere.

I had mentioned a couple of times that I felt like I needed to poo, but I didn’t want to leave the pool to go to the toilet. I put a finger in my vagina, and I was pleased that I could feel a soft hairy mound that was baby’s head! This was encouraging. Baby was coming closer! I pushed a couple of times in the pool, and then felt the head again. It had come down further. Heidi suggested getting out of the pool to push while standing holding onto the bed to let gravity help me. I got out of the pool, and stood holding onto the raised bed as I leant against Luke. Heidi and mum were behind me, verbally encouraging me. Mum was very positive and excited, telling me I could do it. Luke was telling me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. I pushed while standing and sometimes l squatting halfway down. I felt so tired. I just wanted it to be over. I said to Luke that all I wanted was to have something to eat and drink, have a shower and go to bed. I knew I had to get the baby out first, though! It felt like an impossible task at times. I pushed when I felt a contraction come. I could hold the baby in place after I pushed by tensing my muscles, but when I relaxed them, it went back up. This happened for a while, and I was just so desperate to have it over, that I pushed to get the head out, as I was scared that it would slip back up inside me. I pushed as hard as I could, and the head and body slipped out! I remember feeling baby’s body - warm and soft and slippery. The relief was instant. I squatted down to hold baby, as the umbilical cord wasn’t long enough to bring baby up to me while I was standing. I heard Heidi mention ‘he’, and then I looked down, and saw that baby was a boy! We had kept baby’s sex a surprise. It was such a joyful moment! I was so relieved and elated. There was so much joy in the room. We had a son! Elijah John Philip Lane 💙


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