'Listen to your body, we know it better then anyone' - Guest Blog.

Who am I?

My names Hannah Armitage I’m 32 from Milton Keynes and a single mum to my 12-year-old son Jack.

I love being a mum, my son is perfect literally an angel and when I say we’re best friends I really mean it!

I have never been a ‘mumsy mum’ I’m not the most maternal person in the world, Now don’t get me wrong I adore babies and children however my first instinct isn’t to mother them it’s to connect with them, My friends with children will tell you im the fun aunty who’s out playing and rolling around with the kids, being a kid myself. 

You may have recently seen Jack and I on Channel 4's Britain's Best Parent which showed my parenting style and relationship with my son. 

But that’s not what we’re here for. I’m here to share with you all my positive birthing story. 

My Thoughts

Whenever I think of the day my son was born I have nothing but happy and positive memories, a day I will never ever forget.

Before I begin I wanted to touch on my pregnancy because the birthing story is just a section of our journey to becoming a mum! 

In September 2007 at the young age of 18, I found out I was pregnant. This was not a planned pregnancy however my son's dad and I both had good jobs, lived on our own and we were ready for the challenge of parenting our own little baby. 

The first 14 weeks of pregnancy I suffered extreme morning sickness to the point I couldn’t keep water down. I was miserable. But once the sickness stopped I had a pretty smooth ride. A few scares and worry’s but overall I found it very easy and took it all in my stride. 

Back then the standard care for pregnant women was amazing! 

I had at least one appointment a week with health visitors, midwife, doctors, growth scans. I had green papers I carried everywhere and by the end of the pregnancy they were so thick I had them in a ring binder. 

My GP surgery also had weekly anti-natal classes, breathing classes, baby first aid classes and arranged a hospital tour where I decided I wanted a water birth.

My hospital tour was around 35 weeks pregnant. I already had a basic birthing plan but my midwife said it was time to write my final birthing plan.

My birth plan wasn’t too detailed. I decided on a water birth with as many painkillers as they would give me, I consented to an epidural and also wrote I wasn’t planning to breastfeed so I would need milk for the baby. 

Everything was ready for this baby by 35/36 weeks so then it was just a case of waiting for the big day. 

Jack was due on 20th May 2008 - however, he didn’t come on that day, I wasn’t too bothered about him being late, I expected it. I just enjoyed the last days of him being in my belly, I was totally relaxed about the situation and I truly believe that’s because I was so prepared.

My Birthing story.

At 5 am on 23rd May 2008 (3 days after my due date) I woke up and went to the toilet for a wee, when I wiped I noticed my show, it literally looked like a large red bogie. I had learnt all about the show so knew exactly what it was. I had no pain, no contractions but knew this was the start so I woke my partner up and told him to not go to work. I called the hospital and was told I didn't need to go in yet, which I knew I just wanted to hear I was doing the right thing.

I went back to sleep for a couple of hours then woke up at 9am and could not get off the toilet. I still had no surges but very active bowel movements. 

By 10 am the surges started . They were about ten minutes apart so it was to soon to go to the hospital.

By 11am my surges were about 7 minutes apart. I decided even though I would probably be sent home I needed some sort of pain relief to help me so we headed to the hospital.

When we arrived we were put in a room, I was quickly examined and they monitored my baby’s heart rate for a while. The midwife told me I was barely 1cm dilated with a long way to go and I was sent home with paracetamol and told to come back when my waters had broken.

We were back home by 12.15pm and I lay on the sofa managing my contractions as best I

could. By 12.45pm I was in definitely progressing. The surges came on so quick it was causing me to feel unwell. My partner, my mum and everyone who called thought I was being dramatic Hannah.

At 1pm we had been home just 45 minutes and my surges were every 2 minutes. My mum decided to call the hospital - This phone call lasted about 10 minutes and started with the midwife advising it was to soon to come back as my waters had not broken and my notes from my examination an hour before showed I was at the very early stages. The midwife then spoke with my mum advising how to help me with the surges at home..

During that ten-minute phone call, my surges progressed even more and I was asking if I could come in , the midwife heard me and asked my mum to ask me if I could feel the baby moving, I said: “I can’t feel anything apart from surges”. (There was barely a break between them at this point)

The midwife then told my mum to bring me back.

We got in the car straight away, I was still having strong surges but when I sat in the car I felt like I couldn’t close my legs. We had not even left my estate when I felt the weirdest sensation. Like something was pushing on my vagina like I needed a wee but couldn’t go. I told my mum and she said- 'I think the baby’s coming now'

My partner put his foot down and we got to the hospital in about 6 minutes. In those 6 minutes, the urge to push got so overwhelming that I needed to take my joggers off in the car.  Staying as calm as possible we arrived to the front door of a&e, my partner ran and got a wheelchair, while my mum took the car to be parked.

Now I just want to paint a picture for you. 

I have no trousers on, legs wide open, being vocal and beginning to push a baby out, all while being wheeled through a&e waiting area, the hospital corridors and up a lift till we finally reached the labour ward. The nurse at reception was the nurse who told me to go home and was so shocked to see me, I said I felt like I was pushing but she said it’s unlikely and she needed to examine me. 

We got in a room I dived onto the bed, my midwife examined me and decided that help was needed . Two more midwives came in and I was told it was time to push, they told me I needed to stop pushing through my throat and push through my bum. In other words, I needed to shut up, I was literally the loudest woman on the ward. I did three hard pushes and the head was out! At this exact point, my mum ran in the room. She had to park the car and find the labour ward and almost missed the birth, she said she walked in and saw this beautiful head popping out of me.

About 3 minutes later Jack was born and he was perfect!

The nurse handed me a beautiful tiny baby whos wide eyes looked straight into mine, he barely cried and was just perfect. He had no blood or mess over him, he was so clean. The reason he was so clean was that he was born in the waters. My waters didn't break naturally and it was too late for them to break them for me.  I didn’t even know that could happen!

Because he was born in the waters and it looked like he may have poo'd during the birth they wanted to keep me in in case he had swallowed it. 

Straight after the birth, I was handed my baby and gave us time to bond. The midwives had my notes to write up and the other ladies to get back to. Within 30 minutes of giving birth, I was in the shower, changing into clean PJs and dressing my baby boy ..I feel it was an uncertain birth in the end but it was very quick and still a positive one.

My point of writing this blog to share with you all is because I could have easily remembered the negatives of my birthing story:

-I didn't get my planned waterbirth 

-Things did not go how I expected

-I didn't experience the sensation of my waters breaking.

-I didn't get to feel what gas and air is like

-Because it all happened so quickly there are very few photos and no videos of me in labour.

However, none of these things matter, because I have a focused on all the positives. If you are reading this an expectant mother I want to say this: The birth of your child cannot be fully planned planned but you can, prepare. Take it all in but those positive moments of labour hold on to them. Focus in all the beauty of what's happening.

Also, listen to your body, we know it better then anyone if something doesn't feel right shout about it.

If your reading this and you feel like your birthing story is not the one you planned, try and turn it into a positive one.. Focus on the good parts of your story, look at the difficult parts as your first challenges of motherhood.

Lots of love

Hannah xxx

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