Yu Chen's story

The care we have enjoyed from Andy and Viv of Maya Midwives has been great before, during and after the birth our second child, Ethan.  Laura woke me up at 3.45 am on 10 Jan and told me the contractions were getting "there".  We called Andy at 4.45 am to ask her to come to our house.  We both had a good breakfast in order to be prepared for the events of the day.  As soon as she arrived, Andy was in control in a very nice, gentle way.  She put the Tens machine on Laura and gently guided her through her surges which she controlled in a hypnobirthing fashion.

Laura was very afraid that the baby was OP again as her back was aching the same way it had ached during labour with our first child.  Andy’s suggestion was to do some Rebozo on Laura, which is a technique involving a scarf placed around the belly that was used by South American tribes long ago.  This seemed to help as Laura's backache subsided, and her surges began to be felt more in the front of her belly. Laura was also encouraged to wiggle her hips while leaning forwards to move the baby into a more optimal position. At 7:00 am Andy did the first examination, and by this time Laura was a good 2cm and the cervix was thinning nicely at approximately 50% effaced.  As the contractions increased in intesity over the next couple of hours, we decided to do another examination at 9:00 am, and at this time she was a good 3cm.  We decided to call UCH about our arrival.  However, UCH told us that we would have to have to check in first at triage to get an examination.  This was not the reply we were expecting.  Andy advised us that if we really wanted to go to the hospital, she would negotiate us in or we could wait a little longer at home as the atmosphere was so nice.  We decided to run the bath for Laura and to get the gas & air out of the car for her, which was really helpful.  Finally at 10.30 am we were ready to go. We loaded the car and headed off to UCH with our private can of gas & air for Laura.

At 11.00 am I dropped off Laura and Andy at the hospital. When I arrived at the triage department, the room was full of people and by the look on Laura's face - the situation was not living up to what we had written in our birth plan.  Andy managed to convince the staff that we were not about to wait in a full waiting room, and got us into a private room asap. The situation was explained to the head midwife, Bec, who was adamant that we should be sent directly to the birth centre or labour ward. She agreed that Laura did not need another examination at this time. Actually both Laura and I were fully aware that we had the right to refuse the examination (thanks to valuable advice from Andy).  Bec phoned the birthing centre for us and was told that there wasn’t any space available. Only one room on the ward was free, and with the guidance of Andy we decided quickly to take that room until a pool room at the Birthing Centre became available.  Bec secured another canister of Entenox for Laura and transferred her to the ward in a wheelchair, as it was getting impossible for her to walk. It was now 11.30 am.  All the while Laura's contractions were becoming stronger and with that Laura's need just to have a comfortable place to settle in.  Once in the room, we decided to give Laura a perpetual shower.  At 12:00 pm part of Laura's water broke in the shower.  She began to doubt whether she could continue with a natural birth and contemplated an epidural as we seemed to be staying on the ward. Andy reminded her that this was not really what she had wished for and encouraged her that she could do it! As we were nearing 1:00 pm our next examination was approaching.  Luckily at about this time, we received the news from the head midwife that a room with a pool was free in the birth centre.  Again we packed up, put Laura in a wheel chair and made our way to the 3rd floor, the Birthing Centre.  We settled down in the beautiful room with a large white bath/pool in the middle and a large ensuite.  At 1.30 pm our midwife Rose examined Laura and hurray she was a good 6cm. Rose immediately started to fill up the pool.  All the time Laura had such an amazing calm, almost tranquil look on her face as she dealt with each surge with her eyes closed.

The moment Laura stepped into the pool we heard her give a big sigh of relief. I really didn't know how long she was going to be in the pool for, but both Andy and Rose were pretty confident that the baby would arrive before dark.  We normally complain about how early the darkness sets in in England in the winter - but not today....at least not us.  Laura alternately squeezed our hands as the surges came and went and Rose and Andy encouraged her to take long breaths as she worked through them. As the surges got longer and stronger we all thought it would be good for me to put counter pressure on Laura back approximately where her dimples are. Laura urged me to push as hard as I could and moved my fingers into the exact position, which Andy later called the ‘baby ejection points’.

After a serious of strong, almost continuous surges, all of a sudden Laura switched her position from being more on her side to on her knees.  She later told us that she had experienced an uncontrollable urge to push and remembered that she was less likely to tear if she were on her knees. At the same time as she responded to the urge to push, she felt that if she had pushed at full force, her skin would have torn, so she breathed through the urge and with the next urge to push, at 3.45 pm, managed to get the baby half-way out. I told the ladies that I saw something coming.  Before I knew it, Rose had positioned a mirror in the water and I heard myself saying, "I see his full face"!  After two more big surges that Laura breathed through in the same way, at 3.46 pm the ladies saw a bottom floating up and before I knew it, Laura was holding our beautiful baby in her arms.  Because this was a water birth the baby didn't wake up straight away as he actually didn’t notice much difference between the womb and the water in the pool.  After some drying and wiping the baby started to wake UP.  We waited till the cord stopped pulsing. I had the opportunity to cut the cord between the mother and the baby, my baby.

Yuchen Chan

Proud second time papa, London 2013

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