Real births: Helen enlists help of a doula to support her during second birth

After having a long labour with her first child, Helen decided to she wanted more support when she gave birth to her second child

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Helen’s first labour was long and drawn out, with some complications, and she felt having a doula was a great way for her to get the birth experience she really wanted.

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Here’s Helen’s story in her own words:

Acupressure and reflexology for contractions

“I was ten days overdue, fed up and bored. As my first baby had been eleven days late I wasn’t expecting an on time delivery with baby number two but had hoped she would be here by now. My lovely doula came over to give me some reflexology, which was very relaxing and must have had some effect because my contractions started at around 7pm. I sent my husband to bed at 11pm but knew I wouldn’t sleep. Contractions continued all night – between 5 and 8 minutes apart.

“By 5am I was tired and fed up so called my doula and asked her to come and keep me company (I wanted my husband to get a good night’s sleep as it was likely to be his last for a while!). She came over and kept me going with tea and calming chat. I woke my husband at about 7.30am so that he could take our 3 year old daughter to nursery.  

“When he came back at 8.30am the contractions had slowed to about 10 minutes apart, so frustrating! The doula went off to do some shopping and we set off for a walk (we kept bumping into friends and pretending nothing was happening!). When we got home I had more reflexology and acupressure from my doula, which really helped and the contractions started ramping up. By 3pm I’d been having 3 contractions in 10 minutes (of about 1.5 minutes each) for over an hour so we decided to go to the hospital – only to be sent home as I was only 2cm.”

Just enough time for a quick dip in the birthing pool

“So, back home for more acupressure and walking. A friend picked our little girl up from nursery and I hid in another room as I didn’t want her to see me in labour. I said goodnight to her though and as she went to bed we decided to go back to hospital.  It was now around 7pm.

“This time they declared me 4cm dilated, hurrah. And the birthing pool was free, double hurrah! We were shown to a delivery room while the pool was cleaned and I spent an hour or so bouncing on a ball.

“I finally got into the pool at about 8.30pm. Bliss! Contractions were strong and coming every 2 minutes but the water really helped, as did my hypno-birthing breathing.  I felt really calm and in control.”

“The midwife yelled ‘get the gloves’ and my baby shot out in one push”

“I felt as though I needed to push but just went with it, even though it felt way too soon.  At about 9pm I decided I could do with some gas & air as I was getting tired and wasn’t sure how much longer it would take.  There was a midwife shift change at 9:15pm and the new midwife insisted I get out of the pool for a wee. I wasn’t sure this was a good idea but did as I was told. As I sat on the loo I felt the baby moving down very fast. The midwife yelled ‘get the gloves’ and my baby shot out in one push.

“The midwife just managed to catch her! Rosa was born with lots of hair and weighed in at 7lb 7oz. We stayed in hospital overnight but were discharged the next morning.

“Rosa is now one and her first year has gone so fast.  She is very smiley and chilled out, and still has loads of hair!”

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