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Calmbirthing expert Amy shares about her two births using a TENS

Lovely Amy is a Calmbirth Childbirth Instructor and two time Bliss Birth customer and has shared how the TENS transformed her birth experience;

Babe #1

At 40+2 weeks pregnant, at midnight I got up to go to the toilet and had a strong contraction, so instead of going back to bed, I sat up for half an hour and had a few more contractions and they were starting to now have some bite. I decided to move to the lounge room, popped my labour playlist on, lit some candles and sat on my fit ball moving side to side and rested with my eyes closed down. I was excited at the prospect of spontaneous labour starting, but knew I needed to be restful and calm. A few hours passed and the milder contractions became more regular, longer in duration and stronger so I decided to wake my husband to help me put on my Bliss Birth TENS machine on… the relief was immediate. I offered my husband to go back to bed thinking this is early labour and the possibly the beginning of a long day ahead, however he opted to get up seeing that I was working harder then I considered myself to have been. My dear friend who is a midwife came to our home around 6am, when she walked in I bursted into tears of happiness that I was in spontaneous labour and that this was happening! This was a huge surge of oxytocin as she gave me the most amazing squeeze in a cuddle and told me I can and I am doing this!

I spent most of my labour in the kitchen, staying upright, using the bench to lean into, supporting and grounding me as I moved, stepping side to side and remaining mobile.

When we felt the time felt right we began our 45 minute drive into the hospital, my TENS machine kept me focused and calm for the car ride. My husband drove with my friend sitting in the passenger seat and with me in the back. I remember them talking about everyday things like the weather, nearly ignoring me in the back, this was so nice as it kept my husband calm and me slightly distracted but also left to my own devices. As soon as we arrived, my contractions intensified, coming every 2 minutes by the time we got up to the birthing suite. The Bliss Birth TENS machine was my best friend, I loved the control it gave me and the boost button providing that additional hit of relief allowing me to continue focusing on my breathing techniques I had learnt at my Calmbirth course. On arriving at the birth centre, I made my way straight into the shower however, I first had to be convinced that my TENS would be ready and waiting if and when I got out. Not long after getting into the shower, I was beginning to have the urge to push at the height of a contraction, this built up to be an innate urge to bear down. I decided to move from the shower, demanding the TENS machine be ready as soon as I was dry. The urges continued to build until it was time to completely surrender to the uncontrollable bearing down. I intuitively changed positions in my pushing phase of labour from being upright – standing, to all fours and finally after not long pushing, birthing my daughter on the bed lying on my side. My baby was placed immediately onto my chest and we spent the next few hours skin to skin, breastfeeding and starting our journey as a mother and daughter, and becoming a family with my husband.

 

Babe # 2

I was 41+2 weeks pregnant attending my last pregnancy appointment after being in early labour for most of the night before. After the appointment, my husband and I decided to go for a big walk and to get some lunch. During my walk back to the car, I experienced a warm gush of vaginal discharge, it felt like I had broken my waters. I re-attended to the hospital for confirmation of my waters breaking and consented to fetal heart monitoring on our baby before being discharged home. With discussions of induction of labour booked for early the next day, I was keen to get home, rest and hopefully get myself into labour with oxytocin promoting activities. We arrived home at 6.30pm, I went straight into the shower, lights dimmed with my labour music playlist on. I expressed colostrum which I had been doing since 36 weeks pregnant and stayed in the shower until the hot water ran cold. Within an hour of returning home, my irregular contractions were becoming regular, long and strong. I had my husband apply my Bliss Birth TENS machine and contacted my same midwife friend (who we unfortunately could not have at the birth due to COVID-19 hospital restrictions) but we had discussed that I would call her in labour for support. We spoke on the phone, mostly chatting about our day, her keeping me distracted in between contractions. During this call, my contraction pattern became more established and soon after the time felt right to head into hospital. Again, I loved using the Bliss Birth TENS machine, giving me a huge sense of control starting and stopping the pulsations with each contraction and using the additional function for the duration of the contraction. My dear friend remained on the phone for our 45-minute car ride to the hospital, providing calm and support to my husband whilst he drove. Soon after arriving at the birthing centre, I was experiencing the sensation of pushing at the peak of a contraction, and after a few contractions I was offered a vaginal examination by my Obstetrician which I consented too - I was 9cm dilated with bulging forewaters. I was offered to have my waters broken at this time, I declined as I wanted as little intervention as possible. Instead, I opted for a position change from standing beside the bed to getting on all fours position, draping my upper body over the top of the bed. Two contractions later, my forewaters broke and the urge to bear down grew stronger until it became overwhelming. I went with what I knew worked with my first labour and birth,  changing positions and getting onto my left side again for birthing. After the birth of my baby’s head, my Obstetrician encouraged me to bring both my hands down (I’ll be honest, I was a little confused) however trusting the words and relationship of a supportive caregiver, I leant forward and my hands naturally cupped underneath my baby’s underarms where I lifted her onto my chest myself. This was the most magical and empowering experience. I am truly grateful for this moment in my life. My second beautiful daughter was born at 11.59pm, a healthy 4.1kg, a full kilogram heavier than her older sister!

 

I had two transformative and empowering labour and birthing experiences, both supported with only the use of the Bliss Birth TENS machine and an amazing holding circle of support including my husband, friend and Obstetrician.

I am a Nurse, Midwife, Maternal and Child Health Nurse and IBCLC Lactation Consultant. I am now a Calmbirth Childbirth Educator providing empowering and evidence-based courses in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Please contact me at calmbirthwithamy@gmail.com for further information or send me a DM @calmbirthwithamy