Aaliyah tells us her story

Aaliyah gave birth to baby Sanaa on 29 May at the Bronte Birth Centre at Dewsbury and District Hospital.  

Aaliyah with baby sanaa and midwife Kaitlin

Previous birth experiences 

I have a little boy (aged 2) that I had a water birth at Pinderfields Hospital birth centre in the birthing pool. I was really lucky to have a really straightforward birth and had a lovely experience.

Pregnancy

I took part in antenatal aerobics and swimming and found this helped me so much. I wanted to keep active and also get ‘labour ready’. Throughout my pregnancy I did a lot of walking to keep fit, it definitely helped having a 2 year old to run after.

When I had my little boy all my pregnancy notes were handed to me in a folder. This time however, I was made aware that everything would be done online through Badgernet. This was so beneficial because it meant not worrying about having to carry lots of notes around and having a chunky folder.

My pregnancy this time was absolutely fine at the beginning. I didn’t get the dreaded sickness which meant I could stay active unlike last time. However I experienced skeletal damage which meant my legs and vagina would be really painful especially on a night I wouldn’t be able to turn in bed without the feeling of excruciating pain. My husband got me a pregnancy belt which helped (at first) because my bump sat really low so it helped to support it. Later on in the pregnancy it was harder to cope with but the walking really helped.  My birthing plan was to give birth in the birthing pool again. I was really worried that the skeletal damage would restrict me from giving birth in the pool. Kaitlin (my lovely midwife) reassured me it would be fine because I could support myself to get in and out of the birthing pool.

Birth of baby Sanaa.

I was full term and due on the 30th May 2020. I will never forget the morning of 29th May when my contractions started at 3am and were coming 20 - 30 minutes apart. As the morning went on and got to 9am my contractions got stronger each time. I hadn’t slept and felt super tired however, my husband insisted on keeping active and how it would help progress my labour. At 2pm we went on a power walk to our local park. I still remember getting angry with him because he made me walk really fast and I was really tired.

My contractions at this point were roughly five minutes apart so walking through this park was torture for me. He insisted we do one more round but I couldn’t walk anymore so we headed to the car. As soon as I got home I had to lie down and I was hoping for a five minute nap, however my waters decided to go! My pain gets really intense when my waters go and I know it’s not long before I get the urge to push. We rang the hospital and Kaitlin was on shift and told me to come in when I’d got my things in the car. I had a really sharp contractions from home until we reached the hospital and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I had to push. I made my way inside (just about) and Kaitlin went to go and get some pads for me. I remember screaming for her as my pain was excruciating and I had the urge to push. Laura (student midwife) came straight away to check I was ok and she stayed with me, reassuring me and making me feel calm. They were filling the birthing pool for me and I laid on the couch next to it. Kaitlin was sat with me and knew I was ready to push however, I insisted I wait for the pool to fill up because I really wanted a water birth after such a positive experience last time. It was so calm, the lights were really low and the pool had a lovely purple coloured spotlight inside.  I managed to get in and had to push right away, I didn’t have any pain relief at all (I didn’t get time to). I chose my husband to be my birthing partner and he was amazing. He rubbed my back, giving me something to drink, held my hands and kept telling me how strong I was. As soppy as it sounds I couldn’t have done it without him. I was worried with the whole pandemic situation but he was allowed to be beside me the whole time which I was so thankful for.

Of course this whole experience wouldn’t have been the same without my amazing midwife (Kaitlin) and the student midwife (Laura). I saw Kaitlin for the 9 months throughout my pregnancy for my antenatal appointments. I felt really nervous with the pandemic but Kaitlin was really good at making me feel at ease and reassuring me that my partner would be fine to stay with me throughout my labour. I was definitely looked after really well and felt safe the whole time. I had really been wishing that Kaitlin would be there to deliver my baby and was so thankful she was on shift. She also stayed back after she’d finished her shift to make sure we were okay and settled before she left.  Laura was also amazing. I’d never met her before but she kept telling me how amazing I was doing and just staying so calm and positive. If I could pass on a message to them it would be this ‘thank you for everything you did for me. For not only delivering my beautiful girl but for caring for me, looking after me and making me feel so calm and relaxed. It’s an experience I’ll never ever forget and I could never thank you all enough. Even the lovely midwifes that looked after us when we made the decision to stay overnight’.

My little girl weighed 7lb 4oz and we named her Sanaa. Meeting her for the first time was indescribable. I fell in love with her instantly and the tears wouldn’t stop rolling down my face. I did skin to skin straight away which helped so much with my decision to breastfeed.

If I had any tips on mums to be, it would be to stay active - especially when your contractions start. Also, it’s important to still eat something so you have energy, and keep drinking because it’s so easy to get dehydrated.

Aaliyah sends a message to women who are due to give birth during the Covid-19 pandemic and says:

I gave birth in the Covid-19 pandemic and it was absolutely fine. Apart from the fact you can’t have any visitors, there weren’t many changes. Your partner can be there throughout so you still have the support you may need. Please don’t panic ladies, we will get past this horrible time but the birthing centre is amazing I wouldn’t even worry. I recommend the water birth to anybody who can do it. It’s the most relaxing experience and very good for natural pain relief too.

Lastly - thank you to the whole team at the birthing centre. I appreciate you all so much: Stacey, Mandy, Laura, Kaitlin and the rest of the team. You were all amazing and really made me and my husband feel comfortable. Staying over was the best decision for me and I’m ever so thankful. Kaitlin - I hope you know how grateful I am for everything you did for us.

The midwife team that were on shift that night were incredible. Constantly checking up and making sure we were okay overnight and bringing us the best made toast!

I'd 100% recommend the Bronte Birthing Centre (especially the water birth) and would encourage every woman to go there. Thank you so much midwives for everything you did for us.

Midwives Kaitlin and student midwife Laura were present during Aaliyah's labour, they said:

"We cared for the lovely Aaliyah during her pregnancy and we were so pleased to be there to help Aaliyah have a relaxed, calm environment for her pool birth during this special time. We look forward to supporting Aaliyah and baby Sanaa during the postnatal period."

Thank you for sharing your experience with us and huge congratulations to Aaliyah and her family from all of us at the Trust.