Introducing a beautiful birth story from Rebecca. She had a difficult pregnancy that was full of uncertainty and she had the odds stacked against her when we met. She'd had a traumatic and medicalised birth with her first child and this was an IVF baby, so helping her to trust her body's natural ability to birth was challenging for her. I went to her house and taught her and her husband hypnobirthing privately. Rebecca was incredible. Every week when I arrived, her pregnancy was testing her more and more. We'd do the session and she'd regain her upbeat mood and positivity, then she'd have the next curve ball thrown at her. Despite it all, she trusted her instincts and practiced her hypnobirthing techniques. She and her beautiful baby girl are testament to how a mother's determination and fierce love can bring a distant hope into reality. I am so very proud of her. Christy
1st June 2017 - 41 weeks
Boiling hot heatwave, heavily pregnant, very swollen, angry mama who was getting ZERO sleep unless she slept on two seater sofa. After saying that I would never have another sweep I decided "Screw this, I WILL have that sweep" I had the sweep at home on my own bed and I felt absolute no discomfort at all compared to the sweep in my first pregnancy. Within half an hour of having the sweep and going for a walk I started having surges, however I thought they were just uncomfortable Braxton hicks. I'm not sure what I did that evening but I couldn't sleep at all so I went to sleep on the sofa about 11pm.
I was pissed off, by this point I was in labour with my son (41 weeks) two hours later an uncomfortable sensation in my tummy woke me up. I'd never felt it before as my last labour was ALL in my back, every minute of it. I kept going to the loo and kept trying to sleep again, however I soon noticed that I was waking up about every 10 mins! So I decided to give up trying to sleep at 1am, and listened to my daily affirmations and relaxation MP3 with my headphones as I was the only person awake in the house. Immediately I felt so chilled. I put the lamp on low and sat on my birth ball practicing my breathing and listening to my mp3's. I have no idea where the time went but I soon noticed that the surges were coming every 3 minutes and were intense. I rang the birth place (MLU) as that's where I was planning on giving birth, they listened to me having surges on the phone and advised me to come straight in.
By the time we got there it was about 5:30am. I was very calm, relaxed and happy. I was listening to my mp3's on my phone with my headphones which helped me SO much it's crazy. Also I was inhaling lavender essential oil on a muslin when I had a surge, also amazing. I accepted an examination as I felt I wanted to know how things were going. I was already 5cm! Shortly afterwards, we were Informed that in actual fact I couldn't have my baby at the birth place because 1) it was an IVF pregnancy which automatically classes you as high risk and 2) because I had had a previous postpartum haemorrhage. I didn't let this bother me AT all, despite having cleared giving birth there on three separate occasions prior to this. I totally understood where they were coming from. I had prepared myself to have my baby wherever, I knew I could use my Hypnobirthing tools wherever I had to. Medway hospital were FANTASTIC I can't even tell you how amazing they were. The midwives and the consultant were SO supportive of us Hypnobirthing, I really did not expect them to be. They put up the sign on the door for us on delivery suite, shut the blinds, got me a bigger birthing ball and blew it up much higher so that my hips were higher than my knees. I had my mp3's playing aloud on the sound system and my aromatherapy oils around me. I felt so relaxed. I really wanted a water birth but they said It wasn't possible because I had to have a cannula Incase of another postpartum haemorrhage. I refused the cannula because I knew it would distract me during labour (I always find they restrict my movement and I don't like it). They said they would wait until later on when I was closer to delivery and they did. They also wanted to continually monitor baby whilst I sat on the ball, but I ended up taking the trace off because it kept slipping when I leant forward onto the bed. Again, this wasn't a problem though, it just meant that the midwife, who was so lovely and supportive, monitored baby with a Doppler every 15 mins. The midwife was silent, I didn't even hear her enter the room. She told me I was amazing and that she was so impressed with how well I was managing with just breathing techniques.
Fast forward to lunch time, I had been on delivery suite for about 6.5 hrs, I was beginning to feel pretty pooped despite constantly eating, drinking, resting and moving about. I had a shower to help with the surges as I was told I couldn't get in the water Incase they needed to cannulate me. I was offered a vaginal exam and after much deliberation I agreed. I had progressed by 1.5cm in 6.5 hrs. They weren't concerned about the baby at all, she was happy, but they could see that I was beginning to get pretty exhausted after no sleep for three days before labour too. I was given two options to consider, breaking of the waters (releasing) and seeing how things went......or a gentle Caesarian. I didn't fancy the latter, I had come SO far all by myself. I asked them exactly what the pros and cons were of breaking my waters and they explained that it can either make things speed up or not do much at all. I felt a little nervous but as soon as they broke my waters I felt such a huge relief, it was like a shift happened inside me. I decided that this was the best decision for my baby and I after asking a LOT of questions and talking it through with my husband, the consultant and the midwife. I also asked to try gas and air as I was beginning to feel like I needed something. I didn't like gas and air in my first labour, in fact it made me throw up, but this time....wow, amazing. My actual words were "How the hell is this stuff legal? I love it" it helped me so much. By this point I was listening to Moby and it all started to feel pretty magical/surreal in a way haha that's the only word I can think of to describe it.
So, I had my waters broken, was cracking on with the gas and air and breathing and my surges were majorly intense now, I could feel the baby moving down inside me which was crazy! The consultant gave me the all clear to get in a birth pool which had become free across the hallway as long as I kept the cannula out of the water (I don't actually remember them doing the cannula) however, what felt like only minutes from them breaking my waters was about 1.5 hrs apparently. By this point I had become quite vocal, I felt like I needed to yell as the surges were SO intense by now, not painful, just SO powerful. I found myself going from standing on my tip toes to suddenly on all fours on the floor and bearing down! I had never felt this before as I had an epidural with my son and I never felt the urge to 'push' it was incredible! I went a little wild at this point, the midwife politely asked me to get onto the bed onto my knees and lean on the backrest because baby would be born onto the floor otherwise, I didn't see how I could possibly move, and I told her no, but she explained that baby could actually hurt herself, so I hauled myself onto the bed, onto my knees and leant on the back. This position was INTENSE. I remember saying "this isn't helping it's making it worse" and then Woah I started REALLY baring down with no effort at all, it was completely involuntary, my body was just doing it and I was roaring at the same time. I remember reaching between my legs to feel what was going on and not believing that baby's head still wasn't out as it felt so Intense and I could feel her moving down.
All of a sudden I had three continual surges that I could just about breathe through and her head was out! I remembered thinking "so this is the 'ring of fire' sensation I've read about" it really wasn't painful, it was just intense. I felt baby turning and the midwife said "one more little push (not like I was even pushing, my body was) and we will get the chin out....but all of a sudden her entire body was out! She was born, my beautiful baby girl, Orla, was finally here at 3:07pm. I couldn't believe it, I had done it!!! The midwife asked me to pick her up but I was shaking because it had been so quick! I picked her up and it was the most amazing feeling, absolute shock, relief, love, exhaustion, just wow! The cord was quite short and the midwife was totally fine letting us leave it attached for however long we wanted, this was 45 mins for us as the cord was completely limp and white at that point. We had our golden hour but unfortunately I was losing quite a lot of blood. My placenta came away naturally and my womb was retracting well but still I kept bleeding heavily. They tried to examine me which was very uncomfortable I won't lie, they told me that I had a 3/4th degree tear which needed repairing in theatre. I was shocked as didn't realise I had torn at all. I left baby with daddy and after a long wait went went down to theatre to be repaired. The surgeon had trouble stopping my bleed so in total I lost 2.85 litres and had three blood transfusions.
As soon as I got back to recovery I got to hold my girl and feed her properly. She felt so gorgeous, I was so so happy. I was yellow, felt like I had never slept in my life and was shaking like I was sat on a washing machine on spin....but I was SO happy. Because of my haemorrhage I was taken to MECU on delivery suite so they could keep a close eye. I can hand on heart say that my labour was awesome! Totally positive, it was WAY much better than I could have hoped for. For me the massive haemorrhage, the hospital stay in a heatwave (again) and having to leave my little boy with his grandparents was pants and made me a bit emotional....BUT the fact I had an awesome labour cancels all of that out. I hope this massive and slightly gruesome, black and white account of Orla's birth hasn't terrified any of you, it was awesome.