Kathryn and Kyran came along to my Faversham group classes a few months ago and it was so lovely to have them both there! I was so happy to receive this birth story and to hear of the wonderful birth of baby Thomas! I am so so happy for them, Kathryn you are amazing! I am so pleased to be able to share their story! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Over to you Kathryn x (sophie)
I woke up on the morning of Tuesday 6th June after a very refreshing 10-hour sleep. I'd felt exhausted the day before, which I now think was probably my body's way of telling me that I needed a good rest. My husband, Kyran, had gone off to work while I made the most of a nice lie-in. Eventually I dragged myself out of bed and started to get ready for another day of maternity leave. I was 38 weeks + 3 days pregnant and had finished work two weeks earlier. I was already starting to get a bit impatient, but had resigned myself to the fact that I'd probably have to wait another couple of weeks for my baby to make an appearance.
When I went into the bathroom to clean my teeth, I felt a strange sensation and started to wonder if my waters were releasing. I tried not to get too excited though, as I remembered being warned about false alarms, especially at this stage of pregnancy. I walked around the house for a bit and then checked again. There was definitely something happening! Looking back, I'm amazed at how calm I was. I've always been a worrier and would normally stress about the smallest things. After doing my daily relaxation though, I felt like I was in my own serene little bubble. I was excited at the prospect of meeting my baby in the next few days and strangely intrigued to find out what the surges would feel like when they started.
I phoned the Midwife Led Unit (MLU) at the hospital to see what they recommended and they booked me in for a check to confirm what was happening. After just half an hour at work, Kyran came home and took me to the hospital. We had to wait for quite a long time, but we chatted away in the waiting room and laughed that I'd got him out of work for the day, if nothing else. They confirmed that my waters had released and monitored the baby's heartbeat for a little while, just to check that everything was okay. While the nurse was out of the room, we used our BRAIN technique and had a chat about what we would do if they recommended an induction. Although I've never been keen on the idea, we decided that we would follow their advice as, for us, the slight increased risk of complications outweighed our wishes to keep it as natural as possible. As my contractions hadn't started, they did book us in for an induction for the following morning and sent us home. Again, I felt weirdly relaxed about the whole thing.
When we got home, we went for a nice walk around the park and watched some feel-good TV. I started to feel something similar to mild period pain, but nothing like what I imagined contractions would feel like. Later that evening, around 10pm, I headed to bed to try and get some sleep. It wasn't long before the sensations started to feel more intense and I was alternating between bouncing on my birth ball, leaning over a chair and resting on my side in bed. Even when it got really intense, I kept saying that I didn't think they were contractions, as I couldn't feel the tightening sensation that I'd imagined. I'd convinced myself that even if they were surges, then I wouldn't be far enough along to go into the MLU. Kyran was with me the whole time, rubbing my back and doing anything he could to support me. He decided that it was time to phone the hospital around 3am and they asked to speak to me. They said to try to rest for a bit longer and then call them back in an hour. When we did phone back, she asked if I felt ready to come in and when I said I was, she suggested bringing our hospital bag with us just in case I needed to stay. It was also only a few hours until the planned induction, so they felt that it was worth us making the journey.
I don't remember much about the car journey, except that I continued to focus on my breathing. I think this breathing, along with Kyran's encouragement, is what got me through. When we arrived, we were shown to a room in the MLU, but had to wait about an hour for them to come back and speak to us properly, as it was a busy morning for them. The midwife who came to check on my progress was lovely and helped to keep me at ease while she chatted away to us. She seemed quite surprised when she told me that I was actually 7-8cm dilated! I was just relieved that I wouldn't have to go home again and could get straight into the birthing pool. When I immersed myself - not very gracefully - into the pool, the warm water was a like a dream. I was able to stay in there for a couple of hours, listening to music and holding Kyran's hands. Although the pool was soothing, I asked for some gas and air and felt more comfortable puffing away on it.
As the baby still wasn't quite able to make an appearance, the midwives took away the gas and air and I got out of the pool to try a couple of different positions, including a birthing stool. I kept thinking that it was doing the trick, but the head kept going back in. Eventually they advised us that we should be moved to the labour ward for a bit of help. It wasn't quite how I'd hoped it would go, but I was happy for them to do whatever it took to get the baby out safely. I continued to use my breathing techniques and it all got quite primal with some of the noises I was making! The doctor eventually gave us a helping hand with an episiotomy and a ventouse, and we all worked together to bring my baby into the world.
At 11:52am, they placed my baby on my chest and I met my beautiful little boy for the first time. We hadn’t found out the sex until that moment, which made it feel even more special. I was overcome with so many different emotions, but on top of the overwhelming love that I felt for my son, I also felt a sense of pride for what I'd just achieved.
Giving birth definitely wasn't easy, but it was an incredibly empowering experience and I wouldn't change anything about my journey into motherhood. I really feel that the Hypnobirthing techniques, especially the relaxation, helped me to take charge of both the pregnancy and the birth. We also have to say a big thank you to Sophie for all of your support and enthusiasm in the sessions. It really helped to get us through. I'm still listening to calming MP3s now and hoping that they will help me to face all of the challenges that I’m sure motherhood will bring!