One of my favourite things about my birth experience was actually the lead up to birth. Hypnobirthing teachings meant I was empowered to request a VBAC in the midwife led unit at our local hospital, and confidently navigate the discussions with midwives and consultants to make sure that I was able to safely have the right birth for me. It also meant lots of lovely connecting with baby and myself, focussing on what makes me feel calm and happy, what will make my birth experience as positive as possible. Lovely baths with my mp3s and favourite music playing, practising massage techniques with my partner, experimenting with aromatherapy blends, all very wonderful ways to pass the time in pregnancy!
As easy as it is to feel like you could be pregnancy for ever, babies do eventually come out! So on one Saturday morning, the day before my due date, I woke up and thought my waters had started trickling.
I kept calm and told Chris, mid morning we called the hospital who said no rush to come in, but that I should at some point that day and get checked over.
We also called our doula Bryoni (I can’t recommend doulas enough, and would urge anyone to at least consider having one!).
Gradually I was having very very mild irregular surges, we called Nanna to come and look after our 2 year old Poppy, she said she’d be with us by 8pm. I was able to cook dinner and keep things nice and relaxed and normal at home.
Once Nanna arrived we went to the hospital, had a check over from the midwife who confirmed waters had gone but that nothing much else was happening. We stayed at the hospital a while then went home around 10.30, we were told if nothing had happened by the morning that they would recommend induction.
Having both my hypnobirthing birth plan and doula with us meant that we felt much more in control. A couple of times the midwife rephrased what she was saying to make it clear it was what they recommended and not what we had to do.
We made our way home, thinking we would try and get some sleep. We realised that Nanna and our 2 year old were all fast asleep and I think that knowing my daughter was ok relaxed me sufficiently for the next stage of labour to kick in! I went to the loo and then had to get Chris to help me back out again! We decided very quickly that we needed to go back to the hospital!
It was a memorable night, it had been a very hot day and then driving back to the hospital was a huge electrical storm, with constant lightning illuminating the sky!
Once we got to the hospital things seemed to progress really quickly. I had gone from 0-7 centimetres in the short time between going home and coming back to the hospital. Kind of funnily we had really prepared well to make our hospital space our own - we’d got playlists of music, hypnobirthing mp3s, lights, photos, practically a buffet of snack options, photos, affirmations, all sorts of things to get the oxytocin flowing. We’d even chosen our wonderful doula Bryoni partly because she has a background in dance and was going to dance us through the surges! But did we make use of any of these wonderful things? No we didn’t! Things felt so intense so quickly it was all I could do to breath through each surge, take a moment to rest and then ride the next one. I tried gas and air but felt it was actually just making me feel out of control so we really did just use breathing, the words of support and encouragement from Chris and Bryoni, and some “vocalisations” (I felt compelled to make quite a noise through each surge, it came from deep within me!) to take me through what felt like an incredibly intense experience. I was able to use the pool through most of labour and the warm water really did help make me feel more comfortable. Our midwife suggested at around 3.30am that I get out and make sure I didn’t need a wee, I really struggled to get to the toilet and Chris was a great mental and physical support! It was then suggested that perhaps baby was ready to come, I couldn’t really walk so they got me onto the bed and I pushed and breathed through the last hour. Then suddenly our baby boy was born! He was given to me straight away, Chris was able to cut the cord, and the little champ managed to latch on straight away for his first feed.
Things were not quite over and done with though, I’d had a tear and the placenta wasn’t budging. Our midwife was concerned about blood loss, so we were whisked upstairs. I was taken to theatre to have the placenta manually removed, and have some stitches, but again the hypnobirthing techniques I had learnt meant I still felt in control and was able to keep calm. After the procedure I was reunited with my baby, and Chris and Bryoni. It was lovely to know that Chris had someone with him while I was in theatre - someone to grab a drink for him, make sure he was ok, hold the baby if needed.
The procedure all went well and we were able to stay in a side room which we then decorated with our lights, as we’d intended to with our birth room!
Baby Jack, and me, are now both doing really well, and settling into our new family life. Hypnobirthing is a really amazing set of skills, that I hope I continue to use in other areas of my life!
Kent Hypnobirthing run classes in Folkestone, Faversham, Maidstone & Margate. Head here to see all upcoming course types and dates!