This is Anna’s story of the birth of her daughter Molly. It was her first birth, a swift and beautiful water birth. Huge Congratulations to Anna and Sam!
‘I was due November 24th with my first baby (gender unknown!) but I had been having really strong Braxton Hicks for some weeks. On 14th November (my fiancé’s birthday!) I woke up with him before he left for work, then went back to sleep as normal since I was trying to get all the sleep I could get before baby arrived! I then woke back up at about midday and thought ‘ooh I don’t feel right’. I had suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum through my whole pregnancy so feeling sick was the norm but this was a different feeling. I was really hot and sweaty and just didn’t feel right so I decided to go and have a nice bath. Once I got out the bath, I still felt the same so I got into Fresh pjs and came downstairs and had some toast then sat on my birth ball. I started getting pains and thought ‘more braxton hicks!’ And just continued on the ball but this time they didn’t ease off. By 4pm i realised this may be something more than my usual braxton hicks! I decided to ring the birth place at Medway Hospital who advised me that it sounded like I was in the early stages of labour but to stay at home and continue with what I was doing. My dad was at my house working on the bathroom so I was on my own in the lounge. I paused the tv and just relaxed on my ball focusing on my breathing and everything that I had been taught by Christy in Hypnobirthing. I wasn’t in agony, I was feeling uncomfortable and knew what was ahead of me so just tried to relax as much as I could. A lot of the time I had my eyes closed and was focusing on my breathing. I had called my partner to come home and then at about 5pm I called my mum to come down and sit with me. I remained completely calm and think this was surprising to my mum and partner but I got into my own ‘zone’ and with each contraction I breathed through it. I honestly couldn’t recommend the birth ball enough!! At 9pm we decided to head down to the birth place, I was checked and advised I was still in the early stages of labour. The midwife said my cervix had thinned right out and she could feel the baby’s head but I wasn’t at 4cm so to go home and have something to eat and drink. I’ll be honest, that journey when you are sent home is not the best!! But nevertheless, we came home and ordered dominos pizza since it was my fiancé’s birthday! Haha. Within an hour my contractions had become much closer together, we timed them and they were every 6 minutes. By this point the pain was all in my back, I remember Just laying over my birthing ball with my eyes closed breathing through them as much as possible. One thing Christy advised us in Hypnobirthing was how women like to be crouched into a confined space when giving birth to make them feel safe, and wow is this true!! The only place I felt ok to labour was on my landing, crouched on the floor in the corner, in the dark!! And Holding onto the bannister! I never expected that to be my favourite place in the house at one point! Within 2 hours of getting home, my contractions had then become 4 minutes apart, and I KNEW I needed to go in, I know my body and I knew it was time. The hospital tried to get us to stay at home longer but this time I said ‘no! I’m coming in’ and thank god I did!
We got back in at 12.30am and I was checked by the midwife at 1am. She told me I was at 3cm but she’s keeping me in because my contractions were so close together and she would sort my room. That was music to my ears!
I had my heart set on a water birth so they told me they would fill up the bath in my room whilst they sorted out the birthing pool in the other room. I had written in my birth plan that I was doing Hypnobirthing and I wanted dim lighting and a calm environment which they certainly followed. I didn’t want to have an epidural or pethidine and planned to have as natural birth as possible if all was going to plan. I was in the birth place which meant I couldn’t have any of those if wanted to stay there and by this point the pain in my back was excruciating and my contractions were barely 2 minutes apart. I was then offered the sterile water Injections in my back which I had learnt about in Hypnobirthing. I decided to have these as the back pain was becoming unbearable. It takes 2 midwives to do these and I was advised that these would be VERY painful but would help. The midwife wasn’t lying! The were VERY painful!! However, within minutes the pain calmed right down in my back. Ive actually been asked by some pregnant friends since if I would recommend them and I always say that it is worth the pain of the injection for that short time for it to help with the back pain in the long run.
By this point I had only been in my room for an hour when the midwife told me the bath was ready for me to get in and I was soooo happy to know I was about to get into a bath. I associated a bath with relaxation as that’s all I did in pregnancy so I was so happy to get in!!
It had now got to the point where my contractions were SO close together that I lowered myself into the bath in one movement and never moved from that position! My waters hadn’t broken at this point and I had no idea how dilated I was as I hadn’t been checked again.
I remember thinking ‘how long have I got?!’ And there was no clock or anything so I just closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. The midwife sat at the foot of the corner bath and every so often kept shining a torch to check how I was getting on and she just left me to it, she was great. I knew by this point I wouldn’t be getting back out to go into that birthing pool!
Then after being in the pool about half an hour my waters popped in there. I remember saying to the midwife ‘I feel like I need to push, shall i push!?’ And she calmly said ‘just do what your body is telling you’. I knew from Hypnobirthing how my body is capable of pushing my baby out and that’s exactly what I let it do! I didn’t push, I Just focused so so much on my breathing. At one point I did get into a panic and the midwife had to talk me back into focusing on my breathing. I just became nervous where it seemed to be happening so fast!
The midwife then pulled a cord and I said ‘is everything ok?!’ And she said ‘if it wasn’t ok we wouldn’t still be here, you're doing fine’ and then another midwife came in and I heard her say ‘can you get some towels please?’ And I thought ‘oh wow! This is it!!’ And then all of a sudden she said the head was out! My body had done this without me pushing which I thought was incredible!! So I decided with the next contraction I would push and out she came!! A beautiful baby girl! It was so surreal and overwhelming!!
Molly was born at 3.03am so within 2 hours I went from 3cm to 10cm which I never expected to happen!!
I feel so incredibly lucky to have had such a good birth experience. After a really tough pregnancy, I love the fact that I had such a good delivery.
Even later that evening, both the midwife who was there through my labour and the one who helped deliver Molly, came to see me and tell me how amazing I did and that I should be really proud of myself.
I truly believe that Hypnobirthing led me to have such a good delivery. The mindset I adopted and the breathing techniques I used are definitely what made all of this possible. I can’t thank Christy enough for helping with this experience!’