A major change of perspective

Mama A – “I think Hypnobirthing really helped me to face labour with less fear and accept that it can be an incredible experience. I tend to worry a lot, so for me this was a major change of perspective.”

Happy new year! I hope you had a nice Christmas break. I had my baby and everything went fantastically. I wanted to write our baby’s birthing story for a while, but didn’t find the mental space until now. I really enjoyed hearing about other’s birthing stories so I hope they enjoy this one too.

I was due to have my baby on the 9th of October. I started my maternity leave the 8th so probably it was good that he came a bit later, although I have to say that from the weekend before I started putting in practice ‘natural’ induction methods: pineapple, sex, hot food, longer walks and the like. I felt I was more or less ready but I had an extra week in front of me, which was good to finish preparing things and have some mental space. I was a bit worried about having to have an induction, but my community midwife was very supportive and relaxed. She didn’t put any pressure on me to have a sweep and just told me to relax and give it some time, which was what I wanted to do. One of my best friends back in Spain is a midwife and recommended some postures for labour induction and also to create some space with my partner to say goodbye to this pregnancy and in my case, my pregnant body. On Sunday the 14th at night we sat together and thought about all the amazing things that had happened since I’ve got pregnant, how we decided to have a baby and the emotional and physical journey that we have walked together, that finally led us to be ready to welcome a little human, a mixture of the two of us to our lives. We also spoke about what we were looking forward to as parents and our fears.

It was a very emotional evening that same night I went into labour. At around 1:30am I started having regular contractions, every 6-7 minutes that lasted for around 30 seconds. We called the MLU and they said to wait until they were every 5 min and lasted for a minute. I took a paracetamol and lay in bed. The midwife recommended a bath, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted a bath at that time in the night and neither that I would be able to get in and out comfortably. The surges were quite uncomfortable and very regular, so after a couple of hours I decided to get the tens machine on. Not sure how much it actually helped, but it was nice to feel that I was doing something! We put on the Hypnobirthing CDs and lay in bed, which was relaxing. My partner went to sleep and I tried to but, a mixture of things happening and the excitement made it quite difficult!

We were around the house in the morning. Still my contractions were every 6 minutes, and I started to feel tired and wanted some more pain relief as well as to know what was going on. We called the MLU again and they told us we could go in but that we might be sent back home again if I wasn’t in established labour.

We arrived to Heath at around 11 am and were put in an enormous room with the pool, blocks, a birthing ball, a bed, everything! The midwives examined me and I was 3cm dilated. They said I could stay for a couple of hours to see how things were progressing. My partner went to park the car to park the car and I stayed in the room, thinking that things could just stop, even though the contractions were still regular. I was using the tens machine and after trying different positions and not getting much relief, I went into the pool. Oh my god! That was so amazing – it was so nice and warm and relieved so much the intensity of the contractions. We had by this point put on soft music and dim lights. I was also concentrating on my breathing quite a lot, using my Hypnobirthing visualisations and my partner was supporting me, telling me how well I was doing and how beautiful I looked and holding me when needed. The midwives were also very supportive and stayed out of the way, giving me a lot of space and being extremely respectful, following my birthing plan. After 4 hours they checked again my progress and i was 4-5 cm dilated, so for them labour had started. I was feeling very uncomfortable then, and was happy try the gas and air, but sadly it did not have any effect on me. I was then feeling exhausted after more than 12 hours with contractions every 5-6 min and started thinking that I wanted some more pain relief; basically an epidural.

My partner, was very encouraging, trying to keep me to my birth plan, and proposing to get back into the water with the gas. This time the water was not that helpful and I was increasingly worried about how much longer this was going to take. I asked the midwife how long it could take me to get to 10 cm and she said good progress was half centimetre per hour. That made me decide that I did want an epidural and asked for the transfer. While they were getting things ready I started feeling the urge to poo and push. My midwife friend had said to me that when you feel the need to poo, the baby is close, so I realised things were speeding up. Given my weird contraction/pushing movements the midwife asked if I wanted to be examined, and there you go, I was 9-10 cm dilated! So no time for the epidural.

[Birth Partner says: I suddenly had a moment of doubt here… I worried that I had I been too strongly encouraging my partner to keep to her birth plan and hold out on getting the epidural…? Fortunately she suddenly become super brave at this point and wasn’t in the mood for any regrets!]

I was laying in bed after the examination and decided to stay there. The midwives offered coaching for pushing if I wanted it, and despite me saying in my birth plan that I didn’t want it, I did want as much help as possible. That support was great, I felt accompanied and that they were taking amazing care of me, which I think helped me a lot to feel safe and not fearful. So there we were, two midwives that I was pushing against with my legs, my partner holding me and me pushing very hard. The amount of noises I made I think is completely indescribable but it was very powerful to put together the pushing with all those guttural sounds. It felt so different from the contractions, I was so concentrated and felt very empowered, we are going to do this! I cannot emphasize enough how much the support of the midwives and my partner talking me through what was happening and encouraging me helped me. They gave me the option of touching the baby’s head or seeing him in a mirror as he was coming out but I didn’t really feel like it. The waters broke while I was pushing.

I was getting tired but one of the midwives said that our baby would be out by 18:30 and she was right! During the last pushes I really felt I was giving away all the energy I had in me, and you always realise you have a bit more, and you push more the next time. Our baby came out and as he was put on my chest, there was no discomfort any more, not a single tiny bit anywhere. He was absolutely perfect and latched to my breast in 5 minutes. My legs were shaking with the adrenaline. I recall those moments as so natural and beautiful, seeing my partner holding our child and saying how incredible I had been and that he owes me forever. Our bodies and us are just amazing. As a couple and now a family we are loving each other more if that is even possible! The whole thing ended with a few stitches, a nice shower and moving to a lovely double bedroom. We even had some pizza delivered for dinner!

I am very grateful about how everything went. Thanks to my partner I didn’t give in to ask for an epidural earlier, he was so supportive and my rock. The care at the heath was absolutely amazing, the midwives were supportive and respectful and so encouraging. I just had a small tear and now I am 100% recovered thanks to a lot perineal massage and exercises while pregnant, as well as physio support offered by the NHS. And I am also very grateful to you Claire and all the mums there that share their stories. I think Hypnobirthing really helped me to face labour with less fear and accept that it can be an incredible experience. I tend to worry a lot, so for me this was a major change of perspective. I will see you soon in baby and mummy yoga, and girls, I wish you the best!

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