Mama D – “Thank you Claire for giving me back the belief in myself and reminding me what my body is capable of. I couldn’t have done it without your guidance during the Hypnobirthing sessions and I would recommend it to EVERY single person expecting a baby “
It’s been 8 months to the day since our little boy was born and I’m shocked it’s taken me this long to write our birth story but here it is – finally! And I must say it’s been lovely to take the time and process it all myself! (Settle in – it’s a long one!)
The simplest way of describing the birth of my first son 4yrs ago, is that it was traumatic for all, resulted in a lengthy hospital stay for the both of us and that subsequently my recovery both physically and mentally took months – if not years. So when we found out I was pregnant with our second I knew that I wanted to be as ready both physically and mentally as possible, as there was no way I could go through a repeat of my first birth.
I started by seeing a physio and attended your pregnancy yoga classes to help get myself prepared physically and having heard nothing but positive feedback from anyone who had tried Hypnobirthing, I excitedly booked onto your course at 31 weeks pregnant. And I can honestly say it was everything I had hoped it would be.
It gave me the confidence to stand up for myself and make decisions based on what I felt was right for me, my body and my baby, including the decision to opt for a vaginal birth after a previous emergency c-section. I also put together a simple but comprehensive birth preferences sheet outlining everything from terms and phrases I wished to be avoided right down to pain relief choices and what should happen if we needed to go down the route of a second c-section. This also helped to organise how I wanted things to progress in my own mind and knowing that I had all bases covered meant I could let go of it all once I’d passed them out to the midwives and doctors in delivery.
Hypnobirthing gave me the knowledge of exactly what my body does in order to give birth and why, and how best to give into and allow the process of labour to happen. I found the hot air balloon visualisation and breathing techniques particularly helpful with progression during the 1st stage of labour.
Finally it gave me the tools to quiet my mind, believe in the harmony between my baby and body and trust in the power of my instinct. The affirmations REALLY helped with this – I wrote them out on note cards and had them stuck all round my mirror so that I saw and repeated them everyday.
So as I rolled into, (literally) my 39th week of pregnancy I felt I was as prepared as I could be and was ready and actually excited to give birth for the second time.
Our Son’s Birth (Due date 30.05.19)
Tightenings, period pain and pressure felt low down.
Bounced on my ball and sniffed clary sage sporadically throughout the day/evening.
Bloody show in the morning.
Bump had dropped significantly by the evening.
Strong tightenings felt in the evening.
This happened the day before I went into labour with with our first, who was born at 39 weeks, so I decided to call my Mum to come stay with us as she was going to be looking after our first son and lives an hour and a half away.
Another bloody show and parts of my mucus plug had started to fall away.
Tightenings and pressure but no contractions. (I never could call them surges!)
Felt very uncomfortable all day but went to a local Cafe for lunch and had the most AMAZING salad I’ve ever had. (Not sure why that’s relevant but every time I think about our son’s birth I still remember that salad!)
Had a Midwife app in the afternoon – no need for any exams and both agreed that more than likely by the weekend I’d have delivered my baby.
Thursday 30.05.19 – Due Date!!
Started to get impatient as each night I went to bed expecting to be woken up by contractions but yet again nothing was happening. (I realise that I’d only just reached his due date but patience has never been my strong suit!) It was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to stay active and keep my mind occupied, so met up with friends at the park in Llandaff Fields. We spent the day doing LOTS of walking whilst the kids rode their bikes, lots of playing in the park – including a vigorous bouncing session on the seesaw for both ME and the kids!! Followed by ice cream and yet more walking, once I could finally waddle no longer we headed home for dinner. I couldn’t find a comfortable position downstairs, (again I remembered feeling this particular type of uncomfortable the night before my contractions started with our first) so I headed up to bed early hoping that the seesaw session may have encouraged baby further South!
12.15am I turned over in bed and there was an audible pop from my bump and I wasn’t entirely sure if it was just baby moving rather forcibly or if it was perhaps my waters… as I waddled to the bathroom there was a sudden and dramatic flooding of the floor – confirming that it was indeed my waters that had gone pop. (Thank god it hit the lino and not my bed!!) Every time I moved more water came flooding out so I called the Assessment Unit from the loo (I was consultant led due to complications with my first birth) and was told to head in straight away. So with two maternity pads in place and a throne of towels to sit on we made our way to UHW (5min drive).
I was asked why I thought my waters had broken and as if on cue there was another Hollywood style flood and the question was answered. (I was also ridiculously grateful I had packed and brought in with me a spare pair of pants, trousers AND shoes!)
Whilst waiting to be examined my contractions started at around 1.30am and were coming every 20mins or so, they were powerful but totally manageable.
We talked to the Consultant about starting antibiotics in case of an infection like last time but having discussed all the available options, (something I wouldn’t have had the confidence to ask had it not been for Hypnobirthing) I decided I’d rather go home and have the increased monitoring post birth instead. The Consultant agreed and said that if labour hadn’t established by 9pm I’d have to come back for an induction. I asked for an exam before we left and was 2cm dilated, I agreed to have a sweep at 2.45am and was home by 3.30am and having contractions roughly every 10mins, (by now my waters were just a trickle). I got back to bouncing on my ball, ate a bowl of cereal and sniffed my clary sage. But my contractions had started to fade so at about 5.30am I decided to see if I could get a couple of hours sleep before our little boy was up for the day.
It was a wet day but after breakfast I decided to get walking to try and kick start my contractions again and I really felt like I wanted to be outside despite the rain. So we walked to the local park and although I was VERY uncomfortable, (they’re not exaggerating when they say it’s like having a bowling ball between your legs) and VERY slow, I remember it felt so good to be outside. So I sat happily in the rain with my Mum rubbing my back whilst my partner & our little boy played. We eventually headed home and whilst eating lunch my contractions started up again at around 1.30pm and were roughly 20mins apart.
I’d spent the last few days needing to remain mobile and active, two things I knew helped with the starting of and progression of labour, however after about an hour or so of steady contractions I felt like I needed to lie down. Not because I was struggling or particularly tired, (at first I fought it as I knew it could stall my labour again) but it was what my body was telling me to do so thanks to the Hypnobirthing I listened and went to lie down. After about half an hour my contractions became more powerful and more frequent and I started to use the breathing and visualisation techniques I’d learned and practiced. Eventually my mum asked if I had been timing my contractions and I said that I thought they were probably about 10/15mins apart, she replied that she HAD been timing them and that they were actually every 5mins apart – I was that calm and focused on my breathing that I hadn’t realised!
The weather had changed from grey and rainy to sunny and actually quite hot so I got up, got changed and after a quick phone call to the consultant led ward we headed back to UHW at approx 5.30pm – with contractions now every 3mins apart. There was no parking outside the Women’s Unit and after a bonus lap of the hospital we finally found a space in the main multi storey car park and began the long walk BACK to the Women’s Unit – contracting, breathing and visualising all the way, we arrived at the delivery ward at approx 6pm.
After being hooked up to all the necessary monitors my first exam was at around 6.30pm and I was 4cm dilated. Baby’s heart rate was slightly concerning and could have been a sign of infection but it was decided that it was most likely due to dehydration so I should start drinking as much as I could and we’d go from there. Not long after that I started throwing up and I instantly felt a rise of panic as despite my best efforts this labour seemed to be heading in the same direction as my first. However I remembered my affirmations and felt that a change in position was necessary and that being more upright would help me regain focus on my breathing. So I moved off the bed to standing whilst resting my arms over the edge of the bed and I can honestly say I have no memory of the next hour that passed – everything melted away, my focus turned entirely inward. The next thing I was aware of was unbearable pressure and the urge to change position again. So instinctually I moved back onto the bed and onto my knees with my arms slung over the back of it. I’d barely got into this position before I was consumed with the most intense urge to push.
I actually lost all calm and focus at this point, suddenly everything felt too intense, too fast, and totally out of control and I momentarily lost confidence in the fact that I could do it. After a torrent of expletives and some primal bellowing the room was filled with people, (so my husband has told me as I still had my back to the room and wasn’t aware of what was happening around me). There was talk of an injection to slow my contractions down and I believe the midwife saw my reaction when my partner relayed this to me and she encouraged me to try the gas and air and bring my focus back to my breathing – having come this far I didn’t want to go backwards now! I’d actually written on my birth preference sheet that I didn’t want to be offered gas and air, purely because it had made me feel so sick when I’d tried it whilst in labour with our first. But it goes to show that it’s ok to be flexible and change your mind when you’re in the moment as this time around the midwife was right – it actually worked! The gas and air calmed me down, I was able to regain control over my breathing and turn my focus back to my body. Little did I know that my rather primal rantings had been due to transition, as when I was examined again at around 7.40pm I was at 10cm – a little over an hour after having been told I was at 4cm.
It took an hour of pushing but thanks to the Hypnobirthing I remained calm, focused and determined and at 8.38pm our baby boy was born weighing 8lb 3oz. He had his first feed whilst I enjoyed the fabled post birth cup of tea and toast – filled with a sense of joy, relief and pride at having just birthed my son the way I believed I could.
Length of time in labour was recorded as 2hrs 19mins
1st stage: 1hr 15mins
2nd stage: 58mins
We were home and reunited with his big brother in less than 24hrs after we had left.
Thank you Claire for giving me back the belief in myself and reminding me what my body is capable of. I couldn’t have done it without your guidance during the Hypnobirthing sessions and I would recommend it to EVERY single person expecting a baby; whether it’s your 1st baby or your 5th baby, whether your planning for a natural birth or a planned c-section, the guidance and information given is invaluable and relevant to all!!
Hopefully see you at one of your classes soon