Mama E says: “Doing your hypnobirthing course and ongoing practice throughout my pregnancy made me feel totally calm throughout. All the midwives who cared for me couldn’t believe how calm I was or how far along I was at each stage because of how I was able to breathe through the surges. It also massively helped my husband who is definitely more of a worrier than me. He stayed really calm and chilled during the whole labour because he could see that I was taking it in my stride.”
I hope you’re good?
Currently sat here giving our baby a cuddle on the sofa, I’ve been trying to find the time to drop you an email since she was born! We had a baby girl on 22nd September at 9.39pm. I have to say, the labour and birth were the most incredible, empowering experience I’ve ever had. I felt like an absolute badass when I’d done it!! All the knowledge and breathing techniques and relaxations from your hypnobirthing course made it such a calm experience. All the midwives who cared for me couldn’t believe how calm I was throughout and couldn’t believe how far along I was at each stage because of how I was able to breathe through the surges. Our home birth didn’t end up exactly how we planned but I felt so calm and in control throughout which was definitely down to my hypnobirthing practise throughout my pregnancy.
Early labour started overnight 20th/21st September. I realised at about 5.30am that I’d been having surges during the night as each time I’d woken up but hadn’t associated why until the morning. They were pretty regular and manageable so we organised the dog getting picked up and chilled out. They then slowed down during the day, we went for a walk, I bounced on my ball watching Gavin and Stacey, had a nap and we even played rummy in the garden in the sun! Surges were coming all day and still very manageable with breathing during them.
We were planning a homebirth and the first midwife came out at about 9pm to observe me and we decided that as I was coping fine and it still seemed like it might be a while yet she’d go back to the Heath. The surges were stronger at this point so I put the tens machine on and carried on breathing through them. Standing up and leaning on the kitchen island was the best position at this stage. We watched a film and tried to nap but the surges were too uncomfortable to nap at this point. As they were getting closer together another midwife came out at 3am and did her observations. I consented to a vaginal examination and was 6cm dilated so she told my husband he could start filling the pool and called out the second midwife as I was in active labour.
Getting in the pool was lush, it was so relaxing. The midwives were really lovely and mostly left my husband and I to it in the room with the pool in. I was very much ‘in the zone’ and breathing through each surge. I found being on all fours in the pool leaning on the blow up seat most comfortable at this stage. By 8am it was time for the midwives to switch with the next shift of midwives. I got out of the pool for a while to try and get things moving along by bouncing on my ball again and walking up and down the stairs (which I only managed twice!). I was so happy to see my lovely midwife, Ginnie when she arrived and again had a VE and was 8cm dilated.
I then went back in the pool (my poor husband was back and forth all day adding hot water as I was in it so long, I was such a raisin by the end!!) later that morning and was still coping fine with the surges. The progress was quite slow at this point and I stayed at 8cm until about 12pm when the midwives suggested breaking my waters which I agreed to. Once they had broken my waters the surges were stronger but still manageable with controlled breathing.
I had another VE in the early afternoon and was 9cm dilated but the midwife could still feel a lip of cervix so I kneeled upright in the pool to try and let gravity get rid of it. At this stage I tried the gas and air but found it really spaced me out and made me feel out of control (as I’d felt so in control up to this point) so abandoned that (I was looking forward to the gas and air as well, haha!). At this point I started to feel the urge to push and couldn’t believe how the pushing reflex just took over my whole body. I had another VE at about 5pm and was still 9cm and the cervical lip was still there.
The midwives were coming to the end of their shift and because of the staffing issues at the moment they couldn’t send another 2 midwives out but also wanted me to come in to the hospital at this point as I was progressing too slowly. This is the point where the hypnobirthing came into its own as we had to get an ambulance into the hospital which was probably the worst part of the whole labour as I was 9-10cm dilated and strapped to a stretcher having very intense surges. I just kept my eyes closed and concentrated on breathing and staying calm.
Once we got to the Heath it was a very different and a more manic experience than being at home- being strapped to monitoring, having to answer lots of questions and being examined to find I was 10cm and the lip had gone (maybe the bumpy ambulance ride did the trick!!). I agreed to having the hormone drip to get my surges to be stronger and more regular as I was very tired at this point. They then said that as I’d been in labour for so long and was already tired, I needed to start doing coached pushing to get the baby out so that I didn’t run out of steam. This is something I really didn’t want to do in my birth plan but at this point I just wanted to be done so I had a dextrose tablet and then went hell for leather on the coached pushing.
There was talk of forceps if I couldn’t get the babies head to move further down and I think this really spurred me on. I then changed positions to a deep squat on the bed with my feet on the hand rests which massively helped. My eyes were closed the whole time but I do remember the consultant obstetrician coming in the room (as they’d asked him to come in to potentially sign off the next steps being forceps) and saying ‘hello Emily, oh looks like I won’t be needed here, you have a baby’s head hanging out of you!’. I had a small episiotomy and again breathed through the final stages and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t find it painful, just quite an intense sensation!
Our daughter was born at 9.39pm, weighing 7lb 2 and as she was put on me I said ‘I did it!!’. Doing your hypnobirthing course and ongoing practice throughout my pregnancy made me feel totally calm throughout, even when we were transferred to the hospital and I felt like I was making informed decisions that I was comfortable with throughout. It also massively helped my husband who is definitely more of a worrier than me. He stayed really calm and chilled during the whole labour because he could see that I was taking it in my stride.
We were so lucky to get the long time labouring at home with the current staffing issues and the MLU being closed, it was such a special experience with all the lovely midwives who cared for me. I will 100% try and have a home birth next time. I’m recovering great and feeling really good and just keep thinking back to the whole experience with awe at what the body can do!
Thank you so much for your course and the yoga classes which definitely filled me with the knowledge and confidence to go into my labour so calmly.
Hopefully see you in mum and baby yoga soon 🙂
Lots of love,