Mummy S says “The labour was powerful and felt natural, like I was built to deliver this baby. Hypnobirthing meant I was calm but also confident – somehow I knew I could do it, I had no doubts left about my ability to get the baby delivered.“
Mummy S’s Birth Story
I went into the pregnancy with some anxiety. We had experienced a miscarriage the previous year during our first pregnancy. Although it happened early on, at around 12weeks, we had accepted the pregnancy and the baby that would follow with our whole hearts, and the potential that it wouldn’t work out hadn’t crossed my mind – I was full of hope and optimism. The impact of the miscarriage was heavy – I returned to work too soon and had significant mental health struggles in the months that followed.
When we felt ready to try again and quickly got pregnant. I think my partner and I went into the process with more unease, with as much hope, but lots of uncertainty. I was apprehensive about the hospital environment and keen to stay away from interventions. A hurdle for me was to accept that some or all of what I feared may be needed during labour, and the most important thing would be for me and baby to get through the birth safely. We did antenatal courses to prepare and found hypnobirthing to be the one we connected with most. Although I was unsure if it would really help keep me calm during the birth, we religiously read the scripts, did visualisation exercises and listened to the mp3 of scripts each night during the final 6 – 8 weeks.
The labour started at 41 weeks plus 4 days following an attempted sweep by our midwife. I was in latent labour for the weekend at home, hopping around the living room between bouts of significant but manageable contractions. We were calm and patient, although unsure about when the time would be right to go to hospital. We attended the midwifery led unit on the Monday afternoon (around 2.5 days in) for a pre booked sweep – we were 3cm dilated. Later that night we were back in as I hit 4cm.
The midwifery led unit was calm and quiet. Shortly after I arrived and had been examined the midwives suggested I try the birthing pool. It was really soothing, so I stayed there from midnight to 6am, the time passing quickly and helped along by the music of Grace Jones. Getting out of the pool to be examined was hard and I found being back on dry land the most difficult thing to cope with. At 8cm my waters were still intact so we agreed to have them broken – this wasn’t too uncomfortable and really helped progress the labour into its final phase. Back in the pool I continued labouring with gas and air until the afternoon, with baby being monitored every few minutes – thankfully he was cool as a cucumber throughout. After taking some advice on positioning from the midwife, the final moments came and at 15:19pm our son came into the world. It was only at that moment that I truly believed he was there, all of the doubt I’d felt about the pregnancy was suddenly visible and dissipating away.
The labour was powerful and felt natural, like I was built to deliver this baby. Hypnobirthing meant I was calm but also confident – somehow I knew I could do it, I had no doubts left about my ability to get the baby delivered. I am really grateful to have been given time to labour the way my body wanted to – I’ll always be thankful for the patience and support I received at the hospital and Clare’s expert preparation!
Birth Partner Daddy T’s Birth Story
We’d had a miscarriage the previous year and that had come as a huge shock. We had been going for our 12 week scan and when the scan showed a problem. We were asked to come back 10 days later for another scan to check on things. We did our best to be positive in the time between. My partner had had an emergency operation on her ovary due to a cyst the year or so previous so the question, in both our minds looming, was is this really going to happen for us?
At the second check we were told that the baby had no heartbeat…we both broke down. We sobbed, we hugged, I know that I felt that was it. Over the previous couple years my Dad, Mum and Sister had died. The organising, celebrating, marking of lives had become part of daily life. Faced with this all too brief life, we questioned everything. We had each other though and that deep connection carried us through.
When we were ready and got pregnant quickly, we braced ourselves for the worse, we expected trouble but, even though we both knew we felt like that, we tried to not utter the words just in case it meant it would go wrong again. The pregnancy itself made us both feel anxious to begin with, so we worked and tried to keep our routine the same. My partner was determined to work right through so there was more time with the baby the other side. We both worked hard and as time passed and my wife blossomed, growing bigger, more pregnant, more and more into a Mum-to-be…so we dared a little to dream and prepare for our baby. Joining NCT and Hypnobirthing classes was an important step forward in our minds, accepting, hoping that we would be parents soon.
With my background, the hypnobirthing classes felt a bit alien, sitting in a group facing one another talking. This was about me, not Claire or the group, and soon I felt comfortable. We practised the scripts and visualisations every night before bed. We talked about them, about the sessions with Claire, about how we felt it could work best for us and followed a path.
True to her word my partner worked up til the baby was ready and had a couple days off, as we approached 41 weeks as we were 4 days over when labour began. An attempted sweep from our community midwife at our scheduled appointment initiated things. We also scheduled another follow up sweep on the Monday at the hospital. By the Friday evening things had started although slow, my partner was unable to sit down so that was a challenge that we remedied in various ways and we seemed to have 24/7 Diagnosis Murder on, the thinking that Dick Van Dyke’s medical sleuthing could coax the baby out…
After a few calls to the midwife unit to say what was happening, which was met with stay where you are…we arrived for our appointment on the Monday at 11am. We were 3cm dilated so there was no sweep but were told to head home until we got to 4cm. The nurse was sure she’d see us that afternoon – in fact it wasn’t until 11pm that we went in. My partner wasn’t in a lot of pain from the contractions, but was exhausted from standing up straight for 4 days and nights! We thought that the process might then speed up from here.
We were relieved and glad to be in the midwife unit and were supported by 2 midwifes at all times. We were where we both wanted to be and felt lucky to be in that space with positive professionals around us.We had our playlist of songs ready that got played later on as labouring was slow. One of the midwifes asked my partner if she’d considered giving birth in the pool which we hadn’t really and so they filled the pool and in she got. She was in the pool for 16 hours only getting out for 2 or 3 checks which were uncomfortable.
We were grateful for the time we were given. The labour was slow, but despite being slow there was never any risk to the baby and all the regular checks showed that both he and Mum were healthy. They were just taking their time and would come when they were ready. My expectations were that we’d be rushed and there may be interventions, and so my biggest relief was that we were given space, and Sarah was allowed time to birth the way her body wanted to.
Our son was born into the water happy and healthy at 15:19pm, 7lbs 8oz – witnessing the birth was genuinely amazing and I would really encourage any partner to see their baby born and cut the cord if you can – it was deeply life affirming. I was glad that mums only injuries were very wrinkly fingers from being in the water so long! Sarah was exhausted and vulnerable immediately afterwards, and I knew at that moment I had a big role to play to make her and our baby boy feel safe. We felt very lucky, very blessed.
After the birth the midwife told my partner how well she had done, how she was incredible and calm throughout. The hypnobirthing definitely influenced this. We were told by some other couples not to bother doing a birth plan, as no one would read it, but the midwifes did read it and commented afterwards on how helpful it had been to support the care they were going to give us.