'I have no doubts that hypnobirthing made such a difference to my outlook on birth – and my husbands. I felt so confident and excited about giving birth and felt so empowered afterwards'
I woke up the morning before my ‘due date’ feeling refreshed as I had a good sleep the night before - which had been proving difficult in those later stages of my pregnancy. When I went to the toilet, I had what I thought was my show and felt really excited knowing it meant the process of labour could hopefully be starting soon. After my shower, I had to put on a pad as by then my waters had broken and were trickling out slowly and steadily. I rang the birth centre and told them what I thought had happened. My parents were due to be in town that day and we had arranged to go for lunch, so I asked the midwife if I could meet them as planned and go to the hospital to be examined after. She agreed.
At lunch I started to feel twinges – sort of like period cramps and my waters were still trickling out. We went to the hospital after lunch and by 4pm I was seen by the midwife. She confirmed it was my waters and told me that she had to book me in for an induction at 8am the next morning if I didn’t go into labour naturally before that. For some reason I knew I would go into labour that evening and told her that I didn’t think I would be needing the induction. By now the twinges were getting a little stronger, but still only like period cramps. I felt really excited and couldn’t wait to see my husband when I got home from the hospital, when he would also be home from work. I said goodbye to my parents after the hospital and went on home. I asked my husband to pick up take away pizza as I wanted to have something nice to eat, to keep my energy levels up.
As soon as I got home, I read the positive affirmations I had pinned around the house, got my birthing ball into the living room and put on some relaxing music. After eating one slice of pizza my first proper surge happened. It took me by surprise that it was happening so soon. I ended up eating one more slice of pizza and then I went into the living room, put on my wireless headphones with my positive affirmations and relaxing music and sat on my ball. I used the ‘up breathing’ technique I had learnt from my hypnobirthing course knowing that each surge would pass with about 4 breaths and that I would be one step closer to meeting my baby. My husband sat nearby timing the surges and getting me water if I needed it, but I was happy to be in my own zone, mooing with each surge, as this made them easier to manage. They started to get more regular and longer quite quickly.
By 8 0’clock, I felt I should ring the midwife at the hospital. She told me that as it was by first baby, I should stay at home for longer as it was likely I wasn’t yet in established labour. I told the midwife that I thought I was but listened to advice and stayed at home using my breathing to stay relaxed, focused and in control. By 9.30pm I rang again as the surges were stronger and very close together. The midwife told me to come in but that it was likely I would be sent home if not in established labour. I kept my headphones on for the 15 minute car journey, closing my eyes and trying to stay in the zone. When we got to the hospital, the midwife examined me and told me I was 8cm dilated. It didn’t come as a surprise and it made me feel so happy that I would soon be meeting my baby. I was taken to the birthing room in the home from home centre where there was lovely dim lighting and the midwife used a diffuser to spray some lavender into the room. My husband couldn’t get the speaker to work so we played my music playlist through the phone instead.
After being in the room for 15 minutes, I felt the urge to squat down and felt so much pressure. The midwife got the pool ready and I really enjoyed the feeling of the warm water when I got in. With this down phase of labour, I was willing the next surge to come as I felt relief when it did, and I could feel the progress I was making. However, a silly thing happened when I got the sensation to do a poo! Even though all my training had taught me that doing a poo was a good sign and that midwives welcome it as it usually signals that the baby’s head is coming, I panicked and felt embarrassed. I look back now and wish I didn’t worry about it as I felt my body tightening up and losing that letting go and relaxed feeling I had been going with the whole time. I’m not sure if it’s related, but from then on there was an issue with my baby’s head not being in the optimum position for birth. It slowed everything up and I spent the next hour birthing the baby’s head.
Because this took more time, our baby’s heartbeat slowed down, and I could feel the atmosphere in the room change. The midwife called for a second midwife and when Jack was born, they cut his cord straight away and took him to make sure his breathing was ok. I managed to stay calm and listen out for his cry…but this felt like the longest 10 seconds mine and my husband’s life. Before we knew it, he was back in my arms and we were so happy. I have no doubts that hypnobirthing made such a difference to my outlook on birth – and my husbands. I felt so confident and excited about giving birth and felt so empowered afterwards. My husband felt confident he could advocate for me if needed and felt like he had an important role to play. The process of birth is so beautiful, and I can’t wait to do it again someday if I’m lucky enough.