During my first labour, I was a rabbit in the head lights. It left me feeling I couldn’t do it again. However, after friends had positive experiences with Beth’s course, I felt I could if I used hypnobirthing.
It was great to have the videos to watch over many evenings with my husband and to be able to talk them through. I knew a home birth (given pandemic and my first experience) made me feel best and I felt prepared to push for this if needed, as I was consultant led until the end.
On the Friday, I woke up to my ‘show’. I didn’t want to get too excited so baked, rested, went for a walk to keep baby in a good position. By tea time, we knew it was game on as the ‘show’ kept coming and pains grew, so we set up front room with the pool, lavender in diffuser, lay my birth plan out (a printable from Beth), stuck up my encouraging photos and mantras (Beth’s ‘you can do anything for 60secs’ was very useful). The contractions were every 10-12 minutes so we went to bed to try to rest in between. Through each one, I used the 4/7 breathing method and kept my hands open as Beth taught. I kept viewing the contraction pains as positive as they were getting me closer to meeting my daughter. My husband and I discussed what would happen if the night took a turn and I had to go to hospital, focusing on ‘control what you can and let go of what you can’t’ that we learnt on the course. As the pain increased, I took some paracetamol and moved to using my Tens machine which I found helped hugely. It also seemed to quicken the contractions (or coincided with this) so they became every 2-3 minutes, meaning at 1:30am we rang the hospital. By this point, contractions were best coped with stood up. I started on my isotonic drink as I didn’t feel like eating my energy snacks.
The first midwife arrived at 3am. Because I seemed so calm during contractions, she said she expected to send the second one home for a while. However, when she checked me at 3:30am, I was 7cm with waters ready to break, which she admitted she wasn’t expecting and I felt proud of how I was doing, following Beth’s tips. My husband got to filling the pool (with saucepans and a bucket after the hose wouldn’t connect, but I didn’t panic and kept with the breathing and swaying to my playlist). I asked when I’d be checked again, but the midwife said they’d go by how I progressed so I realised this would be about listening to and trusting my body – which is what I wanted. I started on the gas and air one of the midwives brought from the hospital, and using that with the Tens – and dancing of all things – really helped when waiting for my waters to break. I used my husband as a leaning post during a contraction, which helped a lot too. Beth’s story about wanting photos has resonated with me, so I asked my husband and the midwives to do the same for me.
My contractions built, and with one I felt the pressure grow and release as my waters burst. I knew my baby was almost here then so got into the pool, leaning over the side of it on my knees to stay UFO – trying to breathe and bear down as I felt her coming. I definitely got the sting and ring of fire, but kept using the gas and air and breathing, with my husband supporting me, because I didn’t want to push her head out until my body told me to. Her heart rate dropped so they said I needed to get her out on the next contraction, which I did by listening to my body and bearing down, pushing with all my might.
Faith came out in one go at 5:11am, weighing 6lb11oz. I enjoyed holding her in the water, loving talking to her, but then felt my placenta pushing so got out of the pool as I needed the placenta birthed ‘on land’ as I wanted it encapsulated. My husband treasured his skin-to-skin time whilst I was doing that.
Afterwards, a midwife checked to see if I needed stitches but no tears at all! I felt pleased about the use of the water, listening to my body and the perineum massage I’d been doing in the weeks leading up to the birth. I’d had an episiotomy with my first, and felt that was because I was labouring on my back, not knowing any different. As one of the midwives went to leave, she called me a warrior and that will stay with me forever, knowing I proved to myself that I could have a positive birth!
I just want to say though, to any expectant parents, that I pushed myself too hard during the next few days, and ended up with fatigue due to a pre-existing medical condition and in hospital for tests. Be kind to yourself. I should’ve taken more of the advice on Beth’s notes there about recovery time! The body has just got through a marathon!
Nevertheless, my husband said that this course helped him so much after the pandemic cut him off from appointments and being able to ask his own questions. This course enabled me to have the positive birth I wanted and to feel empowered to make decisions and use my voice. I’m forever grateful!
Want to feel confident, calm and prepared for all types of births? Check out The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Online Course. Created by midwife Beth, covering how to stack the odds in your favour to get the birth that you want, and also how to feel calm and prepared for every birth journey! Videos, checklists, audios & a support group mto get you feeling excited, prepared and confident for birth. Knowledge is Power!!