I’ve written my birth story, having found time to reflect on it and write it, here it is:
This was my first pregnancy and my partner and I were excited about the new chapter that awaited us. We both attended Amy’s hypnobirthing course face to face in preparation for birth, to understand what happens in labour, so as to alleviate my own anxieties and fear of birth. Amy’s hypnobirthing course was fantastic and really helped me to relax, feel confident and I practiced the techniques daily, particularly the meditations, breathing exercises and visualisation. I also used lavender oil every evening to aid relaxation before bed. I had attended some of Amy’s antenatal yoga classes too which I really enjoyed.
My partner was abroad with work prior to our baby’s due date, I told myself if I’m calm and relaxed the baby will stay put, which fortunately they did until his return. I must have had an oxytocin boost from this, as within 12 hours of my partner returning home, I went to bed as usual and woke up around midnight, experiencing mild cramps and a desire to pee, and my ‘show’, needless to say this continued hourly into the next day and I’d had little to no sleep. I managed to go about the day pottering and doing things to distract myself, using the breathing techniques, writing thank you cards and having a family member visit. As the evening approached the cramps were intensifying and more frequent. We contacted the hospital and they advised to continue at home, so I had a lovely soothing bath with lavender oil, it was the most relaxed I’d felt in 24 hours!
Another restless night followed, whereby I felt my body preparing and cleansing itself for birth. I had managed not to take paracetamol, breathing through the contractions as they began to establish themselves. By the morning, I decided to use the TENS machine and it was really helpful for me, I used it all morning and into the afternoon as the contractions increased and became closer together. My partner contacted the MAU just before rush hour to update them and they agreed that it was time for me to go in for an examination.
There was quite a wait to be seen, I continued with my breathing techniques and stayed calm. I was examined and had been told I was 5cm dilated, I felt really pleased that I’d managed to get to that point and I was taken round to the delivery suite, as my preferred choice of the Spires wasn’t available until later in the evening. The midwives were really considerate of my birth preferences and tried to create the same calming environment in delivery suite, they were pleasant and encouraging. I started using gas and air which helped me to focus on my visualisation, and I wore the powerful bracelet (given to me by Amy) and sat in a rocking chair, breathing through contractions.
A short while later I was taken up to the Spires and my wish of being in water was granted and it felt amazing! One of the highlights for me, I was in and out of the birthing pool, I found it really soothing. After several hours had passed I was examined and advised that I was 8cm dilated and that my waters would need to be broken as they hadn’t gone. The midwife broke my waters, or so we thought and I spent 1.5 hours of trying to push baby out without any sign of baby. I was examined by two midwives and advised that they thought baby was transverse and that I would need to be transferred back to delivery suite and examined by a Doctor.
Following a painful examination by a Doctor in delivery suite, my partner was able to advocate for me and ask them to stop and explain what they were doing, as it hadn’t been explained to either of us prior to the examination. I was told that my waters hadn’t fully broken and that I was 6cm dilated and the baby was transverse. I felt so grateful that my partner was able to advocate for me when I felt too fatigued to do so. I felt exhausted and drained mentally and physically after what had been over 48 hours in labour from when it started and baby wasn’t close to making an appearance. I continued to stay calm. It was suggested that I consider an epidural to get some rest and then decide what to do next, which at this point felt like the right thing for me as I wanted to rest, I agreed.
Once I woke up another Doctor discussed the options of breaking my waters, and giving me an oxytocin drip to re-establish contractions as mine had slowed down. I asked how long these interventions would take, as I knew I had run out of energy, the response was 3-4 hours. It was explained to me that if I couldn’t push baby out with support, they might need to consider forceps, or a Caesarean section as my labour would have gone on too long and they’d need to deliver baby. Fortunately my baby was coping, but I knew that if my body had run out of energy, my baby would be feeling the same and that the prospect of several more hours trying to deliver baby vaginally could cause baby to become distressed. I asked about the option of having a Caesarean section as I was sleep deprived and felt that I hadn’t had sufficient nutrition for over 48 hours to keep going. I was advised that I could consider a c-section and not proceed with re-establishing my labour as suggested. It was a difficult decision for me to make, as my partner supported me and my choice. I had always said that I wanted to give birth in water and that a c-section would be my last resort. However, I hadn’t envisaged my labour going how it did and going on as long as it did. I felt at this moment in time that a c-section was the safest option for my baby and I.
Shortly after making this decision I was whisked into theatre and my partner joined me a few minutes later. Within 20 minutes our baby was born on her due date, the curtain unveiled to reveal a beautiful baby girl (we were so convinced it was a boy!) and the tears and joy came over us both, we were in love and totally besotted with our baby girl. We were able to have skin to skin straight away and had asked not to be told the gender, so that we could see for ourselves, our birth preferences being acknowledged.
Once I was on the observation ward I was able to try and latch my daughter, she did briefly, she enjoyed the comfort of being on my chest more than anything and I loved the skin to skin bonding with her. I spent a further day and a bit on the postnatal ward and I started expressing colostrum and was giving this to her via syringe, as she wasn’t latching easily after the initial time that she did. We were discharged within 48 hours and back home happily settling in as a family of 3.
My birth didn’t go to plan in the sense of how I’d imagined it, however, I felt that had we not done Amy’s hypnobirthing course, then we wouldn’t have been so informed or known what to ask when and how to make decisions that were right for us under the circumstances. Using all of the hypnobirthing techniques meant that I was able to stay calm, relaxed and focused during labour, which upon reflection definitely helped me throughout all stages of labour and birth. It helped me to see that birth can still be positive even if it doesn’t go how you’d plan it to! The gift of new life certainly reminded me that a happy, healthy baby is the most positive thing of all and that we were both okay which was all that mattered.
Thank you Amy x