A lot of clients have asked how my Hypnobirth went. A few have been pleasantly shocked about just how ‘un-hypnobirthy’ it actually was! I swore, I watched TV, I had drugs, I was induced. BUT, I did decline certain interventions, I chose my birthing positions, I used what knowledge of my Hypnobirthing course I wanted to, I never once doubted the process or my body. I loved it. This is the woman who went through years of anxiety because of a previous traumatic experience at birth, so how did it go…
The day before Jack’s birth something started to feel different. I was 39 weeks. I felt on edge and physically I felt like I needed to be near the floor. I was playing with my then 3 year old and it felt incredibly heavy in my pelvis. I had felt low most of the pregnancy but this did start to feel different. I was due to have a sweep the next day so was happy that something was hopefully going to happen soon!
That night I went to bed at 10pm thinking I would need an early night as I had to be at Harrogate for 9am at the Antenatal Clinic. At 12.30pm I woke up and thought I was absolutely desperate for a wee. Surely I wasn’t weeing myself?! Nope, my waters were breaking as I was waking up and thinking about it all! I ran to the toilet (with my husband panicking I was ruining the newly fitted bedroom carpet) and this was definitely happening. Now normally you do not have to go straight in when your waters go, but as I had agreed to a course of antibiotics during labour due to being tested positive for Group B Strep, I went straight in. We packed the car and off we went! My distraction the whole way there was waiting for the email to load to tell me if my 4 year old had got into his first choice primary school!
As soon as I got there we went straight to a delivery room. The usual antenatal checks were done and monitoring of baby’s baseline. The midwife was quite stern in suggesting that I needed the synthetic oxytocin drip to ‘speed things up’ with me being on antibiotics for the strep. I declined and said I was happy to go for the pessary and take it from there. I didn’t fancy two cannulas at this point in me let alone what I had learnt about the hormone drip! We decided we would crack on with watching a film whilst the monitor was on. I couldn’t sleep even though there were no signs of contractions at this point.
4 hours after the first, another set of antibiotics were administered. I was then able to move away from the drip and get more comfortable.
So 7 hours had passed; I had no sleep and was knackered. I had some breakfast around 8am and was starting to feel impatient. I was growing worried the pessary wouldn’t work and the drip would be recommended again. My husband was also shattered and hungry, so decided to nip to the shop. Of course that’s when I started to feel twinges begin! I was excited! I began to get myself into a sitting position to get comfy. The twinges were beginning to get stronger quite quickly and I knew then that things were progressing. My husband came back to a labouring woman!
After around an hour of surges starting, Something in me went into this focal trance where I was completely zoned into my breathing. Al l I kept visualising was what I learnt on my Hypnobirthing course about the functioning of the muscles and cervix working together. It was working for sure! I was comfortable and in control, and what was shocking me is that I was calm! The surges got stronger and I needed to get comfy; the only place this seemed to be possible was sat on the toilet!! I felt a huge relief of pressure being in there. I couldn’t believe it but I was still releasing amniotic fluid 9 hours on.
The midwives had been in and out all morning; some again suggesting the drip to speed things on. I continued to decline it; something in me just kept saying it wouldn’t be long. I had no VE’s performed, a decision I made with the midwives to keep infection risk lowered. I remember being really tired due to lack of sleep so I tried to get myself comfy lying on my side just to grab some rest. This wasn’t to happen; as soon as I did my husband told me I bounced out off the bed shouting, ‘I need to push’, shit I need to push already!’ It had only been 2.5 hours!
So off into stage two of delivery we were. I spent nearly all of it on my knees hugging the back of the bed, with gas and air in one hand and the other holding my husband for support! I often describe to clients who ask what the state of mind of stage two is like; I often compare it to a boxing match. When you tune into your breath and what the body is doing, you almost feel the endorphins hit you physically. I felt so in control and empowered at this point… well until crowning! Wow!! I didn’t know what to expect after an episiotomy with my first birth. It burnt, I won’t lie, but I remember being told to breathe through it to keep the skin tissue soft and relaxed. I remember turning to lie on my back at this point as the little monkey had turned himself into a bit of an awkward position. A few more surges, a lot of F bombs and he was here!
Jack Stanley was born at 12.27 on 18th April. He was my picture of perfection in every way. I instantly got my skin to skin and fell in love. I remember screaming, ‘I did it, I fucking did it!’ The sense of achievement after what happened in my first labour was overwhelming. I felt like a superhero!
We stayed in for one night through protocol; paediatricians did routine checks due to me having the antibiotics. With all looking mighty fine we were discharged the next day and off home we went to life as a 4 piece. The jigsaw was complete. I felt I was healing after my first birth and miscarriages. I am so lucky.
I look back on Jack’s birthday as the day I found belief in myself again and changed my whole outlook on my self-confidence. This is why birth trauma is nothing to be ignored. It can change a mother in so many ways. I’ll be forever grateful for finding Hypnobirthing and attending CBT to help get over the first birth. I actually only used a small number of the things that I teach my clients, as what I personally needed was an active birth, visualisation and breathing. The beauty of it is you use what you need to, there is not just one set way of ‘doing’ Hypnobirthing.
Happy birthday baby boy. You brought me more than you’ll ever know xxx