Hypnobirthing as a first time mum
Ari Holden Bradley
9th February 2020
11 hours spontaneous labour
Midwife led birthing suite at hospital
I am so pleased to be able to share my story after reading so many that inspired and empowered me to study hypnobirthing.
In summary, my labour was amazing. I loved it (well all but 20 minutes during “transition”) and felt like an absolute warrior.
My story begins at 3:30am on Sunday 9th February when my waters went with a pop and gushed multiple litres of water all over my bed. Thank you to my mum who got me a waterproof sheet despite me being convinced that waters don’t break like they do in the movies. I ran into the bathroom and remembered that if your waters break before contractions you have to get them checked so I asked my hubby to get me a bowl to collect them. After filling the bowl I popped the contents into a freezer bag.
We rang the hospital who advised us to come in to get the waters checked. It was safe to say the waters were clear and the midwife team found it hilarious that we had the waters in a freezer bag. After a quick check of baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure we were told we could go home. If I didn’t go into labour in the next 24 hours we would need to be induced and told to call at 8am the following morning. I decided not to worry (as I had been keen to avoid induction) and just see how the day progressed trusting my body to do what it needed.
I got home and went back to bed (with clean sheets thanks to hubby) while he ran round doing the dishes, laundry and clearing his work diary. At 7am my contractions started about 10 minutes apart. I tried to nap between them but couldn’t, so I took my time, had a slow shower and got ready. I used a contraction app from 7am which I loved as it gave me something to focus on. I had relaxing background music on and counted in for 4 and out for 8 knowing it was roughly 4 times through for each contraction.
I applied the TENS machine and started on the lowest setting using boost for each contraction. By 11am the app told me I was in established labour and contractions were about 5 minutes apart. I sat in the dining room on my birthing ball reading a magazine and had my husband aggressively rub my back during each contraction and counted alongside the app. I was able to talk between contractions but they were getting more and more intense. When I realised I couldn’t read the magazine anymore we moved into the lounge and I watched TV trying to make it to the end of each programme and assessing where we were at. At this point contractions were still 4 and a half minutes apart but lasting from 60-90 seconds.
We called the hospital at 1pm but decided to try and stay home a bit longer as I really didn’t want to go there and be sent home. By 2pm I knew it was time to go in and we called the hospital who apparently spoke to me but I cannot recall this at all.
During the car journey over I closed my eyes and listened to the music and again counted each contraction. I really didn’t want the contractions to slow as they were still every 4 and a half minutes and I knew the hospital would want 3 in 10 minutes so I took my time walking from the carpark to the labour suite. My husband said everyone was looking at me as I didn’t even open my eyes and just held onto him, but I didn’t care.
We arrived at the labour suite and again I took my time to walk in pausing to breath through each contraction.
We went straight into a delivery room and the midwife spent time reading over my birthing plan. The key requests were for all communications to go via my husband, not to be offered drugs and to minimise vaginal examination. The midwife asked me what I wanted to happen next, to which I replied ‘I would like to stay here and have my baby’. I asked her if I needed to be examined as a lot of people told me you had to be at least 4cm to stay in the delivery room. She explained that she would only examine me if I wanted her too and she didn’t think it was needed as labour progresses at different rates for different people. I would love to know if this was her view or if she did this as it was in my plan.
She told me she would leave us for a couple of hours and then check back in. I got a birthing ball and a bottle of water and focused on my contractions continuing to use the app and TENS machine with my husband counting each contraction. Just before 4pm the contractions changed to me breathing through one cycle, making bizarre noises and swearing and then breathing again. During this time I honestly thought I am never doing this again!
The midwife returned and started to run the pool. I told her not to fill the pool as I only wanted to go in when I was pushing, apparently, that’s what was happening.
We then realised all our bags were still in the car. This had all of my lovely labour aids and snack bag. The midwife said it was probably not the best idea for my husband to leave me, so there I was in labour using only hospital blackcurrant squash and none of the lovely aids I had purchased!
I got into the pool in my bra (swimwear was in the car) and the midwife added some aromatherapy oils which were amazing. The contractions really changed and I could feel pushing begin. I did try to breathe but my body wanted me to push and I felt like I wasn’t maximising the contractions so I asked the midwife to coach me through each one and give me pointers on how to improve! She got me into a squat position in the pool and told me when to push, when to breathe and when to pause.
The pushing stage was honestly amazing. I felt like such a warrior and could feel that I was actively giving birth to my baby. She had a mirror under the water so me and my husband could see the head starting to appear. At this stage I didnt know but my contractions had moved to about 6 minutes apart but each contraction was strong and I could feel great progress so I thought how kind my body was to allow me the rest periods. My husband told me that I kept asking for my pick n mix and lucozade which was in the car so I continued to labour on blackcurrant squash!
The head was delivered and I was able to see and feel his little head. He then spent 6 minutes looking around under the water which was an odd sensation! The midwife explained that with the next contraction he would arrive. She would push him in front of me so I could sit back and lift him out of the water. I was so scared I was going to sit on him as my legs were completely numb.
I sat back at 6:13pm and lifted my little boy out of the water. It was the best feeling in the world. I spent probably 15 minutes in the pool with my little boy who crawled up and fed immediately. My husband cut the cord and then took him for skin to skin time. I had to climb out of the pool which was probably the hardest part as my legs had given up!
To deliver the placenta I had a few sniffs of Clary Sage and a little push. The midwife then gave us a tour of the placenta which was amazing. I had suffered a 2nd degree tear which was a big fear of mine but I honestly didn’t feel it and they spent about 15 minutes stitching me up which I could feel tugging but no pain.
I honestly cannot believe that I did it and it was such an amazing experience. It shows that if you trust your body you can do it. Follow your instincts and remember your snack bag!
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