Hypnobirthing for my third birth after previous trauma
Angharad Carrington Edwards and Betsy
We decided that we were going to have a lovely family day out and let baby come when he or she was ready. We had the most lovely day out and our daughter was feeling much better and was such a pleasure. We went for a long walk, went to a lovely country pub for a drink and then for a picnic in the park. That night my husband and I watched a romantic comedy and laughed all evening. We went to bed around 11pm but I could not sleep. I was so restless and enviously watched my husband next to me snoring away. I was up and down having little ‘niggles’ and tried desperately to sleep. By 2.30am my husband woke to me listening to my tapes and doing my breathing exercises. ‘You’re in labour’ he said, and I was adamant that I wasn’t as I felt so calm and relaxed, and didn’t feel any pain. He did not listen to me and off he went to start filling the birthing pool. He also downloaded an app on his phone so that I could time my contractions, although I was not convinced I was even having proper contractions. I was timing my ‘mild discomforts’ using the app when a message flashed up saying ‘emergency – hospitalisation required!’ as my contractions were close together. My husband and I were laughing at the app telling us there was an emergency and how ridiculous it was that the app instinctively viewed this stage of birth as an emergency. I felt quite the opposite, there was no emergency it was relief that I was progressing so well! My husband and the app were now demanding that I call the hospital. Reluctantly I did what I was told but immediately regretted it as I felt like a fraud, surely I was not in labour it just didn’t hurt!
Stacey turned up half an hour later at 5am and I was sat on the sofa, still feeling really calm and I was really happy to see her (not because I was in labour though – because I wasn’t!!) She was so quiet coming in and we barely knew she was there. I couldn’t tell you if she had any equipment with her as she kept everything so discreet. She also discreetly called the second midwife, Debbie, and told her she needed to come (although I knew nothing about this she just left me doing my thing while she did hers!) My husband needed reassurance that I was genuinely in labour, and Stacey gladly told him she had already rung Debbie so that she could make her way over. Music to his ears!
Stacey sat next to me as I was having a contraction and she helped me to relax whenever I would tense my body. All I ever remember her saying was ‘relax your forehead’ ‘drop your shoulders,’ she was really helpful. She did not need to say anything else as I clearly had it all under control! In between contractions, I was walking around the house, cleaning, pottering around and offering everyone drinks, it was such a contrast from my first labour. I recall apologising to Stacey for wasting her time as I was convinced, she was going to tell me I was still in the latent phase and nowhere near 10cm. She laughed and reassured me that I was definitely in labour and that she could tell without examining me. To convince me, she told me that the purple line going up my back from my bottom was as big as it could be and that in her eyes I was around 10cm. She was so convinced I was nearly ready that she was discreetly following me around the house concerned that I would have the baby outside of the pool. She gently encouraged me to get in the pool, afraid that it would be too late if I left it any longer. I got in the pool still feeling like a fraud, and I was secretly feeling for a head, as I really did not think I was anywhere near the end. Within minutes I felt different and started feeling the urge to bear down and do my second stage breathing. I remember shouting that this was all ‘stupid’ and my mum and Jack laughing at my reaction to the realisation that I was finally in labour. As I felt the pain and pressure intensifying, I was finally convinced that I was in labour! I even remember the song which was playing from my birth playlist at this stage as I was so tuned in to my relaxing surroundings. Stacey and Jack were encouraging me to have some gas and air but I had come this far without anything and I felt ok, so I held on to it and could use it if I felt like I needed it.
Within minutes I felt immense pressure and then felt a pop, and I heard Stacey telling my husband that my waters had broken. I was slightly disappointed as I was hoping that was the head! I tried to birth the head a couple of times and eventually after around 3 contractions her head came out. The pain was very intense and the worst I had ever experienced but the minute her head came out I felt better again. I remember it all so well as I was totally compos mentis and in tune with my body and what it was doing. I remember Jack and my mother sounding amazed as they watched my baby’s head being born and saying that her eyes were closed and her mouth had the perfect pout. She had no idea that she had been born. I felt so happy that her head was out and seconds later her body was born. Stacey encouraged me to turn around and pick up the baby out of the water. As she was under the water I was able to tell everyone that she was a little girl. I pulled her straight to my chest and had immediate skin to skin contact and she began feeding almost immediately. She was born at 7.16am half an hour from getting in the pool. My husband cried with relief and happiness and I could not believe she was here! My legs were like jelly and my hips were in a lot of pain. The baby’s cord was quite short and I was struggling to keep her above the water and so everyone helped me to get out of the pool. I opted to have the injection to remove the placenta as I was in a lot of pain because of my hips and bottom, the same pain which I have had since my first birth only a lot stronger.
Stacey and Debbie were very gentle and explained everything to me and helped me with pain relief as they could see I was struggling. I was then helped upstairs where I was put in bed and given some toast and carried on breastfeeding. I had a grin from ear to ear, even though I was still in pain at this point. As the pain started to ease I couldn’t stop saying ‘i did it!’ to everyone. I felt the full effect of the oxytocin and I was literally buzzing with happiness and excitement.
Stacey knew that I was intrigued by the placenta and offered to show me it when she examined it. This was really lovely to see, and it was amazing to understand exactly how that organ had looked after my baby for 9 months
Stacey’s trainee turned up with my permission, Claire, who was lovely and so pleased to see I had had the birth I wanted. I happened to know Claire from my childhood however her positivity and professionalism really impressed me. The very fact she knew about my past proved to me that every midwife and trainee in Brecon were told about me and the clinical alert had been hugely effective.
When Stacey, Debbie and my mother left, I lay in bed, grinning like a Cheshire Cat staring at my sleeping baby and husband, who were both exhausted. I was on cloud nine. I wanted to tell the world but I also wanted to savour the moment alone and enjoy the peace.
The breastfeeding was established really easily this time, and four hours post birth I was getting dressed and able to walk downstairs and see my other daughter. I invited family around as I felt so much better and the pain had eased.
The following day we took our eldest daughter swimming and the day after to the community farm! I could not believe how good I felt considering I had felt so poorly after my first baby.
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