Mel's Hypnobirthing Story
I Just wanted to fill you in on how my birth went. It's been a great part of the process for me to write this all down, so forgive me that it's a long email!
It was Friday evening and I was doing a 1000 piece funny jigsaw with my mum, it was Top Gear Where's Stig, which was a bit like Where's Wally. We kept finding funny details like a man wearing a bikini and the odd naked person, so we were laughing a lot! Then my waters went at 5.30pm, which made me laugh even more! I phoned the hospital and they asked me to go in for an assessment but I asked if we could wait until later (as I wasn't having surges at that point and I wanted to eat the dinner we were making). They said that was fine, and I should go in at 8am if nothing was happening by then. We had dinner about 7.30pm, I was having a surge every now and then but they were very manageable. I thought the waters only went once, but no they went again just as I finished dinner! By 8.30pm my mum started timing the surges and we realised they were 3 in 10 mins and lasting about 45 seconds, so I asked her to go and get Dan so we could go to the hospital, and my waters went a 3rd time! I said to my mum that I was so excited that the baby was coming. The journey was very manageable, I just listened to my MP3s and focused on my breathing.
When we arrived someone was already in the pool room so we were placed in another delivery suite. It was still a nice room and we were able to have dim lighting by just having a table lamp on. The midwife was great, she obviously read and absorbed our birth preferences. She said she would leave us to it and just check on us every half hour. Those checks were just my blood pressure and baby's heart rate, which she checked using a foetal monitor that she just held against me. She asked if we wanted an internal examination but we said not at that stage. The surges started to last a little longer and became closer together, but I was counting in breaths rather than seconds, each one was about 4 breaths rather than 3. Some of them were one after another and some were shorter. Dan used the soothing strokes and then a lovely big cuddle as each one ended. We were able to move to the pool room at about midnight. The pool room was fantastic. Lovely dim lighting, medical equipment folded away out of sight, and a floor to ceiling lighting feature next to the pool that was green bubbles quietly floating up and down with a gentle bubbling noise. The midwife asked if we would like an aromatherapy vaporiser and brought a selection of scents for us to choose. We chose mandarin.
At that stage I found I needed hard pressure in the small of my back during the surges so leant against a chair whilst Dan did that. The midwife came in every 15 mins to check baby's heart rate, again just holding the monitor against me. She said it would take 30 mins to fill the pool so at 12.30 I asked her to start filling it. I got in at 1am and it was lovely. Took me a little while to find a good position to manage the surges, and settled on kneeling up with knees wide and feet together, head resting on a towel on the side of the pool whilst Dan massaged my back. The midwife was able to keep checking the baby without my needing to move as the fetal monitor was waterproof. She asked me if I wanted some direction when it came to breathing him out, to help protect the perineum. I said yes and asked how I would know when it was time, and she just quietly and calmly said 'you'll know'. Turned out I knew at about 2.40am! I did wonder shortly before that if I was in transition because the surges had changed a little, incredibly intense at first followed by a long tail off, and I had a couple of moments when I wondered if I could cope and almost asked for a couple of paracetamol. But then I felt his head starting to come down. I told the midwife and she said to Dan 'I'm just popping out for a couple of minutes, pull the cord if you need me'. I think Dan panicked a bit at that stage! I think she'd actually gone to ask the second midwife to come in.
My breathing changed naturally, from a controlled pursed lips long out breath to more of a throaty roar - not the humming I'd practised, that's for sure! It took about 15-20 mins for his head to come out, which did sting a bit. The midwife used a mirror and helped by telling me when to go gently, and Dan calmed me down a couple of times by telling me to remember my breathing, which worked straight away. Then I felt his head come out completely and I could feel him turning. A couple of surges later he was born, the midwife supported him under the water as I reached between my knees to bring him out of the water and onto my chest. What an amazing moment! I was elated and felt totally empowered! He let out a big cry straight away. He was born at 3.02am.
After delivering the placenta, the midwife then got us some toast and a hot drink and left us alone for some more bonding time, and didn't actually check our baby over until about 7am. I had a shower and got dressed, then we were free to go home. It was about 10am by the time they'd sorted the paperwork and we were home by 10.30am!
Thank you for all your support and guidance in our preparation. You helped us to have a truly amazing and powerful birth experience. It was so positive. I would not describe my labour as painful. I would say it was empowering and emotionally intense, in a positive sense. Recovery has also been a lot faster than last time, and the hypnobirthing techniques have helped to relax into breast feeding and handle the 'after surges' as I've been calling them. If anyone is in any doubt about hypnobirthing send them my way and I'll be evangelical about it!