This is the story of how a brought my eldest into the world. As I come closer to my due time I think more and more of it as part of my visualisation for the birth of my second child. I really did have the birth I dreamed of and I am hoping to recreate something like this second time around.
On the evening on 12 March at around 5pm I felt my first surge. I was making dinner and I thought ‘This is it. Sure enough I had some more tightenings and by the time we had eaten dinner I was absolutely sure I was in labour. Realising that this could be a long time I sat down watched a bit of TV and went to bed ‘early’. It was 9pm and this is the norm now but was early at the time. I gave the midwives a quick call to let them know labour had started but was not intense. I opted for some panadol and off to bed.
I slept until 1am when the surges became too intense for me to sleep through. I stayed in bed for half an hour as I knew rest was most important and just timed the surges. I think they were about ten to fifteen minutes apart. After half an hour I opted for the shower to help me through the surges. I left my husband asleep. I also have no idea what happened between when I got out of the shower and daybreak when my husband woke up. I do remember my surges were still about ten minutes apart when he woke up. We ate a breakfast of weet bix and I called the midwives probably feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. They kept me on the phone during a couple of surges and advised me I wasn’t yet ready to come in.
My husband took our dog for a walk at about 7 and I stayed home. I stomped back and forth on our balcony during surges to distract me. At some stage while my husband was out I lost my birth plug. Now despite its nickname of ‘bloody show’ I was alarmed at how bloody it was. I called the midwives again and said I was coming in. I needed the reassurance everything was okay. They again advised me I hadn’t reached that magical number of 3 surges in ten minutes but I didn’t care I had been labouring for 14 hours at this stage and I needed some reassurance from my team.
Even though I had made the decision to go to the hospital. I was aware that it was peak hour so we waited until 9 and then made our way in. Better I wait at home a bit longer than sit in the car in traffic! I did tricep dips during surges on the ride in. My pregnancy aerobics instructor would have been so proud. When we got to the hospital someone helpfully told my husband to get me a wheelchair. He disappeared to get me one while I went through three or four surges alone in a hospital corridor. He came back unsuccessful in his endeavour to a very angry wife. Anywho we just walked up to the birth centre…
Once I arrived I was taken straight to my room as the birth centre is a different process to the birth suites. I was admitted by my midwife and during my admission it became clear my surges were that magical three minutes apart and I was best off staying in hospital. My surges were able to steady to this rate as soon as I got to the hospital because I had the reassurance I needed. I trusted myself and this instinct paid off. During the consultation I declined a vaginal exam.
After we were done I headed to the shower. I leaned on a birth ball and counted tiles during surges while the water washed over my back. The surges became more intense and were concentrated in my back. I expected this as my period pain is mostly felt in my back. The problem with this was that as the surges became closer together I was no longer able to tell when they were starting and stopping. The build up in my back was stopping me from telling when my uterus was tightening so I could use my HypnoBirthing techniques to breath through. Plus I wasn’t getting any rest between surges and rest is essential. At this point I opted for sterile water injections. Sterile water injections are just what they sound like. An injection of water that is administered at strategic points in your back to block pain signals to the brain. They administer them at the height or a surge and the needles are quite long so the procedure can be quite painful. I breathed through it with my HypnoBirthing techniques and honestly it is one of the least memorable things about my labour and birth.
I then asked for the bath. I was told I needed a vaginal exam to make sure I was dilated enough to get in. I consented to one but with hindsight realise I was coerced into something I did not want and would choose differently next time. I advised the midwife I didn’t want to know how far along I was. However I could see the surprise on her face and felt her hand open up inside me. So I asked and I was 8cm! Woot woot! Remember vaginal exams can motivate or demotivate so choose if you want them carefully.
The bath was prepared and I hopped straight in. The combination of the water injections and the bath was amazing. I could really feel my surges at this stage and this was a blessing because I could better focus on my breathing to get through each surge. I also started to moan through each surge at this stage. My husband said it’s the most primal noise he has ever heard. At some stage my midwife said I was ready to push. I told her I was not. A little while later I said ‘I’m ready to breathe my baby down now’. I was birth breathing when my waters broke into the bath with a pop and the infamous fish scoop was deployed to pick up random bits of amniotic sack. Babies heart rate needed checking in between surges as per hospital policy. The only problem was I had stopped moaning by this stage and was so calm the midwife was having trouble working out when I was in surge as I was so relaxed throughout! Neither my husband or I was watching the clock so I have no idea how long the breathing down phase lasted. But eventually he was through the birth canal and was opening up my vulva to make his entrance.
This is where I made a mistake. I was not informed during any birth class that baby will move up and down a little, Baby does this to stretch out your perineum. But your perineum stretching is quite a burny, uncomfortable sensation. I was over feeling this. So after a surge I concentrated on holding his head where it was (about out to his eyebrows). The next surge I pushed the rest of his head out. I should have allowed to happen in its correct timeline as this may have contributed to the tear I got. But ladies I want you to reread what I did. I used my muscles to hold baby in a position while I waited for a surge to push him out. My body had enough strength to do and holy amazing!
Once babies head is out it is usually two surges before the body slips out as well. One surge so baby can rotate allowing the shoulders are coming through at the widest part and the second baby comes out. After two surges my primary midwife was insistent that I needed help and told me I have to get out of the bath. So pay attention again… because I have a babies head between my legs and I have just been told to get out of the bath. I stood up with some help from my husband. The second I stood up out of the bath he slipped out - he just needed some help from gravity I didn’t even have a surge. The midwife may have uttered ‘SHIT!’ as she quickly managed to literally catch my baby. So now the urgency was getting him back into the water for warmth. The only problem he is still attached to the cord and I am standing up facing the opposite way. There was no room to pass him between my legs because he’s huge and the bath water is high so I execute some pretty amazing gymnastics to lift my leg over his cord before plonking myself back into the bath with him held up against my chest but mostly in the water to keep him warm.
In the birth centre here you cannot deliver your placenta under water. So after a few minutes I had to attempt to leave the bath again for placenta delivery. I was opting for delayed clamping so he stayed attached to me while I did this. Over the next forty minutes we tried a tonne of different positions to aid the birthing of the placenta. After about half an hour my husband cut the cord and had skin to skin as it was clear my little man had no interest in a feed yet. My surges had slowed right down and at fifty minutes I was offered to wait five more minutes (hospital policy is that placenta needs to be delivered within an hour) or have a shot of syntocinon. My baby was with my husband and obviously I wanted to be with him so I choose the synto. I may make the same decision again as baby was detached from the placenta but I am hoping for a natural third stage this time.
He had his first breastfeed shortly after this when I was tucked up in the double bed bleeding all over a puppy pad and just generally surviving giving birth. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was on this amazing love high full off confidence in my incredible body. It was the best experience of my life. I still feel so powerful just thinking about it. This is why I teach women HypnoBirthing so they can feel the same thing whatever their birthing brings.
Feel free to get in contact if you have an questions about this particular birth or how HypnoBirthing can help you.