I’m not someone who is particularly worried or fearful of things in life, I’ve scuba dived with sharks 🦈 & skydived a couple of times, I’ve Bungee’d off of the largest Bungee in Australasia, we ski, snowboard & love activities like ziplining, white water rafting, motor biking & horseriding BUT I was completely terrified of childbirth & had been all my life!
As soon as we knew we were expecting, I started looking into hypnobirthing & positive birth stories. I needed to get over my fear & try to have control of my birth choices.
We knew we wanted a home birth & I definitely wanted to be in water.
I read 3 specific books:
– Positive Birth Preparation by Melanie Rossiter
– Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to Make Your Birth Better by Siobhan Miller the Founder of The Positive Birth Company
– The Hypnobirthing Book (KG Hypnobirthing) by Katharine Graves (+ soundtrack cd)
All 3 books were useful & had both similar pieces of advice which helped to cement the information in my brain AND each book also had its own additional unique information that was worth reading too.
I listened to all the available MP3s & any free snippets of videos also available on their websites too. I played something related to hypnobirthing daily. There are lots of positive birth videos available & these are extremely important to watch as much as possible, to help you realise that it can be done in a calm way!
I purchased an essential oil diffuser to diffuse lavender to help me associate it with relaxation (& I purchased Clary Sage essential oil for later on in pregnancy).
I signed up for Lucy Flow Pregnancy Yoga which was brilliant to keep me active but also to give great tips for positions during labour. Lucy also does “Lives” weekly on Instagram & has a Facebook page & these were very useful to watch too.
I started joining Elizabeth Blanch’s free Hypnobirthing sessions once a week when I saw them advertised & very quickly realised that I found her voice & manner so relaxing that I wanted to hear more!!! She’s also such a knowledgable person too & if she doesn’t know an answer, she will go away & research it for you! I joined Lizzy’s online Hypnobirthing course & my husband (Alex) & I learned lots from it! We also met some other expecting parents online which was reassuring, especially as during lockdown we didn’t have any face to face meetings with anybody. Lizzy is so kind & very passionate about Hypnobirthing that she always offered to help throughout the week or if she was free, during the labour, if needed.
I also joined Melanie Rossiter’s online Hypnobirthing course because we booked an in-person session very early in the year, but due to Covid, this was postponed twice, we did eventually manage to have a socially distanced day’s session in July & it was extremely useful. Melanie is lovely, she is passionate & enthusiastic about owning a calm & informed birth & spent the whole day at our house going through anything we wanted to. Alex found this session very informative as all his questions were answered face-to-face in a time where he had not been able to attend the scans or midwife appointments otherwise. We felt much more prepared for the baby’s arrival after our session.
From 34 weeks I had started perineal massage with oil & from 36 weeks I had started using Aniball. I think these really helped me not to tear too.
My EDD was 8th September, I was hoping baby would be at least a week late as I still had lots of work to do & we didn’t feel ready yet! Ha! I was very aware that this date was just an estimate & I knew not to worry about timings & dates in general!
I had been offered sweeps to be booked in for 40+4, 40+6 & 40+8 by my midwife (apparently they’re the offered timings during Covid), & then had been offered to have an induction at 40+10 booked for the 18th September. I knew I didn’t want any inductions or interventions unless absolutely necessary & strongly indicated, so I declined. I was then booked in for an appointment on Thursday 10th September with the “Birth Choices” team because I had declined the induction, this was to be able to come to a compromise…. 🙄 I had read the book “Why Induction Matters” so I was fully informed with the statistics & research knowledge. Needless to say, I didn’t need this appointment! 😂
I remained active & was still horse riding at 40 weeks & still Poo-picking the horse fields, mucking out & walking the dogs, which I’m sure helped with maintaining my overall fitness!
On Wednesday 9th September I was feeling a little bit uncomfortable during the day, I still worked all day at my desk (sitting on the birthing ball) & then in the evening went to our house that we’re doing up (currently living with my parents) & did some clearing up & manual work that evening. When we got home, I had a little bit of dinner, & still had some work to finish on my computer, but thought I’d put the hot water on ready for a bath later as I thought I had Braxton Hicks or cramps. At around 9pm, I was writing a report & thought I was a bit uncomfortable so ran a bath & thought “I’ll finish my report when I get out of the bath”.
When I got into the bath around 9:15pm, I started to feel cramps & my whole abdomen was contracting/going hard.
I started using the Up Breathing to get through these surges as they started to be quite regular & intense but totally bearable. They were more like a period pain wave coming intensely & then having a break in between.
They were coming every 2-3 minutes & lasting around 45 seconds, they were easy enough to deal with when using the breathing techniques. I listened to recorded scripts from Lizzy over & over again which really helped with my mindset & relaxation. I even got to eat a bowl of ice-cream, I just had to put it down each time I had a surge to concentrate & breathe through it, & then ate it in between 😂
I wasn’t sure if this was just the start & if it was going to go on for hours more or if it was just Braxton Hicks, but Alex & I planned to watch a movie & I’d sit on the birthing ball if I needed to, even try to get some sleep.
(I must add at this point, with living with my parents, we planned for them to go away in the Motorhome to give us some time alone, but we didn’t get chance! While I had been in the bath, using Up Breathing & relaxing between surges, my mum popped in & sat on the loo for a chat, then she went to bed just before the next surge came so she wasn’t aware I was having surges (& I didn’t tell them so as not to worry them). Both parents went to bed none the wiser!)
Alex was putting together the baby changing unit 😂 so at 11pm I got out of the bath & went into the bedroom hoping to relax & snooze, but quickly realised that the surges felt quite intense when out of the water & during an intense surge where I was on all fours on the bed I said to Alex “I’m not sure I can do this if it’s going to last another 12 hours or so…”, he reassured me that I could & talked about Up Breathing & knowing that my body is capable of birthing our baby….
I then had a feeling like I needed to go & sit on the loo, when I did, the next surge was a Down Surge, so I quickly realised that where I had said “I’m not sure if I can do this” that I had “hit the famous wall” & was at transition!
Then the surges had changed, they were much more manageable with a more downward function & for me, larger gaps in between to be able to rest & relax.
I then realised we were on the second phase of labour & asked Alex to prepare the pool. I got back in the bath in the meantime.
Alex pumped the pool up (it was already inflated but needed topping up) & then filled it.
I thought I’d try to feel my cervix & I could feel the baby’s head in a membrane, then a few surges later, the bath water went cloudy & then I felt the baby’s head again & I could feel the hair clearly, so realised my waters had broken.
I then got into the birthing pool which was so much more comfortable on my legs & I could fully relax….
Alex had created the most perfect space, with twinkly lights, photos of relaxing places & our chosen playlist on. It was just us two & was a relaxing environment, it all happened quite fast & we didn’t get chance to light the fire or eat any of our snacks!!!! 😂
With each surge I could feel the baby’s head coming further out & stretching the skin & then slipping back inside as the surges ended, the head got further & further each time but I didn’t rush it, I tried hard to Down Breathe or pant during these surges instead of trying to push (the pushing is just something your body does involuntarily). I didn’t want to tear so wanted to be very careful with this stage.
The midwives arrived at 1:30am & were fantastic, they read our birth plan before coming down to the living room to see me & did not interfere with anything, they politely waited until one of my surges finished & then took my blood pressure. They remained very quiet to allow me to stay in the zone. They handed me the Doppler to locate the baby’s heartbeat (it was easier to do it myself) & could see the baby’s head with a mirror.
Over the next few surges I gently used my finger to go around the baby’s head & ease the skin (the ring of fire moment) & with the next surge the head appeared, then there was a feeling of relief, during that break between surges, I could feel the baby moving….with the head out but the body still inside, it was amazing! Then on the next surge, the body came out easily & I pulled him up towards my chest, this was 2:30am. We realised we had a boy! I checked his nose & mouth were clear, he was very relaxed & we waited for him to cry. Alex got in the pool & we had skin to skin time with our baby whilst allowing the cord to continue to pulsate, we waited about half an hour for the cord to finally stop pulsating & then clamped it & Alex cut it.
I then delivered the placenta in one surge which was very easy to deliver.
Alex then took the baby upstairs to meet his Grandparents who hadn’t heard anything & woke up to a new grandchild 😂 & I was examined by the midwives, I had a few grazes & a first degree tear but my perineum was intact & no sutures were needed.
I had already harvested around 15mls of colostrum in the lead up to birth, so had this ready to give baby too.
We had the most magical home & water birth, it was as perfect as it could be! I am so pleased I did all the preparation that I did & am so grateful to Lizzy & Melanie for the Hypnobirthing & to Lucy for the pregnancy Yoga!
We have named our beautiful baby boy Beau Patrick Paul 💙💙💙💙