I had been really focused about our hypnobirthfollowing our sessions with Karenna from Hope & Honey. I wanted to get into the zone so I arranged a fear release session with a localhypnobirth practitioner here in Esperance as we had moved here 6 weeks earlier from Perth. It was great to feel that deep relaxation I had with Karenna during our classes in Perth and made me feel empowered to have the birth we wanted.
It was three days before our due date and I had been feeling niggly all day, I had been productive making a garden junk art piece on my hands and knees with power tools though so keeping the theme of an active pregnancy! Pete was working a late shift, about 9.30 pm I went to the bathroom and thought I saw the mucus plug so called my sister to check, I then sat on the fit ball watching TV. My sister, who is a nurse, thought it was the plug and said it could be a week before anything else happened. Pete called about 10 pm to check on me and while I was sat there chatting to him my membranes released! He came running home and I put on my positive affirmations and sat relaxing in the living room.
As the hospital is so small here we rang about 10.30 pm to tell them about the membranes releasing, they said to come back in when the surges became closer together, I had some surges but nothing too strong, my lower back was aching so I hopped in the bath. About 12.30 the hospital called me and asked me to come in to check I actually was in labour. We went in and met the midwife Sandy who was lovely, she respected all our birthing choices and made me feel really at ease. After a quick examination she let us go home. We stopped at the servo to get milk and I had a huge surge, I breathed through it visualising my blue balloon, the staff at the servo were somewhat alarmed at this lady in labour buying milk at 1.30 am!
When we got home the surges got really strong. I got in the shower on all fours and breathed through them, over the next hour they got increasingly strong and I lost focus to breathe through them. I woke Pete and got him to take me back to the hospital. Pete kept counting my breathing, reminding me of the affirmations, and rubbed my back. We arrived back at about 2.30 am Sandy examined me and I was 7cm dilated, I felt lost in the intensity of the surges and a failure I couldn’t breathe through them, I used the gas and air as I felt I could no longer cope. Over the next 3 hours I crawled around the floor during surges and did relaxation breathing between them. I then remember feeling really scared the baby was too big to birth, Pete kept repeating “you will birth a baby the right size for your body” he was amazing, he kept me calm, used light touch massage, gave me ice and water and never left my side.
Although I felt I had cheated by using gas and air, I kept thinking about the affirmation “I will calmly meet whatever turn my birthing takes” knowing every surge was closer to meeting my baby.
I seemed to go into a primeval head space and made a lot of noises during the surges, so much so the day after the birth I still had a sore throat!! When I hit transition Pete recognised it immediately, I was begging for morphine and feeling I couldn’t go on, I rang my sister who was a gentle encouragement for not only me but also Pete. The midwife got the morphine together and Pete told her not to give it to me and that I could do this without it. I am so glad he had the strength to do that and I think hypnobirthing gave him the confidence to stay true as much as was possible to our birth plan.
The birthing room had an amazing birth chair and Sandy suggested I use it. I then stopped using the gas and air and breathed down as far as was possible for the next hour. It got really intense though after the hour and I knew the doctor had been called in. After a further 20 minutes Sandy told Pete that I had 10 mins or they would need to intervene as they were worried about the baby. Pete gave me huge encouragement to let go and meet our baby so for 10 mins I put all my energy and focus into meeting our baby.
At 7.30 am Bella came sliding into the world, Sandy put her straight onto my chest! I then got into the bed and with the cord intact had skin-to-skin for an hour. She was alert and crawled up to my breast and latched on straight away. It was an amazing feeling to know I had done it!! We delayed the cord clamping until it stopped pulsating and I then birthed the placenta.
I did have a second degree tear that had to be repaired and a very sore throat but apart from that I felt elated. I then had a shower and Pete had skin-to-skin with Bella for another hour before she was dressed and wrapped. For the next 48 hours she was the most chilled out baby, I didn’t let them measure her at birth and we waited 3 days to bath and measure her. She knew who Pete and I were straight away and the beauty of being down here in Esperance is all the uninterrupted time we have had to bond with our little girl.
Although I wasn’t as true to the hypnobirthing principals as I would like I felt it gave me confidence to meet my birthing day without fear. It also helped Pete make informed choices for our family during the birth. Having done the classes with him I felt unconditionally supported and loved throughout the whole experience, I know Bella is a happy settled little girl who was birthed in the best way possible.
Thanks for all your knowledge, help and encouragement. Without the classes I think our birth would have been far more medicalised, so I know Pete, Bella and I have a lot to be thankful for.