My first son was born in November 2015, and I won’t ever describe my birth with him as negative but I will say that I got completely wrapped up in an adrenaline fuelled panic. I felt completely out of control, and I wished afterwards that I’d stayed calmer. But all was well, and we were both healthy so I just made myself a promise that next time I would make sure I felt differently during birth.
Fast forward to April this year and pregnant with my second son, I had heard about hypnobirthing and decided it was worth a try. My ‘due date’ came and went - which I expected, especially as my first was born 40+10. I was offered a sweep at 40+4 which using BRAIN (a decision making tool I learnt on the course) I declined as I knew baby would come when he was ready.
On Wednesday 25th April, I was 40+6. My husband came up to bed at 11.30pm and as soon as he got in I felt a gush. I went to the loo and afterward I had another gush, so I assumed my water had broken. I called the hospital and they asked me to come down so they could see if it was indeed my waters. We accepted and went down. They did a quick examination and said they couldn’t tell if they were or weren’t (I was pretty sure they were). We went on home and back to bed to rest.
By the morning I had begun to have some gentle surges about every 8-10 minutes. I carried on with my morning, listening to my positive affirmations and calming music playlist, dressed in my comfiest pyjamas. I let my husband take our son to nursery and I hoovered, put washing on and bounced on my birth ball. The surges got stronger throughout the day although they didn’t get hugely closer together - by the early evening they were about 5-7 minutes apart. We had dinner as usual, still bouncing on my ball and listening to my affirmations whenever I wanted to. Thursday evening rolled around and I was sure that I wasn’t going to be going into hospital that evening judging by how I was coping with the surges, so I advised my mother in law to wait to hear from us in the morning (she would be looking after our son during the birth). We all went to bed and I thought I’d rest as much as I could as I was sure things would be ramping up soon. I managed to cat nap until about midnight. My surges were now nice and strong although still only 4-5 minutes apart. Each surge I used my up breathing and my husband would read my favourite affirmations to me, reminding me how strong I was. I also envisioned a lake with little boats on which I used my 8 second breath out to blow them out into the lake.
At about 2.30am Friday 27th April I decided to start using my TENS machine. I also told my husband I thought maybe now the surges were nice and strong and about 3-4 minutes apart that we should ask his mum to come over (taking her about an hour) so we could head to our labour ward (which is where we’d chosen to have the baby - ideally in the pool. At 2.40am I decided actually we should go now so we asked my sister in law to come watch our son until my mother in law arrived. We got in the car and set off, I was still using my TENS and listening to my playlist but as we were driving I realised my surges had changed and I was aware I was into the down stage. I didn’t want to alarm my husband but I did advise him to get a move on! When we arrived at the hospital car park I thought I’d call the labour ward as I was pretty sure baby was either being born in the car or the car park. Our midwife couldn’t believe how calm I was on the phone. She rushed out and helped my husband wheel me through the hospital into the labour ward. She saw an open door, and wheeled me in. I got out of the chair, climbed onto the bed on all fours and took my bottoms off. Two more surges and my little boy arrived.
We arrived at the hospital in the car at 3am and my son was born at 3.08am. My midwife only had half a glove on and I hadn’t even got out my lovely candles or oil! I was elated, my face said it all - all I kept saying was ‘I did it!’ and that it was exactly how I had wanted to give birth. I had never ever imagined I was so far dilated at home due to how relaxed I was and how that meant my surges were so manageable. I was convinced that when we got to hospital that they would examine me at 4 or 5 cm based on how I felt at that stage during my first labour. My son was put straight on my chest, and our midwife (bless her she was so rushed with how I’d arrived) made sure to ask about delayed cord clamping etc. We had a wonderful golden hour, he breastfed, we were left alone and my placenta was delivered a few mild surges later.
The whole experience made me feel like a goddess. I had managed my whole up stage at home, with just my toolbox of techniques and a bit of TENS at the end. I couldn’t believe I had done it all myself. It was all down to learning and practicing hypnobirthing and I am so so grateful that it enabled me to have the birth experience I wanted so badly. Thank you thank you thank you.