Charlotte & Baby Evan's Hypnobirth November 2009
I experienced my own hypnobirth when I had my second baby. I planned a homebirth after caesarean section after carefully researching the benefits and risks of a home birth versus a hospital. Wednesday 18th during the night I became aware of an uncomfortable feeling, like I needed to wee, so I went to the toilet and back into bed, fell asleep again but realised around 5am that the feeling was happening still. I managed to get back to sleep and when I woke it dawned on me they were surges. I kept having them all day but managed to keep myself busy assembling the nursery drawers. They weren’t strong, didn’t stop me in my tracks and sometimes I was so busy in what I was doing I forgot I was having them, they were around 10 minutes apart. Wednesday evening I started to time them as I thought they were getting stronger and they were around 8 minutes apart, but still only lasting 30 seconds. I baked a carrot cake that evening to try and take my mind off them and to let nature take its course. We went to bed as normal and I slept for an hour then woke and couldn’t rest as they seemed to be getting stronger. I thought this was it, my baby is coming.
We called Craig’s parents who came to collect Maia and then me and Craig started to do some relaxation with light touch massage, I had some lavender oil burning too which really helped me to relax. We were timing the surges but they were quite sporadic, 8 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 7 minutes and only lasting 40 seconds or so. I then put the hypnobirthing cd on and listened to that on the sofa and started to fall asleep between surges. At 2:30am we went back to bed and I slept for a few hours before I was woken again by surges. I got up and had a bath then went back to bed for another couple of hours. When we got up for breakfast on Thursday 19th it seemed my surges had slowed right down and almost stopped, they were around every 15 minutes. I managed another hour of sleep and when I woke I found I had a bloody show and started to lose my plug. We went for a walk round the block to see if that would help with the surges but back at home things didn’t seem to be happening, still sporadic surges lasting only 30 seconds or so. Craig had been at home but we agreed he may as well go to work as things didn’t seem to be moving along. In the afternoon I did some more relaxation with the hypnobirthing CD and I tried to nap but when I laid down on my side the surges became more intense, and I was unable to lie on my side and had to get up and move around. I decided to clean the oven and then I had another bath. As I came out of the bath the surges seemed to have intensified but again very manageable and I was easily able to make tea.
After tea I had a mad idea to go to the supermarket for a few essentials as I knew the baby was going to arrive over the next few days or so and we had nothing in the cupboards. I was still having surges again about 8 mins apart and they were slightly more intense than the others I had been experiencing. I had to stop the trolley and breathe through the surges going round the supermarket, and I went and sat in the car instead of packing the shopping away so I could concentrate on the up breathing. Back at home I went to bed as I felt shattered, I managed an hour before I had to get up as again laying on my side really intensified the surges, and I found it hard to relax through them so got up to move about. I relaxed in front of the TV for a while and again the surges were 8 minutes, then 5, then 9, then 3 so still not regular. We went to bed as normal and I was quite unsettled; finding it harder to relax through the surges as they were quite intense when I was laid down. I got up and visited the toilet and got back into bed had a surge and I heard a little pop and felt a trickle, I just knew it was my waters. I made it to the toilet before they totally gushed. I put a pad on and I was sure they were slightly green with meconium (baby poo) , which I knew wasn’t a good sign for my much wanted homebirth.
We got up and went downstairs to do some relaxation and massage and timed the surges, which were now regular every 5 minutes lasting 1 minute. We timed them for 1 hour before calling for the 1st on call midwife. She came within 20 minutes and examined me and said she couldn’t find my cervix so I was either fully dilated or the cervix was too posterior, and I had a long way to go. At that point I just thought I was going to go the same way I did with Maia and I hadn’t progressed anywhere and I was in for the longer haul than what I imagined. She called for the 2nd midwife as I wanted a second opinion, upon examination the 2nd midwife said I was 8cm. I was thrilled! I thought I had been in very early labour over the past few days as the surges had been so irregular but I didn’t think they had been doing much. I was desperate to get the pool up and filled as I wanted to birth in the pool but the midwives expressed their concerns about the meconium and advised they wanted to transfer me to hospital. So I agreed, because when I met with the supervisor of midwives to ask for support for my home birth after caesarean she agreed providing I would transfer to hospital if the midwives felt I needed to. They arranged the ambulance and we got our hospital bag together and off we went.
We arrived at hospital at 4:30am and went straight to the delivery room. Obviously at hospital there were a few more constraints than a homebirth but the midwife had read my birth plan and respected our wishes and was happy to compromise on a few things, things like having a cannula fitted, which I didn’t want, giving the baby antibiotics due to my previous GBS, which again I disagreed to. They wanted to monitor me constantly due to my previous section and the risk of scar rupture but again the midwife and I agreed that I would let them monitor me for a short time providing they took me off, and I was allowed to use the birth ball for some time before being monitored again. So they put me on the monitor and everything was great, surges were beginning again after stopping for a short whlle and were getting stronger but I was relaxed and breathed through them, we had the hypnobirthing CD’s playing in the room and we dimmed the lights, the midwives respected our wishes to labour in private and only came in when necessary. I was monitored for half an hour and then I was back on the ball till 7am when they examined me again. I was fully diallated but the baby was quite high in the pelvis still and was back to back (which can sometimes mean that surges are irregular).
The surges were now almost back to back themselves and to be honest I was fed up by this point and just wanted to push my baby out but I had to let the surges push my baby further down. They wanted to monitor me again so I got back on the bed and they suggested I lay on my side, which I found hard to breathe through the surges and relax as they were more intense. So I stayed on my back for a while longer and then did go onto my side after a bit. I have no idea how I managed to relax and breathe through the surges because they were really intense. I kept asking when I was ready to push and they just kept telling me to breathe through them if I was able to but if I felt like my body needed to push then to push, so the next few surges were a mixture of breathing and a few where I couldn’t breathe through them and I instinctively pushed. As soon as his head was out, with the next surge I was able to breathe through and his body just slipped out. What a bizarre sensation feeling his body slip out of mine. It was really emotional and I was asking “ what is it” but no one would tell me, I was desperate to know so Craig announced he was a boy just as the midwife picked him up and placed him onto my chest. Craig cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating and we had skin to skin for an hour during which time he latched and had his first feed. I had a physiological 3rd stage and I needed a stitching too. I almost laughed when another midwife who came to see if she could stitch suggested I use gas and air while I was stitched. I declined of course, what was the point in having gas and air when I had just given birth to my baby with nothing. They were using anaesthetic to numb the area so I was happy with that.
We stayed in the delivery suite and was discharged home 6 hours after Evan was born. My labour was recorded as 6 hours 10 minutes for 1st stage so from my waters breaking which is unbelieveable as during my hypnobirthing class I visualised my labour as 6 hours long, 2nd stage was 1 hour 18 minutes and 3rd stage was 40 minutes. I was so amazed that I was able to give birth using only hypnobirthing techniques, when we were watching the DVD’s during our classes I was in awe at these women who seemed to be so relaxed and not in labour at all. I can honestly say that not once did I think about needing to use any drugs, I breathed through all surges apart from the ones when I was instinctively pushing. The surges were uncomfortable but not painful and very manageable, I was even asleep in between surges I was so relaxed, and that was both at home and at hospital. Craig was amazing throughout, constantly using the hypnobirthing that we had been practising. Helping me to relax, giving me massage, promoting me to use visualisation, which I did quite a lot when I had a surges. I was visualising my cervix opening like a rose and also the cervix muscle as blue ribbons, visualising inflating a balloon filling my abdomen and then letting it go to help me with the slow breathing. I really couldn’t have done it without him, he played such a big part throughout.