“If you’d have asked me five years ago if I was going to have children I probably would have said no. Granted not the main reason, but one very real reason for not having children was my complete and utter fear of giving birth. When I thought of labour, I thought of irreparable damage and excruciating pain, due to all of the horror stories people somehow love to tell. Yet here we are, two children later, and I’m such a big advocate for positive births and hypnobirthing, and I can honestly say that my second labour especially, was one of the most magical experiences of my life!
When I found out I was pregnant with my first I was desperate for anything that may help me through labour, so without really knowing anything about it, I signed up to a hypnobirthing course. And it changed my whole perspective. Completely. After the course I felt informed, prepared, and most of all I was no longer fearful. So when on the evening of 3rd November I felt a little trickle of water, I was calm and honestly I was ready for the task ahead.
I had had no other signs of labour at this point so I headed to bed to try and get some sleep. I woke up about 2.30am and although I didn’t have any surges or noticeable discomfort, I couldn’t sleep and I thought maybe things would start soon. I did feel like I had to empty my bowels and spent a good hour going back and from to the loo! At around 3.30am I had my first surge, it was uncomfortable but nothing more. I’d liken it to bad period pain. I practiced the breathing techniques I had learnt and the surges were easily manageable. They were 2-3 mins apart and lasting between 40 seconds and a minute. I remembered I should use the Tens machine from early on so woke Tom and got that on the go and it really helped.
Both my mum, who had 3 kids, and my Nana, who had 4, had very quick labours so at around 4.30am I called the labour unit to tell them where I was at. They told me that because it was my first, I’d only just starting having surges and that I sounded fine, I should wait at home as long as possible. I said ok but told them I doubted I’d be waiting too long. I think the thought of a quick labour and the midwives being really relaxed about it made me wobble a little and the surges intensified a little. I had what I thought was the urge to push 20 minutes later so called them back and told them I was definitely coming in.
Getting into the car was the hardest part, and although Tom sorted the dogs out I was a little anxious making sure we had everything sorted, which made me lose sight of my breathing… which in turn caused the surges to intensify substantially. I then felt intense pressure and I lost sight of the breathing completely and panicked. And I felt pain. I mention this only because I think it’s important to say that with the proper breathing techniques the surges were completely manageable, when I stopped breathing properly boy did I notice the difference! But after two very intense surges I had a mental word with myself and refocused my breathing. Absolute godsend. I was back on track! My waters went whilst in the car, the pressure eased and we made it to the birthing unit.
The drive was about 25 minutes and by the time we got there my body was pushing. Focusing on breathing was hard but Tom kept me on track counting my breaths. A midwife happened to be in the entrance and could see (and hear) that I was at pushing stage so got me in a wheelchair and took me up and straight into a pool room. I was examined and the head was right there. I was told I didn’t have time for the pool but I was adamant I wanted to be in it. I was being very stubborn and because the pool was already partially filled, they continued to fill it and let me get in as soon as it was at the minimum level. In the mean time I used gas and air and was on my knees resting on the back of the upright bed. It wasn’t the ideal position for me but I kept with it until I was able to get into the pool.
The pool was an instant relief and I ended up finding sat slightly reclined was the best position for me. That’s when the pushing became really pronounced, I was in the position I wanted and I was in the pool. I was ready to let my body do what it needed to do. Ten very intense minutes later and the head was out. I caught my breath before the next surge and one last push and he was out. I lifted him to my chest and Tom and I said in unison “he’s a boy!!” Which was just so magical. We had delayed cord clamping and a good amount of skin to skin. I passed him to Tom for some skin to skin and had a physiological third stage delivering the placenta. Which was out within a few minutes and about 30 minutes after giving birth to my son.
All in all my active labour was recorded as 1 hour 43 minutes and although it caused slight anxiety thinking ‘I’m going to have this baby in the car!!!’, it really showed me how effective being positive and breathing properly can be. I didn’t have time for my playlist, aromatherapy, etc., but my preferences were met as much as they could be. Everyone involved was completely on board and helped me keep focussed on breathing. I had a tiny graze and a slight internal tear but didn’t feel a thing during or whilst receiving a couple of stitches. From my first surge at 3.30am, we were back home in bed having a snuggle by just after midday. It was truly a wonderful, intense but positive birth story.
I wrote this story down in the days that followed the labour, and looking back now I can see the true power of hypnobirthing. Straight away I saw my labour as extremely positive, but reflecting on it now I am even more amazed at what we women are capable of. I can see why women experience pain during labour, but I can also see how with the right techniques and mindset, that labour can be an incredible experience!”