This birth story is great for showing how intervention can still mean a positive birth experience if you feel informed and have tools under your belt!
Sam and Cameron’s positive hypnobirthing experience. Little girl born 40+11, 4:45am.
How it began….
“I planned a waterbirth in the Lotus suite at the LGI as I wanted an experience close to a homebirth. What actually happened was monitored augmented labour at St James’s standing leaning on the hospital bed.
Monday night I realised I was having surges which became about 15 minutes apart all night which I was managing with my breathing. Tuesday morning my partner and I tried to have an enjoyable morning chilling and watching films. At lunchtime I started to use the Tens machine along with my breathing techniques to manage the discomfort from my surges. On Tuesday afternoon my waters broke whilst I was lying on the sofa about 3pm. About 4pm we decided we should call the LGI and get advice from them. They asked us to go in so they could check my waters had definitely broken. I knew this was going to mean after 24 hours they’d want to speed things up on a drip we but wanted to have things checked out and we would manage our options as they came up.
As we travelled to the hospital I put on my noise cancelling headphones and put on my affirmations and closed my eyes. I was completely focussed on my breathing and felt very calm. I’d always expected to feel very nervous on attending the hospital but I was very chilled out and “in the zone”.
I accepted an examination and was told I was only 1cm. We were given an hour and half to see if we could progress enough to go into delivery (4cm) or my options were to go on the drip and go to delivery, go home or go on the ward by myself as visiting hours were ending. My husband and I walked the MAC corridor up and down. I had my eyes closed and headphones on trying to visualise NOT being in a hospital corridor having surges. Each surge I would lean on the wall and my husband would count my breathing with me. I was managing them ok. About 8:30pm I was examined again and I was 2cm. We chose to go home. It was 9:30pmish when we got home.
Dealing With A Change In Plan…
Tuesday night I laid on the sofa with affirmations playing on loop all night and I just kept using my breathing techniques. We went back to the LGI around lunchtime on Wednesday when surges were 3 in 10 minutes. This time I was 3cm. The midwives wanted me to start the drip if I still wasn’t 4cm by 3pm (24 hours after my waters broke). Around 3pm I was 3cms. My partner and I decided at 24 hours we would go on the drip as we wanted to make sure we kept mine and my daughter’s risk of infection down. This was our decision, and we wouldn’t do anything we didn’t want to do. I was concerned that by going on the drip I was increasing the chances of further intervention and couldn’t have a waterbirth but we trusted our hypnobirthing techniques so proceeded with our choice. At this stage I’d decided that I’d prefer to birth out of the water anyway which was helpful as this wasn’t an option on the drip. The LGI delivery suite were unable to take us so we were offered to wait around or go across to St James’s who could take us in straight away. By this point I just wanted to get things moving and meet our daughter ASAP. This involved us getting an uber across town to the other hospital (I continued to breath through my surges in the Uber).
When we arrived at St James’s we were taken straight through to delivery and given a room, it wasn’t what we had originally envisioned. We quickly put out our candles and closed the curtains. We sprayed the room and I put on oils I’d used when doing relaxations each night in bed before going to sleep. The midwife commented it smelled like a spa when she returned. We quickly assessed the room to work out how we could make it work for us and how I could use the positions I wanted to. I knew I was going to be on monitoring and have the drip in my hand.
Accepting The Syntocin Drip…
I had a friend who told me her birth story of a 4 day labour and she had also had the drip and given birth hanging on to the end of the bed having had no pain relief. I focussed on the fact I knew this was also possible for me and I wanted the same outcome.
Once I was on the drip it was difficult to move around as I had a canula in my left hand and two straps around my tummy, one for her heartbeat and one for my surges. I positioned myself standing but leaning on the bed.
About 7pm I started to receive the drip, I was still using the Tens machine and my breathing. The surges quickly seemed to feel close together and stronger. I was just focussed on my breathing and my husband was helping me to keep on track with this and tell me when I was tensing so I would relax my shoulders (and my body).
I was drawing on my affirmations I’d been listening to for the last 8 weeks to help me focus. I was very calm throughout as I wanted to make sure I didn’t release any adrenaline but also I was confident in myself and my husband to keep going after coming so far already with the techniques we’d learnt.
Here Comes Baby…
Time went very quickly and by 12pm the midwife estimated I’d be another 4 hours. This felt disheartening to hear at the time as 4 hours felt like a long time and I wasn’t sure I could keep going. I just kept focus on my breath as I thought if I didn’t I could spiral out of control and need further intervention which I was really keen to avoid. Before I knew it though I was 10cm and pushing.
My partner and the midwife were really encouraging me during the pushing, and I knew it wouldn’t be long until my daughter was here. In between pushes my partner sprayed cooling spray on me and passed me my Lucozade Sport so I could try and recover from each push. My husband helped me catch my breath back and prepare for each pushing contraction so we could make the most out of each one. I was exhausted and my back was so sore as I’d been stood for most of my labour. I lent my hands forward on the bed and stood in a squatting position for each push. When I was close another midwife came in and it felt like within minutes my little girl was here. The midwives passed her to me through my legs so it felt like I had delivered her into my own arms. I then pulled her to my chest with the biggest relief and joy. We then got onto the bed for the best skin to skin cuddles.
I tried to deliver the placenta naturally but I couldn’t seem to push. I got the injection which I didn’t mind as I just wanted to focus on my little girl. The midwife examined me and I had a first degree tear but didn’t need stitches. My husband and I were so happy to meet our baby girl and really pleased with the outcome of our labour. Although it didn’t go to plan we were able to deal with this and maintain the choices and outcomes we wanted.”
Such a fantastic story of parents having an empowered birth and feeling in control of their choices. Plus, putting all their hypnobirthing knowledge to good use! Huge congratulations to Sam and Cameron.