Birth Story - Zoe and baby Fox

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Siobhan for making hypnobirthing more accessible both online and at a great price.

We already have a daughter so I was finding it hard to find a course that fitted around both me and my husbands jobs and our daughter.

I also didn’t want to pay a lot of money for a course as I used hypnobirthing last time and needed a refresher. I’d done classes by myself last time but this time I knew I wanted my husband to be more informed. My mum is a midwife and she was there at our daughter's birth however this time it was just me and my husband.

The great thing about the digital pack was we and my husband could both access it and do our studying together or when we both had time. He was already viewing the YouTube videos on the commute home but the full digital course really helped to inform him quickly without lots of reading. Thank you for helping hypnobirthing be available to us.

As for putting it into action....

My son (so weird saying that!) was born on his due date. It was a long labour (much longer than my daughter's labour) and it was very intense. Turned out he was back to back and absolutely massive for me. He weighed in at 8lb 13ozs!! I’m only 5ft4!

I mainly used the up breathing, affirmation mp3 in the long early labour. I would love to say I used down breathing to push but I used up and moooooo’d a lot!!!

I knew exactly what I did and didn’t want this time and was determined to be in control of my labour. I listened to my body and felt confident to verbalise what I needed. Last time I didn’t listen to my body and didn’t trust my instincts. This time I did.

Fox Grayson was born in the pool with gas and air to help keep me focused on the breath.

Now I know he was back to back I’m thankful for the pool, birthing centre room and the gas!

I think being in the pool helped the back labour, it helped everything move on and progress and the gas just helped me zone out and listen to my body.
I also didn’t tear and no assistance needed to help him come out, the midwives were amazed that he was back to back and managed to come by himself. Had he been my first I’m not sure it would have gone that way.

I’d had a show and on and off contractions starting in the early hours of the Friday. My labour progressed beautifully with my daughter so I got excited. But things didn’t really get going and I was able to sleep and get on with my day on Friday.

Through the night the same thing happened but then it all eased off and I was able continue as normal with the odd tightening throughout the day. At midnight on sat/sun contractions woke me up and they were quite intense and for the first time they were regular. My midwife had said second can come quickly and to not be to complacent. So with this is mind at about 1am I called my sister to come sit with my daughter as I thought this was it.

My sister came and things started to slow down again. So we sent my husband back to bed as he was in for the long haul and my sister sat with me. I realised every time I lay down or sat down my contractions lost their rhythm so I stood, walked and rocked on the birthing ball. By this point my contractions were short but feeling intense. At 4am I called the midwife. She thought I sounded in the early stages but wanted to come do a check. She arrived at 5am. I was only 1cm but she gave me a stretch and sweep whilst she was there. My daughter got up and I decided to go back to bed to get some rest. My contractions had stopped.

I was woken an hour or so later as my contractions had started again and were intense enough to stop me sleeping and standing was the only way I could tolerate them. I found it difficult to focus with my daughter there as I was so aware she was around and I felt it might be stopping things progressing. We got my parents to come get her and off she went. As soon as she left I told my husband I needed to walk as it helped get my contractions to come more frequently. At this point I thought baby must not be quite in the right position. We walked to a bakery I hadn’t been to yet. Every incline we walked up or down really helped to increase the contractions. They were coming every few minutes and were ranging in different lengths and intensity. So we walked, had coffee and ‘scotch egg Sunday’ at the bakery. I couldn’t eat but husband enjoyed himself a lot. When got back I had a calippo and paced around the garden while my husband pottered around doing jobs.

By about 1pm I became really aware my daughter was due back and I really wanted to be in the birthing centre so I could just leave her at home in her own space but also focus on the birth. We rang the midwife again and she said she would meet us at the birthing centre but warned me that labour ward was closed and there might not be room at the birthing centre. I felt a bit upset at this point - I didn’t want to stay at home. I didn’t want my daughter to be disrupted or be worried. My mother in law came to have my daughter at our house and continue the routine as normal. We got to the birthing centre. I could tell things were progressing. I only wanted to stand and keep moving. I was examined and was 3cms. I was told there was a room and I could stay. We got into the room. I felt huge relief and more relaxed. We put our things away, set up music and I asked to go for a walk. We paced the halls of the hospital finding every incline. I was feeling lots of pressure In my back and had to lean so I could tolerate them. We went back to the room. I opened my haribo and sipped on coconut water.

By 6pm I knew I was approaching established labour. I wanted gas and to get in the pool. Midwife got it all ready. I literally jumped into the pool and was so thankful for the gas. I was starting to get tired by 8pm and asked when I was going to be checked again. I wanted to know where I was at as it felt like the contractions weren’t doing anything. I wasn’t getting much of a break. I was having long lingering contractions then lots of little aftershocks contractions. The good news - I was 7cms! This gave me a boost I wasn’t far from 10cms. I could do this and he might come on his due date! I jumped back in the pool and felt instant relief. The next few hours passed In a blur. The contractions were strong and powerful. At this point I was struggling a lot mentally. I pushed for a long time with my daughter - nearly 3 hours. I thought to myself I don’t think I can do that again. Also my waters never broke with my daughter and I was actually trying to push a bulge of waters. I started to get the same sensations - as if a balloon was about to burst but never did. I decided to get out of the pool and stand. As I had a contraction I got the urge to crouch as I did my waters went like a balloon popping. I cried with relief. This was good - I knew baby would be here soon. 30 mins later he was!

That 30 minutes was intense. I can’t say I used down breathing but I did thrash and swear a lot in the pool. To my surprise they said the head was out and he followed soon after. He came out up through the water and was put on my chest. The first thing he did was touch my face and he kept pawing at me. I’ll never forget that moment. He also didn’t cry. My mum was on shift and was outside working and didn’t even know he’d been born. The loveliest moment happened when my husband went to get my mum and asked if she wanted to meet her grandson. When she came in I just kept crying and saying it was so hard. They all told me he was back to back. My mum brought my tea and toast that I’d been banging on about for hours. It was so amazing. My placenta was delivered outside the pool and the cord was not cut until it had stopped pulsating.

I wanted to speak a little bit about after - when everyone had gone, baby was asleep in my arms and my husband was snoozing beside. I did something that perhaps might not be what is expected - I started to cry. You know the ‘Can't stop yourself crying’. I think the initial trigger was hearing a woman birth across the hall. I could hear her pushing. That started my brain off replaying what had happened to me only a few hours before. I’m a cbt therapist and one of my special interests is perinatal mental health. I understood exactly what was going on. I’d been through a trauma - even though it was positive and it had gone exactly as I had hoped my body had been through a traumatic time. When you go through a trauma your rational brain goes off line. Now it was back online and it wanted an update from the emotional part of the brain. The way it does that is to replay the trauma to get the full story and then your brain goes ok and files it away. So I sat there and made space for this processing and all the emotions that came with it. I knew if I tried to block it out my brain would only want all the details at a later point. I cried. I felt the pain. I felt the exhaustion. I felt the fear. I felt the relief. I cried some more and hugged my baby in the dimly lit birthing room and with just the background noises from the outside world.

Sometimes people might not want to make space for the feelings and story on their own - that’s ok - it’s painful - you can talk about it with someone you feel safe with or a professional.

My labour was totally different to my first but the thing that was so different was I listened to my body this time and trusted my instincts. Anyone having their first baby or their second, third, forth, tenth - you know your body and your baby better than anyone - trust your instincts and listen to what your body is telling you. I wish I’d done that with my first labour. 

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