Birth story - Jennifer and baby Anna

I discovered hypnobirthing and this company rather late in my pregnancy, so although I just about had time to watch the digital pack, I didn't have much time to practice! But the course greatly influenced my birth plan. I wanted no intervention unless absolutely necessary, a hospital water birth, just gas and air, and no sweeps/induction.

I woke up last Thursday morning 6am with mild surges every 8 or so minutes. I got quite excited as by this point I was already 40+4 and itching to get started. The contractions started mildly but by 11am became quite intense, lasting 1 minute with a 5 to 7 minute rest in between. I used up breathing to help manage this. I rang triage who advised I have a bath and wait for my pains to be 3 in 10 minutes. This took a LONG time. The surges continued to get more intense but no closer together. Fast forward 36 hours with no sleep and I was no closer and getting desperate. Suddenly, the contractions slowed down. I couldn't believe it. All that for what?! But I held on to my positivity and thought that there most be a reason... My body knows how to birth my baby.

I had a bath for 2 hours with hypnobirthing music and my lavender scented spray, during which time I only felt 3 surges. However immediately upon getting out of the bath the surges came thick and fast. I barely made it out of the bathroom: on for nearly 2 minutes with 1 minute rest between. Again I managed to breathe through the surges with the techniques from the course. Also worth noting that I used a tens machine throughout my early labour which was amazing.

At this point I rang triage who said come in to be checked. This was midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning. During my one and only internal exam, the midwife told me I was 7cm dilated and very much in active labour! I never lost my plug or had a show so I was pleasantly surprised.

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There was a pool available and I used that immediately. The room was lovely! Set out like a spa. We played our music and dimmed the lights. My waters broke in the pool and 4 more hours of surges followed, using only gas and air (tip: things moved noticeably faster when I positioned myself on all 4s).

After 45 mins of pushing (for some reason I refused gas for this part... I must have been delirious!) not much was happening and I started to have my first panic moment. I should note here that down breathing didn't seem to work for me during this stage, though maybe I was just doing it wrong. The midwife began to get concerned that the baby wasn't moving with each pushing surge, and although respected and was impressed with my breathing and how I'd coped so far, did suggest that I needed to try actively pushing. I followed her advice and within 3 pushes and a couple of minutes, I pulled baby between my legs from the water and straight on to my chest! It was a surreal and incredible moment.

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I just had a small labial tear which I didn't feel happen! I'd say I was very worried about tearing and now I can honestly say you don't notice.

My gorgeous Anna, born at 5.02am Saturday 23rd June, 7lb15oz (40+6).

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I can't recommend hypnobirthing enough. The breathing and knowledge it equipped me with got me through an intervention free... albeit long... labour!

I'd also hugely recommend the birthing pool. The relief it gave me was obvious when I got out to use the toilet.... Wow!

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