Birth story - Katie and baby Ottilie

I had a tricky pregnancy this time round, with gestational diabetes, Group B Strep, and PTSD from my previous birth experience.

However, the birth of my baby, at 37+2 following an induction (due to the GD and my falling insulin resistance), was positive and one of the biggest achievements of my life. My husband, Chris, and I give huge credit for this to the Online Course.

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I was induced at 37+0, but it took a while and several uncomfortable interventions. Throughout the process, I listened to the positive affirmations, sprayed my room spray and had the candles, etc out. I used up breathing for the internal exams and interventions, and whenever I started to get anxious.

We also used the assertiveness from the course to push hard for the right to at least labour in the water - I had discussed this at length with numerous doctors and midwives, but none had documented our agreements so we were initially told it was impossible. Some robust conversations and a session with the registrar got agreement that I could use the pool if I got out to deliver. They also tracked down the telemetry monitors to make sure they stayed with me throughout. Success!

When the doctor broke my waters at 0500 on the 26th, the surges immediately kicked in, coming every 90 seconds to three minutes, and at quite an intensity. I spent some time on my ball, rotating and bouncing, and a surprising amount of time pacing around the room and leaning forwards on the bed. I never expected to labour on my feet, but I listened to my body and that’s what it wanted! I used a TENS machine and had a couple of puffs of gas and air, but that was it.

I felt quite strongly that things were progressing quickly, but I was calm enough and coping well enough that the midwives and Chris did not seem convinced. I stayed in my bubble and just carried on.

I asked a few times to move from the induction room to the pool room, but some drama with the pool delayed things somewhat. We eventually walked down at 0820, stopping for an intense surge in a lift lobby!

When we got to the room, I popped to the toilet and realised that I was calmer in there, alone and feeling “allowed” to push, than I had been when with everyone else. When I came out, I told Chris that I needed to push. The midwives suggested that I get in the pool to deliver (“but I’m not allowed!!!”), I settled in, and half an hour later I delivered my baby at 0904 without anyone coaching me or touching the baby, apart from when I asked for guidance or support.

One of the most striking things was that the discomfort of the surges themselves went away when I got in the pool and allowed myself to “push”/ breathe out my baby. There was some discomfort in my back, but I asked them to put a warm towel on me (I’m very tall so my lower back was above the water line when I was on my knees) and that helped massively. I was also able to trust that the water was helping my body relax and stretch and that I was therefore less likely to tear, however much it felt like I was going to. Also helpful, although I didn’t know it, was that my husband had sprayed my room spray while I was in the bathroom. It had been calming me without me noticing!

I picked up my baby, sat/ fell back in the water and looked up at Chris in complete disbelief! This was fairly rapidly followed by some confusion as my placenta delivered itself two minutes after the baby, before we’d had a conversation about clamping cords or injections...

It seems to be a theme that the team around hypnobirthing mothers find it hard to judge how far along things are. This was certainly the case for me, which at times made me feel a little isolated and unsure of my own judgements, but the training the course had given me allowed me to focus inwards and trust myself overall, and ultimately have the birth we’d not even dreamed about! I didn’t need any stitches and felt better a couple of hours after the birth than I had for weeks. Ottilie is healthy and happy and we are all completely thrilled.

Thanks so much to Siobhan and to the Unmumsy Mum for alerting me to the amazing opportunity that the online course provided. We will be forever grateful.

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