Birth story - Laura and baby Mason

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I have had joint problems (knees and hips dislocate) and hypermobility all my life and have always been told I will struggle in labour. I was told numerous times over the years that I’d probably have to have a c-section. This meant I’d resigned myself to the fact! Then at 30 weeks I saw a lovely obstetrician who said there was no reason I couldn’t have a natural birth. That’s when I really started believing I could and read up on water births and found this course online! I hadn’t been happy with the support I’d had ante-natally and finding this course and this Facebook group was a godsend.

It helped me so much, everything resonated with me compared to what doctors had told me previously. It made so much sense to me to try have a water birth due to my joint pain and to ensure I wasn’t laid on my back on a bed. It really made me believe I could do this without a c-section (as long as it went well). I was a bit nervous as every scan we’d had suggested he was going to be a very big baby.

Woke up at 6am on the 8th and felt like I needed a wee but as soon as I got to the bathroom there was a gush! I wasn’t convinced it was my waters breaking (dunno what I thought it was!) so I put a pad on and got back in bed. Laid down for 20 mins then woke my husband up, who suggested I stand up again and see what happens and lo and behold there was another gush. So it was definitely happening then! We rang the hospital who told me to come in to confirm it was my waters. Went in at 8am and they confirmed it, told me it would probably be a long drawn out process and to go back home. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible anyway so we went home and were told we’d have to come back at 6am the next day for an induction if nothing had happened.

I felt fine so sent my husband and sister to the shop to get essentials. I didn’t even have stomach pains or tightenings and I feared this would take a long time. I sat about and watched tv. Around 11am I started getting period type pains that came and went. These quickly got stronger and I used the up breathing techniques I’d learned, to breathe through them. I bounced on my birthing ball and also put essential oils on a cold flannel which helped immensely. The surges were manageable and I even called a few people for a chat. By 12pm they’d ramped up again & I used the Freya app to time the surges. They seemed pretty frequent so (and don’t do this) I convinced myself this couldn’t be right as it hadn’t been that long and I decided I wanted a KFC! I tried my best to eat but the surges were coming quicker and stronger. I rang the hospital who said I could go in but also said I seemed to be managing well so maybe stay at home and have a bath. I used the app and the breathing techniques to get through them but could no longer hold a conversation. I tried to run a bath but before it had filled I knew I should probably go to hospital, the app had confirmed my surges were frequent enough but I was so convinced the hospital would send me back home!

I got my bags together and got in my sisters car, the journey to hospital is only 20 minutes but my surges were so frequent I had to grab the door handle and concentrate all my energy into breathing through them. Got to the assessment unit and the midwife said she would examine me with a speculum. We had to wait for a surge to pass & she examined me and said she couldn’t even see my cervix so I wasn’t in established labour. I told her that the nurse struggles to see my cervix during smear tests and asked if she could check again while I put a pillow under my hips to see if she could get a better angle. She examined me again and said no, she couldn’t see my cervix and I wasn’t in established labour. I think I have quite a high pain threshold so I was really disappointed now and thought if this wasn’t proper labour how was I going to get through it later?

They suggested I go for an hour walk & come back later. We got 5 steps down the corridor & I told my husband I felt I needed to push. I had noticed my breathing change and all I wanted to do was down breathing and there was a lot of pressure between my legs. We used BRAIN to decide I needed to go back and ask for another examination. We went back to the unit and the midwife looked unconvinced that anything had changed but agreed to do a regular examination. I was 9cm dilated. I’m not sure how this was missed? Or if it really happened that quickly? I don’t know. All I know is I KNEW in myself that I needed to push. My body knew.

By this point the surges were completely consuming and I was still doing my breathing but also making involuntary noises! They put me in a wheelchair and took me to the delivery room with a pool. I could barely sit in the chair. The pool would take 20 minutes or so to fill but I was desperate to get in. I stood holding onto the side while the surges came and went and this is when I started yelling that I couldn’t do it. I kept telling my husband and the midwife that I didn’t think I would be able to do this and asked for pain relief. The midwife said it was too late for that. She offered me gas and air but I was too preoccupied to hold onto it.

I held onto the pool as it filled and suddenly felt like the baby was coming, my legs were shaking and I put my hand between my legs and could feel him! The midwife checked and agreed it was time to get in the pool. Everything was happening so quickly and the pool was barely filled! I got into the waist-deep water on my knees and the midwife told me I’d have to push a few times to get his head out. Well, after 2 minutes in the pool I felt a huge urge to push and she asked if I thought his head was out, I reached down, pulled him up and said ‘THE WHOLE BABY IS HERE!’ and there he was. I also swore a lot, I was very apologetic about this afterward. I couldn’t believe he was here!

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I got out of the pool as they thought I’d lost too much blood but it just looked worse than it was due to there not being much water in there! I had skin to skin on a chair while we waited for the placenta, we had delayed cord clamping and my husband cut the cord. A short while later the placenta came out with the help of the midwife pulling it, or did this happen before the cord cutting? I can’t remember. Once the placenta had come out I felt 100x better.

I had some internal 2nd degree tears but the doctor said most women who birth that quickly end up being taken to surgery for their tears so I was pretty happy she could stitch me here. The stitches weren’t pleasant and this was when i finally used gas and air! The only time my hips hurt were during the stitches as I was in stirrups for ages (they’re still hurting now)

I was in shock slightly as I’d left my house at 2pm and Mason was born at 3:58pm. Can’t believe it happened so quickly and the staff were all very surprised. Slightly annoyed about the first 2 examinations as I knew I had to be in established labour but everyone commented on how calm I was, all because of the breathing! Also I used about 2% of the things I put in my hospital bag. He also only weighed 6lb 11, even though everyone thought he would be huge. I had written a birth plan and brought all sorts with me but it all went out of the window in the end.

All in all there is no way I could have stayed at home as long as I did without the techniques and breathing I had learned through the course. It allowed me to remain calm, breathe through the surges and use my instincts to make decisions. I also felt empowered and knowledgable about what my body was doing, and when I felt I needed to push I trusted my instincts. Also I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d give birth without any pain relief so that is a testament to how well the hypnobirthing techniques work! It wasn’t the birth I had imagined and I was a little shell shocked at how fast it happened but I guess in that respect I am very lucky.

We ended up going home very early the next day as I hate hospitals and hated the ward. It’s been 12 days and I feel great, he’s still not meant to be here but I am so happy he is and so happy that I had a natural water birth with no pain relief and I birthed him into my own hands. I never ever thought that would be my birth story! If I can do it, anyone can and I can’t thank Siobhan enough for the skills she has given me!

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