Birth story - Meridith and baby boy

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For the last few months of pregnancy I thought baby would arrive at 38 weeks. I felt ready to give birth. I'd been doing pregnancy yoga throughout the third trimester, and we'd done an Active Birth Partner's class, as well as the digital hypnobirthing course.

As 38 weeks approached it was feeling less likely to be the week. Plus we had just decorated our living room which had taken longer than planned and the house was a bit upside down, definitely not ready for a baby let alone a home birth! Then at 38+2 I started having period type cramps throughout the night. As I'd been getting this on and off for some weeks I thought little of it. Then from about 6am the cramps started to become more regular and lasted for about a minute but I was able to sleep in between so I stayed in bed whilst my partner, James, got up with our toddler. At about 9am the cramps stopped and I went downstairs and told James that I thought I was in very early labour, it would probably still take a few days to progress, but we should get the house ready. Then at 9.30 my waters started to go. I phoned the midwife, my sister (who was away camping but previously said she'd come home to look after our son if I went into labour), and my mum (who would have looked after our son but had recently broken her wrist, but was able to come and help out until my sister arrived).

The midwife arrived to check me at about 10.30. She left soon after and told us to contact her again when surges were approximately every 3-4 minutes or more intense.

My mum arrived soon after that and kept our son occupied.

James and I carried on hanging up the curtains and cleaning. James started moving furniture and I went upstairs to have shower. At about 11.30 my mum came upstairs to check on me. Whilst I was trying to talk to her I realised the surges had built up. They were coming every few minutes and I couldn't talk or think about anything other than my breathing during them. Until that point, and whilst I was on my own, I'd just been using my breathing and hadn't really noticed how intense they had become. I asked James to call the midwife and update her.

The midwife came back at about 12.30. I sat downstairs with her whilst she timed the surges. James started setting up the birth pool, and my mum took our son upstairs and called my sister for an update. For about half an hour things slowed down again. Then quite powerful surges started coming every 3 minutes. I wanted everything to slow down. Our son went to my sister's at about 13.30. At which point the midwife suggested I go for a wee. I made it upstairs between surges. I stayed sitting on the toilet until the birth pool was ready. Then with some help, and stopping for surges along the way I made it back downstairs and into the pool. The warm water felt amazing. Almost as soon as I got in I felt my body pushing down. I was able to relax enough to feel my muscles do the work. James sat opposite me and reminded me to use the down breathing. It was the only time I wanted and needed the support. I could feel the baby's head pushing down. I remember saying "I can't do it", but with encouragement from James and the midwife and thinking about everything we'd learnt about labour and transition I was able to focus again. A few surges later and baby's head had been born, and his body in the next surges. The midwife moved him forward and I reached down and lifted him up.

I was only in the pool for about 30min but I'm so glad I was able to deliver him in water. There were no candles or music or aromatherapy. I was so focused on my breathing that none of that mattered.

I feel so lucky to have had a home birth (with the support of a dedicated home birth team, my partner, mum and sister) and a water birth, but I know it would have been a very different experience without hypnobirthing.

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