Birth story - Mitzi and baby Donovan
First of all, my birth “plan” changed at 38 weeks when I found out I had Group B Strep. The hospital I was due to birth at didn’t allow water births so I adjusted my mindset that I would now be birthing on land and with IV antibiotics.
** My Story **
I was due on 15th July. I was offered a membrane sweep (which I refused) and booked in for induction the following week. I was confident that my baby would come when he was ready and took that week to prepare for the birth by relaxing, eating well and staying hydrated.😴🥤
On the day of the 21st my partner and I had a lovely walk along the beach. I didn’t feel quite myself that night and took myself to bed early at 9pm. My baby became very active and I had a little chat with him, “baby it’s time to come out soon”.
I think labour started around midnight that night. I say “I think” because I managed to sleep through a lot of it and (naively!) brushed it off as third trimester discomfort (note. I also have no doubt that period cramps are mother nature’s way of preparing women for birth!). In the early hours of the 22nd, and in a sleepy haze, I noticed that surges were coming more regular. By 5am lying in bed was uncomfortable and I went to the bathroom and lost my mucous plug! Surges ramped up at this point and had a regular pattern. I realised it was the real deal! I returned to the bedroom and woke my partner up. I felt excited, used my hypnobirthing tool box (breathing in for 4 and out for 8, and listening to the positive affirmation MP3), put on my TENS (hired from Birth Ease) and followed the control of my body’s instincts (if it wasn’t for hypnobirthing I imagine I would have felt overwhelmed and resistant to the process, tense in my body and mind and only therefore increasing the intensity of the experience).
I started timing the surges and they were lasting 1 minute and coming every minute. We called the hospital and my partner Will described what was happening. They wanted to speak to me, and while this was possible, I told them I needed to concentrate on my breathing. Because I sounded relaxed they said to call back in an hour. I was confused as the app I was using to time the surges had an alert ‘go to hospital’. Shortly after calling the hospital I told my partner that I needed a MASSIVE POO(!) and I knew that things were changing. We got into the car and drove to the hospital. I went on all fours in the back seat, breathing through the surges with my eyes closed.
When we got to the hospital, I remember saying to my partner “I’ll be gutted if I’m only 4cm dilated”. As we got into reception I had some pretty intense surges that I couldn’t talk through. After they passed we walked to the triage department. The midwife who saw me said ‘we’ll see where you are and then take it from there’. They examined me (checking the dilation of my cervix during a surge was probably the most uncomfortable part of labour) and I was 9.5cm dilated! They said “your baby will be with you very soon”. I didn’t feel able to walk to the labour ward so requested to be wheeled there on a wheel chair. When we got into the birthing room they put they put the cannula in my hand and got the IV antibiotics running. I had been worried about this aspect of labour but it was a non event in the grand scheme of things.
I found a position that was comfortable for me (kneeling on all fours over the back of the raised bed) and noticed the change in my surges. My body and mind was in an entirely primal mode. The down stage was powerful but instinctive. I had a slight wobble at transition where I felt tired emotionally and physically, but got through this with some jelly beans and reassurance from the midwife and my partner. I remember how powerful it was when my partner told me how amazing I was. Towards the end of labour my midwife suggested I change positions to reclined seated as my hips were starting to hurt. I was reluctant to do this at first (thinking “UFO”) but it really helped me.
I remember the midwife saying “this next bit my sting” (referring to the “ring of fire”). I had always been a bit nervous about the “ring of fire” but it was actually a huge relief as I knew I was nearly there. Likewise, the head being born was also a huge relief and my body rested between that and my final surge where he body was born.
In total, the down stage of labour lasted 1hr 30min. Through the power of breathing, reciting positive affirmations as mantras in my head, trusting my body, and feeling completely safe in the company of the midwife and my partner, our little (not so little 9lbs!) boy was born without the need for any pain relief or medical intervention. It was the most empowering experience and greatest privilege to feel every sensation and the ultimate euphoria.
For me, a positive birth is a safe birth, and I have no doubt that hypnobirthing can make a woman’s experience of birth much more positive regardless of the nature of it.
’There is a secret in our society, not that childbirth is intense but that women are strong’🏼
** My top tips for labour **
Tell Triage that you are doing hypnobirthing and that you may therefore be coping admirably whilst being well progressed.
A TENS machine if you are labouring and birthing on land.
A cold wet flannel for the forehead.
Sweets for when energy is running low.
Listening to a labour playlist in the weeks leading up to birth.
Writing very clear birth preferences for the midwife/ medical staff. Mine included “surges not contractions”, “comfort not pain”, and I distinctly remember noticing the change in my midwife’s language and approach (and hence my mindset)when she read through my preferences and that I’d done hypnobirthing.
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