Birth Story - Sophie and baby Indigo
We were so over the moon to be expecting baby number two. A sibling for Milo was my ultimate dream, but, I was also terrified of giving birth again. My first experience was incredibly long, utterly exhausting and totally traumatising. I had a long labour, what felt like one massive contraction with no breaks, bled heavily throughout and ended up in theatre after the birth due to a retained placenta, missing out on those vital first hours of bonding. I was a mere shell of my former self afterwards and found myself spiralling down into the depths of post-natal depression due to my experience. I’m lucky enough to have incredible family support to help me through the confusing and terrifying time. In short I felt totally overwhelmed and out of control, not quite sure how I was still alive.
So this time I knew I had to prepare myself and that’s where hypnobirthing came in. We did the course with the incredibly passionate Siobhan, read the book, put the positive affirmation cards all over the house and made time to do the relaxation exercises, which was a lovely way to relax before going to sleep. With these tools I felt much more prepared for the challenge ahead, almost excited. We planned on having a water birth at the midwifery led unit in Newton Abbot, which I had visited a few weeks before my due date and loved the feel of the place. It was the perfect setting to rectify my birthing experience.
My waters broke (at my best friend’s wedding!) on Saturday 25th November around 7.15pm and it was time to put everything I had learnt into practise. I remained calm and looked forward to the arrival of my baby girl. We headed home from the wedding, with cheers of good luck sending us off, loaded up on carbs and went to bed awaiting that first surge. I could not sleep as my mind was racing with excitement and anticipation... was I up to the challenge ahead? Plus, I was a little anxious that nothing would happen and I’d end up in hospital 24 hours later to be induced, but I was determined to remain calm and relaxed.
Between 11pm and 12am the first one came and I resolved to start my labour quietly and calmly ensuring I didn’t wake Sam as I knew it could be a long journey and I’d need him to have all the strength he could muster to support me through what was to come. Quickly the surges grew in strength and my breathing became louder and louder, ultimately waking Sam. I got up to take some paracetamol and Sam suggested I sit on my ball. It was too uncomfortable on the ball as there was so much weight ‘down there’ so I flunked onto all fours on the sofa for the next surge, ensuring I relaxed between them with a simple arm stroke from Sam. The paracetamol, and all the carbs, now decided to make their way back up my throat which was quite disheartening as I knew I would need the energy. I had been timing my surges and they seemed to be every 3 minutes and last for around a minute, although I was still unsure if I was even timing them correctly. It was time to phone the labour ward. We agreed with the ward that a midwife would be sent to check my progress and then phoned my mum with the news, as she was one of my birth partners.
She arrived 10 minutes later to find me incredibly focused still on the sofa. Shortly after her arrival I staggered to the bathroom as felt I needed the toilet but while there I had a sudden urge to push. I was a little confused and felt there was no way my baby could be arriving already. Sam quickly phoned the labour ward to inform them and find out where the midwife was, only to be told to stay on the line as they might have to talk him through delivering a baby. I’m pretty sure he was thinking ‘no thank you!’ at the time and incredibly grateful that my mum had made it round. I moved to the floor and flung myself over the edge of the bath with my mum counting my breathing and ensuring I relaxed every cell of my body during surges so my uterus could do her thing. I felt totally in the zone and working with my body, doing my best to not get overwhelmed by the power of the surges. I breathed through countless contractions, fighting the baby’s arrival, awaiting the arrival of the midwife as I wanted to make sure I was 10cm dilated. Sam was out in the street at 2am praying she would appear round the corner. She arrived, threw down her bag and began setting up the lounge for the arrival. Little did she know that I couldn’t make it as far as the shower let alone the lounge. So we hunkered down; Sam on the toilet, Mum wedged between the toilet and the bath, and me on all fours with my head in Sam’s lap. The midwife checked I was fully dilated and encouraged me to do what I needed to do.
Time to start the ‘down’ breathing. Mum began to count and my baby’s journey was almost complete. Her head was crowning and I simply breathed. (Oh, that ring of fire, you do but burn! Crap I wish I was in the pool.) After only two surges her head popped out and I prepared myself for one final surge but she had other ideas and dived head first for the floor. Luckily the midwife was alert, even at 2.15am, and caught her. My beautiful baby Indigo was passed between my legs and I engrossed myself in that magical first cuddle. Utter shock came over us all as we stared at the tiny person now in the room. I immediately felt like a birthing goddess and everyone confirmed that that was in fact the case.
I carefully moved into the lounge where, for me, the scary part began. Would my placenta detach or would I be ripped from my baby and rushed into hospital? I started to go into shock and my anxiety levels rose so I began my breathing and managed to calm myself down. Nothing was happening whilst lying on the sofa so I squatted on the floor and a few minutes later there the thing was, staring at us on the living room floor! I had achieved a physiological third stage and was ecstatic. Now it was just me and my incredible baby girl.
I had done what seemed impossible and had the most incredible experience of my life giving birth to my second baby. Not once did I consider pain relief as I was so focused on my breathing and relaxing every muscle. I now understand why Siobhan was jealous that I would be giving birth (initially I thought she was off her rocker!) and if I do it again I cannot wait to feel the overwhelming feelings of empowerment and proudness. I have massive respect for my body and mind now, as well as every mother on the planet. No matter what your experience and journey is you are a birthing goddess and my story is testament that the most traumatic experience can became the most amazing experience thanks to hypnobirthing.
Indigo Dare Sobey was born at home on Sunday 26th November at 2.15am weighing 6lb 14oz
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