Birth Stories

 

Anna gives birth to baby Zach

Hi Dani sorry this is so late! I guess you know how it is with a new baby. Paul is at home this week so I am finally finishing up some little jobs I’ve been meaning to get to for ages.

The birth story gets longer and longer and shows no sign of being finished, so here in the meantime are some words about the birth for you, if they are useful.

What your natal hypnotherapy course did for Paul and I, principally, was let us know what was to come. No one in the medical profession or in the books really tells you what will happen. It was brilliant to learn that together and have an opportunity to ask questions. This meant that a great part of our fear was taken away – I came to the class confident that I could give birth, but Paul didn’t know that and didn’t know what he would be able to do / how he would be able to help out, so learning about the practicalities of it really empowered us to look forward to the birth as a team. This was an attitude that stayed with me through the rest of my pregnancy, and the relaxation exercises brought Paul and I closer together and increased our trust in each other.

As for the birth itself, I dealt with it confidently and calmly, choosing to forego any routine interventions from the midwife (who arrived just 50 minutes before I gave birth), and to manage my progress on my own. We did have a doula with us, so I knew that she would let us know should my instincts take us anywhere from a safe process. The Natal hypnotherapy techniques I had learnt became very useful to create a safe and comfortable space for myself inside my own mind, where I could go and be absorbed for each contraction. The house and birth room were not prepared at all (I was in labour two weeks early) so amongst it all were Paul and our doula tramping back and forth clearing furniture, setting up candles, inflating the birth pool and filling it with buckets of water so it would be ready in time. This meant that often I found myself alone during contractions, and I used breathing and relaxation techniques to remain calm, accepting of what was going on, and deeply focussed on the job I had to do.

Three hours after I got home from Camden (where serious labour began), at 8.50pm, my gorgeous, happy and very chilled out son was born, head first into water, his shoulders and body following one and a half contractions later (the half being the only time I had to push). Who knows, but I absolutely attribute his stoic demeanour and his perfect latch about 2 hours later to his calm, controlled and entirely drug free delivery.

I would absolutely recommend learning some natal hypnotherapy techniques to other parents to be, and in fact I already have (one couple in London who I think have already contacted you!). I knew already I could cope with birth but I could not have imagined how beautiful and enjoyable the whole process would be. When I learnt it wasn’t even 9pm, I felt ready to do it all again, and I still feel the same.

Thanks again for a great course.

Emma gives birth to baby Leon

Hi Dani

It’s a bit of an epic, I’m afraid, but here is my birth story:

I had gone to bed quite late only to be woken just before midnight by Tom. He had diarrhoea, so Jack and I cleaned him, his bedding and the floor up before settling back to sleep…only to be woken an hour or so later when Tom was sick all over himself and his bed (Sod’s law meant that this was the night he went down with the norovirus!)

Having once again undertaken a massive clean up operation, we went to bed around 2.30…only for me to wake at 4am with a strange feeling between my legs. I got up to go to the toilet and as I did, my waters went in a gush.

My Mum came over to look after Tom, while Jack and I went into the hospital, (ABC) where they monitored me. The midwife told me that they needed to check the baby’s heart rate and to see if I was having any contractions, although she didn’t think I was having any yet. (I was!)

This was the most nerve-wracking bit of the whole experience, because I could see that at one point the baby’s heart rate had dropped: this was what happened last time and what led to us being transferred to the delivery suite (and the beginning of the cascade of interventions).

I began to get a sense of déjà vu when the midwife said they’d have to monitor me for a bit longer because she thought that the baby might be getting distressed.

I was already using the hypnotherapy techniques to deal with the contractions, so I decided to stop looking at the read-out and to just concentrate on relaxing as much as possible, whilst listening to the hypnotherapy track on my ipod (realising that my stress was probably what was affecting the baby in the first place!) When the midwife went out, Jack also ‘shook the apples’ which worked brilliantly!

Thankfully, all was eventually well and having been given the ‘SROM’ info we returned home. (Interestingly, the midwife who discharged me also didn’t seem to realise that I was having contractions. Also interesting to me was the fact that the first thing she mentioned in her ‘discharge spiel’ was induction: …”if you haven’t had the baby within 48 hours, then you will be induced” etc. I was pretty sure the baby would have arrived by then but, what a way to approach it, mentioning the intervention first rather than reassuring you with the fact that most women will go into spontaneous labour!

We got home around 8am, where I sat on the birthing ball and told my Mum what had happened at the hospital. Jack gave Tom some milk, which he then sicked up on me and the birthing ball!

Once they had left, I went up to our bedroom, which was ready with everything I felt I needed to labour in comfort. Jack put the tens machine on me and I ‘got on with it’, smelling clary sage whilst leaning forward over the bed and every so often being violently sick into my specially purchased sick bowl! (At least I knew this time why this was happening – it just meant my body was preparing to birth my baby.)

I also made a lot of long, low moans, mainly because it helped me deal with the sensations, but also because Jack wanted to time the contractions from the next door room (I didn’t want him near me – but not in a bad way).

I was determined to stay at home as long as possible, especially after last time, but around 11am, Jack told me that the contractions were getting really close together and that he thought it was time to be going in. He was really useful in this respect – I was able to totally concentrate on being in the moment and dealing with each contraction, while he timed them and made the judgement as to when to go in. (We arrived at the hospital at 11.50am and the baby was born at 12.40pm, so he did his job well!)

Once in the ABC, the midwife introduced herself, took a urine sample and palpated my stomach. I asked for gas and air, then stood by the bed, leaning over a few pillows (mine!), tens machine in one hand and gas mouthpiece in the other.

I had barely had a chance to take off my knickers, when I felt the URGE TO PUSH!

It was amazing, and just like you and Ina May described. There was nothing I could have done to stop it, even if I had wanted to and it felt very good because I knew I was nearly finished (and I hadn’t even had the self doubt phase!).

Leon came out in three pushes – weighing 9lb 9oz, (bigger than Tom) – but this time helped out by gravity.

The cord was around his neck three times, but just like Ina says, no problem – the midwife simply unwrapped it and told me when to push again.

The midwife was the polar opposite of the ones I had at Tom’s birth. She was a community midwife who had been called in to help because the ABC was so busy, and she was brilliant. An example of how good she was, was when I got a bit fed up waiting for the placenta to come out naturally and just wanted to hold Leon: instead, she encouraged me to go with what I’d planned, to get into another position and keep trying, rather than have the injection.

So, I didn’t get to have a water birth after all but it was perfect just the way it happened– no interventions, no checking how dilated I was, no timings, no drip, no catheter, no episiotomy, no lying on the bed – just me, at home, on my own, blinds drawn, feeling safe until I absolutely had to go into hospital.

Natal hypnotherapy was a big part of why it went so well – and I’m also very grateful to you for telling me to read Ina May. Jack used to see me reading ‘Effective Birth Preparation’ and ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ every night in the run up to labour (and making notes) and joked that it was like I was studying for an exam, but that’s exactly how it felt. Last time, I didn’t really have a clue what was happening but this time, I was as prepared as I could have been!

Emma – Watford

Helen gives birth to baby Myla

Helen Chit and baby Myla Myla’s Birth story. 6lbs 10 ounces.

Sunday 24th March 2013

Gestation 38 wks +3

Contractions – gentle cramps

 

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling a little different with period pains and after about half an hour as I sat down on the bed there was a gush of fluid and blood. I told Chit and we had a mini panic about it being my waters but decided it must just be my mucus plug and continued with the day. That day we had friends around for lunch and therefore forgot all about the cramps. Once our friends left in the early evening the cramps quickly got going again. I believe they stopped because we had people in the house and my body put the labour on hold as I was not feeling private and secure. We were excited but apprehensive about this being real labour. I went to bed and would wake up every hour or so with a contraction.

 

Monday 25th March 2013

Gestation 38 wks +4

Contractions – early labour

 

Next morning I told Chit that I was sure I was in labour now, and not just my uterus practising. Chit decided to stay at home with me and create the baobab tree space in our bedroom. This involved lots of cushions and blankets down by the side of the bed, with glow lights, birthing ball and Natal hypnotherapy music playing. The contractions were becoming more intense and I started relying on my breathing to help with the pain, deep breaths in through the nose and out the mouth as I learned. Chit also helped by massaging my lower back with every contraction ( I later learnt that Myla was slightly back to back and that was why the pain felt like it was in my back/bum!) We tracked the contractions with an app, and kept checking if there was any progress. The contractions were not consistent and would vary in strength and time. Chit knew it was important to keep my strength up and would make me great filling meals. In the night I could not sleep at all this time, and spent half of it jumping out the bed and waking chit up to massage my back, and the other half on the floor grabbing onto the bed with every contraction.

 

Tuesday 26th March 2013

Gestation 38 wks +5

Contractions – early labour every 5 mins

The contractions were still inconsistent for most of the day, and chit gave me a bell to shake for every contraction so he could run and massage my back! In the afternoon, the contractions seem to be picking up pace and were coming every 5 mins, so Chit rang the hospital and they asked us to come into triage. Once in hospital, they put me on a monitor to check Myla’s heart rate and my contractions. My contractions just about stopped when I arrived in the triage – I believe this was again about not feeling safe. As the contractions were every 5 mins and not consistently long enough the midwife sent us home. As soon as she said we could go home my contractions hotted up there and then! That evening I spent a lot of time in the bath, particularly in the night as I was getting no sleep. I found being on all fours or leaning onto the bed really helped with the pain.

Wednesday 27th March 2013

Gestation 38 wks +6

Contractions – 3 in 10 mins

 

By Wednesday I was getting tired and in the morning I started crying and retching to be sick. My contractions were 3 in 10 mins so Chit decided to take me back to triage. By 8am the midwife had checked me and I was fully effaced and 4cm dilated… so taken up to delivery suite (the birthing centre was still closed for refurbishment!) once there, chit set up the room with cushions, blankets and lights to make it feel more like home. He brought my bed pillow which was really great as I had my head in the pillow with every contraction and the familiar smell was comforting. He put up my photos of Sri Lanka and affirmations on the wall so I could focus on the beach which was my relaxation place. With sandal wood oil and forest sounds playing I felt much more relaxed! The day progressed slowly as I was only contracting half a cm every hour. Although the midwifes were concerned and wanted to discuss options every 4 hrs, I still did not want any intervention/drugs and felt positive that my body could do it. The midwife kept checking Myla’s heart rate and my pulse very 15 mins, and Myla was very happy throughout the whole labour. I could not lie down at all, so stood up with my body leaning over the bed. Although I was getting exhausted, this was the only position that worked for me. As Myla was slightly back to back I rocked and rotated my hips, and did some bouncing on the birthing ball to move her round. By the time I was 6cm I was allowed into the birthing pool. I had decided that I wanted a water birth, as water was such an effective pain relief for me. The pool was amazing and I did not want to come out the water. Chit stayed by the pool side and comforted me. I also had some gas and air but found it quite distracting from my breathing techniques. The breathing really helped with the pain; a vocal outlet came very naturally to me. Once I was 9cm dilated the midwife decided to break my waters to speed up the labour. As soon as my waters were broken, everything got very intense and felt the need to push. My contractions were slowing down as my uterus was tired and I had to make every contraction count and push for as long as possible. I had both midwives and Chit screaming at me to push, it sounded like a rowdy football match, but it worked and Myla came out 7.09 pm with cord wrapped once round her neck. I gathered her up from the water into my arms, and suddenly I felt like normal me again… talking to Myla and not tired in the slightest.

3rd stage Labour

I got out the pool to deliver the placenta while Chit had skin to skin with Myla. Myla was alert and peaceful all while she was having her checks and I was getting my stitches sutured, she only gave a little yelp when the vitamin K injection was given. As it was now late we had to stay overnight in the hospital. Chit had to leave so I was left alone with our new baby and tried to sleep (unsuccessfully as I was so concerned and fascinated by Myla). The next day Myla had her paediatric check, which she was diagnosed with slight Jaundice and her hearing test which she passed.

I was so pleased with Myla’s birth as it all went to plan and I got the natural birth I wanted. I attribute the mental strength needed to the natal hypnotherapy training I had, and it really helped reduce the pain. I believe the birth experience all helped towards Myla’s health and calm personality! I would even go as far to say … bring on baby number 2!

 

Helen – Watford

Natalie gives birth to Baby Freddie

Freddie started to make himself known around 1.00 am, with the first contraction taking me by surprise. It was strong and several more contractions came at regular three minute intervals. I turned to my natal hypnotherapy music and started to put into practice all the techniques I had learnt on my course; trying to give my husband Martin a chance to sleep.

After a visit from the midwives early morning we were left to carry on as we were. I was able to grab a little rest between contractions and by this time had taken up residency in my ‘baobab tree’ ( a corner of our dining room with a mattress, blankets and pillows.) We had prepared the rest of the room with our birthing pool and fairy lights on a dimmer switch.

Over the next few hours I made use of the birth companion cd on headphones, a TENS machine and lavender on a muslin cloth. I held martins hand each time I felt a contraction coming and said our code word ‘carrot’ for when I wanted him to say 3,2,1 relax and massage me.

Eventually our midwives came around mid-day. They settled in with a cup of tea while I rocked on my hands and knees through the next few hours. In between contractions I laughed and joked and then focused, using my birth breath through the contractions.

Around 6.00 pm I got into the birth pool. I felt the urge to bear down. I started to push, however my waters had not broken and it was difficult for the midwives to see how far behind the water sack our baby’s head was. They asked me to get out and I crawled back into my baobab tree.

A few minutes later our son Alfred was born, my waters went moments before ( an almost water birth). He was placed straight into my arms where he latched on almost immediately. It was love a first sight. However the midwives asked me his name and I said Albert… at which point Alfred pooed all over me!

I am pleased to say I enjoyed my first birth experience and was so relieved i was able to have the home birth i had planned. The midwives commented on how calm I was and on return check up visits got vey animated about the birth and how much they had enjoyed it also. Doing a natal hypnotherapy workshop gave both my husband and I so many tools to draw upon during the birth. By using the CDs and reading the book we felt calm, reassured and excited….. What more can you ask for?

Natalie – Watford