Renee, Steve & Beatrix's Hypnobirth Story
Renee has her 1st baby at home thanks to Hypnobirthing techniques!
Our birth story...
I had my show on the morning of Thursday, 18th August just before we had our midwife appointment. We were at 40 weeks and a day. Instinctively, I knew that our baby - Magic (our baby's womb name) - would be coming soon.
Our birthing journey started around midnight on Friday,19th August. The surges started to come every eight minutes, then seven, then six, then five over the span of six hours. By around am the surges started to wane and we called Bramber Ward at Worthing hospital. The midwife said that I was exhibiting the classic latent stage for a first baby. I was slightly disappointed as I really wanted to 'get the show on the road'.
However, by around 6pm that same day the surges started again. This time they came more strongly and more regularly. Steve kept reminding me to breathe and he kept giving me the light touch massages we did in Hypnobirthing classes. We watched funny films to keep cheerful and distracted (Fawlty Towers, Friends, The Simpsons, Monty Python); I kept eating, grazing and drinking fluids to keep my energy levels up. I also took a little walk outside in our garden to keep active, get some fresh air and catch some early evening sun. I clearly remember seeing a half-open, bright orange calendula/marigold flower, which has somehow randomly grown between the cracks in our garden. The birth colour we chose was orange, so I took this as a very good sign.
By around 7pm, we called Bramber Ward again as my surges further intensified and became even more frequent. The midwife on duty listened to me on the phone as I went through another surge; she said I was handling them very well and that a midwife will be with us at home by around 9pm.
At around 9:15pm, the midwife arrived - it was the same midwife, Hayley, who looked after us throughout our pregnancy! We were very happy and grateful for this as Hayley knew our entire history and our preference for a home hypnobirth. Before doing an internal examination, Hayley told me that if I was less than 4cms dilated, she would have to leave and she or another midwife would come back after a few hours, once my labour has progressed more. Luckily, after the examination, Hayley confirmed that I was 5-6cms dilated, so she would be staying - much to my relief! As well, my waters were still intact at this point.
I continued to have stronger surges for the next hour or so. I remember drinking water with Bach's Rescue Remedy and our cat Guinness staying close and watching me. Steve was back and forth between helping me focus throughout my surges and filling up the birthing pool, making sure the water was the right temperature.
By around 11pm, I got into the pool. Oh what a relief it was! I continued to use Hypnobirthing techniques and breathing to go through my labour. At around 2am, I decided to try some gas and air to take the edge off the surges that were getting more intense. It helped a bit, but after around an hour or so, I stopped using it and only went back to it occasionally. Our midwife also kept encouraging me to get out of the pool from time to time - to have a walk around, have a change of scenery and manage some of my surges in the bathroom. We all found that my surges were stronger and more intense out of the water. Steve was with me the whole time - holding me, hugging me and giving me cues for visualization.
Hayley called for a second midwife (Rachel) by around 7am as my surges were becoming stronger. However, 9am came around and still no appearance from our baby! Hayley had to go home as she had been with me for already twelve hours! Another midwife (Vicky) came to relieve Hayley.
At around 10:30am, the baby still had not made an appearance and Rachel suggested that I have another internal examination and to possibly break my waters as the labour was taking a long time. I got myself out of the pool and on the couch ready to be examined, when my waters finally broke! I felt a rush of relief, but from this point onward the surges intensified further.I went back in the pool for a little bit, but the midwives encouraged me to go through my surges while sitting down in the bathroom. As much as I loved being in the pool and warm water (it was SO comforting), I instinctively knew that I had to stay out of the water in order to birth my baby - the water was relaxing me too much! This was probably around 11am.
Things started to happen faster once I was out of the water. I remember squatting down, really breathing and focusing with every surge. At first, primeval, animal-like sounds were pouring out of my throat, but Vicky encouraged me to focus all that energy and strength downwards. Great advice, because this really helped me! I was very quiet and focused during the surges right before our baby was born. Poor Steve and midwives - I just really needed to hold their hands during my surges! I am surprised I didn't crush any of their fingers!
I clearly remember Rachel telling me she could see the baby's head, and she made a circular symbol with her thumb and forefinger to indicate the size she was seeing - and I thought 'Gaaaah! All that work and you can only see that much?!?!? That's not much at all!' She also told me that I could touch the baby's head if I wanted, but I opted not to as I thought that would just totally distract me and excite me; I felt like I really needed to bear down and focus,focus, focus!
Steve was sitting on our couch in the living room and I was squatting between his legs, holding (crushing!) his hands when our little Beatrix Gracie was born. I remember totally focusing and breathing, breathing, breathing as I calmly waited for another surge to come while the baby was crowning. Next thing I knew, our baby slid out easily and she was on my chest. I remember seeing her beautiful eyes - wide open and so alert, taking everything in! She immediately latched on to my breast. The midwives could not stop remarking on how calm and alert she was. To this day, she is very curious, observant and inquisitive!
I gave birth to the placenta naturally as well (it took almost another hour!). Alas, I had to have five stitches and I totally used a whole lot more gas and air for this part of the process than during my actual labour! I was so disappointed that I had to have stitches, that I cried and then proceeded to pass out briefly and then come to, not remembering what happened!
I clearly remember feeling a myriad of emotions - I was utterly exhausted, but I also felt so empowered, giddy, joyful and extremely proud of what I, Steve and Beatrix had all done. It was all so spiritual and beautiful. The midwives told us that the only reason they did not recommend for us to go to hospital was because Steve and I were such a calm, solid team. They said that their jobs were made easier because of our calm and that Steve was doing their job for them. As well, Beatrix's heart rate remained strong, calm and steady throughout.
We attribute all this to our Hypnobirthing training and previous yoga experience. We would like to extend a very BIG and heartfelt thank you to Naomi, our Hypnobirthing instructor, for making this beautiful experience possible for us. We would also like to extend big thank yous to the midwives who looked after us during labour - Hayley, Rachel and Vicky - they were all superstars!
Oh - and remember that half open marigold that I saw in the garden while I was in labour? Next day, after Bea was born, the flower was in full bloom - a very bright, beautiful orange!