Corrine had a homebirth, after being taught HypnoBirthing by Sharon. Here is her story;
We planned a home birth (suggested by the midwife at an early appointment), using HypnoBirthing (recommended by an initially sceptic new father friend of ours) and a birthing pool (recommended by near enough everyone)
On Wednesday I went for a reflexology treatment as I’d been told it’s good to prepare your body for the birth and can help encourage the start of labour. On Thursday I went for a walk with a friend and had quite strong period-type pains for an hour or two, then they went away. Same thing happened for the next few days whenever I went for a walk. On Monday I was really emotional (angry rather than tearful, odd as I’d been really relaxed and happy throughout my pregnancy!), I went to yoga class that evening and felt calmer after meeting up with other pregnant women and happy when Helen said strong emotions were a good sign of labour being imminent! On Tuesday I had a show when doing perineal massage. I went for another reflexology treatment, this session more aimed at encouraging labour as he was now five days overdue. I left feeling relaxed and had some mild Braxton Hicks later that day. Wednesday 8th I went for a long walk and felt more period-type pains then nothing. Wednesday evening I went out for dinner with friends, all sensations gone and resigned to baby being really overdue. Went to bed but woke at 2.30am. I felt what I thought was a contraction, then another about 10mins later. I wasn’t sure this was it so I started timing the length of contractions and time between. Between 3am-6am they became slightly more regular and longer, about 7 mins apart and lasting 30-40seconds. With hindsight, and if I do this again, I’ll sleep at this stage to preserve energy for later… I woke Henry, my husband, about 6am as I was pretty sure this was the start of labour. He was quite excited, and sleepy, I told him to go back to sleep as I was going to listen to a HypnoBirthing c.d and would wake him if anything changed. He’d be more helpful later if he was well rested! I relaxed on the sofa and listened to the HypnoBirthing cd. I woke Henry about 7am and he prepared the birthing pool, whilst I re-read some of the leaflets from the midwife and the HypnoBirthing book. I still wasn’t convinced this was really it, especially as I read that labour can start for a few hours then stop again… I called the on-call midwife about 7.30am to get reassurance that this was probably the start of labour. She said to keep timing and get in touch when things got more frequent. I got in the pool about 9am and was having regular contractions, every 3-4mins or so but only lasting 30-40 seconds. Henry called the midwife at our surgery about 10.30am and she came out about 11am. I was in the pool, breathing through the contractions, and able to talk to her. I got out so she could examine me, I was 2cm dilated and as everything was going fine and Henry and I were calm she left (Henry said later than he was amazed and slightly scared that she left, but he did brilliantly through it all!). Henry monitored the water temp in the pool and kept me fed and watered, and helped me get in and out of the pool for regular trips to the toilet (at least every hour…). He also recorded how long each contraction was and how regular. The midwife suggested I take 2 paracetamol when the contractions become stronger as it can be a good measure of how powerful the contractions are – if they take the edge off within the hour then you’ve still got a way to go, if they do nothing then you’re probably quite far along! I took the paracetamol about 1.30pm and went for a lie down on our bed as I was quite tired, I rested quite well between contractions and continued to breathe through them. I got up about an hour later and got back into the pool.
About 4.30pm I took two more paracetamol and promptly threw them up, contractions coming stronger and more intense. Henry called the on-call midwife about 5.30pm.
I got out of the pool about 6pm to use the toilet and couldn’t face going back downstairs to the pool so went to lie on our bed, my waters also broke at this point, more a trickle than flowing. I curled up on my left side, breathing through the contractions. All day I’d been in quite a bright room as it was a sunny day and I’d been listening to relaxing HypnoBirthing music. Now I was in a darkened room with no music and I really got into a deeply relaxed state and although the contractions were the most intense and regular I really couldn’t feel anything. If I came out of the relaxed state I could feel an intense pressure to push down to my bottom, it wasn’t pleasant but not exactly painful. The midwife arrived about 6.30pm and immediately called the second midwife as she assessed I was quite far along! She had read our birthplan and was very sympathetic and responsive to our use of HypnoBirthing and request for minimum interventions and for me to lead with whatever I felt was best at the time. The contractions were coming regularly and I was unable to talk until I felt more of a break between them. At 7.15pm she was able to do a vaginal examination, I was fully dilated and she confirmed my membranes had broken and his head was visible with each strong push.
After the examination I moved onto all fours, with a birthing ball on the bed so I could lean on it, this was the most comfortable position I could find. The second midwife arrived shortly after this. I was pretty tired by this point and finding it hard to keep breathing through the contractions but the next hour passed quickly (I’d really lost all sense of time) and I summoned up extra reserves and Gethin arrived at 8.22pm. He weighed 6lb 8oz and started crying pretty much straight away. I turned over and he was passed straight to me for skin to skin contact which was magical. Amazingly I felt full of energy and chatty as soon as he was born. The placenta came away really easily and was nothing to push out after a baby! He had his first feed, the midwife helped me to the shower, tidied up and then they left about 10pm, leaving a slightly shell-shocked set of new parents.
Gethin continued wanting to feed until about 3am, when we finally all got some sleep. As they’d left the midwives told us to call the on-call midwife if we had any questions or concerns. We called a few times over the next few days and they were always really helpful and reassuring. A midwife from our local surgery came to check on us the next day, and a then every few days that week.