Emma’s Birth Story (home birth)

Emma, a first time mum, chose a home birth after attending Katheryn’s HypnoBirthing course late in her pregnancy (35 weeks).  She had her beautiful 9 lb 4 oz son Finley at home without complication, with the midwives only just making it there in time, not believing she was really in labour as she was so calm. Here is her story …

We had started our Hypnobirthing with the lovely Katheryn pretty late in my pregnancy as we only moved to Bristol when I was 34 weeks pregnant. This meant we started the course from my 35th week. For me this was perfect timing because at this late stage of my pregnancy I was really ready to think about the birth.  Also it meant that all the breathing techniques and calming techniques were all really fresh in my mind when my labour started. Although I did keep telling my baby to please try to not come early so I had a chance to finish the course.

During the 4 weeks we were doing the course I listened to my positive affirmation cd every day round the house, in the car, walking down the street. It really helped me to stay calm. Then at night I would listen to the relaxation cd to help me fall asleep.

Katheryn created a really warm calming atmosphere for learning and every week I really looked forward to going to the classes.

I had been having a lot of braxton hicks contractions for several weeks prior to Finlay being born, so much so that by the time my labour started I didn’t really give the early contractions much thought. I was scheduled to have a stretch and sweep on the Wednesday morning and to my amazement the midwife told me I was a cm dilated already and that I was starting to have my show. Then while the midwife was tending to me she pointed out that I was having a contraction. My tummy had certainly tensed up but I could feel nothing at this point so went home to take it all in and wait for the inevitable.

That afternoon I had a bit more of a show and some mild contractions but by the evening everything seemed to stop so I went to bed as normal.

On the Thursday I continued to have some more mild contractions but again nothing out of the ordinary. In the afternoon I had what I realized was actually my bloody show. The previous day had just been the beginnings of one!

At about 9pm I decided to do a Hypnobirthing exercise with Phil that Katheryn had given us to help induce the labour as I was 7 days late by this point. Phil was reluctant to do it as it was late in the evening and he was hoping things would hold off until the morning but as I really didn’t think it would work, we want ahead.

At about 11pm on Thursday evening just Phil, came to join me in bed I woke with a start and an almighty surge which was followed quickly by another. I moved onto my hands and knees on the bedroom floor and told Phil ‘that if this is what the contractions were going to feel like I didn’t think I’d be able to do it without pain relief.’ Phil, who at this point was getting back out of bed as it was clear things were finally happening reminded me that that would mean I’d have to go to hospital rather than stay at home for our planned home water birth. So I continued doing my deep breathing that I had learnt in the Hypnobirthing and tried to focus.

I was starting to feel very sick so as I made my way to the bathroom Phil told me he was going to get dressed, go downstairs to make a strong coffee and that he would be up to join me in a minute. There was clearly no point going back to bed despite everyone advising the partner to do so if contractions start at night.

After some time in the bathroom, Phil holding back my hair, rubbing my back I started to feel better so we moved to the sitting room. I lay down on the sofa propped up with cushions, with some classical music on in the back ground and breathed through all the surges. Phil sat in an arm chair with the timer and tried to time my contractions. However, because I was managing the surges so well I was only told him when they got painful not when they started or ended.

Eventually I decided that I really needed the midwife there so I asked Phil to call the hospital. However Phil didn’t think my contractions were long enough or close enough together so he kept saying it’s too early. In the end I put my foot down and said I didn’t care, I need someone now so he called the hospital and they listened to me breathing through a surge and agreed it was time to send the first midwife.

About 5 minutes later I had a real urge to push and a bearing down on my bottom and so I told Phil that I needed someone here immediately so again he called the delivery suite and explained the situation. Once more they listened to my breathing and this time they said they needed to send the second midwife as I was clearly pretty advanced. They also said that Phil needed to call 999 as if the midwifes didn’t make it in time, he’d be delivering the baby himself. Phil to my surprise managed to stay very calm which I think was as a result of the partner preparation we had done at the Hypnobirthing. He continued to be everything I needed him to be throughout my labour.

Phil dialed 999 and they talked him through what position I needed to lie in on the bathroom floor and while I’m following their instructions the doorbell rings and the two teams of midwifes plus the paramedics are all at the door.

I suddenly feel really embarrassed about all these people arriving to attend to me. I was convinced the midwives were going to tell me that I was only 4 cm’s dilated and think I’m making ‘mountains out of mole hills’ but upon checking I’m told I’m already 9cm’s. I even heard one of the midwives telling the trainee who was with them, that if I’ve got that far without pain relief then I wouldn’t need any for the rest.

Phil informs the midwives that there is a birthing pool downstairs for us so they help me down. When we get downstairs my waters break in one go.

Unfortunately because Phil had been on the phone to the 999 Call Centre he hadn’t had time to fill the birthing pool properly so we find only an inch of water in it! Phil springs into action to get it filled but the hose attachment breaks so every time the midwives call for more hot water or cold he has to reattach it by banging it on with a hammer. It’s a very noisy few minutes. I manage to stay very calm and focused leant over the side of the pool I swoosh the water with my hands until it’s full. My surges slowed down maybe from the effort of moving downstairs so there is time to fill the pool.

By the time I get in the pool my contractions have slowed even more and there is some meconium in the water so the midwives ask me several times to stand so they can listen to the baby’s heart. Because my baby didn’t seem distressed they made a judgment call and let me continue at home instead of transferring me to hospital.

Phil keeps offering me sips of apple juice from a carton with a straw to keep me hydrated and the midwives suggest a couple of times that I go back upstairs to the bathroom to try and pee.

Eventually because things have really slowed I am told to go and sit on the toilet for a while to get things moving again. I clamber up the stairs one final time and as soon as I sit down that’s it I’m finally ready to start pushing.

I move onto my hands and knees on the bathroom floor and start pushing. At 5.55 am one of the midwives tells me my baby will be in my arms by 6.15 which spur’s me on to keep up the momentum.

When the head begins to crown the midwives tell me that my baby has a lovely head of thick dark hair which again keeps me going.

Phil is desperate to see so he is egging me on telling me to tell my baby to hurry up so we can meet it.

Then finally at 6.15 am exactly Finlay Samuel Sharp is born. He came out so fast that he slides through the midwives hands and through my legs in to my hands.  I catch him and sit back on my haunches. He weighs in at 9 lbs 4 oz and is completely perfect.

I hold him against my chest and we wait until the cord has finished pulsing before cutting it. Phil then takes him to do some skin on skin time while I get cleaned and stitched up.

My birthing experience was so amazing that Phil and I are on a complete high for weeks after.   I also felt that being as calm and relaxed as I was about the birth really helped to make it the experience it was.  I am sure that this was due to the techniques we learnt at HypnoBirthing so thank you so much Katheryn!!!!

Lots of love,

Emma Sharp

Kingsdown, Bristol.

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