Kim, a first time mum, pretty much breezed through the first stage of her labour but found the birthing phase more of a challenge. She explains how the hypnobirthing techniques helped her through as she birthed her beautiful girl in the pool, here is her story…..
At 5 days overdue I was beginning to feel a little fed up with being pregnant…feeling massive and hot and uncomfortable! Finally, on Saturday evening, I went in to latent labour. I had a backache that was helped with a hot water bottle but struggled to sleep as waves of ache were beginning in my lower tummy and surging round to my back. The feeling was coming every 5 minutes or so. My baby was extremely active and having a good wiggle about ! However, despite feeling surges, they weren’t particularly painful, more like an ‘intensity’. I used my rainbow relaxation hypnobirthing track to get some decent rest and managed to doze a little.
The surges continued through the night but the intensity and frequency didn’t really change so the next morning I called the hospital and they agreed that it sounded like early labour – they advised me to call back in when things had progressed a little more. Annoyingly, the surges actually eased off and disappeared for a few hours that morning and I was dreading a false start.
However a little walk to the coffee shop seemed to get things going again. I could feel a lot of pressure from the baby so walking home again was comically slow! The surges came back with more intensity by the evening, beginning at 5 minute intervals again, and the hypnobirthing calm breathing really had a chance to help. I still wouldn’t describe it as painful at this point but did have to use my focus to breathe through the surges of intensity. We were expecting a long process so tried to distract ourselves by watching TV, I even made a muesli from scratch so our cupboards were well stocked!
As the surges became stronger and I needed to focus more on the breathing and relaxation strategies I decided to have a bath, which instantly relieved some of the pressure I was feeling. Craig timed my surges and rather suddenly we found they were coming less than 3 minutes apart! Craig called the hospital and they said to come on in. Luckily there was no traffic at this time of night so the journey only took just over 10 minutes, but I had 5 or 6 contractions on the way – which were enormously uncomfortable in the car! Sitting down definitely increased the intensity so I decided to walk around to the birth suite rather than take a wheelchair so getting from the car park to the room took as long again!
Our room on the Mendip Birth Suite at Southmead had been prepared fantastically well – low level lighting, relaxing music on, fairy lights around the room (which I only noticed after the birth!) Our midwife was amazing and I think a little surprised to discover I was already 5cm dilated as at this point I was calm and relaxed- I had to focus and breathe through the contractions but they were still manageable. The midwife filled the pool and as soon as I got in, things really began to speed along. Almost immediately I entered the ‘transition’ phase and at this point began to struggle quite a bit more. My body totally took over and I could feel the natural expulsive reflex kick in – it was an utterly overwhelming feeling to feel your body taking charge regardless of the psychological need to stop it happening! Certainly at this point I found it much harder to focus on the breathing techniques as the intensity had now reached painful levels, but Craig really came in to his role at this point and supported me with encouragement and touch. He was a great advocate for me and discussed pain relief, which I was of course too late for by now, so I was only able to have gas and air. Craig kept reminding me how to breathe it for the best effects – though I would say for me it didnt feel very effective!
I had some surges where I could distinctly feel the baby come down and then go back up – the midwife explained everything that was happening and reassured me this was ok and was in fact helpful for my body. When the baby eventually crowned and her head was out I could feel her looking around the pool, the most surreal and fantastical moment of the whole birth – a feeling I will never forget, and then with the next surge she was born in the birth pool. She came straight to my chest and I burst in to tears.
From our arrival at hospital the birthing process had been less than 3 hours and I had only been in the birthing phase about an hour and a half, most of the time in the pool. We had not even had time to put the Stephen Halpern relaxation music on or the rainbow relaxation track! From the re instigation of the surges on Sunday evening my active labour had been only 10 hours. I have no doubt that my calm approach had helped things progress quickly and the breathing techniques made the surges far less ‘painful’ through most of the process. I could not deny the pain of the birthing phase but am amazed at how my body just knew what to at this point and how quickly the whole process was over and how well I had been able to cope with the majority of the process.
Another important note – Craig had been helping me with perineal massage over the previous weeks and the midwife was astounded to report that I had only grazes with no tears and no need for stitches. So though it was not sexy, I would definitely recommend this practice as well ladies!
All the medical staff I have spoken to since have been impressed with the duration of my labour and the lack of tears for a first time mother – again I can only say how everything I learnt from Sharon on the hypnobirthing course contributed to this. After a horrible pregnancy I am so glad to have had a positive end to the journey with a natural birth and the most gorgeous baby daughter, Eadlin Fern.