Tracy, a first time mum, had a water birth at home after being taught hypnobirthing by Sharon. She had a super quick labour that caught her by surprise, here is her story…
A week before I went into labour, around Tuesday/Wednesday, there were a few nights when I went to bed thinking it was all going to happen that night as I was tightening really quite a lot but then I’d wake up in the morning almost disappointed and a little surprised that all was calm and back to normal again! By the weekend things were slowing down and I started to think about how far past my due date I would go before having my labour induced and if I should give up the desire of a normal birth at home. Being a midwife in hospital, although I’ve been part of hundreds of beautiful births of all different types, I’ve also seen lots of inductions and interventions that women didn’t plan for in their ideal birth plan which made it hard for me to keep aiming for my own ‘ideal’ plan, and to switch off my ‘what if…?’ head! On the Monday I had an appointment with my midwife who broached the topic of induction again as she needed to book me in for an assessment. I came away with an internal battle of feeling confused, disheartened and almost like a fool to think it would all go to plan, yet at the same time I knew I had to stay positive. I was only a week past my due date, and wanted to focus on positive affirmations and believe it was possible. The next evening I’d had enough, it had been a week since all the tightenings and evenings of going to bed with excited nerves to now nothing, no signs, no twinges, just the pressure of induction. I went to bed around 10.30pm feeling really grumpy and actually a bit angry at everything.
At 00.45 I woke up and literally jumped out of bed!! I rushed to the bathroom to use the loo urgently. I was then sick as well. I sat back down on the toilet and immediately started contracting every 1-2 minutes, each one lasting over a minute. In my head, I had planned to just quietly get on with the early latent phase of labour, but as I sat there trying to achieve mind over matter, to follow my plan, my body was shaking, I was panicking and having thoughts of worse case scenarios because it wasn’t meant to be like this, all so sudden, something was wrong?
At 01.00 Matt came into the bathroom to find me. I was so scared. I put the hypnobirthing affirmations track on, trying mind over matter, because I thought I was ‘supposed’ to be being calm and serene and here I was shaking, crying and generally in a state of shock. Matt wanted to call the midwife. In my head I imagined the conversation sounding ridiculous…. Primip (a woman having her first baby), wanting a home birth, contracting for half an hour, not coping…, but I didn’t stop him from making the call. By 02.00 the midwives were with us. I was in the bath making a lot of noise, splashing around, my body seemed to be pushing with each contraction even though I felt there was nothing there to push on. I kept thinking and saying ‘it shouldn’t be like this, I’m meant to be calm, what if this, what if that’. Meanwhile Matt was downstairs filling the birthing pool.
My body continued to push on what felt like nothing, but I literally couldn’t help it, even though in my head I was thinking it was ‘wrong’. In my ‘plan’ I thought music would really help get me through. I knew visualisation probably wouldn’t be my thing but no, I couldn’t have music, I couldn’t visualise, instead I found myself saying the word ‘floppy’ over and over!!! I don’t know where it came from, but I was trying to tell myself to relax and for my body to let go and be floppy!! I reluctantly started on the gas and air. I’d resisted at first thinking ‘it’s too soon, if I’m only 1cm and using gas now I’m not going to last!’ My midwife offered to examine me for reassurance as I was still panicking but she knew all was well. I didn’t really answer her because I was thinking too much inside my own head, ‘if she examines me it’s going to start the clock ticking’, ‘what if it’s too soon?’ All of a sudden I felt a huge gush of fluid come out down below. I daren’t open my eyes in case there was meconium (baby poo) or blood in the bath! I said out loud that my waters had just gone. The midwife just said ‘well done’ and continued to be reassuring, I slowly opened one eye at a time to check the bath water, it was clear! I think I cried with a mixture of relief and realisation that I might possibly be in labour!! The feeling inside me then started to change. There was definitely something coming down, giving me a hard heavy feeling in my bottom. I started to let go a bit and became a bit calmer.
By 03.00 the birth pool was ready. I fairly quickly got down the stairs and reached the kitchen doorway eager to get in the pool. I just made it to the side of the pool before I had another contraction! After that one I got in the pool. Aaaaaaarrrrrrr. Wow, it was lovely, so warm and reassuring.
On my knees, I lent over the side of the pool and continued to try and steady my breathing. Things were changing more and more. I had more pressure in my bottom, like a ten pin bowling ball coming down!! By now I let myself believe this was it, I was actually in labour. Up to this point I had been saying ‘oh no, oh no’ a lot. There was then a moment that I switched and said ‘oh no, no, oh yes, oh yes!!’ The more I let go and went with it the more I could do it and the pain changed. There was an intensity there but not the fear and pain like when I was panicking upstairs in the bath.
The pressure in my bottom got more. I was bearing down in such a different way now.
Then there was a stinging sensation!! Somehow, I stopped pushing. With the next contraction, my body carried on bearing down but I was just breathing really slowly, it stung more and I put my hand down there – the baby’s head was crowning!!!! With just 2 more contractions the head was out. I quickly flipped myself over in the pool, which I think slightly surprised the midwife, as I wanted to be sat up for when the body came out. I suddenly felt totally with it, eyes open, I was about to meet my baby! The next urge came and with it the baby came out, I picked him up out of the water and held him to my chest. That feeling, right then, was unbelievable. I lifted him up so we could see the sex – it was a boy!! Billy was born at 03.59 just 3 hours and 14 minutes after that first contraction that woke me up.
The next few hours were amazing. I had such a sense of awe at what my body had just done, and a feeling of being elated. I delivered my placenta fairly shortly after giving birth. Then we sat and looked at him, cuddled, fed, and just couldn’t stop smiling. We tucked into tea and toast, definitely the best tea and toast I’d ever had! and it was so lovely to share the moment with our midwives, one of whom is my good friend. To be at home in such comfort and warmth was perfect.
I think doing hypnobirthing helped my mindset to be positive and my body to be relaxed. I remember when I was on maternity leave, in the mornings when I got up I would make tea and toast and sit in the bath, sometimes for over an hour, with the hypnobirthing affirmations or the rainbow relaxation tracks playing. Although my labour and birth wasn’t quite as I expected or planned in terms of speed and noise, it was amazing! I felt in awe of my body and empowered, privileged and like I could do anything! As well as doing the hypnobirthing I also went to aqua natal classes once a week with WaterBumps from about 25 weeks all the way through until a few days before giving birth. The classes were fantastic. They focused on relaxation, breathing and movement. I felt my posture was so much better after attending the classes and my breathing got much deeper and my ability to relax a lot quicker. As a midwife and a first time mum I’d highly recommended WaterBumps as well as hypnobirthing, it was a brilliant combination.