With baby Santi, hours after their Hypnobirth
"This is a day I will never forget. It is one that I re-live on a regular basis as 3 months post partum, I still cannot believe how incredible and strong my body is. I grew a tiny human in there, and managed to get him out all perfect in one piece! So before I get into all the details, here is a little bit background for you all, to put into context how this came about!
I was overdue. 40 weeks plus 3 days. The midwives always tell you how you are officially 'full term' from 37 weeks and how baby could come at any time. As soon as I hit that 37 week mark, I instantly thought the baby would come any day. I had waited this long and as soon as you know in your mind that your baby is ready, you get a sudden feeling of desperation to meet what has been growing inside of you. So we began to try all of the methods that people convince you 'work' to induce labour.
You name it, we tried it. And the truth is - nothing worked! Your baby and body will tell you when they're ready. In all honesty, after 40 weeks and 3 days, I forgot about all the methods I had been trying and as soon as I felt truly relaxed and unprepared, that is when labour started.
At 9.15am I felt my first twinge. It was a small, sharp pain in my lower back and it was not uncommon at this point during my pregnancy. Was baby lying in a funny position? I was unsure - so I decided to ignore it. At 9.23am I was desperate for the toilet so I popped upstairs for a wee and upon wiping, I noticed a funny coloured type of mucus in my knickers? Could this be my mucus plug? I had heard May and my other midwife from the GP clinic mention that you can lose your mucus plug up to 3 weeks before giving birth, so I was confused about this weirdly coloured discharge so late on in the pregnancy.
May and I discussed if my contractions came today, whether I should go straight into hospital or wait it out, we were on Whatsapp for a matter of 10 minutes or so just discussing my potential plan. She told me to keep myself busy and just remember that the longer I stay in my home comforts, the faster I will dilate.
So that was that. I was unsure how to feel. It was a mixture of excitement, nerves, anxiety, and relief. The day we had been waiting for was finally here. I felt so ready on paper - my hospital bag was packed, I had snacks bagged up and ready to take to the hospital, my birthing plan was in full swing and I was so overly organised that I had nothing to worry about. This being said, being ready on paper sometimes isn't enough. I did not feel ready emotionally to deal with what was to come.
I called the hospital at 11.55am and explained that I was having strong contractions and that my baby was on the way. I had the phone in one hand and I was also bouncing on my birthing ball to help at this point. The midwife on the phone was so confused as to why I wasn't screaming, the pain was so intense I just couldn't talk, all I could manage was to blow puffs of air. This is the 'breathe baby down' technique that May had spoken to me about. I was automatically putting it into practice!
[Arriving at the hospital] my contractions were now strong enough to a point that I would not speak or even open my eyes, but as soon as the surge went away, I was back on my feet, sipping water and joking with people around me. It is so weird how I went in and out of that state for a matter of hours. Great news - I was 4.5cm dilated (over half way!)
I cannot believe I had managed to stay at home until the half way mark! That was already an accomplishment in itself. I hadn't even taken a paracetamol, just my breathing techniques and keeping myself distracted had worked for me at this point. I was not opposed to having an epidural or any other medication they had to offer, but I had come this far, so I decided to test myself and see how much longer I could hold out. I really wanted a water birth and some medications (such as the epidural) would mean that I would not be allowed in the water.
Minutes turned to hours and in all honesty, the contractions became so repetitive and continuous that I didn't even focus on the time. Michael must have arrived around 1.40pm and in between rubbing my back and feeding me snacks, before I knew it, it was 4.30pm! Once I looked up at the clock and realised I had been breathing and hypnobirthing this baby down, I had a moment of weakness and I asked the midwife what pain relief was available. Before the midwife offered me any pain relief, she asked if I was able to get up off the floor and onto the bed so that she could examine me.
I am aware that on my birthing plan I asked them not to offer me even a paracetamol unless I asked, and thankfully when she examined me, I was 9cm. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I survived 4 and a half hours of active and intense labour with not even a sip of gas and air, could I make it to the end?
Once they dipped me in the warm water of the birthing pool my body just took over. I had gas and air on standby and the midwife showed me how to use it for the final stage. From that point onwards the story becomes a bit fuzzy. When I speak of my body taking over, I closed my eyes and I felt my mind take me elsewhere. It can only be described as an outer body experience. With that being said, I dunked my head into the pool, chin to chest and just gave the hardest push I could give. It's funny how your body just knows what to do in the moment. I could faintly hear Michael's voice in my ear telling me to take a deep breath, as I kept holding my breath during each push and was forgetting to inhale again.
All in all my active labour lasted for 6 hours and 40 minutes. 9 hours and 40 if we count it from my first twinge. I know that in my case - I was very lucky being able to stay at home for so long and cope with the pain, something which I feel was only doable due to hypnobirthing. I am the type of person who cries when I have to get an injection - so I am still in disbelief that this birthing experience belonged to me."