In the week leading up to ‘birth day’ we had been getting a few practice or prodromal labours. The first one was on Wednesday and it seemed so genuine we even filled the pool! They were a really great opportunity to practice my relaxations and I spent a lot of time circling my hips on the birth ball visualising my cervix opening like a blossom or in the bath practicing my deep relaxation and visualising baby in the perfect birthing position. My husband had been amazingly supportive through the week, helping me with my hypnobirthing visualisations, practicing his acupressure and giving me foot rubs, We did a little rebozo technique as well as some other positioning techniques because we knew baby was tending towards posterior and wanted to get an anterior presentation if possible. I spent a lot of the time visualising my healing room which is a space deep within your subconscious where you feel warm and safe, the process of reaching this healing space was a scripted relaxation process which began by building the details of my 'healing room' one by one and then stepping into it. I found this a very powerful way of going really deep into relaxation and positive visualisation for a peaceful birth.
|Photo by Jorinde Rapsey|
Even though I expected baby to be late and had even worked out a second possible birth date based on my longer cycle I found I was getting crabby and short tempered to the extreme so after 3 days I took a dose of my homeopathic constitutional remedy – Sepia 1m - and instantly my mood improved, I felt a sort of release of all the grumbles I had been storing up and was really able to engage in my relaxation.
On Saturday morning at 2am I started having surges again and at about 3am I realised I wasn’t going to sleep so I got up and practiced my breathing on the birth ball, I really enjoyed each surge at this stage and found it very easy to relax into them and breathe. I hadn’t woken my husband but he got up shortly after and made me a chamomile tea. I decided to have a bath at that stage and listen to my labour track list which had Marie Mongan’s Rainbow relaxation and relaxation tracks as well as some ocean and thunderstorm soundtracks which I found very lulling.We really felt that this was just another practice. My husband reminded me to embrace it instead of resenting it. Good man.
I was so deeply relaxed in the bath I didn’t ‘come to’ until almost 8am when I decided to go back to bed, except instead of settling down the surges picked up intensity. My husband popped in from the lounge and we realised the surges were spaced at 4 minutes and close to 60 seconds long. We called our midwife even though I felt like it may still be a practice. When she arrived I was on the birth ball breathing and relaxing. She said I was so relaxed and quiet it was hard for her to time the surges, our student midwife took my BP and checked the position which had gone from almost full posterior to partial spine showing. We felt very positive about this. She didn’t check my cervix as I had specified I didn’t want one unless necessary.
Our midwife said she was pretty sure we would have baby today but that she would be back in a couple of hours. She suggested I get some breakfast and go for a walk so My Husband made me some scrambled eggs and marmite toast which I wolfed down.
I really didn’t feel like walking so I had a shower instead. Even though I was lucid and moving around I felt very dreamily relaxed. It was at this point I decided I really should go for a walk so I got dressed and headed outside. My husband offered to come but I said I would be fine alone and would text him if I needed him. It was amazing and sunny outside and I found that walking really helped me work through each surge. Listening to the relaxation track really put me in the ‘zone’ or ‘labour land’ and the walk was very surreal, I had my eyes mostly closed and was using my surge breathing throughout so I must have looked very interesting!
Towards the end of the walk the surges were getting so intense I had to stop to really relax into them. The last 100 metres were pretty full on and I started to get that teary transition feeling. I got home and went straight to bed and lay on my side to re-centre. I had barely noticed time passing but I had been gone for a full hour and my dear old husband was getting worried With the next surge my waters broke and I could feel baby shoot down into the pelvis. I swore at this stage more from being startled than from labour and decided to go sit on the toilet for a spell. We decided it was time to get our midwife back and she arrived shortly with our student midwife. The waters had meconium in them but we weren’t that worried as baby was 41 weeks and meconium in the waters at this stage is very normal at this stage. We checked baby’s heartbeat which was lovely and strong and calm and our midwife noted that baby had turned nicely into anterior and descended well into the pelvis. My breathing was getting very vocal at this stage and I was very conscious of keeping my jaw relaxed and allowing my cervix to relax. I still didn’t feel as relaxed as I could be – I was working hard! But my husband said I was very relaxed and quiet.
I decided to get into the pool, the midwife told me it was a bit hot but it felt perfect to me, she was probably more worried about the baby than me but at this stage, didn’t realise how close I was to birthing my baby. Everyone was bustling around setting up the things they needed but I concentrated on being in my own little world. To me the surges were all consuming and I didn’t feel I was relaxed but again my husband and the the student midwife tell me I was very loose and limp and they could see me relaxing my jaw with each surge. My husband was fabulous, using the hypnotic anchor of touching my shoulder and saying ‘deeply relaxed’ to refocus me.
My midwife breathed with me to help pace my breaths and at this stage I could definitely feel a change in the surges to an intense downwards pressure so I transitioned to my birth breaths to breathe the baby down. I still had no idea that baby was so close so when with the next breath baby dropped down into the birth canal I let out a huge roar. At the back of my mind I was ecstatic because I never got to experience this stage with my first son and I knew I would be seeing my baby very soon. As baby started to crown my midwife put her hand over my perineum to help me ease baby out bit at a time, this combined with breathing rather than pushing is most likely what kept me from tearing and made the last two surges very smooth. I put my hands down and I could feel the head, perfectly placed at this stage I am pretty sure I said ‘my baby, oh my god my baby!’ before telling everyone I was going to lie back to birth the rest of him. I floated back and within two more surges the rest of baby came out perfectly and my midwife helped me scoop him up into my arms. I had a quick peek and saw that he was another wee boy, it was amazing that I was the first one to hold him and I got to check his gender. He was so alert and quiet, looking around at his world. I felt such a wave of euphoria and felt so relaxed and calm and centered. It was such a different experience from the first birth which felt very detached at this stage and I felt very removed from the whole process. I latched him almost immediately and just enjoyed a few moments in the bath while everyone prepared for us. After I had held and cuddled the wee man for a good 20 minutes our student midwife was very excited to help my husband cut the umbilical cord which was lovely and empty and after I got out she gently helped me birth the placenta which was facilitated by latching our little boy, almost the second after he got a good suckle going I could feel the afterpains intensify and the placenta came away. I was informed it was a very healthy placenta and had come away perfectly.
Compared to my first birth experience this birth was an amazing, calm and serene experience. My midwife commented that she didn’t even need to be there as we did all of the work ourselves.
|Photo by Jorinde Rapsey|
To learn more about hypnobirthing you can read about it here