At 40+2 I was woken at 4.56am to what I just knew, was a real surge after weeks of intense and regular braxton hicks which only stayed if I was active. I let matt sleep until his work alarm went off, I’d been having surges every 10mins laying in bed dozing during that time. We got up, showered and I went downstairs to start baking baby a birthday cake! I realised after baking it that I had no fresh cream for the filling so we walked to the local shops to buy some, and came home for a bit of brunch. I felt tired so I thought I should rest and we cuddled on the sofa for a while, but it slowed things down so I sprung up and announced that we should take the dog for a walk…3 miles, a stop off at another supermarket, and a phone call to the community midwives later we decided to head home.
My surges were now every 4mins approximately, and I wanted to get into a smaller space despite having enjoyed the fresh air and glorious spring sunshine whilst walking. We got home and called the midwife again who said she would come out to check me. I bounced on my ball using my breathing, visualisations and listened to Bob Marley (great labour music BTW!!) she came and after doing some obs decided that I was in labour, but couldn’t be very far along yet as I was coping so well just quietly breathing through each surge. As I had declined the vaginal examination she said she would have to leave and come back in 4hours. I knew I was making good progress, so in order to keep her with me I agreed to a vaginal examination, she was shocked to find I was 6cms so she did indeed need to stay. Matt had been filling the pool and I decided it was time to get in, this was around 4/5pm. I spent most of the time between then and delivering, knelt leaning over the side continuing to breathe through surges getting deeper into my ‘hypno-bubble’. At some point my midwife changed as her shift ended and matt briefed the new one of our plans, she was lovely and respectful, and just observed quietly from the side.
I remembered suddenly being completely bowled over by 3 really intense back to back surges and I burst into tears saying ‘I can’t do this!!’ But then I realised this was just transition… I was so grateful for my hypnobirthing knowledge as I definitely think that was the point I’d have lost my shit completely if I hadn’t have known what was going on. I was shaking like a leaf, felt nauseous and ready to just have this over with. Realising what was happening I decided to go for a wee and came back down getting into the pool again declaring ‘let’s get on with this!’ I’d been able to use my knowledge and the breathing to pull myself back to a place of excitement and power which I don’t think I’d have managed if I didn’t know how normal that feeling was!!
As my body took over and I started to push, my midwife let Matt know there was no 2nd midwife free to attend, and that she recommended transferring to hospital. They gently broke this news to me and I recall simply stating ‘I’m not going anywhere’ which matt ensured had been listened to. She then spent a while on and off the phone between my surges arranging bank staff so someone could be with us-it was strangely reassuring to hear her so calm and in control so I didn’t worry at all, in fact I was far happier to deliver with just her present, than to get into an ambulance at that point!! At some point a second midwife appeared, and soon after my body was bearing down with a fierce determination. At this point I really questioned my ability to do this. Her crowning caused me to grunt, growl and even accidentally bite Matts arm – I wont for one moment lie and say her birth was pain free at this point. It was raw, powerful and all encompassing, but I was able to position myself well with the sensations and know that they’d soon be over. The affirmation ‘my surges cannot be stronger than me, because they ARE me’ played on repeat in my mind during this stage giving me more strength than I’d ever imagined it could.
She came quietly into the water at 8.43pm, eyes wide open taking us in with the torchlight provided by our midwife. I was told not to touch her head as she came out but couldn’t help putting counter pressure on anyway- I’ve never been a feeling of relief as strong as getting her out! I felt like a warrior princess, the most feminine, yet strong I’ve ever felt in the moments after she was born. I was in complete shock to discover she was a girl after 9 months of being sure I was carrying a boy – I think I asked the midwives / Matt 3 times to check they were sure!
After close to an hour of skin to skin in the pool, a shift change consisting of 4 midwives in my house, and no sign of her being interested in breastfeeding, we decided to use the cord tie and cut her cord so I could get out as my placenta was not making a speedy appearance. With a little encouragement I got onto our new sofa which was covered in absorbent pads to deliver the placenta, I ended up half squatting over the pads and it came out with a lot of blood. They estimated the loss to be around 800ml and again advised transferring in. All our observations were fine though, so I decided to stay put and all was well.
Going for my first wee after was harder than the actual birth (top tip, sit in a shallow bath of water if you need to!) but finally after weighing our 6lb 3, long legged babe and ticking the ‘first feed’ box, we were left to get into our own bed and watch as Florence Pearl slept peacefully in her Moses basket by my side.
Overall we got what we had hoped for, with a few small bumps along the way during the pregnancy and birth. Without the power of hypnobirthing I imagine things would have taken a very different and more medicalised route though so I’m forever grateful for the knowledge I had and the confidence that gave me to make choices I was happy with.
I now cannot wait to bring our second baby into the world in whichever way feels right for us at that time. I’ve learned so much more since Florence was born and cant wait to put that into action, then start Motherhood Level 2…
If you want in on the incredible info and tools which helped me come away from my experience feeling strong, empowered and in awe of myself – you have until March… click here for more on a private course with me, or for info on Saturday morning relaxation groups head here. I would love to support you on your journey whatever that looks like.