It’s been 6 weeks already since we had our little baby and I have just managed to get around to writing my birth story to tell you. I’m happy for it to be shared if you would like. Both Al and I believe very strongly that hypnobirthing played a very beneficial role to us during pregnancy, during birthing and post-natal. We highly recommend it as a tool for all birthing couples and also highly recommend you as a facilitator of the course. It helped me with addressing fears about birth and becoming a first time mum at 41; the logistics of getting organised for birthing day and provided a more well-rounded view of birthing than what was delivered in the hospital antenatal classes.
Thank you so much for your support and being available during and outside of the course for questions and help. You and Hypnobirthing Australia were instrumental in making the birth of our child an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Below is my birth story… I’ve tried to be brief, but that is a skill I have yet to acquire J
As you are aware I had a lot of road blocks to receiving standard midwifery led care at hospital. At 41 I am considered advanced maternal age; we had an IVF conception; I had gestational diabetes and a history of high blood pressure in my past. This meant in addition to being classified high risk and not being accepted by the midwifery group practice that it was highly unlikely that I would be allowed to go beyond 40 weeks. At my 38wk appointment I was scheduled to be induced on the 9th of January at 6pm (baby’s guess date was the 11th January).
I was determined to do everything possible to induce birthing naturally. I had acupuncture sessions to get my body ready for delivery and then labour induction sessions of which I had 3 in a week and a bit. I also took raspberry leaf capsules and started using clary sage. I had been pretty good with listening to my affirmations and other tracks and also purchased the extra resource bundle (I particularly wanted the fear release track). In the last couple of weeks I listened multiple times a day every day. I visualised a 12-15hr labour which I thought would be reasonable for a first time mum.
24 hours after my second acupuncture treatment (labour induction session) I felt some mild period like cramping early in the morning that were regular and went away after a few hours. I did not experience any Braxton Hicks contractions and was getting a little anxious I would not know when things started.
After my 3rd acupuncture treatment again around 24 hours later on Saturday 7th Jan, I had period like pains that were regular from 7am to 12pm then I got in the bath as I knew that if it was early or practise labour this would slow things down and if not they would get closer. They stopped. I was being hyper vigilant when I went to the loo and noticed a very slight show around this time. I had been clearing my system out pretty much every meal for about a week so didn’t think anything about the loose bowels.
Around 4pm surges started they varied from about 8mins to 25mins apart (sometimes I think it was because I missed one). At this point I was listening to my hypnobirthing tracks non-stop. I asked Al to do a birth rehearsal with me. I was happy we knew what we would do when the time came.
Later on I thought I better try to get some rest, as I knew that early labour could be a long time for first time mums. I could not comfortably rest and got up and told Al that he needed to get up too as I was not able to get through the surges without his support with light touch massage.
When the surges were around 5mins or so apart for about an hour was when I thought I needed to call the hospital so I called around 11:05pm. At this point the surges were between 2.5mins and 6mins apart. The midwife I spoke to said what I was describing (low pain) sounded like early labour and that I was welcome to come in and get checked but if I wasn’t far enough it was likely that I would get sent home. Al and I discussed this and decided that it would be ok, we could use the trip as a practise run and see how we went from there. At this point we all thought that I was not far enough and that I probably would be back home soon.
We put on the hypnobirthing tracks while in the car on the way to the hospital (15mins on the expressway). I told myself to go floppy and breathe through each surge on the way and thought I did well during the ride to emergency. Al dropped me at emergency and went to park the car. I had a surge just before getting out of the car and just inside the door then at least one while talking to triage and another couple while talking to the admissions clerk. Each time I repeated to myself go floppy and breathe. A paramedic who saw me arrive brought a wheelchair which I didn’t think I would need. Al got back from the carpark just as I was done with the admissions clerk and we decided the wheelchair would be best else we would be taking a long time to get to the ward with me having to stop all the time. Even in the wheelchair we stopped two or three times before we got there.
When the midwife checked me she said that I was 4cm dilated. I told Al I felt quite positive that I was 4cm that was nearly half way. (I know that I should not have used that as a gauge but it did make me feel better at the time). At this stage I had already discussed that I would like to try gas as I was having a tough time with the surges. When we were admitted to a room I asked for a birthing ball and tried the gas, this made me dizzy and I asked for it to be turned down.
I bounced on the ball a few times and my membranes released in a big gush. I was soaked through and there was a lot of blood. The midwife then advised that she anticipated that as my waters were bulging when she examined me. She also expressed concern about the amount of blood and said that she would like to place baby on constant monitoring due to it.
After my membranes released the surges felt like they were right on top of each other and I said I didn’t think that I could continue that way and that I wanted to have an epidural. The midwife left to get a doctor to insert an iv and Al asked if he should get the bags from the car, I said no, then he asked if I preferred to stay in my blood and amniotic fluid soaked pants and shoes, I didn’t want that either, at the time I found this quite funny. He left to get the bags from the car. In hindsight I was probably in transition at this point.
Al was just coming back into the room with the bags when I let out an involuntary roar. The midwife asked if I needed to push. There was no gap from memory between surges and the urge to push. Nobody checked to see if I was fully dilated. I remember the midwife struggling with the monitor belt and that baby’s heart rate read 62. She told me that I was not going to get the epidural that baby was coming right now and that they were worried about the heart rate dropping and she was going to get additional support.
Suddenly there were two obstetricians and a paediatrician in the room, my legs were up in stirrups and I was being directed to push. It took me one surge to register their instructions, I heard it but it was like my brain didn’t push enter initially. I was pushing regardless, it didn’t feel like there was an option to breathe down my body was taking over. I remember someone saying on what felt like the first real push they saw hair; a chorus of you’re doing really well, amazing. Then someone told me on what felt like the second or third push that was the ring of fire as baby crowned. Then the head was out. After that surge they helped with the shoulders and whisked bubs away as assistance was required.
It felt like less than a minute to me but Al has told me it was a bit longer but baby eventually cried. Baby was immediately brought back to me for skin on skin and Al and I checked to see that we had a little girl. She breastfed right away and stayed on my chest while the placenta was being delivered (due to the blood I had when my membranes released this was done using an injection) and while I was stitched up (after receiving a second degree tear).
My student midwife who I relied on a great deal during my antenatal visits arrived during this time and unfortunately due to the speed of the delivery missed the birth of our baby girl.
I definitely felt a massive rush of hormones after the birth and don’t remember being tired at all until the next night, the rest of the night I just held and stared at our daughter who mostly slept after her whirlwind delivery. We decided after lots of staring and holding and cuddling that she would be named Astrid and a couple of days later that her middle name would be Freya.
We welcomed Astrid Freya at 1:08am on the 8th January 2017. She weighed 3.180kg and was 50cm long. I would never have guessed that we would go from being admitted at 11:45pm that just over an hour later I would be holding our little girl in my arms!
Photo credit Photography by Linda Tobitt http://www.photographybylindatobitt.com.au/