I loved that the hypnobirthing course kept us informed about all of our options during pregnancy, labour & birth. It armed me with all the tools I needed in order to have the birthing experience I wanted - and that was, a positive birthing experience with minimal drugs and medical interventions.
An induction of labour was decided by my healthcare team to be the most optimal path of care, due to gestational diabetes, despite her being small. That threw a challenge my way, as I really did not want any interventions, and felt that the risks of going past term were low considering her size, however we decided in the end that should something go wrong if she went past term, that we may not be able to forgive ourselves for going against medical advice. So with this in mind, I accepted the fact of being induced on her due date, and hoped everyday leading to that date that I'd go into spontaneous labour. It didn't happen. So on the morning of my induction, we went for one last walk with the dogs, kept a positive mindset and were excited about our birthing day.
They broke my waters at 8.30am, then I asked for 2 hours before the Syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin) drip was started. Went for a walk for our last meal together on our own, and came back to start the drip. I started using the birthing ball to relax my hips and back with music in the background to remain calm. Then moved to the bath when surges increased intensity & frequency and I had the hypnobirthing tracks playing in the background.
The bath made it difficult to monitor Skyler's heart rate & movement, so I had to hop out as it was starting to concern the midwives. At this stage, the surges started coming on quickly and I barely had a break in between them. They offered me the birthing bar, which was new to me! In addition to using the birthing bar, I used a TENS machine, heat pack & Entonox (gas) to manage the surges. I used visualisation techniques from the hypnobirthing course to get me through and imagined riding the waves. I knew that with each intense surge, she was getting closer and closer to coming.
During this stage of labour, I came to a point when I thought I couldn't go on for much longer and wanted to consider other options. The TENS machine was interfering with the portable CTG, so they offered me an alternative method which involved inserting a little spring wire under Skyler's scalp for a more accurate reading of her heart rate. They warned me that this would require them to check how far dilated I was. Part of my birthing preferences was not to have regular examinations, as I didn't want to obsess over how far along I was. However when I got to that point of wanting other drug options, I agreed to using the alternate monitoring method, as I knew it would mean I could find out how far along I was without asking them.
I found out I was 7cm dilated, and I thought to myself, 'surely I've reached a point now where it's not worth having any drugs or an epidural, as the bearing down stage mustn't be too far away'. So I hung on with the encouragement of my midwife & partner Chouy telling me to not worry how much longer it was going to take, and to just focus on one surge at a time. Chouy was in control of the TENS machine and boosted it in response to my breathing into the Entonox tube. He did an incredible job, offering me water after each surge, as the Entonox was extremely drying.
When it came to bearing down, I moved from the birthing bar to the bed and birthed on my hands & knees, leant over a beanbag offered to me by the midwives. They were amazing and Chouy's support made the world of difference to me at the time.
Baby Skyler was born at 5.33pm, weighing 2.73kg and 49cm long.
I found the videos on the hypnobirthing website REALLY helpful. I watched the hypnobirthing video of the couple who were induced, and it really inspired me to go on and give it my best shot. I reassured myself that I would try my best to follow my plan, but if it took a different turn to what we had hoped, that I had tried my absolute best. The end goal was for Skyler to arrive safely & healthily.
I love that the hypnobirthing course allows you to tailor it to your needs. You can use it as much or as little as you like for your birthing experience, but for me, it made a huge difference during my pregnancy. I feel that I would have gone into labour a lot more anxious, unsure & stressed had I not done the hypnobirthing course. It changed my mindset about birthing and gave me a better understanding of what was happening to my body during labour.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you, Hannah, for being such a joy to learn from. I've since recommended hypnobirthing to all the pregnant ladies I know! We're all settled now and really loving this new family life.
Tien, Chouy & Skyler
Birth story shared with permission.