We had our baby boy, Jordan on 16 January (4 days after his estimated due date) and he is healthy and happy and growing well. The birth was definitely an intense experience and didn't go quite as expected, but the hypnobirthing techniques were so helpful in getting through each twist and turn and staying grounded and positive. Geoff and I were so glad we did your course and had various strategies and a good mindset to help us manage. I first had contractions on my due date (the Sunday) but they were irregular for the next couple of days, then became regular on Tuesday evening and continued every 5-8 mins through Tuesday night and all of Wednesday. We were feeling positive and a bit excited at home, but it did start getting frustrating when it felt like things weren't progressing and I was already tired as I couldn't sleep through the contractions. They eventually started ramping up on Wednesday night and we went to hospital. At this point I was using the TENS machine and heat packs to manage the contractions. I was 2-3 cm dilated which was a little less than I'd hoped, but they let me stay and we set up our room with nice lights and pictures and music. It was a really nice calm atmosphere and we were feeling positive again that things were moving forward. The whole way through I had back labour which was pretty intense but I noticed a huge difference when I used long deep breaths instead of fighting against the contractions. Geoff was running around ensuring there was always a hot heat pack he could press on to my back and that was really helping too. I laboured for a while in the shower too which was a great help. We didn't have access to a bath but I think I would have preferred the shower anyway as standing and bending forward seemed to be the most comfortable position most of the time. I was feeling pretty calm and mindful most of this time, but by 5am Thursday morning the contractions were still not really ramping up and the midwife offered to break my waters to speed things along. We decided to do this and it had an instant effect - more frequent and more intense contractions. I hopped back in the shower for a while and was managing the next level of intensity. However, a couple of hours later a new midwife came in and told me an anaesthetist was in the room next door just in case I wanted an epidural. Once this was in my head, I suddenly felt like I did want one and once I made this decision I felt like I couldn't manage the pain and it felt a lot worse. This was the one time I felt out of control and a bit panicky. I started not feeling like I could breathe properly anymore. My obstetrician came in at this point and told me I was 7cm dilated. I decided to go ahead with the epidural which did take the back pain away but then I ended up with strong abdominal pain, which frustrated me as I thought the epidural would be more effective than it felt to me. I also didn't like that I was now stuck on the bed and felt a bit less in control of how I managed the contractions. However Geoff tells me it seemed to help me to rest for a bit, as by now I was pretty exhausted. I was able to get to fully dilated and start pushing which was exciting, and although it was challenging I didn't mind pushing as I felt I could do something with the contractions rather than being more passive. Unfortunately the pushing wasn't really getting anywhere, and an hour later when my obstetrician arrived she noticed quite a lot of swelling on the baby's head. She made some different suggestions and we kept trying for a bit, but eventually she said to me that she wanted to try the ventouse, and that she wanted to do this in the operating theatre in case it didn't work and I needed a caesarian. Although this wasn't my ideal scenario, I felt very calm and I definitely think having an open and positive mindset helped immensely. In the operating theatre the ventouse was unsuccessful and I did end up having a caesarian.
All went well and I cried when they put baby Jordan on my chest. We went to recovery and Jordan was soon breastfeeding. Geoff then had some lovely bonding time with Jordan which I think will remain one of the highlights of his life! Geoff and I talked afterwards about the birth and the goals we had talked about in the hypnobirthing course. We realised that we had managed to meet all of these goals - feeling calm and relatively in control throughout, working together as a team (Geoff was worried about not feeling useful, but he was absolutely essential!) and staying positive and going with the flow no matter what turn the birth took. I think one of the most helpful things for me about the hypnobirthing course was it helped me to feel calm in the lead up to the birth as well as during labour and not to feel fearful. I had been worried about feeling out of control and panicking but I was able to stay in the moment most of the time which was so helpful and helped when frustration and exhaustion crept in. We found both the courses we did with you to be so helpful and informative and really appreciated your knowledge and genuine care. Thank you again!
Congratulations Julia and Geoff! You absolutely embraced the hypnobirthing philosophy and did an amazing job bringing little Jordan into the world!