Baby Arthur's Hypnobirth
Hi Gina, I've been meaning to email you for ages but haven't quite found the time until now. I wanted to let you know that baby Arthur has arrived. I took so much from the HypnoBirthing course that really helped me to stay calm during the pregnancy and labour and wanted to share my story with you.
At my last midwife appointment before Arthur arrived (at 40 weeks +4) I was told by the midwife that I'd be having a sweep that day. I expressed my surprise at this and she then said it was up to me. I refused as I felt that baby would come when he was ready and that trying to hurry that may lead to interventions down the line that I knew I didn't want. Later that day I received a call from the same midwife offering to book me in for an induction the following week, when I still wouldn't have reached 42 weeks. I explained that I didn't want to be induced if I could avoid it and questioned why she wanted to book an induction so early. She said that was the only day they had a bed free, but eventually agreed for me to wait for my next midwife appointment the following week for me to be booked in for induction if necessary.
I was very grateful that you had made it clear on the course that we do not have to agree to anything and that we have the power to make informed decisions. I feel this allowed me to confidently refuse both the sweep and booking of the induction, which otherwise I may have gone along with, feeling that the midwife knew best. Despite feeling I'd made the right decision for me and the baby, I was left feeling incredibly anxious at the prospect of an induction if baby hadn't arrived by the next midwife appointment and had to really focus on my breathing to keep me calm. I did lots of walking hoping that would get things started naturally and 3 days later contractions started in the early hours of the morning.
Since attending your course I'd made my living room really cosy with lots of fairy lights and candles, in preparation for early labour. I used to spend time there listening to the relaxation tracks and expected this would be what I would do when I went into labour, but when the time came I found breathing through the contractions and adopting different positions was enough. I think the relaxation tracks and visualisations worked more for me as preparation for labour. I stayed really calm and lost all track of time. By about 2pm I started to become concerned that I hadn't been able to pass urine since around 4 or 5am (contractions started at about 3.30am). Simon called the birth centre to ask their advice and they told us to come in. When we got there they put a catheter in and then examined me, I think they were surprised to find I was 8cm dilated, as the midwife commented that this didn't match my presentation. I was relieved that I'd got so far at home and that the journey to the hospital hadn't set things back.
I got into the pool for a couple of hours and I remember feeling the urge to push. The midwife told me to follow what my body wanted to do, but I think I'd become so focused on breathing through the contractions that the down breathing completely escaped me and I felt I didn't really know what to do at this stage. As I'd been in the pool for a while the midwife was worried things were slowing down and so I got out and agreed for her to coach me to push baby out. While this hadn't been what I'd wanted and had anticipated breathing baby out, it felt right and Arthur finally emerged at 8.21pm.
I was amazed that I didn't experience any feelings that I couldn't carry on, especially as one of my anxieties had been that I wouldn't have the stamina to get me through. I also didn't experience transition, and felt the whole thing went by quite smoothly. I didn't have any pain relief, which was exactly how I had wanted it to be. I can honestly say that while the contractions were intense they were not at any point unbearably painful and oddly I can't quite remember what they felt like when I think about it now.
Despite having the labour and birth experience that I'd hoped for, Arthur had some respiratory difficulties when he was born. I only got a very brief cuddle before he was rushed off to the neonatal unit where he spent a couple of days. He was given a course of antibiotics and we spent a week in hospital. Sadly having lost out on that first precious hour bonding with Arthur, and the experience of being put on the postnatal ward once Arthur came out of the neonatal unit, I was left quite traumatised, but thankfully he's doing wonderfully and is a pretty chilled out, beautiful baby!
Thank you for helping us to have the calm birth that I had hoped for. I was worried that the whole hypnobirthing idea was too good to be true, and am so pleased this wasn't the case! I really feel that the course and doing yoga during the pregnancy helped me to stay calm and have a pain free experience. Apologies for such a long email but I wanted to let you know how we'd got on!
Helena, Simon and Arthur