Cara's Hypnobirth Day

Dear Gina

I can’t believe 5 weeks have already flown by and little Cara is already in 3-6 month baby grows! Her birth was so easy and gentle, it took us completely by surprise, even knowing how marvellous it can be from Max's birth experience.

I was 10 days past my estimated due date and our excitement, anticipation and restlessness was growing daily. I was also savouring every last day I had with Max, our 16 month old, feeling nostalgic for the rapidly vanishing time we had left where I could be completely focused on him. We were blessed an amazing birth experience first time round, and this pregnancy had flown by. I felt calm and generally peaceful about waiting for baby to arrive when he/she was ready, but occasionally thoughts of unwanted medical intervention crept into my head.

Baby Cara meeting Max

As always, Gina was a font of positive reassurance. As long as everything felt right, I should trust my instincts and be patient. As the days went by I found the relaxation exercises and positive affirmations invaluable for keeping my train of thought on track for the birth I imagined. Even though I’d done it before and knew what my body was capable of, you still have vulnerable, questioning moments. I became more aware of baby’s movements and felt connected to the new life waiting to emerge in a way I just hadn’t had time to during pregnancy. I had practice surges everyday, sometimes for over an hour and fairly regularly. Each time I’d wonder if this was the start, then they’d fade away again.

My main concern was not disturbing Max when I went into labour. I didn’t want the arrival of his sibling to have any negative connections whatsoever. My mum was going to come to look after him but was anxious about getting to us in time and kept checking in. My partner kept taking days off thinking that the arrival was imminent, then we’d get cabin fever and go on a day trip. It was brilliant having some time as a family. We even tempted providence and went to the seaside for the day when baby was a week ‘overdue’.

The evening before Cara decided to join us I had two hours of surges getting stronger and closer together. I got excited and really thought it was the start, I even told my sister I thought this was it. Max had projectile vomited all over the bed earlier in the day and my attempts at cleaning the mattress had left it soaked. When Pete got back from work he was put to work with the hairdryer and electric heater to try and dry it out enough for the night. It was a funny scene, the mattress up-ened in our bedroom which was like an oven. Bikram yoga anyone? Laughter is definitely good for endorphins.

By 10pm the surges slid away and I felt deflated but tired so gratefully flopped into a steaming but mainly dry bed.  At 5:30am I was suddenly woken by a strong surge. This time the intensity was different and I knew we were finally on the move. I stood by the bed and gently bounced my knees and moved about quietly, breathing through the surges with my well loved wave images and flashbacks to walking along the sandy beach in the sunshine a couple of days before. At 6:10am my waters broke with a big torrent as baby squirmed into a better position. I woke Pete, called my mum and the midwife then went and cooked pancakes while Pete got the pool filled. Mum arrived at 7am just after the midwife. Max woke up naturally and I was able to go and say a cheery goodbye to him with a big hug and kiss in between surges. During the surges I knelt forward with my elbows on the stairs or over the sofa, breathing and filling my head with up images of a glorious sunrise. It had been a momentous dawn outside so this felt like the most natural visualisation. I felt happy and calm and relieved that Max was off to have a lovely day with my family.

I didn’t watch the clock at all this time and just did what my body felt like. I was very much in the zone and listened to the gentle music as I imagined the golden glow of relaxation spreading down my body.. I got into the pool which was so lovely and warm I just melted into deeper relaxation. Surges instantly subsided and slowed. Max’s labour had slowed dramatically in the water, so I was thinking I’d have to get out again when after about 15 mins they came back and suddenly I was bearing down. I’d completely skipped the transition period and could feel baby moving into position in my pelvis for the last part of this speedy journey. Pete had gone to make tea for the midwives who’d been wonderful at staying out of the way and not monitoring me beyond taking my blood pressure and listening to baby’s heart-beat when they’d arrived. I felt inside and could feel the top of baby’s head but there was still a thin layer of cervix holding her back. I had a momentary vision of baby having somehow got there too fast and there not being a way out yet, then I found myself saying the opening/release images out loud, flower opening, camera aperture, ripples widening, and then the head was out. I said to Pete he might need to come and catch her quite soon and sure enough after one more push, baby came sliding out into his waiting arms. I was on all fours in the pool. The cord was loosely around her neck from her having twisted to come out  but the midwives slid this off quickly. Pete announced with surprise, ‘a baby girl! and gently passed her up to me. It was just mind-blowing lifting her to my chest and looking into the wide big pools of deepest blue light that newborns look up at you through. She didn’t cry, just rooted about and got latched straight away for her first breakfast of precious collustrum. She arrived at 8:40am after an active labour of around two hours.

Baby Cara

She carried on feeding for 2 hours pretty much non stop, snuggled in skin to skin with me. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and when after an hour it was still pulsing themidwives realised it was her heart beat, not mine making it pulse. They had never seen that before in many years of delivering babies and said she must have a very strong heart. She’d pumped every last drop of blood from the placenta and cord so when it was cut the cord was almost pure white. She was also covered in vernix, a sign that she was only just ready to emerge and that any earlier would have been too soon. It’s such a shame that so many inductions happen when baby really just needs to be given the chance to come when they are ready.

The placenta took a while to deliver as some membranes kept it trapped half way out and the midwives didn’t want to pull in case it wasn’t ready yet. The pool was still warm so we just relaxed in there with Cara feeding happily until evenually they were able to tease the last part of the placenta away. A large blood clot also came out but this had been behind the placenta and was perfectly natural.

I had a very tiny abraision but didn’t need stitches and didn’t feel any pain. It was all so quick and had genuinely felt easy. My body was glowing and tingling all over. We cracked open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate but nothing on earth was needed to lift my mood. I was on cloud nine and remained there for five days.

Max came back in the afternoon and was just beautiful with her, gently touching her toes very shyly and then plucking up the courage to give her a slobbery kiss on the head. He's been nothing but gentle and loving with her to this day, apart from accidentally driving a small tank engine into her head one morning. Mummy must be quicker.

A massive thanks again for your support and help. It was a dream birth and she is such a calm, happy little soul. What a fantastic start to life!

Lots of love

Heather, Pete, Max and Cara xxx

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