|Leah's Hypnobirth Day
Leah floated into the world at 12.15 pm on 7th June 2016 after a relatively quick water birth. My first child, Eva, was born after a long labour having been induced for high blood pressure. In hindsight I would have delayed being induced if I had known that was an option (or rather if I known to ask the question!). My first birth ended in an assisted delivery which took a few weeks to recover from, but was still a positive experience although totally different to this time round.
My sister hypnobirthed with both her children and thought I would benefit from it. Despite Leah being my second child I was very nervous of giving birth. My sister was right!! After completing my course with Sophia I definitely felt in control and more prepared for labour. In fact, I was almost looking forward to the birth and was excited to (hopefully) have a v different experience.
At 40 plus 4, overdue and eagerly waiting for Leah's arrival, I asked my midwife for a sweep. The next morning at 5am I woke having surges. By 6am they were regular, manageable and 3 minutes apart. Having spoken to the midwives and as she was my second child, they recommended going in to get checked. We dropped our daughter to her childminder and got to hospital for 8am. The surges were still about 3 minutes apart and although still manageable, were more intense. Having been checked I was told I was 2/3cm dilated and advised to take a walk around the hospital for few hours and come back.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if I could change anything I would have stayed at home for longer rather than be at the hospital. Over the next 90 minutes as the surges increased in frequency and intensity, I wish I could have retreated to the solitude of my own home. Walking around a hospital, it was very difficult to focus on my breathing and I struggled to keep control of the surges and the pressure on my back. They nearly got the better of me at one point, the vulnerability you feel being so exposed walking (well attempting to!) around a hospital in that state is very daunting.
After 90 mins of increasingly intense surges, I was back with the midwives and ready for the birthing suite, being 4/5 cm dilated. I was in the birthing suite by 11.00am which was great as I could put my music on and focus on my breathing again. It was so nice to feel safe and secure in that room, away from the vulnerability of walking around the hospital. Once there, things progressed pretty quickly. I was in pool by 11.30am and the surges were coming quick and fast! I had some gas and air to help with the intensity and was coping better than I expected until transition. I feel a bit sorry for the student doctor who was attending her first birth as there was definitely some choice language coming out of me at that point! I recall saying to my husband that I couldn't do it. Surprisingly he reminded me of my mantra. His support and help really calmed me and in those moments of calmness I felt the urge to push. The intensity and pressure when pushing was hard and at one point I nearly lost my confidence and lost my breathing, focusing instead on pushing. Again with my husband's support I got back on track and at 12.15pm our little bundle floated happily into the world, very calm and serene.
I think what surprised me most about hypnobirthing, compared to my first birth, was how I felt after. An hour of skin to skin and a quick shower later, I felt completely normal and myself. I didn't feel like I had just given birth. There was no feeling of exhaustion like with Eva. I think because this time I worked with my body and listened to what it was telling me rather than fighting it. Instead I was able to enjoy the first few hours with Leah before returning home that very evening to collect Eva and introduce her to her new sister!