A couple of days passed my due date, I had a birth show and instead of panicking like I thought I would, I was actually excited. This meant my baby would be coming soon. I rang my husband at work, just to tell him the good news and naturally he immediately asked did I need him to come home. When I told him that there was no need, he was baffled and thought that I was joking. Could his once nervous and anxious wife really be that relaxed about the first signs of labour? Seems, so, I was completely relaxed.
Another two days passed and I started to get mild cramps, like period pain, late in the evening. I took a bath and headed off to bed hoping that something would happen the next day. I woke at about 5am unable to sleep any longer with the sensations. I went to the kitchen and sat on the exercise ball then decided I should wake my husband up because I did not want him to miss the action. I wanted him to be a part of the experience. When I woke him telling him I was in labour and he should make me tea and toast, (well he might as well make himself useful, right?), there was once again disbelief in his voice. He could not believe that I would be so calm and excited. It was not the reaction he expected from me. Of course, we had been preparing for the birth and labour and had become avid students of the HypnoBirthing programme but the change in my attitude towards birth was so dramatic that it was difficult to wrap his head around it.
We happened to have my consultant appointment that day and decided to keep the appointment, so that she could confirm whether or not this was real labour!! I did bring the labour bag just in case. I decided to get examined and, well, I was 5 cm dilated. I was thrilled. The consultant was amazed, as well as being a bit annoyed at the receptionist for keeping me waiting for so long. But the poor woman had no idea. I didn’t really give much away. I had been focusing on my calm breath and surge breath while waiting to be seen. My consultant booked me into a labour room in CUMH, straightaway and we headed off for lunch in the cafe at the hospital, while waiting for the room. It’s still hard to believe that I casually went off for lunch in the middle of labour! It sounds like more we were waiting for a hotel suite to be prepared!
When the labour room was ready for me, I met with the midwife who would be looking after me and after having a chat with her, I decided to go to the birthing pool. It was so warm, lovely and relaxing. I felt really comfortable but after maybe an hour or so I felt like I wanted to move around more so I decided to come out and walked around for a while. I had it in my head, that in order for labour to progress, I needed to keep moving and walking. However walking up and down the corridor was just exhausting and well, honestly, monotonous. I did find the beautiful little prayer room, which was a gorgeous little sanctuary and helped me focus my mind and thoughts. I headed back to my labour room which I really had not made use of at all since arriving. The midwife was happy for me to come back and to get a chance to see how baby as doing. She was about to arrange a search party.
It was a little surreal to sit on the exercise ball and do some of my yoga exercises while looking across at Wilton Shopping Centre. How many times had I been at the shopping centre and looked over at the maternity hospital, and imagined that there was a woman having a horrendous experience in the labour rooms? I never imagined labour could be so calm. After a light sandwich I settled on to the bed, where my husband Kevin and the midwife had made a little nest for me. I continued to listen to my rainbow relaxation music, throughout labour, although every now and then I would switch to Muse, just to mix it up a little! While the labour was long and slow I remained calm and in control throughout. There was no place for fear in my labour room!
While everything went going very smoothly, there were a number of distractions throughout the labour such as being offered pethidine, more than once, along with being questioned continuously about what I was doing with the headphones and also having a nurse, who must have been responsible for bed management shout into the room “get that baby out”. Amazingly with the support of my husband and the power of HypnoBirthing I was able to continue, to tune into my body and drown out all of the other noises and distractions that were around me.
I am not great for remembering the exact timeline for everything that happened throughout my labour because I simply did not pay any attention to the time or give it any focus. I was not in any hurry anywhere so what would be the point! I continued to listen to rainbow relaxation and focused on my breathing. There was a shift change of the nurses and the new nurse that was assigned to me was just incredible. She knew about HypnoBirthing and gave me the room and space and time to birth the way I wanted to.
At some point my waters released and I was thankful I was in the labour room and not pacing the corridors when that happened. As labour advanced and the surges (contractions) became more frequent and more intense, I went deeper and deeper into myself and focused more on my body and my breathing and visualised my baby travelling smoothly and comfortably down my birth path. Kevin started getting the baby clothes ready and laying out the blankets and nappies. Even at this stage, it was hard to imagine a baby would be arriving soon.
Labour seemed to stall for a little while and there was talk of syntocinon and getting a drip organised, however Kevin was my voice again at this vital moment and asked that I would be given more time. It was not long before, I noticed a desire to change the way I was breathing and started to breathe downwards. There was suddenly a rush of midwives around the room getting ready for the arrival, along with my consultant who timed her arrival nicely. I started to get a lot of instruction about what to do at this point, “push now”“one more big push” and it all got very confusing. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. My legs were starting to get shaky and I was suddenly hit with exhaustion. Kevin reminded me to focus on my own breath and reminded me of my visualisations. It took me a moment or two but I soon tuned back in to my body and baby. I had a little chat to my baby, just to say that I was looking forward to welcoming her into the world, and after a few huge breaths my baby girl, Isabelle arrived at 8 lbs 4 oz. She was put to my chest and I was in awe. Love struck! Kevin had proudly made the announcement that the baby was a little girl. She had beautiful dark brown hair and gorgeous squishy cheeks. She was alert and calm and had stayed comfortable through her journey. After a couple of minutes, Kevin cut the cord and we both just stared at the wonderful baby mesmerised. I did have a little tear and needed a couple of stitches but it was only a minor tear and was not too problematic.
I had the most amazing and wonderful calm experience and I know it would have been very different without the knowledge and powerful techniques I learned through HypnoBirthing.