Unfortunately Alex was having problems growing so we decided to accept an induction while she was still strong and healthy which meant that we ended up in Auckland City. It all got rather dramatic in the end – after weeks of relaxation, nightly walks and positive visualisations – and a number of acupuncture sessions including what I think was a very effective induction session the day before we went into hospital, I was 3cm dilated before any interventions. My membranes were ruptured and labour started as soon as I got up – and went like a steamroller.
Alex arrived an hour and a half later after a ten minute second stage! It was all very intense, but the delivery was unmedicated, and Alex was unbelievably serene when she arrived. Unfortunately my LMC didn’t quite manage to make it in for the delivery and I think the sheer speed with which she flew out lead to me tearing quite badly, but with the support of our midwife and some amazing surgeons I got patched together pretty quickly and we had a few hours with baby as a family first. The surgery did mean that I had to stay in the hospital a day longer than I’d hoped but we were all home together on Monday.
I can honestly say that the preparations we had made for our birth, particularly the Hypnobirthing course, made the difference in allowing me a positive birth experience by giving me the tools to handle our special birthing circumstances. I find hospital environments extremely stressful and I was pretty devastated when it became clear that our baby was going to be at serious risk if I chose to wait for labour to begin naturally at home. But we were indeed prepared to calmly meet whatever turn our birthing took – we discussed our birth plan in detail with the hospital prior to arriving and a huge number of the staff went to a great deal of effort to honour and respect our wishes.
Everyone makes mistakes, and with the number of people inevitably involved (shift changes etc.) it wouldn’t’ be truthful to say that we were happy with every experience we had in hospital, but we were prepared to question decisions that didn’t work for our family and staff whose attitudes were not appropriate for us. Every time we did this, the hospital responded to accommodate our needs, which was incredibly empowering in a whole different way from how I had expected my birthing experience to pan out.
The labour itself was extremely intense and we didn’t have time to use many of the resources – including a birth pool that the hospital had agreed to accommodate if possible using their wireless monitor if we had needed syntocinon – that we had planned, but Gordon supporting me with the relaxation techniques and particularly the affirmations we had picked out allowed me to remain calm and work with my body to dance with my beautiful baby girl until she gently slipped into the world to join us, wide awake, happy and amazingly unbothered by her change in circumstances!