Annabelle’s Birth

After an amazing birth with our first daughter Amelia, T and I were convinced that ease of labour was mind over matter. When we found out we were pregnant again we felt confident that this was going to be another beautiful birth story.

We were going to have another hypnobirthing baby.

So we got back in contact with Claire, our friend/hypnobirthing mentor. Together we went through a refresher course covering the different breathing techniques and different relaxation tools that we could use. It had been over 2 years since we practiced or looked at the hypnobirthing techniques so the time with Claire helped jump start the need to practice again.

To be honest, we had such a beautiful birth I was almost confident we didn’t need to practice so much this time around. So I started reading the book again and realised how important it was to start practicing the breathing techniques on a daily basis. With a toddler and a full time job, it was hard to find the time to dedicate to just hypnobirthing. My husband took on a lot of the household responsibilities because I didn’t have the easiest pregnancy so he was often exhausted at the end of the night. So instead of getting him to read the whole book again I would go through certain parts and we would practice them together.

I often pictured Annabelle’s birth story and as time got closer I was getting more and more excited about her birth. People would ask if I was feeling anxious or nervous and I would look at them and in the nicest possible way tell them I was actually excited about it.

When trying to picture my birth story no matter how many times I tried to change it so that it work around our daughter’s schedule, it would go back to the same one. My surges would start in the middle of the night, we would go to hospital in the early hours of the morning, I needed to make sure our daughter knew we wouldn’t be around one morning and explained to her that it was because we were bringing her little sister home. It was so important that we communicated it to her and I’m glad we did.

Monday seemed like it was a normal day. I wasn’t so tired that evening so stayed up until midnight watching movies. At 1230 I went to bed and just as I was about to fall asleep I felt a little leak. Thinking it was my waters breaking i asked my husband to grab a towel. It wasn’t the case so I put on a pad and went back to sleep.
Remembering how fast our first birth was my husband stayed up to make sure we had everything packed.
I had very mild cramps on my lower back but I knew that things would start progressing. At around 3 the cramps became more frequent. I knew at that point that they were surges so I put on the rainbow relaxation and birthing affirmations and played relaxation music in between.

When the surges became stronger and longer and more frequent I found comfort in standing up with my arms and head on the wall while moving my hips around. I was so aware of what my body was doing that I could feel the pressure of baby’s head move down. The advice is to contact your midwife once your surges are about a minute long, 2-3 minutes apart. I knew with my first birth that I never really got there so I decided this time around that I also needed to be aware of what my body was doing.

My surges changed from back cramps to pressure on my lower pelvic area. As each surge passed I felt my bottom area getting heavier. It was at that point that I knew we were close to having her. I told my husband I was ready and he called the midwife to meet us at the hospital.

We changed midwives halfway into our pregnancy. The midwife we had for our first birth moved to Australia but had recommended a lovely midwife she thought would suit us as she specialised in home births. During our initial meetings we didn’t quite click with her however we thought that it was because we bonded so much with our first midwife that it was unfair to compare them. It wasn’t until latter that we realised that although she ‘supported’ our wish to do hypnobirthing, she either spoke of a bad experience with hypnobirthing mothers or just didn’t have anything to say about. We didn’t feel that she believed in the process even though we told her we had such a beautiful birth the first time.

When we made the change we spent the first appointment with our new midwife talking about our wishes. She was honest in saying in her 25plus years of being an independent midwife she didn’t have much to do with hypnobirthing but she was willing to learn. She even tried to use hypnobirthing terms.

Once we called her and said we were ready to meet at the hospital she didn’t question us too much and agreed to meet at the hospital.

It was a cold morning, so transitioning from our home to the hospital meant that my labour had slowed down a little. I remember looking at the time when we left the car. Just after 7am. When we got to the room, we turned a couple of the lights off and I walked around the room to familiarise myself with the space. It wasn’t too long before I was relaxed again. Our midwife asked me a couple of times if I wanted her to do an internal check. I told her no but agreed to let her listen to the baby’s heartbeat. She also felt my tummy to get an idea of baby’s position. She said something quietly to my husband which he latter told me she felt that I was only 2 – 3 cm dilated. Knowing she couldn’t do much she stepped out of the room but would come in quietly check on us a couple of times.

I started to feel the need to birth breath. Being so aware this time around, I was amazed at how my body knew what it was supposed to do. I wasn’t so worried that my midwife wasn’t in the room. I knew my husband was there, I was in a standing position with my head and arm resting on the hospital bed. My waters broke as I was birth breathing. Our midwife came in to check again and quietly positioned herself where she could support my husband as he was going to receive baby. After a couple of birth breaths her head came out. She called my husband over then told me to stop pushing (or in our case birth breathing). With only her head out, our baby let out a cry. Without me doing anything else her body slipped out easily into her daddy’s hands.

Annabelle Lee Huynh was born at 825am. I was filled was so much love and gratitude. I thanked our midwife, to which she replied that it was the easiest birth. I was so in love with life and bringing into the world a new life. Annabelle, like our oldest daughter has such a calm nature to her. I definitely think it’s a hypnobirthing trait!

– Michelle

To read about Michelle’s first birth with Amelia, click here.