Gabriel’s Birth

The birth story began the night before when we were at a friends leaving dinner at an Indian restaurant.  I asked for the hottest curry they could make me.  I love spicy food and none of the others at the table could stomach my curry, it was that hot!  But I gobbled it up and it must have done something.  during the night I remember waking a few times and going into child’s pose.  Looking back on it, I think labour had already begun but a broken sleep is nothing new when you’re 41 weeks pregnant!
At 7.30 I woke up and went to the bathroom where some of my waters broke.  I wasn’t sure if it was the ‘real deal’ so I rang our midwife.  She told me to put a pad in and monitor the amount of liquid to see if it was really the waters breaking.  She said she’s come round after her clinic at 5pm.  I had an acupuncture appt for 3pm that day and she thought I should still go as it would hurry me along.

About 30 seconds after speaking to her a huge gush of waters came out and messed up the bedsheets – no doubt now about what was happening.  I felt okay, had a shower and breakfast.  Shortly after breakfast the surges started coming, and in pretty quick succession.  Ben was trying to write them down.  I was going into my own little world – I was splayed out on the beanbag lost in the beautiful playlist of music I had created, remembering my affirmations and letting it all wash over me.  The surges felt intense but manageable, however in between time I was throwing up that healthy breakfast of bircher muesli and green smoothie.

Ben called the midwife back and asked her to come. When she came she thought I was doing well and said she’d leave us for a few hours.  She got me to change to the bedroom and lie on the bed. Here I felt a bit lost – no birthing playlist or beanbag so when the surges came I was hit harder than before, although I did like the fact that I could relax between surges on my bed. To cope with the rising intensity my mind invented an image of me as a dolphin.  When the surges I dived through the surf of a breaking wave, nose down and swimming with my skin shining in the sea.   It was a beautiful image and totally unplanned but it really helped me get into the heart of the surge and relax.
The midwife was about to leave then she changed her mind and decided to do an examination.  It turned out I was 6 cm dilated!  So, big change of plans.  She called birthcare and told them to fill the pool and her and Ben were running around getting ready to leave.  She drove us in her car so Ben could sit in the back with me.  I had on my lavender eye mask and headphones listening to Radiohead, bon iver and rainbow relaxation.

We arrived at birthcare – I had a big surge in the carpark and probably frightened some of the people arriving!  We got up to the room and into the pool – for my water birth! But alas it was not to be.  I was in second stage by now and for some reason, it just wasn’t working trying to get the baby out and be in the pool.

So, on my midwife’s advice I went to sit on the toilet. This is where my birth deviates from HypnoBirthing – I started to push out the baby rather than breathing him down. It felt like the right thing to do, although I kept saying ‘ I don’t wanna have this baby on the toilet!’

After a while we transferred to the bed.  I found this stage quite manageable.  Between surges I had time to relax and kept saying ‘ I can do this.’  I didn’t feel too tired and felt strong inside.  The midwife put a mirror up for me to see the baby’s head – this really helped as during surges I could see it coming out and felt encouraged by this.

Each surge showed me a bit more of the head coming out, and I was asking ‘ when am I going to be crowning.’  She kept saying ‘ nearly there, you’re doing so well.’  Then when it finally happened it all went really fast.  The baby’s head came out and was just hanging there.  He let out a short little ‘wah’ that I found really buzzy – that thing is alive!!  Then the body came out really easily and that was it!  Both the midwives started crying, and I just felt like it was a surreal moment, I just couldn’t believe that a baby had really come out from inside of me!

The last part of delivering the placenta was easy, I was just so relieved that baby had arrived. We didn’t look to see if he was a boy or a girl for a good 10 minutes, we were just so happy and relieved it was over and it didn’t seem to matter what it was! We finally looked and sure enough – boy!  my instincts had proved right.

So, my reflection of HypnoBirthing is as follows

    • While I didn’t use the techniques of ‘deeply relaxed’ etc during the birth as there was no time I feel absolutely that all that practice meant we had a straight forward birth.  I felt empowered by the toolkit of strategies  that hypnobirthing gave me.  As a result, the fear that would have accompanied me normally was not there.  I trusted in myself and in the process.
    • The visualisation of the ‘birth we wanted’ was also a powerful tool. I wrote out my birth story and it really was amazing how much came true.  Actually, my actual birth was better than the story I wrote  as I hadn’t wanted ot make it too good in case it didn’t happen like that!  My birth was only 6.5 hours all up whereas my invented plan was more like 14 hours.
    • The perineum massage was vital as it meant I had no tears or stitches!  Such a relief.
    • I’m the only one in my ante-natal class to have a straight forward, natural birth – and the only one to do hypno birthing.  A coincidence?
    • I deviated from my ideal birth in that I couldn’t have a water birth, I did push out the baby in the end and I was more vocal than I expected during the surges.  But this is just what happened and I don’t regret anything.

I think hypnobirthing has given me good skills beyond birth and labour – of the power of the mind to visualise and meditate – to create a reality through positive reinforcement and belief.

Thursday 31st January 2013