Shannon’s Birth

Firstly I really want to thank you for helping guide me through The Calm Hypnobirthing Course, I did the online one and found it so helpful!

So, it all started on Monday 25th November. I had been to my specialist that day and she had told me that my babies head was still high and hadn’t dropped, and there was no dilation, I was 5 days overdue at this stage. I had been going to acupuncture and been doing acupressure to try and get things moving. I had been walking everyday (as much as was possible 😉), up and down steps etc. You could say I had tried everything and baby was still not ready. So I booked in for an induction the following Monday.

The induction really went against all of my birthing plans, I wanted to do this in the most naturally possible way that I could. I had been practicing hypnobirthing from about 20 weeks and was adamant that I could do this, I always thought with my first birth that I would be scared and nervous etc. But I was just so completely relaxed, as I had rehearsed how the day would go from about 30 weeks. The part of the hypnobirthing course that I found the most helpful was the audio guides, when I went down for my nap each day I would play them and after a few weeks I fell asleep before they had even finished.  My husband was incredibly supportive and did his bit to help me out too. I used the Spinning Babies yoga video and did that 3 times a week, it was the best thing for any aches and pains.

If ever I felt like my birth wasn’t going how I planned it to I would repeat the words ‘ I will prepare myself for whatever turn my birthing may take’ this was by far the affirmation that stayed with me the most. I had also read Marie Mongan’s book on Hypnobirthing which really helped me to understand the concept. Some days I felt a bit overwhelmed with how much there was to practice if I wanted my birth to go right,  but doing up a daily schedule and planning my hypnobirthing practicing helped me overcome this. One thing I’ve come to realise is how much hypnobirthing is about practice, I don’t think you can overdo this part.

At about 11pm Monday night, I started to feel cramping much like period pains, my husband was blissfully sleeping beside me and I’d got his hopes (and mine 😊) up a lot recently by feeling cramps and thinking something was coming then they would recede. So I started timing them and the first one was 20 mins apart, then the second one was 10 mins apart, meanwhile I was doing all the breathing I had been practicing and WOW its incredible how it actually works! LOL I can’t believe I had moments of doubt. The next 4 surges were about 5-6 minutes apart, so I woke my husband, who I may say couldn’t believe how calm I was.

My specialist had been very skeptical of hypnobirthing from the start, and not exactly supportive. I really wanted to prove to her that I could do it and how amazing it was. She had told me to come into the hospital when they were 5 mins apart. I wanted to spend as much of my labour as I could in the relaxed environment of my home, and the surges weren’t exactly painful at this point. I rung the hospital who said to labour in the bath and see if they subside, so I did this and they started coming 3 mins apart so I thought this is time to go. Also may I state that the bath is the BEST thing, the surges felt so mild.

At 4:30am Tuesday, we decided to go to the hospital. During the car journey I had my eye mask on and my headphones listening to hypnobirthing music, I felt like I was floating in a little world off my own. I did have to remind my husband not to drive like we were in a rush, LOL! At the hospital I just sat on the bed listening to my music with my eye mask on, focusing on my breathing.  I got one of the nurses to help me put my TENS machine on so I was ready. The surges at this point were a little more painful, but nothing like I thought they would be and I was so relaxed. I was nibble a muesli bar to help keep my sugars up and prepare myself for birth.

When my specialist came in at about 5:30am she just looked at me and said you don’t look like your in any pain or words to that effect, and then she did a vag exam and exclaimed your 4cm dilated, but the head hasn’t dropped. She was shocked, and said I think this may have to be a c-section. I looked across at my husband and I just felt so calm about it, I can’t explain it. Here was me aiming for a 100% natural birth and now that had all just gone out the window or so I thought. I was transferred to a birthing room, and along the way I still had my headphones on and eye mask. My specialist made a comment to my husband if it was paranoia that I was experiencing, but he said it’s her way of staying relaxed and coping with the surges. She had never seen this before.

There was a slim chance that she could break my waters and I could have a natural birth, but the possibility of the cord or a limb coming out first was too high. At about 7am she did another vag exam revealed that I was 8cm dilated, this just made me so so happy, I was actually dilating in the midst of all this. So I was scheduled for a c-section, there was a lot of conflicting opinion at the time between specialists at the hospital on whether to break my waters or not, I decided I’d rather have a relaxed c-section than something go wrong and have to have and emergency one. My TENS machine came off and the epidural went in, this is when I felt the most pain. Not the epidural exactly but the surges were much more painful, I just had to focus and breath through. I guess this was due to medical intervention, but it had to be done. I started shaking uncontrollably from the epidural, like a cold shiver shake, which is one of the side effects. At this stage I just wanted to meet my little man.

At 9am, into theater we went, man I was so excited. I have very small veins and they had to use a scan thing to find a vein big enough for the IV, this was the most definitely the most painful part of my entire birth! Then it all happened so fast, my little man came out screaming (9:26am), even typing this now just makes me cry! I cannot explain the joy of that feeling. Then they revealed that there was a knot in my umbilical cord which was sitting in by his neck. This had never been picked up on any scan. I was filled relief that I hadn’t chosen my waters to be broken, it all made sense. This is the part where I was SO incredibly grateful to my specialist, she did the most amazing job of everything!

I had always read that c-section babies sometimes need their lungs to be pumped out as they haven’t had a natural birth, which squeezes it all out. But because I had got to 8cm the surges had already got all of this out, another plus of hypnobirthing.

At 35 weeks I got kidney stones, and I actually used my hypnobirthing breathing techniques to get through this. I would rather have another baby any day over the pain of kidney stones!

In conclusion, I cannot speak more highly of hypnobirthing. I’m so happy with how my birth went, and also so happy with how well I did. I think it just goes to show that no matter what turn your birthing may take, you need a tool like hypnobirthing to get you through.

I’ve also learnt that medical intervention isn’t a bad thing, if that is what is needed to save you and your baby. There was a reason God didn’t let it happen naturally for me and his head didn’t drop, the knot in the cord would have been fatal.  At the end of the day it’s a healthy baby and mum that matters.

So I’d just like to massively thank you Claire, I couldn’t have done it without you.