Meeting Claire and taking her hypnobirthing course was life changing for my husband Alan and I. The course empowered us both and made us feel so much more prepared to welcome our daughter into the world, where our antenatal course had been more factual rather than practical. Short of all the amazing techniques we learnt and which would help us with the birthing process, it was the first course we had attended that actually gave a real and very important role to the support person.
My husband Alan felt equally important and relevant throughout the whole birthing process and I can honestly say our labour was a team effort.
I am a first time mother and I carried to 40 weeks and 5 days without going into spontaneous labour. Due to my age and the complications of carrying over the due date, my obstetrician strongly advised I be induced at 40 weeks. I negotiated an extra 5 days hoping baby would make her own way into the world, but this was not to be.
Claire was amazing, as I phoned her up, devastated about having to be induced knowing this would mean the cascade of interventions - none of which were part of my birth plan. Claire talked me through how Alan and I could still take control of the situation even though we had to be induced and I found a new calm and was able to set fear aside and centre myself, trusting my body.
I was induced on Friday the 1st of May at 2 pm, using the Pitocin gel at the Ladies Assessment Ward at the Auckland City Hospital. The first application did nothing and we had to do a second application of the gel, 6 hours later at 8pm, which brought on intense contractions immediately with little reprieve between each contraction. Alan and I immediately started with the team work of breathing together, through each of the contractions as I lay on a bed, so our baby could be monitored. At 11pm, after 3 hours of contractions, the monitor belt was removed as our baby was not distressed. My cervix was not yet showing any signs of dilating and we were told it would be an all-night affair. At this point Alan and I decided to go set up in the on-suite bathroom where I was able to squat on the toilet, rocking and hoisting myself up using the disability rail to ride the contractions as they came on, with our Sarah Maclachlin playlist, playing in the background and Alan coaching me through the breathing especially when I lost my breath. Reminding me about how the uterus muscles were working, so I could envisage them moving our baby towards us, so we could meet her. Within an hour, it was now 12am, the midwives who had just come on duty, heard a rather guttural sound coming from our room between my heavy breathing and came through to check on us, only to realise that I was already in the late stages of labour which was a surprise for Alan and I. They immediately did an internal exam to confirm and I had already dilated to 9 within an hour and so I was urgently whisked off to the Labour Ward with my waters breaking naturally on the way there. Thank goodness our obstetrician made it back to the hospital in time for the birth. Alan and I delivered Teagan together, an hour later at 1:09am on the 2nd of May 2020 with no drugs or any further medical interventions and I never tore as I had done perennial massages leading up to her birth. Alan had the privilege of catching our daughter and later cutting her umbilical cord after delayed clamping and the birthing of the placenta. Teagan was placed on my chest after she arrived and we had the 3 golden hours of skin to skin where she made her way to the breast, latched and suckled.
There is a lot of fear talk around inductions and through Claire’s guidance, our birthing experience became a story that proves you can still have a perfect hypnobirthing experience regardless of being induced and not become another statistic reinforcing the fear while succumbing to medical interventions.
Teagan has been such a beautiful and chilled baby, which Alan and I both attribute to the calm but quick labour, because we worked together and with my body, allowing it to do what it was built to do – a complete miracle from conception to birth. We still talk about how amazing the experience was for us both, which is confirmed every time we look into Teagan’s eyes and see her gorgeous smile light up her face.
Jenine & Alan