I was over my estimated due date and we were at times quite stressed about when this baby was going to come and were feeling the pressure from people around us.
I found going back to the hypnobirthing principles, especially listening to the affirmations, really helped me with this and I kept reminding myself “he’ll come when he’s ready.” I had been having stretch and sweeps every few days and we were booked for induction on the Friday so I was very pleased and excited when I spontaneously went into labour at 11pm on the Wednesday evening.
I told Ben to stay in bed and get as much sleep as possible (he was coincidentally recovering from an appendectomy) and I laboured in the lounge room all night. This went well using my music, the affirmations and other tracks, tens machine and birthing ball. I also had my cat keeping me company!
I had a long shower at 5am then woke Ben and we went to the hospital.
When we got to the hospital, I needed to sort out which midwife was allocated to me. I was aware a midwife I had met before was on the morning shift that day. From my previous interactions I felt she would not have a calming influence and could possibly upset me (as she had done before) so, feeling quite embarrassed, I asked to not be allocated her. This turned out to be a good decision as we allocated a wonderful, supportive midwife who embraced my birthing preferences.
My first VE was promising at 5cm although they reported that my baby was sitting posteriorly. This explained why I was feeling most of my surges in my back. The obstetrician had suggested we continue on and do another VE in 4hrs to see how things had progressed. We set ourselves up in the room with the birthing ball, music playing, comfortable clothing and some room mist. I had a go in the bath and found it very peaceful in there but found it too hard to get comfortable and have my back in the water. So I laboured in the room sitting on the birthing ball or standing with my hands against the wall or a Bench. I also had Ben massaging my lower back or just putting counter pressure on my sacrum.
It was all going very well and I found I just accepted the back pain and didn’t worry about it. I had my 2nd VE and was disappointed to hear the baby hadn’t descended and my cervix was uneven and still 5cm.
I agreed with my obstetrician to have my membranes released and the hope was that this would increase the strength of the surges and help move my baby down and into the right position. The releasing of the membranes was uncomfortable but I held Ben’s hand, looked at his face and breathed through it. The surges were ramped up, but I still was managing well. Sometimes I appealed to Ben for reassurance and this came immediately and was very reassuring.
A few hours later they decided to do another VE and discussed that if there was still no progression, the next step is a syntocinon infusion. This was all discussed very clearly with us and we felt we fully understood the situation and reason for the infusion.
The VE showed no change. As I had been going for 18hrs and I was showing signs of physically shutting down, I decided I would have an epidural. I’d had time to think about it so was confident in my decision.
I found having the epidural put in difficult as I had been standing for most of my surges and the anaesthetist insisted I had to lie on my side. The midwives and Ben ended up all physically helping me into position and then holding hands and encouraging and reassuring me. Such amazing support.
Once the epidural was effective, the pain of the surges went but I suffered with side effects making me feel unwell. The syntocinon infusion was started and the monitoring showed the baby was in distress. The obstetrician and midwives explained it was likely that baby’s head or cord were being compressed by the force of the surges and it didn’t seem possible for him to be born safely or vaginally.
Again, I felt calm and mentally prepared for this. I reminded myself that I was prepared for a birth no matter which way it happened and soon I would see my baby for the first time.
I was very quickly transferred for a Caesarean. The staff went through some of the relevant birthing preferences we had and assured us I would still have skin to skin contact and Ben, although not able to cut the cord, would be able to trim it. Although I found the experience in theatre physically uncomfortable, I was mentally positive and excited.
After not long, my big beautiful baby boy Oliver was born. He was put on my chest and it was just magical to see him for the first time and his wide open, rooting mouth. He was hungry!
That night Ben was able to stay in a bed in my room and look after our baby all night while I was recovering from the operation.
I successfully breastfed from the first time and our baby was healthy and happy.
Overall I found my birth experience positive. Although things didn’t go ideally, I felt we got excellent communication from the private hospital staff who were supportive of all my requests and we were ready when each new step was discussed with us.
I also feel the hypnobirthing course made a huge difference to how I coped mentally through such a long labour and then with each intervention. I feel my baby’s calm disposition in the first 24hrs was influenced by my calmness through the whole pregnancy and labour using my hypnobirthing relaxation techniques.
Emily & Ben
If you would like to find out more about Hypnobirthing classes or Positive Caesarean Birth classes please contact Vicki Hobbs from Hypnobirthing Centre WA on (08) 9303 9111 or by email [email protected]