Rosie & Phil's Birth Story of Hypnobub Felix
So my birth story.......
Labour and birth are pretty full on hey? I can’t say I was your beautiful relaxed hypnomum though. I have never screamed and sworn so much in my life! The best thing about the hypnobirth techniques for me was how they prepared me before hand. I had successfully used the affirmations and vision board to really get it into my head that I could do it naturally and that my body would know what to do. I had been terrified of an induction and convinced I would go over but I went into labour the day before his due date!! Once that happened I knew I would be fine.
Things started slow with tightenings off and on throughout the day. I thought things could happen that night or the next day. I tried to have dinner and watch a movie that night but couldn’t get comfortable. The tightenings started to feel like contractions around 2200 that night. Things progressed naturally with contractions getting closer together and stronger. I wish I could say that I put on my hypnobtracks or relaxed into my bubble of tranquility as I had been so diligently practicing but I have to say it hardly crossed my mind. I was focused and determined, gritting my teeth and breathing through the pain. I did however utilise my affirmations allowing myself to work with my body, and the pain remembering that it was a natural process that would end with my baby being born. I used the breathing techniques well, helping me to cope with each contraction. At anytime that I lost sight of this and started to panic Phil was there with a gentle reminder to focus on my breathing, relax my jaw and allow the surge to bring my baby closer to me. I think the hypnobirth class was of tremendous help and insight for Phil. He was an amazing birth partner. He was there at every turn with these gentle reminders, acupressure points on demand (I have to say these were amazing) and a strong arm to lean on. At around 2 am I thought we should let the midwife know what was going on so Phil called the triage midwife. Strangely he got an answering machine so left a message. No one called back so he tried again and was put through to labour ward who asked the standard questions - has she had panadol has she tried the shower- he explained that we just wanted to talk to our midwife really and were actually managing fine. Looking back it makes me wonder at the quick fix options she was offering. We weren’t calling because we needed panadol ( I wanted a drug free birth) or even unsure of what to do yet that’s how Phil was treated. Anyway they said they would get hold of the triage midwife and get back to us.
The next few hours went by getting more and more intense. I moved from the couch to the ball to the shower to the toilet ( I vomited the whole way through, yuck) and back. It was exhausting and painful and overwhelming but I trusted that everything was moving as it should be. I visualised my baby moving down and knew that we were both safe. I focused on keeping my jaw relaxed and subsequently my cervix.
A few hours later we hadn’t heard from the midwife! By this point I was starting to think things were definitely on the move. I did my own VE, (occupational hazard!) it was hard to reach but I could feel bulging membranes and a dilated cervix. I just couldn’t tell how dilated. I got back in the shower and Phil tried the midwife again. Same thing happened and he ended up with the DE (Delivery Suite) midwife. I was really in the zone by this point. Yelling and carrying on but also completely focused and breathing through. The midwife asked Phil questions again but seemed to think he was an uninformed husband and wanted to speak to me. Phil knew that this was the last thing I needed, to be pulled out of my focused birthing zone to be asked questions about panadol. He calmly said that no I would not be coming to the phone that I was in the shower contracting 4:10, had done my own ve and would really just like my midwife to come and see me. He was great. He knew what I needed at the time and how to best support our birth process while interacting with other people. The de midwife was a bit flustered that I had done a ve! Once he told her I was a midwife she suddenly seemed to take him seriously and said she would get onto the group practice! About 10 min later our midwife called us! Yay! She promptly came around and assessed me. 6-7 cm bulging membranes! It turns out there had been an error with switch and they had the wrong person down as on call. Not the best situation for first time labouring women! Luckily being a midwife I think, and trusting the process I wasn’t too freaked out. Normally you have to go through ED to get clerked before going to the birth centre. I hardly wanted to leave my bedroom let alone go to an emergency department at 5 o’clock in the morning. I asked my midwife if we could avoid that somehow and she made a few calls before we left and made it happen. It’s things like this that make all the difference to how you feel and cope with labour. I know that for me having to go through ed could have really had a negative impact on how my labour was progressing. Hypnobirth course teaches that you can ask for things to be done differently and even something as simple as this can make all the difference.
We got in the car and headed for the hospital where I knew the pool was waiting for me. Contracting in the car? Yeah not fun. We don’t have a bath at home and knowing the birth pool was waiting for me was about the only thing that got me out there! If I had another baby I would just stay at home!
Getting in that bath was heaven! Contractions continued to ramp up. My midwife commented that she kept wanting to turn down the oxytocin as I was 5:10. Problem was I wasn’t being induced, there was no syntocinon to turn down! Lol. At one point Phil asked if he could just sit down for 5 min. I said sure. But then the next contraction came and I was like, nope! You get back here now! He was my rock. And I needed him to help me breath and focus in every contraction.
Involuntary pushing started. Finally! The pressure was tremendous. My waters we’re still bulging and I just wished they would break. The midwife offered to break them for me but also said she didn’t think it was necessary. I didn’t want any intervention, (what if there was mec!) so said no. Finally they popped! What a relief. I was, we could assume, fully! Now it was time to face my next fear. would he fit through my pelvis? Was he still the right way around? I let my body do the work. It’s not like you can stop it anyway and it’s less painful when there is an urge to push! I visualised my baby moving down and tucking in in the right way, breathing him down as best I could. I don’t think I ever quite mastered that technique but it was still helpful at the time.
At one point I felt like there was something wrong. Nothing was moving. I started to panic a bit. I had checked myself and could tell there was enough room in my pelvis so I tried to relax as best I could and focused on my visualisations. And slowly he began to move. I think I pushed for about 2 hours before he was born but it was all on my terms. There was no coaching or forced pushing. I dozed in between, in and out of relaxation. The room was relaxed and I new he wasn’t far away. And then his head was out! I had done it! I could feel him turning, he was doing all the right things! Suddenly the midwife was telling me to take my baby. I looked down into the water. There were two huge blue eyes looking up at me, swimming through the water and I grabbed my baby boy for the first time, bringing him through the water and up to take his first breath. Oh the relief. It was done! We had done it. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing. Phil cut the cord and we got out of the bath for physiological third stage. I had done it. I had achieved the birth I wanted. Was it tranquil and pain free? NO. But it was natural, intervention and drug free. It was exactly what my body was designed to do. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done but it was the birth I wanted. I wasn’t afraid and my baby and birth were calm and healthy.
Felix Andrew Manning was born at 11:42am on the 4th of March 2018.
So that’s a quick run down of what happened. Lol. Some of the hypnobirth stuff was great other parts not even thought of. I am so proud of what I achieved though and know that I was as best prepared as I could be. We are totally in love with our little man!
Sorry it took me so long to get this to you. I fully intended to in the days after he was born. Sleep deprivation got the better of me!
Hope you are well!
Thank you so much to Rosie and Phil for sharing your honest, empowered and beautiful birth story and giving me permission to share and inspire others.