It has already been 4 months since Adam and I had baby Jedd, but I just thought I would drop you a note to say thanks and to tell you our birth story. It’s a little long as my labour was eventful and it doesn’t sound like any of the Hypnobirthing stories I have heard before but perhaps it may help someone else who has a similar experience.
My husband Adam made a joke after we had Jedd – it’s a shame babies don’t read birth plans, and that really summed up our experience. We had been very keen to have a natural birth with the absolute minimum of medical intervention, ideally no drugs or even doctors, just the midwife at the birthing centre and ourselves.
By the end of my pregnancy I was very ready to have the baby and I was getting excited, I couldn’t wait to meet the new member of my family. I had show mid morning on the Thursday and started having contractions at about 7pm, the first one was very strong and took me by surprise. Quickly I remembered all of the practice we had done with relaxation meditations and breathing exercises and with Adam’s support I calmly breathed through the next few hours of surges. Adam called the birth centre to let them know where we were up to.
At about 11pm the surges were getting stronger and they had started to come every 2-3 minutes, I felt that I didn’t want to delay a car ride any longer. I wanted to just relax and get comfortable so Adam packed the car and we drove to the birth centre. When we arrived the midwife wanted to send me home as she thought I looked too relaxed to be in proper labour but after she saw me have a couple of surges she could see that I was actually quite far along.
I spent several hours in the bath and standing up leaning on a chair, breathing through very strong surges, a couple of times their strength took me by surprise and I lost my concentration and sense of calm. When this happened Adam and the midwife reassured me that I just needed to breath through and as soon as I did the pain faded. I felt very empowered by the techniques I had learned, and the way with which they enabled me to birth so calmly. It really helped to think of the surges as just very intense pressure that was bringing my baby closer to me.
By early in the morning I was fully dilated (although the midwife did tell me the lip of my cervix was slightly protruding) and not soon after I felt a strong urge to push. I pushed for a couple of hours – and this was hard as the surges were quite strong, but the baby didn’t come. The midwife had offered a couple of times to take me into the labour ward to have some assistance with forceps but I had declined – while the babies heartbeat was fine I wanted to continue with a natural birth. Then the babies heartbeat started to increase and I was transferred to the ward.
I was upset and disappointed that my birth had not gone to plan. I felt as though I had failed somehow. In the ward the obstetrician tested my babies’ lactates (an indication of fetal distress – they were high but not critical). They also discovered that that my baby was posterior (facing the wrong way) and this had resulted in the cervix not completely opening which is why I hadn’t progressed. At this stage I had laboured for about 12 hours and I was getting tired, a Ceasarean was offered but I insisted on the least amount of intervention unless absolutely required. They decided to give me Sintocin to get rid of the lip and an epidural in case they had to use instrumentation to turn the baby around.
The epidural took over an hour to set up and during that time the contractions were so very painful and distressing. To do the tests they had put me on my back. Adam was reminding me of the relaxation techniques, because of my fear I had completely stopped the breathing exercises. I calmed my mind and concentrated on relaxing through the surges once more, and quietly talked to my baby, asking it to slow down. I was able to reduce the pain and intensity of the surges once more. They allowed several hours for the Sintcoin to take effect, and I tried to push again but the baby became too distressed, the lactates were extremely high. It was much harder to push with the epidural because I couldn’t feel my muscles working, and I couldn’t work with them as effectively.
The baby was now at a high risk of brain damage or worse and the obstetrician asked for our consent for an emergency Ceasarean. 25 minutes later Jedd was born in theatre, healthy and perfect. Straight after he was given to Adam to nurse while I recovered.
I fell in love instantly with Jedd but I felt so sad that I hadn’t had the birth that I had hoped for. In planning for my birth I hadn’t really contemplated the possibility of having to have having a Ceasar. Then I realised the reason that we had wanted a natural birth was so that Jedd would have the greatest chance at being healthy and that was what was really important. The Hypnobirthing had allowed me to birth safely and calmly for so long, giving me the greatest chance of a natural birth, I knew I had done the best for my baby and myself. Having the experience of calming my mind and breathing through the surges I feel confident that I would do the same again. In fact I’m looking forward to it.