I just wanted to introduce you to our beautiful little girl, Holly Rebecca, born on 4 March at a slightly whopping 4.09 kilos! We are all doing really well and she is just perfect!
Having been together at the HypnoBirthing sessions, I thought I would pull together some details on how the labour and birth went:
To start with, I was induced due to exceedingly high blood pressure. The result – manual breaking of waters and Syntocin drip, both of which were administered without James there as I was literally whizzed down to be induced after a regular check-up at the hospital, for which James hadn’t come with me. So far, all a bit stressful and panicky about how to get into the ‘HypnoBirthing zone’.
Second result of inducement – being strapped to a drip and having to be continually monitored on the ECM machine to ensure the bub’s heartbeat was OK. So far, not good! The planning for a calm, peaceful birth was starting to look more and more like it was going out of the window.
The saviour? My husband! When he arrived, he calmly told me to take out of my mind anything that I couldn’t control, ie. the drip, the monitor, the inability to move around easily, the bright lights (to read the monitor) and the fact I had had to be induced in the first place. Instead, he gave me a head massage and talked me through my breathing exercises and some of the visualisation techniques, we had been practicing in the run up to the birth (we had set up a system where he talked me through imagining myself in our favourite little cinema in Hobart with plush comfy chairs, imagining that I was watching the birth play out on the cinema screen, rather than it happening directly to my body).
I soon started to relax as the surges kicked in from the Syntocin (every 1 minute right from the start which didn’t give too much time to catch the breath, but was manageable). The balloon breathing was fantastic and got me through the early stage till I was about 5 cms dilated.
I then convinced the midwives to take me off the baby monitor and got into the bath, with loads of lavender oil poured in. As the surges got stronger, the balloon breathing became harder, but I focused on the fact that each surge required 3 big balloon breaths, counting up to 12 each time (I never made it to the count of 20 in all my practice sessions!). With each surge, I repeated the affirmation that it was one less until my baby was born and that when the balloon breaths were finished, there would be no pain in between. The latter mantra was invaluable as it helped me keep a realistic view on the fact that the discomfort of a surge would eventually pass.
As I got into the ‘transition’ stage, I have to say the breathing was definitely a lot harder, as my body made involuntary pushing movements that I simply couldn’t control, no matter how much breathing or visualisation techniques I used. I have to admit I hadn’t expected this feeling and found it quite hard to deal with. The involuntary pushing was simply a result of the pressure on my back passage due to her head bearing down on me. The pressure resulted in my breathing turning into a moaning sound, which again came out involuntarily and I felt like I was watching myself from a distance rather than it being me actually making the noise (not sure if that makes sense?).
By this point, I was in the shower, with James directing both showerheads at my lower back throughout the surges.
So, the honest truths about the birth:
The inducement was not ideal but was overcome with some strong support from James.
There were a couple of instances where I cried and thought I couldn’t go on – again James calmly (but firmly) told me to breathe (and helped me get back in the zone), relax and work through the surges, repeating the fact that they would pass.
The noises I made during transition overwhelmed me a little and were certainly not the calm techniques we had perhaps seen on some of the videos.
I couldn’t breathe the J breath during the birthing phase. I tried but in all honesty, the involuntary pushing my back passage was doing, together with the fact my OB was telling me I needed to physically push to actually get her out, meant that this part of the HypnoBirthing course simply didn’t work. My OB wasn’t the most supportive of the HypnoBirthing method, which didn’t help, but in all honesty, I could not have managed to master the birthing breath even with a supportive OB. When it came to it, I just couldn’t manage it.
So, some of the course worked and some didn’t – the important point is that the end result was a beautiful little girl who came into the world with no drugs despite being induced and despite being the biggest bub in the hospital that evening!
I am not saying it was easy because it wasn’t, but I managed it and this was down to 2 key reasons:
1. The ability to use the breathing techniques throughout the entire labour and visualising myself giving birth from a distance rather than experiencing it ‘live’ so to speak; and
2. An incredibly supportive husband who kept reminding me to relax, breathe and be calm throughout, as well as managing the midwives and giving them firm indications (stop signs with the hand so as not to disturb me) if there was any noise, speaking or offers of drugs. I can’t impress enough the role of the guys in this process, although I’m sure that both your hubbies are as keen as you to help you get through it.
I have attached a couple of piccies for you and wish you all the best of luck – can’t wait to hear your news! Would also love to catch up again when the bubs are all here – perhaps we could arrange a lunch? When are your due dates again?
Sarah, James and Holly