I’ve finally found time to send you an email regarding the birth of our baby Carlo.
Giving birth was an amazing experience for both my husband Laurie and I. Carlo’s birth was only a five and a half hour labour, and I bonded with him straight away. I think the ease of the birth helped with that.
The hypnobirthing technique really helped me in the first stage of labour.
Initially I was very nervous about the whole process of giving birth, and learned hypnobirthing as a way to help me overcome my fear and feel more “in control” of the birth process. I felt that too many women are encouraged to give away their power and natural body knowledge in birth. Hypnobirthing appealed to me because it reinforced the idea that the body knows what to do, if you go with it, instead of fighting it. The whole mind/body connection is very important and seems to have been lost in modern medicine.
As I am in my forties and this is my first child, I decided to engage an obstetrician in case of any complications, but wanted to have my birth as naturally as possible.
The contractions started at 3am on June 11 and at first I just thought it was a stomach ache. The baby wasn’t due for another two and a half weeks. I was vomiting a bit and had diarrhoea, so I rang the hospital and the nurse I spoke to said this sometimes happens at the start of labour as a way of cleaning everything out beforehand and to ring back later.
When I rang again and said the contractions were coming 4-5 minutes apart the midwife said not to come in yet, as “It’s not called labour for nothing,” and said she’d see me later in the morning.
I asked Laurie to put on the hypnobirthing CD. I could only just hear it from the bathroom, but it soothed me. I sat on the loo and leant forward, holding onto the towel handrail on the wall in front of me and concentrated on deep breathing over the contractions as I had learned in Hypnobirthing classes and yoga. I tried counting but found it just helped me to breathe deeply in and out for as long as I could. In between I just rested.
As the “surges” deepened my breathing became a little more ragged, but I continued to breathe over the contractions like I’d learned in Katherine’s hypnobirthing class. The breathing certainly helped with the pain. When I got into the shower and stopped counting and breathing, the pain came back, so I went back to my position on the loo.
Laurie came in at intervals and asked anxiously if he could do anything to help and “Do you think we should go to the hospital yet?” I said no, as I wanted to concentrate on my breathing and thought if I went to hospital too early it would slow the contractions down. Time passed. I felt in control even though I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. We rang the hospital again and they weren’t really concerned about me coming in just yet.
Finally at 6am I decided it was getting quite painful so I should get in the car before it became too hard to travel.
By the time I arrived at hospital the contractions were quite hard and in the delivery suite everyone was surprised to find me fully dilated (including me!)
So the midwife got me onto the bed and of course my contractions did slow down a bit in the different position on my back. Then followed an hour and a half of pushing (the hardest part of the birth, as a different technique to simply breathing like I was doing in stage one).
I wanted to just concentrate on the breathing and pushing; I didn’t need Laurie to stroke me or talk me through anything. It was just good to know he was beside me for support.
I needed a small episiotomy as my perineum hadn’t quite stretched enough, the baby’s heartbeat had slowed a little and I was getting tired. The local anaesthetic was the only drug I had.
Little Carlo came into the world with a rush at 8.37 am, and was put, warm and crying on my chest. He was very alert and stopped crying soon after, snuggling onto my skin. I kept my baby on my chest for three hours bar a couple of minutes while they did the apgar test and weighed him. He had an apgar of 9.5 and weighed 2.8 kilos. It was a wonderful way of bonding with him.
I was able to get up unassisted and have a shower less than an hour after the birth while Laurie cradled Carlo. Later I pushed my baby’s bassinet down the corridor to my room. I actually felt like skipping down the corridor as my body felt so light after nine months of carrying a baby!
Thanks again for your help Katherine. My obstetrician was so amazed with my birth story that he asked for your details for one of his current patients who was interested in hypnobirthing.
Carlo is now seven and a half months old and is a wonderfully healthy and happy baby. He is a joy to be with and we love him dearly.
Love from Linda, Laurie and Carlo