Baby Bryson (natural birth experience)

Dear Katherine,

I wanted to share my Hypnobirthing story with you and to tell you about my natural birth experience. It was a wonderful experience that I can look back on and be proud of – that I got to have the birth I wanted without any pain relief. I can say ‘I did it’!

The Sunday night/ Monday morning the week before, I was having Braxton Hicks contractions every 5 mins for 5 hours. After the first hour or so I got excited that something could be happening.

Then about 3 am everything died off and I went to sleep a bit disappointed. I kept Danny at home just in case it did start up again. I had occasional niggles, but everything completely stopped by about lunchtime.

I went through the next week, hoping that I wouldn’t have him on Christmas Eve cause I wanted to see the kids open their presents.

My sister arrived in Sydney on the 26th from her place in northern NSW for a belated Christmas and hopefully the birth of our little man. I had not been myself for a while, as I wasn’t enjoying this pregnancy as much as I did the other 3.

On the 27th the family went to a restaurant for lunch, which I didn’t really feel like going to, but didn’t want to spoil everybody else’s day. In hindsight I probably did by going, because I was an emotional wreck and didn’t eat very much as I had been off my food for the past week. I sat in the restaurant and just cried – all because Taneisha came up to tell me that she loved me! Silly hormones. Then I snapped at my Mum and sister for talking about me. We went back to my Mum and Dad’s house so the kids could open their presents. Looking back, I was really out of it probably mentally preparing for what was ahead of me without realising it. I guess to outsiders I would have looked like I was off in my own little world.

On the way home, about 6 pm, I started to get some mild contractions. I put off telling anybody, as I had had a couple of false starts. Not long after we got home, they started becoming regular at around 5 minutes apart so I told DH, my sister and her DH. My sister timed them for me as I didn’t want to know how often apart or how long they were lasting. I called the hospital at about 7 to let them know I thought I was going into labour.

They asked me a whole heap of questions and said to just stay at home for now and see what happened. Everybody had some dinner, except for me, as I was so not hungry. I got the two husbands to bath all the kids – my three plus my sister’s three, and get them ready for bed, while my sister stayed with me. She was a great support person for me. Very reassuring and positive, just what I needed as I got a bit scared when I realised this was it.

Over the next hour the regularity of the contractions decreased while the length increased. The contractions were fairly comfortable and I rocked from side to side through them. I could tell I needed to go to the hospital pretty soon. We put the kids to bed and told them when they wake up in the morning they will be able to come to the hospital and see their their new brother / cousin!

We headed off to the hospital around 8:30(ish). The midwife did an internal and I was 3 cm. She held the monitor on just to check his heart rate. Which was good cause I didn’t want to be hooked up to the monitors. She must have been happy with everything cause she left us to our own devices. My Mum and Dad arrived not long after that.

Danny offered to run me a bath which I took him up on, although I still was coping pretty well by just standing and rocking, so much so that Mum had to point out to Dad when I was having a contraction! Mum sat with me and Danny was floating between myself and Dad who was in the room. So I got into the bath probably around 9:30. I found it most comfortable leaning forward so my bump was in the water and still rocking through contractions, but being a bigger girl in a normal sort of bath I had to try and contort my pregnant self to get into a comfy position I don’t know whether it was the water, the HypnoBirthing or that my waters hadn’t broken – more likely a combination of all 3, but I felt a lot more focused and able to cope with each contraction.

A midwife that was experienced in water births came in at about 10:15 as I was starting to feel that I was getting close to being ready to push. I think it would have been around 10:30 when I started to push. The midwife could tell that I was scared cause she was asking me (nicely) “You’re not pushing properly. What are you scared of?” In my head I was thinking ‘yeah like I’m going to have a deep and meaningful with you about what my fears are in the middle of a contraction!’

Somewhere in the last 45 minutes to an hour I was offered the gas. I said no because even though it was getting painful, I still felt I was coping. At 10:40 my waters broke as I was pushing. It was weird cause when they did, the contraction died off almost straight away – but not for long! I kept trying to push properly and eventually I remembered how to do it. One thing I remember clearly was feeling his head turn as he was moving down! Something I didn’t feel with any of my other births.
At 10:51 Bryson was born, a bit blue, but very healthy weighing 3.22 kg and measuring 50 cm in length. He was so laid back that he hardly cried! I didn’t need stitches, and didn’t even have a graze this time I was up having a shower about an hour after his birth.

In hindsight, most of my labour (4 out of the 5 hours) was very calm and I was focused. It was just that last part – probably transition phase of labour was where I found it most difficult, as you would expect. Even still, looking back on it I felt I coped a lot better mentally than I did with my other 3 births. With # 2 and #3 I remember clearly thinking to myself that I was going to die. With Bryson’s birth I never felt that way.

Yes, it was a wonderful experience that I can look back on and be proud of – that I got to have the birth I wanted without any pain relief. I can say ‘I did it’!

(Dec 2009)