Dear Katherine,

Hello there – I hope that you are very well. I just wanted to drop you an email and some pics as I gave birth to another lovely baby boy about 3 months ago. He’s called Harry and is a little gem.

The birth was very different from Archie’s and my hopes for a calm water birth were absolutely not realised.

However I think that the Hypnobirthing was once again invaluable – although in terms of getting through stage 1 of labour, it almost worked too well as I really didn’t realise how far along I was – here’s a bit of a story of how it all turned out.

The run-up to the birth was a bit stressful as my bump measurements were getting smaller rather than bigger and there were some concerns about the size of the baby, for about the last month. This meant that I was quite keen to just get on with giving birth and meeting the baby.

Also, I really found that with a toddler, the final stages of pregnancy were not a heap of fun – which explains why when the midwives offered a stretch and sweep with about a week to go to my due date I was quite happy to go for it. I had quite a few false starts after this when I thought that the Braxton Hicks were turning into something more productive and then a couple of days later my waters started to leak.

We all went up to the hospital where I got checked out but nothing was happening. Unlike at the Birth Centre at RPA, the folks at Hornsby were keen to keep me in and to be honest, it was a pretty peaceful environment so at about 9pm, Ali went off home leaving me in the ward where the nurses seemed confident that as I wasn’t in labour by now, I would have to be induced the next morning.

Soon after going to bed, I was pretty sure that I could feel some real surges (this had happened earlier in the day though and despite lots of walking in the streets around the hospital, nothing had happened) so I decided to just keep quiet, listen to the relaxations and then decide if I really was in labour. About an hour or two after this, after just being able to lie calmly and work out that the surges were getting longer and closer together, I decided to let one of the midwives know, and I really felt that I should call Ali – thankfully, I managed to do this just before getting to transition! I had thought that I’d be able to walk to the birthing room, but a few steps in found myself hanging off some door-handles with an unmistakable urge to push… at which point a wheelchair seemed like a very good idea.

Once in the birthing room the baby’s heart rate was checked out and everybody seemed quite concerned that it was decelerating a lot during contractions and I was informed that it was essential that he was born as soon as possible. At this point to be honest, all thoughts of breathing the baby down were pretty much out of the window. As it turned out, despite my best efforts at pushing, after about half an hour, Harry was stuck and really not well. It’s all a bit of a blur but an obstetrician had joined the two midwives and a paediatrician was also attending. Thankfully, Ali had arrived and although he was a bit shocked to find things so advanced, he did a great job of supporting me.

The obstetrician suggested that a ventouse delivery was necessary so that went ahead, but then Harry’s shoulder got stuck and it really did feel like a bit of an emergency with everyone swinging into action, pressure being applied to my belly and then – whoosh- Harry was born! He was very grey when placed on my tummy, but after a little oxygen went lovely and pink and his Apgar scores were good – especially given how stressed he had been.

Compared to Archie’s birth it was just so fast, but despite all of the things that cropped up, I feel that I coped well, and infinitely better than if I hadn’t done Hypnobirthing. I still can’t believe that I got to transition while just lying peacefully in bed with the odd deep breath.

Also, although the birth was not without intervention, I did feel very well supported by the staff at Hornsby, and this time around, as I had no drip or any drugs at all (well, just a little gas and air when getting a couple of stitches) I really did get to experience that ‘high’ afterwards and it was just beautiful to feel so great when cuddling our new baby and giving him his first feed.

Harry is a lovely baby – very smiley, although he has not been as ‘easy’ as Archie was – something which I at least partly put down to the distress he experienced at birth. From the shape of his head, it seems clear that he was coming into the birth canal at a bit of an angle but we’ve been doing some osteopathy which seems to have helped loosen up the tightness down one side. Archie is a great big brother and Ali and I are just thrilled to have cooked up two such gorgeous little boys.

Thanks so much for all of your help – from when I was trying to conceive Archie, up to our last session before Harry’s birth – I feel so lucky to be able to look back on both births and feel really good about them – which I think is really important given that it’s such an intense experience and you do find yourself revisiting it.

Love from
Ellen, Ali, Archie and Harry xx

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