Hannah’s birth story
Josh and I completed the course when we were 35 weeks. The course gave us so much education and empowerment to decide and plan the birth we wanted and to ask questions along the way. It gave us the confidence to go into the birth with no fear, instead to be excited for what was going to take place for us.
With only 4 weeks between the course ending and our due date, we listened to the hypnobirthing tracks every day, one in the morning and one at bedtime. I found this so relaxing that it took me a while to not fall asleep every time it came on! We followed the birthing practice video most days which gave us so much confidence, lots of ideas for during labour and it continued our training in the breathing techniques and light touch.
About a week before labour, I started getting cramps on and off for that whole week, starting quite light, getting stronger towards the last day. We walked every day, I had acupuncture and practiced all the acupressure we’d learned from the course to try and help bring on labour.
Which brings us to the big day… I’d had quite strong cramps on the Saturday night, went to bed thinking this might be it but no, we woke up Sunday with no further developments (again!). So we went for a big walk that morning and continued our hypnobirthing practice throughout the day. At around 5pm the cramps started to intensify, so I thought I’d time them to see if there was any regularity.
At 6.30pm something felt different, the cramps became surges and more regular, I walked around the house through each surge with a very calm and confident feeling inside. We put the hypnobirthing tracks on in the background, quickly had some dinner and got everything ready for the hospital. By 8.30pm I knew this was it. Walking and using the breathing techniques was still enough to get through each surge. Josh and I began getting very excited that it was finally happening, and just as we hoped, we had no fear at all!
From 9pm to 10.30pm the surges became even more powerful and so we put on the TENS machine (I highly recommend this to other mums to be, it was what got me through active labour). We tried to go to bed but I couldn’t lie down as the surges were getting closer together and had increased in intensity even more, so we tried a bath. We did the relaxation breathing and light touch between surges and surge breathing when needed while we listened to a track, but the intensity was getting so strong now that the bath didn’t work for me. I could only get through them by standing up, holding onto Josh, and using the surge breathing into his jumper (the smell relaxed me). The bath had been a big part of our birth plan, but this change of not using it didn’t concern me because I knew to listen to my body as it knew exactly what it was doing.
By 11.45pm the surges were coming every 2-3 minutes and I didn’t want to be at home anymore, surges had increased so quickly, we really weren’t expecting it and at this point I really felt I needed some sort of pain relief. So, Josh quickly packed the car in between surges, and we headed to the hospital just before midnight.
Thankfully the car ride went easily being heavily in my ‘zone’ using the TENS machine and surge breathing the whole way (Josh couldn’t even tell I was having surges during the drive… I’d had 4!). We arrived at 12.15pm and on the short walk from the car park to the birthing suite I had another 5 surges, they were coming thick and fast now.
We were taken into the birthing suite, I was checked very quickly (as I couldn’t lie down for long) and the midwife said ‘I can’t feel any cervix at all, do you feel the need to push?’, I remember my reply was just that I needed to go to the toilet and that was that, we’d been there 10 minutes and they were hastily prepping for delivery.
I got down on my knees on the floor leaning over the bed and had a few more very intense surges (which the machine no longer helped with) and then we hit transition time. I moved down to lean over a birthing ball and without any pain relief (we were grateful it was too late) I started bearing down. We used guidance from the midwife and the bearing down breathing and Josh did light touch across my neck and shoulders with a hypnobirthing track on the whole time. We were nearing the head crowning and my waters finally broke; it was such a feeling of relief. I relaxed as much as I could between surges to conserve my energy, then when a surge came, I just knew my body and the baby were working together so well. It was so positive. The midwife asked if I’d like to feel the head coming out and so I did, it was so incredible and special.
With the help of a few more pushes the head came out and with one more the body followed. At 2.16am we heard a wonderful, big cry and the midwife brought the baby up from underneath and onto my chest straight away. It was just magical; Josh and I were all consumed by this slippery little thing, that we didn’t even look at what we’d had. I asked Josh ‘so what do we have?’, he poked his head down to look and replied, ‘It’s a girl!’.
Grace made a smooth and incredibly positive entrance into this world. We enjoyed a very long amount of skin-on-skin time; with Grace having her first feed at the breast during that time. It was so special for the three of us.
It was the amazing, positive, natural birth experience we wanted, one that Josh and I did wholly together, and I’m so grateful for all the hypnobirthing course taught us.