I hypnobirthed a 4.79kg baby boy with no drugs!

On the 21st of November I started my day as usual; rolled out of bed literally, satisfied my endless pregnancy hunger with breakfast, showered, then had my kids help me put on my pants and shoes because I was just so uncomfortably pregnant. We dropped our kids off to school in the drop off zone of the carpark because it seemed easier than getting out of the car and waddling through the school at 40 weeks and 5 days along. I called out to my son’s friend to say happy birthday and we joked that our baby may share a birthday with her.  My past labours went for a whole day and night so I did not expect to go into labour during the day and have a baby by dinner time. But thats exactly what happened.
It wasn’t unusual for me to feel extremely uncomfortable after a bit of walking in these late stages of pregnancy so I didn’t think much of it when my pelvis and belly was aching all morning. Around midday I noticed these aches were becoming surges. I wanted to tap into this so laid down on my bed and listened to a hypnobirthing mediation track “baby come out” and felt these surges become more regular. 
Waterbirth of Big Baby
I had spent weeks preparing my body with chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture so my pelvis and body was ready for birthing what I suspected would be a decent sized baby. But what took me some time and work, was preparing my mind. I went into this pregnancy feeling confident and excited. I have done this twice before so I knew what to expect and knew my body was capable. But as I neared the end of the pregnancy and my due date passed by, I started feeling fearful that I would have a bigger baby than my body could cope with, and doubted my decision to have a water birth if complications were to occur. I worried about being induced at 42 weeks like my last two babies and missing my opportunity to birth at the Family Birth Centre which was what I prepared for. I also had some business work stress I was trying to clear before the baby arrived. The turning point was when I realised our baby is not ready to meet us until I was ready. So I switched off from all external stressors and focused on relaxing and creating that positive mindset again. I listened to hypnobirthing meditation tracks several times a day and watched and read positive birthing stories. I found my fears and worries drift away and my confidence return.
Back to the 21st of November when my labour was starting…By 3pm I called our midwife to let her know I had regular mild contractions. We headed in to the birth centre to be assessed. After being checked our midwife suggested we head home until I felt 3 contractions in 10 minutes.
At home my husband decided to clean the fish tank while I vacuumed the house preparing to bring a newborn home. We never knew how close we actually were to having a baby. By 5pm the contractions were only every 4-5mins but were quite intense so I made the call to head back to the birth centre. Here we set ourselves up with music and soft lighting and made myself comfortable in the room. I concentrated on my breathing and relaxing my face, jaw and shoulders with each surge. I listened to my body and moved about as it told me. I didn’t want an internal exam and my midwife didn’t offer either so I had no idea how much my cervix was dilating, if at all. 
Waterbirth Big Baby
By 7pm the birthing bath was ready for me. As soon as I hopped in, the warm water instantly soothed any discomfort I had. It was amazing! The surges slowed but I welcomed the nice rest. I was feeling the full swing of my oxytocin hormone flowing through my body. I felt like I was floating on a cloud in my own little world. I moved about a little but felt most comfortable floating on my back. My breathing started to change during some intense surges not too long after getting in the bath. I didn’t notice this but my midwife did so started prepping for the final stage and told me to go with it if I feel the need to push. She’s had a lot of experience because she knew before I knew and next surge I was bearing down without even realising it. It is an incredible sensation, feeling my baby make his way down and out. Yes, its the most intense feeling ever experienced but at the same time so unique and amazing.
My waters broke moments before our baby boy was born. He took about 15 mins during the pushing stage and was born just before 8pm calmly and beautifully. It was every bit as magical as I imagined in those first few moments. He took a while to respond and cry which may be a result of the quick birth. Because of this his cord was cut fairly soon after he was born, just before he let out a good long cry. Back in the room we enjoyed a beautiful few hours together, skin to skin. The joy and love I felt was unbelievable. We named him Harvey.
Harvey was weighed and at first the scales showed 4kgs but between our midwife and my husband they both said “no, that can’t be right, he’s much bigger than that”. On second attempt after adjusting the scales, it recorded 4.79kgs which satisfied everyone. He was 57cm in length and his head circumference was 38cm. I birthed my biggest baby with only the pain relief of my hormones and the warm water and it wasn’t even that hard. I was so proud that I did it like I knew I could and I felt great afterwards even though I needed some stitches. I don’t think you can birth a baby that big without some damage!
It may sound perfect to this point. I’m not spinning it one way, this really is my perception of my birth and it was the perfect positive birth I planned for. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing after this. Before we planned to head home Harvey started making some grunting noises so the paediatrician wanted him to be checked out at the hospital. This is where our beautiful birth story ended and our stressful week long experience started. Harvey was treated with the CPAP machine in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for fluid retention in his lungs. No bacterial infection was found in the end but he was treated with antibiotics as a precaution. He did have high infection or inflammation markers in his blood though. It was awful seeing him there with tubes and wires all over his body and even worse having to leave him and go home without our baby. He stayed for 4 days. We missed those 4 days at home together as a family and our older boys never met their baby brother during this time. 
Waterbirth Big Baby
In the NICU I felt judgement by one particular medical consultant for having a water birth. He made assumptions that the condition Harvey was in was due to water aspiration during the birth. That put a huge amount of guilt on me that felt crushing. I was already exhausted from birth, tired from no sleep, worried about my baby and now feeling guilty for my choices. 
I had a lengthly chat with my midwives about this and their opinion was that this wasn’t the case. They felt the birth went smoothly but it was quick. In the end it was concluded that his breathing issues were most likely due to a slow transition from birth which is a very common thing in premature babies and c-section born babies and less common in vaginal born full term babies like Harvey. His bacterial cultures all came back negative too.
The NICU nurses were wonderful in how gently they cared for Harvey and all babies there. They were also very supportive to me, reassuring me that even if Harvey had aspirated water from birth, all birth choices have risks. Water was my choice of pain relief much like an epidural or pethidine is for others and all come with risks. Many babies end up in the special care nursery like Harvey did from the same condition when they’ve had a different birth. And importantly water births have a high level of evidence of safety which is why the birth centre, linked to this hospital, offer this option to pregnant women.
This experience was emotional, stressful and exhausting and resulted in me falling ill not long after Harvey came home. I was assessed in the hospital for a post-natal infection or complication because my temperature and heart rate was right up and I had abdominal and back pain. After a few days in hospital I felt well again and no signs of bacterial infection were found so I was fine to head home. I now wonder if both Harvey and I had a virus causing our problems. There was a tonne of kids at our boys school coming home sick with similar symptoms so it makes sense.
Weeks later I received my birth photographs which are absolutely amazing. I’m so glad we hired her to capture those special moments. However it was very confronting seeing those photos and videos in the final stages of birth. It was then after hormones have settled and I was out of my oxytocin cloud that I realised how serious it was when Harvey didn’t breath. The cord was wrapped around his neck when he was born (it was a very long thick cord) and the midwife gently unwrapped it before he was brought up to me. On my chest he was floppy and blue. At the time he moved and made some small noises so I never felt worried. The concerned look on my midwifes faces in these photos and short video spelled out “emergency”. No wonder they cut the cord so quick, they were going to rush him next door to the hospital right there and then. This was all in about 30seconds after he was born. My poor husband was pale in these photos and looked as though he didn’t know what to think. He could see Harvey wasn’t crying as expected and was blue and floppy. He could sense the midwives worry and understand what they were doing and saying, but his wife was smiling and celebrating their newborn baby. It was hard for him. I understand that more now.
water birth big baby Hypnobirthing Perth Western Australia
If you can believe me, to me birth is an amazing enjoyable experience. But birth IS unpredictable. Harvey’s start to life wasn’t all as planned. But I have made peace with myself that I did the best I could within my control. My choices were made in line with my belief system and my choices were supported by my birth team. I did birth positively with no fear, that was achieved. Harvey did have a calm gentle entry to the world that I so desperately wanted for him. I have accepted that not everything went to plan and I’m so grateful it worked out in the end. We have a healthy baby who we love very much and is a blessing to our family. This little one has changed my life for the better.

Hypnomum Cherie

Cherie and her partner were taught by Perth Hypnobirthing Australia™ Practitioner Vicki Hobbs from Hypnobirthing Centre WA

You can find your closest Hypnobirthing Australia Classes HERE

Find out more about our Hypnobirthing Online Course HERE.

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