Just dropping you a line to let you know that our little princess, Indiana Rose was born on 12 March 2014, after a very interesting series of events and a somewhat distressed email to you only days before! LOL
I just want to say the biggest, most heartfelt thank you to you for all your expertise and guidance during my pregnancy – you helped shape my birthing experience into something more wonderful than i could ever have imagined.
As mentioned to you in our hypnobirthing classes, I was a little anxious about childbirth and thought it would be good to learn these techniques to teach myself to relax and be calm for the event I mean – I was the girl who couldn’t go and have a blood test without fainting and/or crying so I was willing to try anything to help me out; and honestly, after we had finished the second week of classes, I walked out of there and was so pumped to go into labour – I was excited and couldn’t stop telling everyone about it.
Even with my initial nerves about birth, throughout my pregnancy, I was relatively calm and relaxed – I didn’t stress about too much and I even conquered my fear of blood tests through the use of my breathing techniques. I educated myself and listened to my affirmations and other hypnobirthing tracks, I had my pictures stuck up around my house – I was prepped for the birth of my baby and I felt ‘ready’. Even my doctor saying to me at each prenatal appointment that my baby was a ‘big’ baby didn’t bother me… I just kept saying to myself that “my baby was the perfect size for my body” and left it at that.
At 37 weeks, we were sent for a 3rd Trimester Growth & Wellbeing scan as the doctor was measuring that the baby was already over 8 pound and wanted to confirm the size as she was anticipating a 10 pound baby if I went to 40 weeks. The sonographer confirmed that the baby would be approximately 9 pound at 40 weeks – and I still was not phased or worried.
At our 39 week appointment on the Friday afternoon, it appeared the baby had put on 500g in a week instead of the ‘usual’ 200g and the doctor started to get concerned as it was a first pregnancy and they are known to go over 40 weeks – the baby was already well over the estimated 9 pounds. Again, I was not concerned by this, however the doctor seemed very anxious to get things moving as I had told her in many discussions that it was my absolute preference to try for a natural birth.
During this appointment, I knew she was going to perform an internal examination on me to check on the movement of my cervix etc as we knew that baby’s head was still not engaged. From this, we found that my cervix was still completely closed and it didn’t look like anything was going to be happening anytime soon. This is where things escalated… quickly! By the time we’d left the appointment she had us booked in for an induction on the Monday night (unless I went into labour before hand).
My husband, Michael, and I were not particularly pro-induction at all, but Michael was being realistic and could see the doctors reasons for her suggestions etc and we walked away having booked the induction with the option to cancel it if we wanted. I got into the car and just cried and cried – I was so overwhelmed with everything that had happened and it was NOT what I wanted to hear or how I wanted to do things, especially because it was sounding more and more like i was going to “need” a c-section with the size of the baby and the way my body was ‘not cooperating’. But as a very pregnant and highly emotional woman, all I could do was cry. This is when I emailed you – for guidance and clarity… anything really!
I needed to feel re-centered and focussed because this was the first time in my whole pregnancy I had become unstuck and it was definitely not a good time for it to be happening. I’m so glad i contacted you, because you really did bring me back to centre and remind me of everything I had been working towards for the past few months. It was then that it clicked in my head that if inducing labour was the only thing that would not go to plan, then I could still manage to have the amazing birth that I wanted. (Needless to say, ALL weekend, I tried to bring on labour… I had my whole house smelling like clary sage, I went and had reflexology, I was drinking raspberry leaf tea – EVERYTHING! But this baby was staying put).
So, the big Monday Induction day rolled around and we went to hospital and checked in and the midwife inserted the gel and we went to sleep. The next morning at 6am, we were woken up and taken back to the birth suite where everything was going to ‘happen’. From here, I got the drip line administered, ready for my Syntocinin drip once my doctor had ruptured my membranes. When the doctor came in, she did another internal examination and told me that the gel had actually not worked and my cervix was not favourable (it was still closed) and they weren’t able to rupture my membranes. What an anticlimax! So, the verdict was, that we were going to go home and wait to see if I went into labour and if not, I was booked in to redo the induction the following Monday. I was just numb and exhausted but I was also a little glad. So off we went home.
By about 8am that morning, I was starting to feel little surges – I’d experienced Braxton Hicks during pregnancy before so I figured that’s what it was, however they were a lot more frequent and a little more ‘intense’. I didn’t really think too much off it – I just sat on my birth ball and breathed through them. Michael started to time how long they lasted and how often i was getting them – they were still very irregular and inconsistent – so we weren’t really worried – i knew this could last for a long time. I just took a shower, listened to my affirmations and relaxation music and even had a bath in clary sage – which helped relieve some of the intensity. Michael called the doctor and told her what was going on and she said it sounded like we were in early stages of labour and to come to the labour ward in the morning and she would check it out again. Around 7 or 8pm, the surges eventually just stopped altogether just as quickly as they’d come on – they’d stopped. It was rather strange. But I went to bed and had a very uneventful sleep. I woke up in the morning and said to Michael that we need not bother going to the hospital now seeing as it had all stopped… and he was just about to call and cancel when I thought, ‘oh we better just go, just to make sure everything is ok and but is fine’ so we raced over leaving all our hospital things at home.
When we got to the hospital, the midwife hooked me up to a fetal monitor to check baby and did another internal exam, and told me that my cervix had opened a little and that the doctor would be in shortly to talk to us. When the doctor came in, she also did an examination and this is when the discussion started. We could progress with the induction today and let me try for my natural birth as hoped or they could reschedule the induction for friday but the doctor was anticipating a 40-50% chance of my needing a c-section. After discussions with Michael, we decided that we should continue with the induction that day as it was our hope to have a natural birth and this was our best chance at doing so. So the doctor came back at around 10am and ruptured my membranes and said she would see us later that day to deliver our baby. I could hardly believe it was finally happening – TODAY was the day I would finally meet my baby!
After this, everything seemed to move along really quickly. We put our hypnobirthing sign on the door, handed over our birth plan, hooked up my birthing playlist and dimmed the lights. My membranes completely ruptured around 11am and my drip with synthetic oxytocin was turned on – my surges started to come. At first, they were very similar to the day before, just like Braxton Hicks or period pain and I was comfortably breathing through them and doing my visualisations and chatting away to my mum and Michael in between. Around 12 noon, I had some lunch and continued to breath through my surges when they came along. Around 1pm, the midwife came in and checked my progress – I had dilated 1cm. I remember thinking ‘oh god… another 9 to go!’ It seemed like a long way to go. But my surges were becoming more and more intense and closer together, so I was busy breathing through them and focussing and visualising. I had my affirmations playing in the background – I had completely blocked out the outside world. It was just me, my body and my baby working together.
People would come into the room and they thought I was asleep on the bed as I was just laying there, breathing through – they were so confused. At around 3 or 4pm the midwife did another examination and this time I was 6cm dilated. I could hardly believe it… I was still managing the surges fine… but I was getting tired. Even though I was relaxed and calm, It was still hard work and the efforts of the early labour the day before had tired me out too.
Not long after this, (I can be sure of exact times anymore) the midwife had increased my drip and it felt like my surges were just coming one after the other, I was not only getting physically exhausted, but mentally as well – trying to keep focussed on each surge was really taking a toll especially when it felt like there was no break in between them. It was then, that i turned to Michael and said to him “I can’t do this anymore… I am so tired, please just get the baby out” It wasn’t that I was in pain or that I couldn’t take it anymore, but i just felt EXHAUSTED. Michael knew that I didn’t want to take any pain relief unless absolutely necessary, but he knew i was tired. So he went to the midwife outside to talk to her, and for some reason, at the same time, my mum had also decided to walk out of the room and so i opened my eyes between surges to find no one in the room with me except a student midwife. I just turned to her and said “I cannot do this anymore” – now realising this must have been transition but I didn’t know it at the time, I just thought I was completely done and I couldn’t’ go on. But she said to me, “you’re doing SO well, your baby is going to be here really soon, everything is going great” and that was what I needed to kick me back into gear.
Michael then came back to the room from talking to the midwife and pepped me up again (later I found out that he had gone to talk to her about some kind of pain relief for me but he and the midwife had decided that it’s not what I really truly wanted and she believed I could do the birth naturally). One of the many reasons birth partners are SO so important – he knew exactly what I wanted and made sure I didn’t waver from this.
When they all came back into the room, the midwife made me get up and go to the bathroom – which i wasn’t too pleased about as the surges were coming so hard and fast that it made it difficult to walk when I was trying to remain limp. But I went to the bathroom and she made me sit on the toilet for a few more surges, to help the baby get more into position. Walking back to the room, the midwife told me to lean up against the bed because the birthing ball was not comfortable for me and it was best for me to be out of the bed. Within minutes of me leaning against the bed, I had this overwhelming feeling to bear down – I felt so much pressure on my bottom that all i could do was remember everything you’d told us in class about the feelings to look out for and how you’d just “know” when it was time to change your breathing, and I did.
Unconsciously, I started doing my bearing down breathing and without even knowing it, my body started to also bear down and sway like it was coaxing the baby down too. (Michael told me about this afterwards) but he just leaned over and whispered to me “good work darling, you’re bearing down, you don’t need to say anything just keep doing what you’re doing, your body knows what to do” and it did. Not long after this, the midwife told me she was going to have a look ‘up there’ to see how it was going and with that, she had a torch and was on the floor looking ‘up’. Then she said to me, ‘ok, if you feel like you need to push, you can go ahead and push’ – I was fully dilated.
Shortly after this, I heard my doctor come into the room and I had to get back onto the bed for her to do a check up to see how everything was going. I saw the midwife get the little baby crib ready and all the stuff ready for the birth and I knew it was going to be soon. Then the doctor said to me that the baby’s heart rate was dropping slightly and that we needed to get her out of there really soon as the cord was around her neck, so my ‘pushing’ needed to be strong and efficient.
I knew technically I wasn’t supposed to be ‘pushing’ but all I could think of was my baby’s safety and getting her out of there and into my arms as safely as possible. So with every intense surge that followed, I beared down with everything i had left in me and visualised my baby coming down the birth path. The doctor had to fit a little suction to her head to help her come out and one of my biggest fears – she had to make a small cut to my perineum to help her out but all I thought of was if I am safe and my baby’ s safe – then that is all that matters. And then she said to me “on the next surge, give me one big push and your baby will be here and with that, on my next surge – I bore down with every ounce of energy I had left and I felt so empowered as I could feel the baby being born. The doctor unlooped the cord from around her neck and the my beautiful baby was handed to me at 5:59pm. I just screamed out “I did it!!! I did it!!! Let’s do it again!!”
I was so excited – I couldn’t believe I had just given birth to my little baby girl. I had successfully given my baby a natural, drug free birth and I was so ecstatic. I just couldn’t stop staring at her – beautiful Indiana Rose – our little miracle at 9 pound 4oz (exactly what she’d been predicted to be by the doctor), 54.5cm long and a head circumference of 36cm. She was hardly a ‘little’ miracle at all – but she was the right size for my body. 🙂
I can’t even begin to explain the feelings I have about my wonderful birth – every time I think back on it and relive little moments, it almost seems surreal that it all happened and that I actually did it. Michael was such an incredible support and I know that I could not have done it the way I did without him there and of course, my hypnobirthing techniques – I can’t even put into words how effectively they worked and facilitated my birth… everything in my birth didn’t happen the way we had planned it to but the course helped us to calmly meet whatever turn it took and I believe it all happened the way it was supposed to. I am so amazed and proud of my body for what it has done – growing a beautiful baby, birthing it and now feeding and nourishing her. Michael is so proud and in awe – he tells EVERYONE he sees our birthing story. It really goes to show what the power of the mind and body can do!
We can’t thank you enough, Melissa for your instrumental role in our wonderful birth. We can’t wait til Indi is a little older and we can share this with her too. We are so looking forward to our next amazing hypnobirth.
Thanks a million,
Kryssy and Michael