It was such an amazing experience, I’m so happy that we did the Hypnobirthing skype course with you Melissa. It gave me all the tools I needed to have an empowering and healing birth experience and I think my favourite part of all was how it included Mark in the whole process, I didn’t birth Zoe, WE did. I couldn’t have done it without him the way I did it was incredible and has made us all feel very close and bonded. I’ll be recommending you to everyone like crazy now!
Without Hypnobirthing I possibly would have opted for a c-section as I was petrified of ever going through all that (traumatic first birth) again, particularly after the damage that had been done to my perineum.
Last time I spoke to you I think you recommended that I read through the Hypnobirthing book one more time which I did and it turned out to be the best advice. I read over the part about having an anchor and it occurred to me this would be really helpful so I had Mark come in every night when I was in my relaxed state and plant an anchor of holding/squeezing my hand ” that was by far the best thing we did as during labour the only way I could relax my body was to hold Marks hands ” and boy was that effective!
Over the 2 weeks leading up to the birth I had a few “false alarms” plus we were battling pre eclampsia symptoms, I desperately wanted to go naturally and avoid another induction after our first horrifying experience. Wednesday April 4th my obstetrician ordered bed rest due to my fluid and blood pressure and I really fell to pieces, my acupuncturist then performed an acupuncture induction to try and encourage my body to go naturally before what was looking more and more like certain medical intervention. I was a bit disappointed that I was trying to rush things along but I was assured that if my body and baby weren’t ready then it simply wouldn’t work and it was better then the alternative.
Saturday April 7th was my due date and also marked the 60 hours within which the acupuncture should have worked and nothing had happened. I’d been getting heaps of surges over the previous 2 weeks but no other signs that anything was happening, and the nasty symptoms were worsening. That night I went to bed really disappointed, I’d worked so hard this pregnancy to stay healthy and fit, I’d worked really hard at the Hypnobirthing practice and yet here I was all the way near the very end and my body was failing me. I went to bed and dreamed scenarios of being induced and all the horrors that would follow.
4am Sunday April 8th (Easter) I was awoken by some convincing surges, got up and went to the toilet and passed my show! I was so excited you have no idea, HA my body DID know how to do it and I was going to go naturally after all. My mega fluid (I’d been unable to walk the previous day I was so swollen) was all but gone and if I wasn’t having a baby today I’d jump on my head! Woohoo! It took me a couple of hours to settle down from my excitement and when I did I hopped back into bed and listened to your affirmations on the ‘Surge of the Sea’ album ” I’d been drawn to this track the last few days for some reason didn’t want to listen to anything else.
I got a couple more hours sleep then awoke and we did our daughters easter egg hunt. Over the course of the day I’d have a few good surges together then nothing for ages and I began to think it might be the next day instead ” didn’t matter now though I knew it was happening. Nothing much had happened for a couple of hours when at about 4.30 I got a couple of good surges close enough together that I felt it was worth timing them to see how close they were. 3 were 7 minutes apart at which point I sent a message to my mum
and my friend who were coming to watch our daughter Mackenzie for us. The next 2 surges came 3 minutes apart and before I knew it they felt like they were coming on top of each other. I could feel this massive pressure too, it felt like my waters wanted to break and as soon as they did baby would follow them. Mark was supposed to go pick my mum up but as he was about to leave I told him to tell her to get a taxi we were going to the hospital very soon and I didn’t want him to leave me alone.
As soon as my mum arrived we were in the car on the way to the hospital which was an uncomfortable drive but I used the slow breathing very well to get through it, thankfully it was only a short drive. At this point the surges slowed to about 4-5 minutes again and I began to wonder if we weren’t going to be told we had come too early but I had a feeling I needed to be at the hospital at that point and I wasn’t leaving. Anyway we got there and they took us down to the birthing centre, I hadn’t known that we’d end up there had expected just a delivery room so this was a bonus, Mark set about putting our rainbow candles out, drawing blinds and dimming lights. He also gave the midwife Ally a copy of our birthplan, but didn’t go over it with her ” thankfully it didn’t matter she was fantastic. I tried to lay down to listen to the tracks but it wasn’t comfortable I wanted to be sitting on the edge of the bed and when I tried to play the tracks I found they annoyed me so Mark put some Keith Urban on for me instead ” I love Keith Urban it was perfect. I soon discovered that when I held Marks hands through a surge I was able to relax my entire body and just breath through them during one big surge I felt it was a little harder to relax when I noticed my birth colour from the rainbow candles on the back of my eyelids (they were closed) and it helped me focus again ” so glad I got those candles! There was the odd one that would bring about a very low moan but for the main part I was silent and at some point my obstetrician Katrina asked if I would be open to an internal, she knew I wanted as few as possible but explained that because I was Hypnobirthing so well she had no way of gauging where I was at. I agreed to the check but said unless I was significantly dilated I didn’t want to know how far along I was, I’d told her that I felt like I just needed my waters to release and the baby was going to come straight out.
Well she checked me and said nothing except that she was going to go have dinner and would be back a little later. That was somewhat disappointing but I didn’t think about it too much at that point.
Within minutes of her leaving the surges increased significantly and it did occur to me that I mustn’t be far along as she’d said nothing and suddenly it was getting very hard to handle. I started to talk about pain relief at this point and Mark began talking to me about how I was doing so great and I didn’t need it. I felt it was going to be longer then I could bear at that stage so I told him I loved that he was trying so hard to keep me on track with my birth preferences but I was okay about needing something extra, I was really proud of what I had achieved so far and I didn’t feel it was going to lead me down the same path our first birth experience had gone. When Ally came back I asked about pain releief and we had a bit of a chat about my options I really didn’t want gas or an epidural, was adamantly against pethidine and the remifentanil sounded like it might be worth a shot but it could take a while to get it organised, she suggested they fill the tub for me first and see how I go. We went down to the tub and I hopped in and it was heaven for a few moments when all of a sudden I felt t
his massive pop which took me by surprise, I said I thought my waters had just broken and she confirmed this to be the case.
Next thing I was getting that urge to push, I tried to regulate it with my breathing but was failing a little at that point. I began to panic and beg for pain relief ” clearly in transition which thankfully Ally recognised and gave me the gas ” Mark told me later she never turned it up over 25% and I didn’t use it much as when I told her it wasn’t working she just said “oh you must be at that point where nothing is going to help!” ” I could kiss her for that! She also fed me the news that I wasn’t allowed a water birth there and so if I really felt it was pushing time I needed to get out of the tub and back to the room.
Getting out of the bath was very difficult as all I wanted to do at that point was bear down, and we had to walk down the hall to the room. This part is the only part I really started to fall to pieces, the drama had caused me to lose focus completely. The next part is a bit funny cause my recollection of what happened and what Mark tells me happened are slightly different. I felt like I was getting snappy and yelling at Mark and making a bit of noise, but he tells me I was almost completely silent ” that was all happening in my head only. Mark had recognised my loss of focus and became firm with me at this point, he gripped my hands and looked me deep in the eye and wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t do it ” “Yes you can Leah, breathe out slower” he demanded of me. I was getting so annoyed at him because no I couldn’t but he wouldn’t accept that and somewhere along the line it sunk in that he was right I could do it. The conversation I was having in my head at this point is kind of comical looking back “I’m not ready yet I just want to go have a sleep then I’ll come back and finish having the baby” “Oh God they’re setting up this really is happening how do I get out of here?” “LEAH get out of your head and FOCUS” “If I don’t start breathing this baby out I am going to make a mess of myself do I really want that” etc. Somewhere in there I did get a grip and begun breathing the baby down really quite controlled. Katrina had arrived at some point and was leaning over my shoulder saying to me “Leah remember when I said at this point I want you to go as slowly as possible” “Yep I’m on it” ” not actually sure if I said that but I was thinking it.
I could feel Zoe’s head coming down through my pelvis and beginning to crown at this point and my body opening up beautifully suddenly I was enjoying this again and wondering how far out she was, I was breathing her down with the surges and it felt so awesome, at one point I said to myself “I wonder if this is the point they talk about the ring of fire, if so they are weak this doesn’t even hurt” I breathed her head out slowly and controlled and the only thing I felt was one tiny little pop which was later said to be a tiny graze ” I can’t even feel it. She stayed there like that for a bit between surges and I could feel her moving which was even cooler. Then the next surge came and her body slid out it was the single most amazing thing ever! They helped me get her through my legs and pick her up for immediate skin to skin and with some weird maneuvers we got onto the bed for cuddles.
At this point I began to wonder if I’d been sneakily stuck with a needle without realising when my obstetrician smiled and announced that I had lost next to no blood and we were having a physiological 3rd stage I was stoked. Ally was knocking off and her and my obstetrician were talking about what a great birth it was and that I Hypnobirthed very well, she even thanked me and said it was a great way to finish her day. Before leaving she asked me if I wanted to know how far dilated I’d been when Katrina checked me, I said yes and she proudly informed me that I’d only been 3cm and went from that to having a baby within an hour!
After the cord finished pulsing Mark cut it and I got him to take his shirt off for some skin to skin as the surges were becoming a bit uncomfortable but even after I’d given her to him I didn’t want to move and was beginning to just want the placenta out. Katrina came back and said it had been a while and would I mind if she had a bit of a feel on the cord to see what was happening and I agreed stating that I kind of just wanted it over now but didn’t want to risk anything being left behind like last time. She felt the cord and assured me the placenta had come away and so she helped me ease it out with the next surge, I think if I’d have changed position it would have come out itself then anyway but I didn’t want to move. She made a point of telling me how especially well I had birthed Zoe, she was most impressed with how slow and controlled she’d come out instead of pushing her, that was all Hypnobirthing! She then checked me properly for tears to declare everything intact except for a tiny graze or two. She’d handed me the gas before starting the examination warning me it could sting but I never needed it ” it hurt less then it did prior to having birthed!
Zoe was born at 9.11pm Easter sunday (April 8th) a mere 2 or 3 hours after arriving at the hospital (I wasn’t really watching the clock). She weighed 8lb 9.5oz and is just perfect.
Mackenzie was brought in straight after she was born, and found it all a little scary but loves her little sister. We had planned on having her stay the night with us but decided it might be best for her to spend the night at home with mum and my friend Rhiannon, so Mark, Zoe and I remained in the birth centre for the night and in the morning came home.
I can’t believe how easy everything has been, Zoe is such a delightful little baby she feeds well, she sleeps and allows me to put her down to do things here and there and is happy for other people to hold her. Everything is so different to how it was with Mackenzie, absolutely everything had been a struggle for us especially breastfeeding, last night my milk came in I was sitting there and felt my top get wet simple, no fuss… Amazing! I have bounced back incredibly well too, 48 odd hours later and I’m up and about beginning to do light exercise again and getting housework done haha. It’s the way it should be and it’s so, so nice.
I said to Mark, I’m not sure I ever want to do this again, it was so perfect I’d be afraid to wreck it but honestly I know if I ever do go back for one more it will be just as good because we will most definitely hypnobirth again! I have attached a few photos you’re welcome to share also ” one of Zoe a few hours after birth, one of us before the placenta was birthed ” Daddy had some skin to skin too with our candles set up it’s pretty beautiful and another of Zoe with a very proud big sister Mackenzie
Up until just now we hadn’t yet decided on a middle name for Zoe, we have decided to call her Zoe Melissa, as a beautiful reminder of what was a beautiful way of entering the world. We never even met in person, unless you count Skype, but you had such a massive impact on us and our birthing experience it seems very fitting. You were in both our heads at different points and deserve huge credit for how our birthing turned out. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!
Lots of love
Leah and Mark ” Ballarat, Victoria