Guest blog post by Andy Coleman. Baby Anna Felix was back to back during labour (which was a surprise for her mum and dad) but first time mum Frances had a positive and empowered Wise Hippo hypnobirth. Andy shares their birth story below, and Frances’ thoughts are at the bottom.
A dad’s birth story
8th of October. 3.15am
Frances woke me up. She had started having strong, regular surges. This was it. This was my chance to put into practise all I had learned.
I started timing the surges. As they were already very regular and strong, I decided to call the hospital. I was told a midwife was on the way, however in the meantime we should go for a walk to relax. I could tell by the look on Frances’ face that there was no way she was walking anywhere. We decided a bath was the best option.
As Frances lay in the warm water, bump submerged and with her head rested on the front of the bath, we breathed through the surges together. I quickly discovered that what Frances needed was space. She didn’t want to be touched/massaged/talked to, she just needed space to be able to breathe herself through each surge.
At 5am the midwife arrived. She assessed Frances and told us she was 1cm dilated. A little way to go yet. The midwife left and Frances resumed her position in the bath. We spent the next three hours either in the bathroom, or lying on the dining-room floor, breathing through the surges. They were getting increasingly stronger and closer.
At 8am I decided to call the hospital again. They advised that there would be no midwife available for a home-birth for at least three hours, however the birth centre at the hospital was empty. We had planned on having a home-birth, however we had decided early on that should a pool be available at the hospital, we would go in. So we grabbed the bags and headed to the hospital.
A back to back Wise Hippo hypnobirth
Over the next five hours, Frances breathed herself through many strong surges and we discovered that Anna was back to back! Frances had gas and air to help initially, which worked, but we then made the call to have an injection of diamorphine to help her rest. I could see the surges becoming increasingly intense for Frances and was hoping the diamorphine would kick in quickly to give her some respite.
The midwife told me they would assess Frances again at 2pm. She said we would be hoping for at least 3-4 cm dilation and from there it would be half a centimetre at hour before baby’s arrival. I did the maths. We could be here for another 12 hours… Looking at Frances, I wondered how she would get through all those hours. It was the first time in the process that I panicked inside.
At about 1.30pm Frances said she needed to push. The midwife advised not to, as it was just the baby applying pressure. Frances wasn’t convinced. Eventually the midwife decided to check Frances. Seconds later she looked up at us and uttered four magical words – ‘the baby is coming’!! Frances had been so in tune with her body and knew that the urge to push was our baby coming. This was it, it was finally happening. Frances started to push.
I looked down and could see the top of our baby’s head. An incredible moment. Twenty minutes of pushing later and Anna Felix arrived into the world, changing our lives forever. She was placed into Frances’ arms and we shared our first family cuddle.
Looking back now, six weeks later and I have nothing but fond memories of the day. We used the techniques learnt in our course, mainly to help Frances with her breathing, but looking back we probably didn’t use as much as we had first expected to, due to the quick labour, but this didn’t matter, as I realise now what The Wise Hippo course did for us. It got us talking about the birth. It got us working as a team before the birth. And I also think it brought us closer together before the birth. The key work takes place in the days and weeks leading up to the birth, only it took me until after to realise this.
Thanks again Deborah for all your support and guidance. I would happily urge anyone to take your course, it was worth every penny.
I would say that Hypnobirthing isn’t about a pain-free birth. Its not even about perfectly planning your babies arrival. It’s about bonding with your baby, strengthening the relationship with your (birth) partner and preparing them to support you and acknowledging the huge life change you are about to experience.
The best thing for me was the preparation for acceptance and willingness to embrace change and know that birth can be out of your control, but your inner strength is what keeps you going and focused on the end game. Had I not done The Wise Hippo hypnobirthing course, I would have felt disappointed in myself that I didn’t have the home birth, I took more drugs than I’d intended to. But during and after the labour, I just didn’t care! My labour was great!! I don’t think I would have been as calm, focused and prepared for my labour had I not taken the course with Deborah.
Read more birth stories from first and second time mums and dads.