Becky did group classes with me for her first birth: Grace’s homebirth story – which was a long labour that ended in an unplanned home birth. Becky had been told she was ‘too calm’ to be in established labour and sent home from hospital.
This time round Becky and Paul came to mine and Tessa’s one day workshop as a refresher and this second birth was a lot quicker. As Becky says ‘it was also a lot more intense and I am so thankful for the techniques I had learnt, as they allowed me to achieve a natural and positive birth experience’.
Second time round and I have to admit I was feeling rather anxious because, although the hypnobirthing techniques had helped us so much, my first birth had been an unplanned home birth and I had a post-partum haemorrhage. I had an appointment with a consultant who said I should give birth on the labour ward this time in case the same thing happened. I would have felt more comfortable having the second at home too, because I felt a bit let down by the hospital last time, after being sent home because I appeared to be ‘too calm’.
Benjamin’s birth story
I’d I really wanted to avoid any medical interventions so I was worried if I had a long labour again they would try to move things along quicker. However, I did agree with the decision as I knew my husband was not keen on another home birth following the last one and as a result of the consultant check up, it also came back that I was a Strep B carrier so would have to receive the antibiotics also.
Unfortunately having a toddler meant I had also had less time to fit in any hypnobirthing practice in this time round so I found the Active Birth Workshop with Deborah and Tessa was the perfect refresher to remind us about breathing techniques and birthing positions and was generally a good excuse to have a day to focus on the baby and relax.
Having already gone past my due date of the 2nd November I had my 41 week appointment a couple of days early on Tuesday 7th so I could see my lovely midwife Sue. When she checked my bump the baby was not engaged and was still not in the most optimal position despite my efforts – I’d been spending lots of time on all fours and leaning over my birthing ball. I was convinced the baby was so comfy that I would need to have an induction, although at this stage I refused to book for induction and said I would rather be monitored at 42 weeks if it came to that.
On Wednesday it was business as usual and I took Grace to her Mini Professors class & then we visited my mum. My bump had not dropped and I was showing no signs of imminent labour. In fact that evening I was texting a friend that baby better hurry up as I wanted to avoid induction!
I had made a long ‘to do’ list for the next day as Grace was due to go to nursery so I knew it would likely be my last chance of productive alone time before the new arrival…. But then, around 11pm, I started getting slight period pains. I joked to Paul that things are starting to happen thinking it would be a few days before I actually gave birth just like last time.
We decided to get ready for bed and went down about 12ish but I couldn’t sleep as noticed the discomfort kept coming and going every 10 mins. By about 2.30am the surges were feeling more intense and I could not deal with them lying down, so I got up.
This labour all surges were felt in my back and they felt a lot more intense than my last labour. I considered leaving my husband in bed, but I needed to have my back rubbed so being a great birth partner he also got up with me.
When I started timing the surges they were coming every 5 minutes now and lasting about 1 minute. After a bit of debate we decided to call my parents at this point so that they could come over and look after Grace.
I didn’t want to get them out of bed but I trusted my instincts more this time and they were telling me that things were going to happen soon!
It was great having my mum there as she knew exactly how to rub my back, while I was having a surge and I asked her to show Paul – he was trying to replicate the massage Tessa showed us in class but it wasn’t working for me!
When my parents arrived about 3am Paul phoned the Royal Berkshire Hospital and then started trying to frantically rush me out of the door while I was struggling with trying to navigate being sick and even more regular surges. I thought this was due to the fact he did not want another unplanned home birth but it turns out it was because Royal Berkshire Hospital said they were on divert and we should get in quickly.
When we got to Royal Berkshire Hospital I was not best impressed that the lifts were out of order and I had to walk up the stairs but then I thought that might help move the birth along and that my little boy would be with me soon.
We had to wait in the waiting room for a while and I felt a bit guilty that we were called in before the other couple that were there before us but so pleased that we were being seen, as I felt things were really progressing and I was starting to struggle to deal with the intensity of the surges.
At around 4.30/5am the midwife examined me and to my relief I was 4cm dilated. The midwife put a cannula in for the antibiotics, just incase I haemorrhaged again.
I was finding I could cope with my surges only if I was standing and swaying and having my back rubbed. I was also using my breathing techniques, so I was a bit annoyed when the midwife came back in and told me I wouldn’t be able to do that for a while as she wanted to monitor the baby.
Obviously the health of my baby was my priority so I sat on the bed and this is where I really had to use my relaxing place visualisation. Strangely enough just a few days before this I was checking my emails and came across one from a travel company that actually had a deal on for our hotel in Borneo and a picture of my relaxing place, so I made sure I took a screen shot so I could use that for my visualisation.
I just imagined I was relaxing on my sun lounger in Borneo looking out at the sea and really focussed on my breathing. Paul also put on the hypnobirthing music to help me get in the zone. I think we may have been left for at least 30 minutes and it really did feel like a long time.
The monitoring came back fine and the midwife lead us to our labour room. Everything seemed to be happening so quickly we didn’t actually hand over our birth plan or use any of the supplies I had packed in my hospital bag but I was so focussed on the breathing and my relaxing place that it didn’t actually matter.
Once in the room I found my ideal position was kneeling on the bed leaning over the back of the bed. I was finally given gas and air, which I don’t think really eased any discomfort I was feeling at that point, but at least gave me something to focus on.
I started to feel the urge to bear down not too long after arriving in the room and the midwife told me to go with it. At some point during this phase my waters went.
Then at 7am there was a shift change and I had 2 absolutely lovely midwives take over my care – one of whom recognised me from my previous birth. My surges then also changed from all being in my back to in my stomach at which point Paul’s attempts to rub my back were shunned!
At 7.17am on Thursday 9th November Benjamin entered the world weighing 8lb 10oz.
We waited for the cord to stop pulsating then Paul cut it. It took what felt like an eternity for him to be passed round to me and I finally got to hold my gorgeous little boy and have lovely skin to skin.
He was just perfect. Due to the problems last time I had the injection to deliver the placenta but it still took about 20 minutes, during which time I was really anxious as I wasn’t sure if there would be problems.
Luckily all went well and I had minimal blood loss. I did have a second degree tear again as the midwife said Benjamin had come out a bit skew-whiff. Due to the Strep B result and the fact that antibiotics were not given as long before as ideally should be we had to stay in for 24hrs so Benjamin could be monitored.
In the end we didn’t get released till the Friday evening. Grace came to see her little brother on Thursday evening and was a bit confused where her little brother was, as he wasn’t in my tummy, even though we had shown her the baby!
I am so lucky that I now have had two beautiful hypnobirthing babies. Benjamin’s birth was a lot quicker but also a lot more intense and I am so thankful for the techniques I had learnt, as they allowed me to achieve a natural and positive birth experience.