This beautiful first birth story by Avani shows how Wise Hippo hypnobirthing techniques helped her and her husband to remain calm and in control throughout! This is a fantastically detailed and informative birth story – enjoy.

On Saturday 23/01/2016 at 6:23 pm (EDD: 30/01) we received our first born Ahi Niriella – a cherub of 8.2 lb.

Nesting instinct!

Come Friday the 22/01 I’d settled into the notion that my baby would be late arriving in February. He was too comfortably high. Off I went into a home cleaning frenzy with my lovely neighbour who was the unwitting catalyst to what was to come.

We’d weighed up all the pros and cons of a planned home birth. We had tested out the birth pool too, which was kindly lent by The Reading HomeBirth Support Group –
@Linda Cook (thanks so much!) and concluded we may not be able to get enough hot water. both in amount and duration.

Exactly at 7pm, when I literally just sat down on the sofa pleased that the house was ship-shape, to my utter amazement I felt a tiny release of fluid onto the sofa. I alerted my hubby that my waters may have broken. Incredulously I thought it couldn’t be! this has got to be urine. My baby was still very high up, and was not engaged as of a recent checkup. Besides my bladder throughout pregnancy was lucky to escape ‘the pressure’ and even now just was not feeling the pressure to wee and so I was not sensing birth was imminent. Only my body and subconscious mind had other plans!

Rushing up the stairs tho’ unable to hold it in; it became all too clear this was it! Following protocol we called the Royal Berks Triage line just to inform them. They called us in to Rushey to confirm which we did (more for them). Of course we didn’t want to be told we had ’24 hours’ before induction, and as expected they went on to add a touch of graveness to my intervention free ‘home birth plan’.

Take-Away food and positive affirmations

By 9pm we grabbed some of my favourite Take-Away and weighed up our options upon reaching home. Most ideally my birth experience would include water yet we could not pin my hopes on the pool set up at home. I remained calm.

By 11:30 pm my hubby and I relaxed in our bath tub, repeating affirmations, speaking positively to our soon to be born child and practicing my Wise Hippo hypnobirthing techniques.  We were in bed by 12:22am. I really didn’t want to be induced and hoped my feel good endorphins and oxytocin would do the job. I credit our session with Deborah Pryn from Boldly glow birthing for teaching me the amazing hypnobirthing techniques.

Remaining calm and in control

My labour started on Saturday in the early morning hours of 2am.

I started feeling ‘sensations’ of a right UNCOMFORTABLE kind that needed all my attention as I lay in bed. Finally I felt the urge to pee frequently with a heaviness in my pelvic area. I had another ‘sensation’ around 4am and continued perhaps to have them infrequently, so I continued to lurk between bed and bathroom. I puked a couple of times too. At this time the mucous plug came away too.

By morning I noted that my surges were more defined and this was at 930 ish am. Against the odds my hubby was able to set up a reliable warm water source (Pailing bucket loads of water into the pool from the neighbours) so I could labour at home in water till 12.30 pm. I used all my Wise Hippo hypnobirthing techniques I could: visualisations, affirmations, breathing and music.

Everything happening around me was a blur as I remained at first huddled upright on the floor under a blanket waiting for the pool to be ready and surging calmly. My husband whilst filling water, was charged with timing my surges, as we’d learnt in our hypnobithing class; calling the Triage line attending to my requests and remaining calm. He did a great job of it all!

Upon entering the pool my whole disposition deepened some more so that in the pool I went from having surges every 7 to 5 to every 3 minutes very quickly and by 10am he called the Triage line to confirm we were in established labour. Yet no midwives were available to dispatch just then.

On the way to the Birth Centre

When by 12 I was kindly asked what I wanted to do by him – go to Rushey, as a room was available or continue at home. He joked that he might have to deliver the baby! I chose Rushey, critically – since I had no idea how much progress we were making with my ‘sensations’. And this is how we ended up feeling compelled to go to the hospital in between surges, as no midwife could be dispatched at Royal Berks and having called Wallingford Birth Centre, which was our backup telling us their policy meant that we would be induced much earlier than Royal Berks (18 hours after waters breaking) if I was not in established labour by then.

Waddling visibly for the first time during pregnancy slowly to the car, I waved goodbye to the neighbours on our street and smiled away happily, so the scene may have been mistaken for me waving goodbye at an airport, as I commenced a much looked forward to journey – an adventure!

Fully dilated and relaxed!

We left home. 12:30 pm and we were at Royal Berks and my husband had joked that the drive had lasted 3 surges worth. Upon examination and to my utter amazement I was fully dilated, meaning baby was very near arriving being not even a cm or two away from entry into the world!!!! I truly could not believe this was it having expected more signs of bigger challenges to come.

I continued to labour with birth breathing in the water from 1 to 4pm blissfully unaware of the passage of time. Despite a constant appearance of the ‘vertex’ (peak of head) as midwives put it I was unable to birth baby. I wanted more time, I kept imagining my mother – who had now landed and was on her way to the hospital – would make an entry any minute now! How exciting and further reassuring her presence would be, adding to my aura of calm. Yet seemingly my breaths were not lasting as long as my surges.

At 4pm I was forced to leave the Rushey Centre due to their policy and they transferred me to consultant care to aid a little. A very quick look by the consultant and bless him, baby had decided to turn his head ‘looking sideways’ (in the OT ‘occipital transverse’ position) which was making it impossible for me to birth him out, try as I had for 3 hours. Although I had no pain relief upto this point I had to throw in the towel, as there’s little choice while signing the consent forms for delivery by forceps with a possible c-sec, if things take a different turn. I didn’t let any of this dishearten me.

A beautiful first birth story

My mum then made an entry, suitcases and all, just before we went into the Delivery suite. She was amazed and questioned as to why I was not in pain? And why could she see hardly any of the baby bump? I’d had the presence of mind to ask her about her long flight and jokingly retort – ‘I don’t do pain Ma’.

The paperwork protocol, serious consequences to spinal injections and re the procedure planned took some 2 hours 15 minutes (4pm – 18:15). The procedure carried out must have taken just some 7minutes. I was robbed of 2 surges owing to the spinal injection numbing me waist down.

Within a few short minutes baby was here! 18:23 23/01! A week before due date. Boom! My labour since being established, lasted 8.5 hours. The day had flown by too quickly. How I wanted to relive this day and experience!!!

Using our Wise Hippo hypnobirthing techniques

Hypnobirthing works. As attested by my pain-free, calm and beautiful first labour. All the Wise Hippo hypnobirthing techniques we put into practice helped loads. Our son is calm, a good sleeper and feeder. At 5 days he was at A & E for an elevated form of jaundice. He remained mostly calm and didn’t cry through a gruelling day of heel and wrist pricks for blood samples. He’s got beautiful reflexes that’s perhaps owing to pregnancy yoga too. We joke around that he is a true Buddhist monk in keeping with his Sri Lanken and Indian heritage.

Upon scrutiny of the birth experience, my husband and I would like to share the following insights:

1. Persistently check for alternatives to both plan and interventions. We exhausted the possibility of a home birth as no Midwives could be dispatched and we didn’t want to chance anything with our first birth. We did what we felt was right. Get your birth partner to use the BRAINS acronym (that we learnt in our hypnobirthing class) quite thoroughly.

2. Aim to stick to plan as far as possible. Could the baby have been coaxed into a better position for birth to continue naturally (ref: spinningbabies)? Perhaps the baby moved position en-route to the hospital, after all I was seated in a car front seat when truly my urges to ‘push/ bear down’ meant I should have continued to do so far earlier in the birthpool at home.

Good luck and much love!

Avani, Nirosh and Baby Ahi


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