Kate and Jon took a 1:1 online hypnobirthing course with me. We had so much fun and they really used this time to focus and learn together. They've kindly shared their birth story:
Hypnobirthing helped them to listen to their instincts and totally boss Charlie's birth!
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am massive stresshead! I overthink, worry and try to control everything as I’m a massive believer in ‘if you want something doing properly, do it yourself’. I live for to do lists and generally have a very busy brain. So when I fell pregnant with our rainbow baby, it’s fair to say the first trimester was torturous. So much worry. Once we got to that magic 12 week mark and were able to share our exciting news, I began to think about the birth. ‘Oh god, this baby has got to come out!’ Something I hadn’t dwelled on too much in the past... something new to worry about!
My initial reaction was to hide from all birth info. Going in oblivious was surely the best way....right? But as I followed more accounts on Instagram, I started to think I ought to be reading some books, doing some courses etc. I found the more knowledge I got, the better I felt. More relaxed. My second trimester changed me. My husband said in the 8 years we’d been together he’d never known me to be so chilled out. He became the worrier instead!
I started following some hypnobirthing accounts as friends of mine had mentioned using it in the past. The snapshot I could see online interested me as I knew I was a stresshead at heart and figured anything to help me remain calm could only help.
I downloaded an audio book and found myself feeding back to my husband on all the amazing stuff I’d learnt about birth. We found out we were pregnant 4 days into the first lockdown, so antenatal classes weren’t running. I was doing all my own research. Our hospital eventually put up online antenatal content which was ok but had a slight, ‘it’s going to really hurt and we’re going to do all this stuff to you’ tone about it.
In following lots of pregnancy and birth accounts I entered a competition to win a free hypnobirthing course....and I bloody well won! Obviously with the pandemic it would be over Zoom, but it was now free and something we could do to feel prepared together. I wasn’t 100% sure if it was something I bought into, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
We came to love our little weekly chats with Amy. She was funny and friendly and made us feel at ease instantly. She wasn’t some hippy telling me to try not to have pain relief, she was a friend, who knew a lot about birth and wanted to equip us with all the facts so we were prepared and could take control of any decisions we had to make. I’ll never forget in our first session, she read us a relaxation script and my husband actually nodded off! I nearly wet myself with laughter! Over the weeks I found the more I knew, the more relaxed I was. The positive birth videos we watched were a world away from the dramatic scenes on One Born Every Minute. All this even got me thinking about a home birth, something which I would never have considered before!
I listened to the relaxations a few nights a week, the affirmations daily and practiced the breathing if something was worrying me or stressing me out.
I did my birth preferences sheet and sent it to Amy to see if I’d forgotten anything. She was super helpful in prompting me to think about situations which could arise. She also helped me with a prompt sheet for my husband on the day, so he didn’t go into panic mode.
Time flew by and before we knew it we were 37 weeks and had the bags packed by the door! I was convinced baby would be late but I stopped working to get some rest and was very relaxed about it all.
At 39+1 we had a false alarm. We rang labour line and trotted off to the hospital to be told it wasn’t labour! We spent the weekend finishing the nursery and on the Sunday night (39+3) I put on Facebook: ‘The nursery is all finished, we’re ready for you now Baby Dale’ and like a good baby, he took that at his cue! At 11.30pm that night my waters began to break!
It was a light trickling sensation which woke me up. I went to the toilet and put on a pad and thought nothing of it. I’d had something very similar on Friday and been told it was a false alarm, so I figured this was the same. I was waking up every hour with this trickling but kept going back to sleep. At 4.30am I got up and went to the toilet and it wasn’t trickling any more! I knew it was happening this time! And do you know what, I was so excited! Nervous yes, but in a good way, like the feeling when you get up in the middle of the night to go on holiday! I woke my husband and we rang labour line to let them know. They booked us in for an assessment at 9am and we went back to bed.
At 9am we packed up the car and went in. They confirmed it was my waters and booked me for an induction the next day. I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of induction but I felt this baby would come and we’d cross that bridge if we got to it. We were sent home to see what happened naturally. At this point I didn’t think I was having any surges. My tummy was constantly tight but it had been for a lot of the third trimester and this didn’t come and go. I went home and got into my comfies and got out my laptop to do some work. Disclaimer: this is not very ‘hypnobirthing’ but I was supposed to be tutoring that evening and the next day (I thought he would be late!) so I had to tie up some loose ends and in a weird way, sorting things out before he came made me feel relaxed.
I worked happily until about 1pm when I began to feel a bit more uncomfortable in the tummy. I asked my husband to run me a bath and as I got up, the first thing that resembled a contraction happened and it hit quite hard. I instinctively went down onto my knees over my birthing ball and breathed through it. It was happening! I got in the bath and relaxed. My husband sat in the bathroom chatting to me and slyly timed my contractions on the Freya app as I breathed through them. After an hour he told me I was having 3 in 10 minutes and suggested we ring in. He rang and they suggested we stay home for another hour if we could. I managed another half an hour but the thought of having to put clothes on, get in the car and get to a new location made me want to do it before things ramped up. We called and said we were coming.
On the drive there I just concentrated on my breathing and stayed focused on getting to the hospital. When we arrived there were no drop off bays and the car park was down a very steep hill, so I got dropped off and waddled in solo. As I walked down the corridor into the birth centre a friendly face appeared, hearing me doing my breathing, ‘Kate?’. I nodded. She took one look at me. ‘Run the pool’, she said to the other midwife. I was so relieved there was a pool room for me. I walked straight in and bent over the bed in the corner, breathing through my surges which we were definitely intensifying. I think they were surprised at how far along I was, I hear this often happens with hypnobirthing ladies.
I agreed to an examination to see where we were at and was told I’d got to 6cm at home on 2 paracetamol! I was chuffed! Jon had got the bags in to the room and was rummaging around finding my bits for the pool but before he could even lay his hand on my bikini top, I was starkers and practically diving in that pool! The relief I felt when I got in was INSANE. It felt so nice! I was a bit sicky so they gave me an injection to help with that, it worked a treat. I stayed super calm and quiet, very unlike me, I’m normally a chatty, stresshead. I used the gas and air and my breathing to get through contractions as get slowly got stronger.
I did the old classic ‘ I want an epidural’ and was told I was likely in transition. I was offered another examination and I took it as it was important to me know how far along I was as I was tiring. 8cm. I was encouraged that baby could be here in a couple of hours and that I was doing well. At around 9pm I got to the pushing stage, I followed my instincts and pushed when it felt right. After a while the midwife was having a good look with the mirror and wanted to help me. She talked me through what to do but I felt like nothing was happening.
Friends had told me that this part felt productive as you could feel baby moving down, but I wasn’t getting that. A more senior midwife suggested I get our the pool to try some different positions. Uncomfortably I clambered onto the bed and we tried a few different things but nothing. I again shared how I felt he wasn’t moving and said I needed some help. I was told that first babies take a bit longer and he would be coming...
After two hours of pushing, they called it. They recommended I was transferred to labour ward to see a Dr. I was relieved, however the transfer was a faff I could’ve done without! The poor porter who had to get me in a lift, on a bed, whilst I was trying to push deserves a medal. I kept my eyes closed as the lights were bright and the environment very different from the lovely birth centre.
We arrived in a small room and I remember and old radio in the corner playing Christmas music. One of the few things I said was ‘Turn that bloody music off!’ The doctor tried to examine me but the pushy contractions made it too uncomfortable. ‘I wonder how you feel about us numbing you from the waist down so we can have a look at what’s going on?’ By this point I was exhausted and knew instinctively that baby needed a helping hand so I happily agreed. I signed a consent to have either forceps, Von touse or c section depending on what they found and everyone got ready for theatre. Jon got into scrubs whilst they took me down. Everyone was so lovely.
Getting the spinal in was awkward when you’re contracting but the team were so good with me. My legs went numb almost instantly. It kicked in quick. The relief relaxed me and suddenly I switched back on, I was calm but chatty again! I was surrounded by an awesome team of women which I commented that I was super happy about. When a male consultant came in, I told him he was ruining my girl squad! He took it well!! Jon arrived and was pleased to see me back to my chatty self, we were exhausted and so ready to meet our little dude.
Once I was numb I was examine and little man had his head turned to the side so was a bit stuck! They said they felt they could turn him with the forceps if I could then push him out. I agreed. They did a little turn and encouraged me to push which was so odd considering I was numb. One push and out came his head. My husband stood up to see. Another push and he was here. A quick rub, a little cry, they popped a hat and nappy on him as he’d done a little poo on the way out and he was on my chest. He was finally here!
A chunky little monkey, all puffy and with forceps marks on his perfect face, he had arrived at 00.54 on 1st December, at 39+5. We were in love. Charlie Peter Dale.