I used to genuinely worry about whether I could cope with the ‘pain’ of childbirth. It was one of the reasons I took my time before trying for a baby. I'm a very anxious and panicky person who goes into a state of shock at my own pain /blood, I have a huge fear of the unknown and I don't like feeling as if things aren't in my control, so basically everything about labour and birth were triggers for me and I was even convinced that I was going to have elective caesarean when the time comes. But that all changed over the course of the hypnobirthing and birth preparation classes with Erin. Although my birth didn't go totally as planned, I still had a positive birth beyond my wildest imagination, surprising the midwives with my strength and calmness.
After more than a day of contractions, which didn't seem to be getting any closer together, I realised I hadn't felt my baby move for a few hours. So at 4am on Saturday 20th February we went to the labour ward at Lewisham hospital for monitoring. I was told that I had developed preeclampsia with very high blood pressure and therefore had to have my birth in the delivery suite, rather than the birth centre. I was even told I might have to have a caesarean because my baby's heart rate kept dropping with the intensity of my surges. Since I didn't have any symptoms of preeclampsia and it only happened recently, I applied BRAINS and asked them if they could give me time to see if my baby’s heartbeat stabilises, which they did.
I was transferred to the delivery suite at 7am. I was about 4cm dilated at this point and the intensity of the surges was still the same and not getting closer together. I was still strapped to the monitor, but I tried to keep as active as possible, walking around the bed, bouncing on the ball, dancing, and doing various stretches. I listened to the hypnobirthing scripts throughout the day, as well as my own playlist of music, and my husband coached me through the breathing exercises.
At some point I was told they had to break my water to speed things up as I had been in labour for nearly 48 hours. I asked again to be given 30 minutes to see if the surges get closer, but they didn’t. My water was broken and I didn't feel the need to use any other pain relief apart from breathing techniques and this amazed the midwives as they could see the intensity of my surges on the monitor.
At some point after the water was broken the baby's heart rate dropped dramatically, so my midwife pressed the emergency button and 4 doctors came in. Thankfully my midwife managed to reposition the baby before the doctors needed to intervene.
Surges continued to be intense but they weren’t getting any closer together, so I was given the option of an oxytocin drip. I asked what if we don't and I was told that the baby may be in distress and may not be able to deal with continued strong surges for that much longer. I accepted the drip in low quantity at around 5pm. I was told to prepare for intense surges and that I may need an epidural as it’s almost impossible to have the drip without an epidural. After much consideration I declined because I had confidence that I could deal with the surges with my breathing techniques and gas & air. The midwife said only 0.1% of people can do this and not a first time mum, but she believed I could do it when I said I would like to without one.
The midwife coached me through the final stages and our baby, Theo Adéjàre, was born safely at 8:06pm. I did not have any tears, which I was made to understand was rare for a first time mum. In fact I had different midwives coming to double check it. I think following all the advice on eating dates, drinking raspberry leaf tea and doing perineal massage (which we did about 3-4 times a week) paid off. I also didn’t lose blood as was expected when I birthed my placenta.I felt like I could run a marathon (literally) after giving birth! Some of the midwives called me a superwoman but I don't think I would have been able to cope or have such a wonderful birth story if not for the hypnobirthing classes. It not only helped me use my natural ability to cope but also empowered me to trust my body, my instincts, and also to ask questions and make informed choices for the benefit of me and my baby.