Updated: Mar 20
Olivia and Roland completed the full 8 hour hypnobirthing course with me during lockdown and gave birth to Ted on 7th August in the Oasis birth centre at the Princess Royal Hospital using hypnobirthing techniques. This is a wonderful birth story. Congratulations Olivia and Roland. You are a total warrior Olivia!
You can listen to Olivia’s story first hand on the podcast here https://anchor.fm/betterbirth/episodes/Ep-09---Positive-birth-stories---The-birth-of-Ted-ej7mpl
I spent the final weeks of my pregnancy, as I’m sure many other expectant mums do, incessantly cleaning and tidying the house-the nesting instinct had definitely taken hold! Whilst I was also making time for lots of hypnobirthing practice, in hindsight I don’t think I felt ‘ready’ for my new arrival, I wanted everything to be perfect. One evening my husband, Roland, and I had a big chat and I realised that I was holding on to a lot of stress. Under his instructions I spent the next 2 days completely chilling out-watching Netflix, napping, meditating and just really enjoying a slower pace. After those 2 days, at 39+2weeks, I noticed a pop whilst on the toilet, followed by a gush of liquid. I went upstairs and told Roland my waters had broken but not to stop working as labour doesn’t always start straight away. This was around 1pm so we had lunch together and started to feel a bit excited as we knew we would be meeting our baby very soon. At this stage I was feeling very calm. Shortly after lunch, I was feeling some light period type cramps so was sure that labour was beginning. Roland logged off from work and put the tens machine on my back to get the endorphins flowing. We went to the bedroom, shut the curtains and lit some candles and my surges began to increase in intensity. I used the ‘breathing round the square’ visual whilst Roland stroked my back gently and told me I was doing a good job. As my surges continued to ramp up, Roland suggested we go somewhere where I could be more mobile and get on all fours. He set up a duvet on the floor in the living room, surrounding it with candles. Now around 2.30pm, he called the labour line to let them know I was in labour. They asked us to come in for assessment (standard procedure when waters break) but Roland let them know that we wanted to stay at home as long as possible and didn’t want the hospital environment to disrupt my flow of labour. He left it that we would have a think between us and call them back. In the meantime my surges were feeling really strong and there didn’t seem to be a break from them. I kept on feeling the urge to go to the toilet. I said to Roland that we needed to get to hospital! It was 4pm when we got to the hospital. We made our way to the maternity assessment unit as I understood I needed to go in to be examined before we could get a room in the Oasis.
I asked Roland to leave the bags in the car, fully expecting us to be sent back home again after the initial assessment. When we arrived at the MAU, instead of going in they said to go straight to the Oasis Birth Centre who were expecting us. I’m not sure if this was because my surges were so close together, but I was so happy that Roland was allowed to come in with me whilst I was being assessed. The midwives already had my birth plan loaded up on the computer and had seen my note about nervousness about Vaginal Examinations (VE). They started by examining me with a speculum to check if they could see my cervix, wanting to avoid the need to give me a VE if I didn’t need one. They then went on to do a VE (I was very happy to consent to this as I wanted to know how far along I was!). I was 4cm dilated!! Now this must have been when I transitioned, I kept saying I can’t do this and wanted an epidural. Having Roland with me was absolutely crucial here, he asked me to remember the plan and just try the gas and air and water, and if it didn’t work we could still ask for an epidural afterwards. It took a lot of persuading me, but I agreed to move to the next room and get started on the gas and air. We moved next door to the birthing room and I asked Roland not to leave me. We had our well prepared bags in the car with all of our candles, music, anchors etc! But none of it mattered, I just needed him to stay with me. As another surge came, I jumped up onto the bed and started using the gas and air. This surge felt hugely different, it felt like the baby was moving down! I begged the midwives to examine me again as I thought things were moving quite quickly (can’t believe I actually requested a VE!), but they said they didn’t need to examine me. Again, another huge urge to go to the toilet. I knew I needed to get in the pool. I stripped off and virtually ran into the pool, not worrying about the new bikini I’d brought along for this moment! In the pool I was able to get into a comfortable position, I didn’t need to think, my body just knew what was right to do. With the next surge my body had completely taken over, it was pushing but I had no control, I think this was the natural expulsive reflex. This went on for around an hour before the baby’s head crowned. I felt the ring of fire and the midwives suggested I slow my pushing and take short breaths. I tried this but the next surge was so strong, I shouted “I can’t stop it!”. Out came the head. The midwives explained the baby would wiggle his shoulders. At 6.30pm with the next surge, the rest of the baby flew out with enormous force, so much so that his cord snapped off! The midwife passed him to me and I took him to my chest immediately. Then someone said, “do you want to see the gender?”. I hadn’t even thought to look! I pulled him away from my body and revealed a little boy! Welcome to the world Ted!! The midwives wheeled the bed over to the pool and Ted and I laid ourselves down. I opted for the syntocinon injection to speed up placenta delivery given that the cord was no longer attached. I gave him cuddles whilst the midwives helped me birth the placenta and assessed me. I had a second degree tear which the midwives said I was lucky to have seeing how quickly Ted came out of me. I was stitched up very quickly and was hardly distracted from cuddling Ted. All checks of Ted were delayed till later, we had skin to skin and he started breast feeding almost immediately. I was then brought my tea and toast. Enjoying cuddles with my baby boy, with my husband by my side feeding me tea and toast-this was the happiest moment of my life. I honestly believe my birth was the perfect birth and I feel so blessed and lucky. Whilst my meticulously prepared hypnobirthing anchors remained in the boot of my car, I think the prep that I had done during my pregnancy and the oxytocin I managed to build up at home meant that not once did I feel scared when I was in labour and as a result things moved along extremely quickly. The Oasis Birth Centre was the perfect environment, with dim lights and music, however, I had the most important anchor with me the whole time-Roland. Through doing the hypnobirthing course together and preparing our birth plan in detail as a couple, he was able to truly advocate for me and coach me through the difficult parts of labour. I couldn’t have done it without him.