Sara completed the hypnobirthing essentials course with me in July, wanting to have a better birth experience after a traumatic first birth. She planned to have a home birth and use the knowledge and hypnobirthing I shared with her throughout the course to have a more positive birth. She shared her birth story with me below.
The night after posting on the home birth support group for support because my (lovely) community midwife asked me to go into the hospital to speak to the consultant, as I was 42 weeks and they were pressuring me for induction and scaring me with ‘facts’, baby girl decided to come on her own terms. I wanted to birth away from the hospital as I had a traumatic experience with my first (strapped to the bed for hours, episiotomy, ventouse) and believed it was all due to the terrible care I had received in hospital. The home birth team were amazing from the start, and I loved having the same midwife since deciding on a home birth!
This time round I had some early pregnancy scares (suspected miscarriage and big bleed at 4 months) and an easy pregnancy afterwards.
I knew baby wasn’t coming at 40 weeks as my first also hung in there and came at 41+4 after a sweep. I declined a sweep and vaginal exams this time, and started feeling tightenings at around 12.30am after some cuddles from my partner. Earlier in the evening I listened to Samantha Goulden’s advice and had a bath while listening to a forest relaxation MP3.
I told my mum to go to my neighbours (that was always the plan as she freaks out with blood and the thought of pain!!) and my housemate who was still at work to go to his friends for the night as baby is coming! We called the hospital and the midwife rang at about 1 to say she ll be on her way. We started to pump the pool which was so noisy it woke my 2 year old up- I tried to settle him with the boob in between contractions- ouch! Eventually my partner took over and my toddler went to sleep.
The midwife arrived and contractions started ramping up. I was listening to music moving around and got my partner to do the sifting and shaking the apple trees position a few times which helped me relax. Around 3am we started filling the pool as sensations were getting intense. The best moments for me were putting my hands over my eyes and just shutting everything out and getting into a meditation zone with hypnobirthing tracks and calming music- I swear at times I didnt even feel the contractions! My waters went while I was in this zone. But I couldnt maintain this state also with people around and also felt the urge to move and change - I got into the pool after the waters broke and it was such a relief. The second midwife arrived, all the while my partner was so supportive, giving me water, honey, helping me breathe and talking to me. Amazing difference from first time round were he fell asleep from work exhaustion and then wavered between fear and confusion in the hospital!!
The midwives were amazing, minimal obstruction just listening to baby with the doppler every once in a while. I started transitioning in the pool which felt like hours, vocalising roaring and a few screams then remembering to breathe and back to screaming during contractions! The midwives were also using the sieve to catch the poo - I noticed that I must of felt safe as I couldn’t do any of this in hospital! But I was just going with my body.
Eventually had to get out of the pool to lean against the bed, lunge and move between the bathroom and bedroom. I always knew deep down that because of my nature and how movement helps me cope I would probably end up moving around and not giving birth on the pool. At some point after starting pushing the midwife suggested I sit on the loo. Worked wonders baby felt lower. I moved back to the bedroom, more lunges and screams and leaning over my partner telling me to breathe baby down. Worked until I couldn’t and kept saying ‘I can’t’ but partner and midwives kept telling me you can!
Back to the bathroom, on the toilet then leaning over my partner with one leg over the bath, and baby started coming out! She would go back in a few times but eventually she started wriggling her head with a push and moving down lots- midwife said they hadn’t seen this wriggling before I said to my partner ‘catch her’ surprise for both of us, her body came out 2 pushes later and he said it was like a pop up tent, she came out all folded up covered in vernix and poof unfolded! He passed her to me under my legs and we made our way to the bedroom I was sooo relieved. Midwives helped wrap towels around us and we did skin to skin on the bed. Bliss.
Eventually after 30 min or so the midwives helped me get on all fours to help birth the placenta which came out easily after that. We kept it on for a while to let baby get all the blood supplement. My partner cut the cord and the midwife clamped it then helped tie our little cord tie. Some time after baby was born (I am a bit hazy on the details) my toddler woke up. He’d magically slept through it all even though his room is between ours and the bathroom!!
He saw the 2 midwives sitting on the landing outside his door and laughed saying ‘people!’ Sleepily, walked into our room and smiled said baby looked like a monkey. Everything felt so good, we all had madeleines for breakfast. I called my mum to come back and she joined us at 8.30 and entertained my son while we hung out with baby and the midwives did all the checks.
I am so grateful to all the amazing people who educated me about birth and made me believe I could have a different experience, I knew that this time even if things didn’t go as planned and we had to accept inductions or c section or interventions I would be making an informed choice and be in control. I was ready to fight them! So thank you and thank you to:
Samantha Goulden and the Home Birth Support Group
Kemi Johnson for the birth debrief and power zooms and being always there to answer my DMs
Erin Fung for the hypnobirthing essentials course and tracks and amazing advice
Jane Edwarde Collings and the Healing from a Previous Traumatic Birth and Pregnancy: the Inner Journey online courses
Mary O’brien for the Moving for an Easier Birth course
My wonderful friend Sara for helping me on this journey and offering her creative therapy skills
My amazing community midwife and her team