My Birth Stories
Emiliana's Story- Mollie
After a manic few weeks of moving house, (my guess date being the Friday 4th September and we moved into our new place on the 28th August!) I decided to treat myself to a pregnancy massage on my guess date. We had told bump that the 5th September would be the optimal date she could come- James would be home from work and it gave us enough time to settle in the house (not unpack, just settle!). The massage was the best feeling ever and included some visualisations of baby arriving and clary sage oil which was so calming and lovely. James said I looked like a new person when I got home as I looked so relaxed and healthy. We had friends over for an easy pizza dinner that evening and I’m sure it was the oxytocin from the massage and fun with friends got things moving…
I didn’t feel any different when I went to bed at 1am that night, but the mild surges started at 6am that morning, feeling like mild period pains. I knew they were surges as when I timed them they were evenly spaced apart. I woke James up at 645 and he kicked into action making the living room all lovely with candles and incense. I ate some cereal and drank tea, thinking of other stories I’d read where things still took a little while from here. As we were hoping for a home birth, we decided to call the midwife at around 8am. She said she’d be at least another half an hour so I carried on welcoming the surges and laying out the collection of birthing tools (jelly babies, water, straws, paracetamol etc) that I might need, as well as getting the tens machine going.
At 8.30am the midwife came and I was 3cm dilated. I felt a bit disappointed and immediately my hypnobirthing teachers voice popped in my head saying ‘it’s only a snapshot in time!’ She was totally right, and an hour and a half later after a bath and more powerful surges coming on, I was at 7cm.
After some funky standing up rocking movements with James holding onto me from behind (we still laugh at how ridiculous we must have looked but I naturally just got into that position to ease the discomfort!) my waters broke and I then got into the pool at just before 11am. That’s when the midwife noted active labour starting. The second midwife then arrived and the show really got on the road!
I took to a few different positions in the pool over the next 3 hours- head against the side taking in gas and air, and then back around sat on the inflatable stool with legs up and my hands grasping the back of my legs. James was always sat behind me whispering words of encouragement and handing me the gas and air. During the last half an hour, the midwife respected my birth preferences notes (she did the whole time but I particularly noticed it here) where she talking about breathing the baby down and what it would feel like when she was finally in my arms. James did the same and I swear it was the visualisation and allowing my body to take over in those 3 hours that got me and Mollie through in the way we did. I didn’t experience any tearing, again I put this down to letting my body do its thing rather than pushing at the wrong times. However, by the time her head was out, I had lost all my energy. I heard the midwife talking about Mollie’s heart rate creeping up which spurred me on to give the next surge a big helping hand. It didn’t come for about 3 minutes and James said it was the longest 3 minutes of his life! But I talked to Mollie saying we had to do this one together as the team we were. She absolutely shot out when that final surge came, and the cord snapped because of a combination of this and it being shorter than usual. Mollie’s end clamped itself naturally (amazing!) but I lost 400mls blood, which I didn’t notice at all with the euphoria of holding our newborn baby. I took the injection to birth the placenta as it wasn’t coming naturally and with the blood loss the midwives strongly advised it- by then I was so happy with the way everything had gone I didn’t mind some intervention to make it easier to spend time with our little baby as a new family. Active labour was recorded as 3hrs 8mins- And I put the whole experience down to hypnobirthing techniques, a positive mindset, being at home (I’m sure this was only possible because of the positive mindset I coached myself into) and the birthing pool.
Emiliana's Story- Theo
Theo’s guess date was 27th December, but in true HypnoBirthing style, we told everyone the date was 3rd Jan. It helped to reduce the ‘oooh what if he’s an xmas baby’ comments at least!
This pregnancy has been so different to my first- with my now 2 year old daughter. With Mollie I was all over the pregnancy nutrition, exercise and sleep. This time, there simply wasn’t time for the regular evening walks, and all I felt like eating was energy-spiking white carbs and sugar!! Sleep was also more disrupted with Mollie going through sleep regressions here and there- and no weekend naps either...to be expected with a toddler I guess! However, the one thing I really knew I couldn’t let slip and needed refreshing on was the HypnoBirthing techniques that helped me so much for Mollies birth, and what I’d be relying on for Theo’s birth.
I signed up to The Yesmum Birth Project online HypnoBirthing course with Hollie, and also a 3 hour group class with her down in South East London. I listened to the relaxation MP3’s, audio classes and positive birth stories over and over again for about 2 months before the birth. I didn’t once get to hear the end of most of the relaxation MP3s as I’d fall asleep, so they definitely did the trick!
I felt that this time around I listened to more of the physiological detail of birth which helped me to feel even more in control and trusting of my body than the first time around. And knowing what feelings and sensations were normal first hand really helped too.
I planned to have a home water birth, as I had done with Mollie first time around.
I started having very mild surges at around 1030pm in 30th December whilst working at my computer on a business plan that I wanted to take a friend through the following morning! Well that didn’t happen...
I went to bed at around midnight but the surges very gradually got stronger, but not really closer together so I didn’t call the midwife until about 3am. Charlotte arrived at just before 4am, and James (my husband) set up all of the bits and pieces I wanted around me, including candles, diffuser, jelly babies (!) and the pool. Mollie was still asleep upstairs and we decided not to wake her until we knew more info about how far along I was. It turned out not very far as Charlotte couldn’t even feel my cervix when she examined me as it was too far up. She asked me what I wanted her to do- she was more than happy to stay but I said it was silly for her to sit at our house for what could be hours before anything happened. So she went home and we went back to bed. I didn’t sleep, as again, the surges got stronger and stronger and this time, closer and closer. I called Charlotte back at 445am and said she needed to come fairly quickly! Mollie then woke up at 5am and James got her up and dressed and took her to our friends house just up the road. The surges grew stronger and I rocked/danced/rotated my hips (!) around the kitchen to some funky old Skool garage music (oxytocin inducing for me!!) for about 15 minutes before I just had to drop to my knees and lean over an arm chair, and then that’s when my waters broke. Charlotte the midwife arrived at about 530 and by then I was just stepping into the pool- ahhh the relief! I must have then had my transition as I started to say I was scared and couldn’t do it but James quickly reminded me I was ok and safe and to keep breathing (which I had stopped doing properly for a few minutes!). He gave me a homeopathic remedy to help with the transition stage and it passed within a couple of minutes. Once I got my breathing back on track we were away. I focused on imagining and feeling Theo making his way down- I was on all fours with my head resting on the pool side- and using the birth breath to help him down. No pushing, and by this point, not much noise from me. I had been quite vocal up to this point but my quietness even surprised me- it just felt easier to not make a sound which was different to Mollies birth. Theo was born about 40 minutes after I got into the pool at 6:10am on 31st December, peacefully and open eyed. He was placed straight onto my chest by Charlotte and we stayed in the pool until his cord stopped pulsating and James cut it. I stepped carefully out of the pool as even though there was no tearing I felt pretty sore and knew the placenta was on its way. The placenta came naturally a few minutes after so we were then able to sit and enjoy those first incredible hours together, skin on skin.