Hope you’re well! I’ve been meaning to email you for a while but am only just getting round to doing it! Gareth and I had a baby girl … she’s doing really well – she’s putting on weight fast and we’re really enjoying her! Thought you might like to hear a bit about the birth!
For a couple of days before her birth I had some ‘twinges’ so wasn’t surprised to wake up at 5am on Monday morning experiencing some period-type feelings. I had a bath and woke Gareth, put on the Hypnobirthing CD and got on with my relaxation exercises in bed. By about 9-10ish my surges were about 3 minutes apart so we decided to ring the Heath Midwifery Led Unit and made our way to the hospital. I was feeling quite well and managing well although I was a sick a few times which was annoying as I didn’t feel like eating!
When we got the MLU a Midwife assessed me and suggested we go for a walk or for some food as I wasn’t in established labour yet. Looking back this was quite a sensible suggestion but at the time I felt quite affronted and felt that I wanted to go home (I think I felt as though she didn’t feel that anything would be happening for a while) so told Gareth this is what we would be doing. We got back to the flat by about 12-1ish and again I retired to the bedroom where I did more relaxation exercises. It was quite a strange experience as I really felt as though I was sleeping through a lot of it and waking for the surges and breathing through them. This seemed to work quite well for me and time really was distorted – at 5pm I went into the living room and it really felt like I had only been in the bedroom for an hour or so. At this time things felt like they stepped up a gear and although nothing significant happened I suddenly felt that if we didn’t leave for the hospital asap I wouldn’t be able to go in the car. It was quite strange and Gareth has since said he was a bit sceptical as my surges were actually further apart at this stage. We set off for the hospital and by the time we got there I was finding it all a bit much – I think I still had in my head that I couldn’t be anywhere near giving birth and was panicking a little bit about what was to come!
At the MLU a brilliant Midwife assessed me and told us that I was 8cm! It was 18.10. We were very shocked and I’ve since found out that she told Gareth “I know you’ve planned a water birth but there’s no way she’s getting in the water, in fact she’s going to have to have the baby here” (we were in an assessment room and had not brought any of our stuff into the hospital, thinking that Gareth would go back out to get things). At this point my waters went, I was examined and told that I was fully dilated and that the baby was pretty much ready to meet us! This was the only part that was scary – basically the baby’s heart rate went right down and the staff at the MLU were quite insistent that she needed to be born as soon as possible. This wasn’t happening quickly enough so I was whizzed up to the consultant led part of the hospital and given an episiotomy and E was born with the help of ventouse. She was very alert straight away (which was great considering her heart rate prior to this) and I was handed her for a little while. Gareth was then the first one to properly hold her and tell me that we had a baby girl. She was examined and everything was fine. She seemed tiny, with lots of dark hair and long finger nails! They think that she got a bit panicky just before she was born as there was a little blood clot when the cord was cut, however they weren’t sure. After this we were allowed to go back to the MLU and relax. I was really pleased as straight after she was born she latched on and fed well – this seemed especially significant as the birth wasn’t exactly what I had in mind!
That said I found the first stage quite manageable and definitely feel that hypnobirthing enabled me to stay relaxed and calm and ultimately get through the labour basically at home without drugs etc. If I did things again I would definitely practise more (I think I would have found this even more beneficial) and I would leave for the hospital before the point of feeling that if I didn’t then I never would! However this was really hard as I really didn’t think I was at stage that I was then. Ideally a home birth would have been great (except for the end part obviously)!
Thank you for the support you gave us on the Hypnobirthing course – I truly feel that although my birth experience was not necessarily what I planned I have no regrets and feel that I used many of the techniques we learned to experience E’s birth in a much more calm and positive way than I might have done otherwise. If I have more children I will definitely be using hypnobirthing again but practising much more!