When I discovered I was pregnant as awful as it sounds I was horrified. It wasn’t really planned and came as a bit of a shock. My first pregnancy was not great, physically everything was fine but mentally I was a mess. I suffered with antenatal depression and also had a genuine fear of labour which meant as well as being depressed I was very anxious and suffered with panic attacks. During the last 2 months of my pregnancy I had to go off sick from work which I think looking back made the situation even worse as I had too much time to think about what was to come. I had counselling and also cognitive behavioural therapy but it didn’t really work and I was so scared about giving birth. My first labour was uncomplicated and everything went fine but I had every kind of pain relief offered including an epidural, pethidine and gas and air and it resulted in me being very battered and bruised after the birth. I didn’t think I would ever get over it but in time I did and I moved on. I did however develop post natal depression also and still suffered with anxiety. My husband and I said we would never go through the experience again. This time round as soon as I found out I was pregnant the first thing I said was “I’m having a c section, I can’t go through it all again.” I even asked the midwife to refer me to the obstetrician so I could discuss this with him but I wouldn’t be seen until I was 20 weeks.
In the meantime someone mentioned about hypnobirthing so I looked into it and found Sandra’s website. I was immediately intrigued and got a shimmer of hope that maybe I could go through labour again with the help of hypnobirthing. I contacted Sandra and she did a consultation with me to get a background history and also did a couple of hypnosis sessions first to deal with my fear of labour. I was amazed at how well I relaxed and was put into trance, I came away from each session feeling a lot more positive. My husband and I started the course quite early on as I was very eager to start work at the hypnobirthing. I had a very different pregnancy this time round was a lot less anxious, worked right to the end of my pregnancy which I was determined to do this time and felt reasonably positive about the birth. Infact I was so positive that I decided to have baby at Jubilee birth centre. This would never have been an option with my first pregnancy. I was also determined to not have an epidural and only wanted gas and air as pain relief.
I practised my hypnobirthing everyday especially towards the end of my pregnancy and really enjoyed the light touch massage. Sandra had also very kindly agreed to be there during my birth experience and be a second birth partner which she doesn’t normally do. Sandra came with me to all my appointments and was just fantastic during my pregnancy which also gave me the confidence to have a natural birth experience. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was very anxious I must admit but I think it was because I had stopped work and also because I knew labour was approaching. Sandra still saw me right to the end of my pregnancy and did some more hypnosis sessions to keep me relaxed.
My due date came and went and each day I went over I was getting more and more anxious. I kept telling myself that the due date is just a date and baby can come two weeks either side of it but I was stressed about the thought of being induced. Having a fear of labour is pure torture for this reason as it is so out of your control and you never know when labour is going to start. I had tried most things by this point to get things moving including walking, curry, gallons of pineapple etc. We eventually got desperate and gave in on the fifth night and had sex to speeds things up. Three hours later my surges started at 2am, I couldn’t believe it had worked that quickly. My surges were not strong at all and I lay in bed for two hours keeping track of how far apart they were, which was only 10 minutes and they were lasting about 1 minute. At 4 am I decided to wake up my husband to tell him things had started. This proves how calm and relaxed I was as with my first labour I freaked out as soon as things started. My husband and I laid there while I listened to my hypnobirthing CD and he did some light touch massage. My surges started to get stronger as time passed and they were bout 8 minutes apart now by 6 am.
As Sandra was going to be one of my birth partners I texted her to let her know things had started and also rung my mum inlaw to get her to come and pick up our daughter. At 7 am my mum inlaw arrived and my surges were now 7 minutes apart and lasting a good minute and a half and were regular. We said our goodbyes to our daughter and I rung the hospital to pre warn them we would be soon on our way soon and to let them know my request of a water birth, my history of anxiety
during child birth and that I was doing hypnobirthing. They said to go in when my surges were about 6 minutes apart with it being my second birth and also fact we lived quite far away.
I started to potter about and sorted out the laundry to keep me busy, I was still amazed at how
relaxed I was. Unfortunately my surges became irregular and went back up to 10 minutes apart and then I didn’t have one for 15 minutes. This was very frustrating as we were thinking to set off at this point to the hospital. I went to lay down and listened to my rainbow relaxation and get some rest. My surges were irregular for most of the day, one minute they were 8 minutes apart then 10
minutes, it was very frustrating and I was getting tired and fed up. At 3 pm I rung the hospital and
spoke to a very unhelpful midwife who made me very anxious by telling me I might have a urine
infection. This really stressed me out which made my surges even more irregular. I rung my
community midwife who agreed to come and visit me at home due to my anxiety levels and to
check all was well. My midwife came at 5pm and was there for 30 minutes and I only had 1 surge
the whole time she was there. She said I was in early labour and baby’s head wasn’t even engaged yet. My waters still hadn’t gone either so I was expecting it to be a while. Everything was fine though, urine dipstick was clear and baby’s heart rate was also fine. I was advised to try and relax but to be prepared that it might be a while longer yet and my midwife said she would be very
surprised if baby arrived anytime soon. Once the midwife left I really made the effort to relax and laid on the couch concentrating on my breathing and relaxation CD. Paul made me some tea which I forced down as felt quite nauseous by this point. My surges had become really strong by now and felt quite severe through my back. They were still irregular however about 8 minutes apart still and then I would have a long gap when I wouldn’t have a surge. At 7pm I decided to get in the shower, I put it on really powerful and aimed it on my back and leant right forward. It felt so nice and was such a relief I stayed in there for agers. When I got out the shower I felt so much better and even dried and straightened my hair. I got into bed for a bit and my surges started to become more frequent about 7 minutes apart and more regular. At 9 pm I went to the toilet and noticed I’d had my show. I carried on trying to relax and Paul did some light touch massage but I was struggling with the surges because babies head had obviously engaged and things started to move really quickly. At 10 pm I notice more blood which really panicked me. I rung and spoke to the midwife and they told me to go in to get checked out but if my contraction were still only 7 minutes apart then they may send me home. I decided to go in as I was getting more anxious being at home. I rung Sandra and she said she would meet us there. The journey to the hospital l wasn’t too bad, I continued to do my breathing and listened to my relaxation music. My surges were 6 minutes apart the whole journey and were very regular by this point. We arrived at hospital at 11 pm and left the bags in the car in case they sent me home again. We really didn’t think we would be staying in. We met Sandra in the entrance and then went up to the labour ward. I was shown to my room, hooked up on a monitor for about half an hour until I was to be examined. Everything was fine on the monitor so I was taken off. The midwife then checked to see how far dilated I was and I was only 2 cm. This was a huge disappointment as I thought I would be further on. The midwife said I could go home or stay, was up to me. Due to the distance back home I decided to stay in. Paul went and got my bags from the car and Sandra did some hypnosis with me and it was by far the most relaxed I had been since labour started. I spoke to my midwife about using the birthing pool which she said would be available soon as someone had just birthed in there. The next hour was a bit of a whirlwind, before I knew it my surges were 3 minutes apart. I lay across my birthing ball and had light touch massage from both Paul and Sandra, it was very relaxing and even though my surges felt strong it was bearable.
My midwife went on her break at 12.30am and said she would have the pool ready when she got
back as it needed cleaning out. I went to the toilet and remember thinking whilst I was sat on the
loo that I felt a huge pressure down below and needed to push. I went to my bed and got in the polar bear position laid on all fours. It was 1.30 am at this point and I suddenly felt a huge urge to push and also began to feel very uncomfortable and told Paul and Sandra to get my midwife. She was on her break at the time so another midwife came and had a look to see what was going on. Believe it or not but I was right, babies head was crowning and I was ready to start pushing just 2 hours from being only 2 cm dilated. Before I knew it, I was sucking on the gas and air and pushing baby out. It was all very quick in the end and I only had 5 pushes and my Kate Elizabeth arrived at 1.58 am and weighed 7lb 2oz. I was so happy and relieved, it was such a different experience to the birth I had with my first. I held her and within only 10 minutes I tried feeding her as this was my request in my birth plan. She was reluctant to feed at first but within next 10 minutes she was feeding brilliantly. I was completely blown away and so happy to hold my baby girl. The whole experience was so different to my first labour and I felt genuinely proud of myself at how well I had coped during this birth experience.
I genuinely believe that without Sandra and my hypnobirthing course I would not of had such a
wonderful experience birthing my baby. I would have opted for an elective caesarean due to my fear of labour. I would like to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Sandra for being there for me
through my pregnancy and also for agreeing to be there throughout the birth of baby Kate. I feel so
lucky to have met Sandra who has now become a trusted friend. Also big thank you to my ace
husband for putting up with me and being my rock as always.
P.S waters didn’t release prior to birth and Kate’s transition was cushioned by the waters.