Oh, how a weekend changed everything by educating me!
I was made aware of hypnobirthing and did the weekend course when I was 34 weeks pregnant. I honestly thought I was too far into my pregnancy to do it but for me, this was the best thing I could've done.
Before the course, I was scared my anxiety would take over in labour and I didn't want an epidural as I wanted to be in control of my body. Oh, how a weekend changed everything by educating me!
In the weeks leading up to the birth I read affirmations everyday, even making my visitors read one with me on the way out, and listened to calming music. I wrote a birth plan and visioned how I wanted my birth to be. My anxiety turned to excitement.
On 14th March, at 39+3 weeks, I had braxton hicks quite strong in the afternoon, I knew something was happening. At 5pm I started to feel tightening and cramping which was bearable. I rang the hospital about 9pm who advised me to take panadol and get some rest.
By morning the waves had gone but my show and plug had arrived. I'd never been happier. 10am the surges started. I put on my music and bounced on the ball. I started practising breathing and visioning what was about to happen. At no point was I panicking, I was excited to meet my baby. Surges started to get stronger and I got out my tens machine and placed on my lower back. Every surge I turned the tens machine up and then down. At approx 2pm I knew it was time to go to hospital. After a 30 minute drive in, with an eye patch, tens and relaxation music the surges were strong and close together. I got a lot of funny looks on the walk from the car to the hospital and was offered a wheelchair twice but I was determined to walk in and be in control from the get go. This was my show.
Once in the birth suite, I had a shower, breathing through the surges, waiting for my OB.
3.30pm my OB arrived and I wanted to be assessed. To my delight, I was 7cms dilated!
At that point, I asked for an epidural as I was a little apprehensive of what was to come. That's when my partner stepped in. He reminded me that epidural wasn't on my birth plan and to try something else, like gas. Which I did. The gas definitely took the edge off and gave me something to focus on. I was eating Allen's party mix in between surges.
A few surges later I said to the midwife "when do you think my waters will break" and then right on queue a pop, a big gush of water, a feeling of relief and then everything ramped up. I focussed on the gas and my breathing for what felt like 20 mins and was actually an hour or so and then I felt my body take over, wanting to push. My body knew what to do. I said to the midwife I need to push. She called my OB, who was ordering dinner at the Cafe thinking I'd be longer!
20 mins later, in walked the OB. I again said can I have an epidural. I didn't want or need one, I just said it in the moment. She took one look at me and said "no epidural and we're taking the gas because I can see baby's head. It's time to push."
I pushed for 15 mins, getting 3 big pushes in each surge. I was thinking to myself "you were born to do this. Each surge brings your baby closer to you" until I was advised baby's heart rate was low and I'd need intervention in the way of vacuum or episiotomy.
For most of the pushing stage I had my eyes closed but I happened to open them as a huge needle was going in, I'm assuming for a catheter, but I honestly didn't care, I knew my baby was close. My partner said later he was hoping I didn't see the size of it!
The vacuum was attached and within a few more surges River was born at 7.32pm.
River went straight to the boob and was content.
The placenta was next and I was so fascinated by it, I had to have a look. Side note, I had my placenta encapsulated and I highly recommend it. My hormones were so level post-baby and I owe it to this process. A few internal stitches, which felt like longer than the labour, a shower and we were then up in our room without Son.
I look back and am thankful for the education of not only myself but my partner Mark. The way he stepped in and got me back on track was exactly what I needed and I think what hypnobirthing is all about. We really worked as a team to bring our baby into the world. I put into practice everything I had learnt and 3 months later, I'm still raving about my birth story and how amazing it was.