“I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing takes”
My baby girl Poppy is now a month old, but I’m only just sharing her birth story as I’ve been in a whirlwind as a first-time mum. It’s a long one so grab a cuppa and get comfy. I hope my story gives confidence to any mamas still to give birth and who want to try hypnobirthing.
Poppy was born on Monday April 26 at 4:14pm after 18 hours of labour, including 6 hours of active labour, followed by 19 mins of pushing.
My water broke in bed on April 25 at 10:45pm. The midwives advised me to come into the hospital to check everything is ok with me and bub and that we would go back home. I wanted to labour at home as long as possible so this plan sounded good to me.
We got to the hospital at midnight and they hooked me up to the monitors. Unfortunately, they weren’t happy with bubs movements and told me I’d need to stay in hospital and they would induce me at 6am. My contractions started only a few hours later so they moved me into the labour and delivery room. No need for induction luckily.
My dream was to have a water birth or at least be able to labour in the water. Once I entered the room I saw there was no bath and so I had to let that dream go, which I did. I was then continuously monitored for the rest of the labour, which restricted my mobility a bit. I was also so so swollen, and found it hard to find comfortable positions.
I had studied hypnobirthing though, and I managed the contractions really well by just breathing. My husband didn’t leave my side and was an incredible advocate for me.
I was surprised that my word of the day was ‘no’. I’d done all this preparation and thought I would want all these things, but in the moment I just wanted to focus on breathing.
Sarah do you want your twinkle lights? No.
Do you want your coconut water? No.
Do you want your essential oils? No.
Would you like your hypnobirthing tracks? No.
Do you want to go in the shower? No.
I was just in my own little world, with no concept of time. Just focusing on each contraction as it came.
I asked for more cervical checks than I thought I would. In the moment I felt it was the only way to know my progress. It did feel like I was taking forever to progress through.
Suddenly though I felt my body start pushing. I’d read about the fetal ejection reflex so I knew I must be close to the end. But once my body started pushing a doctor came in wanting to examine me. He said I’m only 6cm and to stop pushing. Well that’s when I lost my cool a little. I felt like I had no control of my body. It was pushing but it wasn’t ready. I was so afraid of tearing! I said ‘can I get an epidural’ because I felt it was the only way to shut my body down and stop it from pushing (I should have known I was in transition in this moment haha).
The doctor was more than happy for me to get one and said he would organise it straight away- I felt they were judging me the whole time I was refusing pain relief. Then my amazing husband stepped in. ‘Ummm could we maybe start with the gas?’ And so we did. I’m so grateful he said that in that moment as I believe everything would have gone differently otherwise.
50 mins later I’m trying to use the gas, still contracting and uterus is still pushing on its own sometimes. By this point I’m exhausted.
My husband had noticed each time we went into the bathroom together I would have 3 or 4 strong contractions close together, so he got me back in there.
As I sat on the toilet, the midwives said baby wasn’t happy with that position and that I’d have to stand up. Hubby held me up at this point. Then the midwives came in and said it- Sarah I can see a head! You can push now! Oh the relief. I’d dilated from 6-10cm in under an hour.
Sarah do you want to touch your baby’s head? No. (Although this was on my birth plan haha but luckily the amazing midwives didn’t give up on me)
Ok Sarah you can touch your baby’s head now and then on the next contraction you’re going to pull her out ok??
So I did. I birthed my baby standing up, in the bathroom and I pulled her out myself. It was incredible. I don’t remember feeling any pain in those last few minutes. Our surprise baby was a little girl. The whole experience was pure magic. My amazing Mum was there too and captured these images which I will forever be grateful for.