It has been almost three years since my life changed for the better. At 3am on Friday 23rd August 2013 our beautiful son Max was born. As I reflect on my pregnancy, labour and birthing day, I thought it was the perfect time to finish writing, and share, Max’s birth story.
Our due date came and went, and as each day went on I started to feel anxious that labour wouldn’t start and I would need to be induced. Even though I had been practicing my HypnoBirthing techniques daily, and knew that labour would start when both my baby and body were ready, I just couldn’t help myself. I would snap or cry whenever I received the ‘are you in labour yet?’ calls and texts.
I had a healthy, normal pregnancy and baby ‘Jellybean’ was healthy and moving lots, so I knew that I just had to refocus and trust that my baby and body knew what to do. I was trying lots of natural methods to induce labour, such as raspberry leaf tea, walking, acupressure, massage, visualisations and even a homeopathic remedy.
At 10 days past my due date we were given an ‘induction’ date, Saturday 24th August. It was amazing. I started to relax after this – maybe because I knew that I would definitely see my baby soon. That afternoon we went for a long walk. The next morning I woke up with period pains! I was so excited! I’d never had any pre-labour warm ups before this. I went to my scheduled acupuncture appointment, and I could feel my surges becoming stronger each time that she turned the needles.
Throughout the day, I kept as active as I could to ensure that the surges continued! I walked Kira, our old dog, and then watched a ‘True Blood’ marathon whilst sitting and rocking on the birth ball. I phoned my husband at 3pm and told him that he wouldn’t be going to work the next day, as I was in labour. His response was ‘are you sure?’ I started listening to the affirmations on my rainbow relaxation CD. I had been listening to these affirmations every time I was in the car from 32 weeks pregnant so I knew that they would keep me calm and focused.
At 6pm I forced myself to eat some soup and toast, and told hubby to also eat dinner now. At 7pm I phoned my beautiful friend, and additional birth support person, and she came over. At 8pm we decided to head to the hospital. At this point I started to panic and run around like a ‘headless chook’ even though my bag had been packed for weeks! The only thing we needed to get was the frozen colostrum that I had been expressing for weeks.
The ride to hospital was interesting. I was kneeling on the backseat of the car with my bottom pressed against the window. Hubby was driving very slowly, and I had to keep telling him to drive faster! When we arrived at the hospital we walked from the car park to my room and once there my hubby and friend set up the room for me – lights low, affirmations playing on CD player, clary sage burning, and my pillows on the bed and HypnoBirthing sign on the door. They also made sure that the midwife was aware of my birth wishes.
I listened to the affirmations track on repeat. At one stage I decided to play one of the ‘rainforest’ type songs that I had downloaded onto my iPod. Instantly I lost focus and came out of my hypnotic state, so they put my affirmations back on. My husband was fantastic in offering me fluids as needed, and providing acupressure to my lower back. I didn’t need him to help me with the HypnoBirthing scripts as I was so relaxed and calm with my affirmations.
I went into the bath at some point and was in there for hours. I had initially planned to have a water birth. My surges came every couple of minutes, but I was able to use my surge breathing with them and that really helped. My birth companions were probably sick of the affirmations after listening to them for 6 hours straight, but no one complained.
My membranes released in the bath and instantly the surges intensified. I could feel ‘Jellybean’ moving down, and I had intense pressure below my pubic bone. I started breathing down at one point and was encouraged to go with it. After 1 hour of breathing down with surges, baby’s heartbeat started dropping so I was happy to leave the bath. I waddled across the hallway to get back to my room (naked except for a towel!), and once on the bed my baby’s head was visible.
I had a small episiotomy and with one last downward breath our gorgeous boy was born. He went straight onto my chest and the cord was left to pulsate. He barely cried and we couldn’t stop gazing at him. I had a physiological third stage so after 45 minutes the placenta came out.
I had my perfect HypnoBirth. I did it! I had the most amazing, calm and joyous labour and birth. I loved it. I experienced intense pressure at times, but I wouldn’t describe it as painful, and I can’t wait to do it all over again someday.