Casey Jabu Brown-Colbert was born naturally on Monday 25th May 2015 weighing 6lbs 12 ounces.
I went into early labour at around 7am on Sunday 24th May, the night after I ate a massive shepherd’s pie. I am convinced that’s what started my labour!
I then laboured at home for 19 hours using the relaxation and focused breathing techniques I’d learnt with Natalie. I sat on a birthing ball with my arms draped over the side of the sofa. I had headphones on and was completely in my own zone. When the contractions started getting more intense and regular, I used a little bell to let my husband know that one was starting and also when it was ending so that he could keep a record. It also meant that I didn’t have to speak and lose focus. Natalie had taught me that concentration is key to remaining calm and in control.
Having heard many stories of women who had rushed to hospital only to be sent back home, I was keen to labour at home for as long as possible and I feel that Natalie’s techniques helped me resist the urge to panic and go to hospital prematurely.
After 19 hours it was time to ring triage. I spoke to a nurse who advised me to try having a bath and take some paracetamol as over the phone my breathing sounded like I was still in early labour and still had some way to go. As soon as I got off the phone I realised there was no way I would make it into the bath and told my husband it was time to go to hospital.
Natalie’s teaching had made me aware that I may not sound as panicked and breathless as other women in labour due to being so centred. This was definitely the case for me, but as I’d been dealing with a full day of contractions, building up steadily, I knew it was my time.
We then went to St Mary’s hospital at 3am on Monday morning. We were first shown into a waiting room which was the worst part of my entire labour. The room had bright yellow strip lighting and was full of other women, noe of whom were in labour. I remember just closing my eyes and wishing I was in a dark room with no one talking or smelling of cigarettes. I remember thinking about Natalie’s suggestion of relaxing music and candlelight and wondering why hospitals don’t take any natal hypnotherapy ideologies on-board. No wonder some women choose to birth at home.
What felt like an eternity later, I was taken to a room to be examined and was told I was 5cm and wouldn’t be leaving hospital without my baby. I had a sense of relief that I was staying and in what I always considered as my safe place. But as the contractions increased and having felt a little unsettled in the first few hours at hospital in different rooms with the lights and noise, enough was enough and I reached for the gas and air.
Eventually I was moved upstairs to where I would have my baby and as I’d requested the birthing pool, I was told it was being cleaned and would be ready soon. My new room had gas and air ready too, but somehow it didn’t seem as effective as an hour ago and I found myself accusing the midwife of giving me an empty chamber (which of course wasn’t true!)
In the end I found the energy it took to put the nozzle in my mouth for the gas and air was far more tiresome than just dealing with the contractions, so I went back into myself, repeated ‘3,2,1 relax’ in my head and regained full focus, even shushing the midwife at one point so that I could be at one with my breathing! She didn’t mind.
And that’s what I did for the next few hours. In fact I became so good at breathing out the pain that when it came to pushing time I wasn’t sure how to push instead of breathing out.
You see my baby came quite quickly after getting settled in that room – about 3 hours from arriving at the hospital. I suddenly felt him making his entrance into the world and after checking, the midwife broke the news to me that my birthing pool dream was over as the pool still wasn’t ready and baby wasn’t going to wait!
I quickly got over the fact I was going to be in the pool. I think I’d reached the point where I didn’t need anymore room changes or disruption. Interestingly, despite having talked through the optimum positions for birthing with Natalie, when it came down to it being on my back with bent knees was where I felt most comfortable. It goes to show that while there’s plenty you can definitely prepare for, in the end your body will let you know what’s best. But knowing the options in advance meant I knew what to expect.
Casey was born at 7.53am with a group of midwives and student midwives alike gasping in awe! The reason was because, as you may have noticed in this story, my waters never ever broke. He was born in his amniotic sac which only broke naturally once he had been born. It was amazing as he didn’t realise he’d been born and was therefore very serene and peaceful.
After delivering the placenta, I too wasn’t in bad shape at all. I only needed a few stitches and I can safely say that after a couple of weeks I felt completely back to normal again.
All in all I am convinced that I would not have got through birth with such ease without focusing my mind 100% and saying “3-2-1 relax” to myself often. The whole experience was amazing. I have no fear of birth and I think that’s because Natalie gave me the mental tools to be fearless in the first place. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Pregnancy story – Abigail Mistry
2015. The year I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in January, and then welcomed our healthy, beautiful baby girl into our lives in December. What a rollercoaster life this is proving to be.
After being thrilled and excited to find out we were pregnant in April, the research into the birth we wanted went full steam ahead. My MS diagnosis made me doubt myself, my body – it’s a failure, it can’t do anything. The more I started to read and discover that my body is capable, it’s made to give birth, I soon put my worries about my MS to one side.
Telling our family and close friends news of our pregnancy was both wonderful and challenging. Excited about the forthcoming homebirth ideas, it was all I wanted to talk about in the beginning, getting their opinions on the idea. Wrong thing to do! I was massively disappointed by the negativity and over-worrying from them. It felt like having a constant battle every time we got together and I’d go to bed furious and upset. We were made to feel like we were doing something stupid/dangerous – we thought going anywhere near a hospital when in labour was just that! It’s sad to say that their reactions made us dislike being pregnant which is such a shame but ironically, gave us the determination and strength to successfully birth our baby at home. The best affirmation in our babies birthing room at home (Ajay’s office!) sums up how we used this negativity: “She said she could so she did”.
I’d thought about a homebirth for years, probably coming from my sister planning one in 2006. Although not the way her birth turned out, she was still a big believer in homebirths and from then on, I presume the homebirth seed had been planted. My best friend, Amy, had a wonderful homebirth in New Zealand in January 2013 and has been my most recent inspiration. I knew that I wanted, and needed, to carry out my own research so that I had all the up-to-date information about birthing our baby, at home or otherwise. The reading, watching videos, attending home birth groups and constantly discussing everything with my husband Ajay, began.
Ajay always researches everything so thoroughly so that he can reach the best possible decision. I was researching everything I could and knew that Ajay was doing the same, if not more. The first homebirth meeting we went to took place on an evening in the week when Ajay was working away but he drove 250 miles to come back home for the meeting then drove a further 100 miles after the meeting at 10pm to go on to a different hotel for a different meeting the following day! Listening to homebirthers face to face was all we both needed. We asked questions and got answers we were happy with. It was particularly reassuring to meet people who were ‘normal’ like us! Not a room full of ‘hippies’ like the homebirth stereotype sometimes implies. I went to bed happy that night knowing that Ajay had benefited from attending the meeting and that we were both definitely on our way with our homebirth plans.
We stopped mentioning our homebirth plans. It became our big secret. As negative comments kept coming, we smiled politely and stayed quiet and kept our plans to ourselves. We were confident and comfortable with our decision and made sure we were as prepared as possible for our baby’s birth journey.
I came across Natal Hypnotherapy and started learning more about it, taking part in webinars to find out about the benefits of hypno-birthing our baby out. We bought the book and downloads and started listening to them every couple of days. I found them extremely relaxing, often falling asleep. I received details of a local practitioner, Natalie Qureshi, who could come to our house and carry out two days training with myself and Ajay to help us prepare for the birth. The training included general hypno-birthing techniques, breathing techniques, affirmation planning plus lots more. By the end of the training, we both felt like we could do it, birth our baby safely at home, so started writing up notes for a ‘birth plan’. Refusing to call it a ‘plan’ as we felt that plans often go wrong and are too rigid, so instead came up with our birth wishes. Our wishes for what would happen when I was in labour. Although they now seem relatively strict – not deliberate, but we wanted to be clear on what we did or didn’t want, all being well.
I don’t remember being nervous about labour. I’d done my research, I wanted it to happen, I was almost excited?! I wanted us to meet our baby!
My EDD was 30 December but felt that our baby would make her way to us sooner so ensured that we were as prepared as possible. Practical items were bought – food and energy drinks waiting in the fridge. The birth pool was bought and the “office” prepared for the forthcoming birth. My husband, Ajay, tested it all out so that he felt comfortable with what he needed to do on the day so no panic, mid-contraction! My affirmations that I’d been preparing since finding out I was pregnant, were written up on to large pieces of card and pinned up in the office.
After a bit of stress getting hold of the gas man, he finally delivered two canisters of Entonox, for if we felt like I needed them when in labour. The relief I felt when seeing them sat near the birth pool was immense!
I think my mucus plug broke around the 23 December but can’t be too sure?! I kept thinking maybe it was just bloody discharge?
Christmas Day arrived and I woke up feeling uncomfortable and miserable – what a great Christmas Day this was turning out to be! We had breakfast in bed, trying to be in a good mood but not really getting anywhere, so decided to get up and go downstairs to watch Christmas tv and open some presents. As soon as I got up I felt a small trickle, I checked and nothing to see other than a bit of wetness in my knickers. That’s strange, it was hardly anything? Can’t have been my waters, maybe it was a tiny bit of urine?! I tried to forget about it but noticed it kept happening throughout the day as I walked about. I told Ajay what was happening so both decided to get on google! We found out that it could be my waters breaking, I could be in labour?! We read about the fact that if my waters had gone, the medical world would want me be to be in labour within 24/48 hours (depends on where you live!) Both me and Ajay felt that unfortunately, we’d better go to Hospital to get checked over, we didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. It was a very quiet journey to the Hospital as we both knew that the dreaded induction would probably be mentioned. At the Hospital, we were quickly seen by a midwife who said yes, your waters have started to go, ‘partial membrane rupture’. She left us in the room alone and I could have cried hysterically. Here we were, somewhere we never wanted to be, about to be faced with a hard decision, and on Christmas Day! Ajay and I stayed strong though and talked briefly about what we do if we were encouraged to book in for induction. We knew we could decline it but wanted to know what we could do to make sure our baby was safe. A second midwife came in to check the baby’s heartbeat. All fine. Phew. The woman, seeing the worrying look on my face, started talking about induction – we’d need to go back to the Hospital at 10am on boxing day to book in for my induction if I’d not already gone into labour. At this point, Ajay started calmly asking all the questions we’d talked about, if we ended up in this situation. The midwife replied very fairly and there was no pressure from her about ‘having to be induced’. I could have screamed with delight when she said “it’s important to have a happy Mum, you know the natural ways to get induced, go home and enjoy Christmas Day!” So off we went and got the spiciest curry we could get and went home for a bit of sex! ;-)
My waters finally gushed out at 3am on Christmas Day night, both me and Ajay had big smiles on our faces…things were finally starting! We were ready for the exciting challenge.
I think I started feeling mild contractions (or maybe just Braxton hicks, who knows!) so myself and Ajay dashed about preparing what we felt needed to get done – a hilarious moment came when we both dashed to separate bathrooms and both started spraying on the deodorant!! Like that mattered?! But it did, we were excited and knew we wanted to be presentable for when the midwife would arrive at home.
I quickly tried to stick on the TENS machine and switched it on. I pulled it straight off! Not for me at all. So down I went to start re-reading my affirmations – this was much more soothing!
Ajay started timing my contractions as they began to pick up. They felt exactly as expected – strong period pains, manageable though. I was enjoying this…
My hypno music had been put on and I was walking from room to room listening to it. I think I was starting to get in the ‘zone’. The ‘zone’ Ajay said I was in throughout all of my labour.
Ajay phoned the midwife to let her know that I was in labour and she asked him to call back if we wanted them to come to our house. I said she didn’t need to come yet. What if I wasn’t actually in labour?! But the contractions suddenly started to pick up so we called back and I spoke to the midwife (muttering a few quiet words…). At 4am our amazing midwife, Susanah arrived at our house. We all had a quick chat, Ajay showed Susanah our birth wishes (which she totally respected throughout the labour) and she politely asked me if I wanted to be examined to see how far dilated I was. I quickly said yes I would like to be examined but didn’t want to know how far I was (or not), so Susannah said she would tell Ajay and not me. Exactly what I’d wanted but hadn’t said! Examination done, Susannah told Ajay I was 4cm dilated which I didn’t hear, but did hear her say “Think it’s time to fill the pool up”. At this point I was quickly walking up and down a flight of our stairs to help baby and to distract myself, now with a smile on my face knowing I’d soon be getting in the pool. The contractions had picked up now and were getting increasingly painful.
I stopped at the top of the stairs and started trying to deal with the pains by slowly swaying from side to side. This seemed to be helping. Hypno music still playing…
I then decided to walk downstairs to see the pool filling up. It was nearly ready. I started to feel a strong urge to push so quietly told Susanah who said to me it was time to get in the pool. As soon as I got into the pool a big smile emerged on my face, the pain relief from the water was indescribable but I managed to mutter something like “it feels amazing”.
I moved around in the pool changing positions to what felt better for me and what Susanah very politely said would help baby’s position. I can’t remember how long I was in the pool for not pushing, but when I felt the need to starting fully pushing I began. I was lent over the pool holding Ajay’s hands, squeezing them so tight when the contractions were very painful. The amount of reassurance and support I felt from holding on to Ajay’s hands was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
I started pushing but felt uncomfortable. I felt like I was using all my energy to push a big poo out! In my mind this felt like a total waste of energy! I hadn’t fully made the connection that this was normal! Pushing a baby out does feel like having a pool! I realised that the feeling was ‘normal’ so carried on with my pushing. I’ve been told that I was making low grunting noises but don’t remember this. I do remember keeping control of my breathing making sure I was doing deep and slow breaths, it felt like I was breathing our baby out. Once the pushing had picked up, our little lady started to play a game with me! I’d push her head out then she’d pull it back in! It felt like a big tussle with each other! It was so hard at this point when I started to feel like I wouldn’t get anywhere. I must have been in transition as I very quietly said “I can’t do this anymore” to which Susanah asked “what can’t you do?” I didn’t reply. I knew what I needed to do to get our baby out. The second midwife, Gemma, could see what was happening so asked me if I wanted to feel our baby’s head. I did. Wow. Baby was so close! Ajay excitedly moved to have a look and came back with a big grin on his face! “I can see the head and some black hair!” This was all I needed. I picked up the pushing once again, I wanted to meet our baby! I pushed and pushed and pushed and started to feel the baby move down the birth canal. Totally surreal. I felt like my body was breaking in two but didn’t care, we were so close. I didn’t feel like I was in the pool doing the pushing, my body was taking over! I caught a glimpse of my main affirmation once again “She said she could so she did”, and with my added strength I did a final push, heard a splash in the water, then was asked to pick up our baby water of the water. We did it, yeah!
The midwife placed her on my chest and she straight away started feeding. Ajay came round to us and kissed me and our little girl. Heaven. Six hours worth of labour was worth every second.
I eventually got out of the pool (after first fainting! Combination of low blood pressure and six hours worth of labour!) and quite quickly delivered my placenta naturally!
Although I didn’t feel any tearing, Susanah checked me over and said I’d had a 2nd degree tear and would probably need some stitches, if I wanted them. I decided to have my stitches so had a local anaesthetic and got stitched up while Ajay had skin on skin with our daughter.
Our fantastic midwife Susanh stayed for 8 hours at our home to make sure that I was okay, baby was fine! By 8pm we were all upstairs in bed, ready for our first night as a family of three. No sleep as all we wanted to do was stare at our beautiful daughter. The best night of no-sleep EVER!
I had a relatively good first birth experience – no traumas took place however the whole experience was scary. I found that no amount of reading had prepared me for the actual labour and the whole duration of my labour I was scared of the pain.
At the time I had a few friends who had used hypnobirthing techniques and all had said they found this helped take away the fear factor. I decided for my next birth I would look into this.
Whilst I was pregnant with my second child I saw a BBC documentary with a home birth in which the lady had used Natal hypnotherapy. I particularly liked the language used and the sayings seemed to resonate with me. From this I contacted the Natal Hypnotherapy website and was put in touch with Natalie. We arranged two sessions at home in the evening with my husband. In the meantime before the sessions I listened to the pregnancy relaxation CD which was fantastic for helping me de-stress and helping me to sleep.
The sessions with Natalie were brilliant. My initially sceptical husband found himself really liking the theory behind Natal Hypnotherapy and also addressed both our fears of having a home birth. Graham particularly liked the concept of creating a Baobab tree at home. I found it extremely useful drawing a birth plan for before labour, the stages of labour and after birth with a common goal. This was stuck on my wall and looked at daily. I liked being able to see what I had been practicing and what else I had to do – really making me feel prepared for labour.
In the run up to my due date I also started listening to the home birth preparation CD and downloaded the music without the words to help me go to my chilled place at the appropriate time.
On the day labour started I wasn’t actually convinced it was happening as I had had a lot of Braxton hicks in the past 5 weeks. As the day went on and they got closer I thought this could be it so after putting my son to bed I thought best to ring my midwife. My midwife decided to come and see me just in case. My husband had a shower and we thought best start creating our Baobab tree space in the lounge in case this is real. The midwife arrived at 8pm, I was watching a film whilst sat on my yoga ball. I had to get up with each contraction and push against the wall whilst humming out my outbreath – but as the pain was so manageable I was still not convinced I was in actual labour. At 9pm the contractions were every 4 minutes and as the midwife had to ring for another midwife she asked if I would agree to an internal examination so they could see if the other midwife needed to come over or not. When she performed the examination she advised baby’s head was only 4/5ths engaged and I was only 3-4cm dilated and my cervix was still high up. She said you have a while to go. The minute I stood up, the contractions were every minute and the intensity was high. I told my husband I needed to listen to the Birth music. I was very able to communicate clearly with both my husband and midwife, and whilst they both kept saying you’ve got a while to go I knew it wouldn’t be long – I knew the birth was imminent – I knew what my body was doing.
My husband was great reminding me of the Natal Hypnotherapy techniques and in particular horse breathing through the contractions really helped. At 9:20 I told them I needed to get in the pool – they both advised it might be too early but I calmly told them I had to get in the pool. As soon as I got in the pool I had the urge to push, my midwife checked and could see baby’s head so told me to go with it and at 9:38 my baby was born in the pool and straight in my arms.
The experience was incredible. All of us were so calm. It was amazing to feel so empowered and not frightened and being at home was an additional bonus. It was my perfect birth experience that I had wished for and we were all showered and cleaned up and in our beds by midnight, excited to wake up in the morning and tell our son his baby sister had arrived whilst he was sleeping. The Natal Hypnotherapy breathing techniques, the CDs and my yoga lessons were what enabled this to happen. The Natal hypnotherapy was invaluable in getting my husband on board and he said he felt like he was a part of the process this time and very much felt involved. Thank you Natalie for enabling all this to happen – it’s been everything I hoped for.
Like most women, by the time I reached 30 weeks of pregnancy I was pretty confident that I knew the kind of birth I wanted and would have. I had looked into my options, talked to friends and midwives and made the decision to aim for a birth at the local hospital’s midwife-led unit. I wanted minimal intervention, minimal pain relief and an active water birth. But, of course, the best-laid plans often don’t quite work out the way you expect!
I was working like crazy in my job to get everything finished before I went on maternity leave and my stress levels started to go through the roof. I turned to Natalie to help me not only relax but to help me focus on the enormous event that was just a few weeks away. Like any first time mum-to-be I was scared about giving birth and often felt overwhelmed . Using natal hypnotherapy gave me time-out from the hustle bustle of the day to chill out and spend precious time focusing on my baby. It left me revived and calm about the birth.
As my due date came and went I started to get a sense of panic but used natal hypnotherapy every day to help me relax.
After going nearly two weeks overdue it was decided that labour needed to be induced. All my plans of a home-from-home birth in the midwife-led unit went out the window. I spent 24 hours on a busy antenatal ward before labour started. Trying to sleep was difficult but I stayed calm and got some rest by listening to my natal hypnotherapy MP3s and remembering what Natalie had taught me.
The support Natalie gave me was not just through the hypnotherapy but the practical advice too. She gave me the confidence to make sure I communicated to the midwives that despite being in the medicalised labour unit I wanted to stay active and to be in control of how I gave birth.
When labour started I stayed on the antenatal ward at first; the midwives convinced me that because I was so calm and collected the baby wouldn’t be arriving any time soon. I was in the day room getting a cup of coffee when my waters started to go. I walked (waddled!) back to the ward, cup of coffee in hand. The contractions were coming thick and fast but I was still able to talk through them and stayed upright, leaning on the bed or my partner. When the midwife checked my cervix she shouted: “You’re having the baby… now!” I had got to 10cm dilated while still walking up and down the ward, chatting away through contractions, using just deep breathing to manage the pain. I was ordered into a wheelchair and was whisked off to a room on the labour unit.
I’m sure they probably say something similar to all patients but the midwives said I had done brilliantly to get to that stage while managing the contractions so well without traditional pain relief.
Throughout labour I used deep breathing to get through the contractions, reminding myself of the words in the hypnotherapy – my body was designed to do this! I had minimal pain relief, just using gas and air during the pushing stage. At no point did I feel overwhelmed. All that preparation paid off. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Olivia on 15 July 2014. She weighed a perfect 8lb 6oz. It wasn’t the birth I had planned but she arrived safe and well.
I have absolutely no doubt that the power of mind over matter helped me to cope with labour, especially when my plans were turned on their head. Thank you Natalie.
The birth was amazing, I only realised that I was in labour just gone midnight and he was born 4hrs and 37mins later! I managed on 2 paracetamol and a tens machine, then got into the pool and he was born 10-15mins later. He basically birthed himself and swam out. It was perfect.
I had complete silence and low lighting so very different to the music and candles scenario I anticipated. Being mentally prepared was amazing and I trusted my body the whole way through, I just had certain phrases going through my mind from the CD and they helped me focus so 100% glad I did the workshops and CD etc.
When the midwives arrived I was 8cm dilated and he was born a couple of hours later. I even had to say when he was coming out as I was so quiet they didn’t realise I had given birth!
So happy with the whole experience and would definitely recommend.
I like to feel like I’m in control of things and whilst chatting to some friends during my pregnancy, I mentioned I was scared of intervention in the birth. My worst nightmare would be an epidural as the thought of an injection into my spine and not being able to move scared me to death.
One of them mentioned Natal Hypnotherapy and how great her friend had found it so I decided to take a look. What attracted me was the idea of taking control of how I gave birth and having a coping mechanism if things didn’t quite go to plan.
I could have just bought a CD. But we chose to do the workshops as I am the type of person who likes to vocalise and discuss things. As part of the sessions we addressed the fears and concerns that I had about the birth. I left feeling empowered and really positive about the birth; so much so that people’s scare stories no longer bothered me.
The same weekend we had our final session we had our hospital tour. What struck me was how I wasn’t going to feel comfortable there and that the place I was going to be the calmest was at home. I discussed it with my husband and we agreed that we would have a home water birth instead!
I went into labour on the Sunday night (41 weeks) at about 7pm and my contractions started at 5 minutes apart, so no gentle warm up for me! I was most comfortable on a birth ball and for the most part coped well with the pain by focussing on my breathing.
The top end of the contraction wasn’t always the easiest but I could bear it by using the natal hypnotherapy techniques. The contractions carried on like this through to about 6am when we called the midwife.
I carried on through to about 10am by which point I was starting to be uncomfortable and had started being sick so the midwife came out to us. It was a midwife that I had seen at the hospital and was a very senior one so that was really comforting as I felt I was in good hands.
She checked me again and I was 5cm so my husband could get on with setting up the pool. I was still being sick at this point and not keeping down food/water so the midwife suggested I have a bit of gas and air until I could get in there.
Unfortunately, we were unable to fill the pool up due to the speed of the water getting hot and maintaining the temp in the pool so that went by the wayside and I stayed on the gas and air and birth ball. The midwife checked me again (I don’t know what time this was but a couple of hours along) and I had only gone to 6cm.
Because I wasn’t able to keep anything down, Paul suggested some glucose tablets for me – they worked a treat and gave the short term energy to push on and I got to 10 cm and felt ready to push. At this point another experienced midwife arrived and also my community midwife who I saw at my doctors surgery was on her way. My sister (the trainee midwife) had also arrived when they broke my waters and an auxiliary nurse had brought some more gas and stayed.
I started pushing but due to lack of energy my contractions had started getting shorter so I wasn’t moving baby that much so they took the gas and air off me. This is when the Natal Hypnotherapy came into its own for me. I pushed for 2.5 hours just using the breathing and focussing and Cordelia was born at 6.09pm. She was put on my chest and her first action was to wee all over me!
Apparently they don’t normally like you to push for so long but as baby’s heartbeat was so strong when they checked after each contraction that they left me to get on with it. think I went through every position possible (apparently I was quite agile!) but I ended up delivering sort of on all fours with one leg in the air – not the most dignified way but it worked.
The midwifes said that I needed stitches and unfortunately they would like me to go to hospital as I had lost quite a bit of blood rather than them stitching me at home. The staff there were absolutely lovely and they all really looked after me – they all commented about how well I’d done and they seemed upset for me that I’d had to go in.
Overall I think the hypnotherapy was fantastic in helping me through it all – particularly when things went a bit off track and at the hospital. I also think it helped me have a good healthy pregnancy (working to 38 weeks and then out and about most days up to giving birth) and definitely helped Cordelia stay strong throughout the whole birth as I didn’t transfer any negativity or stress onto her.
Since 32 weeks I had been on tenterhooks for my son’s early arrival as this was when my second son had been born. But as the weeks came and went and I felt better and better that he would be safe and well. I never dared to dream that I would go past the magical 37 weeks…but I did! Past 38 and 39 as well in fact ha ha!
The last few weeks of my pregnancy were far from plain sailing. Sleep deprived and convinced I would clearly just be pregnant forever, off to bed I went.
It was 2.30am when I woke up with crippling backache. It had become so familiar, I turned onto my other side but eventually I couldn’t possibly stay lying down.
So with a swift elbow to my hubby’s back I was up and out of bed announcing that my back hurt and I REALLY need the toilet.
Becca and Paul
At this point I was still utterly convinced I had just been sleeping funnily. Thankfully my husband clearly knows me better than I know myself because he was up, dressed and filling the pool quick as a flash!
It wasn’t until it occurred to me as I crawled on all fours staring intently at carpet fibres, that maybe this was serious. I rang my doula to ask her to set off – obviously this was a stupid idea because (coming to the rescue again) hubby had to take over the phone call as I started contracting again. He then called the midwives. I admit I had a pathetic little cry at this point, it was the wee small hours and I had gone from being sound asleep, to being in unbearable pain in a matter of 15 minutes and I felt scared.
Hubby helped me into my nighty and I got in the pool. The water felt amazing! I got myself into the only position that I could bare to be in, basically on all fours only against the side of the pool instead of the bottom. The contractions were giving me very little breathing space between them now, so I commenced coaching myself through it. Lots of “I’ve totally got this” and “come on body! I can do this” while i asked for my adrenalin rush stage track (natal hypno labour companion cd) to be put on as I could feel myself losing control.
I cannot express how much this helped. I was only half listening to it, but it got me back in control of my breathing and block out the outside of my pool so I could focus.
From the minute I got into the pool my body started pushing- this was completely involuntary, my body just did it with each contraction. Amazing!
I gave myself targets which helped me focus. My first was my waters. I told myself it would feel better when they popped and my god I was right! The relief was amazing. In fact hubby and midwife laughed because I had been completely quiet but then said ‘aaahhhhhhhh’ when they went.
My next target was the head – with this target I totally shocked myself! I had somehow completely regained my composure I started pushing with my body’s natural pushes and it almost numbed the pain when I was doing so (it blooming came back between urges with a vengeance). I wasn’t trying to push the head all the way out in one go, I sort of ‘knew’ to push a bit then breath a bit for the next few contractions, and just as I was losing the will to live again POP out came his head! I looked up at hubby with a big smile on my face and said “I’ve only bloody done it!” He probably thought I was mental because the baby wasn’t born yet – but he didn’t know about my targets.
Hubby moved to where the midwife was, and my doula filled his spot. My doula helped me to focus while the final surge came, with one last push my baby was born into his daddy’s arms (4.48am). I stepped over the cord and sat in the pool, and my wide eyed vernix covered baby boy was handed to me! Perfection! He fed immediately and for a while! Then the second (technically third as the first had a student with her) midwife arrived, and a moment later the gas and air. I’m actually pleased that the gas and air was late, because I didn’t really want it, I asked for it in a moment of desperation.
I started to get cold so decided to build a nest of bean bags and blankets where I could snuggle and wait for my placenta. After the cord had drained completely I allowed hubby to cut it so that I could get baby weighed as I was dying to know! I went to the loo to try and shift my placenta which didn’t work- so i walked around while feeding for a bit. Eventually I handed the baby over, demanded that the light went off as I felt like a fish in a bowl, and pushed out my placenta. By 6.30 the midwives had gone and I was watching cbeebies with all 3 of my boys.
This birth was the most surreal experience of my life! But looking back I absolutely loved it! After two traumatic births it’s amazing to me that I look back on my perfect birth and smile! I would gladly do it again and again!
I realised by 5am that I was having regular contractions, then things just went from there. My mum came to get my son Stanley at around 8am, and once he had gone I was able to focus and things went very quickly from there. By 10am I was having pretty intense contractions and starting to shiver in between, so we finally went to hospital, and I ended up lying in the back with my head on my hands and bum in the air to try and hold off the contractions!
When we got to the delivery room I got on the bed (on all fours) had about 4 puffs of gas and air and out she came!
I was able to have a good period of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time with her, which I think enabled her to breast feed much better than Stanley could, despite the fact that she also has a tongue tie. I felt much more in control of the experience as a whole.
Georgia is gaining weight well and is on the 98th percentile! We’re not sure where she gets it from! Stanley has been lovely with her and has really taken the changes in his stride. It is very tiring looking after them both but luckily I have been getting some decent sleep (though some nights are better than others!) and I really benefit from having both sets of grandparents around.
I thought the Natal Hypnotherapy course prepared us really well for the birth this time, and one of the biggest benefits was Rick knowing what I needed without having to be asked. He was a bit shocked when I suddenly insisted on going to the hospital at 10am and even more so when she came so quickly after we arrived, but on the whole was great.
So thanks for providing the course at such short notice!