Baby C. was due 12th November but on Saturday 2nd after a long day for me travelling to and from lunch in Kent with my grandparents, I had just gone to bed at around 10pm, started to listen to a relaxation/hypnosis script on CD when my waters broke dramatically!
Partner and I then spent an hour procrastinating over the hospital bag which had not been fully packed, and phoning into the birthing centre who advised I should go to bed, might have contractions/surges from around 3/4am and should pop into them the following morning at 8am to be checked over.
Surges started at around 11.15pm at which point I went up to our bedroom and put on Chakra Suite CD as I wanted a relaxing environment but at that point wasn’t able to sit or lie through them as, from the start they felt (to me with nothing to compare to) fairly strong and I could only sit and lean forward on the ball, stand and lean over the chest of drawers, or go onto all fours. I felt a little shivery. We had hired a TENS machine but at this stage I didn’t feel like using it as felt it would feel more of a distraction.
I was using my long up breaths and visualising bubbles rising and my cervix opening. I had also in the last few weeks been trying to visualise my cervix thinning as well as listening to Colours and Calmness affirmations and hypnosis script, although the visualisation was harder to feel I was doing effectively.
i was having surges every 3-5 minutes and they were lasting 40 seconds to a minute. Then from around midnight they were less regular and a little more spaced out but still intense. From around 130/2am I would guess they came closer together again and by 3am I was waking my birth companion and asking to go to hospital as I felt if I left it any later i could not face the 5-10 minute car journey as the surges were very strong and I only felt able to cope with them by adopting specific positions as previously. Music had still been playing.
The taxi came and, after riding out several surges in the car and walking through the antenatal area of QC, we reached the birthing centre around 3.30am. I was having surges mostly still every 2-3 mins although they went a little irregular as my assessment started. The midwife told me I probably had not dilated at all and I would have to go home, and could not see much at first but when she did a proper internal exam found I was 4cm dilated and my cervix was very thin, the only issue was that the baby was still not particularly low down.
She said I could stay (which was a huge relief I dreaded being sent home!) and started to run water into the birthing pool, whilst advising me I would need to do some work to progress the labour, possibly using the birthing ball.
I went through to our assigned room around 4am or so – apart from a brief sit down on the loo, and literally 1 minute on the ball, I dropped to all fours to ride out each set of surges. Partner put on music again as opposed to a script, I was vaguely aware of this creating a calm environment, The surges were too intense for me to think about full relaxation or wanting Partner to touch or massage me at all – I was simply in the moment and focusing on my breaths.
Very quickly (it felt to me) I felt a spasm which I recognised as the urge to push. The pool still wasn’t full I simply went to a mat and bean bag on all fours and asked the midwife if I should follow my instinct. Partner asked her if all was ok and after looking at me she said yes and was very surprised in expression apparently and told me I could do what I felt was needed. So from around 420/30ish I started to push with my surges and bear down, again trying to use the breathing techniques we had learnt in classes. Partner’s role was really to sit near me and be a silent support with the occasional reassurance that i was doing really well which I found really helpful, the midwife didn’t coach me at all but did occasionally tell me I was doing well and the right thing, only once near the end telling me to breathe not push. Twice she had me feel the baby’s head coming out and then at 4.50am C. was born, I scooped her up straight away and turned around to sit down with her on my chest for 10-15 mins whilst the cord pulsated. I birthed the placenta naturally in just a couple of surges and Partner cut the cord. Amazingly I hadn’t torn at all, perhaps because I had been able to feel exactly how far I was pushing my body during the second stage, having not had anything at all as pain relief.
The midwife told me I had confounded her at every stage and she would have to write up detailed notes (!). We then took our baby to another room to lie down and rest, lots of skin on skin me and Partner and an attempt to feed the baby all ensued straight away and then we checked out around 3pm.
Although I didnt try to use actual self hypnosis once in labour, I found all the preparation so useful to help me gain confidence to go without pain relief, trust my body to birth in the best way it knew how, and give myself over to the experience, including the exhaustion and pain of the surges, and I felt I could visualise at each stage what was happening to me and the baby. And I am sure all the time spent relaxing and anticipating the birth in the months preceding must have assisted in readying my body for the big day. – C S-D, Nov 2013