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February 09, 2023
I went to bed on Saturday night and had a few braxton hicks but didn't think massively of it. I then woke at 5am and noted they were definitely regular tightenings but the giveaway was a combo of those plus strong low back ache.
I had what I think were very early surges by mid-morning / lunchtime (by which time we'd invited my parents for lunch in case we needed them to take our toddler). By the time they left I had to lie down and really focus on my affirmations and visualisations to stay calm, and I started breathing through them.
We had Gavin & Stacey on in the background whilst Joe set up the pool and room and made the first phone call to the midwife.
Quite soon after, I felt like things were ramping up so Joe made the second call around 4pm - to be told that home births were on and someone could be with us in 45 minutes but only until 6pm because of staffing, at which point I would've been transferred if still no baby! So cue our first and only real big decision, which was a no brainer - for me to ditch home birth and head to the birth centre ASAP.
We arrived at Maidstone birth centre just after 5pm (I had your affirmation MP3 on repeat in the car whilst sniffing on lavender!) and the midwife was superb from arrival. I got in that pool as soon as I could and Cali arrived in the water by 6.30pm. I couldn't have asked for a better birth really. I did whimper a bit at the stinging of actual pushing, presumably that's where I was tearing, but I was just thinking of baby being so close.
We had only one dicey point when the midwife asked about using clary sage and honey drink because my contractions were dropping off and not quite strong enough to help me get the head down, but once we got those it definitely gave me the boost I needed.
The main visualisation that got me through at both stages was taking myself back to my 'happy place' in the sea on holiday in Formentera! I was almost 6 months pregnant with Cali at the time so I spent some time alone in the sea taking it in, imagining my dream birth in water and properly bonding with my bump - which chimed with the affirmation of my baby and I being a team. I had lots of photos from the day so I was able to easily go to that image in my mind, of turquoise water. I used it mainly for up-breathing through surges but also the thought of meeting my baby in the second stage really helped me to get through the tough final pushes, along with some cheerleading from Joe to remind me I was doing it exactly how I wanted to!
I consider my first birth positive, but there were a few experiences from that birth that left me feeling scared and anxious about birth number two. Addressing my past negative experiences and fears (through hypnobirthing) and planning for my second birth helped to prepare me to overcome these during my labour and I feel very fortunate to have experienced my "dream birth" second time around!
I couldn't have asked for a better entry to the world for my daughter - she was even (somewhat symbolically) born in the same room as her big sister.
Online hypnobirthing & antenatal course
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