I'm an osteopath, I already understand the anatomy and physiology surrounding the process of birth. Plus I'm already a mum. I've done it once, so why did I decide to then do a hypnobirthing course for my second birth?
Because although I feel I had a positive experience when I had my eldest there were still elements that I felt unprepared for and I just didn't want that this time around.
Rachel made a huge difference, gave my husband and I just what we needed. I warmed to her as soon as we first spoke. She came to our home which meant that we felt very at ease in our own surroundings and were able to be honest and open about how we felt. After going through all concerns we could possibly think of, Rachel began her course and worked through them all as we went.
Interspersed with fantastic relaxation sessions where her calming voice sent me off to sleep almost every time! After session one my husband and I decided to try listening to the recorded hypno relaxations as we drifted off to sleep that night. Magic! We even joked at one point that we couldn't imagine how we would get to sleep without them once our baby had arrived! He often fell asleep before me when we used them!
I put affirmations up around the house that I felt were relevant to me and ones that made me feel good and strong. Practiced my breathing, especially when dropping off to sleep at night. And I made my list of birthing wants and not wants. I had a lovely evening making a board using lots of great pictures of our family and our coming baby's scan pictures - this went in my hospital bag.
So did I mention yet that I'm old apparently? I turned 40 during this pregnancy and so towards the end every midwife and obstetrician just wanted to sweep me or book my induction! No! With my now educated husband's support, we pushed back and refused to even book an induction. I already had a feeling things were starting to happen and I'd had a late scan that showed everything was just as it should be. I compromised and agreed to go for foetal heart rate monitoring on her due date. And funnily enough on that very morning my 'tightenings' started!
We got the grandparents over to look after our 2 year old and popped off down the road to the hospital. All was fine on the monitoring and yes I was having regular contractions! Pretty mild on the pain scale but every 10 minutes. We were told it could be hours yet. I allowed an examination and was actually 2cm already! We decided to get a coffee at the hospital's Costa before heading home for the wait. However by the time my husband arrived at our table with our drinks I said "I don't think we are going home, I think we need to go back upstairs!" In about 15 minutes I'd gone from tightenings every 10 minutes to every 3 minutes and lasting a minute each!
From then on things intensified pretty rapidly. I handed over my notes complete with my 'letter to midwife' and list of preferences. And the hospital were great, they really just left us to it.
After about an hour and a half while I was standing up my waters broke. My husband and I both heard the pop! Like a balloon! He went to tell the midwife and they then asked to examine me again. With no bed in the room I had to get down onto the mat on the floor!! I had my most uncomfortable tightenings in that position. How anyone labours laid on a bed or sitting I'll never know!
A new midwife then took over our care and asked if I'd considered a water birth. I'd always thought the idea of sitting in a bath for hours in my own juices didn't sound like fun, but in the spur of the moment I decided to give it a try. She got me a wheelchair which I took one look at and said "I'm not getting in that, I can't sit down!" My contractions were coming one after the other, so close, but when the next ended my midwife wrapped a sheet around me and I started down the corridor as fast as I could manage. I had to stop half way to breathe through 2 very strong pushing contractions. I think my husband thought our baby was going to be born there and then! I was still managing to somehow keep relatively quiet and focused on my breathing.
When we got to the delivery suite I headed straight for the desk to lean over. And I could feel my baby's head literally right there!! She was coming! The midwife frantically made sure the bath temperature was right and in the few seconds spare at the end of that last contraction I shot across the room and got in. Wowwwwww it was like a big hug, gloriously warm like a non-bubbly hot tub!
Then next contraction her head came! I decided I was only doing one more of these and so on the next one I pushed down (and broke my silence! That was a strange long primal shriek!) and out she flew into the water!
I lifted her out of the water myself, so elated she was finally here, so relieved at the instant relief from contractions. My cord was short again as it had been for my first, but I was able to cuddle her against my tummy. We waited for the cord to turn white and then my husband did the honours. A few seconds later our daughter let out a shriek of "hello!" Simon and I looked at each other and laughed "eek we've got a loud one here!"
I got out of the bath while the midwife did her initial checks and a bed was brought in that I could lay on to rest with my baby. I held her to my breast and she latched on straight away. I know its an inbuilt reflex but its still so amazing how she knew exactly what to do (my first child was not such a natural) and she fed for about an hour! It was so lovely to know I'd begun my next breastfeeding journey.
I agreed to have the injection to help along my placenta (as I'd had a retained placenta with my first born) and whilst cuddling our baby some gentle tightenings restarted, a little guidance from the midwife and it came. More relief!
I was given the option of a couple of stitches for a small tear, which I accepted and that was done very quickly under a local anaesthetic injection.
By this point our baby was sleeping. So we then spent some lovely time alone, watching and cuddling her, discussing names, although realising we'd have to go back to the drawing board as none on our list suited her! Our midwife returned wanting to give her the vitamin K injection but I felt too mean doing it whilst she slept so asked to wait til she woke.
My husband had skin to skin while I felt good enough to have a shower and put some clothes on. It all felt so relaxed and peaceful.
Born at 13:55 we left the hospital at 19:30 and were home in time for our son to meet his new sister before bedtime, have a cuddle and exchange their little gifts to each other.
Esme Rose was named a couple of days later.
And that's how our 3 became 4!