I’d had my heart set on a home birth since pretty early on in my pregnancy, due to a number of reasons I was having extra monitoring and regular scans and appointments and so always felt trips to the hospital were very clinical and created a certain level of stress which I was keen to avoid when I went into labour.
At 34 weeks my labour was still progressing as low risk and I was able to book in with the home birth team. I started to plan for a water birth and booked a pool to be delivered a day after I was 37 weeks (the earliest you can labour at home)
I was booked for a presentation scan by the homebirth team at 37 weeks just to check the baby was in a head down position and then we we’re good to go and wait for baby’s arrival.
So my 37 week scan came and as I assumed it would just be a quick check on baby’s position I went on my own. As the sonographer was running late a midwife in the department said she would scan me to save me waiting. As she started scanning me she said she wanted to do a growth scan as baby’s measurements didn’t look quite right. As I had been having regular growth scans she compared babies measurements to my 35 week scan and said there had been minimal growth, as I was 37 weeks and classed as full term she said that I needed to stay and the safest option for baby was to induce me that night.
I was completely thrown and in shock, the idea of birthing in hospital filled me with dread let alone the idea of an induction which terrified me that it would create a long, painful and difficult labour.
I wanted to birth baby with as little intervention as possible using the techniques we had learnt through our wise hippo classes and this felt like it would now be impossible.
After lots of tears and long a discuss with a consultant I agreed to the induction and left the hospital to return home and pack a bag. I was back ready to be admitted to an antenatal ward within a couple of hours.
The induction process was started at 10pm on Thursday 30 August with a hormone pessary that was hoped would induce labour naturally while I waited for a bed to become available on the labour ward.
Because of the hynobirthing classes I was aware of the importance of oxytocin and that letting the situation keep me stressed would only fuel adrenaline and hinder my labour. My husband and I chatted about how upsetting it was that my original plan had changed but I could still have a good birth if we changed our mindset and embraced the situation, and that ultimately the most important thing was the safe arrival of our little girl. Using the breathing and relaxation techniques we had learnt that’s exactly what we did, I listened to the relaxation mps, practiced my breathing and became excited at the thought of soon meeting my baby.
After 30 hours the pessary was removed as it had not induced my body to go in to labour naturally and we just waited for a bed to become available on the labour ward so I could be induced with the pitocin dip.
At 11am on Saturday 1 September a bed became available and I was taken down to start the induction process. I was keen to keep the environment calm and relaxing and so we decorated the room with tea lights, set up a speaker to play my own music and even used room spray that I used at home to mask to clinical smell.
The drip was started at 12pm and as I sat on a birth ball I closed my eyes and listened to the sea of serenity mp3. I breathed through each surge using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 count. The intensity of the surges built quite quickly and along with the breathing I used gas and air to manage the pain. It really helped me to visualise the surges as waves as I breathed through them and blew them away.
It was amazing to have my husband encouraging me and using positive affirmations and massage.
I stayed up right the whole time either on a birth ball or kneeing over the side of the bed, remembering the importance of letting gravity help to bring baby down.
I wasn’t perfectly in the zone the whole time and a couple of times the intensity of the surges got the better of me and I was quite vocal, but each time my husband and amazing midwife were able to bring my focus back by encouraging me to breathe.
By the time I was fully dilated I was exhausted and I did have some help and coaching from my midwife to birth baby in the final stages, but on the day that was right for me.
At 17.14 on Saturday 1 September Oakleigh Grace was born and she was brought straight up onto my chest for some amazing skin to skin.
I’m so proud of myself to have birthed my baby with just gas and air using the techniques hynobirthing had taught us. The whole labour was calm and as baby was being continually monitored I knew her heart rate stayed steady and she was calm. I think this calming environment really is a reason she’s still a really calm baby.
I truly believe that without the amazing techniques that Sarah taught us I would not of been able to of had such a perfect birth in such a unplanned situation.
Hynobirthing really is a game changer it gave me the confidence to trust that my body knew exactly what to do without the need for lots of medical intervention. I’ll be forever greatful to Sarah, Knowing that she was just a message away to answer any questions, offer advice or just to give some encouragement and reassurance is an amazing added bonus to the course.
For anyone considering a hynobirthing course I’d say definitely give it a try, it really could make a massive difference to your pregnancy and birth.