My first sign of labour was a show on Saturday (Jan 3rd) evening and more Sunday (4th) morning which was followed by a trickle or leak of waters around 11am. I was slightly anxious that my contractions, or surges as we call them in Hypnobirthing, hadn’t yet started so I took a long walk in the park with my husband and son. The regular tightenings to my relief became mild surges from around 6pm. I kept busy, sent my son for a play date so I could tidy and focus and nest really. I made a cake for the midwives – got to look after our midwives! My husband Dom got the pool ready as we had chosen to birth at home. I finally called the midwives from the home birth team around 9.30pm, mainly because Dom was noting that the surges were regular, 2 in 10 minutes lasting up to a minute which is when they said to call and they had been for a while so he was slightly anxious I wasn’t calling yet. I felt calm and relaxed and that there was plenty of time but told him he could call and they were with us before 10pm.
My position of choice was to sit upright on the edge of the armchair after trying various things, surges were coming frequently and Dom, myself and my two midwives sat chatting between them with some relaxing music in the background and light from the Christmas tree and fairy lights around the room, it was a very relaxing atmosphere. I was just relaxing and breathing calmly with each surge. At some point, I went to the toilet and the surges immediately picked up. When I returned to the room I leant over the armchair with my upper body and head relaxing on the chair, closed my eyes and began to really focus. Something had changed. I asked Dom to put on my hypnobirthing track and breathed calmly and silently through each surge, listening to the affirmations and visualising my muscles working upwards and my cervix dilating. Dom was massaging and putting pressure on the small of my back which felt lovely. I could occasionally hear affirmations from the midwives also and some light touch massage on my back.
Sometime later I could feel that I was in transition as I began to feel pressure bearing down and I was getting lower and lower to the floor. I felt a real hot flush and stripped off and then my waters broke fully. I heard my midwife comment that you know we’re close when the clothes start coming off! The midwife asked if I would like to get in the pool, I was so focussed where I was that I’m grateful she did! They helped me into the pool just after midnight and it felt absolutely fantastic. A wave of relaxation came over me and the warm water felt heavenly. I resumed my position without any conscious thought, now leaning over the edge of the pool and in to the second stage of labour.
I was surprised by the pressure of the second stage but remained calm and relaxed just breathing and welcoming each surge. I felt an overwhelming and involuntary urge to push and bear down but told myself to control it and each time I felt the stretch a little bit too far I would stop and breathe. I was still talking to husband Dom between these surges, telling him how it felt, holding his hand and having an occasional laugh and kiss. He would whisper affirmations to me from the hypnobirthing CD I’ve subjected him to at bedtime for all these months and the midwives also assured me with affirming words and progress, watching with a mirror in the pool.
Eventually, we hit the point of no return; her head was coming through very slowly and very controlled as I silently breathed her down until her head was fully out. With the next surge, slowly the rest of her body emerged and I gently guided her up to the surface and into my arms at 1.05am. With a large smile, I simply said “that was amazing!” and it was. I couldn’t believe I’d done it.
I did not have one internal examination during labour and the midwives were completely hands off aside from essential monitoring which was always very quiet, respectful and unobtrusive. My labour was recorded as 2hrs35mins decided just by watching me and using the purple line for assessing dilation. Their support and presence was invaluable. It was powerful and intense but I had no pain relief whatsoever and it never crossed my mind to ask for any as there was absolutely no pain. A deep breath was the most sound I made.
Just after I had been checked over and made comfortable, our 4 year old son Noah had woken (Dom’s parents had returned him asleep to us earlier that evening) and sleepily came through to the living room to find us and got to sit with us and have tea and cake and meet his new baby sister. It was perfect.
The birth of my daughter couldn’t have been a more positive experience in any way. I completely attribute it to being at home and so relaxed in my own environment, hypnobirthing, educating myself about birth and surrounding myself with positive birth – groups, people, stories. And of course my wonderful wonderful husband and midwives. It was truly a healing birth that couldn’t have been further away from the birth of my son in 2010 which was long and intervention heavy – waters broken, epidural, on my back, legs in stirrups, forced pushing, ventouse and episiotomy. A long healing process both physically and mentally.
I would love to travel back in time and tell that woman that she was strong enough.
Additionally, we had experienced a mid-trimester loss between our births and struggled to conceive Robyn following subsequent recurrent miscarriage and linked illness.
The fear release Hypnobirthing methods helped me to stay positive throughout her pregnancy and release any concerns.
Baby Robyn Olivia Miles
Born at home at 1.05am Monday 5th January
7lbs120z / 3.5kg