We received this birth story from Liz, one of The Calm Birth School instructors. Here is Harper Rose’s Birth Story:
“Harper was one week, one day overdue when I went into labour on Saturday 28th January and since week 38 I’d been researching every natural induction method possible to find a way of kick-starting my labour. I’d tried everything (except dates!). I was booked in to birth at my local Midwife Led Unit and endeavoured to have a natural birth. Without Hypnobirthing Harper’s birth, could have gone several different ways as the events unfolded after the three days following 28th January. That week I’d had two sweeps and both were unsuccessful. I focused on visualisation and affirmations to help me stay positive.
At 1:50am on 28th January I woke to what I now know were early labour surges. I didn’t expect to be in early labour but in hindsight I don’t know how I thought it would just be trapped wind! For every hour from 1:50am I woke and at 7:00am this changed frequency to every half hour. That afternoon my husband, Craig and I went out to keep busy. At 5:00pm I chose to have a nice long candlelit bath whilst listening to my TCBS MP3s and surge breathing. It was lovely and just what I needed. Craig and my Mum tag teamed for a few hours, talking me through my breathing and secretly timing my surges. Once they were fairly intense and at 3 minutes apart Craig suggested we go to the unit if I wanted just to see where things were up to. I agreed and after an hour or so there we came home. Although I was only 1cm dilated at this point Craig and my Mum both remained positive and supportive. The midwife reassured me that my cervix was extremely soft and it was now a matter of being patient and getting through these latent stages of labour, once I was again having more frequent and regular surges I could go back to the unit.
I spent the next 15 hours watching Gavin and Stacey, eating to try, and keep my energy levels up, napping between surges, drinking Lucozade, having showers to keep as active as possible and bouncing on my birthing ball. The sensations were not what I expected as I was having the highest intensity in my back so light touch massage wasn’t quite working to soothe this. Craig was doing his best to follow what we’d learnt in our Hypnobirthing sessions including cuddling me, breathing with me, keeping me positive and reminding me of my birth choices when I started to doubt myself. After 48 hours since my sensations began, I chose to go back to Netherbrook for a second time, the feeling in my back had turned into ‘pain’ as well as the surge sensations I was feeling in my tummy. I needed to find out why my back was in this way as I’d previously been told that baby was back to back but had successfully turned around!
On arriving at Netherbrook I was examined and was 4cm dilated but baby was again in the back to back position, hence the unfortunate pain I was now feeling. We discussed my birth preferences with a lovely midwife who was extremely supportive and I chose to remain at the unit in the bath to see how things would progress. I agreed to a 2nd examination at 6am and I had progressed to 6cm which is when the midwife said I could use the pool now if I wished. I was exhausted and had I known that getting into the pool would cause my surges to slow I wouldn’t have agreed to it. I was so relaxed in the pool and falling asleep between surges which unfortunately caused my body to relax too much.
After a discussion with the midwife and Craig I chose to become more mobile again. I used the birthing ball and Cub to find any position that was comfortable. My MP3s were constantly playing in the background on a loop and my breathing had become a natural part of the process. I think all the practicing I had done had really helped and the midwives couldn’t believe that I was remaining so calm and quiet without pain relief. Unfortunately, after two hours I had only dilated another centimetre and the midwife informed me I’d need to be taken to the nearest hospital, Heartlands.
It was at this point that I suddenly changed my thinking. Looking back, I don’t know what came over me but at the time I was tired, uncomfortable, and just wanted to meet my baby! I’d come so far and at 7cm I wasn’t allowed to stay at Netherbrook or have the water birth I wanted all along. At the time, everything just seemed such a waste and I can’t believe I let my mind get the better of me. The midwife was discussing my options with me and suggested that I might need to reconsider my birth preferences and decision of pain relief, she mentioned that I might have a narrow pelvis and therefore a C-section was highly likely. All of these things changed my way of thinking and I weakened due to exhaustion and simply being fed up.
I arrived at Heartlands by blue lighted ambulance with Craig and my Mum following on in our car. I was greeted by the most amazing midwife, she was so warm and welcoming, and even though I said that there was no point in following my birth plan anymore (stubbornness had hit!) she insisted that my Solihull midwife passed over all of this information so she was aware. A doctor came in to speak to me and tell me some of my pain relief options, at this point it was either Epidural or Pethidine. I was thought to be too far for Pethidine so they took my bloods with the intention I could have an epidural as I’d requested (!). I couldn’t understand why my surges weren’t stopping – I now had the mindset I was having an epidural and potential caesarean, I didn’t need the surges anymore!
It was at this point (7cm+) I found gas and air to be my best friend. After a bit of monitoring and a final examination my midwife told me I was 9cm almost 10cm. She also explained that she knew I had a tough few hours with the transfer but it was now time to revert back to my birth plan and back to my calm breathing and thinking. I might not be giving birth in a pool like I’d always wanted but I was going to be giving birth to my baby in the next hour and a half, without pain relief or intervention, what I’d wanted all along.
I spent the next half hour calm breathing and surge breathing when I finally began to feel the need to bear down and meet my baby. My Mum and Craig were amazing, taking me through each surge and helping me breathe with my body. After 45 minutes my baby daughter, Harper Rose made her entrance into the world and onto my chest. It was the most amazing and memorable feeling ever!
The next hour or two that followed Harper’s birth I experienced some special circumstances but thanks to Hypnobirthing I maintained composure and remained very calm to understand what was going on and what the doctors had to do.
I think Hypnobirthing allowed me to remain calm throughout my labour and got me back on the right track even when my birth started to take a negative turn. I had the most amazing birthing partners who were very aware of the experience I wanted. Without Craig I wouldn’t have been able to remain as calm as I did throughout and his constant reminders of positive words and affirmations were lifesavers at the times I was struggling.
Our baby is so content and I put every bit of that down to how calm my birth was. Her heart rate and movements remained consistent throughout, so she was a very happy baby for all three days! I wanted a water birth and now I will never have one due to being high risk but at least I got to try it out during my labour! Water was my lifesaver and pain relief from start to finish, and Harper loves a bath which I’m sure has something to do with this and all the swimming I did!”
If you’re based in Solihull and looking for in person classes please check out Liz’s page Enhance Your Birth and if you’re unable to make the classes, remember we have you covered with our video course. Try before you buy with our free classes here