This week’s birth story comes from the gorgeous couple who attended a TCBS Face to Face Hypnobirthing Pregnancy Course with Atosa Stedman of Kent Hypnobirthing. Atosa also went on to be this couples Doula.
Thank you for sharing amazing birth of Lucas with us!
“I started researching about hypnobirthing after seeing an ad describing labour as ‘pleasurable’. As most of us, I would have never put these 2 words together so, although quite sceptical, I was intrigued as to what was on offer.
Given that my partner’s attention span on an online training was questionable and I wanted her to fully participate on this course, I found Atosa when looking for a face-to-face course. The course was revealing for both my partner and me. We felt inspired by the information received and by Atosa herself, her calmed approach to birth and her support throughout pregnancy (to the point that we asked her to be our doula) and empowered by the very nature of women fundamentally capable of giving birth to another human being.
As labour approached, I felt very relaxed, sleeping through the night and wondering how I would meet the most special person that had been growing inside me; although I could not entirely forget my ‘due date’ and felt fearful at times of being pressured to have an induction. At my appointment at 39 weeks, I agreed with my midwife to have a sweep booked for 40 + 6.
In the meantime, I focused on boosting my oxytocin levels by going for sunny walks with my dog and enjoying a coffee in the high street, booking massages, going to the pool, cuddling with my partner, reading enjoyable books (and re-reading my hypnobirthing book) and watching Netflix whilst resting. I felt in shape and ready for labour and I was excited when I saw spotting at 39 + 3 thinking that it could be my mucus plug. I started feeling a bit disappointed when on the days after labour had not yet begun.
I was 40 + 2 on a Sunday in a lovely and sunny walk (Lucas was born on a very sunny and hot start of summer) with my partner and my dog when I started feeling some cramps-like sensations, very mild, but very regular, every 20 minutes approximately. I knew things were then starting. I had a mocha coffee in the warmth of the sunshine just excited and happy at the idea of meeting my baby soon. We then drove to a Mexican restaurant and bought a naked burrito that we ate in our garden and drove to antenatal yoga after that, where I shared with my classmates that I thought I was in early labour.
Sensations kept being 20 minutes apart but slightly stronger, certainly more noticeable, by the evening. We knew things were moving and thought we would meet our baby on the following day, so we decided to set the living room up for early labour. My partner helped me hanging up my affirmations and the candles; we put the diffuser on, and I watched the TV comedy ‘motherland’ whilst jumping on the pregnancy ball. Clara prepared her work handover getting ready for her parental leave to start.
When she went to bed I was still moving between the ball and the sofa. I tried to sleep but the sensations- and the excitement- were strong enough to keep me awake so I could not sleep for more than 20 minutes at the time.
The day after went by in the living room: watching a new TV show, reading my affirmations, doing some yoga positions and tracking my sensations in the hope of achieving the 3 sensations within a 10-minute period we needed to start the active phase of labour. As hours passed contractions were certainly intense but still far apart reaching the 8 – 10 minutes gap by the night. I was enjoying them. In each of them I focused on breathing as I had learnt on my hypnobirthing course while seeing myself in a quiet sea and the sun shining in front of me. I saw myself swimming towards the sun whilst my mum and grandmother- whom I lost some years ago and whom I had consistently remembered during my whole pregnancy hoping to replicate the feelings of love and safety I received from them – were guiding me to move towards that sun. Getting a bit disheartened when night came, and my sensations were not close enough I remembered using my headphones and listening to my birth playlist whilst going up and down the stairs and Clara had fallen asleep on the sofa.
A second night went by with no sleep. I was starting to feel the tiredness, but my excitement was intact.
A full third day passed with intense sensations until I finally reached the 3 contractions in 10 minutes, and I called the birth place and let our doula, Atosa, know. The best part was finally starting! I was 4 cm when I got to the birth place at 7pm on a Tuesday. I was 40 + 4 by then.
I was given a very nice room with a pool. Our doula joined us and helped preparing the environment, deem the lights, play music. Sensations were at this point stronger but bearable. Baby was back to back which made them more intense on my back and both Clara and Atosa helped it by applying some pressure on each sensation. At this point I was also using gas and air. My midwife was respectful of our birth plan and came to check on baby’s heartbeat as agreed and check my progress, as I requested.
I was listening to our doula’s relaxation affirmations. I was going through labour with Clara, as a team. I was feeling strong.
As my third sleepless night went on exhaustion started to take a toll on me. Still, I was encouraged by Clara, Atosa and the midwife to keep going so I found strength to keep on.
At 8 cm, just before 8am on the Wednesday, I was invited to use the pool. Although I was dubious as I had managed all my sensations standing against a wall (the same wall, same spot) I was not sure whether I could manage a different position. Still, I went into the pool because I loved the idea of a water baby. To my surprise, the pool slowed down my sensations drastically, which felt like a very pleasing break, but interfered with the progress of labour.
When I was invited out of the pool, I found out that I was dilating more on one side of my cervix. Lucas’ head wasn’t fully centred, and midwife recommended to break my waters to use the weight of his head pressing on my cervix to help with dilation to which I agreed.
By approximately midday I reached full dilation. I needed some sleep and a break. My memories at that time are confusing. Sensations were similar to what I had experienced until then, however, I thought I needed another kind of power to breathe my baby down. I was exhausted and started to doubt myself, felt like losing the control I had had over the whole experience.
I breathed down and pushed but after a few attempts our midwife confirmed Lucas’ head was not descending and advised doctor assessment to which again I agreed. I had put all my energy, trusted my body and trusted my baby and my baby was then directing his own birth towards his own direction.
I was connected to a monitor and examined by some doctors. They mentioned oxytocin induction and/or assisted delivery. I remember discussing with my doula and Clara my preference towards assisted vaginal delivery and passing these wishes onto the doctors which at the time I thought were taking it into account. I later found out that the fact that they saw my contractions being already strong would have contributed towards their plan of assisted delivery.
I especially remember using the safe place visualisations which I learnt on the course, here – I thought of my bedroom as a child in my grandma’s home to help me to feel safe.
At 15:56 on Wednesday at 40 + 5 Lucas was born. Having my baby on top of me was the most magical moment I had experienced in my whole life.
Not having the birth, I was ready for felt somehow disappointing, but I know that my body and my baby directed the whole show until the end. This was OUR WAY. We went through all of it TOGETHER, strong, empowered. I enjoyed and sailed my sensations. We navigated together the eventualities we faced. We went together through sun and storm. I accepted the unexpected turns and made the decisions we needed to make for me and my baby. Overall, we had a very intense and beautiful experience.
None of this would have been achieved without my breathing techniques, affirmations, visualizations and the total certitude that my body would guide me through the whole process.
I would (and I am) recommend hypnobirthing to every pregnant woman”.
If you want to create your own positive birth, you can start today!