This week’s birth story comes from a lovely couple who attended a TCBS Hypnobirthing Course with Anna Owen of Rock Your Birth covering Worcestershire.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with is!
Brace yourselves; it’s a long one.
Pregnancy hadn’t been quite the glowing time I had been hoping for. The sickness started around 8 weeks and continued right through ‘til the end of the pregnancy. Hyperemesis is hard work; constant sickness, daily medication and hoping your baby isn’t going to be born resembling a chicken nugget (Birds eye chicken nuggets – top tip!)! Still, I was given the green light to have the baby in the midwife led unit and wondered when the baby would arrive and whether my ‘naughty baby’ would be late.
A week before my ‘due date’ I wasn’t sure if I had felt the baby move as much as it did normally. I had been feeling unwell and spent the morning in bed. Usually the baby was quite active so after talking to my husband Phil, I rang midwifery triage for peace of mind. I was told to make my way into the hospital for monitoring by the midwife. I was warned that I would need to be reviewed by the doctor, and that induction would probably be mentioned.
We made our way into hospital and on arrival they hooked up to a monitor to see what our naughty baby was up to. After a short time, they picked up some activity and I could feel the baby moving again. Naively I thought that would be that and I could be packed off home. Not so much. The doctor came into review us and said that due to me being 39 weeks pregnant “there was no benefit” to continuing to wait, and due to one episode of reduced foetal movement I should be induced and try to have the baby straight away. This took us by surprise. Obviously, there are no guarantees of health, and it’s up to you to make the right decision, but what if my baby wasn’t ready to come out? What if I just hadn’t noticed the movements, as I had been unwell? What if there was actually something wrong? What was the right thing to do?
Phil and I chatted it through. We listened to the medical advice, used our BRAIN acronym and decided to go home. We had an appointment the next day for another doctor review and a scan to check the baby and the umbilical cord. If I had any further episodes of reduced movement I was to call them straight away.
We went home but were now super vigilant of baby’s movements. True to form, our naughty baby was very active that night! We spoke to Anna a lot over the next few days and she sent through loads of information on inductions and positive affirmations – she went above and beyond, and it helped so much.
We went to hospital the next day, the scan went well, there were no problems that they could identify, and again I thought that we would be discharged from the doctors and sent home. Again, I was reviewed and asked about induction. We decided we would wait once more and so were told we needed to have daily monitoring at the hospital to check for movements.
Every day that week we went up to the hospital to be told the movements were fine and this gave us the reassurance that we had made the right decision and our naughty baby was happy where they were for now. Until Friday! At this scan and consultant review the midwife looked through my green notes and noticed that my bump had measured big at my last midwife appointment at 38 weeks. When she stopped everything she was doing and said “I will be right back” I knew that was probably not good news. We were taken in to see the consultant very quickly. My bump had measured bigger than the trend I had been following and I was told I should have been referred in for a growth scan, which I wasn’t, so they couldn’t be sure that I hadn’t developed gestational diabetes. Including the episode of reduced movements I now had 2 risk factors for the baby. The consultant was really lovely and gave us all the evidence. The word “still-birth” was used and suddenly everything changed. She asked me why I didn’t want an induction and she talked me through the evidence around induction. After a drink in Costa, a cry and a chat with Phil, I realised it was all about the end goal: our naughty baby being with us, and safe and well.
The midwife booked us in for an induction for two days time (due date) and performed a sweep. I was 2-3 cm dilated already. I hadn’t really noticed a lot going on, so “Amazing!” I thought. We had an appointment for a further sweep the next day.
The next day, we had a date day, we went out for a country pub lunch (last supper) and a walk before heading into the hospital. I was 3-4 cm at my sweep and the midwife said she thought the baby would be here in the next 24 hours. I was hopeful. I was getting some tightening so went home and got in a warm bath. Essential oils were in the diffuser, I was considering my positioning, we had eaten a curry, and we were trying everything. Around 9 pm the tightening started becoming really uncomfortable and were coming more frequently. We rang the midwife led Meadow Suite and were told to come in. I thought this was it – I was already 4 cm … tonight it’s happening.
I was still 3-4 cm on examination when we arrived and I was told I could go for a walk if I wanted. I asked if I could stay, I didn’t want to go home. I got in the water that night but got out again after an hour. I was struggling with the surges; I had also found out that the baby was back-to-back and so I struggled to get comfortable. Lying on my side gave me some relief and I slept on and off for a few hours overnight. We had packed ALL the snacks, but obviously I was still sick, so the midwife brought me in some dextrose tablets to keep my energy up. Thank God Phil was there! I was trying visualisation and I had my playlist on but couldn’t concentrate for long on anything, I don’t even think I had my eyes open for most of that night. He helped with my breathing and with the gas and air.
The midwife said I needed to try and go to the toilet, but I just felt I couldn’t get there and I was really uncomfortable, probably because I had a full bladder and a back-to-back baby. Eventually I made it there but couldn’t wee (poor midwife).
The night shift midwife finished to go home about 7 am and I was becoming disheartened. When was this baby coming? I caught my affirmation board and saw the picture that said I was getting closer to meeting my baby. My new day shift midwife gave me strict instructions with my gas and air use. She sat with me while Phil went to get some breakfast (he went and spoke to the midwife after I had told him he couldn’t leave me!). She supported me while Phil grabbed a coffee. I was still swaying whilst leaning onto the bath trying not to fall asleep standing up.
It was now around 11 am, I had been in hospital 14 hours (felt like 14 days) and I was now just at 7 cm, having not dilated any further from my previous examination. I felt deflated. I told Phil I needed an epidural, that I couldn’t do it any longer. He reassured me and told me I had done so well so far and I could do it for just a short time more. The midwife said that my hind-waters hadn’t yet broken and I hadn’t been to the toilet, so I lay down to have my waters broken manually and I was catheterised to pass urine. Then the party started!
This was it, I was going to meet my baby very shortly, my mentality changed, and I knew I could rock this birth!
Phil and the midwife were great. I had my affirmations going on repeat, I got into a rhythm with the gas and air and I really focused on my breathing. I got back into the water around midday on our ‘due date’. I was comfortable on my back and things seemed to be progressing. The end was in sight and the surges started becoming more and more powerful. What they say is true; instinct just took over.
Our baby was born into the water at 13.06, and exactly as on our birth plan the baby was passed to me and I was able to tell Phil our naughty baby was a little boy. We had done it. He was perfect. I will never forget being passed our baby boy and having a cuddle in the water for the first time.
At the time I really felt like I hadn’t handled labour very well. I had a lot of wobbles overnight during the labour. On reflection, that’s the beauty of doing a hypnobirthing course alongside your birth partner. Phil was fantastic and reminded me of everything Anna had taught us. He was able to remind me of all the different techniques to control my emotions and my breathing, I could respond to his prompting, and he was able to be a strong advocate and supporter for me. Without having done the course both of us would have been diving into something full of unknowns and having learned from Anna we were able to cope with everything thrown at us and remain (mostly!) calm throughout.
Thank you for all your help Anna!
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!