This week’s birth story comes from the gorgeous Georgina Forsyth one of our very own Hypnobirthing Instructors from SONO Mum covering Aberdeenshire.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with is!
Hypnobirthing has given me the strength and tools to birth my way!
I hope my birth story gives support and helps normalise birth as the wonderful, natural event that it is!
I hope in the future all birthing people will be able to have their ‘best birth’.
Without fear, without coercion and with knowledge, support and love ?
Birth is safe! Birth is beautiful!
Magnus William Roy Forsyth Holland
1st May 2020 – 17.24 – 9 lbs 2 oz
?Born at home, surrounded by love and family.?
What a strange time to have a baby!
Covid 19 (the Corona virus) lockdown began in my 37th week of pregnancy. We had had our last midwife visit on the 20th March, this was our homebirth visit. My midwife could not have been more understanding and patient, but I was quite emotional as Homebirth teams were closing across the country and it was so important for me to stay at home (this would be my 2nd Hypnobirth homebirth, 3rd baby). The trauma of my 1st birth was, and is still, very real for me and hospital was become a real choice in our birth decisions.
The next few weeks were a grieving process. I was grieving my family missing the birth (my mum and dad had been there for my 1st homebirth and it was very sad to think they wouldn’t be there again), I was grieving my loss of control and grieving normal life! I had to start changing my perspective and began preparing for a number of different outcomes. Visualisation is a wonderful hypnobirthing tool that I used to relax and to prepare for different events/meetings/unknown possibilities (I use visualisation all the time, sometimes without even knowing it.) As the possibility of a hospital birth was becoming increasingly likely I started visualised a hospital birth, both midwife lead and obstetric (labour ward). This was difficult for me, but I felt it was so important to understand my reactions, both physically and emotionally. I would visualise walking through the hospital doors and how I felt about that, how my mind and body might react. I visualised being in the different units and what I would bring with me to make me feel comfortable, safe and loved. I packed a hospital bag! Something I had only done half-heartedly last time, but this time I gave it some positive energy, really thinking about what I would need and what would make me comfortable in a hospital environment. I re-examined my birth plan to see if I needed to change anything in the event of a hospital birth. This was all very therapeutic!
It became quite clear to both myself and my partner that I did not want to go into hospital. So, we started looking at having an unassisted birth (no midwives present if the homebirth team was cancelled). Even though this was not my 1st choice researching, reading unassisted birth stories and visualising gave me back my confidence in myself, my body and my baby. I knew I was able to birth my baby. I know birth is safe. I knew the best place for me, and my baby was in my own home. My partners new affirmation became “We are having a homebirth”.
I could not control whether NHS Grampian stopped homebirths, but I could control MY choices. Thank fully, homebirths in Grampian continued. A huge, massive thank you to the wonderful NHS Grampian and the homebirth team for keeping Homebirths operating. They are such an important part of the birth experience for some families.
Lockdown came, we started a week early as my partner had been in contact with someone recently back from Venice and I didn’t think taking my 2-year-old to playgroups was a good idea. Schools closed the following week (30th March) and at the same time my partner was furloughed. With all these strange, uncertain turn of events it worked out really well for us. We had time (something we are always chasing) together. Time to home school, time to play, time to talk, time to relax, time to connect as a family before the new baby arrived. We decided to decline any further midwife visits, I had also declined induction. (my community midwife, Nik Berry, was very understanding of our wishes and we agreed she would phone me weekly to check in). I was confident and happy with myself and with babies’ movements. If we were self-isolating it seemed unnecessary for us to have people come into our home.
Fast forward to 41 weeks plus 1 day and things started happening. I started feeling twinges on the Thursday evening, which continued sporadically through the night. Friday morning, 1st May 2020 (41 weeks plus 2 days), we got up as usual. Had breakfast, got my eldest started with a little schoolwork and started getting our space ready. I was still having twinges but they were really manageable and I was convinced this was just a practice run. Myself and my 2 yr old went for a bath! This was so funny, boosting my endorphins and oxytocin. I was huge and there was barely enough room for me in the bath, let alone 2 of us!
I was starting to get fidgety around 11 am, so we all went out for our daily walk. Thinking back this was when things started to steady out. I was having manageable surges throughout my walk. One minute I would be walking along chatting with the kids or Stu and the next I was head down in my own world. When a surge began, I would go straight into my birth body. I would focus on the sensations, using my breathing to relax and just enjoy the surge, ride the wave. They were quite consistent now, we had been timing them and thinking back It was obvious I was in early active childbirth, but I still had doubt this was actually “IT”. We got home, had lunch, Stu put Florence out 2 yr old for a nap, our eldest went to do a little light schoolwork and we put the pool up, lit the candles, got the lavender scent going (this just relaxes me in an instant), closed the curtains. I was uncomfortable in most positions except standing and walking. When I sat down, even on the birth ball, I could feel something bulging below. I gently walked around, until about 2.30 when I knew I wanted the water. Our 2 yr old was up now and her and I entered the pool together. Water is amazing! It has an instant calming, relaxing effect, even with a 2 year old trying to swim. We got some great pictures and had a lovely laugh (boosting great hormones). I kicked her out (her and big sister went to watch movies) and we called the midwives to say things were happening.
About 2.45/3pm ish my community midwife, Nik Berry, popped her head around my living room door. I was totally zoned out, relaxed and probably would have cried if I had not been. It was lovely to see a familiar face. Lovely to have continuity of care. She took my blood pressure, temperature and checked baby’s position and heartbeat, with my permission. All fab and in correct order. His bum had been wiggling in my face for the past 4-5 weeks. He was definitely head down and ready! She had read my birth plan before even arriving (I had made clear I did not want any vaginal examinations and for midwives to be hands off. All requests required my permission) and we had it pinned to the wall as well, so she just left me alone. The 2nd midwife Sheila Rafferty, arrived soon after.
I then had a lovely, chilled out afternoon in a big, warm bath with 2 midwives watching (a bit of a strange situation but lovely). In my 1st homebirth I was totally zoned out the wholetime, I barely noticed anybody in the room. I was completely in the zone. This time was different, I could come in and out of the zone and chat and laugh with the midwives. I was more aware of my surrounding (possibly I was more alert than the first time, as my mum and dad were not there to support me and the other children). With every surge I would breathe deeply into my belly and I would also use all my relaxation techniques, this would allow me to go really deep within a few seconds. My partner was so much of an anchor that every time he squeezed my shoulder I just melted into deep relaxation; it was bliss!
The surges were really manageable and then, it must have been about 5 pm, the feeling changed. I remember having 2 very strong full muscle surges. I could feel every muscle of my uterus working. The top muscles were pushing down as the latera muscles were squishing to move baby even further down, it was an amazing feeling. I came out of a surge and said to the midwives with such excitement and amazement what I was feeling. Our bodies are amazing, and I feel so lucky to have been able to experience the power and natural ability of my own body.
After these 2 powerful surges my waters popped with great sound effects. POP! This I am accurately told was at 5.11 pm. Nik mentioned there was meconium in the waters but there was no urgency or concern. I thank her for this as sometimes the presence of meconium (even the word) can spark fear. The next surge was very powerful. I had to move from the reclining position I was in, to a kneeling/squatting position at the side of the pool. The following surge was strong and so powerful it moved baby right down and I began to sing! I read in Ina May’s ‘Guide to Childbirth’ that she encouraged a woman to sing to help relax her jaw and neck muscles and in turn her cervix. I love singing and it felt right. I remember saying how uncomfortable it was to have this pressure and then another powerful surge came, and the head was born. Oh the relief, the excitement! This is the first time I have experience a head being born. My last birth, my daughter came out in one go and I don’t remember my 1st. It was soooooo exciting. I was giddy and could have jumped for joy if I didn’t have a baby’s body coming out of me. The surge of hormones was evident. One more powerful surge and my beautiful boy swam into my arms. It was so amazing to see him. He was perfect, so new and completely covered in vernix (waxy or cheese-like white substance found coating the skin of newborn human babies.) He was born at 5.24, the last stage took 13 minutes!
The next part was a calm craziness. I told Stu to go and get the girls, they had heard me singing and come down about 5 mins before but left. With them there I then needed to speak to my family. We whatsapped my Mum, Dad, Sister and other family, it was wonderful to share it with all of them.
We stayed in the pool for 45 min or so, baby nuzzling at the breast. After the placenta was born the water was really dirty so time to get out. Millie (my 11 yr old daughter) cut the cord and out we came. The midwives were so amazing and supportive in this time. They made me a wee nest on the sofa (covering it with waterproof covers), I consented to a vaginal examination (small graze) and the wee man and I cuddled. I really wanted a shower, so Nik helped me up to the shower and I got my PJ’s on. Stu was having skin to skin with Magnus in this time and his big sisters were getting to know him. We then came back down and had our first breastfeed. Breastfeeding has always been a challenge for me, and I was nervous, but Magnus knew what he was doing, and I used my Hypnobirthing skills to remain relaxed and calm. Stu put Florence to bed and the midwives, and I chatted for a little while until they left about 8 pm. If I had needed them, they would have stayed longer. We then had a pizza and went to bed. It was just wonderful.
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!