“Giving birth was the most incredible thing I’ve ever done!”

Thank you Kathryn for sharing your wonderful birth story with us:

“I’ve been sat on this one for too long. Since March. Sorry! It turns out babies keep you busy. Here’s my war and peace birth story. Sorry it’s a long one but it’s been cathartic writing it.

To give you a bit of background to my calm birth story, our house flooded in the UK’s Boxing Day floods. We lost everything on the ground floor and had to move in with my parents. Not ideal for a 7month first time pregnant lady. Plans for a nursery were ripped up as we started to rip up floor boards and dismantle our home. Heavy duty nesting. Due to this, I was struggling to keep it all together.

When attending an antenatal class our teacher asked us to describe how we were feeling about giving birth, I think ‘terrified’ was my response. My now good mate responded with ‘I’m really looking forward to it’. I needed some of what she was having and fast. It turned out she was having was hypnobirthing lessons. Sadly, the classes she was attending were fully booked so, now I had 5 weeks until due date and: no house, no cot, no pram, no baby gros and now no hypnobirthing. One quick google search and it was Suzy Ashworth to the rescue!

Over the next five weeks I listened my heart out; every bath, every bedtime Suzy was my soundtrack. If nothing else, it was helping me to relax about the house and I was learning to just let things be.

This was fortunate as I went 2 loong weeks overdue. After much deliberation, I decided that I would go in for induction 40+14. I had the pessary and felt very relaxed and calm while looking out of the window of the hospital listening to the monitoring of our little bean.  My waters broke an hour later and I felt very much in the right frame of mind. All I can say is ‘the best laid plans of mice and men…’ cut to an hour later and my right frame of mind had completely left me. I was panicking, frightened and the surges were coming thick and fast. I was not calm and definitely not relaxed. I did not want anyone to examine me and felt a little bit like the midwives were eye rolling at my pathetic attempts at being in labour (in hindsight this must have been in my head and probably was my inner voice crying ‘why can’t you do this?’).

I walked, with help from midwives and hubby, from the induction suite to the birthing centre. When we got to the birthing centre I did what my husband describes as ‘the dying fly’ on the floor (don’t worry, he’s been chastised for that one since). I felt out of control and scared; this was not the plan. I felt like I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to be examined to be told I was only 2cm…I didn’t want to know it was going to get much worse. So I didn’t get examined.

The midwife and student nurse gave me a paracetamol and told me we could talk properly about pain relief much later; we didn’t need to run the pool yet and that I may have to go home if the centre got busy.  I felt like I was getting little support or sympathy and I was starting to feel pissed off. There was no way I was going anywhere. I didn’t want to move at all. Then I remembered something from The Calm Birth training: I could ask them to leave. I did. I felt so much better immediately. My calm birthing started to come back to me.

I told my husband that he was going to have to talk to the midwives, make all my medical decisions and I didn’t want to know about the times of my surges or even the time of day. It was calm birthing time. I could do this.

I began my wave breathing and I gingerly got in a bath. I breathed in and out in that bath for 9 hours in silence. My husband just had to keep topping it up when I signaled. Ha. I got in the zone. I continued to be checked every half hour but I had my midwife checks (blood pressure and Doppler) in the bath, with my eyes closed, in silence.

The surges stayed at the same intensity but I now felt much more in control. It was calm; it was what I wanted. After the ninth hour, my husband was worried we were stalling (I still didn’t want to be examined) so I walked to the bed. My midwife came in and said that as I wasn’t in active labour (I still didn’t want to be examined) we shouldn’t run the birthing pool as it will be too cold when I finally did go into labour.

Her latest check found that my heart rate had gone up and my little bean’s had dropped off. It was labour ward time. I got told I could be examined in the birthing centre or in the labour ward. I chose birthing centre and asked not to be told about how far gone I was if I was under 5cm. She examined me (nowhere near as bad as I thought, not even like a smear).

To the midwife’s, mine and my husband’s surprise I was fully dilated. ‘Have you been feeling like you need to push?’ she asked…then the few times thrashing in the bath and few times needing to poo like I’d never felt before made sense! I’d been needing to push for quite some time. Ha. It turns out Hypnobirthing really does work.

The midwife had to take back the many ‘not in active labour’ comments as we were more than ready.

Looking back, I think I transitioned when I went to the bed; I was breathing in and out for much much longer: twenty+seconds in and twenty+ out – I had barely managed eight in and out when practising at home! I can’t think of how to describe it apart from I went ‘in on myself’ I just kept thinking about my baby and thinking ‘it’s me and you baby’. This somehow helped; thinking my baby and I were working together, just the two of us. It put me in an even stronger frame of mind.

When we got to the labour ward it was all systems go with no time for pain relief. I think I managed one puff of gas and air before it was taken off me as I needed to be ready to push. Things happened very fast but I felt calm and in control.

According to my husband I went uber polite and apparently kept saying thank you to everyone who entered the room and there were lots of people. My husband, lucky man, then had to then answer yes to an episiotomy, forceps and a possible emergency C-section (if the baby wasn’t out in the next minute). I felt no fear and no pain (think the transition took me to a different place to be honest) and trusted in my body, my husband, my baby and the team of professionals around me. I was birthing and IT WAS CALM!

Thankfully, my beautiful baby boy entered the world by forceps within the next minute. Fourteen hours after my waters had broken, Harry Stanley Grice arrived weighing a whopping 9lb 9oz. He was and still is absolutely beautiful.

He had had the cord wrapped around his neck, hence the labour ward and all hands on deck. He cried, I said ‘Mummy’s here’ and he settled on me straight away. Love.

I’ve never been more proud of anything I’ve done in my life. My husband cried and I assumed it was for Harry’s arrival but he told me it was for me and for how amazing I’d been. It was one of the most romantic things he has ever said to me. I truly did feel amazing and then romanced and loved up times a million.

Giving birth was the most incredible thing I’ve ever done; I’m so proud of how Harry came into the world and I have a whole new found respect for both my body and my mind. Women are incredibly powerful creatures and I feel blessed to have gone through that experience. I can’t thank Suzy and the calm birth school enough. When it’s baby number two time: I’ll be back! I just might get the midwife to examine me a bit sooner!

Good luck to you all. Even if all your practice flies out of the window, you have the power to make it all fly back in again. You can do it. Big love Xxx”

To see how you can create your own calm birth please sign up here: www.thecalmbirthschool.com/freehypnobirthing-2016


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