I was 1cm dilated, but I really didn’t feel disheartened.

Thank you to Sarah for sharing her lovely birth story with us! Sarah is a yoga teacher (from Yoga Sair)  who prepared for birth with TCBS Instructor Shona Baxter from Empowered Hypnobirthing based in Northumberland, Newcastle (UK)

“On Saturday 16th February, my husband and I had a lovely evening at home watching Bohemian Rhapsody, singing along to the Queen songs. I was sat on my birthing ball (‘rotate to dilate’ I’d been told!) Dean was sat behind me giving me back massages and cuddles. We were getting that oxytocin flowing!

At 1:30am Sunday, I woke up with cramping pains in my lower abdomen, lasting about 45 seconds. I was 3 days over my estimated due date so instantly I thought, ooh is this the beginning of it!! I knew labour could take some time with it being my first baby so I managed to fall back asleep again between each contraction.
When it got to 6:30am I got up and went downstairs to sit back on my birthing ball to try and speed things up a bit. By midday they were coming every 10mins. So we took Kali out for a brisk walk along the seafront then had fish and chips for our lunch. Everything was very bearable and I felt very calm and relaxed. We had clary sage in an oil diffuser and I kept upright and active all day.

By 10pm that evening my contractions were getting stronger and they were coming every 4 minutes and lasting 60seconds. I was starting to feel tired and ready for a lie down but didn’t want to slow things down. Dean and I decided to go into the birthing centre to check how far along things were. I was 1cm dilated, but I really didn’t feel disheartened. I knew then it was ok for me to go home and try to rest as much as possible.

Monday morning I got up and paced around the house, walked sideways up and down the stairs got the clary sage back on and watched a lot of funny films! By 10pm that evening the contractions were getting a lot stronger and were coming every 3 minutes. I had my TENS machine on and focussed on the breathing techniques I’d learnt through hypnobirthing.

We went back up to the birthing centre that night, this time I was 2cm dilated. The midwife wanted to keep me in for four hours this time as my contractions were coming so regularly and were quite strong, she thought I would start to dilate quickly from this point… 4 hours later and I was still 2cm dilated. Back home we went!

When I got home I started uncontrollably shaking and started to doubt myself. I felt exhausted and didn’t know how long I could keep going. I vomited A LOT, then I managed to pull myself back round. I focused on my breath, told myself my positive affirmations ‘each contraction is bringing me closer to meeting my baby’ and ‘the contractions are not stronger than me because they are me’ I sat up in bed with a neck pillow on so I could relax my head in between each contraction (still coming every 3 minutes)

At about 9am I went into the bath and put my relaxation mp3 on. My contractions were very intense by this point. I struggled to stand up out of the bath afterwards and my full focus was on my breathing techniques. I knew I needed to go into the birthing centre now.
Finally, I was 4cm dilated and we were admitted to our suite, wahoo! I continued to focus on my breath, had my tens machine on, kept upright and active and told myself during each contraction ‘I can do anything for 90 seconds’ This really helped me get through each one.
Things started moving pretty quickly from here, I was ready to get into the birthing pool and try the gas and air. I lay back to float with the neck pillow round my head keeping it out the water (this neck pillow was a godsend) and Dean was behind me, out of the water giving me sips of water and lucozade telling me how well I was doing.

Just two hours later, at 14:46 Tuesday 19th February, our beautiful baby boy Franklin was born! He came into the world very calm and content, his heart rate hadn’t altered once throughout the whole labour and amazingly he latched on to breastfeed very quickly. Considering we were prepared for him to have a cleft palate and for him not be able to breastfeed this was the absolute icing on the best cake ever!

I have never felt love and happiness like it. The best feeling in the world!!!

I genuinely felt proud of myself for how I managed throughout the labour and birth. The skills we had learnt through our hypnobirthing course and daily practice were invaluable in helping us achieve the positive calm birth we hoped for. Feeling in control, keeping a positive mindset, listening to my body and focussing on my breath were the exact tools I needed.

If you have any worries about labour and giving birth, I highly recommend giving hypnobirthing a go. Dean and I can’t thank Shona enough for the skills she taught us.”

If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!

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