“The midwife said my birth plan was the nicest she had ever read”
This week’s story comes from Natalie Ford, who attended a hypnobirthing course with Jennifer Scholes from Empowered Bumps Hypnobirthing . Jennifer teaches in Merseyside, North Cheshire, and South Lancashire (UK).
“I picked up Charlie, my partner, from Liverpool airport on Sunday night after he was delayed getting back from Ireland. It was such a relief! I knew at that point he would be there for the arrival of baby Ford, whenever he or she decided to make an appearance. It was my due date the following day, Monday 18th September and Charlie would be around for the following three weeks.
Monday morning, the two of us sat in the kitchen enjoying breakfast trying to guess when baby Ford would decide to come into the world. I think I said Wednesday and Charlie said Friday! At that point, I wanted baby Ford to arrive as early as possible to give us as much time together as a family before Charlie next went away.
We planned to go for a walk into Ainsdale for lunch and we both wanted to go to the gym. However, Charlie was tired so said we should have a chilled morning first. Whilst lying on the sofa at about 12 o clock, I felt a small pain and a few minutes later, my waters went! I legged it to the toilet but hadn’t quite realised that they would continue to leak for quite a while. Sitting on the toilet, I phoned the hospital who said if the contractions didn’t start within two hours, to go in. I then called Mum to let her know, but also to get her to try and put off the window cleaners who were due any minute!
The only thing I could really do was sit in the bath. Charlie went off into the village to get some sandwiches for lunch and by the time he came back I was getting light pains. Nothing major, but they were coming every few minutes. I had my music on, a playlist I had compiled with my favourite relaxing songs, and I was breathing through the contractions. When Charlie got back I went downstairs to eat my sandwich sitting on a towel on my birthing ball, but my waters were still leaking so I had to get back in the bath. I still had the music on and lit some candles.
By about 3pm, the contractions were lasting longer and were still every few minutes. The “rectangular” breathing that Jennie had taught me was in full force by this point, with the help of the tiles in the bathroom! I decided to call the hospital to check I was still okay staying at home. They said to try and do another hour at home, but by the time I came off the phone the contractions were getting strong and I said to Charlie we had to get going. I had put the tens machine on and it was a welcome distraction pressing it every time I had a contraction.
I had no idea what I was going to wear at this point and had to get Charlie to get me dressed. He made a meal of putting on my leggings but got them on eventually! I then grabbed Charlie’s hoodie to throw on.
As soon as I got in the car, I put my headphones in with my relaxation music on. I was pretty zoned out listening to this and focusing on my breathing, but I remember shouting at Charlie for going too fast across the Moss Road, when in reality he said he was only going 30mph!
We got to the hospital and I remember having a massive contraction while standing against the wall of the building. When we got to triage, I suddenly felt sick, but fortunately it passed. At the reception they told me they were surprised they hadn’t seen me earlier and that I had done really well staying at home for that long.
I had another massive contraction in the waiting room, but wasn’t in there long. I was asked to get onto the bed which at first I refused as I had been told not to let them put me on a bed. Obviously I had to get on it to be examined. I was 9cm dilated… what a relief!
I was able to go straight to the delivery room, but had to wait for the birthing pool to be filled. By this point it was about 5.30pm. I was crouched on the sofa/bed and was offered gas and air, so I started using it. As soon as the pool was ready I got in it and basically stayed in the same position, on my knees with my chin on the edge of the pool until baby arrived. It felt like a long time from 9cm to fully dilated and I hadn’t appreciated the pressure I would feel.
My relaxation music was still on and the lights were dimmed. Outside it was raining and the window was open. At around 7.45pm, having been pushing for a little while, one of my midwives said she was due to finish at 8, but if I got to a certain point by then, she would stay until baby arrived.
I do remember thinking that every time I pushed and stopped, the baby was going back in!
At 8.26pm, baby Ford finally arrived. I picked him up out of the water and shouted “it’s a boy!” Charlie burst out crying, but surprisingly I didn’t cry. I think I was just relieved!
My hypnobirthing and relaxation sessions with Jennie definitely helped my labour. I had done a lot of my own preparation too, listening to hypnobirthing tracks and positive birth affirmations, and I’m convinced my approach to it meant I was calmer during the labour. The breathing was crucial too.
After having Freddie, both midwives said they had enjoyed watching the hypnobirthing techniques and one midwife told me she read my birth plan and said it was the nicest one she had ever read. I am now a huge supporter of this method of preparation and truly believe that in some situations, you can influence your birth experience.”