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“My waters went by themselves, my baby and my body had other plans!”

A wonderful story from Lorna to share with you today:)

“I won’t apologise for this being a long post, when I was pregnant I loved the long, detailed birth stories! But I will warn you. It took nearly a week to live this tale, so it may take a while to tell it. It’s not a conventional positive hypnobirth story but I hope it might show that hypnobirth techniques make a huge difference, no matter what type of birth you end up with.

I have a high BMI, which meant I was automatically put under consultant led care and classed as high risk. I had extra growth scans which showed that my baby was growing very quickly. I knew how inaccurate estimated size can be but the consistent increased rate of growth was worrying, he literally seemed to be gaining weight at twice the speed he should have. After lots of discussion, thought and research we decided to induce at 38 weeks.
One Thursday morning I headed off to the hospital, very surreal to be going in without any signs of labour! After monitoring I was examined (not dilated at all, and my cervix wasn’t moving forward either) and given propess. Now we just had to wait. Nothing happened during the day so I had a lovely relaxing bath and settled down for the night.

Next morning another batch of mums were admitted and I was starting to feel like an old hand! Of course there was lots of chatter, beeping monitors etc. all the time but I managed to create my own calm little bubble with audio books on my headphones and some knitting. Really simple, mindless knitting can be soothing because it’s so repetitive and making something for my baby helped me feel connected. Not technically CBS but I felt I was using the same principles. Relax, breathe, focus, stay calm, and stay positive.

When the 24 hours of propess were up I was examined (no change) and given prostin. I started to feel more uncomfortable, as if the baby was getting heavier, and walking was quite difficult. That meant I spent more time on the ward. Once again all the other mums went into labour, one being very vocal. Being able to retreat into my bubble was very important that day and I worked hard to maintain it.
The ward got busy and they decided to delay my second dose of prostin until the morning. That night there was a lot of noise so I used my headphones to listen to the CBS MP3s and some hypno sleep tracks. I stayed calm and got some rest.

Another day, another intake of mums, another dose of prostin. The consultant explained that if this dose didn’t work I would either have to go home, rest for a day or two then return to begin the process again, or have a C-section. In the meantime I got more uncomfortable, again as if the baby was even heavier, but no surges. By now the nurses were just handing me the monitors so I could attach them myself, I could find the baby’s heartbeat far faster than they could! I had been scanned multiple times because the heartbeat was high up on my bump, making them think the baby was breech. Every new staff member questioned it and checked it and every time the baby was still in the right position. I just kept on staying calm and positive.

Lunchtime came and I wasn’t offered any, which was odd to say the least. My midwife came to ask if I was expecting lunch and explained that I had been made nil by mouth. She thought it was odd and wondered if I knew? Of course I didn’t so she went to investigate. It turned out the consultant had made me nil by mouth assuming I would be having a C-section that evening. I was not impressed, and neither was the midwife, especially as I hadn’t even said I would choose a C-section over going home to wait. But I stayed calm, didn’t lose faith.

I honestly feel my CBS techniques helped so much through all that time, I didn’t once feel scared or worried and the various midwives looking after me kept commenting on what a nice patient I was. When the six hours were up (still no surges) the consultant wanted to examine me himself. By now I knew that if he couldn’t break my waters he fully intended to do a C-section straight away. What I didn’t know was that as I was getting undressed he was outside telling the midwife that he didn’t want to break my waters at all and just planned to do the section!! But, at that exact moment my waters went by themselves, my baby and my body had other plans.

I was 2cm dilated at that point and was allowed to eat an evening meal (thank goodness!) before being moved to the delivery room and started on a drip. One for hydration, one with synto and the two monitors. I felt well and truly wired up! A shift change and the midwives both commented on how lovely it was to see someone on synto sitting in a chair instead of the bed. I knew I definitely didn’t want to spend the next 12 hours on the bed!

The anesthetist came in wanting to do an epidural then and there. I wasn’t even having any surges yet and turned it down. He was very insistent that I shouldn’t wait as he felt waiting would mean I was likely to end up needing a general for a C-section. I still politely but firmly declined, although I said I would bear that information in mind.
The contraction monitor showed nothing for the full 12 hours and as the night wore on the midwife suggested packing our bags ready for a transfer to theatre.

With the deadline just over an hour away we kept losing the baby’s heart trace, just because he would shift position. So they suggested an internal monitor on the baby’s head. They didn’t think they could do it since I’d had no surges and you need to be more dilated and with the cervix forward, but it seemed worth looking. They just couldn’t risk losing the trace any more. I was 4cm! They fitted the monitor.

That set off the one and only typical surge I had, presumably as a result of being messed about with. Lots more water was released as well. I lay on my side and calmly breathed through it. But my hips still really hurt (they had been getting painful due to staying still to keep the heart rate monitor in position) my husband helped me sit on the edge of the bed, with my legs off the side. I was so pleased to be able to move around more. I still had a lot of pain in my hips, but nothing that could be described as a surge and nothing showing up on the monitor. The midwife offered me pain relief (which I hadn’t even thought of asking for!) and one option was an epidural. Bearing in mind the anesthetists concerns about a general anesthetic and the fact that I was expecting to be in surgery in an hour, now seemed like the time to do that. If I had to have a C-section then at least it could be reasonably calm.

Just before the epidural kicked in I kept wanting to push and feeling a pressure in my bottom, which I felt rather silly mentioning since I was only 4cm and had no signs of labour other than my waters going. Still no surges on the monitor and nothing that I could feel in my bump or back. Another midwife arrived to hand over the shift change and they basically both felt that nothing could really have changed but best to check. I was 9cm!!! Progressed enough to call off the C-section. Yet again my body and baby had other plans and we weren’t about to let the consultant dictate too much!

The consultant came in, checked baby’s position and discovered that he was looking over the wrong shoulder, so the head needed to be turned round. We waited a while, basically I could only sit on the bed since my legs were now numb but I just chatted away to the new midwife. She couldn’t get over the fact that the machines didn’t pick up any contractions, and she couldn’t feel them on my belly either. It was really odd. But the pressure started coming in waves so we figured that was my surges even though I felt nothing else at all.

The consultant came back and told me to press the button to administer another dose of epidural before he turned the baby’s head, which he did really easily. He said to start pushing in half an hour and if baby wasn’t out by 12 they would “help”. Only that extra dose meant now I couldn’t feel the surges and literally nobody knew when they were. We hoped it would wear off a bit in the next half hour!

People talked a lot about big shoulders, what might happen if baby got stuck etc. I guess so I would be prepared. I took the information on board but basically ignored it and stayed calm, using CBS to create my calm little bubble. I guess they thought I didn’t understand since they kept repeating it! The half hour passed and I started pushing. It was surreal with us all trying to guess the timing of surges! I kept thinking how daft it was to be on my back, feet in stirrups, pushing to a schedule, totally against nature and exactly what I didn’t want. Even so it was manageable, in a way I felt really quite detached from the whole thing and utterly calm.

The midday deadline passed and they came in with forceps. Two more pushes and he was out. I had a small tear but nothing much, only first degree. Not bad for a 9lb 8oz baby and forceps.
I heard the consultant say “we have a tired baby, get that cord cut and get him over here.” Then after a few seconds a cry and after a few minutes I was handed a bundle wrapped in a towel and hat, only the face showing. I held him with one arm, lying down while they stitched me up. He was so beautiful!

Unfortunately they wanted to take him to special care to be monitored as a precaution, and as the doctors were needed at another birth he had to go after just a few minutes. It was several hours before I got down to see him, my own IV antibiotics had to run through so I could be disconnected first. He had been given formula and was being cup fed on a schedule. This was back to stuff I knew about and I was calm and strong again. I was given no help or support to breastfeed, just suggestions that I express milk. So I came up with my own plan, discussed it with a nurse to make sure it wouldn’t interfere with the blood sugar tests they were doing and informed them that this was what I would be doing. The first 24 hours William was almost exclusively formula fed. By the end of 48 hours he was exclusively breastfed. I very much doubt that would be the case if I hadn’t had the calmness and strength to use my BRAIN, which is all thanks to Suzy and CBS.

Hypnobirthing may not have got me the birth I would have liked but it did give me an experience that was calm and positive. And it helped me stand my ground and get us breastfeeding, in fact William is 12 weeks old on Sunday and hasn’t had a drop of formula since he was 36 hours old.

Thank you Suzy!”

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