I'm delighted to be posting this birth story from Katy and Oli. They came along to a taster session to find out more about hypnobirthing, signed up to a group course, attended a private class just before their baby arrived and invited me to work with them postnatally too. I got to know them both and - later on in proceedings - their sweet baby boy, Frankie. Katy and Oli committed so much time and effort to getting ready for their birth, and the calm and gentle way that Frankie entered the world is testament to all their preparation. So, here's their story in Katy's own words...
I was 41 weeks and slightly stressed by the interventions being pushed by the hospital - sweeps / chemical induction etc. Though I knew my baby would come when he was ready - I was very keen to have a midwife-led birth, which wouldn’t have been an option at UCLH if I went over 42 weeks.
So, after lots of curries, raspberry leaf tea, sex, pineapple (worth a shot!) I was searching for alternative options to hurry this little one along naturally, so I booked in to see Natasha Back who specialises in pregnancy massage. She not only gives a phenomenal rub to tired pregnant limbs (shameless plug there) but offers a pressure point massage to induce labour. Within hours I felt my bump had dropped and the following morning I woke up and instinctively knew by the way my body felt that I would go into labour that day, though my contractions only went into full swing at 6PM that evening.
Instead of sitting around waiting for labour to start, I took a lesson from my hypnobirthing and decided to carry on as ’normal' - so I invited my Mum to London and we paced the Heath, which was the perfect distraction, despite the odd twinge here and there. Interestingly I chose not to tell my Mum what was happening, so in order to not draw attention to the building sensations, instead I focused on the sunshine, the green grass, chats with my Mum and the delicious ice cream at Kenwood!
When we returned at about 6PM, my husband was home and I decided to tell him of the strange ‘electric’ surging sensations I had been feeling in my body, I told him I didn’t want to focus on it. So his reply was ‘what do you want for tea?’ We settled on carbonara and sat out in the garden having a last meal as two together - it was so special. But also tactical as I had been told the second you feel you may be going into labour, carb load - which was a great tip as you need the energy!
After dinner, again, under the pretence of having a ‘normal’ evening I started to bounce on my birthing ball gently whilst we watched a documentary and two episodes of Versailles. Again, seems crazy on reflection but it was tactical, I was bouncing my way through the early contractions and I was waiting until the contractions became impossible to ignore. This came at around 11PM, by this point we had been timing the contractions and they were increasingly regular, but I was relaxed and decided to hop in the tub.
Shortly after, at about 1AM, I decided it was time to go to hospital, looking back this was the only moment of panic during my labour - I worried we had left it too late to get to the hospital because I was almost having pushing sensations. We hopped in a cab and arrived at hospital where my waters quickly broke as I was being assessed and I was told I was already 6CM dilated!
I was given a room in the birthing suite with a pool, so I decided together with the midwife and my husband to take advantage - this was heaven, I was even able to drift off to sleep in the early hours between contractions and this was what got me through the sensations as they became stronger - I would think, this is very intense now but soon I’ll be able to close my eyes and sleep.
I was in labour in hospital for 5 hours before our little boy burst into the world and shortly after I realised I had just given birth with no pain relief, just breathing and my husband's support. I truly thought I would have an epidural or at least gas & air but truly if it isn’t offered (which I had requested for it not to be) you just get into the zone. I feel emotional writing it but labour really pushes you to the brink; right to the edge of what you feel you are capable of experiencing. I do believe without all we learnt together at our hypnobirthing class and the support of my birthing partner, I simply wouldn’t have achieved such an amazing calm birth. I am lucky to have avoided tearing and his entrance into the world was so peaceful just our voices in a dimly lit birthing suite.