I was thrilled to hear from Sophie and Paul about the arrival of their lovely daughter, Oona. This couple were such a pleasure to teach and the bond between them was palpable. They spent so much time preparing for the birth of Oona. Sophie practised loads and immersed herself in the learning and Paul read a bunch of books about how he could best support Sophie during and after the birth. That level of preparation and care really contributed to a positive experience. Here's their story, in Sophie's words...
Before my memory fades, I wanted to email you with a few more details about Oona's birth and tell you again how much the hypnobirthing helped, both in the lead-up to and during labour.
Oona's "due date" was 4 September. As soon as the date came and went, the antenatal appointments were very fixated on when she was coming and what would need to happen if she didn't come soon. It was so helpful for me (with Paul's reminders) to remember that she would come when she was ready and that nothing was going wrong.
I started having surges on 10 September. They were fairly regular but not close together throughout the night and I used the 4-4 and 4-8 breathing to relax. On 11 September, they slowed down to an almost complete stop. I went for a walk, slept and relaxed until the evening, when they started up again around 6pm. I walked around the flat and tried different positions - lots of leaning over the sofa and the birthing ball. Again, the breathing was just SO helpful. For ages, the surges were at the stage where they were over within 4 breaths, so I was able to focus on that and know that by breath 2 they had reached a peak and would subside again. I also read the positive affirmations over and over. Paul timed the surges for me and we first called the birth centre I think at around midnight. It felt pretty intense for me by then but the birth centre and Paul encouraged me to stay at home. I think one of the key things your course did for Paul was give him the confidence to know we didn't need to rush to the hospital and that we could manage at home for much longer than we might have thought. Without his encouragement on this, I am sure I would have got to the birth centre too early and been sent home again - I'm so pleased he could remind me we were doing fine as we were.
By around 3.30 am the surges were coming thick and fast and we got a taxi to St Mary's. The midwife examined me on arrival and said I was 4cm and they would put me in one of the birthing rooms. All of the midwives said how impressed they were with my breathing techniques! They were totally wonderful at the birthing centre and looked after us so well. We had two midwives helping us through the process and they were totally dedicated and super encouraging throughout. I stayed active and upright and mostly walked around the room leaning on different things. I tried the water for a bit but couldn't get comfortable so wasn't in there for long.
I'm not going to lie, the labour was definitely the most intense physical experience I have ever had, and there were moments when it did feel too much to cope with. I am sure, though, that without your course I would not have been able to remain as calm as I did and keep myself in the right mindset to carry on. Every time the midwife monitored Oona's heartbeat, the rate was exactly as it should be. I used the gas and air in the final stages but otherwise didn't have any pain relief. I put this down to the confidence your course gave me that my body was doing what it was supposed to, even if it didn't feel like it at times - this had obviously been drummed in well enough! It actually didn't even cross my mind to ask for any pain relief - the midwife offered the gas and air towards the end.
Paul was completely relaxed and calm throughout, and was able to communicate really well with the midwives. I think we both felt empowered and knowledgeable about the process, and able to participate fully.
The last stage was the hardest and when Oona popped out at 2.20pm on the 12th (all in one surge with her hand up against her face), I couldn't believe it! We delayed the cord cutting and I attempted a physiological third stage but I started bleeding so they advised I had the injection to speed things up, which I did. Oona and I had loads of skin to skin straight away, and she had a feed, and a skin to skin cuddle with Paul before any checks or weighing was done.
We stayed the night in the birth centre and, again, I can't emphasise enough how great they were. We felt really well looked after and comfortable.
Thank you again for all of your positivity and encouragement. It undoubtedly helped us to have the birth we wanted for Oona and I am so grateful.