Birth Story - Baby A
This story comes from a good friend of mine who followed hypnobirthing with another business. However, we chatted lots about her plans and how she was feeling and I shared many relaxation tracks with her, which she used throughout the time she was preparing to have her baby. As with so many other birth stories on this site, her experience illustrates the way that hypnobirthing supports women throughout pregnancy and birth - even when unexpected issues arise. Hypnobirthing isn't just about breathing techniques or self-hypnosis for relaxation. It is also about feeling informed, confident to ask questions of caregivers and knowledgeable about where to get good evidence-based research. If you would like to receive a sample relaxation track, please just click here.
Here's Baby A's birth story in my friend's own words...
Pregnancy back story: I had a rough pregnancy with a lot of nausea, sickness, generally feeling very unwell, plus significant stress and mental health issues for the first 28 weeks. This was followed by a better period of physical and mental health from 30 -40 weeks but pelvic girdle pain and what I can only describe as feeling bruised from the belly button down to my groin. I could hardly walk and clothes - even pants - hurt.
Because of the early issues I couldn’t prepare or look forward to the fact I was having a baby before I was 28 weeks as I found it too stressful. Then I tentatively started hypnobirthing around week 30. I spent most of the pregnancy feeling unsure that I had it in me to get the baby out, because I had felt so weak for so long. First baby had been born with help of hypnobirthing and that went well and straightforward. I had a lot of hypnobirthing tracks to listen to but the one which seemed to speak to me most was Jana’s “MBP Relax and Let Go”. Something about the phrasing of this made me feel like I could go to the next level. I listened to that every night, and had a few others for variation.
This baby had had minor complications- the umbilical cord was attached to the edge of the placenta (rather than centrally - a Velamentous Cord Insertion), so I was told I would need to be induced as early as 36 weeks and that I wouldn’t go to full term. I prepared mentally for an induction and thought about what I wanted in that scenario. Hypnobirthing education was so useful. I went over and over it.
At 34 weeks baby was breech. Suddenly two consultants were involved and I was told I would not be having a vaginal birth. I fought this and approached four hospitals asking for a vaginal breech birth. All of them told me they did not offer vaginal breech births. The policy was always for a c section. I was really disappointed that no one would support me but felt I had no choice. I couldn’t have an ECV because of the placenta issue. A c section was provisionally booked for 39 weeks. I prepared mentally for a c section. Again - I used hypnobirthing resources.
At 38 week scan I had great news that the baby was head down again! I’d done nothing to facilitate this - it was the baby’s doing. So, I prepared mentally for a vaginal birth. More hypnobirthing! The placenta issue was suddenly no longer a concern to the consultants - baby was doing well - and they agreed I could wait for spontaneous labour! (Even though I was weeks away from my 40th birthday - which was mentioned but thankfully disregarded). I was actually struggling so much with the pelvic pain that I considered having an induction but after some more hypnobirthing research I decided to be patient, wait it out and deny any stretch and sweeps or interventions.
I had a severe food poisoning on Thursday (40 weeks plus 4 days) resulting in some emergency phone calls and my sister collecting an anti sickness medication as I was so so ill. I hardly slept and was afraid because i felt so horrendous. It was so awful. At 1am I had a shower because I had period pains and couldn’t have paracetamol because of the food poisoning.
At 7am I realised I was possibly in early labour and lost my mucus plug. Likely brought on from the food poisoning. I messaged family members to put things in place for childcare. I started timing some contractions and tried to watch some Absolutely Fabulous, but was too tired so just rested/napped.
At 8am I told my partner to get ready to go to the hospital. I started using the Freya app to measure contractions. We left at 9am and I was beginning to have to use more serious hypnobirthing breathing but it was totally fine. Bumped into my sister on the way out and she cheered me on as if I was starting a marathon - all whoops and cheers. It was really inspiring!
In the car we called the labour line and they were unconvinced but I insisted I was on my way because we have fast labours in my family, it was a 30min drive, and my first labour was relatively short (6 hours). I was a bit unsure I was really in established labour but just wanted to be at the hospital and didn’t want to risk having a car baby. I had a few contractions in the car but they were ok and I managed to navigate and talk to the labour line, and had a cry because I was feeling emotional!
Arrived at the hospital at 9.30, by which point contractions were becoming significant. I was managing ok though. Just stopping and breathing through them, then back to normal.
At 9.35 I was brought into the birthing room and made some jokes about there being two bath tubs and that I was well catered to.
I switched to Jana’s Relax and Let Go track. Within a few minutes my contractions had ramped up significantly but didn’t feel like too big a deal - I was still TOTALLY fine in between. But the in between time was diminishing. Had a dehydrated wee for them to do a urine sample but they never got a chance to use it or check me or my notes as the next contraction was huge and I needed help. The midwife massaged my lower back which was great. My lower back and my coccyx were really sore (I cracked my coccyx as a teenager so perhaps I am extra sensitive). This feeling happened with my first and both times I have found it unsettling. Like a massive heavy pressure on my tailbone. And then I yelled that I needed to push - i kneeled on the floor and could hardly move. I got overwhelmed then as I was shocked and wasn’t sure if I was making it up. I had assumed I was 3-4 cm dilated. Somehow my partner got my tens machine on me just in time. I put it on full blast. It did help. I got up somehow and lay on my side in the bed, (still exhausted from the food poisoning!)
My waters broke at 9.45. My partner held my top leg up so I could push. The midwives really guided me through keeping as relaxed as I could, and how to breathe, relax my shoulders, and not push too soon. (Blow out candles instead). I was still managing really well (mentally) between contractions - I remember saying: I can’t wait to meet the baby. But then it was like the contractions blurred into one. The pushing bit lasted less than 20 mins. I felt keenly aware of the head being present, that it was all happening, and then blowing out the candles, and the midwives explaining that the head was out and next was the shoulders, and then the body and baby was passed straight up to me for a cuddle at 9.55. Still in my maternity dress!
My partner found out the baby was a boy! And he cut the cord after it had finished pulsing. I had the injection to get the placenta out. I felt quite tender and bruised so I wanted it done with ASAP, and it was all fine. No issues.
The secret for me in pushing (which for me is the difficult bit) was to ask them to hold a hot cloth over my perineum and bottom. Some silly fear of doing a poo more than a fear of tearing. (It took two hours of pushing with my first because I was trying to distinguish the difference between pushing a baby out and not impolitely doing a poo!)
Overall the birth was amazing - I was totally chilled, with some “Wow! moments” and then suddenly pushing was INTENSE! And a bit shocking for an hour or so after. But I feel amazed I managed so well! I was lucky in many ways but it is also because I was so well prepared and coached on relaxing and not giving into the fear. After such serious food poisoning and being unwell and weak for so long I doubted I had it in me. But my body just did it.
I was checked for tears. There was nothing major so no stitches - just grazes and I feel a bit bruised. But overall, everything is great! I just can’t believe it’s a boy! 🥰