My experience with Hypnobirthing

At 38 weeks pregnant I was ready to have my baby (as many women are at that point)! I had a sore sacroiliac joint and had a horrible time attempting to go to a movie before my baby was born. I came home quite emotional for no real reason. Monday 2nd August was my husbands birthday and Eli decided that he didn’t want to go to Kindy. I had to stay with him for more than an hour and he still sobbed when I left. He’d been settled at Kindy until now. That evening we had a very quiet family dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday, which was really a bit overshadowed by strange feelings from myself and Eli. That night my husband said, ‘I really want to call your Mum and tell her to come down now’. She lives in Nelson and had a ticket to fly down that weekend. He had a feeling that we would need her earlier than that. My due date was the 11th August.

At 11.45pm that night my waters broke. I didn’t wake my husband. I text Mum and asked her to see whether she could get down here as soon as possible. I called our midwife to let her know that my waters had broken and that I had one small contraction and a bit of the shakes. My

waters were pink with vernix so all normal. My husband woke up and I told him. ‘Great’ he said. We bought the pool in and started to fill it, but I wasn’t having any contractions, just leaking lots of fluid! I had told our midwife I would call when things got going. She was pretty sure things would happen quite fast. By 1.30am we stopped filling the pool and went back to bed. There wasn’t much sleeping going on with the anticipation and a contraction every hour or two.

No work or Kindy for the boys in the morning. Eli was very excited at the site of the pool in the lounge and it was a struggle to keep him and his toys out of it! Our midwife was due to visit in the morning anyway. It was good to see her and confirm that the baby and myself were all good. Mum was on the first flight down here. She ended up circling above Dunedin for an hour due to fog and was the last person in the shuttle to be dropped off so she was itching to get here. Contractions continued at 1-2 hours apart for the day. Our midwife came back late afternoon and found the baby had moved down a lot further during the day. Yeepppeee. Late afternoon after another walk contractions were about half an hour apart. I had a full dinner, but didn’t feel like dessert! Any food went straight through me so I knew my body didn’t want to cope with any thing else. Some of the contractions were good ones and I had to stop what I was doing and concentrate on the hypnobirthing slow breathing and visualising the vertical muscles of my uterus pulling up and the horizontal muscles around my cervix relaxing and opening out and up so the baby could move down.

As soon as Eli was asleep contractions started coming 5 mins apart. I used a Swiss ball and the hypnobirthing sleep breathing to fully relax in between contractions. I was visualising my baby in the optimal birthing position and moved into a position on my knee and leaning forward

onto the couch. Mum started timing contractions at 7.53pm and I called the midwife. She asked me to call after the contractions had been 5 mins apart for an hour or dropped to less than that. At the time I thought, a whole hour, really! I should have clicked then that I was progressing really fast. Our timing of contractions wasn’t great. Mum was using the clock on the phone and I sometimes forgot to tell her I was having a contraction. I was slow breathing through each contraction and it mustn’t have been that obvious to anyone else that I was having one. So sometimes the contractions were 2-3 mins apart and other were timed at 6-7. Sometimes a contraction was very strong and other times it was not and over with quickly so I didn’t know if it ‘counted’. Well it had pretty much been an hour when my husband called our midwife again. He told her I was keen to get in the pool. She asked me to hold off and she was on her way. My husband relayed the message and added ‘but you do what you want to.’ As my waters had been broken for 20 hours I didn’t want to get in to soon either. However soon after my husband hung up I had a very obvious bearing down contraction. It was sooo intense. It felt like my uterus had lifted up and slammed the baby down against my vagina. I almost swore and had to pull myself back into a focused slow breath. I said ‘That was a pushing contraction’. After the next one I could feel the baby’s head pushing against my vagina and I said ‘Text the midwife and tell her this baby is coming, but not to speed.’ Then I said ‘I’m getting in the pool’.

I got in the pool and my husband pushed record on the video camera and stayed with me. He used light touch massage and massaged the dimples on my lower back, both were really good. A one stage he started reading me some of the hypnobirthing affirmations. After the first one, I said ‘I’m way past that’ and after the next one I said ‘shut up’. We laughed and he said ‘good they’re in the fire.’ Mum tried to get Eli up

to be there for the birth, but he said he didn’t want to. A couple of intense contractions bought the baby’s head to crowning. I felt with my hand and smoothed around his head. I relaxed and enjoyed the break before the next contraction that I knew would birth the head. After his head came out I said to my husband ‘The heads out’. He replied with ‘ahem’. I little bit shocked and nervous I think, but he had complete confidence that I could birth our baby successfully. The midwife still hadn’t arrived. I felt around the baby’s head and waited for the next contraction that would bring him out. As the rest of his body was born I moved from my knees bringing one foot forward and supported my baby out. I turned him over, felt over his body and looked at him under the water before bringing him out and to my chest. My husband asked what sex he was and I replied that he was a boy.

This is when we were a bit nervous as he didn’t breath spontaneously. I sucked his mouth and nose as I had seen women do on the ‘Birth As We Know It’ DVD and waited. I mentioned that we might need oxygen, just not knowing how long it would take him to breath on his own. I knew the cord was still attached and would be providing him with something. My husband rubbed his stomach and I sucked his mouth and nose a number of times before he gasped and cried loudly. We laughed with relief and I bought him to my chest again. It was still a few seconds before he started to breath continuously, but once that started we all relaxed and laughed. We kept him warm with face cloths and I kept him in the water as much as possible. He indicated that he was keen to feed, so that is what he was doing when the midwife arrived 11mins after he was born. She was very pleased that all was well. My mum said ‘missing the birth must happen every now and again does it?’ She said it was only the 3rd time in 25 years that she’d missed a birth. ‘Keeps me humble’ she said in her wonderfully humble way.

It took a couple of hours to birth the placenta as I just couldn’t be bothered! Figured it would come out when it was ready! I was keen to birth it in the pool, but the water was getting cold and I was struggling to feed my baby and keep him in the water and warm. I got set up on the couch and after a couple of half hearted attempts to birth the placenta over a bowl I finally did. The placenta looked good and healthy. We were unsure how long we would leave it attached as we were considering a lotus birth. We decided to cut it.

We were in bed by 1am-ish at which point Eli woke up and asked what I was doing. When I said I was feeding the baby he was soooo excited. He wanted to sleep next to him and was not impressed when we said he had to get back in his bed. He wasn’t going back to sleep so my husband and Eli swapped with Mum who was in the spare room. She slept in Eli’s bed and in the morning my husband and Eli came back in. The family bed had 3 generations in it for a wee while that morning. It was lovely.

Niwha Stuart Hughes was born about 9.15pm on Tuesday August the 3rd. He weighed 6.4lbs, 2.8kg. Almost 2 pounds lighter than Eli who was 8.3lbs! Wow never thought I’d grow such a little baby. He is healthy and strong, just skinny. He was 50 cm long which was not much shorter than Eli. Head circumference 34cm.

Below is a 6 min clip of the birth from crowning to first cry. It is G rated. No gore and not too much nudity. Look forward to writing a post on preparation for a natural birth. My birthing experiences have shown me just how important physical and mental preparation is in having a successful natural birth.