When I fell pregnant again, I knew that I wanted to expand upon this previous insight and knowledge and I took a Hypnobirthing course. Throughout our pregnancy we practiced the relaxations, visualisations, breathing and other techniques.
As our first birth had been so perfect, we naively wanted to replicate that and so opted once more for a pool birth in the midwife led unit. However, life doesn’t fit a plan and a few weeks before our baby was due, the midwife unit was closed for emergency repairs and there were no pools available in the delivery suite. I was crushed, having visualised my second birth for 7.5 months, and so I decided to take charge.
We transferred to the homebirth team and hired our own pool – the only way to guarantee a water birth. The homebirth team were wonderful and we would never have had the confidence to take this step, if we hadn’t felt to so well prepared for birth thanks to our Hypnobirthing course.
And so we waited and waited and waited. Our first baby had been 10 days overdue, so it was no surprise that our second baby decided to take its time too.
We had decided that we did not want to be induced, unless there was a medical reason to do so. Despite intense pressure from the hospital, we stuck to our guns, and used the research and information we had gathered on our Hypnobirthing course and opted for additional foetal monitoring.
At 42+3 all was looking fine and our little one was clearly not quite ready to make an appearance. Despite this, the hospital declared that if our baby had not arrived before midnight that day, we would not be able to have our homebirth. I was devastated, but we had fought so hard against the induction that we had no more fight in us and complied.
I went to bed that evening about 9:30pm, feeling some pressure, but having experienced this other nights I was not concerned. About an hour later the pressure had changed and I was certain that things were beginning and I was experiencing some mild surges. We rang our midwife and she told us that it didn’t matter what time we had our baby, because things had begun we would now get our homebirth. We told her we would call her as things gained pace and thought we would see her again in a few hours or the morning.
I understood my birthing body, I trusted my instincts to push against induction because I believed (and the monitoring verified) that all was well with me and my baby.
Within the next hour, my surges had intensified so much and so quickly that I was struggling to maintain my breathing, as I paced around our kitchen. We decided to sit in the bedroom and try to restore some calm.
Once in the bedroom, I began to feel sick, was having hot and cold, almost fever-like, rushes and was thinking we should transfer to hospital anyway because this was so different to my previous birth. At the time, I remember thinking that all of these were symptoms of transition, but it didn’t even occur to me that I was in transition because everything was happening so quickly.
I could feel another surge building and I leaned forward on the bed and I felt my baby moving down within me. I told Ben to call our midwife, the baby was coming, but even then he needed a little convincing and I remember him saying we had hours still to go. I decided that if the baby was coming I didn’t want any mess in the bedroom, so I ran to the bathroom with him following behind me, frantically dialling.
Once I reached the bathroom, I felt another surge building and again felt our baby moving downwards. The midwife told us to call 999, because she lived 20 minutes away and the baby would be here before she could. As Ben did this, I had another surge and could feel the baby’s head.
The emergency operator talked Ben through everything, but really my body was one step ahead of her guidance throughout and with another surge our baby’s head was out. Poor Ben was trying to balance the phone between his shoulder and his ear and also get ready to catch our baby – and they say men can’t multi-task! There was one more surge and our baby was born, another little boy. I sat down on the toilet and Ben passed me our newborn son, so that he could grab some clean towels to wrap around us both.
The emergency operator told him what to do and how to check everything was ok and I remember us looking into each other’s eyes. We had delivered our baby together and here the 3 of us were, in this tiny room – not one bit as I had imagined my beautiful calm homebirth, but not one thing I would change about this amazing experience.
Just then there was a knock at the door and the paramedics arrived. Ben let them in and they checked us both over and then a short while later our midwife arrived full of congratulations and helped me to birth my placenta.
Hypnobirthing isn’t just about the birth. It is also about your pregnancy and gaining an understanding of what to expect both from your birthing body and from the team who work with you
1 hour and 50 minutes start to finish. He arrived at 11:50pm – 10 minutes before my homebirth deadline from the hospital, but we wouldn’t have made it there even if that deadline had passed. Baby comes when baby is ready… how right that is.
And when we were ready, after a cup of tea and some cuddles (all still on the toilet!), we moved back to our bed. Our other little boy – who suddenly didn’t seem so little anymore, peacefully slept in his cot, whilst his baby brother had made quite the entrance. And my hired birthing pool, which had been the sole reason for us transferring to the homebirth team in the first place, sat unopened in its bag.
Some days afterwards, I looked back and considered whether I had applied my hypnobirthing to Ellis’ birth. I certainly struggled with my breathing and it wasn’t the vision of calm I had imagined. However, Hypnobirthing isn’t just about the birth. It is also about your pregnancy and gaining an understanding of what to expect both from your birthing body and from the team who work with you.
I understood my birthing body, I trusted my instincts to push against induction because I believed (and the monitoring verified) that all was well with me and my baby. I knew that Estimated Due Date is just that, an estimate. When my midwife looked at Ellis and checked my placenta just after birth she confirmed, they had got my dates wrong. He wasn’t overdue, he wasn’t wrinkly, his nails weren’t too long and my placenta was healthy.
Hypnobirthing doesn’t guarantee the perfect birth, but it does help everyone and has helped me to birth 2 beautiful boys, in 2 completely different circumstances.