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When I was pregnant, I used to love reading people’s birthing stories on Hypnobabies. It would level up all the crap (sorry!) that everybody else tried to throw, and I know they were ladies just like me. The best ones were the ones that told me the whole story – I loved those, and felt like I was there with them, so this is what I’m going to do now…
My baby girl Bronte-Elizabeth just turned 8mths a few days ago (23rd March), and I thought it was time to let you all know how the birth went… because it was fabulous… and not because it was easy, or because I find birth easy – in fact, the complete opposite. I hadn’t had a child since my first daughter was born, and she is now 16! The experience was so very harrowing, that I didn’t have any more… until I decided to try with hypnobirthing – yes hypno ‘birthing’. I only found hypnobabies quite a few months in with not enough time to really complete the course, so I pretty much just dove in with faith that it was for me, because (apart from my finding the vocals difficult to listen to often, due to feeling patronised – SORRY!!!! but I did, and it’s important that any other ladies out there having the same problem knows that it still worked!) it was just about myself and my body. And over the years, especially with my first daughter, I learnt that it was important that I felt ok, and it wasn’t so important what others thought or felt.
Now most or even all of you might not remember me, but I had lots of problems during the pregnancy. I was 37, and suffered with hypothyroidism. I had suffered a miscarriage 3 years ago, and then my periods were barely there, and even though no precautions had been taken, it seemed I could no longer become pregnant – WRONG! My baby had also already turned by month five, so they suggested a preemie, and was engaged by month six (by 2/5).
So. I was not allowed to have the baby outside of the hospital as i wished, as none of the homebirthing midwives or birthing centres would take me on. I even had my MOTHER tell me that it was not normal for women to have vaginal births nowadays, and especially concidering my age & condition, I should be open to induction and cesarian!??
My sister too, in fact, eventually, after the hospital called me in the day after my ‘due’ date, and pulled in 2 other doctors to tell me that if I didn’t let them induce me then and there, I would likely be responsible for the death of my baby, I simply went home and took the phone off the hook! (After spewing out statistics about induction/cesarian v vaginal complications first of course!).
So, on Monday night (20th July 2009), at two weeks ‘overdue’ and my little bun still cooking nicely, I was driving home, with my eldest & partner in the car, when I looked up & saw three boys with their “things” hanging over the flyover! “They’re not going to!” I exclaimed. Yep they did – three streams of wee spattered onto the windsheild, and I promptly, screached up the next exit and back on myself, to find the little b*stards still standing there waiting for the next car. I jumped out of my car, and with my hormones raging, promptly chased them for nearly a quarter of a mile, screaming at the top of my lungs…. “you could’ve killed us…. you ****’s!… wait till I get my hands on you!” etc.
Well, to cut a long story short… I DID catch them! And made them clean my car with their hoodies! Then, feeling a bit worn out, I got back in the car and drove home. When we got there I told DD (my daughter) & Bal (my partner) that the tightening that had come on during my rage & pregnant marathon had still not abaited. “They’ve probably set me into birthing now!” I said jokingly.
Well, I was right. On Tuesday morning at about 8am, I awoke thinking… I think this is it. The birthing waves continued for about an hour or so, but then subsided. Hmmm. That night, I was really uncomfortable, and couldn’t sleep again. I spent hours on the hypnobabies website whilst swigging my red rasberry leaf tea, reading birthing stories and Q&A, and then eventually zonked out (after taking my evening primrose oil both orally and topically of course!), wondering if she was ever going to be born… I was actually, I beleive, in the latent stage all of this time.
Wednesday I again awoke around 8am with stomach cramps and period pain type feelings, and again I wondered if the birthing time was iminent. Again I was wrong, and spent the day rolling around from one overburdened side of my whale-esque body to the other. Groaning and generally feeling sorry for myself as I did. Then Wednesday night, I had a sudden burst of energy. Did I save it? Did I relax and conserve my stores? No. I sat up all night; added some tunes to my ipod to accompany the hypnobabies tracks; looked on hmv and wrote down a list of cd’s on offer at £2.99 with free p&p; searched for the term ‘bloody show’, as I reackoned I had just had mine but wasn’t definate & wanted to make sure… then I stumbled accross a GREAT blog… which you all HAVE to read… I really did laugh until I pissed myself (which I know isn’t difficult at 42 wks, but still!)… I just checked, and it’s still there – along with the comment I left at the bottom (about pissing myself!) so check it out:
Anyway, a little after this extreme laughing state (which lasted pretty much for the whole blog!), I then found a game where you get to make choices at each stage of birthing, and kind of practice making choices you may come accross. I can’t find the exact site now, which is annoying, as it was great fun and I played it for ages! (but if you can ignore the unhelpful un-hypnobabies vocabulary, here is similar one…
Anyway, I went to bed… at about 5.30/6am eventually! Then at 8am I awoke again, third day in a row. I began to wonder if this was my doing, as I had in my birthing visions, envisaged waking up at 8am with mild contractions, and wanted to have the baby at midday, and then enjoy her for the day (rather that having a horrid long evening – night – morning experience in a dark hospital as I did with my first, and then being so tired all day).
I kissed Bal goodbye as he left for work, and lay there for a while. After about ten minutes, I called my, then 15yr old daughter in and asked her if she would get me a drink. She did. I waited a little while longer, and asked her if she would get my ipod. She did. Then after another ten minutes, I asked her to time my ‘period pains’. She did…. they were not particularly regular, but seemed to be roughly about every 10 minutes (about 7 -12 minutes apart).
I stay laying down in bed, and called all my cats in (we have rescue cats), lay with my hypnobabies on my ipod, and my drink in my hand for a little while. I thought I must be preparing for birth now, but after the two previous stalls the days before, and at the same time, I wasn’t sure, so i just kept on breathing slow and relaxing – to be honest, almost enjoying it. I kind of saw it like an exersize, preparing me for when I really did begin the birthing time… I was having pretty strong period like pains, but I was also feeling very relaxed as well.
At 9am I called my daughter in again to time the waves. The first one was 7 minutes, the second one was five minutes… then we were chatting and she forgot to watch the clock! Then it was more like three minutes apart and pretty regular. I asked her to make my special drink that was ready on the side for birthing – with my bach rescue remedy, and telephone Bal to say he’d better come back home. Again, she did exactly as she had been asked, and then returned to sit with me and the cats.
At about 10am, Bal arrived home, and walked around the bed. He kicked of his shoes and was just about to get in with me, so I said “I don’t think there’s time, you’d better call the hospital”. My daughter was timing my contractions at about two minutes appart, and pretty regular. He was shocked, he is my eldest’s adopted father, and none of his sibling have children… this was a pretty new experience (as it was for me – COMPLETELY different from the first time!).
Bal called the hospital from by my bedside, and passed the phone over. I had a short chat with the midwife, who didn’t seem to bothered, but I insisted that my waves were regular, and I was ready… I had even had two waves during which I felt – not the need to push – but something like it… Bal took a picture of me (See note below)to show how calm I was with my cats, ipod & drink, and then we picked up our bags (which had been packed for nearly three months due to my health and age likely producing a preemie) and yet another lot of cakes for the staff (they kept going off, and we had to keep relplacing them!), and of course not forgetting the stand-up copy, and additional copies of the birthing plan… ie: don’t even offer me anything unless it’s a medical emergency (with a page of papers and supporting evidence attatched for good measure), and got it the car.
NB: The photo & more are on the photos section of the Hypnobabies site.
My, what an uncomfortable journey. And of course, stopping and starting. Eeegh! “Barry, I really need to be there now” I was saying – very unhelpful I know. “Barry…. I need to get there ten minutes ago!”, etc. Well, it only took a little while to get there, and we arrived at 11am.
I sat… well, leaned on a table, in the lobby area, whilst DD went to reception to sign me in, and Bal parked up the car and carried in DD’s bag (her food/drink/snacks/magazines/phone/and… a copy of the birthing plan just in case, plus the LIST OF PEOPLE TO CALL!!!); his own bag… pretty much the same, but much more cola, and the cakes; and my bag (ditto); the birthing ball; my lavender heat up pack; my fluffy cussion which the cat’s hairs still stuck on it; towels; three flannels; change of clothes; hospital stay bag; baby bag; bits bag (ipod/batteries/cd walkman/camera/etc); HUGE oversized beanbag; blanket from home; washbag; etc…. lol!
Of course, Bal was still lugging around bags, balls and sheets of paper when a nurse wandered up to me with a wheelchair. Hmmm I thought… I’m not ill? Still, I got in it, and she wheeled me into the maternity ward, and along the corridors to the little room that would be mine for as long as it took. DD went outside to make the phone calls, and then returned and waited outside on a chair – as close to the door as she could get it – and Bal trundled in, looking like he’d just birthed tripplets!
The nurse started talking to me, so I raised my hand as I was having a wave and couldn’t really talk. She waited, and then said “I’ll put your details up, and a midwife will be in to talk to you in a little while”. I said OK, and she exited…. only to return again to say “I also wanted to ask if….. oh….. are you having another Con****tion?”. I nodded. “Another one, since I walked out the door?”. I grimmaced… She suddenly looked a little alarmed, and flurried out of the door this time. I turned to my partner and said “I told them I was ready… maybe I should scream a little?”
Then an older midwife came in, and as she began to talk to me – and I began with another wave – the first nurse was also present, the door was open, and then another two heads poked around the door!… “What are you looking at?” I snapped. The two heads dissapeared, and the nurse left. “I just want you here” I said to the older midwife. “I don’t want to talk about any meds, I want a natural birth”. She confirmed that she understood, and then we began.
At some point Bal gave the nurses the cakes, etc, but I’m not sure when. Everything happened very fast. The birthplans were’nt even taken out. Annoyingly, the midwife kept asking if she could check dilation. Eventually I said yes to keep her quiet. “Well, you’re only at 5cm” she said “It’ll be a while yet”… oh thanks I thought… now I feel better. As by now, I was not able to stay still, and the waves were on top of each other, and I was having to concentrate on breathing. She left the room, and when she returned, she wanted to strap me up to a monitor to check the babies heart. Again she pushed, and again I said yes to shut her up… “oh dear, the baby’s heart rate is dropping” she said… “no” I managed to say “My first did this, and it’s always been slow – so has mine”… a couple of minutes later, she said ” I’m really sorry, I know you wanted a natural birth, but I’m going to have to go and get the doctor, the baby’s heart rate is just too low”.
It came as a surprise to Bal, but I just said “O.K”. The when she left the room I said… “the baby will be here by the time a doctor gets here”… then ooompf! A deep-throated growling, loud long gutteral moaning sound escaped from my mouth… my daughter had said later, that she thought there was a wild animal in the room, and it sounded like a horror film – frightening! Well, she was right, I was letting my body take over and trusting it to do what it would do if I were in the wild, and the more I relaxed, the deeper and more gutteral the groans became… The midwife came running back in and exclaimed “we don’t have time for the doctor… this baby’s coming now”. Then I got to the point of transition, and felt like I simply couldn’t do it… but thankfully, I had told Bal that this WOULD happen. When it had happened in my 1st birth, I wasn’t educated, and I honestly thought I was dying, so I had said to him: When I get to the point when I don’t think I can do it… remind me that this must therefore be transition, and that meant that I had already done it, and the baby was now comming. He did, and it worked! One push, out came the head…. but only half way… then the second push, and there she was.
My partner helped make sure she was put straight to the breast and said to leave the umbillical cord until it had stopped pulsating to allow all the goodness to reach the baby, and the midwife followed his direction. Wow – perfect!
Annoyingly, when I was getting ready to pass the placenta a little later, she pulled it against my instruction, and some was left in there which saw me having birthing waves for another 16hrs whilst my body tried to get the rest of it out, but NONE of these things were down to my body… the “we need the doctor” and “oh your only 5cm’s” and pulling the placenta, was all a show of the hospitals mistrust of my capabilities as a woman… but my body did exactly what it was designed to do, and Bronte was born at 12.05 (noon)… I even had nurses and midwives coming up to me after to ask if it were true that I had had her so quickly… and no tearing! Whoopie!
Now I’m NOT saying it was easy – Bal showed me bite marks on his chest and his neck from being my birthing partner (I didn’t remember this!), but I did it all myself… I felt it all myself, and my body controlled the pace… not a pile of drugs. I am so very proud, especially after the first experience being so truely awful. My daughter apparently cried for the full hour outside, and my partner said it was the most wonderful, and most terrifying experience of his life… mmm… mine too… and I’m planning to do it again ASAP!
I’d like to add, that my partner was WONDERFUL throughout this whole experience, which I wasn’t expecting, as I’d had an arguement with him only the week before, as he still hadn’t read the Hypnobabies literature, and we had still not read anything together, nor practiced anything by the time birthing began. But obviously at some point he did read it, and pulled out the trump card on the day.
When my mum got to the hospital, she didn’t speak – at all – it later transpired, that when my daughter had called her at 11am to say I was now in active labour, and then again an hour later, she assumed, when seeing the number that the call was to say that I’d died!!!
For the next week, all she said was… “these natural things really work don’t they?”… they’re natural – why wouldn’t they work??? Well, that’s my glorious Hypnobabies Birth story of how Bronte-Elizabeth came into the world, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and wish you all an equally wonderful birth… and it will be wonderful… naturally! xxxxxxxxxx