Ania was pretty sceptical about hypnobirthing, as most people are initially! The name doesn't do itself many favours let's be honest. However, she booked herself and husband Tom on to a Group course.
At the start of the course, she wanted hypnobirthing to keep her calm in pregnancy, and in labour, her attitude was very much one of "give me allllll the drugs"
As you will see from her story, things changed once she became educated about labour and birth, and she went on to give birth in a birthing pool at Edgware Birth Centre, with just gas and air, the water and all her hypnobirthing tools by way of pain relief.
Here is Ania's story - enjoy!
After 2 years of trying , I found out I was pregnant on 3/08 (3 weeks before my husband’s birthday!). I wanted to tell him on his birthday but because the lockdown restrictions were relaxed and we were going to many boozy picnics, I couldn’t wait that long!
My early pregnancy was rather stressful as we wanted to make sure everything was ok. I didn’t have any classic symptoms so there were days I didn’t believe I was growing a baby (oh but those symptoms were to come later!). We did an early scan at 6w+5d and we saw a little heartbeat. My husband, Tom, could come with me which was great as the pandemic prevented partners from joining most of the appointments.
When I was 8w pregnant we went to Wales for a little holiday with my in-laws and we told them about our pregnancy (there was no way of hiding it as I never said no to G&T or Prosecco!).
They were super excited! At that point I developed a wide range of food aversions so eating out with me was a nightmare! (I lived on vegetarian pizza and baguette with cream cheese for weeks).
At 16w we had another private scan to find out the gender of our baby. We had a feeling it’s a little boy and the scan confirmed it.
We decided on hypnobirthing classes which were super useful and informative (thanks Elise!). I went from ‘give me all the drugs’ to planning for a water birth and making sure Tom was involved and knew his role. His engineering brain loved all the scientific facts and that the course wasn’t about ‘magical energy’ etc
He set up positive affirmations around our flat and kept telling me ‘“you got this’ every day
Weeks were going fairly quickly and I tried to document my bump’s lockdown journey.
At 38w I had to be monitored for reduced movements and I was offered a sweep as I already was 1cm dilated . Later that day I had some cramps and spotting but nothing else.
I carried on with practicing my breathing techniques and we tested the tens machine, which is a wonderful piece of equipment!
This is the last picture of me being pregnant! (I struggled with walking due to PGP, my hands were swollen and achy due to carpal tunnel and de quervains- joins of pregnancy!)
At 1am I started having regular cramps. I thought they would go away but after a while I realised this might be ‘it’. I ran myself a bath with some clary sage oil.
My surges were coming every 3-5min lasting around 30s. At around 3am Tom got up and realised what was happening. I knew we still had time but he called the triage and they asked us to come in and get checked. I was still 1cm dilated so they sent us back.
At home I was texting Elise (thanks again I really needed your support then!) and she suggested I have some rest and distract myself until things intensified. I struggled with napping so I had another bath and watched Netflix.
I felt like I needed to be on all fours so I got out of the bath and leaned over my yoga ball.
Tom was giving me a gentle massage (just as we were taught by Elise). Tom also connected me to the tens machine which was bringing some relief.
I started squeezing my cat's comb with every contraction to distract my brain. Both methods were working great!
I spent most of the morning like this and then at around 1pm we headed to the hospital.
I waited for a while to get checked. I was already 5cm dilated and the midwife agreed to start filling the pool for me.
Here I’m enjoying some gas and air. It felt like having a G&T after work.
At 3:30pm the pool was ready, my playlist was on as well as my aromatherapy machine, fairy lights and candles.
I started feeling a lot of pressure and I thought I pooped. My midwife had a look and said ‘oh no, that was your waters breaking’.
It was 4pm. I felt a sudden urge to push but the midwife kept saying it’s too early. She insisted we had a lot of time before the baby was born as it’s our first...
Suddenly Tom said he thought he could see the head, but the midwife was pretty sure it couldn’t be yet. I remember Tom saying to the midwife “I’m just an engineer but I am pretty sure ‘this’ doesn’t belong ‘there’!”
(Here I’m staying hydrated and keeping my energy up!)
The midwife had a quick look and called the second midwife. It was time to push!
As I was pushing, little Jackson got slightly distressed and instead of breathing him out like I planned, I had to really push hard (‘like going for a poo while constipated ’ were the midwife’s instructions).
After the head was born the fetal ejection reflex took care of the rest. I caught my little boy at 5:15pm immediately telling him ‘well done, you did so well baby!’
We got out the pool pretty quickly as I needed to be checked and have some internal stitches, but my perineum was intact (so please ladies do yourself a favour and massage your perineum!)
My labour was pretty fast (16h from when the contractions started) with no drugs and aside from pushing at the end, I felt in control all the way through.
If someone said a year ago that this was an option for birthing my baby, I’d have laughed at them. (The reality for me is that being stitched up was more painful and uncomfortable than actual labour!)
Thank you Elise for giving us the knowledge and tools to have such a lovely birth!
Here we are at home enjoying some cuddles!
To book your place on the Birth Bubble course, head to the main section of the site, or contact Elise@Birthbubble.co