I was so happy to receive this labour and birth story from the lovely Zoe, who I taught a few months ago. I just loved hearing about how Zoe applied her hypnobirthing techniques to help her have a super calm pregnancy and labour. She was so calm in labour, that she decided to go to IKEA to get some bits done, as you do! Thank you so much Zoe for sharing your wonderful story of how baby Harry was born - I am sure it is going to inspire and encourage so many Mamas-to-be! Xx
Baby Harry: 07.06.19
Born on his due date!
Labour Ward Birth
My birth was such a good experience and I can’t even put into words how important hypnobirthing was for my labour and how glad I am that I did it. Had I not, I would have a completely different birth story and birth.
One thing that really stuck out that Elise told me during the course, was that my baby’s birth could be a really healing experience for me. This was the first time I had made this connection about my upcoming birth - and it probably needs a little explanation. When I was 16, I had to undergo major emergency surgery, which resulted in serious complication. I recovered fully, however I was left with PTSD from a very traumatic experience.
Fifteen years later, I then find myself pregnant and due to give birth at the very same hospital where I had experienced this trauma earlier in my life. This hospital was a place, I, for obvious reasons, didn't have good memories of at all.
During my hypnobirthing course with Elise, we talked about this and ways in which I could ensure my birth felt very different to my previous experience so I didn't trigger any of the previous negative memories. I had some hypnotherapy sessions which really helped, and following my hypnobirthing course, I made a huge effort with the hypnobirthing relaxation and mindset homework - I was so into all of the music, smells, lovely baths, affirmations, etc.
So my birth story went something like this:
My due date was Friday 7th June 2019.
On the Monday before I was due, I had some minor tightenings / Braxton Hicks.
On the Tuesday, the tightenings were a bit start / stop, but totally fine and I continued to go about my day.
On the Wednesday, the sensations woke me up in the night so they were definitely ramping up, but then by the morning everything was still normal.
On the Thursday, it was the first time that I thought to myself that maybe these are actual surges
I was pottering around the house, and the sensations were getting stronger, and I just remember breathing through them and then carrying on!
I started to time the surges using the Freya app, but they were very start / stop, so I honestly didn't think it could be proper labour.
I’d been in manic nesting mode that whole week, so decided, as you do, that it was a good idea to go to IKEA that Thursday evening. The surges were getting stronger on the way to IKEA, but I was determined to get there, get what I needed…and a bag of Pick n Mix!
My husband really wasn't up for this shopping trip, so he waited for me in the cafe as I went to get what I needed. During this solo spree, my surges were getting a bit closer together and I had to stop 3 times when they came, standing by all the wardrobes, breathing through the surges, then cracking on with my shopping! (The breathing really was transformational!)
When we got home from IKEA on Thursday night, I decided it was a good time to reorganise my wardrobe! It’s true what they say about heavily pregnant women and the need to nest!
On Friday morning, I woke up to stronger surges. We called the hospital to tell them what was happening, but as my surges still weren’t in the “3 in 10 minute” pattern, they told us to stay at home until they got closer together, as they didn't want us to come in and be sent home. (At this point we booked a room at the hotel opposite the hospital, as we didn't fancy being sent home either!)
I had my routine 40 week appointment that morning at 11am that Friday morning anyway, so we headed to the hospital for then and took our birth bags in the car, just in case!
In the car to the hospital, for the first time the surges were painful and I had to stop talking during them. I used the TENS machine which helped - I think mainly as it was a good distraction - and it got me through the journey to the hospital.
When we arrived for my appointment, they were running late, and advised me to go straight to the Maternity Triage area if I thought I was having contractions.
So we headed over and I was seen by a midwife - who before examining me, looked at me and said “just by looking at you, you’re not even 1cm!” She told me she was going to examine me, but that she didn't want me to get my hopes up! As she was performing the examination I could see her face totally change - she looked puzzled. She finished the examination and then “well, you've really surprised me… you’re 8cm dilated!”
From then on, things happened pretty fast. There was a room available in Labour Ward. Once we were in the room, I asked for an epidural straightaway. At that point, the pain was intense (in hindsight this was because I was at transition at this time, which is where the body produces a wave of adrenaline to remind us to check it is safe to give birth - and it is the adrenaline in our body which makes the sensations of labour feel painful as the blood temporarily diverts away from the uterus!)
Although I was still breathing through the surges and coping well, having an epidural was always part of my birth plan, but in the end, it was the worst part of my birth! The process of having the epidural put in was really painful and it also didn’t work properly, so I was having pain from the epidural, on top of the contractions. This part was definitely the worst bit!
I went from 8 to 10cm in less than 2 hours, however Harry had turned position during this time, and he was now back-to-back.
When I was fully dilated and ready to push, all of a sudden about 10 doctors then come
into the room and told me that I needed to wait 2 hours before pushing, as otherwise I would likely need an instrumental delivery due to the baby’s position.
It was now 8pm, and I was being told not to push until 10pm.
Taking in this advice and what was going on at this moment is when my hypnobirthing mindset was really challenged. I could see my husband was getting worried, I heard the Doctors talking about an instrumental delivery, and I didn't feel like things were being properly explained to me.
Until this point, I felt like I was in the driver’s seat, however when the Doctors all came in, I felt like the control was being taken away and I was falling onto the “conveyor belt of care” (which I was aware of from my hypnobirthing class). If I understood there was a medical reason, then I would have been fine with the suggestion and need to wait till 10pm to push, but I just felt that they Doctors couldn't feel what I could feel, going on inside me!
That said and even with this commotion, I remained calm, and kept repeating my affirmations to myself, telling myself to trust my intuition…which told me that this baby
was definitely going to be born before 10pm…I could feel it!
The Doctors left the room, and the Midwife who was with me told me that she couldn't
tell me to push, as this would be going against the Doctor’s advice, however if my body was to start pushing, then I could of course just go with it.
Not long after this point, I went into a sort of trance. My eyes were closed for about an hour and a half and I was repeating my favourite affirmations to myself over and over about trusting my body and my baby.
I don’t remember much of the pushing stage, it was a sort of out of body experience. All I remember is at some point, my body started pushing, something took over and I was completely in the zone and went with it. The actual pushing part only lasted about 30 minutes, and after about 10 pushes, baby Harry was born, at 9.57pm - 3 whole minutes before the Doctors were planning to come back in for the 10pm instrumental delivery!
I didn't experience any tearing or require any stitches and was back to normal down below in just a few hours. I’m pretty sure I didn't tear because I was just doing what my body told me to do during this stage - plus my Midwife was great at helping my to pant through certain surges to avoid tearing.
I was so happy to have regained control of my birth when it seemed like I was perhaps going to need to give it over to the Doctors. I also couldn't have done it without my amazing husband who was like a hypnobirthing instructor on the day! My Mum was at the birth too and she couldn't believe what she was seeing and how amazing he was. The course definitely gave him so much confidence in how to support me in labour - he was incredible!
When I was pregnant and heard about hypnobirthing, I honestly thought how the hell could anyone have a positive birth, but I would genuinely describe my birth as a very positive experience. Looking back on it, it really is all about mindset. Had I not have taken the hypnobirthing course and done all the preparation and practice, I would have succumbed to fear, and there is no way I would have progressed so fast and calmly at home (and in IKEA!).
The mindset Elise equipped my with basically delivered my baby! Being in such a deeply relaxed state is what got me so far and I would honestly do it all again tomorrow! The mindset tools you learn on the course can also be applied to life in general - doing Elise’s hypnobirthing course was honestly the best money I think I’ve ever spent!
In the end, hypnobirthing helped me with my birth, but in such a different way to how I imagined. The environment, which I hoped would be all chilled and spa-like, wasn't at all - but that didn't matter as it was the mindset I had learnt and all the techniques that were so important for my birth.
I also mentioned at the start of this story about how Elise told me during the course that this birth could be a really healing experience, and it honestly was just that. By the time I was through the birth, my mindset about anything to do with hospitals had changed - I truly felt completely healed for the first time.
Thank you so much again Elise, I am your biggest advocate and fan!