Today we would like to share with the story of Hazel’s birth with the permission of Madeline her mum. Madeline lives in Australia and used the Mindful Hypnobirthing book and accompanying mp3 tracks to prepare for her daughters birth. She contacted us recently to share her story, which she has written to her daughter…
Thank you for sharing your story Madeline and welcome to the world Hazel.
Hazel’s Birth Story
The due dates I had been told (31st Oct, 3rd Nov, 7th Nov – each care provider I saw used a different method!) had come and gone. Family and friends were starting to get impatient, but I wasn’t. I knew you would come when you were ready. I felt very mentally prepared for the labour. At the suggestion of Martha, one of our midwives, I had gotten into hypnobirthing, using a book called Mindful Hypno birthing and some accompanying audio tracks over the past 4 months. I had been getting minor twinges throughout the week, but on Fri 13th (spooky!) in the evening I got my first proper contraction, and knew that my labour was about to start. Mum, Dad and Marigold were all staying and waiting for you, and I left them at the dinner table to go have a shower. Your dad came in to check on me about 20 minutes later and I whispered to him “I think I just had a contraction!”. However we decided not to mention it to anyone else as it could still could be ages before you were born. That night the contractions were coming every 10 – 15 minutes or so, but I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks which relaxed me and the contractions were mild enough that I could fall asleep.
On the Saturday the family went out, and Eamon and I hung around at home relaxing. I was still getting regular contractions but they were easy enough to deal with using some basic breathing exercises. In the afternoon we decided to go see the new James Bond movie and so drove into New Farm. About ¾ of the way through the film I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Sitting still made the contractions harder, and the film was very abrasive. I was now needing to focus and breathe through the contractions and concentrating on this was difficult while people were getting shot at. We drove home and when we got there Mum, Dad, Marigold and Briar were in the lounge. I quietly mentioned to Mum and Dad that I was feeling in labour and they were very supportive and reassuring. We had dinner and went to bed, but about midnight I woke up and knew I probably wasn’t going to get to sleep again as the contractions were getting more intense. I was using my breathing and hypnobirthing tapes to keep focused and calm, but at 3am decided to get in the shower for some heat relief, and to let Eamon sleep. This helped a lot, but meant I had to be standing or sitting on the stool which was getting tiring. An hour later I went back to bed, and dozed on and off till morning.
Sunday morning we started timing the contractions. They were ranging from 8 to 12 minutes apart, and generally lasting a minute. Some were milder than others but overall getting stronger as the day progressed. The day passed quite vaguely, but I remember Mum and Eamon taking turns to sit with me, and time the contractions. I spent much of the morning out on the deck, holding on to the railing and swaying when the contraction was occurring, then sitting down to rest in the interim, and then got in the shower for a while, but this had caused the contractions to slow, so was not in there for long. Later in the day we moved to the bedroom while Eamon was timing and then into the spare room while Mum was with me. Mum built a giant pillow throne on the bed so I could rest easily between the contractions, as I was quite tired from being up most of the Saturday night. When the contraction built I would stand up and lean on the dresser swaying and breathing to keep focused and then when it was done would flop down into the pillows again.
At about 3pm that day I decided to get back in the shower. The contractions were about 8 minutes apart at this point and I was needed to vocalise and move my legs to cope with the more powerful surges. The heat of the shower was great, and your dad stayed in the bathroom with me timing them and encouraging me. We had purchased a little stool a few months prior so I could sit in the shower, and this was wonderful. I sat between contractions and then when they came, stood up and hung onto the shower frame, looking through the glass at your dad, or the birth affirmations I had taped the outside of the glass the month earlier. The hypnobirthing strategies were so useful in this time, as every time I reminded myself to relax into the contraction, rather than resisting or tightening against it, the pain would ease and I could feel my body respond.
After 2 or so hours in the shower the contractions had passed the midwife test (1 contraction every 5 minutes for over an hour), and your dad called the hospital (at 5:23). A few minutes after getting the page our midwife Annie called us back. She spoke to your dad and then (briefly) to me, and then said she would meet us at the hospital. She had just finished grocery shopping and lived in Alexandra Hills so suggested as it would take her about 40 minutes to get to RBWH we could wait at home until she would be there, however I was having none of that. I was very ready to be at the hospital now. Once we had talked to Annie it was all systems go. I stayed in the shower while everyone packed the car. We went in the Getz as the grey car had your carseat already installed and I wanted your dad in the backseat with me. My dad (your grandpa) drove us there very quickly (I had to remind him of the speed limit once) and the contractions in the car were not the best, as I couldn’t move through them.
When we arrived at the hospital we hugged Dad goodbye, and then he walked us into the foyer, as he couldn’t leave us straight away, which was very sweet. We went up to the Birth Centre and one of the on duty midwives met us there and look us to room 4. She checked your heart rate and my pulse and blood pressure while I contracted and your dad unpacked the bags and put up the wall chart I had made with the visualisation dial and my birth affirmations. By this point the contractions were getting stronger and I was moving through them and the visualisation technique of turning down the intensity with a mental dial. A few minutes after that – about 6pm – Annie arrived. She had a delightful energy and I felt very safe with her. The other midwife was fine, but she wasn’t one of the Birth Centre team, and called my vocalisations during contractions yodelling, which while it might have been accurate I thought wasn’t the most supportive.
After doing some more tests and feeling where you were sitting Annie suggested I might like to know how dilated I was. I wasn’t sure about this (what if I was only 1 or 2 cms and had ages to go?) but Eamon thought it would help. I let some time pass while I got used to labouring at the hospital and then about 7pm I had a VE, and was 5 -6 cm dilated! This was great. At this point I had achat to Annie and asked if I could take a couple of Panadol for the residual ache I was experiencing between contractions. The Panadol helped relieve this while I spent some more time in the shower, using the 2 shower heads to ease through some more contractions. I was very keen on the idea of a water birth as from all I had read they were a really lovely way to give birth, and did reduce the likelihood of tearing so when we arrived had asked that the bath be filled. At about 7:45 the bath was full and I decided to get in.
However when I got in the bath I couldn’t work out a comfortable position to sit in. While it was the size of a small spa it was round and my legs were too long to sit with them out, and shortly after I started to feel chilled. Shivering with cold I quickly got back under the shower heads, and stayed there leaning against your dad. After labouring here for a while at about 8:30 my waters broke with what felt like a pop and a big splash. It was about this time that I think I went into transition, and for the first time during my labour said fuck, a fact I a rather proud of (that it took so long – not that I swore!).
As the labour progressed I lent more and more on Eamon, until I was bent over with him holding me up by the elbows. While I was still very calm, I was using the nitros gas by this point to work through the contractions and my legs were very weak from tiredness. Annie suggested that we move out from the bathroom and kneel leaning against the beanbag, as she could see that both Eamon and I were getting exhausted. We moved over and Eamon sat on the floor in front of me holding my hands and encouraging me through the powerful surges. We stayed in this position for a while and I started to get the urge to push. Annie encouraged me in this, but after a few more contractions gently suggested that the birth would go faster if I stopped using the gas, as it was dampening my urgency and efforts. I understood this instinctively, but while I stopped using the gas I refused to let go of the mouthpiece, crushing your poor dad’s fingers against it every time a contraction came on. Apparently this is a family trait, as my mum did a similar thing when I was born.
The contractions at this point were an incredible feeling, hard to describe. The pain was there, but muted by the pressure, and the incredible need for release. I was quite beyond words by this point, mostly communicating with grunts to Annie who was seated behind me, and hand gestures to Eamon (such as thumbs up) who could see them. Between every contraction Annie would check your heart rate to make sure you were coping ok, which you were. You did so well, darling. Every contraction was now building on the previous one, and I was so desperate to get your head out. There were a few when I felt like “this is it”, but then you would ease back up the birth canal. However your head eventually made its way out, and then your body the contraction after. You were born at 10:21pm with your hand up by your head. I was so exhausted when you came out I just leant there like a stunned mullet, and the midwife prompted me to reach down and pick up my baby. I asked them what sex you were, but neither of them had checked, so we had to unwrap you from the towel they had caught you in (which you were unhappy about) to find out we had a daughter.
Sidenote – talking to your dad about this recently, apparently the midwives did tell us this, twice, but I didn’t take it in so they suggested I look for myself. Ha!
You were so amazing to us. Somehow I moved round so I was seated and held you on my chest as your dad sat next to us, and we both marveled at you. Eamon got teary at this point looking at you. We spent the next half an hour loving you while Annie waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing so she could clamp and cut it. When she felt it was time she moved me to a small birthing stool so I could push out the placenta. While I knew it had to be done I really couldn’t be bothered or interested and had to be encouraged to do this. Once it was out Annie checked it over while we moved to the bed and just snuggled you. You were so perfect. We were instantly in love.
Remarkably our birth preferences all came to fruition, as I required very little pain medication and you came into the world without intervention, which I am very grateful for. Looking back on the experience I was so glad I did the Hypnobirth preparation. It made me feel very mentally prepared and confident in myself. The thing I was most concerned about was feeling overwhelmed and that during the labour I would decide I couldn’t give birth to you. However throughout the whole experience I never thought that, which I put down to the audio tracks.