We have had several mums who have come on our class and have done HypnoBirthing before but have had a sense of failure as they didn’t have the birth they they expected. Our focus is very much on allowing birth to take its course, but also being prepared for whichever course it takes. Birth is a normal natural process the large majority of the time, but sometimes it can take a different course for a multitude of reasons. Giving a mum the tools to be able to emotionally a mentally prepare for that if it were to happen without creating a fear of it is incredibly important and a skill we’ve learned over the years. We have 9% unplanned caesarean rate, the national average is around 24%, but we also have a 100% positive feedback, that the techniques they learned made sure that their experience was positive one.
This is Cath’s story of Michael’s birth. This was Cath’s second baby, Hannah her first baby had been born by caesarean section, Cath was ready to give this birth all she had and prepared very well emotionally and physically. Although it didn’t go they route they would have chosen, I remember Cath just gushing with the excitement of Michael’s arrival and her experience which is just as it should be.
Michael’s birth story
10th September 2011.
Nottingham City Hospital.
Friday 9th September.
I suddenly really wanted to eat carby food so got sausage and chips at the chipper and was so hungry could barely wait to get in front door. Managed to make Hannah her lunch and then ate about as much food as I could fit in. I felt completely exhausted and when Hannah went for her nap, I went flat out on the sofa and woke up an hour and a half later. I felt much better for the sleep and lots of food but it is fairly unusual of me to go to sleep without thinking about it especially in the afternoon.
Saturday 10th September.
Woke up to a pop and a gushing feeling at 6:45. Managed to hot foot it round the bed and get to the toilet as quickly as I could. By which point I knew it was my waters. We left for the hospital just after 8, by which time I had had started having regular contractions.
When we went in to the labour suite, it took a while to get going but we soon had the antibiotics while they were doing the monitoring. This needed doing initially to see where we were at with baby and check all was ok. Unfortunately the only position we could get a trace in was on the bed, anything else would lose the heart beat – even though we tried every possible way. By now I was still losing good bits of waters, and also having stronger contractions. While we were waiting, we thought we would try the ‘kiss’ that is alleged to get contractions moving – it definitely got them moving, so I can highly recommend it.
I used the yoga camel walk and scooping walk and found it really helped, it definitely made a change to the contractions. When they bought the mat down, we put the mindful mamma cd on, and after that I just have memories of being really chilled out and going with the feelings and sensations. That really helped me get into the zone and again , noticed a difference in contractions stepping up as I was relaxing into the cd. I ended up on the mat using the cat poses and lizard as it just felt comfortable and helpful.
We also got the photos out of my special memories, and that definitely made a big difference – sitting looking at them just made my heart feel full. Shortly after that I found that as well as tens I needed to use the golden thread breath which really helped me concentrate on taking the right breaths. I felt quite spacy from the extra breathing and definitely relaxed. It sounds odd probably to most, but I wasn’t bothered – if anything I was enjoying it, which I am sure is why then helped the contractions get stronger again and I found that I needed to hum my way through the out breaths to help – gave me something really great to concentrate on but felt quite meditative under my blanket, with beach noises and nice head strokes. I had a bath. It was definitely a good thing to do, and I really enjoyed the sensations of the water
And then suddenly I wanted to get out of the bath. I went from feeling really relaxed to just needing to get out but even getting out of the bath was hard. We put the tens machine back on which helped, but somehow it felt different, I definitely didn’t feel relaxed and was becoming aware of it not feeling right. I didn’t know what position I wanted to be in but settled on being on the mat with the yoga ball to lean on and rock with. It all changed a lot and the tens machine wasn’t helping and I found I just could not breath through the contractions. It felt like something was wrong. In my head, I was saying ‘trust that intuition’ which was something two of my yoga friends had said in the previous few days. It was definitely a different sensation, and instead of being a pleasure to experience the sensations of labour that somehow I felt familiar with.
I later found out from Dave, that I had dilated really quickly from 3-8 cm – I was 3 at 12pm and was at 8 by 5 so had all been looking good – but then I had got to 8.5 and not moved, and they were starting to get a bit concerned by the fact I had changed from being calm and coping to wild and out of control. I also didn’t know at the time, that when I had got off the bed in a strop, I had lost a large amount of blood, and they were worried about this because even though baby appeared to be well and coping, they couldn’t tell where it had come from. I’d not had the sensation of pain for the majority of the labour, and it suddenly changed, like a switch. That intuition in my head kept knocking until I thought about it. I had this overwhelming sensation that I needed to call it a day and go for the C-section, that there was no point in waiting for more hours to become more exhausted, that the pain was telling me things were wrong somehow.
There were some emergencies so theatre was backed up. As baby was ok, and I was ok, they were in no rush. They had hoped that it might allow time for me to continue to progress, but they found baby’s position was really awkward and hadn’t come down far enough to allow me to fully dilate. With it being unrushed, they were able to explain everything, and it was a really relaxed and helpful conversation. I definitely felt well looked after and that time was taken.
They put only a very small amount of epidural in so I still had some sensation of contractions, but it meant I was able to have calm moments to sit with Dave and prepare myself mentally for knowing baby was going to be there that day, in less than an hour. We carried on listening to the cd, and I just felt relief that I had tried, given baby the best chance but that I had done all I was able to.
I requested that I was given my antacid before being laid down which made a difference this time and I wasn’t sick. Again, because there was no rush, they were able to take their time in getting me ready. It really was quite an odd sensation while I could feel them move my legs, I had no recognition of pain or cold. I could feel the surgeon on my belly but there was no pain, just pushing and movement.
Dave suddenly noticed the music that was playing was ‘Doctor Doctor’ and commented on it. Lynyrd Skynyrd ‘Freebird’ was playing when she was making the final cuts to deliver baby, which seemed pretty fitting. It made for a bit of a light atmosphere and connection also, having two babies who came to see iron maiden in utero, and now the surgeon playing great music, kind of made the day.
So at 2147, she pulled baby out, and held him up so that Daddy could see he was most definitely a boy. As I was lying waiting for him to arrive in the outside world, I wondered about names, and it popped into my head that I knew what the name would be. As I heard him crying, and Dave told me it was a boy, I knew we had to use the name Michael. I had him as much skin to skin on my chest as I could expose. It felt like the perfect moment again, eye to eye, him looking at me and having little shouts, but hushing when I talked to him, like he knew me. The same moment of excitement when Dave told me what we had, and we both cried a lot, tears of pure joy, and that feeling of exploding heart happiness.
We also had a good try to get breast feeding going – Michael was sucking really well from the moment he came out, and nearly took the nurses’ finger off. He wanted to go straight on to me so it made life a lot easier when we got up to the ward. We had some lovely skin to skin and again, as we rode through the corridors, I just felt amazing that I had my baby with me
It could not have been a more wonderful experience. Admittedly, it would have been preferable to have the delivery I was trying for – but as labouring experiences go, I feel like it was as I wanted it to be.
The experience of labour was perfect. The things we learned on the mindful mamma course, stood me in such good stead – the cd not only gave me a fabulously relaxed pregnancy but also allowed me to enter into the labouring experience in such a relaxed way and until he turned himself, I was managing so well and so calmly, it was the empowering, emotional, perfect feeling that I knew it could be – which is also how I knew when things had changed.
All the tips and postures I have been using in yoga were great for helping me keep mobile and find that comfortable and relaxed position. Each of the ‘props’ we took, helped improve my contractions, and I can’t recommend the experience more highly.
As it turned out, the surgeon felt there was no way he was going to come out or move down because he was head back again, and that was why he had not been coming down. The consultants suggested that it was related to the shape of my pelvic bone, that baby got into a certain point and could not move into the right position – how true that is I don’t know.
I had no awareness of anything that was going on at the time, they were fully respectful of what I wanted as far as they safely could be – but at no point was I offered any pain relief, or told any information I didn’t want to know. One of the doctors later commented on how detailed and organised my birth plans were – like it was a really positive thing – which it was! I felt totally looked after, that I was treated like an individual and with respect. They just seemed interested in the plan, not at all judgemental and really, really flexible. Again, the information we gathered on the Mindful Mamma course gave us all the tools we needed and gave us the confidence to ask for it.
The real star of the show – was Dave. Not just on the day, but for the last 9 months. He asked the right questions when we visited the hospital, he remembered several things I had wanted to know but then forgot to ask on the day! It was so freeing during the labour just to be under a blanket and focusing on my baby, while things I needed were sorted out and given to me.Once again, he showed his true strength, and for the millionth time, I wonder how I managed to find that person who could be that strong and supportive and could come through for me in all the moments of my life that have needed that support. I know that I could not have imagined a more amazing partner for me – or father for our children and I feel blessed every single day.
So many people also helped and supported us throughout the pregnancy, I feel so lucky.