The beautiful story of the birth of Sophie Evelyn, as told by her Mum,Gemma who attended the Mindful Mamma class in December 2014.
Gemma said: “I attended a class with Sophie in nottingham in December and had a baby girl at the end of Feb – I’ve had my birth story written for a while but just haven’t got round to sending it so here it is below. Please feel free to use it if you think it’s any good. I know i found it really helpful to read these sorts of stories before I gave birth to give me confidence so maybe my story will help someone else.”
Sophie’s Birth Story
“Before I start my birth story a bit of background on why I chose to have a hypnobirth. I had my son 3 1/2 years ago and would definitely describe it as a difficult birth – sheer exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed with pain lead to a series of interventions resulting in a forceps delivery. The memory of my son’s birth put me off contemplating a sibling for him for quite some time and when I did get pregnant again alongside absolute elation was an underlying fear of giving birth. My first reaction when thinking about labour was to opt for an epidural as quickly as it could be administered and preferably knock me out and wake me up when it was all over. However, I still had a feeling that I had somehow not dealt with my first labour as well as I could and that I wanted the 2nd time to be more positive. Giving birth is something our bodies are designed to do and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it on my own.
I’m not sure how I came across hypnobirthing, I recall a colleague using the techniques to birth her baby some years ago. I came across the mindful mamma website and so much of what was on there made sense to me. I loved the biological aspect to it, this made scientific sense not just fluffy ideals. With that I downloaded the hypnosis tracks and booked onto the course. I also sought out positive birth stories and videos on YouTube and stopped watching programmes like One Born Every Minute which sensationalise birth.
The course itself was a real turning point for me and my husband. My husband was very supportive of my decision to use mindful hypnobirthing techniques but if he was being honest I think he’d say that he wasn’t totally convinced by it. However after spending a day listening to Sophie Fletcher I was 100% convinced and he came away a real advocate. The biggest change for us on the day was that we decided to opt for a home birth. I hadn’t appreciated the extent to which the thought of going to hospital was contributing to my anxiousness about giving birth.
So with that we came away feeling positive and relaxed about the impending birth of our daughter and put plans into place to have her at home.
The main event…late one monday evening I had some early signs that things were starting to happen. After a quick telephone chat with a midwife I felt the best thing to do was to go to bed and get some rest before as I was sure to be having a busy day the following day. I recall my contractions starting at about 1am but I decided not to wake my husband up but simply breathe through them a get some more sleep. At about 3.30am they started getting more noticeable so thought I ought to wake my husband up. We were both really calm and sat in bed having a cup of tea and listening to the mindful mamma birth affirmations. I decided to go into the bath at 5am for a change of scenery. I put lavender oil in the bath and continued to listen to relaxation music. By this point my contractions were coming about every 5 minutes and weren’t especially strong but because we live a little out of the way I rang the midwife and (confession time) exaggerated the timing of my contractions as I knew it would take them a while to find us.
The midwife arrived at about 7am and I was still only having contractions every 5-7 minutes so I was quite surprised that I was 6cm dilated and in active labour when she checked me. As it turns out my contractions never became more frequent even when I was fully dilated. I stayed in the bath until 9am, feeling totally relaxed and breathing through every contraction. With each contraction I used 321 relax relax relax which worked really well for me and I could feel everything softening and expanding. The midwife commented that she was struggling to gauge how I was progressing as I wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of labour because I was so relaxed and in control.
After getting out of the bath I spent some time walking around my bedroom and using the birthing ball to lean over. At 10am my waters broke (luckily on the toilet) and I seem to recall spending a while just sitting on the loo letting gravity work its magic.
I had hoped that by standing up gravity would help my baby out and I would be able to breathe my baby down and out. In reality this didn’t really work and my midwife suggested that I try doing some small pushes to get things moving. This was the trickiest part for me – I’d coped so well getting to this point and not really felt any pain and I knew that to birth my baby I was going to have to experience the hardest part and I honestly didn’t want to. On reflection I can now see that I was in transition and the feelings of doubt that I could do it were a sign that I was getting close to giving birth.
Using my husband as a physical support I pushed our baby out. I’m told that I was only pushing for about 20-30mins but I honestly didn’t have any sense of time. The. Midwives were great coached me through the pushing to minimise tearing. At 11.52 my beautiful 9lb 12oz baby, Sophie Evelyn was born with no pain relief using only the mindful hypnobirthing techniques I had practised. I had a couple of stitches but this was only caused by the sheer size of our not so little Miss.
I can honestly say this is one of the proudest achievements of my life and love to see the look on people’s faces when I say that I had an almost 10lb baby at home with no pain relief. For anyone who is unsure about the power of hypnobirthing I am testament to the fact that it can work if you put your mind to it and believe you can do it.”