We welcomed our little girl, Lara Evelyn into the world on Wednesday evening, two weeks ahead of schedule.
As you may be aware, I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts or if you’ve been following me on social media, I was practicing hypnobirthing techniques for labour and birth. I wanted to follow up on the results of my practice as so many of my readers were very interested in seeing what the outcome was from my preparations.
When it comes to labour and birth, anything can happen and it’s important to always keep an open mind. While my ideal birth didn’t turn out exactly how i envisioned, it was still positive and I’m very happy with the outcome.
Now just like my labour, this may take a while so pop the kettle on and get comfy.
Last Tuesday (31.07.18 at 12:00pm) I was seeing my obstetrician for my 38 week check up when to our surprise we found out I was already 3cm dilated! My obstetrician advised us that we would be meeting our baby within the next 24-48hrs for sure! I couldn’t believe it! I instantly felt excited, anxious and a little nauseas from the anticipation that my baby would be coming very soon! So hubby and I headed home and surprise surprise I started getting gentle ‘waves’ (contractions) a couple of hours later.
From about 3pm I just relaxed at home, listening to my calmbirth meditations, coloured in my coloring book and snacked on some fruit and dry biscuits while hubby attended to tasks around the house. The gentle waves didn’t really bother me, but we timed them every so often just to keep track of where things were at. By 11:30pm the ‘waves’ were averaging 1 minute long and around 3 minutes apart, so we called the hospital and they advised we come in so they could see how I was progressing. The ‘waves’ weren’t painful at all, it just felt like a mild period cramp or what I describe as ‘tightening’. I just applied a heatpack to the area to help with any discomfort.
At the hospital after some monitoring and general observations, around 2:30am the midwife did an internal check and I was still only 3cm dilated. I wasn’t in any discomfort, but I was just tired from being awake in the early hours of the morning, so we decided to head back home to try and get some sleep, with my obstetrician requesting I come back to the hospital at 8am to see how I was progressing.
We arrived back at the hospital at 8am on Wednesday (01.08.18) after not really having any sleep due to excitement and anticipation to find out I was now 4cm dilated. My obstetrician admitted us as she said we would definitely be having a baby today!
Hubby and I were taken up to the birthing suite where we settled in and made the space our own. I had my essential oil diffuser on, affirmation cards out and started listening to some calming music and meditations to get in my ‘zone’. The ‘waves’ at this point were starting to take more of my attention but were still quite manageable, just using simple calm breathing techniques and changing up my positions to get through.
At 12:00pm my obstetrician came in and broke my waters to help get things moving. I had hoped that this would happen naturally, but with complete trust in my obstetrician I agreed.
Around 2pm I got into the bath which was such a relief on my body. The warm water really helped with my lower back ache and to help me feel more relaxed. The ‘waves’ began to really intensify by this stage, however time passed quickly here and before I knew it i had been in the bath for 4 hours.
It was 6pm on Wednesday now. My obstetrician was curious at this point to see how I was progressing, and after an internal check she advised I was now 5cm dilated. After hearing this I felt a bit deflated as I had been in labour for over 24 hours now and I was feeling quite exhausted. I really thought I would have been much further along than 5cm, but the midwives and my obstetrician assured me I was doing great, and that my body had already done the hardest part of opening up. They suggested I get back into the bath and we would see how things were progressing in 2 hours time. Those 2 hours felt like the longest 2 hours of my life… The ‘waves’ were really taking my focus away at this point and I really had to concentrate to breathe and move through them as they were coming every 30 seconds and lasting approximately 1 minute long.
The ‘waves’ were strong and made me feel a little nauseated when they peaked, but I sipped on ginger ale and water and snacked on dry biscuits and mints which helped me to not be sick. I also kept having hot flushes and used cold face washers on my neck and forehead to help cool me down.
8pm eventually came around and the midwives helped me out from the bath. I laid on the bed while my obstetrician checked me over and told me I was now 6cm dilated. At this moment I cried and just felt so frustrated that I had been laboring for this long now and was only 6cm. I felt that the ‘waves’ were so strong and close together that I had no energy or stamina left in me to even breathe through them. I really wanted to birth without drugs but at that moment I just wanted the ‘waves’ to stop! With hesitation and disappointment I agreed to having an epidural as I felt I just lost my mindset and was fearful it would still be another 6 or so hours of intense laboring ahead. My obstetrician put a drip in to help with my fluids and called the anesthetist for the epidural.
As I lay there on the bed praying the anesthetist would hurry up and take this ‘pressure and tightening’ away, I had a ‘wave’ come that felt different than usual. I felt this immense pressure in my bottom and I even voiced out to everyone that I felt like I was about to do a poo on the bed. The midwife came over to quickly check me and to everyone’s surprise I was fully dilated. This was it, no time for an epidural, there was a baby coming!
Everything seemed to be happening so quickly at that moment, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to have the epidural, I felt scared, and I felt excited knowing we were almost at the finish line.
With assistance, I got up on my knees with my upper body draped over the head of the bed and breathed baby down the birth canal with each intense ‘wave’. I could feel the adrenaline in my body, and I tried to remember to relax and just breathe slowly. The sensation felt so strange, as I actually felt like the baby was going to come out of my bottom. Soon enough my legs gave way as my body was completely exhausted and I had no strength left to hold myself up. The midwives helped flip me over so I was sitting upright instead, and this way my obstetrician could do her part efficiently.
My obstetrician was incredible in guiding me through breathing and pushing. As soon as I felt a ‘wave’ come I would say ‘here it comes’ to mentally prepare myself to get though. Everyone helped remind me to breathe properly and when to give my everything with each push, while cold face washers were draped around my head and neck and water and ice chips helped replenish me in between the ‘waves’.
I could feel absolutely everything, and just went with my body.
I was told I had my eyes closed the entire time and that I didn’t really make any sound except deep breathing and a deep sigh of relief after some of the strong and hard pushes. I just focused on my obstetricians voice and trusted her guidance. I didn’t pay attention to anyone else in the room.
I remember her asking me if I wanted to touch the baby’s head as it came out to which I said no. She then told me to have my hands out ready to receive my baby, to which I hesitated. I just couldn’t comprehend that my baby was just seconds away from being born and so my husband stepped in and grabbed our little girl and placed her on my chest.
It took me a few moments before I could even touch her or look at her as I was just in complete shock of what just happened. When I did look down at her she had her eyes open and was just staring at me. She was so quiet, not a single noise apart from a little gurgle. I even said ‘is she alive?’ because she was so calm, still and quiet.
We waited until the cord stopped pulsating before my husband did the honors of cutting it as we believe in the benefits of delayed cord clamping. I also delivered the placenta naturally and easily after 10 minutes.
In total it took about 40 minutes of nudging baby down and pushing her out. I also had no tearing or damage and didn’t require any intervention.
I still can’t believe I laboured and gave birth without any medication, and no vomiting. (Vomiting was a huge fear of mine during labour) I felt completely normal after the birth, and am recovering so well. The midwifes were all so surprised at how well I am, and didn’t even ask for panadol.
I really believe all my pre-birth preparations made my experience what it was. While there were moments I felt I couldn’t go on, the breathing techniques and affirmations really helped keep me grounded. It’s like I had all these inner resources imprinted in me and my subconscious just knew how to access it.
It also helped that I had such a great team around me and that the hospital really supported my birthing preferences.
While my labour was long and enduring, I still would say I had a positive birth experience. The baby was never distressed during labour and I believe that came down to myself being in a calm state. Even now, just 4 days after birth, Lara is such a quiet and content baby, and even the midwives have commented on this.
I would definitely use the same techniques for my next pregnancy and birth, and I feel so confident within my body and its capabilities that I could once again do it without medication.
I feel amazing, joyous and happy and Lara is such a content and beautiful baby! I believe this outcome has contributed from such a positive birth experience and I would highly recommend every woman and/or couple to learn hypnobirthing or calm birth techniques. Knowledge is power, and the more you understand how the female body works during labour and birth and how your emotions affect your hormones, you can better understand how to work with your body rather than against it.