Wow, what an amazing experience pregnancy and giving birth were! After what could be considered a miracle pregnancy, we wanted to prepare for the big day as best we could. I had previously heard good things about hypnobirthing and I was so happy when I saw that Melissa offered classes in Geraldton. The classes gave both my partner, Chad, and myself many techniques to achieve the positive experience we were after no matter where our birthing journey took us.
Throughout my pregnancy, my baby was in the breech position. In the later stages, I started doing what I could to encourage baby to turn; seeing a chiropractor, exercises from Spinning Babies and techniques from hypnobirthing. When Melissa came to my house and performed a hypnotherapy session for deep relaxation and to encourage baby to turn, the session left me feeling relaxed and calm, and with a new confidence that baby would do what was needed. To continue relaxing, I spent the following week listening to the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Breech Turn hypnobirthing track.
Before an ECV (external cephalic version, where baby is physically turned by manipulating my abdomen), I listened to the Breech Turn track and when the OB walked into the room I was super relaxed. I stayed relaxed throughout the procedure with my eyes closed and concentrated on my breathing, with Chad at my feet holding my legs. The procedure was very gentle and worked a treat! She went head down!
After the procedure, they checked baby’s heart rate which was very low. I was asked to change positions multiple times in the hope baby would be happy, but she wasn’t. The decision was made to prepare for an emergency c section under a general anaesthetic to get baby out ASAP. When I realised that this would mean Chad couldn’t be there for her birth, there were a few tears, but I took slow breaths and tried to stay as calm as I could. Chad was using the techniques we had learnt in hypnobirthing classes as well, using light touch and grounding, encouraging me to go back into the zone.
I was literally minutes away from going into theatre having made it all the way from the birthing suite to the theatre holding bay when she was showing signs of being happier for longer. The decision was made to wait and watch a bit longer. Then a bit longer again. Next, we were on our way back to the birthing suite to be monitored and no surgery was needed. An hour later we walked out of the hospital with baby head down! Given the emotional rollercoaster, we were so grateful to make it a positive experience and with how quickly everyone at the hospital leapt into action, we felt we were in safe hands. We could now mentally prepare for a vaginal delivery when she was ready to meet us!
Just five days after the ECV at 37+6, things started happening. Chad and I decided to have a date night on the foreshore to enjoy the evening together, just in case we were getting close and it would be the last time as just us. Little did we know that at 11:50 pm my membranes would rupture when I jumped out of bed to go to the toilet! We headed to the hospital to have it confirmed and were sent home to wait for things to begin. We were told to be back at 6:00 pm for IV antibiotics if we weren’t in labour before then. It was difficult to get rest with the constant leaking and excitement!
The next day I kept busy and upright to encourage surges. At 2:00 pm, the hospital called and my doctor wanted me in to speak to me. To our surprise, since I wasn’t progressing, he wanted to induce me then, or at 6:00 am the following day. As it wasn’t what I was expecting, I began to feel anxious, especially after hearing so many negative induction stories. Chad and I decided the 6:00 am induction would give my body time to start things on its own and for me to get some rest. I was required to have IV antibiotics and monitoring every four hours at the hospital.
That evening after some dinner and my first dose of antibiotics, I was starting to doubt my body’s ability; I was letting my head get the better of me. I was emotional and exhausted. Chad and I went into our bedroom, put clary sage in the diffuser and changed our focus to relaxing and grounding. We laid cuddling and kissing, skin to skin to release endorphins, and Chad read the Lotus Flower script multiple times. I rested and listened to the birthing affirmations track. When it came time to return to the hospital for more antibiotics I was feeling happier and more confident again. I could do this.
We weren’t clicking with the midwife that had been assigned to us on the morning of the induction. We had informed her we were hypnobirthing and we would ask for pain relief if we required it. This midwife mentioned multiple times an epidural and to make that call early. Chad was an amazing partner advocating for us and arranged to have a new midwife. What a change it was too! This midwife was understanding of hypnobirthing and such a protector of our cave and our birthing space. We had our diffuser going, blinds closed and a happy playlist playing over a speaker. I was connected to a syntocinon drip and constant CTG monitoring, which was started about 7.30am. I spent time on the fitball, birthing stool and standing. When the surges began I would stop speaking, close my eyes and sway and breath while Chad did soft touch massage, then I’d continue in conversation. After each surge, I felt euphoric and would often smile!
At about 1:00 pm things began to feel more intense. I remember a lovely moment slow dancing with Chad; his love and touch being so soothing. I was examined at some point and told I was 4cm. About half an hour after this I began doubting myself and struggling through surges thinking I couldn’t go on like this for hours. I was in tears and asking for an epidural. The new midwife we had for the afternoon was amazing and reminded me that my birth plan was drug-free. She told me to work through the next 20 minutes and we would reassess then. I think I cried every surge! At 20 minutes she had me move onto all fours on the bed. Things really changed then. She examined me and signalled at Chad and the student midwife that I was ready to push.
I went back into my zone and not another word was said. My body took over. I would sway in between surges and my body told me when and how to push. There was no guided pushing, just my midwife telling me to trust my instinct. 28 minutes later, Ayla was born! Wow! I couldn’t believe what had just happened! I felt amazing; so powerful and grateful and amazed at my body.
The third stage proved to be challenging. I was unable to birth the placenta no matter what was tried, and I ended up in theatre for a manual extraction with a spinal. My midwife was great and suggested that we keep Ayla on my chest throughout to establish feeding and continue skin on skin. It was a great distraction from what was going on. There were times I would feel overwhelmed and reverted back to my zone where I would close my eyes and breath.
Thank you so much for hypnobirthing and for teaching me to be able to quickly go to a happy place and stay calm. It really helped me stay grounded when things weren’t quite going to plan and allowed such an empowering and positive birthing experience!
Pipp and Chad x