Murphy’s birth was my first practiced HypnoBirth, first home birth and third water birth. It was a beautiful day and had a profound effect on my supports, not only in their preconceived ideas around birth, but also their ideas of their own birthing experience, those past and to come.
My previous birth experiences were beautiful.
However, with slightly less than optimal postnatal periods, I knew that my work to prepare for this birth was more mental and emotional than physical. I knew I could birth, that my body and baby were perfect, but I needed to rid myself of my fears and concerns around my birthing to ensure my mind didn’t interfere (a major teaching point in preparing for a hypnobirth). I participated in Chiropractic work, Physio as well as acupuncture, massage and hypnotherapy. Visualisations and affirmations were major tools used in my pregnancy to prepare.
In the weeks leading up to Murphy’s birth, my husband got a new job, a full time job, which was fantastic, however, this meant working away. His first rotation was meant to begin when I was 37 weeks, with a history of earlier delivery’s, work was more than happy for him to skip that rotation and begin 4 weeks later. We were both confident and happy with this, knowing our little boy would have arrived by then…however when I arrived at 40+2 (12days later than my last child and 22days later than our first), I wondered how much time hubby would have with this baby. I messaged my midwife to notify her that “the longer my pregnancy went, the less signs of labour that I saw!” I think she sensed my frustration as she offered to visit on her way home that night (she lives very close to us, bless her!)
This was Wednesday night.
When she arrived we had a chat about how we were feeling (throughout the normal craziness of pre bed activity with two older children). While not stressed, I was starting to feel a little under pressure, our midwife offered a membrane sweep after discussing the benefits and risks. For me, this was an intervention I was happy to have, as it may give babe the nudge he needed, but not push him if he wasn’t ready. (Always discuss the full spectrum of benefits and risks with your care provider before accepting or having any intervention). My midwife complied and we got on with it, unfortunately, about all that could be achieved from the process was a brief internal which revealed that my cervix was in no way showing signs of opening. I had a bishop score of 0, a membrane sweep was not only going to be uncomfortable, but it was simply impossible due to the unfavorable nature of my cervix and lack of achievable flexibility of anyone to do.
While you may think I would have been disappointed by this result, with less than a week to have a baby, I wasn’t! It simply gave me the information I needed to throw the pressure away. I could have a full sleep not wondering if tonight was the night, I could plan the next day or two, enjoy the big kids. My midwife and I agreed to meet again on the Saturday to reassess and try another sweep if no movement still by then.
Unfortunately or luckily depending on how you look at it, the knowledge of knowing my body still had a fair bit of work to do, was enough for me to completely relax, which was perhaps the only reason I had not already gone into labour. As I awoke at 2.30am the same night. I knew this was it, however, with two little kids, the sun coming up in a few hours and a cervix with a lot of work to do, I wondered whether everything would fizzle with sunrise. I laboured in bed and in the lounge, alternating positions to whatever was comfy. It was very mild and surges were 20-25minutes apart (not 100% as I never did count myself). At 5am my hubby awoke, wondering why I hadn’t woken him, very sweet of him! He watched me intently for 10minutes at which point we went back to bed again to have a little more rest.
At 6am we got up again as lying in bed had gotten too uncomfortable.
I knew at this stage, I had to make a decision, luckily it was Kindy day for our eldest child, but someone had to look after our youngest and we didn’t have anyone who wasn’t meant to be working. I told hubby to give his brother and sister in law the heads up, being they were both still home and she wouldn’t be leaving for work until 9am. Things were progressing, but slowly. Glen had a coffee, put on some relaxation music and got me comfy with my ball and pillow.
As we were planning to deliver next door at my parents home, the home I grew up in, I wrote a note of what needed to be brought down with us when we went. I rang my mum to let her know it looked like we were on and to turn the heaters on, as it was freezing, her response was to ask if Glen could go to the shops and get some bread and milk (got to have your sandwiches and tea!) I also txted my midwife, just to give her the heads up, she let us know she did have an appointment at the clinic at 10am so to keep us informed as she would be leaving at 9am if we did not need her yet. I had a meeting planned later in the day, so emailed them to let them know I would be a no show.
By 7am my beautiful sister in law had arrived, cup of tea in hand.
The big kids were waking up so the house became a flurry of dressing, nappy changes and questions of what was on offer for breakfast. I didn’t tell them things had started as I was still worried things could settle. This was another decision point for me, I knew if I stayed, the noise, the kids, the activity would take over and my labour would stop, I was excited to meet this baby so decided to go and get settled in my birth space. As soon as Glen was home from dropping in the milk and tea, I grabbed my pillow and my slippers and wandered down the street. I will admit, to anyone who didn’t know what was happening it would have been a very strange view me wandering the streets in pjs and slippers with my giant pillow under my arm.
My mothers house is a lovely big two storey house, downstairs has two particular areas, one very large lounge/kitchen/dining open plan area with bathroom and laundry off this. With the other lounge/formal dining area on the other side of the stairs. These two areas are separated by a door at either side allowing effectively a big circle to wander around. The lounge/formal dining was our beautiful birth space complete with fairy lights, pool, affirmation posters, candles and diffuser. For the early stages I alternated between resting on the couch in here, wandering the circle and leaning over a lounge chair in the other room where I could chat to my family in the kitchen.
Glen brought Angus at 7.30 for a kiss and I told him he may just have a baby by the end of the day. I’m sure he went to Kindy telling everyone and I honestly didn’t mind. I knew today was the day, I had made my decision the minute I moved down to mum’s house. My mum rang my sister at this stage to let her know to make her way over, I txted the birth photographer to also give her a heads up that today was the day. Glen went home to check Eden had settled in with his aunt for the day and brought all of the items I had listed to remember. By the time he got back it was 8am. We were continuing to surge mildly but slightly more, still with plenty of time in between. It was almost frustrating they weren’t getting any closer together, but I enjoyed the slow ascent into labour.
Our midwife messaged at 8.30 to double check we were still comfortable (we were!) I had a shower at this stage and things felt a little more intense standing in there, it was lovely. I went back to standing and leaning on the back of my lounge chair and I remember mentioning to Glen how scruffy he looked, especially considering we had paid for a photographer, next thing I knew he was all set up in the laundry having a shave. You know your not truly in labour when hubby has time to have a shave.
Even if is a hypnobirth!
I had a rest on the couch and things slowly got closer and closer, the next time I asked we were 8mins apart and things were getting much more intense. I tried a few different positions on the floor, using the yoga mat, the coffee table and the bean bag, but couldn’t get comfy. At this stage it was about 11.30am and I knew the intensity was more than when I had left for hospital with Eden, so that was a promising sign that things were going well. I felt that it might be good to update the midwife about how things were going, I still didn’t feel we needed her here but thought it might be helpful to her in planning her day. It was almost as if my mind had timed it according to my knowledge of my midwifes day. I knew she had an appointment at 10, that it would go for an hour and she would take about 30minutes to get home, 11.30. What I didn’t know was that she had been booked for another appointment so was in fact still 30minutes away.
I decided this was a good time to jump in the shower and get things going a little more (while I knew the intensity meant I was progressing quite well, I still felt I was too happy, too calm and my surges were too far apart to be anything more than early labour). I jumped in the shower and withing minutes of being in there I felt things ramp up again. What I didn’t know was my midwife had rung, having seen the txt message, nobody answered, so she wrapped up her appointment quick smart. My mum managed to get onto her shortly after her missed call, she explained the situation adding that she and Glen felt the time was approaching quickly, despite my calmness (thank goodness for them!) My midwife gave the instructions to fill the pool to mum and told her it was time to call in the support team. My midwife rang her second midwife getting in the car letting her know to get to our place sooner rather than later. She reminded her to prepare for a hypnobirth (it is so incredibly important to have care providers who know your wishes so they can be educated and aware of your needs). My mother rang our fabulous student Keoni and our birth photographer. Luckily mum had txted Keoni not long before to give her a heads up and Keoni had already left what she was doing an hour away, she was already en route when the phone call came in.
I obviously had no idea any of this was going on, all I knew was mum coming in to let me know she had rung the midwife and she was on her way and they were filling the pool. My surges, on getting in the shower had increased to 4-5minutely at this stage (again I only knew as I had asked Glen if they were getting any closer?) When I got out of the shower this time, it was time for the clothes to stay off, I moved into my hypnobirth space using the birth ball to swirl and the dining table to lean into with my pillow. On the way it became apparent that the hot water had run out. So it was all hands on deck to boil water and try and get the pool to a good temperature. My midwife arrived at 12.30 with the remaining of the team arriving at 12.45, as I hadn’t noticed my midwives arrival, the arrival of 4 extra people into my space was the realisation that baby was coming, coming soon and it became overwhelming. I lost my composure at this point and cried, I cried into my pillow then stood and cried into Glen. I wanted to run away from it and the beauty was I could! I moved into the other room using the lounge chair again for another 10minutes while I came to terms with myself.
A little after 1pm I entered my birth space again and felt ready!
Someone asked me if I wanted to use the birth pool and I knew I wasn’t quite ready for that, while it looked appealing I was happy where I was, I tried not to snap this, however, am unsure how successful I was in doing so. Not long after I did hop in the pool, leaning over the side on my knees for a short time. I felt uncomfortable in this position, I felt there was still cervix present, I could feel the pressure of a lip in front of the head at the front of my pelvic bone. I tried a leg lunge, but had always hated these. I rolled over and reclined in the pool for a few surges and felt the most relaxed and calm I had ever felt in the lead up to birth. I felt the last remnants of cervix shift as the pressure changed sensation and with it my membranes released. I rolled over back onto my knees knowing it was time to birth my baby boy.
This was for me the most difficult part of the labour, not the pain, not the process, not the birth. My mind recalled my last birth in which the birthing phase was extremely difficult, painful and drawn out. My last baby had his hand beside his face, he also was not all tucked up like he should be instead being deflexed and creating a larger diameter to fit. This birth was different though, this was a hypnobirth, I breathed my baby down with each surge, however, would get to a point of pressure and decide to stop, I mentally could only achieve a certain amount of stretch and pressure with each surge. This was not a bad thing as it allowed my body to open gradually, fold away slowly and gently introduce my baby to the external world. While I may have been able to birth in a shorter time, 25 minutes was still all it took to breath my baby out and into my waiting arms. The last surge was the easiest, as I had decided that I was ready and waiting and wanting this beautiful little human here, this surge with the nudge of my breath brought my baby from crowning to birth at exactly 2pm.
I sat with my bub for a few minutes in the bath, revelling in his glory, amazed at his dark hair (compared to my others). I then felt the pressure in my tail bone which indicated I needed to move, everyone helped me up and out of the bath and to pop a bluey between my legs (just in case the placenta fell out). In the process of getting out of the bath, our little boy attached to the breast (he already knew he would have to be quick to get anything with 2 older brothers). We moved to the blow up mattress where I birthed our placenta only 14 minutes after bubs birthing. He fed, and fed and cuddled and we had photos.
The big boys came very soon afterwards, with Eden and Angus arriving before he was even an hour old. To have them both present so soon and to be involved in the processes after this beautiful hypnobirth was amazing and I cannot have asked for more. I finally at this stage got to have some of the fantastic sandwiches and tea my lovely mother and sister had prepared.
Thank you to all the beautiful people involved. My mother, my husband, my sister, my student, Keoni and New Life Midwifery.
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