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My Amazing Hypno Water Birth

I received this email from gorgeous Shaan and Steven before Christmas and it has been so busy I haven't had a chance to share until now, and I have been dying too. Well done Shaan and Steven on your amazing hypnobirth, I'm sure you will inspire so many couples out there. You birthing superstars!! -Nic

Our beautiful baby girl Bailey Leigh Baker arrived naturally and safely on Tuesday 10/10/17 at 6:51pm weighing 3.6kg. We had an amazing hypno water birth in the RDH Birth Centre. Despite pressure from the doctors to induce labor at 39-40 weeks due to GD, I spontaneously went into labour at 40+4 weeks.

I was so disappointed when I found out that I had GD because it meant that I could not give birth in the Birth Centre (I was one of the last to take part in the CMP program). After attending Hypno Birthing classes with Nic I had come to terms with this and was so much more confident and comfortable with birth. I had so much more belief in myself and my ability to have a positive birth experience, regardless of where or how. I was ready to trust my body, my baby and my instincts.

So when I went in for my 38 week checkup and the doctors wanted to book in my Induction date I was totally derailed. I felt I was in control until that point when the doctor basically told me that my baby would die if I wasn't induced before 40 weeks. I was so angry with them. My GD had been perfectly controlled and bub was average size and still perfectly happy in my womb. I fought against their recommendation, my instincts told me she would come when she was ready. It was quiet stressful and I felt like there was so much more pressure for her to come sooner rather than later which definitely did not help things along.

So at 5am Tuesday 10th Oct I was asleep when I felt a pop inside (I'm a very light sleeper). I didn't feel wet so I tried to fall back asleep but now that I was awake of course at 40+4 weeks pregnant I needed to pee. So I got out of bed and went to the toilet as normal (my undies were a little wet but not soaking and nothing gushing out as I had expected). I woke my sleeping husband and we decided to call the hospital to check in and see what they thought. They said it most likely was my waters but suggested I come in for an assessment to confirm whether it was or not.

I was so looking forward to this day and excited to experience a positive natural birth and finally meet our little girl! So I tried to keep calm and decided to have a shower and freshen up whilst Steven got the bag ready and tried to hurry me along (I was taking my time and trying to ignore the surges that had already started). We started to time my surges which were about 5 mins apart. I remember thinking to myself I wonder what the actual 'labour pains' feel like.. I did not realise that the cramping period pain I was feeling was actually it! I was expecting more of a physical pain like when you hurt yourself or break a bone or something. I don't know why, it sounds so silly now. I guess I wanted to believe it would be a different pain, a walk in the park compared to the chronic pains I have experienced in the past.

By the time we were seen by the midwife in the delivery suite I was having 2-3 surges every 10 mins, 30sec each. I was so confused when she told me I was not in labour yet (my cervix hadn't even started dilating) because my surges were already so close together and getting intense. She suggested going home to get comfortable and let things progress naturally. I was thinking what do you mean comfortable! If I go home I don't know if I'll physically be able to come back. It didn't make sense to me at the time because all I was focussed on was the numbers. 2-3 surges in 10 mins is when you should start to think about heading to the hospital isn't it? I was very uncomfortable and had such bad nausea (which was so unexpected), something I have experienced way too often. Feeling 'sick' as opposed to pain is my arch enemy and I was so upset to realise that this cramping period pain was actually the real deal and it would just get worse. I couldn't imagine it getting any worse, and this nausea...! I am allergic (like scary allergic) to Maxalon and nothing else seems to work.

The drive home was challenging, I was still having regular surges every couple of minutes and it felt like we were driving in the wrong direction. Once we were home again time stood still. Thinking back now, I was in a total state of hypnosis. My mind had subconsciously accepted the fact that this was the journey we were meant to take and took over. My eyes were closed and all I could focus on was breathing through each surge. My mum and my husband were both there. Mum was in charge of the surge timer and hydration and Steven was by my side the whole time supporting me, literally. We tried different positions but they all seemed so uncomfortable. I remember consciously thinking I just want to flop and relax but I couldn't seem to get into a good position. My husband used the light touch but I don't remember. I also tried the Tens machine when I started to get tingling/burning pain in my legs but it didn't seem to do anything and I didn't like it much. Looking back now if I had have been more active i.e. walking/standing, things would have progressed a lot quicker but at the time when I stood up I felt like she was going to come too quickly (I think I was a little scared to be honest). I kept waiting for the moment when I knew it was time, but throughout this whole labouring process I didn't feel like the intensity of the surges changed much, but that may have been just my tolerance increasing with time.

After what seemed to be an impossible journey to the hospital, we arrived at the Birth Centre (I forgot to mention with all the changes to CMP the rules had changed and I was now able to birth in the Birth Centre!) around 4:30pm. Once we were in the room I tried sitting on the birth stool but it didn't feel right. By this stage I was already getting pushing urges and bearing down with each surge. I wanted to get in the pool as planned but had to be at least 4cm dilated. I was so surprised when Hannah checked and said I was 9cm.

Darwin Birth Centre

Once I was in the pool I was finally able to flop and relax. My eyes were still closed and my breathing was now more of a moan with each out breath. My husband was behind me in the pool and it was nice to have him so close (apparently he was doing soft touch throughout the whole labour but I didn't even notice). The pushing urges with each surge were becoming more and more instinctive. I remember thinking just one more surge... after each surge. I could feel the pressure and the burning but she didn't seem to be moving. It turned out that she wasn't able to come out because there was still membranes/waters stuck behind her head like a big bubble. I kept bearing down with each surge until finally one big push and I felt an almighty pop. Her head was now finally able to crown.

It felt like ages from this point and I kept asking Hannah why isn't she coming. She said she could see her head and it wouldn't be long. I kept thinking ok this surge is going to be the one. Surge after surge came and I remember thinking just one more, just one more until finally I decided I would just push as hard as I could with the next surge. I could hear Hannah encouraging me and prompting me to pant so I did. All of a sudden her head came bursting out. I hesitantly put my hands down to feel her head so I could deliver her but I was scared to move. Everything from then on was a little fuzzy because I didn't realise at the time but I had torn from front to back and was bleeding out in the pool.

With the next surge Hannah helped me deliver her onto my chest. She was so perfect and I was amazed that she was here and she was ours! I wish I had a video of this moment because I don't remember it very well, I was starting to go in to shock and this is when the midwives started to panic. The pool was turning red.

Getting out of the pool felt like an impossible task, I was so weak and faint. I managed to get out of the pool still holding her in one arm (her cord was wrapped around her leg so it was very tight and felt very awkward to move) and onto the bed with help from others (I'm not sure who at this point).

From here on in it was pretty hectic. I remember the midwives and doctors fussing over me as they assessed the bleeding and started pushing on my stomach. I won't lie, I was hysterical at this point moaning with pain as they were pushing my placenta and 'ragged' membranes out. I was confused because I didn't understand why and angry because I thought the painful part was over. My Hypno Birthing breathing and techniques had gone out the window with all the panic. This was all just so unexpected and happening so quickly, I did not feel in control.

Despite all this and amongst the chaos, Bailey was skin to skin sleeping on my chest, covered in machoniem poo. Steven got to cut the cord (he did so well for someone who doesn't like blood, and there was a lot of it!) and I even got to breast feed her before they rushed me to theatre.

I am so lucky to still have been able to have these birth preferences, even if I don't really remember them. Despite the bloody aftermath it was such an amazing birth and I am so proud of how things happened so naturally and exactly the way we wanted them. No pain relief, just breathing and hypnobirthing tracks and the support of my amazing husband, mum and midwives.

I definitely did not anticipate what would happen after the birth or prepare myself for the possibility of tearing (I had a 3C tear) but I'm sure there are worse things that could have happened.

The next 5 days in hospital were challenging to say the least. It felt almost impossible to look after myself let alone a newborn. Simple things like getting out of bed to go to the toilet (which was all very different and scary) and have a shower where a mission. I couldnt get up to feed or change Bailey without nearly fainting from the blood loss. It was very overwhelming. I remember day 3 was the worst, trying to fight back the tears. In between doctors, drips, obs and meds I had to find the time and energy to feed myself and a screaming baby. I remember feeling anxious every time I looked at my daughter or heard her cry because I knew I would have to feed her (my nipples were so sore and I was in so much pain). I had a blood transfusion and an iron fusion and it took a good 3 weeks before I could manage the energy to do anything without sitting down every few steps.

It has been a world of pain, exhaustion, recovery and confusion but the 3 of us make a good team. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I have learnt so much about my strengths and weaknesses and am so lucky to have so many supportive friends and family around. Bailey is so perfect, we love being parents and would not have changed anything. If I could offer any advise to other expecting mums who are reading this it's that whatever happens is meant to be, just trust your body, your baby and your instincts and just breathe!

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