What Can You Learn From My Perfect Imperfect Hypnobirth?

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to put ‘metaphorical pen to paper’ to share my, Caesar’s – well my version of events about Caesar’s story….Right, I’m happy now I’ve got that straight?  To be honest it doesn’t really matter that it was 3 years, 4 months, 13 days and 11 hours ago, because whilst it really doesn’t feel like it was yesterday, it certainly is etched in my memory like a love heart on the surface of one of those old wooden school desks.

So after a very, very long wait, 40 weeks and 11 days, I mean that’s long right?  Especially as we knew from about 3 weeks, it’s a long time by anybody’s reckoning.   And as it often is with first time mums (actually I didn’t know 2nd time around either, but that’s another story) I wasn’t 100% that the wait was finally over.  However, what I was sure about, is that I deserved to get out of the house and have a really nice meal.  The rule book went out of the window and I enjoyed some gorgeous pate and a large glass of red wine… Of course I’m not advocating that irresponsible behaviour , but I felt as though I’d done my time and I wanted a treat.   So, as we tucked into our food, gradually there became no doubt that the twinges/cramps I’d been feeling on and off for a couple of hours were definitely start of my labour.  So, finally it was happening.   It was both exciting and a huge relief that I wasn’t going to need to politely decline the induction, that I was I was booked in for the following day.  So, we sat and ate our last and final supper before our lives were going to be changed forever and it felt great!

We didn’t hang around in the pub for long. (I didn’t mention it was a pub did I?) Deciding it was best to make our way back to the comfort of the house to conserve my energy and I thought I would attempt to get some sleep.  And that’s what I did, slept.

I lasted until around six(ish) and by this time a surge was a surge and they were between 5 – 10 minutes a part – fab!  So around 9am, we hot footed it to the hospital as I was due to be monitored at that time anyway.  When I arrived they told me that labour had definitely started, but I was ‘only’ 1 cm dilated.  I bloody hate the word ‘only’ when it comes to measuring dilation.  I have to say it was a bit like water off a ducks back to me at that point though.  I was feeling fresh, the surges were still pretty far apart and honestly, I was just happy that I had finally got out of the starting blocks.

So,we made our way home and just had a pretty quiet day really.  We had planned a home birth, so I sat up camp, next to the newly decorated ‘family room’.  We had just moved and had a whole house to renovate – standard!  Hubby blew up the pool, so it was ready to go when needed, on went Adele, 21, and we just chillaxed.   With hindsight, rather than staying at home and relaxing I would have been better off out and about, doing my usual ‘thang’ but I was comfortable and pretty happy just letting hubby know when I was experiencing a surge.  I didn’t really focus on anything other than my breath which was fine and we continued in this way until the surges were 3 minutes apart, lasting for minute, which is when we called the midwife.  She arrived at our home around 2pm in the afternoon and she was lovely :-)  It was just  how my hypnobirthing book had described it could be like and it was an incredibly beautiful time.

The midwife came in, introduced herself, took a look around was incredibly warm – which was very affirming for me.  She told me how well I was doing and when a colleague of hers called for some guidance, she was quick to tell her, what a lovely birth she was attending which was again really encouraging for me to hear.  When she measured me, she told me that I was 2cm – 3 com dilated.  You what?!!!!!!

Bearing in mind, I had felt my first surge at 7pm the night before, this wasn’t the news I had been hoping for.  But my midwife was cool, calm and her words soothing.  She told me that if I carried on in the same vein, I would be at 5 cm in no time.  So as she left us to our own devices, hubby and I snuggled on the sofa.  I think this time was my favourite moment in Caesar’s story – bar holding him for the first time, obvs.  Hubby and I felt intimately connected, inextricably linked during this phase, which of course we were.  Endorphins flooded my body and I felt overwhelmed with positive emotions and joy which my husband fed from me and sent right back through his eyes, chest and embrace.  Those few hours were magical and despite the intensity of the surges increasing, I took great heart in my favourite affirmation…Each surge is bringing you one step closer to meeting your baby.

As the time passed and things became more intense, I really wanted to know how much longer I had left; which now as a hypnobirthing practitioner, I know that no-one ever knows the answer to that question.  And the vaginal examination that I welcomed, was only ever going to tell me where I was in that moment in time, not where I was going to be in an hours time, but that’s what I wanted.  So we called the community midwife team and there was some type of confusion or issue.  So although, we were told somebody would be around, in 45 minutes, that time quickly elapsed and 45 minutes turned into over 2 hours.   And unfortunately, the midwife that turned up, had left her personality and manners at her last birth and was not so lovely.

She walked into the room and stood at the end of our sofa probably for a good 30 seconds, before I asked her who she was.  Not great, considering she was two hours later than expected and by most people’s standards, not introducing yourself when you’re invited into someone’s home like that is just bloody rude.  Anyway, ‘niceties’ over with, she examined me.  Her ‘technique’ think bull in a china shop, immediately made me recoil and then her words came out like thunder around my ears.  Leaving me feeling confused and defeated – you’re only 2 cm.  My response was, ‘what do you mean I’m only 2 cm, that means I’ve got smaller?’  She then looked at me and said ‘You’ve never even had a painful period have you?’  If you want to have this baby here tonight (it’s was 9pm by this stage) you need to take a paracetamol, go to bed and call back when you’re really in pain.’  I mean WTF??!

She then pressurized my husband into making me take the paracetamol.  I know it’s slightly skewed logic as I’d had a lovely big glass of red wine, the night before.  But I’d got my heart set on a drug free birth and come on if this pain was going to have me screaming out for mercy, what the hell was a paracetamol going to do????  I could see that he was worried for me and so I took the paracetamol and went to bed.

I think that one of the biggest things that couples get from attending classes together, is that birth partners really learn how to advocate for the mother.  As, I had only studied with a book on my own, I wasn’t prepared for how to manage a person that made me feel uncomfortable and neither was my husband, as effectively, as if we’d taken classes together.

So, I went to bed, with her words ringing in my ears and my confidence plummeted.  What if she was right?  What if I did have no idea what I was letting myself in for and what if I couldn’t do it?  Unsurprisingly the surges became more and more intense as the fear kicked in.   Although, I don’t advocate women going to bed when they are in labour, I did need to rest, but I didn’t sleep and mind darted from focusing on my breath, to trying to cajol myself into reigniting my self belief and thinking I probably can’t do this.

By the time it got to 1am, I asked my husband to call the midwives again and I was resigned to the fact that if I hadn’t progressed any further then I would choose to go in.  This time the midwife arrived and was immediately a step up on the previous one, as she said hi.  And the great news was that I was 5cm and she gave me the OK to get in the pool.   Aside from soothing you during labour and helping to take the weight off, water will either slow things down or speed things up…

I was in the pool by 2 am and my labour went into overdrive as soon as my bottom hit the water – literally.  All of a sudden I felt the over whelming urge to do a pooh, it was beyond anything I had ever known and I was really shocked by it – this wasn’t in the book!   I had to get back out of the water, I thought about going to toilet, but no, there was no way I was going to sit on the toilet…This is actually a really good idea, if like me you haven’t been to the loo for a while as it’s much easier to birth a baby if you haven’t got a full bladder.  So I got back into the water and attempted to find a comfortable position, up on all fours, slightly reclining backwards….Time did in fact fly by at this point…And yes, I did grace the water with a little pooh, which my hubby dutifully fished out with the sieve, that comes neatly packaged with the pool for just that kind of event.

Just as I was about to get back out of the pool again, one of the midwives (by this time she had called a partner in crime, sensing that something was about to happen) told me to make up my mind and either stay in or get out.  ‘Er OK, I’ll stay in.’’

Because I was in the pool, although, I noticed a really intense sensation as Caesar’s head began emerge, it was definitely the shock of feeling his head that threw me.  I went to close my legs and the midwife just shouted at me ‘ no, that’s the head!’  The next surge, out he came into the water, amniotic sac perfectly intact, (that’s extremely rare and lucky don’t you know?) Before it popped and we welcomed Caesar to the world properly, just after 4 am in the morning.

I’d done it!!!  At home no drugs – woo hoo :-)

Wow, did I feel schamazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Whilst I didn’t have the text book hypnobirth, with it taking what felt like an eternity to move from latent to established labour.   I did have an amazing experience, slightly blotted by one midwife who could have shown more compassion, but it didn’t matter.  Using the techniques of hypnobirthing enabled me to build up my bank of endorphins, share a wonderful and united experience with my husband and manage the sensations in the later stages, so I could birth my baby at home.  Text book hypnobirth, no, positive birthing experience yes!

So what can you take from Caesar’s Story?

  1. If you’re looking to utilize the techniques of hypnobirthing, get your partner to learn with you – it will help you manage any of the non straight forward situations more effectively.
  2. Ban the word only from describing how far dilated you are
  3. If you get a bad vibe from your medical care provider (much easier if you’re not at home) ask to change staff, this is your experience, you’ll only get it once.
  4. Know that even if your birth isn’t pain free, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredibly positive experience
  5. Believe in yourself!! :-)


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