In all honesty, this is not the birth story I was expecting to share. Things didn’t go to plan, and I have a lot of mixed emotions about it. I can certainly say my birth was a positive experience. I felt powerful, calm, strong and in control. But I also have feelings of sadness, disappointment, and loss. I want to be authentic in sharing my story, and rather than just sharing the positives, I also want to share the tough parts… even though it makes me feel vulnerable! HypnoBirthing is truly amazing, and it certainly supported me to have an empowering birth… but at the end of the day, we need to let go and accept that our body and our baby dictate how our baby enters the world. And for me… my baby entered the world via a c-section!
It all started in the early morning of 8th April 2020. At 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I woke up at 3.45am with a pop, as my waters started releasing and I experienced my first mild surge! I was overjoyed to finally be in labour, and after having pre-labour on and off for the precious 3 weeks, I knew we were going to finally be meeting our baby!
After having a quick first labour, I knew I needed to be prepared in case things escalated quickly.. which they did. I got up and started preparing my birthing environment – I put on my music, diffuser, and candles, got myself a bottle of water mixed with electrolytes and within 20 minutes I had my second surge, and 10 minutes after that I had my third surge! At this point, I woke up my husband and shared the exciting news – it was finally happening! Shaun jumped into action, and immediately started filling the bath and getting ready.
We quickly called my mum, who was coming over to look after my beautiful 2.5 year old daughter, and by 4.30 I realized I was in active labour as my surges we’re growing in frequency and intensity, now coming 5 minutes apart! As the bath filled, I rocked and swayed through each wave, breathing and tuning in to my baby! The intensity of the surges continued to grow, and they varied from 30 seconds to more than 60 seconds in length, and we soon called the hospital to inform them that things were on.
I had completed the Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) Program for my pregnancy care, but unfortunately my midwife was away on leave and I had to quickly become acquainted with a new person. On the initial phone call, she informed us it was protocol that once your waters released, you should come in for monitoring. We politely declined as our plan was always to labour at home for as long as possible! She respected our decision, and we let her know we would be in touch when we were on our way.
I got in the bath as soon as I could, and instantly felt my body let go on tension and I could let go and go further into relaxation. Shaun was amazing, holding my hand, applying hip pressure, and talking me through each surge! Within 45 minutes of being in the bath, we knew things were progressing perfectly, and decided that we would need to start thinking about going to hospital. At this point, the surges were intense and coming about 2 minutes apart. So in between surges, I slowly made my way out of the bath, got dry and dressed, and laboured in bed for a short time as Shaun called the midwife and got the car ready to go.
I remember moving to the couch to labour, and at this point I was groaning loudly through each surge. My mum nervously suggested that we hurry, recognizing that I was definitely getting closer to the birthing phase, and we didn’t want to cut it too fine! The car ride was actually better than I anticipated, as Shaun talked me through each surge and was able to use deepening hypnosis techniques to help me stay calm and relaxed!
It was 6.30am when we arrived at hospital, and we started our journey from the car into the birth suite! We made our way through emergency, and after I yelled at a security guard he opened the door for us to enter the main hospital. I was reminded quickly that I was birthing during a pandemic, when Shaun was asked to stop to have his temperature taken, and I slowly climbed the stairs making sure I didn’t touch the hand rails. I was also disappointed to know that I was unable to labour or birth in the bath, which is something that I really wanted as part of my birth plan! But to be honest, that didn’t seem to matter once I finally arrived in the birth suite.
Shaun quickly put on music and helped me find a comfortable position on my hands and knees on the floor. I continued to trust my body and let it do it’s thing! Within two hours of labouring in the birth suite, I reached transition and soon felt the urge to breath my baby down the birth path! It was about 9am, and the midwife, Shaun and I were excited to think that bubs would be joining us very soon! On my knees, with my head and chest leaning over the bed, I was ready to welcome my baby… using my breath, gravity and the beautiful natural expulsive reflex. There was a mirror underneath me so I could see when baby crowned, and the midwife was talking me through what to do when that happened to prevent any tearing!
Unfortunately, that’s when things seemed to go pear shaped. For some reason, bubs wasn’t moving down the birth path… and no matter how hard I pushed bubs didn’t seem to be coming! The midwife asked me to try and feel babies head, but she was too far up for me to feel anything! I consented to a vaginal exam, which confirmed that I was definitely fully dilated but she also said bubs head was still really far up. Over the next two hours, Shaun and I, with the support of our wonderful midwife, tried everything to get baby to move down the birth path – different birth positions, rebozo, spinning babies techniques – but nothing seemed to work! I was slowly starting to feel exhausted, and had to rest on the bed.
This is when the doctor made her appearance and we had to re-assess our options. She did another vaginal exam, stating that baby was still really high up and after pushing for two hours, she was worried about babies safety. She recommended that we have a c-section. We requested time and space to consider our options, and discussed things with our midwife… and eventually decided that our baby would enter the world via c-section. Once the consent forms were signed, we had to wait for over an hour before they were ready to take me for surgery. This was by far the hardest part of the birth – experiencing intense surges every 3 minutes, having the urge to push, but all I could do was endure it and wait!
Finally the time came to be taken for surgery, and despite feeling exhausted and disappointed that my birth had not gone the way I had dreamed it would, I was feeling in control & calm, so excited to be meeting our baby very soon. Once the epidural was complete, I experienced such a huge sense of relief – the pain was finally gone and I was ready to finally meet my baby! Shaun sat right next to me holding my hand, until finally they lifted our baby out of my womb and held her up in front of us… and we saw our beautiful little girl for the first time! She was absolutely perfect, and tears streamed from both mine and Shaun’s eyes! He was over the moon to have two little girls, and seeing her for the first time was one of the best moments of my life! We requested delayed cord clamping, and she was placed on my chest for skin-skin bonding! She stayed there while they completed the operation, and I only passed her over to Shaun for some skin-skin when I started feeling nauseous. I was separated from my beautiful baby girl for a short time, and as soon as I entered recovery she returned to my chest and quickly found her way to my breast and instantly started sucking! Everything was perfect and she was amazing!