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I’d do it all again in a heartbeat

On Friday 23rd July 2021, our lives changed in the most magical way forever.

I’m crying as I type this. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, the feeling and experience are unforgettable to me, to us.

I read in The Hypnobirthing Book one lady said birth was powerful, and it really is. I’ve never been prouder of myself than when I gave birth and managed to breastfeed too. I have never felt a feeling like the emotions I felt.

I had read hypnobirthing books, I read the positive birth book and the KGHypnobirthing book, we also had hypnobirthing sessions with Claire (our KGH Teacher) who I know & truly believe made my labour as powerful as it was. From completing the hypnobirthing I began practicing the relaxations, when I was relaxing, napping and before sleeping at night. I also read and re-read the KGHypnobirthing book over and over.

On 9th July we had a family BBQ for my stepdad’s special birthday. I think being around my loved ones and being in good company really helped me throughout my pregnancy. I noticed my feet had begun to swell, which hadn’t happened in any other point of my pregnancy.

I had a routine midwife appointment on Thursday 22nd and everything went okay and I was told I was slightly engaged as my bump had dropped and there was a slight gap between my bump and breast bone.  After my appointment I went to visit my mum and nieces, the weather was hot so didn’t stay too long. When I got home I had a nap and noticed some blood, I Googled and spoke to a professional who said it was a “show.” I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t the “plug” I thought it would be, I’d also heard and read that labour can be 2 weeks after this, so didn’t really think much of it.

My boyfriend was on nights on the 22nd, I remember messaging him at 3am saying I was uncomfortable and I couldn’t cool down. I tried cold flannels, fans, ice water but nothing was helping so had a really disturbed sleep, even with my relaxations on repeat. He got home the morning of the 23rd at 06:45 and I had had very little sleep at this point- I was uncomfortable in bed no matter which way I lay, I knew he needed sleep in case this “was it” – so I went to try and sleep on the sofa with more cushions for support.

At around 9.30am, I was feeling more uncomfortable in my back, it wasn’t unbearable like period pains and I had lower back pain. I wanted to try and take my mind off it as I know there are “practice surges” so didn’t really believe this was it! I took 2 paracetamol and drank lots of water. I had a shower and washed my hair (drying it was a struggle!) and then decided to tint my eyebrows (as you do!). I think focusing on doing something like that helped me, I began to time surges just in case this was it… a few times it had said to go to the hospital but I didn’t believe it, with this being my first baby.  My waters didn’t break like I thought they would, I expected a big gush like on the films, but it wasn’t like that for me.

It got to 11am and the surges were getting stronger and I also felt quite sick. I had a crumpet for breakfast and was sick! At this point I had been timing the surges and it had said to go to hospital, but I didn’t believe it. Tom came upstairs with a cold bucket of water for my feet and had said we should speak to the hospital- at my midwife appointment they had said to ring triage before going to hospital. I couldn’t get through to the numbers and started to panic a little, Tom kept me calm he told me to keep breathing and do everything we had been practicing. He supported and encouraged me all the way. We eventually got through and the lady advised to make our way to the hospital and she would let triage know. Tom got all our things together and in the car, including our snacks.

We travelled to hospital, I kept my eyes closed as soon as I got in the car and kept breathing… we had the air con on and off as I was hot and cold. Tom held my hand, kept telling me to breathe and let me know when we was at the hospital. We arrived at the hospital arriving 1.30pm… we parked at the multi-storey car park which was a walk to the hospital and I believe also helped bring my labour on, I had surges as I was walking but Tom kept encouraging me. As I was walking I did feel like something was happening. The walk felt like it would never end!

There were ladies there who were having antenatal appointments, whereas I was in labour.

I was told to wait on the blue chairs and somebody would come and see me, I was uncomfortable and couldn’t sit, standing was quite uncomfortable too. I asked for help, as it felt like a lifetime we was waiting. I went to the toilet and I don’t know how I got off, Tom said if I was any longer he was going to come and get me out.  I eventually managed to get up and out, I walked over to Tom who was calm but I asked him to get me help, he was told someone would be over.

We waited a little longer and I started to cry as I was quite uncomfortable, two midwives walked over to me and took me to be examined.  I had decided in my birth plan that I wasn’t going to be examined, as I thought it would set me back, but when I got to hospital I needed to know what was happening… where I was told “you have no cervix, you’re fully dilated and I think we will be meeting your baby today!” I was in shock, but given gas and air to help with the surges… as I was fully dilated I wasn’t allowed any other pain relief, or if I did have anything stronger it wouldn’t help me but baby would be drowsy- so I’m actually glad I didn’t have anything else.

I had also said in my birth plan if available I would like to use the birthing pool, when I was wheeled into delivery room 11 the birthing pool was there but I wasn’t allowed in as I was too far dilated. I was given gas and air and asked if I wanted to get changed out of my dress, I didn’t. The dress I arrived at the hospital in, I gave birth in! This must have been around 2.30ish.

It’s true what they say, midwives witness miracles every day… they might not remember your story but if you have amazing midwives, you’ll remember them forever, mine were out of this world and I can’t thank them enough for making my labour what it was.

I knew I needed to start to do my down breathing as I felt pressure, I was given gas and air but it wasn’t working the same as it was in the examination room, it wasn’t “sucking up” if that makes sense…  If you’ve had gas and air you’ll know what I mean. We didn’t know the gender of the baby as we decided to have a surprise, Claire told me that this would help in labour as I would be excited to find out what we was having, it really was. Throughout pregnancy people had guessed the gender of my baby which actually really annoyed me as we wanted a surprise, and I’m so glad we did. I’d seen and heard all the old wives tales and even midwives had guessed!

The midwives were monitoring baby’s heart rate and which had dipped a few times… I was getting tired as I think lack of food as I’d been sick but hadn’t fancied food after.

Tom and the midwives Pearl and Susie offered drinks throughout. Tom put on my hypnobirthing relaxations and kept a fan on me at all times, kept reminding me I could do it, holding my hand, he never let go of my hand, offering me jelly babies, telling me I was doing amazing and encouraging me all the way, whenever my earphones fell out he put them back in for me.  To say I couldn’t do it without him is the biggest understatement.

As I mentioned I had been breathing through surges and our baby’s heart rate was being monitored but had dipped/ dropped.  As I had been breathing/ pushing for an hour I was examined the baby’s head could be seen but both me and baby were getting tired, the midwives and doctor advised that if I was tired then some help might be needed, I was asked how I felt and when I said I was tired we was offered forceps – which I was upset about this is one thing I didn’t want as I didn’t want any pain for baby or the face to be sore/bruised, I had a little cry and Tom said it will help the baby on it’s way, it will be here quicker… So we took the forceps.. I also had an episiotomy (but didn’t tear).

Then at 5.02 pm, our darling daughter was born and our world became so much sweeter & more amazing in every way.  She was so alert but didn’t cry until she was weighed.  I’d remembered Claire had said hypnobirthing babies don’t always cry straight away as they’re clam, this was true.

We did delayed cord clamping and Tom cut the cord, and had skin to skin. It was a moment I’ll never forget and felt like time stood still, I’m finally a mummy, we’re parents and a family and to a perfectly healthy, wonderful, amazing, beautiful baby girl!  The midwives helped me breastfeed which I’m so truly grateful for.

I was stitched – I said to the midwife and Tom the gas and air isn’t the same as the one in the examination room… it wasn’t the same sound. She agreed with me… it wasn’t switched on as high as it should have been. But this actually makes me more proud, I did it! I did it with no pain relief, but it was switched on for me being stitched which I was relieved about!

We was in the delivery room for a while, baby was checked – a healthy happy baby girl, born at 5.02 pm weighing 5 lb 11 oz.  Susie and Abbie (midwives) helped clean me up, we was given tea and toast, enjoyed skin to skin, and then let our family and friends know about our new arrival!  Then we was taken to a ward, which was a single room where me and Tom was left alone apart checks and pain relief being given.  We was allowed home the following day and have been loving every moment of our bubble since, we’re completely besotted.

Kate has also written a short testimonial about Claire Whitehouse, her KGH Teacher:

Claire is an amazing advocate for hypnobirthing, the best teacher I could have ever asked for… knowledgeable, kind, caring, sensitive and thoughtful.  She has the ability to keep you calm with her soothing ways and I’ll never be able to express the gratitude I feel.

There are 3 things I couldn’t have done without – Tom, Claire & hypnobirthing and the amazing midwives. I truly believe hypnobirthing helped my labour to be everything it was, it was powerful, amazing and an experience I’ll never forget. I’m beyond thankful to Claire I cannot put into words how thankful I am for your time and all you did for us. From the bottom of my heart… I feel so lucky, grateful and honoured, thank you, you are a complete credit to hypnobirthing and yourself, you’re amazing – thank you, thank you, thank you!

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