Charlotte, Piers and Oren's Home Birth - First Time Mum
Oren was born at 8:34am on the 16th April 2019 in Bristol, and this is his birth story.
Before my pregnancy I had never heard of hypnobirthing. The only choice that I thought I would have to
make prior to giving birth was in which hospital or clinic. I was also frightened that I could potentially miss on
the epidural if I didn’t get there on time, and that I could be released the same day - which is common
practice in the UK but not in France where I am from.
I found out about hypnobirthing through pregnancy yoga and heard from mothers who had been using the
techniques for their previous births that it was a great way to prepare and somehow to have an ‘easier’ birth.
This sounded like something I would be keen to explore but I would have to also convince a very skeptical
father to be, as it would have to be a journey that we would share together.
We both researched the benefits of hypnobirthing and were soon convinced that we wanted to book the course in the New Year which would be about 3 months before baby was due.
Following the hypnobirthing course, our mindset was completely transformed as the birth of our baby was no longer a moment for us to fear. We felt reassured and empowered as we suddenly had many more informed decisions to make.
From the beginning to the end of the course, we went from a highly medicalised idea of the birth of our child, to a much softer and supported approach in a midwife-led unit, to finally making the decision to plan for a home birth. We knew that this decision would be difficult to share with our families but were confident that it was the best for us and for baby.
I embraced all that I learned during the course and felt truly empowered as a woman. The course provided me with the knowledge that would allow me to be in full control of my body as I would be able to make all the necessary decisions along the way.
We listened to one of the relaxation recordings every night in bed as we found that it helped us going to sleep. I would listen to the other ones regularly in my bath or lying in bed as it helped me relax. I did not realise then, that they would have such a positive influence during the birth…
I started my maternity leave 3 weeks before baby was due but had many things to get sorted and only a week before the due date, I knew that I was now fully ready… From that day I had a strong feeling that he was going to come early but kept all my appointments and even booked a show for a couple of days before the due date so I would not feel restless. We never saw the show…
My contractions started on the Monday afternoon; at first, short and mild, but pretty quickly more frequent and stronger. We decided to take the dog for a walk in the park nearby around 4pm to stay active and relaxed. We came back and started to keep track of each surge as we made dinner and selected something to watch for the evening. Around 9pm, the surges were properly established, coming in a regular pattern every 4 to 5 minutes with the odd one coming slightly later than expected after 6 or 7 minutes. We decided to go to bed early but with the excitement and the frequency of the surges were not able to sleep. The ‘up breathing’ technique was working wonderfully and I was finding that walking around between surges and sitting on the ball and making small movements during surges was for me the most comfortable way to progress through the night.
We first called the midwives at around midnight to give them a heads-up, inform them of the progress, and to let them know that we did not require any support as this stage. We knew that we were still in the early stage of labour - we felt confident, relaxed and cheerful. From the beginning, I felt empowered by each surge and in total control of my body.
We called back at 4:30 am, as the contractions were now every 2 to 3 minutes lasting about 30 seconds each. I was also starting to feel some downward pressure which for me was a strong sign of baby coming. The midwives were dispatched and arrived about an hour later. We were both very calm as they checked on me and baby. They were very discreet and respectful of our desire to be left alone as much as possible. After 45 minutes, I was offered a vaginal examination to assess progress which we accepted. To our surprise, my cervix was only 1 to 2 cm dilated so the midwives talked us through the next steps and left to let labour progress as they estimated that it would most likely take another 10 to 12 hours.
I was slightly confused and for the first time since labour started, felt tired and low. We decided that the best thing would be to try to rest and get some sleep to recuperate some energy. I was very skeptical that I could get any sleep through the surges as I found that lying down was the most uncomfortable position for me, but we thought that maybe the hypnobirthing recording could help so put it on and turned the light off… I practically drifted to sleep straight away and woke up 30 minutes later… I was anxious that the surges were now very spaced out and wondered whether the labour had stopped progressing. I went to the bathroom to relieve myself and, as I sat down, I experienced a much stronger and longer surge which resulted in the plug going into the toilet. I stayed sat on the loo as I called Piers and only about a minute later, another powerful surge took me by surprise and resulted in my water breaking in quite a dramatic fashion and going in one burst inside the toilet bowl. It was now approximately 7:25 am and we called back the midwives straight away, but with labour progressing much faster than expected (by now I was on all fours on the bathroom floor and felt the need to push), we were advised to also call 999 as the paramedics would be able to arrive faster if needed. We did so and they indeed arrived at about 7:45 am. The team was lovely and very calm. They helped me to move from the bathroom to the bedroom, and just in time for baby’s arrival the midwife arrived at around 8:15 am, to guide me through the final moments of the second stage. 8 minutes later, baby was out in one push - the most beautiful and emotionally charged moment of my life!
No need to say that we did not have the time to fill up the pool for the water birth, but it did not matter: it was perfect. Piers and I were together throughout, fully connected. His composure and support enabled me to give birth to our son in our home, and this would not have been possible without the hypnobirthing preparations.