My due date was Friday 12th February, but with no sign of baby on the following Monday I decided to have a stretch and sweep at my midwife appointment. However, the midwife said my cervix was only 0.5cm dilated and that it probably wouldn’t work and booked me in for another one in 3 days’ time. So I went away thinking it’ll be at least the end of the week before anything starts to happen!
On Tuesday morning at 1:30am, I woke up with what felt like period pains, I lay in bed for a while but they didn’t go away and I thought this could be it! I let Sylvain sleep and went into the living room, dimmed the lights, turned on the Wise Hippo instrumental music, sat on my birthing ball and breathed my way through the surges. By 3:30am, they were regular and I called the Maternity Assessment Unit and they told me to come in to get checked out. When they examined me, I was only 3cm dilated and they sent me home.
Back home, Sylvain made me tea and toast, but I could hardly eat it! I found that I was most comfortable sitting on the toilet! So I sat on the toilet listening to the Wise Hippo instrumental and breathing my way through the surges. Around 8:30am, I felt a change in my surges, that breathing wasn’t enough and I had to start hum/groan/moo my way through them! So we went back into hospital and when they examined me I was 10cm dilated!!
I had wanted a water birth, but on the day I almost forgot, I was just so focused on keeping calm and relaxed! I asked them if it was possible, but there was no availability. It didn’t bother me in the slightest – I just wanted to meet our wee baby! So we were rushed through to the delivery suite.
When we arrived, I stripped naked and Sylvain gave the midwife our birthing plan. She was just amazing and really respected our desire to be left in peace to work through the labour ourselves, she even helped by bringing some water with some aromatherapy oils (even though this wasn’t something I had asked for in my plan). I found it hard to visualise my relaxing place or the sea of serenity through the surges, but I listened to the Wise Hippo instrumental, visualising my baby in my arms and I just kept breathing/humming (very loudly!) my way through the surges. Pain relief didn’t even enter my head!
I found it hard to find a comfortable position, both Sylvain and the midwife encouraged me to try different positions, in the end the best one was sitting on a bed pan with Sylvain beside me holding my hand!! My surges didn’t increase in intensity or get closer together and this started to stress me out, as I thought they should get faster and stronger, but the midwife said that this is the way birth should be (and not like they show on TV) and although it was slow, the baby was gradually moving down each time and wasn’t in any kind of distress. The midwife gave me antiobiotics (as I had tested positive for Strep B) and monitored the baby’s heartbeat quite regularly, but I hardly noticed! My waters still hadn’t burst and the midwife asked if I would like her to try to burst them as that could be slowing things down. I was happy for her to try, but she couldn’t burst them.
I didn’t notice at the time, but afterwards I remembered there were quite a few knocks at the door, it turned out this was the doctor wanting to intervene to speed up the labour, but the midwife kept them away for as long as possible. Towards the end, the doctor wanted to use forceps or ventouse to get the baby out as the second stage was over 4 hours, but our midwife said I didn’t need that and that I just needed time. We bought some time by asking for 15 more minutes a few times. In the end, to avoid the doctor using forceps or ventouse, the midwife suggested some directed pushing. At this point, I felt that humming alone wasn’t enough and really wanted the baby to be here. I didn’t want an intervention by the doctors that really wasn’t needed and I trusted the midwife, so I agreed and got onto my side on the bed. Sylvain helped by putting a lot of pressure on my lower back as it was very sore in this position and after a few pushes things started to progress. The midwife said Rémi’s head was at an unusual angle so I had an episiotomy to help. Sylvain was right beside me putting pressure on my back as it was quite sore and as soon as he saw Rémi’s head he got so excited and started cheering me on! One more push and he was out!
Rémi was born on Tuesday 16th February 2016 at 14:24, in his amniotic sac, which is apparently good luck. He was immediately brought to my chest for skin-to-skin contact and Sylvain cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating. I remember Sylvain was crying tears of joy and me, well, I think I was in shock, I couldn’t believe I had given birth to this gorgeous baby boy, weighing 3.32kg (7lb 5oz)!
Rémi’s birth really was an amazing experience, I felt in control the entire time and pain relief never entered my head. Sylvain was very calm and relaxed and he knew exactly what to do to support me throughout. The midwife was just amazing, she followed our birth plan as close as she could and left me to hum the baby down, and when any monitoring/intervention was required she always approached it in a thoughtful, non-intrusive manner.
It was such a positive experience. When people ask me about it now, I say it was great! I stayed calm throughout and wasn’t afraid, my husband was able to support me without being afraid for me, and our midwife was amazing. I really felt that my body was made to do give birth! I was even talking about having the next baby just after giving birth! I just feel so glad that I did the Wise Hippo hypnobirthing course. I really don’t think I could have had the birth I did without it.