The first signs of labour happened at 39 + 1. We were getting into bed at 9:30pm when I felt and heard the loud pop of my waters releasing. The look my husband and I exchanged was electric as we were equal parts shocked, excited and worried. The feelings of worry were because the day before I injured my back and it had seized up at L2/3 leaving me with very limited mobility, so we were really hoping I wouldn’t go into labour early so I had time for it to repair. Clearly bubby had other plans. I had seen my physiotherapist that afternoon who had worked on releasing it and I had noticed some good improvements already but it was still incredibly tender and sore.
My husband encouraged me to have a shower and get back into bed and so I dozed in and out of sleep all night with my hypnotracks playing through my headphones, experiencing irregular surges, some quite strong requiring me to get up and others very gentle. By 6am in the morning the surges were 5-10 minutes apart and more intense so we phoned my mother to come and collect our little 2 year old son. When my parents arrived everything eased off so I got back into bed at about 8:30am to try and get more sleep- I dimmed the lights, got warm and comfortable and listened to my hypnotracks. I had a phone call with my midwife and I only had one surge during the conversation; I could tell she was wanting to keep me on the phone to assess how I was going and I felt quite disheartened that the surges seemed to dull down a little. I started to feel worried that I would continue like this for days which was the case for my first birth.
My husband pottered around setting up our space with our candles and oils and blew up the birth pool. By 9:30am I felt like I needed to change positions and decided to move to the shower and then by 10am the surges were intense and regular and I felt so excited that we were in established labour. My husband phoned our midwife and she arrived by 11:00am and at this time I was feeling pressure and baby trying to move down. I was able to get in the pool at this point and shocked to see the second midwife arrive at this time. I just could not believe that I was getting to the bearing down stage and that my body was working so efficiently. I kept questioning it, asking my team if they were sure it was happening.
Once in the pool I felt my body naturally moving my baby down. I could feel a lot of pressure. I spent some time in the pool bearing down however it wasn’t proving to result in much progress. At this point I started to doubt myself and started to fear that we would not achieve our beautiful home birth. My team did not share this worry and provided positive affirmations and encouragement. I spent some time surging on the toilet using the rebozo, leaning over the bed with my midwife performing a double hip squeeze and in a supported squat to try and move baby down. Still not huge progress. I began to fear that I had a swollen cervical lip like I had with my first born. As a team we decided that doing a check for this was a good idea. This showed us that yes, this was the case, and the midwives were able to manoeuvre the cervical lip out of the way as I had some surges so baby could come down. This was incredibly uncomfortable and challenging and my self doubt at this point was at its highest. My husband held me the whole way through and his calmness made me know that everything was going to be ok.
Once the cervical lip was out of the way I was able to get back in the pool and after a few big surges baby’s head was born. A few more surges later my husband caught our baby and placed them on my chest. I felt completely shocked that our baby was here, and that we had achieved our dream birth, and that it had happened so quickly!. The energy in the room was beautiful and when we checked between baby’s legs and learned that we had our (very very unexpected) little girl, we were in total bliss.
My team and I had discussed the third stage during my pregnancy and decided that if labour was to take any unexpected turns we would opt for a managed third stage, as I had a significant postpartum haemorrhage with my first birth. Because I had spent a significant amount of time trying to bring baby down and bearing down we decided that it was wise to go with the managed option. This happened without interfering with our post birth buzz and we were able to keep our daughter attached to her placenta until all blood had been transferred. My husband then cut her cord and our placenta was looked over, photographed and put on ice ready to be picked up and encapsulated. We then just lay in our bed, soaking up the first hours with our beautiful girl. The midwives stayed with us for the next few hours checking over us all, tidying up, doing their notes and debriefing. It really was magical. To our surprise my back held up and other than spasming in my thighs and hip flexors I felt no discomfort, just stiffness.
To say that the hypnobirthing program helped us is a complete understatement. We believe the knowledge, confidence, power and tools the course gave us, delivered by the beautiful Jess at Mother Moon Hypnobirthing, put us in the exact frame of mind we needed from the very get go. It gave my husband the confidence that homebirth was safe for us and that we were capable of achieving it. It helped train our minds for birth and allowed me to get out of my own way. It didn’t make birth easy or painless but it made it achievable and not something to fear. It made me excited for our birthing day and confident in my body’s ability to birth my baby. All of this positivity clearly allowed for the natural birth hormones to do their job.
I still listen to the tracks now when I’m trying to get back to sleep after those late night feeds with our beautiful hypnobub.