“We actually had an amazingly calm birthing experience and I’m so happy I can look back at it with that memory”.

Welcome to the world baby Penny!! Here mum Jen tells us about her induced labour at 2 weeks past her estimated due date….
penny o'reilly 1
“Hi Kerry,
Thanks so much for reaching out, our little bub was stubborn and didn’t want to leave her cosy home so at 2 weeks overdue we went in for an induction which was not what I wanted but we had done our research and were prepared for it.
I did have cervadil and luckily my own waters broke a couple of hours after it was inserted  so I was then able to have the natural vaginal birth I wanted.
Our midwives were amazing at RPA and supported our hypnobirthing, we had a very calm low lit room with our candles and aromatherapy oil going.
penny o'reilly 2
I had my tracks playing in the background and used my breathing and positioning learned from our course.
I won’t lie it was extremely painful but we managed to get through it and baby Penny was amazing and turned into the perfect position right before delivery and I managed to push her out in 10 minutes so I think all the exercises and practice I had done in the lead up really worked!
Although we ended up doing an induction we actually had an amazingly calm birthing experience and I’m so happy I can look back at it with that memory.
Our baby Penny was perfectly healthy and now we are trying to navigate parenthood which is a whole other challenge!
penny o'reilly 3
Just wanted to thank you so much as seriously we used everything we learned and all the practice was worth it!
Thank you again and as I said before I have been recommending this to all of my friends as something they need to do!
Jen, Paul and baby Penny
P.s I have included some pics of Penny just born and 1 day old”

“We felt so prepared and educated before I went into labour. It was an incredible experience and I’d do it all again!”

Sit back and enjoy this positive birth story – welcome to the world Archie Rocket!!!

“Hey Kerry!

So finally typing up the birth story of Archie Rocket Clayton Smee, born 7th April, 1.30pm weighing 3.5kg :).

The initial reason we reached out to you was through a recommendation. Mark was dealing with a lot of anxiety around Archie’s birth and our friend mentioned that hypnobirthing could really help. The antenatal classes at hospital filled him with dread resulting in panic attacks and at one stage having to leave the class. The clinical, practical nature of them work for some people but not for Mark, and it wasn’t until we started hypnobirthing classes did I realise how little I really knew about what my birth could look like and how much control I could have over it. The classes really opened my eyes to how incredible the female body is and what we’re capable of. Antenatal classes were very clinical and practical and skirted around the most exciting and wonderful aspects of giving birth.

Before our hypnobirthing journey my idea of birth was … panic, waters break, rush to hospital, park the car, smash some gas, maybe some morphine, ask for the epidural, give birth, get stitched up, feel nothing! 

Hypnobirthing was a very enlightening experience for both myself and Mark!

IMG_1572_3

So in terms of how it unfolded… (it’s a long story)….

I went into labour Saturday morning around 2.00am, I couldn’t tell if my waters had broken so the hospital asked me to go in at 7.00am to check due to the 24 hours before infection becomes a concern. After a few tests they confirmed they had started to leak so ideally they wanted me back within 24 hours. My contractions were mild, and I went home as I wanted to labour there as long as possible. The head OB on duty wondered why I didn’t want to stay in hospital as I was in labour, at this point I was 1 cm dilated. Through hypnobirthing we had learnt that the best place to be when labouring is a place where you feel safe, secure and calm. It can help to establish contractions through the stable release of hormones especially oxytocin. Once we started to move around, trips to hospital etc I noticed my contractions subsided. 

By 11.00pm we were putting everything I had learnt into action, aromatherapy, breathing, music, visualisations, meditations etc. Mark was amazing and administered acupressure during every contraction. Just after 11.00pm my waters properly broke, this became apparent as I watched bucket loads of water hit our new wooden floor. I checked the colour of the fluid and I could see there was some meconium in there, so we were concerned that Archie might have been in distress. He was actually already 10 days late so it could also have been that he just needed to do a long awaited poo.. but we didn’t want to risk it so we went to the hospital.

When we got into the birthing suite we gave our birth preferences to the midwife who was lovely and really open to reading and walking through them with us. Once in the room they checked my progress and I was still only 1cm dilated. Things weren’t moving along. After getting settled the OB came in and explained his plan. He wanted to put me on an epidural so I could sleep, I’d been awake 24 hours since going into labour and he felt I needed to conserve energy.  

I’m also epileptic and he was concerned that if I didn’t sleep I was at risk of a fit, which is completely understandable. I’ve been an epileptic for 25 years and on medication and felt 100% confident in my ability to give birth with a very small risk of having a fit. I understand that everything he was suggesting was in my best interests but at that stage it wasn’t what I wanted. I said I wanted to labour as long as possible without an epidural because I wanted to feel what it was like to give birth.

At this point I asked him if he had ready my birth preferences which was geared towards a natural birth? He apologised and said he hadn’t, once he had he understood my approach. 

Following all this I was hooked up to the baby heart rate monitor, after an hour or so Archie’s heart rate was bouncing up and down and the doctor recommended establishing my contractions / speeding them up, using syntocin. It was worrying and I had no idea if these were false positives and wasn’t willing to take a chance. They administered the syntocin and I laboured for another 6 hours with no pain relief. The acupressure, oils and music helped a lot. I also found that vocals when breathing gave me some real focus and relief. This wasn’t something I had expected, I thought the crazy noises women made when giving birth was due to the pain, but actually it is really soothing! 

After the 6 hours Archie’s heart rate dropped again and the OB said that if it didn’t begin to stabilise they would take me to theatre. I asked if there was anything else they could try, I wasn’t ready for a c-section and felt that we hadn’t exhausted all options. So he ran a bag of saline through me and Archie’s heart rate stabilised. Constantly through this process I was referring to the BRAIN acronym.

CF269215-6772-46EE-A7E4-6BE480B215BD

After another hour I still wasn’t dilating, labouring on the syntocin was exhausting. They wanted to increase the dose further, they suggested it was probably time for an epidural and I agreed. After another 5 or so hours on the epidural they then came and checked progress. I was only 2.5cm dilated, FFS! God he did not want to come out! At this point they started to float the idea of a ‘plan b’ c-section. The OB was still unhappy with the baby’s fluctuating heart rate and I wasn’t dilating. Again, I asked if there was anything else they could do to buy some time so he suggested he do a stress test to see how the baby was coping. This involved scratching the baby’s head and testing for stress hormones. However, when he went to find the babys head it was still at -3, this was actually comical, they couldn’t reach his head do a stress test.

After another couple of hours the new OB came on duty. He said that I still wasn’t dilating and my cervix had begun to harden and that really the only option now was a c-section. I went into this completely open minded but was tired and emotional. Mark, Amanda our doula and the midwives were amazing and really helped me through this moment. I felt that I had been in complete control of my birthing experience and done/tried everything possible for a natural birth which made me feel empowered and comfortable with my decisions.

Prior to going into theatre we had asked the surgeons to take a look at our caesarean birth preferences, we actually never thought we would need them. The surgeons were a bit hesitant, they said ‘isn’t the goal to get the baby out?’ However, once they read them they were totally on board and incredible. Some of the things we requested included a delayed cord clamp, skin on skin after he was pulled out etc. The anaesthetist was a total legend and took heaps of photos and videos for us of every step of the birth. Meanwhile I wasn’t quite expecting the effect of the drugs / spinal block and it was at this point I used all my hypnobirthing visualisations which calmed me down and I felt way less panicky, they really helped me through it.

After a few minutes of rummaging around we heard a little bleet, it sounded like they were pulling out a goat, then we heard the scream and saw our beautiful son Archie Rocket Clayton Smee. The most mind-blowing experience of our lives… after burning man…joking!

Through the 40 hours it took to bring Archie into the world, the midwifes (who managed to get Mark into the theatre), doctors, anaesthetist, the surgeons at Randwick women’s were amazing and such a huge support.

I can’t rate Kerry’s hypnobirthing class enough. Firstly, anyone who suffers from generalised anxiety or anxiety around the birth itself Kerry’s course is incredible. Her kind and intelligent approach to her classes removed a-lot of the unknowns for us and also brought back the feeling of excitement, wonder and joy that should be part of the birthing journey. We felt so prepared and educated before I went into labour. I had a whole ‘toolbox’ to help me relax, breathe, visualise to get the most positive outcome for my birth.  I was able to weigh in on most of the decisions that were made which made me feel I was in control throughout, regardless of the interventions that happened. 

It was an incredible experience and I’d do it all again!

Thanks Kerry.

Love Jules and Mark”

“What the class did teach me was that I have nothing to be afraid of… I can’t wait to have my second baby now”.

Here is a great little birth story about how we can’t predict the way birth will go (no, not even obstetricians!!) and how mum didn’t  realise she was in labour yet turned up at the hospital 9am dilated….

 

“Hi Kerry,
I gave birth to a sweet little girl. The funny thing was my birth happened quite differently.
I went in on a Saturday 21st sept to see my obstetrician she did a sweep said my cervix was ripe and the baby was very low, but I was not dilated. So she went to Melbourne for a wedding and booked me in for an induction the following Wednesday.
I went about my day as usual, no pain or anything.  That very night my water broke at 2:40 am. I left for the hospital because even though I didn’t feel I was in active labour I was told to go in just in case. By the time I got to the hospital the midwife did a sweep and had a funny look on her face she called another nurse in who did another sweep and said I was 9cm dilated.
valerie (cho and adon) 1
They quickly called the stand in obstetrician and my husband called my doula Amanda. It was too late for any sort of pain relief, they even took the gas from my mouth. I basically screamed my baby out, so from when my water broke to the hospital I have birth in two hours.
I didn’t get to use the hypnobirthing fully as I intended to. But what the class did teach me was that I have nothing to be afraid of. I get to meet my baby and even the pain shall pass. I got the birth I wanted which was completely natural and drug free. And I can’t wait to have my second baby now.
So thank you for giving me the courage.
Cho
xx”
valerie (cho and adon) 2

“The one emotion I never felt was fear” – welcome to the world baby Luna!

Here is a wonderful birth story about how being informed and confident can lead to a really positive birth even if “all the rides at the fairground” are required….

 

“Hi Kerry,

Sorry for the late reply; I know you know how it is with a newborn!
The birth of our baby was quite a marathon experience. My labour started spontaneously at 23:00 on Wednesday 24 July, two days after the estimated due date (I had declined induction). I laboured at home for the first 26 hours, and we finally went to the Birth Centre at 01:00 on the Friday morning. Here I was able to use water immersion, move around, etc, as I had wanted to.
As my labour was progressing rather slowly and I was becoming increasingly exhausted (two nights of no sleep and very little food, plus vomiting brought on by morphine) the midwife eventually artificially ruptured my membranes. By early afternoon on Friday I was finally fully dilated and bearing down, but my surges were too infrequent (only 2-3/10 minutes) to enable me to push my baby out.
We then transferred to delivery ward for an epidural and augmentation of labour. Once there, preparations were made for these interventions to happen but before they could my baby decided that she, like my uterus, was also exhausted and she started showing signs of distress. We then transferred to operating theatre for a spinal anaesthetic and forceps delivery. Despite three attempts with the forceps she wouldn’t budge, and we had to proceed with a caesarean.
My daughter Luna Scout was finally born at 17:12 on Friday 26 July. As my partner says, I got to try nearly all the rides at the fairground! Luna spent a few hours in neonatal HDU to recover but she bounced back quickly and joined me in the postnatal ward.
Her birth was a very intense experience, and a number of people have commented that it must have been scary and traumatic, but the one emotion I never felt was fear, and so I never felt traumatised. Whilst I would have loved to have been able to birth my baby in the water, with the assistance of my midwife, it just didn’t work out that way, but that’s OK.
We received the very best of care, and whilst a number of interventions were required in the end nothing was forced on us and I felt I was appropriately consulted and informed, and my wishes respected throughout the process. We did get to labour at home for a long time, and I had the mobile and active labour I wanted, with the use of water, TENS and nitrous oxide as required, and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.
In the end my baby came to me safely and calmly, and that’s all that matters.
Looking forward to bringing Luna to the next Coffee & Cuddles so you can meet her.
Love
Heidi & Mark

“The VBAC of our dreams!”

Read this wonderful VBAC story – a tale of being patient, making informed decisions, the importance of having the right support team and riding on a high following the birth!!!

“Dear Kerry,

I’m thrilled to let you know we got the VBAC of our dreams and little (4.1kg!) Dorothy Matilda was finally born on Sunday.
After Winnie’s early arrival at 36 weeks, it was hard going “overdue” but thanks to our hypnobirthing course, the Facebook VBAC support group you suggested and the Australian Birth Stories podcast, I felt so calm and in control of every decision we made along the way. RPA were so supportive of me trying for a VBAC. I’ve had daily monitoring this last week for high blood pressure and protein and kept saying no to induction. By Saturday I decided to take their recommendation that starting induction may be the best chance for VBAC, rather than coming in and suddenly having a spike in blood pressure and having to whip baby out straight away. This long story becomes pretty short from here; I had the balloon put in on Saturday evening, my waters broke by themselves overnight and I started labouring around 5:30am. I started active labour around 8:30 and had a baby at midday!
dorothy matilda 1.jpg
Although I didn’t have any time to listen to hypno tracks during labour, they really helped in the lead up. During the labour I used gas (mainly to help focus my breath) but it was the power of knowledge from our course that got me through. Feeling confident in trying different active labour positions (I loved the shower, kneeling over bed head and the power of the birth stool!) and knowing the sensations were normal and happening for a reason (like when the baby was turning while it was descending, having the urge to poo/push and the ring of fire) took all the fear out of the process. Ned was AMAZING support and nailed the perfect birth partner title like a boss, and again, I attest that to everything we learned at our course! Our midwife deserves a shout out too – I was chuffed that they allocated someone not only who had also VBACed before but spoke all the same language as us during the birth. I asked Ned if he had given her our birth preferences because I couldn’t remember but he hadn’t, she was just amazingly on the same page about the best way to achieve a natural birth.
Although I don’t want to turn around and do it again tomorrow like you(!) I’m absolutely over the moon and so proud! I thought I’d be sad about not labouring at home but the birth was so empowering and couldn’t have been better with the situation we had at hand. I’m so happy I got the opportunity to trust in my body and feel the euphoria of naturally delivering my baby.
Thank you so, so much!
Love from Lindsey, Ned and Dorothy”
dorothy matilda 2

“I had done so much meditation and placed so much focus on remaining calm that I found I never got hysterical or panicked.”

This is such a great account of how the Hypnobirthing Australia program prepares parents for when the circumstances change and a different birth for your baby is needed…
its a girl.PNG
“Hi Kerry,
Tony and I are so excited to let you know we had a baby girl!! Phoebe Claire Kastelan born 10/10 weighing 4.09kgs and 56cm long! She’s a very healthy girl!
Our birth took eventful roads and Tony and I remained calm and happy throughout the process. Tony was the most amazing birth partner providing me with exactly what I needed and I know that’s because of your course we did! I honestly couldn’t have done it without his calming supportive nature.
I got an infection last Wednesday with a high fever and baby and my heart rate very high. I was induced and we laboured all day Thursday then my temperature went back up so we had a c-section because my infection was too worrying for the health of bub.
I would have reacted extremely differently to all of this had I not done your course, I had done so much meditation and placed so much focus on remaining calm that I found I never got hysterical or panicked.
I feel so grateful I got to experience labour and work as a team with Tony and have our beautiful girl arrive safely!
We were treated with respect and provided exceptional care and my infection has cleared up.
I can’t wait to introduce Phoebs to you!
Lots of love,
Tony, Prim and Phoebe”
And I can’t wait to meet her too!!!
Kerry xx

It really was a super positive and life changing experience despite being longer and tougher than we both expected.

Hi Kerry,
So sorry we haven’t been in touch until now. I’ve been meaning to email you! We had a beautiful baby girl called Nora Lucia Wallace at 11.25am on Sunday 25th August. 3.59kg, 51cm long and very healthy 🙂 Can’t believe she’ll be 6 weeks tomorrow!!
I had a drug free birth at RPA. My hind waters broke at home at 4.20am on the 24th and we went into the hospital at about 10am to get the IV antibiotics as I was GBS positive and we had decided to take the antibiotics (after much research in the weeks prior). We knew we wanted to labour at home so after the first IV dose we were sent home with oral antibiotics to take every 6 hrs. I had lunch at home and then had a nap in the arvo. The surges slowly started at about 3.30pm and just intensified gradually throughout the evening. I really enjoyed early labour as it was a beautiful evening and we had candles on and music and Luke was being so incredible. I even ate a small bowl of minestrone soup that Luke had cooked and was feeling pretty confident and excited!
Our doula, Nadine Fragosa, was the best decision we made for our birth! She was messaging Luke throughout early labour and he was sending her screenshots of the contraction timer app. She came to our house at about 11pm when I think I was in active labour. This was just after my waters broke again very dramatically in the bathroom when I had just put on my nice Lulu Lemon trackies that I had planned to wear to the hospital lol. I was more concerned about my trackies than anything else and made Luke dry them with a hair dryer which was pretty funny in hindsight. I got a bit freaked after that as things intensified a lot more so that’s when we called Nadine. I stayed at home labouring for a few more hours and Nadine helped me to do the hypno breathing a bit better as I was letting some of the bigger contractions get a little overwhelming. I wanted to be upright throughout all the contractions so I was mostly leaning on a wall in my hallway with Nadine sitting on the floor helping me to breathe through them and giving me encouragement. We continued at home until about 1am then I decided I wanted to head to hospital because it was pretty full on.
We began in the birth centre for a few hours with just Doppler monitoring of Nora and regular checks of my blood pressure. I did three massive vomits throughout this time (including all the minestrone soup haha) – the pain was more intense than I had imagined! I laboured in the shower a lot as well as leaning on walls and hanging off random coat hooks haha. The midwife kept checking the colour of my waters on a pad and a couple of hours after we arrived she found a tiny bit of meconium in my waters. They told us that they could monitor Nora better in the labour ward with continuous monitoring through the bands around my tummy and recommended that we move there. Even though no one seemed overly worried and Nadine said it was the tiiiiniest amount of meconium, we decided to move to the labour ward as we didn’t want to risk anything with the baby. They made the new room dark and a similar atmosphere to the birth centre room so it didn’t bother me. Only difference I think was that I couldn’t give birth in the bath but there was still a bath I could use to labour in.
I dilated slowly but fairly consistently. I asked not to get vagina examinations in my preferences but in the end I was curious so I had a few. Labour was verryyyy painful as she moved into posterior as she was moving down but came back around eventually. Just crazy painful back/bum labour! The breathing tequniques really helped especially through the surges and Luke was soooo amazing as a support person. He felt like he knew what to do and how to help which was really beautiful for me. Nadine was incredible and I think I would have given up without her. She kept me going when I was exhausted and was such an amazing support. I stopped believing I could do it towards the end and she convinced me that I could. I also started saying that I thought I needed drugs (even though in my birth preferences I said I didn’t) but Luke and Nadine were great and were able to keep me going without them. I was offered the gas but didn’t want it because I was so nauseous and and I didn’t think I could keep breathing the way I was with the mask thing. Nadine inquired about sterile water injections as she could see me starting to give up as the back/bum pain and pressure was soooo intense. The midwife organised a few more midwives to come and give the injections (two on each side of my spine). I was warned that they would be excruciating as they went in but to be honest everything was so painful I didn’t really mind. Nadine and Luke said they noticed a difference in how I was coping after the injections which was good! I felt like it alleviated some of the back pressure but not the bum pain.
I was a really upright labourer the whole time and wanted to be standing pushing against a wall throughout all the surges. I think this was because of how Nora was positioned. Nadine said she’d never seen such an upright labourer. I also laboured in the shower a lot and in the bath towards the end. I had a cervical lip which the midwife was able to move the second time she tried and then I was able to push (although it actually felt like I was involuntarily pushing way before that point with sooo much pressure in my bum). I tried pushing in so many different positions including on the birth stool, on the floor on all fours, side lying on the floor but in the end I ended up on the bed in like a clamshell position with Luke holding up one knee and Nadine holding the other. I had a big cheer squad by the end including two lots of midwives as there was a shift change. There was also an obstetrician in the room by the end as Nora’s heart rate was a little unsteady so they were just monitoring that. She was crowning for ages and I was pushing at 300% but her head just wasn’t coming out past a certain point. I probably would have gotten there in the end but there was lots of meconium too by this stage and her heart rate was just a little concerning still so they asked if I wanted an episiotomy and I agreed in the end. She then came out in two more pushes and was perfect! She cried straight away when they put her in my chest and she stayed on my chest for about 2 hours. I was a bit disappointed that I had to have an episiotomy but I’d been pushing for almost 2 hours and was soooo exhausted by then that I think it was the right thing to do. Even though the labour and pushing stage were far more painful than I expected, I felt really supported and the whole day had a wonderful energy. Luke and I found the labour and the first two weeks at home (when Luke was off work) to be the best weeks of our life because of all the love and support and visitors. It was amazing.
Nora has been an awesome little baby. She’s feeding and sleeping really well so we feel very lucky! Thank you for all the guidance in the course. I had three weeks of mat leave before she came so I used that time to go through the folio and watch some videos. Luke and I also talked through what we wanted and used the example hypno birth preferences as a template for ours.
So yay!
Thanks for checking in and sorry this email is so long! I wrote half of it in the middle of the night and I think I got a bit carried away haha. I have attached some photos from the last 6 weeks 🙂
Thanks again for everything!
Bridie and Luke and Nora xx

An amazing support team alongside hypnobirthing techniques make for a positive birth!

This mum and dad did the Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth program with me just a month before their baby arrived….

“Hi Kerry ,

I thought u would like to know that me and Stav gave birth to baby Andreas on the 13/9/19 at 3:51am.

andreas koumanis

I think you will be pleased to know that we used our Hypnobirthing techniques which made for a more positive birthing experience!

I had my diffuser burning essential oils with my hypnobirthing tracks and affirmations in the background with dim lights and my gym ball was my best friend ! I also found my tens machine and sitting in the shower very helpful for my contractions!

In the end I only used gas as pain relief and birthed my baby in a bath, within 2-3 pushes we got to meet our baby and I had minimal tearing!

I have to say my support team was pretty awesome (husband and midwife) don’t think I could’ve done it without them!

Overall thank you for helping us get through this life changing event, happy to have found you! 🙂

Kind regards
Anne & Stav”

I could not have asked for a better birth and I know for a fact that was due to the hypnobirthing class!

It’s never too late to do a Hypnobirthing Australia course. This couple attended with just a few weeks left until their estimated due date and this is the birth they went on to have…

“Hi Kerry,

Sorry for delay in response, but so glad to be able to email you news of Alistair Edward Collins born today, 4 August @ 11.51am.
alistair fremlin 2
I could not have asked for a better birth and I know for a fact that was due to the hypnobirthing class!
I went into labour (exactly one week before estimated due date) at around 1am this morning, waters broke around an hour and a half later. I laboured at home until 9am, using Aromatherapy, birth ball and music/affirmations.
We arrived at the hospital around 10am, 9cm dilated! After just under two hours of stronger surges and doing my best with my breathing during the bearing down phase we had a beautiful healthy baby boy! I had a second degree tear, but no medical/pain interventions at all, not even a Panadol at home!
It was super challenging to stay focused on breathing techniques/relaxation etc during the bearing down phase, I think I said ‘I can’t do this’ around 50 times, but I firmly believe the prep I did thanks to the hypnobirthing course, particularly envisaging the kind of birth we wanted and being kind to ourselves and bonding with baby really set us up for the incredible birth we had.
Thank you!!!”
Fiona & Anthony – proud parents to Alistair
alistair fremlin 4

My second birth has healed the experience of my first in more ways than I knew I needed.

Check out this empowering and healing birth written by mum Cath and the beautiful photos that dad Rudi took of these special moments.
Good morning Kerry,
I finally got my birth story written down!
Thank you so much for the work you do. I am still thrilled by Charlie’s birth each time I think of it.
I’ve put in a few of the pictures Rudi took. The first for me is what hypnobirthing gave to me. The strength to approach childbirth with such a positive mindset.
Charlie will be 6 weeks this Sunday, I’m enjoying her growing out of the newborn stage now. Getting some cute smiles and she’s chit chatting away with us now….
charlie rose towiro 1

“At 39 weeks I started getting stronger Braxton Hicks tightenings and thought things may kick off any day. Having my first daughter, Abigail, come spontaneously at 41+3 though I knew best not to get too excited. I was right. Unfortunately this time the pressure to induce was much stronger. Abigail was born in Malaysia and our obstetrician was happy to wait. This time though there was a lot of talk of stillbirth risk. We found it very strange as I was healthy and I had no doubt baby was doing well. We refused induction at 41+3 and agreed instead to do wellbeing checks at day stay. Her movements were good and blood flow through the cord was good, there was no concern beyond the dates.

Regardless the strong recommendations were to do the induction and by 41 weeks and 5 days we decided to go ahead and were booked in to start the next day (Saturday) with cervical ripening. I’d had had 4 stretch and sweeps, had been doing daily exercises to get baby in the best position, was drinking raspberry leaf tea by the litre, acupressure and massage with clary sage oils. The ongoing tightenings with no labour were starting to drive me nuts. I was happy I’d given baby the extra days and had utilised well the BRAIN technique we had learnt in the hypnobirth course.

 

charlie rose towiro 2

I was more than ready to meet her and her Dad was supportive of my choice. From our research it didn’t seem we could do much harm giving her the nudge at just a day shy of 42 weeks. Kerry, our hypnobirthing educator, gave advice that if we were to go ahead then just give it everything and don’t look back and that’s exactly what we did!

I let go of the image I’d had throughout pregnancy of birth starting at home, labouring in our apartment and Abigail being part of those early hours before we went to the Birth Centre at RPA. We went into hospital as if checking into a hotel. It was Saturday morning. I was examined to see if Cervidil pessary would be necessary. If not I’d have the choice to go straight ahead with ARM (artificial rupture of membranes) either the same day or coming back the following day (at which point I’d be 41+6). I was 2.5cm dilated and we decided even though I could go straight to ARM, it would be beneficial to try and see if the Cervidil would get labour going. It went in around 10am.
My husband and I went for a walk, spent some time at a nearby cafe. By late afternoon he went home, expecting the big day to begin early the next morning with the ARM and possibly oxytocin drip. Even though induction was something I’d wished to avoid, we were excited to know this baby would be coming out the next day!
That evening labour began!
Around 6pm contractions started coming on and within an hour I was getting 2-3 every 10mins. I noticed a phone call from my brother stalled them, as did change in midwives. I decided to lock down mentally, nothing was going to stop this labour progressing! I put headphones in with hypnobirthing tracks and blocked everything else out.  In hindsight I was so lucky the bed was empty next to me and I had a room to myself. When midwives came in I just closed my eyes and let them check my blood pressure etc without talking. They were all great and barely entered the room. I really appreciated the privacy, At 8pm I went to the bathroom and the pessary dropped out, a good sign!
Things really started to kick off from there, at 10:25pm I messaged my husband to come back, I was starting to need him. I didn’t want to have to deal with anyone or make any decisions. I felt my full concentration going inwards now and was using verbalisations to get through.
Looking back I’m so glad of the discussion I’d had with Kerry after our hypnobirthing weekend. I told her how the relaxation techniques she taught were so wonderful. How with Abigail I used Juju Sundin’s active Birth Skills to manage the pain but I was really looking forward this time to using just the hypnobirthing techniques. I had a rosy picture of giving birth in a real zen mode. She advised to have all the tools I can in my toolbox as I may need them still. She was right!
charlie rose towiro 5
The hypnobirthing carried my through the early stages, kept me calm and focused listening to the tracks and reserving energy. It  gave the mental strength, the affirmations were absolutely fundamental to how I managed up until the the final stages and even after with the after birth pains. But around 10pm I really needed something physical. The Birth Skills were great at this point. I used stomping and clapping matched with visualisations. Before I knew it, my husband was there, I was in the shower. I remember the TENS machine. We got it out and put that on. Things were really ramping up. The first contraction with the TENS machine was super strange and then a big pop and my waters broke, I ripped the TENS machine off, I did not like the sensation.
The midwife called delivery ward and we made our way down. The Birth Centre was not available as the midwife was attending to two other women in the delivery ward. By now I was not at all concerned where I gave birth. From there it was not long at all. Once we got down there and got the antibiotics in for the StrepB, not many more contractions and I knew transition had arrived.
Again all the hypnobirthing tracks I’d listened to and the positive affirmation cards came to full use, doubt and fear did not enter my mind. It was powerfully intense like nothing else, yet I had flashing bright words in my mind saying I am STRONG, I CAN do it, I AM doing it. It was an incredibly empowering experience.
I asked for the bath and a few more contractions then I had the overwhelming expulsion reflex. The midwife had a look and said 8cm and suggested panting. Babies heartbeat started dropping and I had to get out of the bath. Doctors came in. I had my eyes closed but from the experience with my first (vacuum delivery), I knew either I pushed or that vacuum was going to do the job. I gave it absolutely everything I had, it was one of the most important moments of my life and I knew it. If I wanted a healthy baby and a good recovery I had to push with everything I had. I used the coffee plunger technique from Birth Skills that I’d also used with my first. I released tension by screaming out how painful it was and then screamed at baby that it was time to get out!

charlie rose towiro 6

I locked eyes with my husband and I swear I was drawing strength from him through his eyes! Her head came out, I looked down, I saw her. The doctor asked me to hold off as she eased babies shoulders through. Then I had her, she was there on my chest.
We then got to stay in the delivery room for 3 hours as the ward upstairs was full.
It was 2:23am. It was magical.
Later we moved to a free room in the Birth centre where we stayed until later in the day when we went home. It was a treat. A big room and familiar midwives I’d met during pregnancy. The best part was having our 4 year old be able to come in straight away to visit in the morning and jump up on the bed with us.
charlie rose towiro 7
Meeting Charlie Rose was wonderful, but this time, the most incredible experience was my own feeling of empowerment. I cannot describe just how powerful it was.
After 4 years of processing Abigail’s birth and wondering if things could have been different. I now felt in my body just how different they could be. The birth was just 2.5 hours with 12 minutes of pushing! I never would have believed that possible after the days of early labour and long active labour with Abigail that had ended with vacuum and an episiotomy, followed by difficulty breastfeeding, hospitalisation of our just 3 days old baby girl due to jaundice and long recovery due to the stitches.
This time we went home the same day and stayed there.
charlie rose towiro 8
Just as I had dreamed, my second birth has healed the experience of my first in more ways than I knew I needed.
I’m so glad we took the time to learn hypnobirthing. It provided a positive mental framework that enabled me to overcome any fears or doubts and relish in the experience. It was intense, it certainly was not quiet or calm towards the end like some of the videos I’ve seen. I was very loud and very physical but not out of fear. It was a strength this time that has taught me I can conquer any mental or physical challenge. Empowering, mother-led births are no longer a theory I preach in a society fearful of childbirth, but a lived experience I can truely own. “
Cath & Rudi – proud parents to Charlie Rose