Even just 6 weeks later I think I’m ready to do it again!

Here is a great story for how hypnobirthing helps with long labours and births that have a few twists and turns…

 

“Our beautiful baby boy Michael was born at 6:50pm on the 22nd Feb after an epic labour with just a few twists and turns! 

I started having contractions at 2:30am on the 21st Feb. Little Mikey was slightly posterior to the right hand side (sorry I can’t remember the correct terminology!) and instead of making the short turn to the left he needed to adjust, he decided to turn the long way around which resulted in a long pre-labour for me! I stayed at home as long as possible with my tens machine and used the breathing techniques and affirmations I learnt from you. The acupressure points also really helped.

Eventually that night I went in to hospital and by around 6am the next morning I was finally in active labour. I stayed on my tens machine and did accept gas as pain relief as the back labour pains were quite strong, but I was feeling really empowered and ready for action after so many hours in pre-labour. 

Around lunchtime I was checked as I felt like I was ready to push. Although I was 8cm dilated my water hadn’t broken and Mikey’s head was still not quite aligned in my cervix. My contractions were also still inconsistent.

By this point I have to admit I had a bit of a meltdown as I was just so tired and disheartened that the labour wasn’t progressing how I had thought it was. I decided to have an epidural which also resulted in having my waters broken and then being put on the syntocin drip to regulate the contractions.

Mikey’s heart rate started to drop and after close to an hour of pushing a doctor was brought in, lights were on, my legs were up in stirrups and a ventouse was used for the final push.

Although the birth ended up taking a turn and resulted in something very different to what I envisaged I have to say the breathing techniques and visualisations I learnt from Hypnobirthing really helped get me through. Especially for those final moments of pushing – as I couldn’t feel anything the visualisation really helped. My midwife said the vacuum hardly did anything in the end it was mostly me!

In the end it all didn’t matter because we have our beautiful little man and I still feel so empowered and amazed at my body and mind that it could do such a thing! Even just 6 weeks later I think I’m ready to do it again!

Thank you again for everything!”

Alia x

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“Our midwife said she was so happy to have been part of such a lovely birth experience”.

Second time parents Vera and Stephen had already had a positive birth experience with their son but they were determined to give pregnancy number two the attention and preparation it deserved also.

I contacted them a few weeks before their estimated due date to see how they were doing only to learn that the day before they had met their baby girl…

 

“Hi Kerry, I’m in hospital right now after a wonderful birth bringing our nugget, Annaliese, into the world yesterday! 2 weeks early and perfect!

The pelvic instability I had got a whole lot worse after we met at the course and I had to be on crutches, off work and sleep in a recliner for 10 weeks since turning in bed was excruciating. With physio, chiro, acupuncture, swimming and meditation (including the fear release exercise, I was anxious about not being able to move during labour), but with Stephen’s indefatigable practical support, we got through! Amazingly the pain reduced dramatically during labour and I was able to kneel and squat and get on all fours. The crutches have been banished since the birth – hurray!

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It was a spontaneous, natural birth with no pain killers or interventions. We had the tracks playing and Stephen was a trooper with his loving support and mastery of the acupressure points. Our midwife said she was so happy to have been part of such a lovely birth experience. It was speedy too at around 4 hrs with only a little tear.

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A huge thank you to you and the course for helping us have such a positive and empowered birthing experience.

With best wishes,

Vera & Stephen”

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The whole experience was the most amazing, beautiful, miraculous, strengthening, loving and awakening experience of my life and I would totally do it again.

Below is the birth story of baby Zahraa by mum Fatima, it is a beautiful account of a listening to your body, working as a team with your partner and being informed in the lead up to birth…

“My drug-free, intervention-free birth…

At 4am on the 23rd of January 2020 (my estimated due date), I started to feel light period cramps. I dismissed it as maybe Braxton Hicks or very early signs of labour. I went back to sleep and tried not to give it too much attention. I kept feeling a bit crampy till midday and at 1pm I was in the bathroom and saw what I think was a bloody show. I messaged my MGP midwife to let her know what I had seen. She told me it was a sign of labour and to keep her updated. So I knew then that what I was feeling were actually surges. I decided to stay calm and relax at home for the day. I got my essential oils going in the diffuser and rested as much as I could. I called my husband at work and asked him to come home a bit early. I was hesitant to believe that I was in established labour because I didn’t want to get disappointed if I wasn’t. Everyone was telling me that I would be late as it was my first pregnancy. But I wanted to be prepared nevertheless. I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks and read my affirmations that I had stuck up on my bedroom wall. I checked any last minute things that I need for when I would go to the hospital.

 

I kept getting surges all afternoon but they were very manageable. They were just like period cramps, gradually getting more intense. I practiced my breathing and just acted normal. Around 11pm, the surges really started to get more intense around my stomach and back. My husband helped a lot by pushing on the sides of my back during each surge and supporting me the whole night. I lit some candles and kept our home dimly lit the whole time. I got in the shower and laboured in there for a while. The hot water really felt good. We continued labouring at home till around 3am when the surges were a few minutes apart and pretty consistent. We called the midwife and told her what was happening. She said to try to stay home longer and have something to eat as she noticed I was coping quite well with each surge over the phone. I said ok and tried to continue labouring at home, but I felt like I just wanted to go to the birth centre so I could use the bath to relax a bit. I called my midwife again and told her I wanted to come in.

 

We got to the hospital around 3:40am the next day (24th Jan). My mum helped put up my affirmations on the wall and light some candles while my husband set up the diffuser with some lavender and clary sage. The lights were off in the room. I got in the bath around 5am after she did a vaginal examination and to my surprise I was already 5cm dilated! I sort of didn’t want to know how dilated I was, in case I would be let down. Honestly, I felt like I could’ve lasted longer, so I was very happy with 5cm!

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Within about 5 minutes of getting in the bath, I started feeling an instinctual urge to push with each contraction. I couldn’t stop my body from naturally doing it. The feeling was new, but I just went with it and trusted that my body knew what to do. I surrendered to my body and as I would push, I would feel water gushing out of me so I assumed that was my water breaking. After a few surges with what sounded like strong pushing, my midwife asked me if I was feeling the urge to push and I said yes. She wanted to have a listen to baby’s heartbeat so they tried to listen while I stayed in the bath with the Pinard because that’s what I requested (no Doppler). It was a bit difficult but we worked together to get a good listen. After a few more surges, they requested that I get out of the bath and to the bed so they could hear baby more easily. I agreed and got on the bed to let them listen. I laboured on all fours while leaning on my husband for support while he was still pushing on my back with each surge. I believe he was labouring with me the whole time! He had sore arms the next day! I kept following my body’s natural urge to push with each surge until the midwife told me she could start to see baby’s head. I kept going. I started to get really tired, so I lied down on my side a bit but then changed to a squat position. Then I went back to all fours which was the most comfortable.

 

My midwife used a warm compress on my perineum as I had requested. It took a while of trying to push baby’s head out. She would come out a bit during the contraction, then go back in after. I didn’t want to push more than my surges were telling me to. But after a while, the midwife urged me to push a little harder and longer so I did because it was starting to take too long.

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Eventually baby Zahraa came out and my husband caught her at 7:57am. They put her on my chest and it was the most precious moment so far. I asked for some privacy so my husband and I could just bond with baby for a while. She was perfect! We hadn’t done any ultrasounds during my pregnancy and it was amazing to see her for the first time. We did the delayed cord clamping as we requested.

I also wanted to try to birth my placenta unassisted, but that was taking too long so I consented to take the injection and then the placenta came out. I had a little tear internally and needed stitches for that, but my perineum was still intact. Tearing was one of my fears so I’m thankful my perineum was fine.

 

The whole experience was the most amazing, beautiful, miraculous, strengthening, loving and awakening experience of my life and I would totally do it again. The labour and birth was so empowering and I loved every bit of it. It was crucial that my husband and I had the right mindset to stay positive and calm throughout the whole experience. Not once did I want to give up or felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I thank Hypnobirthing Australia and Kerry Sutcliffe for all the preparation and support.

 

I believe the main things that helped me achieve a positive, successful birth were:

  • The education provided to me by hypnobirthing along with lots of research I did myself helped me understand the whole birth process very well in order to feel comfortable and calm in my own body. I didn’t fear the process at all.
  • Knowing my rights as a patient at the hospital empowered me to ask for what I wanted and to be comfortable in my own birth space.
  • Reading so many positive birth stories helped immensely as it also made me more comfortable with the idea of positive birth. No Fear!
  • Most importantly, my trust in God to help me throughout the whole experience. I never knew my body would be capable of so much strength and endurance. I called upon God for strength through each contraction and trusted that he would take care of me and my baby.”

 

“I have never felt such happiness, power and strength in myself as I did in that moment.”

Hypnomama Alli couldn’t wait to contact me after the birth of her baby girl Daisy! She said she it was “the perfect birth…every single thing she hoped it would be” and that she “absolutely smashed it…Gerard was the only drug I needed!”.

Read on to be inspired….

 

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“I am writing my birth story whilst lying in a hospital bed 2 days after giving birth which even I know indicates my birth may well not have gone 100% to my plan but I cant help feeling how important it is to share my story so other women facing birth can be prepared for a range of outcomes and know that they do have options in their birth, after all, it is theirs and theirs alone. I also feel that when something does go very close to perfect for the birth of your child you should be singing it from the rooftops to give confidence to others not hiding behind those with a more traumatic story to tell.

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My birth story started when I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks and thinking very clearly…”oh my God this means I have to get this baby out and well I cant do that because I’m weak and useless with pain and giving birth just isn’t going to work for me”. This was lamented by people actually telling me I had a low pain threshold and should opt for all the drugs because simply, I wouldn’t be able to cope.
During the early months I discovered Hypnobirthing, again thinking of the negative, I thought trying to have mind over matter would also be quite hard for me to achieve but I was running out of options. As not giving birth clearly was not in the running, I had little choice so I invested some time reading through literature on Hypnobirthing and finding out exactly what it was about. I quickly discovered it wasn’t all airy fairy and that actually there was some really good reasoning behind it.

So I wrote out my affirmations and I talked it all through with my partner and we booked our 2 day course with Kerry after a recommendation from friends. This was the point my birthing mindset changed from something I thought I probably wouldn’t achieve to something I was going to put all my energy in to making sure I was going to achieve it to my plan, or be able to make peace with it if I didn’t. The course and Kerry were wonderful and really increased both mine and my partners confidence. Suddenly he could see his role and he knew what he could do to make this as easy for me as possible. He backed every suggestion I made and  supported me through out the whole pregnancy and birth.

I was lucky enough to get into the midwife led group practice in my local area which really helped to set me on the right path. I had a beautiful pregnancy and a wonderful midwife who listened to all of my plans and concerns and never once made me feel like I was expecting something unrealistic. We decided we wanted to have a natural water birth in the birthing centre with low lights, candles, music etc. We had some pretty specific stuff in our plan such as my partner to receive the baby and announce the sex, for optimal cord clamping and I wanted to birth my placenta naturally. I didn’t want any interventions, minimal examinations and sporadic fetal monitoring.

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At 39 weeks I was convinced I felt baby’s movements slow on my last day at work. I called my midwife team and was advised to go in to be monitored and have a scan. I did this and all results were good. The doctors advised that induction would be a good idea if I didn’t feel movements increase to where they had been that night. This was something I desperately wanted to avoid and so I used my BRAIN and decided to go home and monitor this for 24 hours to see what happened. Baby’s movements picked up considerably and left me wondering if the stress of finishing work had meant that I just wasn’t as aware of movements that day as I had previously been.
My guess date came and went and the braxton hicks contractions and cramping I had been having for the past few weeks increased considerably. I saw my midwife who offered me a sweep 3 days later to try and get things moving as she knew how desperate I was to avoid induction. Again we used our BRAIN and decided to accept this and so it was booked in. The following night I started with fairly strong braxton hicks but didn’t really think anything of it as it had been a regular occurrence so far. I went to bed as normal and woke up at 2am just aware something felt a little different. 4am my surges started, 5 mins apart varying between 60 seconds and 130 seconds. I rang my midwife and was advised to do as much of my labour at home but when the surges went down to 2mins and lasted between 60 and 120 seconds and bleeding started I decided it was time to go in and get checked as I was not expecting surges to be so relentless so quickly.
When I arrived at the hospital I was expecting to maybe go backwards a little bit as I knew this was common but when I was examined I was told I was 6cm dilated and surges just kept ramping up. I was taken into the birth center and me and my partner were just left to settle in and work through the surges. I used an eye mask and hypnobirthing music and lay on the big double bed with my partner and just breathed through them. I kept calm and relaxed and rode out the pain. My midwife would come and check on us but ultimately it was just me, my partner and our baby working as a team.
As I was having pain consistently with no let up in between surges, my midwife sought advice from the doctors. She came back and said the doctors would prefer me to move to the delivery suite…this was not an option for me partly as the thought of moving was unimaginable but my plan was always the birth centre and I’d need a very good reason to move. I asked why and she said it was for closer monitoring but that she actually didnt see any value in it and was happy with how I was progressing. It didnt even require me to use BRAIN this time, I was staying put.
At around 12pm I sat on the toilet for a few surges… I highly recommend this position to help relieve tension. The pressure at this point was really building and with the next contraction I had a slight urge to push, I went with it and my membranes ruptured (handy as there was no mess to clean up for my poor midwife). I got back on the bed and agreed to my 2nd vaginal examination as I was keen to know what was happening. Unbelievably to us all I was fully dilated! Oh shit was my first thought followed by joy that this was actually really happening, I was getting to the end.
Very shortly after I had the very strong instinct to push and so I did and kept pushing for the next 3 hours. Baby was doing well, I was doing well but nothing felt like it was happening. “Push into your bottom” the midwives kept telling me “I am pushing into my bottom” I would yell back…it turns out I wasn’t but it sure felt like I was to me. Shortly after, baby’s heart rate was a little low on 2 separate monitoring’s and I was told we needed this baby out and if I couldn’t get do it myself they would have to intervene with an episiotomy. It was safest for the baby and for me. Well, there was no way I had gone that far on my own with no pain relief for them to intervene now. I dug down to somewhere I didn’t even know I had and I said to my baby, it is me and you now and you are coming out so get ready.

I pushed (into my bottom) with everything I had and all of a sudden in one push, little head and gorgeous body were there. The midwife passed baby up to me and my partner and we could see for ourselves we had a beautiful baby girl. I don’t think there has yet been a word created for that feeling when I first held my little baby in my arms.

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The elation that I had had the birth I wanted and that my baby was there safe and warm in my arms was consuming, I have never felt such happiness, power and strength in myself as I did in that moment. I never made it into the water and my partner was behind me when baby arrived as it turned out I couldn’t let him be 2 seconds away from me at anytime during the labour, he was my strength and my pain relief all in one go. It wasn’t until afterwards he told me he needed the toilet the entire time but figured it wasn’t as bad as what I was going through so he kept quiet which made me laugh a lot.

Being handed our baby together was actually a much nicer way of starting our new life together so I made peace with those two things. I had the perfect 1st hour with our little girl and my partner, the midwives left the room and we all lay on the double bed and just laughed and kept checking that that all had really happened. I fed her and my partner had skin on skin with her, it is a time that I will cherish forever. However soon after my midwife asked to examine me as they thought I had torn during delivery. It turns out I had and quite badly at that and I had lost a larger mount of blood than is ideal. The doctors examined me and confirmed it was 3rd degree tear and would need repaired in surgery under a spinal block. At first I was devastated, I’d done all that work with not so much as a paracetamol and now I was probably going to have all the pain relief they could throw at me.

My partner had a very strict word with me and reminded me I had done the hard part for our baby and now it was time to look after me to make sure I was in the best state to look after her. So I eased up on myself and had all the pain relief…it was needed!! Seeing my little girl being held by my partner (my hypnobirthing visualisation) as I was wheeled away made it all worth it. I actually really believe the time I was away from them helped him form the best bond with her.

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I was in hospital for the next 3 days which was the best option for me as I got lots of help with feeding and advice was on hand when I needed it and as a result we got breastfeeding off to a wonderful start as well as allowing me to have a good rest.
I really do credit my birth to hypnobirthing and the strategies it teaches you and I cannot thank Kerry enough for giving me the tools to achieve exactly what I had in my head for my daughters birth. I had the best team around me including my partner, my midwifes and hypnobirthing and I would not change one single thing…even the fact that I can’t sit down for the next 2 weeks without a ring of towels under my bum!”.

Hypnomama Alli & Hypnodad Gerard

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“My husband and all the staff at the hospital encouraged and supported me till the end which truly made a big difference”

Here is a beautiful birth story highlighting the importance of partner support, listening to your own body and impressing the hospital staff with your hypnobirthing skills!

“Hi Kerry,

I have some good news! Our little man Dario arrived into the world on Feb 25 at 5 pm after a short but intense labour. 

He is our second hypnobub!! 

Everybody at the hospital was so impressed with how I surfed through labour.

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I have to admit my surges have been quite powerful especially in the second phase of labour but my husband and all the staff at the hospital encouraged and supported me till the end which truly made a big difference. No need of gas, tense machine nor water syringes! 

In addition to the hypnobirthing prep I did on a daily basis, I had been talking to Dario since he was 36 weeks old telling him how I imagined his birth to be. I told him we were a team of four (myself, him, my body and his daddy) working together for a calm and relaxed birth. I would tell him to come to the world between 38-39 weeks and proposed him to have a relatively short labour (5 hours long). Everything I asked him happened! It was like he was listening to me!

I had a show on February 25th early in the morning so I went to see my OB who checked my cervix to see if it was starting to open but at 9.30am it was completely closed. So he sent me home saying that until surges started I was not officially in labour. I went home, did house chores and at 11.45am I started to feel the first surges. We stayed home until 1.30pm, I listened to the hypnobirthing soundtracks, Tomas supported me throughout surges. That was the early stage of labour, I had surges every 6 minutes and they were 1 minute long.

When we got to the hospital we dimmed the lights in the room, played the hypnobirthing tracks, and I sat on a birth ball. Tomas gently massaged my back, he stood by me during every surge. It was such a relief to have him close. He prepared a warm bath for me and I jumped into the bath. 

Our midwife was very much onboard with hypnobirthing. She told me how well I was breathing and that we were doing an amazing job. I was in the active phase of labour by then. Surges were more frequent and lasted longer. I was in and out the bath. By 3.30 pm I was 5cm dilated. I suddenly felt the need to change my breathing and bearing down. It was approximately 4pm. The midwife asked me to get out the bath and I went on all fours on the bed. The last hour was the most intense one. 

I continued to breath supported by my husband and the medical staff. My OB came in, he checked me, asked me to stop pushing but I just couldn’t!! I had to listen to my body. 15 minutes later my bub was born. He had the umbilical cord tangled around his neck and was bluish so unfortunately we did not do delayed cord clamping. One of the midwives had to give him extra oxygen for a couple of minutes and as soon as he gained a healthy pink colour, he was put on my chest for two long, uninterrupted hours of skin to skin contact.

I gave birth to Dario in all fours position. Chris Smith the OB has been wonderful. The midwives told me they rarely see women giving birth in all fours in this hospital (birthing positions are dictated by OBs apparently).

Our baby boy is healthy and placid. He weighs 3.6 kg and is 55 cm tall.

I just feel without all the prep I did, this could not have happened so well – I am so glad I took the course!!

Thanks again for preparing us to hypnobirth our baby boy, we are forever grateful!!”

Val & Tomas – parents to baby Dario.

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We walked away from the course feeling really informed, educated and comfortable with what was coming.

I love receiving these messages from mums who have had a really positive birthing experience. Welcome to the world Mila….

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“Hi Kerry,

Just letting you know that our little girl arrived on Tuesday arvo after an induction at 38 weeks. We are all doing well and managed a natural birth despite needing an induction and monitoring of bubs heartbeat throughout the labour.

We are doing really well and got home on Wednesday arvo which was great!  Her name is Mila Sarah Arulananthan.
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I just wanted to say a massive thankyou for the way you run your course. Karthee and I walked away from the course feeling really informed, educated and comfortable with what was coming.
Karthee was amazing throughout and helped me maintain control of my breathing when I felt like it was too hard and painful. Anyway, thank you again for helping take the fear away from our pregnancy and birth!
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We went through RPA birth centre and because of the monitoring of bubs I had to do the labour in delivery ward but the birth centre midwife came across and stayed with us the whole time. We found all the doctors and midwives that we came across so lovely, calm and would explain everything really well. Such a great experience!
Hannah – mum to Mila”
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“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….
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“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.
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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!
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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!

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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.

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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