Mary's Birth Story
The hospital scan at 12 weeks had estimated my due date as the 20th July. However, my own estimated due date was 29th July and as I had been charting my own cycle I was completely clear on my dates. As a result I had politely, but firmly, argued with the hospital that my dates were the most accurate and would not accept the scan date as my due date. This was of benefit at the end of my pregnancy as it prevented me being put under huge pressure for induction by the hospital when my date of 29th July came and went without anything happening.
On Saturday 31st July I did my usual Saturday routine – went down to the local market (in Midleton), to shop for food for the week, bumping into lots of friends on the way for a chat. All were surprised I was still `hanging in there'. I felt perhaps labour was starting – I had been getting what felt like very mild tightenings in my abdomen all morning. However, I wasn't sure, as they were so mild I felt they could have been warm up surges (Braxton Hicks). After shopping and lunch I went for an acupuncture appointment and explained to my acupuncturist that I could be in labour. I had a lovely treatment, listening to my GentleBirth CD while on the table. The treatment took about 40 minutes and I took note that I had 3 surges while there. They were still extremely mild – they still just felt like tightening sensations, however they did seem to be getting slightly stronger. After acupuncture, I went down town to do a few more bits and pieces before making my way home.
I went up to chill in bed for a while and debated with myself whether to call my friend Tracey who was one of my support team for the birth. She lives in Tipperary – about 2 hours drive away and was due to come down the next day for a visit..Eventually my gut told me to phone her, which I did. I explained my hesitation, but she said she would leave right away. I then went back up to bed and watched some TV. During a trip to the toilet I had what seemed like a very small show, but it was a miniscule amount.
Around 6pm my 4 year old daughter, Sadbh, and husband, David, came home from a birthday party and myself and Sadbh had a huge pillow fight upstairs. I was still having surges and they seemed to be getting stronger as I found myself having to stop playing for a second to take a deep breath while they happened. Then around 7pm Tracey and my other friend Gwen (who was staying locally) arrived. These friends along with my Mam and my husband David were my birth team. We all sat down to a lovely dinner cooked by David and washed down with some Prosecco (but not too much!!!) It was a great evening with lots of joking and laughing, ending in us all dancing around the kitchen to my daughters favourite song at the moment - `All the Single Ladies'.
By this stage the surges were definitely getting stronger and I had to stop eating and talking while I was having one, to breathe through it. I still wasn't sure I was in labour however as they were so manageable. Gwen suggested I call the midwife (Mary) just to let her know I was having surges and how close they were (about every 15 minutes). Then we all went into the sitting room to watch a Tom and Jerry DVD with Sadbh. After about half an hour of the DVD I had to leave the room, the surges were intensifying and Tom and Jerry was a bit too active for me!!! I had continued to use deep breathing during a surge and was feeling great. Myself, Gwen, Tracey and David went upstairs and set up the laptop to watch Glee – I had been saving episodes to watch during labour. After about 20 minutes my waters released (this was about 10.40pm). I phoned the midwife who said she was on her way. After my waters went the surges intensified. However, I still felt in control and that they were manageable. David, Tracey and Gwen are hilarious and they were making me laugh so much that the intensity of the surge would just dissipate with my laughter.
After a while the surges became very powerful and I needed to get up on the birth ball and roll. My doulas would rub my back in between with a lovely aromatherapy mix, which both felt and smelt great again helping me to relax. I was also feeling extremely hot and Gwen rubbed me down with a cool cloth, which also felt great (needless to say I had stopped watching Glee at this stage). After a while I began to feel like I wanted to vomit, and asked for a bucket but thankfully this passed quickly without me throwing up. All the while I was listening to my GentleBirth CD – and it is hard to accurately put into words how I felt really. I have heard and read stories from women who say they enter this powerful zone where their body is doing all the work. I suppose it is like what it says in the GentleBirth book and workshop – turn your thinking brain off. And as Ina May says about birth – `let your monkey do it', (or something to that effect anyway) well this is how it felt. My thinking brain was in me somewhere but it was hard to access, putting a sentence together was really challenging, at one stage I wanted a hair band, but found it really hard to formulate the sentence. I had managed to access this powerful primal part of myself and it felt amazing. I just was!!! All of my body was busy birthing my baby and I felt so full of power, so much a woman, so connected to that primitive part of me that just knew how to birth this baby. `I' didn't have to do anything - my body was working so effectively. The surges were taking over completely and they did indeed feel like waves (which is why the rocking helped me so much I think), coursing through my body and ebbing and flowing from my head to my toe. They were intense but I wouldn't say they were painful, just powerful.
I have no idea how frequently they were between before the next one. I did manage to ask to get the pool filled as I wanted to float in water – I had bad oedema in my legs and I thought the water would be a chance to rest my legs. I asked Tracey and Gwen to fill it as I wanted David up with me. At 11.40pm Mary arrived and examined me – she put the lights on but I couldn't bear them, so I managed to ask to turn them off which she did. I found out later I was 9cm at this stage (I didn't ask on the night – I didn't want to know and didn't even think to ask).
I do remember at times thinking that the surges were so strong I would not be able to handle the next one – thankfully, however, the other part of my brain would kick in and override the doubt and go with what was happening to my body. All the time I had the GentleBirth CD on and this helped immensely as I associated it with relaxation and calmness, and the affirmations were great.
David was a great help as well – reminding me to breathe, and telling me how amazing I was. That really helped me a lot, he felt so reassuring I just knew I could do it. At some point, a short time after the midwife arrived, we transferred downstairs. I was still hoping to use the pool – little did I know I wouldn't have a chance at all. Although I had no idea how dilated I was the surges felt different. They felt more like I was bearing down so I presume I was in second stage labour at this stage. I don't remember walking downstairs – the sitting room was dark, but the pool was nowhere near ready. I knelt on the couch for a while – with David supporting me. Then I went and sat on the birth stool I borrowed (thank goodness for it, as it helped so much with my swollen legs and it had a lovely cushion so it was comfy) while leaning into David who was on a chair. I didn't realise it, but at this stage the baby's head was at my perineum and I was trying to push him out. Forty minutes later (around 1.15am), we were still in the same boat – the baby's head at my perineum but he couldn't get past it. My perineum just wouldn't stretch to let him out. Towards the end of this period I did start to feel pain – he was pressing against my bladder and I felt like I needed to pee but couldn't. I was panicking a bit as well as in my first labour I had been in second stage labour for over 12 hours at home and had had to transfer to hospital. I didn't realise at this stage that this baby was right down at my perineum . The surges were powerful this time (unlike my previous birth), but he just could not get past my perineum.
I asked the birth team to go into the kitchen – perhaps everyone watching was slowing me down? To no avail. Mary had me change position as well, to widen my legs, again no joy. She tried to help me stretch and give the baby some more room to pass with her fingers. Eventually she suggested an episiotomy – after consulting with the other midwife there (Ellmarie) - they were all agreed that this was the best option and so I agreed to it. I was hesitant since I had had to have one last time as well, and really was hoping to avoid it. However, she could not think of anything else to do at this stage, so I agreed to it and she gave me a small cut first – to no avail. She then widened the cut. It took another two or three surges and the baby's head finally came out. It felt amazing – now I reached down and felt my babies head. With the next surge the body came out – it was so long and it felt so warm. I took my little boy in my arms and felt so exhilarated. It was such an amazing feeling – here I was holding my new son in my arms – I felt like a warrior. I was on a high. I hobbled over to the couch (cord was still attached at this stage) and lay down holding him in my arms. He was so warm and wet and gorgeous. The rest is a blur – Mary let the cord pulsate for a few minutes then cut it as she had to get cord blood (I am Rhesus Negative). David cut the cord. Then we waited for the placenta to birth.
Mary sewed me up as we opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate. The birth team got busy cleaning up the house after the birth and when Mary was finished, cleaning me up as well. We were all on a high. Although he was born at 1.31am, we didn't go to bed til 5.30am – I was high on hormones and excitement after such an amazing birth. Even now typing it up I am in tears remembering how powerful it was. I feel so blessed and honoured to have been able to experience and tap into this part of myself. I know it probably sounds corny but it feels like I accessed a connection to a powerful goddess in me – it's hard to put it into words. We named our son Odhran and he was 9lbs 15 oz. Breastfeeding is going great – he is a guzzler!!! I loved my birth and one of the first things I said to David after he was born (before the cord was even cut!) was – "oh I need to do that again, can we have a third one!!!!! Seriously!!!"
Odhran is a fantastic baby, very placid and calm – loves being in a sling and cuddled. He is also so alert and taking everything in already. For such a short birth this sure is a long birth story, but I want to try to remember it all myself and capture it as best I can in words. Like my first labour I found the GentleBirth programme so helpful. It helped me during my pregnancy to allay any fears I had and to give me the chance to take some time for myself every day to listen to the CD (with a 4 year old and working outside the home part-time, it was a challenge to find the time but it was so worth it). When my labour started I felt excitment rather than fear, and this allowed me to trust my body to birth my baby for me. I am now enjoying taking a few minutes every day to listen to postnatal track and find it really helpful in both giving me some time to myself and helping me to unwind.
Cooper's Calm GentleBirth
All along we had been visualising Cooper being born on a hot sunny day with a relaxed BBQ atmosphere. Well you know the saying be careful what you wish for. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year (Sunday May 23). All along I kept telling my MW that Cooper would be born during the day as I like my sleep too much. No night time labour for me ;)
The week before I’d had a feeling that Sunday would be the day. I’d been having irregular surges on Saturday morning and went off to Tescos to get some burgers to BBQ for lunch. When I got into Tescos the lines were ridiculous – everyone else was BBQing too! I got a couple of bits and then went home – thankfully the lines were gone when I went to check out.
We just chilled out for the afternoon and then went to our brother in laws house for another BBQ on Sat evening. We got there had some more BBQ and everything eased off…no surges or tightenings for about 2 hours. But as soon as we got in the car to go home things got started again.
I went to bed - put on my CD and slept through the surges until Midnight. I couldn’t sleep so put on Sex and the City and thought I might go back to sleep. I couldn’t get back to sleep so around 2am I wasn’t comfortable being in bed any more. I got up and watched reruns of Frasier just sitting on the ball. I wanted to leave Philip and Jack to get some rest. At around 4am it was getting bright outside and things were beginning to intensify so I woke Philip up to start filling the pool for me. The pool was heaven. I was able to just relax and float…. The surges were every 7 minutes mostly pressure – the sensations seemed to be focused around my hips and the top of my legs which I wasn’t expecting. Jack got up around 8am and we arranged to have him go hang out in his friend’s house for the day.
Jack left and things ramped up to every 5 minutes I asked DH to call the Midwife and my doula. I thought things were progressing quickly and I had lots of birth show. Marguerite my doula and Colette my MW both arrived around 9.30am. Cooper was doing perfectly and I was dozing in the pool between surges. My midwife offered to examine me around 10am and I was 5cm. I was delighted – I thought we’d definitely be having an early afternoon baby – just in time to BBQ! The midwife brought out the gas and air and that was great for keeping my breathing slow focused at the peak of the surges.
By 3pm I was beginning to wonder what the delay was…..I had a banana and some bread sticks and was sipping on sports drinks thinking to myself that Coopers BBQ was going to get started very soon. I was 7cm and Cooper was moving down well – his heart rate was perfect the whole time. Things began to heat up – weather wise and with the sensations… Cooper was posterior so I moved from the pool and spent some time in the back garden with my doula putting counter pressure on my back. I knew that Cooper would rotate into a good position if I kept moving. The surges were now every 3 minutes and very intense. I had to really focus on taking each surge one at a time. I had myself convinced that each surge was the last one – ever. I had to stay in the moment. We spent time in the kitchen….dining room and eventually found myself back in the quiet, dark, cool ‘pool’ room. DH took lots of video and made sure everyone was well fed.
Around 6pm I started to experience a fleeting urge to bear down……it wasn’t something that I was consciously doing but as other GentleBirth Mum’s have experienced my body was just doing it. On my next trip to the loo my waters went with a pop and there was even more pressure.
The urge to bear down was only every 3rd or 4th surge but it began to get stronger and literally take on a life of it’s own. I’d had an epidural/induction with Jack so had no urge to push so I was so looking forward to letting my body do it’s thing.
The closest sensation I can describe is that it’s a bit like throwing up…..but your body is throwing ‘down’………all I could do was breathe and float. Around 6.30pm my MW offered to check me in the pool and I was 10cm….words I’d been so looking forward to.
For the last few hours of Cooper’s birth I almost felt like I was submerged under water. I could hear what was going on around me but it sounded like someone had turned down the volume. I was so focused. It was just Cooper and I. The affirmation that stuck in my head was ‘ my body knows what to do – my baby knows what to do and ‘open’. I talked to Cooper throughout – I remember saying ‘come on Cooper let’s do this’ As the surges started to nudge Cooper down it was such a satisfying feeling of my body doing it all perfectly – I just had to stay relaxed. My MW just told me to listen to my body – at this point your body is 100% in charge and all you can do IS listen and follow it’s lead. It feels like an energy that is moving through you and you have no choice but to surrender to it. I didn’t push at all – my body didn’t need any help from me.
I could feel Cooper’s head start to emerge and then slip back again and I knew he’d be here soon. At this point I was still on my side with the MW getting ready to catch. Cooper’s head emerged with the next surge – the relief of that pressure was amazing. I knew at that point he was not going to be a small baby. We waited on the next surge for his shoulders to be born but the midwife was concerned that Cooper’s shoulders weren’t turning properly so after a few manoeuvres in the pool the MW asked me to get out of the pool. I got out of the pool walked to the bed and the MW helped turn Cooper and he was placed on my chest, pink and alert at 7.40pm The cord was left to do it’s job and he had his first feed……I couldn’t get over how big he was. About 40 mins later Philip cut the cord. I went to the bathroom where the midwife put a bowl in the toilet and the placenta just dropped out into the bowl. Cooper was 10lbs 7oz and barely fit into the Midwife’s weighing sling.
Jack arrived home around 8.30pm to the news that his baby brother had arrived. His face was priceless when he met Cooper for the first time. He’s been such a great help.
Philip rang all the family and the grandparents came up to meet their newest grandson. I had 3 stitches (keep up your perineal massage) and was sitting in the living room with the family eating a huge bowl of pasta at 9.30pm and the best cup of tea ever. Not long after I was showered and tucked up in bed with Cooper - tired but ecstatic.
It was the most amazing, satisfying experience of my life and to be honest there were a few times when I thought I’d like to ‘pause’ the day - go have a nap and finish the birth the next day! It wasn’t completely pain free but the combination of GentleBirth hypnobirthing affirmations, my CDs (once I got over listening to my own voice), great support and the pool made what could have been a very long day very manageable and a very calm birth for both Cooper and I (even with the special circumstances at the end).
Cooper is feeding well and we’re sleeping when we can. We had daily visits from the MW for the first 10 days which was fantastic. I can’t believe he’s 2 weeks old already – he’s so chilled out and easy going. Our homebirth was everything we wished for and more – I’m so grateful that we were able to have such an incredible fear free experience and welcome Cooper into the world in such a peaceful, relaxed way.
I’m sure I’ve left out bits - if anyone has any questions let me know. It already feels like it was a lifetime away. These early few weeks getting to know your little ones are just magic!
First time Mum's birth story (easy birth)
I had always assumed I would go over my due date as this was my first baby. I was mentally preparing myself for going 2 weeks over so you can imagine my surprise when I went into labour 2 weeks early on 18th April. I was on my first day of maternity leave and I had spent the day cleaning the house like a lunatic. That night, before I went to bed, I remember there was a massive full moon and I jokingly said to my husband Mark that it was the type of moon that could send me into labour. Anyway we headed off to bed at about 11.30 that night. At about 4am I got up to go to the toilet and as I got out of bed I felt a small gush. It was nothing major and I thought that I had just had a bit of an accident so off I went to the bathroom. I got back into bed and about 20 minutes later I felt another little gush as I was lying there. Up I got again and into the bathroom and discovered that I had a show. Next thing a dull ache started in the bottom of my bump.
At this stage I was saying to Mark “No I’m not ready for this…why didn’t I rest more…I’m too tired to go into labour etc. etc…” I had a big grin on my face saying this and I was just in total disbelieve that it was happening. Anyway I knew I needed to rest so I got back into bed and Mark went and made us tea. I found it really hard to stay lying down and had to get out of the bed every time I had a surge, which was about every 15 to 20 minutes at that point. By 6am I was out of the bed and sitting on my gym ball with the tens machine on. I coped so well with the surges in this position because whenever one came I could roll my hips while sitting on the ball. I found the tens machine fantastic too.
It didn’t take away the pain but it was a great distraction. I rang the hospital at this stage just to check in with them and because my waters had gone they told me to get myself organised and make my way in but because my waters were clear I decided to stay put for the time being. I stayed on the ball until nearly 11am and the time genuinely flew.
During this time I plucked my eyebrows (so I’d look good for the pics afterwards!) topped up our mobiles online and transferred money online to cover our mortgage repayment! I was feeling really relaxed and good about the whole thing. I found that it was easy to relax because I only had to cope with the surges for a minute to 90 seconds and then I would feel fine again until the next one. I actually doubted that I was in established labour because I thought I was coping too well.
At 11am I decided to get in the shower to help me relax even further. The moment I was in the shower though I felt things step up a notch. The surges seemed to be a lot more frequent too. I was still managing them fine but it was definitely more challenging. After the shower we headed downstairs and I got back on the ball and put on the tens again. We put on a stand-up dvd to pass the time and we decided to start timing the surges. They were coming every four and a half to five minutes and lasting about a minute. Just before 1pm my mum rang me. (I hadn’t told her I was in labour because I didn’t want to feel any pressure.) I answered the phone because I thought she would be suspicious if there was no reply so there I was talking to her in between surges. She wanted to know if I would go to the shop for her and I was telling her I would be down in a while!
When I got off the phone we decided that I better just ring her back and let her know I was in labour. I called her and filled her in. She was in shock and couldn’t believe I was still at home if my waters had started leaking 9 hours earlier. She said I should start making my way to the hospital. I was telling her not to panic, that I was feeling fine and I needed her to stay calm. Mid sentence I started to feel nauseous so I handed the phone to Mark and ran to the bathroom and got sick while simultaneously having quite a big gush of my waters. The surges started coming very close together now. I would say they were only about 90 seconds apart. I knew it was time to get going at this stage. I changed my clothes and Mark loaded up the car and off we set. I had to kneel on the back seat for the 25 minute journey. The surges were getting really close at this stage and I found the journey tough going. I was wondering if I could end up having the baby on the side of the road but I felt completely calm nonetheless.
When we got to the hospital I was taken into admissions. I found this the most challenging part of the whole experience because the hospital doesn’t allow the birth partners into admissions because of lack of space so you have absolutely no support in there. I was put on a trace firstly and after a bit of convincing the midwife allowed me to stand for it because there was no way I could lie down. After the trace the midwife went off to get a doctor to do the internal exam and I was left on my own for about 25 minutes. I was really starting to loose focus at this stage and I was starting to make sounds like a mooing cow! I felt such pressure and I was worried I was going to have the baby there in admissions but things were so intense at this stage that I couldn’t focus enough to call anyone. I’d say I sounded in quite a bit of distress at this stage but no one even popped their head around the curtain to see if I was okay.
This was the only thing that I would fault the hospital for. Anyway, finally the doctor showed up and did the exam and told me I was a good 7 to 8cm dilated. I was thrilled and dying to see Mark to share the good news. I had been away from him for about an hour in admissions. I was put in a wheelchair and wheeled up to the homebirth room and Mark met me in the corridor. It was 2.45pm at this stage. As soon as I got to the homebirth room I stood straight up out of the wheelchair as it was so difficult sitting and I stood by the side of the bed and started rotating my hips again. Mark was really taken aback at this because I didn’t have a stitch of clothes on from the waist down and he knew I would normally be uncomfortable with showing my knees in public not to mind having everything on display! He was telling me that the door was open and the curtains too and did I want to get into my nightdress but none of that mattered to me at that point…instinct had really taken over.
The midwife came in and introduced herself and as soon as she saw me getting the ipod out she said “Are you doing hypnobirthing? So you want as little intervention as possible and to go with your own urges?” It was wonderful hearing that because we had no explaining to do and I knew she was 100% on board. It made such a difference having Mark with me again and he really helped me to focus on my breathing.
At times I was holding my breath and Mark would encourage me to breath through it. Our midwife was wonderful. She kept talking to a minimum and it felt like it was only me and Mark in the room. I had been breathing though the surges for about an hour and I could feel the head was sitting right there ready to come out. The midwife said to me to start to go with my urges to push on the next contraction. She was so lovely…she said she knew it was scary to push because I had never been though this before but to go with it and I would have my baby very soon. She was so encouraging but still left it totally to me when to push. I started to push with the surges and while it felt very intense I found it manageable. The midwife was standing behind me waiting for the head to arrive and Mark told me afterwards that I nearly slapped her in the face with my bum when I suddenly changed the direction that I was rotating my hips in!
After 20 minutes of pushing the head arrived and after another few pushes baby Michael was born weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces. The midwife handed him up to me through my legs and after the cord was cut he went to Daddy for cuddles while I delivered the placenta and had a second degree tear stitched up. I kept saying “ I can’t believe I’ve done it!” I’d never been on such a high.
I found the gentlebirth amazing. It worked so well for me and in the final weeks before Michael arrived I felt so confident and was actually looking forward to the labour. The positive thinking definitely made the labour so manageable…I’d even go as far as to say that it made it easy. The staff in Limerick Maternity were so nice and I couldn’t have gotten a better midwife. It was an incredibly positive experience. I had hoped that I would avoid the epidural but to have given birth without even gas and air really exceeded the expectations I had for myself. Michael is here smiling up at us. Life couldn’t be better.
Sam’s Calm GentleBirth – Labour Hypnosis
My pregnancy got off to a rocky start – I had morning, noon and night sickness so I really wasn’t enjoying what should be a great time in your life. This was a long awaited pregnancy and I wanted to do things as naturally as possible as my son was conceived with lots of ‘technology’ (IVF). I’d read about hypnotic childbirth/hypnobirthing online and the more I read the more I knew I wanted to have a natural and if possible painfree birth. Every week I made a point of watching hypnobirthing videos on youtube and avoided any TV shows about pregnancy and childbirth. I got to see Orgasmic Birth with my husband and we were amazed how peaceful childbirth could be.
I started the Gentlebirth CDs at 18 weeks and never looked back. I started to really look forward to Sam’s birth despite everyone insisting on telling me how naive I was and I’d be sorry if I didn’t get an epidural. None of my friends had ever heard of labor hypnosis. On the day Sam arrived I’d had some mild cramps (surges) so my husband and I were quite excited that we’d soon be meeting our son. We put on our hypnobirthing mp3 and had breakfast in the back garden as the sun came up. It was the perfect start to a perfect day. By 9am the sensations were becoming more intense - the waves were every 4 minutes and I was sitting on the ball slow breathing as my husband did a pregnancy meditation with me about a fantastic holiday we’d had (per Tracy’s suggestion). I felt like I was back on the boat in Bali just floating and drifting. The surges felt like waves of energy moving over me. At 10.30 I thought we should get going to the hospital just to see how things were going. I kept fantasising that the Midwife would tell me I was already 10cm (wishful thinking!!). We got to the hospital and I was examined and told that I was 8cm as soon as I got down off the bed after the examination I felt my body start to push down. The Midwife was a bit panicked but I calmly walked down the corridor to the birth room. I stood at the side of the bed and Sam was born quickly after as my husband ran around gathering things for the Midwife – the Midwife barely had time to get her gloves on. Sam is such a calm easy going baby and I know that all the time I spent getting rid of any stress and fear contributed to his laid back personality. I hope more Mums get to experience an amazing and peaceful birth like I did. I still can’t believe I did it without an epidural. I recommend GentleBirth to everyone who is even thinking about having a baby.
Daniel’s Birth Story - Wonderful VBAC
On the 22nd March I visited an acupuncturist in the hope of avoiding a chemical induction in hospital and so reducing my chances of a VBAC.
It was a relaxing session and I enjoyed it immensely despite being nervous to start with. The next day I had a check up and was told though changes were afoot, I would not go into labour today or tomorrow. The doctor, however agreed with my decision not to be induced until at least 14 days over so I was delighted with that and agreed I’d come back to the hospital at 9 days over for a scan and to check both my self and baby were doing well. I relaxed and myself and my husband went to a pub for some grub and I had a glass of wine, before picking up my DD from crèche. It was a lovely sunny day and we enjoyed eating outside.
Interestingly, in my mind movie I had prepared for birth, I had said it was a lovely day and we ate outside before I had contractions!
Anyway, that night we went to bed and My husband gave me some of his own prostaglandin and headed off for a long sleep. I woke at 4am however to the feeling of the first surge. Out comes the mobile to time them, ten mins later – another one, ten mins later another….
I got excited and told My husband who was somewhat disbelieving and put his hand on my tummy. By the time the next one came he was asleep again! By 5.30 I was too excited to sleep so I got up and watched TV and went on the internet to share my expectations with fellow April Mammies.
This continued through the morning and next day and My husband went off to work. I spent the day with My sister and we went for a short walk, played with my DD and I took some short naps listening to my gentlebirth tracks. After My husband came home we called My brother to stay the night and he arrived at 8.30. At this stage I was still getting surges at 10 mins apart but they seemed stronger. By 10.30 I was getting worried about the baby and why I was having surges for so long but nothing was changing.
We agreed to go to the Rotunda to get checked out but if I was less than 3 cm to return home. We packed the car and headed off, stopping once to get over a strong surge.
Thankfully the hospital was a mere 15 minutes drive away so we timed the departure for just after a contraction! When we got to the Rotunda, we were sent into the emergency room and eventually checked.
I was 4 cms and told I was in labour and would be brought to the delivery ward.. Great! I was hooked up to a trace for 20 minutes which I found irritating as it is so much harder to deal with a surge lying down.
After a while a midwife came into me and asked me if I had discussed my birthplan with a registrar in the ante natal clinic and I said I had. She said it had a few things in it that would be outside of hospital protocol and she was surprised this hadn’t been raised with me. (it had but I wasn’t going to change my plan! And I had been given varied responses from each professional I had spoken to about it in the clinic anyway!) So a doctor was sent for who eventually came down and highlighted the key problem areas as refusing continuous monitoring and the time limits placed on labour. We discussed why I didn’t want continuous monitoring as I didn’t want m movements restricted in labour and wanted to use a shower if needed but the time limits discussion was the most fraught. She was unhappy with my calling time limits arbitrary and informed me in a not too friendly manner that they deliver x number of babies a year and their research shows that long labour leads to increased maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.
She asked me if I was willing to be in labour for 24 hours or for my child to be flat lining at birth or to have cerebral palsy? What a thing to say! Of course, I had to say, yes I am. I explained that I am not irresponsible but will not have my labour timed as long as both myself and baby were doing well and there was no indicator of distress. Anyway, eventually she covered her self with detailed patient notes which outlined what I had been informed of and my decision and we both signed it.
So off to the delivery suite, room 1, where the midwives also said that they would prefer for me to be continuously monitored but that they would agree to monitor me every 14 mins or so instead. The head midwife was supportive of my decision and said its only a 1% risk- let’s not think about that. She also explained that I would feel a different pain if the scar was thinning so I ensured throughout the labour that I kept a focus on the scar and if I felt any twinge or tingling there – which thankfully I never did.
At 4 am I was cheeked again and found to be still at 4 cms. I was so disappointed and then they started the talk of rupturing membranes etc and I had a frightening conversation about anaesthesia should I need it as I had been very ill after previous anaesthesia.
In the end it was suggested that if I needed a section, I would have to be given an general anaesthetic. Well you can imagine the shock. We agreed that that was something I would never get over and so my notes were taken out again to write in that I had said I would prefer to have a reaction to the drugs and be sick for days afterwards than be given a general anaesthetic. At this stage I was sent to walk the halls! I was on the verge of tears, seeing my birth messed up again.
After my second walk the midwife told me not to get stressed by this but I told her that was too late, I already was. We walked again and when I came back, the head midwife came into chat to me and said she had decided I wasn’t in established labour and was sending me off to the labour ward instead. This was such a relief and I was so thankful to the midwife for having the sense to see this and send me packing at 6am .
So off I was sent to he labour ward and given a shot of pethadine to help me sleep.
I did manage to sleep and my husband went home to come back in again at 10am That morning I woke somewhat refreshed and relieved to be given some breathing space. When the doctors came on their rounds the consultant decided that we should have a plan and I reluctantly agreed that if nothing happened by 6pm I would have my waters broken and see what happens then. At this stage I thought, I’d agree as hopefully things would be moving by then and if I wasn’t happy with the decision at 6pm, I could have that conversation then.
Less stress was best at this stage. About an hour later however, the registrar whom I’d met in the clinic and found very open to my discussions etc arrived into me and said that she had spoken with another consultant on duty and he had agreed that if I didn’t want any intervention, there was no need to break my waters at 6. We’ll, that was a weight off my shoulders. I thanked her and will always remember her intervention.
So, with this decision taken, it was agreed that I could move into the pre natal ward. I was slowly moving back out of the hospital!
In the pre natal ward the pressure was totally off, I could eat as I liked and wander around freely. No body was there watching me continuously. I took another shot of pethadine at 2pm and myself and my husband slept together on the bed for about 1.5 hrs. Afterwards I had a bath and rang my mum to let her know what was happening.
At 8pm My husband headed off home and when he was gone I decided to take another bath. In the end I stayed there for three hours and was cheeked every so often as I felt that the surges were getting stronger and maybe closer together. I enjoyed these few hours by myself with nobody watching me and for each surge I poured water over my belly and used the word ‘relax’ as a focus for my breathing, breathed in Reeee and out Laaax
My legs were tense and I shook them easily in the bath which helped release the tension. Eventually at 1am I decided to get out of the bath as I felt I needed my TENS machine, I timed my surges and found that they were now about 3-5 minutes apart. I had the machine put on and then asked to be examined. I was 7 cms and being sent back to the delivery ward. The midwife wanted to wheel me over but I was more comfortable walking. I rang my husband to come in. I walked down to the delivery suite and the two midwives from the previous night were there and they gave me a round of applause saying ‘we were wondering when you were going to come back to us!’
So I was settled into room four and I rang my husband again who had fallen back asleep. I think he got a fright when I said I was in the delivery room! Another trace was put on and all was well and I got hooked up to the gas and air – I LOVE that stuff!!!! When My husband arrived I relaxed and we listened to great music they had piped into the room,
I swayed to David Bowie singing ‘Let’s Dance’ and we both danced together and laughed and thought about opening a bar where entonox is piped into it. There was a lovely intimate and somewhat romantic atmosphere. The two midwives came in and out and left us to it until about 5am when they decided to check and see where we were at. The waters still hadn’t broken and I was starting to breathe differently and almost feel like bearing down but not quite. When I was checked the midwife felt a lip of cervix was still there and she thought it would help if she broke my waters. At this stage I was happy for them to be broken as I wanted some of the pressure relieved and a was a little bit anxious as this was the stage where my last labour ended up in a section. Once I felt the warm swoosh of water, everything started to change and the baby’s head started to descend.
Before this however, I had a short while where everything stopped while we waited for something to happen. It was quite relaxing as we all sat there waiting.
Once the second stage started, there was no mistaking it! The midwives encouraged me into upright positions. I started initially in the chair and then to kneeling against the back of the chair. I didn’t like this position though, I found the sensations so powerful and initially I spent more time concentrating on trying to get away from them. It was like I was trying to scramble away from an animal that had suddenly been let loose inside me. This stage was like nothing I could ever have imagined. There was no pain whatsoever but the power was incredible. My husband tells me that he never heard me make the sounds I did during this stage, they were so guttural. It’s interesting because throughout this stage the image of a lion kept popping into my head and between surges I would lie back and say things like Gosh, Goodness Gracious. I found the pushing tiring and I did try at times to pretend I wasn’t having a surge so that I would get a break but they knew what I was up to! Even My husband mentioned it afterwards, he could se that I had been pretending not to have them!
The midwives were great at relaxing me and getting me to focus on relaxing my bottom and focusing on bearing down. I needed their coaching and My husband was great with the affirmations at this stage reminding me to release and relax and that there was a wide open space for which my baby to descend. I did put on my headphones at one stage but soon tore them off, I found them too distracting and I felt like I needed to listen to the midwives. During one particular surge I felt what seemed like a couple of cracks internally, the midwives told me at this time that I was opening well and I knew that this was the sensation of the baby’s head moving though my pelvis.
At each surge My husband and the midwives reassured me and congratulated me when I opened more. I was very hot and My husband kept me cooled down with a cold flannel. My legs were very tense and the midwives massaged then between surges before placing them back on their hips for each surge.
Eventually, I was told they could see the baby’s head, the midwives took my hand so that I could feel his head and knowing he was this close really helped me concentrate and focus on pushing. Eventually, the head emerged and I could see the baby lying sideways. The next push and the body slithered out, what a relief. It was popped up on my chest and I checked to see if it was a boy or a girl. A little boy – our Daniel Evan had arrived.
The third stage was managed and I found it tiring having to think about anymore pushing. The placenta was bigger than the midwives had ever seen, weighing over 1 kg. All during this time I had the baby on my chest, he was never taken from me and he had his first feed for about 20 mins before being taken to be weighed etc. He weighed 9lbs 9oz and was alert immediately.When I focused on the music that was playing I realised it was Leonard Cohen singing Hallelujah. How appropriate! Even though I had my own playlist, the music the hospital had piped into the room all the way through was perfect.
I had a small external tear as he came out with his hand up and this had to be sutured without anaesthesia. (I was thankful I had done my perineal massage for the last six weeks especially as I had pushed instead of breathing down).For the first time in the whole process I felt pain and no amount of sucking on gas and air dulled that pain. I gave the poor doctor such evil looks and my husband tells me my language was quite colourful.
Afterwards, I felt weak and the shower took a lot out of me. It’s incredible how we can be so powerful one minute and wiped out the next. On my return I tucked into my tea and toast before being sent off to the bed which would be mine for the next three days with my son. A beautiful experience and one which so many people played a part in.
Sorry this has taken us so long you know what life is like with a newborn so here’s our birth story. Things went perfectly for us even though we didn’t use a lot of the hypnobirthing techniques consciously. My labour was 6 hours in total and completely manageable. As you know we’d taken your Gentlebirth hypnobirthing classes and were very excited about using hypnosis for a natural birth. We were surprised at how hard it was to find natural childbirth classes. My husband was a bit sceptical in the beginning but after your workshop he became so much more involved. I watched every hypnobirthing video you sent us and those were the only videos I let myself watch during my pregnancy. I knew I wanted to have a positive birth and a relaxed hypnobaby (doesn’t everyone !!) – just like my sister had with her son Ben after doing your workshop too. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t secretly hoping for a painless birth too. I woke up during the night with strong surges but thought they were warm ups – as I’d had them for a few days. They weren’t painful just waves really. I put on my CD and went back to sleep but about 10 minutes later my waters released in the bed and we knew that this was the real thing. Thankfully the water was clear. We took our time getting dressed – (I even managed to straighten my hair and put some make up on) and drove in to the hospital around 5am. I wasn’t dilated yet so we went home and I lay on the couch for what felt like an hour (Paul told me later that I’d snoozed for about 3 hours !). The hospital wanted us to stay in but I knew that I’d be under pressure to speed things up so home was where I wanted to be. At one point at home I needed the loo and thought Ella might be coming sooner rather than later. We decided to ring the hospital and they told us to come back in. I was 6cm and very comfortable so we went for a walk and had some breakfast in the hospital café. 45 minutes later I was holding Ella ! We’d just finished having something to eat and I felt the waves start to come a lot closer together so we went back up to the labour ward. The Midwives seemed to think I was way too calm to be fully dilated but I was. One of the Midwives told me to start pushing but I knew I wanted to let my body do it and I could feel Ella moving down so I knew it wouldn’t be long. The student midwife that was with us was great – she knew all about hypnobirthing and was delighted to meet a hypno mum. All this time I’d only listened to my CD during the night – I never felt the need to use it again as Paul was doing such a good job at keeping me in the zone and doing all the talking to the staff for me. He was an incredible birth partner. Ella was 9lbs 2oz and I’d no stitches. We’re still nursing at 6 months and can’t wait to start planning a little brother or sister for her.
Baby Elizabeth’s Arrival
Our baby girl Elizabeth was born on the 19th February. I had attended Tracy's workshop and had listened to the CDs every day from around week 24 or so.
I started having surges at about 7am on Feb 22nd. Within an hour, they were strong enough to have to breathe through the peak and repeat affirmations to myself ("each sensation passes quickly") and 3 - 5 mins apart lasting 45 - 60 secs . Lasted all day but didn’t seem to be getting hugely stronger. By the evening was just exhausted as I had only had 3 hours sleep the night before - typical as I think it was the only night I hadnt slept really well! Went for a walk to see if it would get things moving at 6pm. Just coming back from the walk, I got 2 much stronger contractions and felt a whoosh of water with each. Decided waters were gone and went to hospital as they baby was high and I was afraid the cord might be compressed.
I was still very calm at this stage. At the hospital, had to wait in the waiting room for over half an hour, kept relaxed and calm using the hypno birth rehearsal on my ipod. Called in and put on trace for 20 mins and checked for dilation. Told I was only 2cm and that waters seemed intact - I had perhaps wet myself. It was well over 12 hrs since start of labour so I got quite distressed as I though how the hell could I make it now - I was exhausted. The midwife wanted to keep me there on a pre labour ward, saying my labour might stop and have to be speeded up with drugs. I got very distressed at this as knew I wouldn’t be able to labour in hospital in the same way as at home. We told the midwife we wanted to return home to allow labour to progress. Doc came down, and did a really detailed scan, said waters were fine and she understood where I was coming from, she had worked in the UK and thought women's wishes on how to labour should be respected. So she said to go home. While she was scanning me, surges were getting a lot stronger and it was incredibly difficult and painful to stay on the couch.
Got home at about 10 and labour had seriously progressed, surges were now maybe 3 to 4 mins apart but lasting well over a minute and a half and really really strong. I had lost my focus after being in the hospital and wasn’t coping. My husband was unable to bring me back. Pains now radiating round to the back of my pelvis which felt like it was going to explode. Found out after that this is normal when the baby is moving down but I couldn’t understand at the time. If I'd known, I might have been able to view it positively as I would have known it meant my baby was well on the way now. As it was, I was still wondering if the baby would be able to engage fully. I decided I needed the epidural, and felt disappointed in myself but then relieved I had made a decision.
We got back to hospital at 12.30 and I couldn’t sit in waiting room, paced and breathed through the surges which now needed 4 breaths at the peak, and got seen quickly and examined. I felt I couldn’t sit down to be examined even, so my husband asked for immediate pain relief, and I was offered entonox. The relief was wonderful as I could actually sit down for the surges. You still feel whatever you are feeling but are removed in a strange way.
I was told I was now 5cm at least and brought straight to labour ward and delivery room. We had 2 midwives plus a medical student there all night plus a senior midwife in and out as it wasn’t busy. They were wonderful. She looked at my birth plan, said I had time to wait to see if I needed the epidural, and I got hooked up to the entonox. I stuck on the ipod and the hypno track and looped it for the next 3 hours.
I was labouring sitting upright on the couch as I needed to rest. I just kept listening to the track and focusing on keeping breathing slow with the entonox during contractions. After a bit (an hour and a half to 2 hours?) I just had to, had to, had to get up and hands and knees, my entire body was convulsing and it was pushing the baby out. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
I had to release control of the gas tube at this stage so I could stay upright to deliver. I did most of the pushing on all fours. I didn’t really push. My body did the most intense pushing down itself. I just kept listening to the hypno track and could hear myself groaning with each spasm, maybe 5 or 6 per surge. The hypno track let me rest between each surge as I didn’t think about the next one. Eventually I was being told I wasn’t far away and I felt like I should get more upright so I stood up for the last few pushes, they raised the bed and I rested my elbows on it and actually pushed when the midwife told me as I just wanted it to be over. I was trying to relax the pelvic floor initially and relax all my muscles but it was so difficult without coaching.
She came out at 4am and was passed through my legs and was already completely pink and wide awake and just a gorgeous baby. I was looking at her in complete shock. I lay down in the bed and she was put skin to skin inside my nightdress. She went to the breast after half an hour and latched on like a pro.
I couldn’t have made it without the epidural if I hadn’t been doing the hypnobirthing, listening to the track meant I didn’t think about the next surge, just relaxed for the short space between them. But I think to have had the calm gentle birth I wanted, I would have needed to be having a home birth with a midwife I knew who would have stayed with me and coached me from the time things got really intense. I also think I probably wouldn’t have torn as badly if I hadn’t pushed so I probably should have put in my birth plan "no coached pushing". I was trying to just relax my muscles in the area as the baby came out but it is so difficult when your entire body is convulsing with a power you didn’t know it possessed and someone is encouraging you to push with it to get it over with. It probably would have taken a good few more pushes from my body to get her out without my encouragement and I just wanted it over at that stage! I would definitely use hypnobirthing again though and feel I've learned loads about myself and about birth.
I feel that having been through it once already, it's given me more of an understanding of some of the affirmations and also of the power of the mind on the experience of birth, as I was fine until I went to the hospital too early which was the psychological turning point. However, while the birth didn't feel calm and gentle to me, the midwives were really impressed and my husband said it appeared quite calm on the outside! And in the end it was so quick, she was born just 3 1/2 hours after arriving back at the hospital!
The midwives delivering baby and on the ward in the hospital were absolutely wonderful. They were unbelievably supportive with breastfeeding and with trying to facilitate recovery. I went home the next day and we are doing really well.
It is pretty incredible to have been completely present during her birth and I am delighted to have been able to experience it. I would definitely go for a home birth next time, if possible.
Thanks Tracy as I feel I can really look back on the birth as a positive experience and a great outcome for my baby.
Birth Story of Ryan (16 days over)
Ryan arrived at 2.19am on Saturday January 16th 2010 weighing in at 10lb 10oz. He was a full 16 days late but his arrival was a very positive and joyful experience.
I had figured that he was going to be at least a few days later than the date that the hospital scans suggested as his big sister was 8 days late but I never imagined that we’d have to wait over 2 weeks for his arrival.
My pregnancy went very well though I had to attend the diabetic clinic for a number of weeks as my blood sugars were borderline high. My scans were showing a bigger baby though in all honesty I didn’t believe the scans when they were showing a 10lb baby as Ryan’s big sister was only 7lb 10oz when she arrived 20 months earlier.
I started getting a little nervous when I went 7 days over and I had no signs of early labour. I was booked in for a scan at 40 + 12 but I never thought that I’d actually get that far. Once I reached 40+7, I started looking at natural methods for inducing labour-I’d already had acupuncture and found it very helpful during both pregnancies and while that got me started last time-it didn’t work for me this time L
After my 40+12 scan, I was booked in for an induction 2 days later, I was really upset about this as I didn’t want to start down the road of intervention as my ultimate nightmare was a c-section. After considering my options (scan showed baby fine) I rang the hospital and asked to have the induction postponed by a day. They agreed subject to my coming in again at 40 +14 for another scan, trace and check up.
So I headed back on Thursday (40 + 14) and had everything checked again-at this stage, I was starting to get very mild pains, coming every 10 mins or so. I was delighted as I knew that this meant that things were starting. Everything was good with baby and me so I was allowed head home to return the following morning though the consultant did ask me a number of times to stay to start the induction that afternoon, but I felt that I might go myself in the coming hours so I headed home.
I woke up on Friday morning at 5am and nothing had changed so with a bit of a heavy heart, we headed into Holles St for 8am. I went up to Unit 3 for 9am and was gelled at 11am-then we had to wait 6 hours (I didn’t realise that bit or I would have brought more books/mags in!!) I used the time to relax, listen to my hypnobirthing CD’s and sleep a little.
At 6.45pm, the consultant came around and did an ARM (broke waters).
From about 7.30pm onwards, the pains started increasing in both frequency and time but they were always manageable. Around 11pm, I got the midwife to check my progress as pains were quite intense and frequent. She checked and found I was 2cm and offered to bring me down to the delivery suite-I asked to pop into the showers for a bit as I needed a break before we headed down and I had found that a shower gave me great relief during the labour on the birth of my daughter.
We got down to the delivery suite around midnight and met our midwives-they took the time to go through our birth plan thoroughly and were very supportive of the choices that we had made-I was concerned about constant monitoring, in particular being put on a trace as on my previous labour, this had been insisted upon and I was confined to the bed and found it impossible to manage the surges. . We reached a compromise where they would put an internal trace on baby’s head and then my movement wouldn’t be restricted. We also mentioned that I did not want to deliver in a lying down position, that my preferred position was standing or squatting (I had read that your pelvis can expand by up to 30% more in these positions and therefore would be helpful in delivering a bigger baby)
Once in the delivery suite, our midwife Marie was helpful, unobtrusive and very supportive. Darren got the Gentlebirth Cd and put it on and that so helped the atmosphere in the delivery room-everything felt calm and very relaxed.
I got onto the bed and lay on my side and relaxed and breathed through the surges as they came.
There was a concern about baby as very time a surge came, his heartrate dropped very low. Around 1am, they checked me again (I requested it) and found that I was still only 2 cm. Another midwife came into us and she suggested that I get onto a birthing bal and see if gravity could help bring babys head down. Babys heartrate stabilised once I was off the bed. At this stage, the surges were very strong so I asked for gas and air. Darren sat behind me, supporting me and helping me keep focus on staying relaxed and breathing.
I started to get urges to push and the midwife encouraged me to go with my body as it would help bring babys head down. So over the next while, I breathed through the surges and went with the urges to push-our midwife was excellent, helping us both stay relaxed but also helping getting babys head down.
At 2am, I had to stand up and really needed to push. The midwives asked me to get up on the bed as they had concerns about my delivery position. I got onto the bed at 2.10 and was on my hands and knees and
9 minutes later Ryan arrived into the world after 3 pushes.
The midwives passed him up underneath me and I got to tell Darren that we had a boy.
There were lots of tears and elation. It wasn’t an easy experience but it was almost exactly what we wanted.
In all, we had one tough hour and at that, when Darren prompted me to relax and go limp-it was manageable. It was a completely different experience to the birth of our daughter and it was exactly what we both hoped for.
The paediatrician commented that he was the size of a six week old when she came around to check him - his head was 38cm and he was 56cm long-and all I had was a small second degree tear and 3 stitches!!
I still feel a bit like superwoman!!!
Our Positive Caesarean Birth
I was admitted to WRH at 38 weeks with ‘unstable lie’ – not a pure breech position with bum down, but feet dangling down. She remained breech that weekend, head down but very high on the Monday, transverse on the Tuesday morning and yet again breech on the Tuesday evening (I knew she had been the most active baby I had carried but I didn’t really quite HOW active! I was at first very disappointed and scared at the thought of a section after two VBs, but I must say, we managed to make the whole experience very special and memorable. I had practiced the Gentle birth CDs all along and I must say they really really did help, from the time the news of possible section hit me, through the night before, visualising it as a positive experience and it really did turn out that way.
We shared the evening before talking about our future with the baby we knew we would meeting the next morning and planning everything we wanted after the actual birth. The next day, after a lovely relaxed stroll into theatre, smiling and calmly greeting all the ante-natal midwives, I became momentarily a little overwhelmed on entering the theatre because I had been zoned in a slow, calm place, which operating theatres are not.
It would have benefitted me to know a little more detail of everything about the procedure immediately on entering the theatre and so, for anyone else facing an unanticipated section for the first time here it is. I was asked many questions to check identity and whether I agreed and understood the need for a section etc, partner is not allowed to be present during preparation which I wish I had known beforehand so it wouldn’t have taken me by surprise. They took of all but nightie, added blood pressure cuff, stick on pads on your chest and back for heart monitoring, ask you to stand on a step to reach bed, added another step to bring knees higher and placed me in bent over position to receive anaesthestic. All of this happens in about 5 mins, with about 10 staff in the theatre. I felt a tiny tiny scratch for the one that numbs the site but nothing whatsoever for the administration of the actual spinal block needle, and within seconds I felt a lovely warm sensation down the back of the legs and into my feet, then they lifted my legs for me onto the bed and put up the screen to stop me seeing anything. (I know that if it wasn’t for Gentle Birth, this would have been the point at which I felt my control being lost and panicked).
However, I used deep breathing, visualised my desert island stroll on the sand and focussed on staying calm. At this point, my partner appeared next to me with more reassurance, and I listened to every word between the staff about the imminent birth of my baby. It seemed like literally seconds before the lovely anaesthetist told me she was being born. All I felt was a lightening of the tummy as the fluid released and then she was lifted out (leg and arm first as she was lying across me). Seconds later I saw her and then as they explained, dad followed her into the recovery area for her checks and drying. Partner then brought her back in to show me as they were closing my wound. It took about 40 mins to complete that, and hearing their conversation that all was well, added to the reassurance, so much so that I was chatting to the staff about all sorts, ecstatic about the birth, knowing that my precious bundle was next door enjoying skin to skin contact with dad snuggled into his chest as mine was not possible, just as I had requested, instead of a heat lamp.
A few more checks, then onto the post natal ward to reflect on the whole procedure which I can honestly say was the most calm, beautiful experience of my life. Yes, a different way of delivery, but certainly not the huge awful threat as some would portray it, and in my case, there was no question about opting for it rather than possibly endanger the life of my baby. For those mums who find themselves in a section dilemma, I promise you that GB preparation is a huge advantage, and the privilege of preparing for things to be the way you want them to a certain extent is also a bonus. It would never have occurred to me to request skin to skin with dad, but thanks to GB, that was a lovely aspect. The pain relief and relaxation techniques also helped greatly during the recovery. Our gorgeous daughter, is also such a calm, relaxed, excellent feeder and contented baby. Good luck to all those mums who are facing a section – draw your own special memories from doing it as much as you can the way you want to, and yes – enjoy it!
The consultant cautioned me that the recovery is much worse; everyone commiserated with me on hearing it was to be a section and warned of the recovery. Well, yes, the first two days are not the most pleasant, but neither were my previous 2 VBs and the midwives were always on hand to help baby onto breast, lift from cot to me, and anything else you need. Partners can be present for 12 hours a day to help with washing etc if you wish, and by day 3 I found I was quite mobile and independant, stitches out and home on day 4 in no more pain than with a vaginal birth, just in a different area!!
The midwives commented between themselves on the fact I didn’t have pain relief on my last night in hospital and they hoped I would be OK and left me to sleep instead, and neither did I insist on a pain relief prescription to go home with. I am convinced that the power of the positive thinking and calm confidence from my CDs and GentleBirth reading really made for a faster recovery. She is 6 days old today and we are just back from a gentle 20 minute stroll in gorgeous sunshine with our little miracle, and as I will be 42 myself next week, I am soooo grateful for GentleBirth and to be enjoying my second chance at being a mummy!
A big thank you to the staff at WRH for their wonderful care and support.
Positive Birth with Midwives
Hey Tracy I had my baby girl, last Tuesday. Everything went fantastically well. I got to 10 centimetres with the cds and using the birthing pool. Every contraction I was breathing in a new colour. The midwife was amazed how well I was managing. When I asked to be examined I was 10 centimeters and ready to push. Unfortunately after an hour of pushing my baby's had turned her head and I had to be transferred to the maternity unit. I managed to avoid a section but i was very disappointed to leave the MLU. Thanks to your gentle birth programe i had my daughter completely naturally and exactly the way I wanted
Cian’s Calm Birth
I was due 28th Dec but on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th I kept getting braxton hicks and felt very uncomfortable. We had a family get together planned for Sunday 20th at my parents over an hour from Cork and really didn't think I would be going. Then around 3am it all stopped and felt fine so we decided to go to family get together as older DS was really looking forward to it. Had a lovely day DS was really excited about the bit of snow he saw falling. At around 6.30 we realised that the weather was disimproving and that we would want to head home. Arrived home around 8.20 and brought things in from the car including my bags when I suddenly felt some water give told Dh that think waters have broke when more came. I rang CUMH and DH rang his sister to come for DS as they were designated child minders.
Midwife said to come in when ready. DS went off with his Aunt happy out. I then made myself some scrambled egg and toast as felt I might need the food in me for later. After I had it eaten we headed into CUMH arrived around 10.30 and was seen by midwife they agreed it was waters and would admit me. They put me on a trace and I felt surges were coming very mildly about every 10 minutes. I informed the midwife that on my DS #1 my waters had also broke and that nothing seemed to happen so I was induced after about 36 hrs but during induction I realised that I didn't have what people normally describe as contractions so believe that I was in labour before I was induced and as nobody had checked me it wasn't realised. She asked me if I would like her to examine me so that I knew where I was starting from. I was about 1.5 cm dilated. I was then admitted and she took me up to my room which was for 4 people but had only one lady in it at the time. I informed the midwife about my birth plan and found after that everyone read it and I didn't need to mention it.
My DH then went back to the car and got my birthing ball. My surges were still ever 10 minutes so I sent him home to get some sleep and went into bed myself and turned on my Gentlebirth playlist which I had on my old phone. Using this I snoozed in between surges and used stop watch in phone to time them. Around 4am I was every 7 minutes but when I put on tens machine went back up to 9 minutes. Around 6 I found that after every surge I had to go to the bathroom. I also found at this stage that I needed to sit on my birthing ball for the surges so I put it at the end of the bed and put a cloth hair band over my eyes as couldn't find an eye mask and rested my head on the table tray between surges and snoozed. My DH got in around 8am (Monday 21) and I was now getting surges around every 4 minutes.
Then a lady came back to the bed next to me with her partner who was loud and complaining and giving out to everyone that came near them that the older child wouldn't be let into see new baby. My surges went back to every 7 to 8 minutes. A midwife came in and when we told her what happened she suggested we walk around as this can help speed things up. On my second lap of corridor I started to feel surges a lot closer together and on third lap the urge to push (about 15 minutes from when midwife left us). As midwife had said to call anytime if I wanted to be examined my Dh called them and said I wanted to be examined. It took what felt like around 10 minutes before someone came.
At this time the urge to push was really strong and when midwife checked me all hell broke loose and she said baby was about to be born and that they had to take me to labour ward in bed and to hang on there. Even with all this panic I felt calm and thought it was funny the way they were panicking.
They nearly ran the corridor with bed and me on it. DH grabbed baby bag and forgot my labour bag as I had 2 small bags one for me and one for babs. I got down to labour ward and things had slowed down a little again probably due to panic all around. I got Dh to put back on my ear phones and I relaxed again and after a few pushes Midwife informed me that she felt I needed an episiotomy (had stated on birth plan that didn't want one but that if any deviation to my birth was to occur wanted it to be fully explained to both me and DH why) She then fully explained why she felt I needed it and made sure that I was ok with getting it. I then asked for the gas and air. After a few more pushes our DS Cian was born and as per my birth plan she waited for the cord to finish pulsing before clamping and my DH cutting it. (This was 40 minutes after arriving in labour ward.)
She then placed him on my chest until he was ready to feed which he did for 40 minutes and then after he spending more time on my chest she checked and dressed him. During this time I was sewn up and used the gas and air again for the injections to numb the area. We were never rushed at any stage and Cian was given all the time he needed on chest before he was ready to feed. My midwife was brillant and really took all my wishes into consideration. If you read this all thanks for taking the time and hope your experience was or will be as good as mine.
Aodhan’s Painfree GentleBirth
Baby Aodhan is now 10weeks weighs 12lb10oz and has been successfully breastfed to date. He is a very happy smiley and contented baby. He has slept through since 2 days old and I put this all down to the way he was born.
My pregnancy was far from smooth - constant sickness, acid reflux, high blood pressure, protein in my urine leading finally to pre eclampsia but I had the best most enjoyable birth and a very intimate and personal experience. I decided I wanted to have my baby alone just the midwife, myself and my baby and that’s what I achieved.
On the Friday 9th of October I set off for the Rotunda for my weekly visit, I was 37weeks pregnant and I was feeling great and had great plans to hit the shops after my visit. However my plans were short lived as the doctor decided to admit me for a 24 hour urine analysis after my urine test showed protein of 4.5. I was shocked and very nervous, on rounds the doctor told me that they were considering a c-section if my levels and blood pressure did not come down. I was disgusted this was not at all what I wanted and I felt that unless my baby was at risk this was unnecessary.
Thank god my doctor was easily persuaded to go along with me. Then Monday morning arrived and he asked could he have a look I agreed and to my surprised I was 3 and a half cm dilated I had no pain at all. Doctor said he would see me in the labour ward by dinner time. I was so excited I rang my parents and told them that things looked to be moving – I was so excited.
But noting happened the next morning rounds came around and to the doctor’s shock I was still there. He did another check and I was 5 and a half cm with absolutely no pain. Definitely today the doctor said ……………….. But the following morning I was still there……. Another check showed I was 7 and a half cm dilated still no pain. I walked every inch of the Rotunda trying to get things moving but nothing happened. That night my blood pressure soared and the protein was up at 5, the midwife informed the doctor on call who was insisting on a section unless things changed quickly. I was hooked up to a trace and baby was perfect. I convinced them to allow me to wait to see how things went over night. Friday morning came and the doctor said he really wanted to get things going and wanted to break my waters I asked could we wait one more day and they said they would review me later on that day. Later they said they would leave me until Sunday unless any problems arose.
Sunday came and no one came near me all day until 7.50 pm. I was taken to the annex and they set up everything I popped outside to make a call to my Dad and as I hung up my waters went in the hallway outside the labour ward. Eventually I found a midwife who brought me in and arranged a cleaner. I am convinced it was pure fear which made my waters go themselves. The midwife checked me and I was 10cm with no pain. I said up in bed reading hello magazine listening to my ipod. At 10pm the midwife came in and brought me into my delivery room , I walked in wheeling my bag , got myself settled and into my nightie .I was then introduced to my midwife. I hadn’t written a birth plan because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I didn’t achieve my aims, instead I had notes of what I did and didn’t want if at all possible . I explained that I was using gentlebirth and the midwife said we will just wait and see! I was disgusted and from that point my whole attitude changed - before I was open but now I was even more determined that this was my birth, my baby and my body. I sat on my birth ball listening to my cds however the midwife became a distraction as she insisted on a constant trace of the baby. At 11pm I told her I wanted the trace off and I wanted to be mobile she was reluctant but I stood up to her and she finally agreed. By this time it was 11pm and I had period like cramp I phoned my mother who told me it would all be over soon. I went back into the room and started to feel like I really needed to go to the loo. The midwife insisted it was just pressure but I wanted to try so I went to the loo and as I wiped myself I felt the baby’s head and his ear .I pressed the call button and the midwife came in and said I was being ridiculous that you labour for at least 12 hours with your first baby and that you must be in pain to be in labour!
Well how wrong she was when she checked me my sons head was as I said between my legs. I got a terrible cramp in my leg and that point which I needed to resolve before I began to push. They midwife began to cheerlead me from the end of the bed push ….push………. I didn’t listen to her and politely asked her to shut up!! I was listening to my body and no one else. she then began to prepare the room for the baby, she wheeled over a trolley with every instrument possible on it and then asked me to get up on all fours I refused as I told her I did not want to be cut and I was watching what she was doing and I wanted to be informed of everything that was happening. At 11.57 Baby Aodhans head and torso emerged followed by the rest of his body at 00.00 on the 19th of October weighing a healthy 8lb11oz he took straight to the breast.
However after Aodhan was born I was very disappointed with the treatment I received I had requested that I did not want any drugs at all. I achieved this in my birth but I was told it was hospital policy to administrate drugs to speed up the delivery of the after birth. I argued that I wanted a naturally delivery but the midwife refused insisting it was hospital policy. Secondly I was made get up out of bed within ten minutes of delivery and brought to the shower where I was left alone. While in the shower I began to lose a lot of large blood clots, my stomach was very tender. I dried myself off dressed and as I began to walk back to the suite blood began dripping down my leg. When I went into the room the bed had been changed all my belongings but on a trolley, my baby ready to go. The midwife checked me and said my tummy was not contracting quickly enough so she needed to contract it my kneading my stomach…. This was very painful but was the only pain I had through out my delivery. She then inserted a drip into my arm to help with to contract my tummy. I then had the famous tea and toast and it’s true it is the best you will ever have!!
The birth of Aodhan was exactly what I had wanted and what I feel every woman deserves and should experience. My pregnancy was not smooth and I was under enormous stress. My partner and I split up , we were fighting over a house , I moved, I was working full time , emotionally I was all over the place until I began using the gentle birth cds. When I began using them I fell asleep and slept really well all night I began using them at 14 weeks and I listened to them every night while I was in bed. They really did work for me. I believe that you need to be open to new ideas and you need to be positive
My tips to any Mums to be attending the Rotunda is to stand your ground and ask questions, I surprised a lot of staff who were all of the mind I would end up with a section.
Calm, confident GentleBirth
So I thought that nearly 17 weeks later it's time to get my birth story down, before I forget any of it. Our son Daniel was born on the 5th June at 12.25am, it was a totally natural birth which I really, really wanted (even though everyone told me to be flexible I was determined not to take drugs or have an epidural). I was aided by my fantastic gentlebirthing CD and my also fantastic TENS machine. I had a really positive experience and I can honestly say that I didn't really feel any pain once I put the cd and TENS machine on, only pressure and the will to push like the bejasus.
So the day before Daniel arrived I'd been swimming in the sea and washing the windows in about 27 degree heat! It was SO hot that week and I just wanted him out. My friend called round to check on me and gave out that I hadn't packed my bag for the hospital, choosing to wash windows instead...There was a part of me that knew things were happening when I was standing on the chair with the cloth in my hand! 'Eh this is a bit mad' I thought. On our way him from the swim James and I stopped for chips and I wolfed them down but I was feeling a bit restless and couldn't get comfortable in the car.
The next day I had a check up with the doctor who assured me that though Daniel was in position he probably wasn't ready to arrive yet, sure he was due in a weeks and as I was a first timer I was more than likely to go over. After that I went and met my friend and off we went to the spa where I visited the steam room, hammam room, cold showers, hot showers, warm recliners and the indoor and outdoor pool. Looking back on it, what chance did the poor child have! No wonder he came early! Then off we took ourselves to the pub for lunch. After I'd polished off a pretty gross cheesecake (didn't stop me eating it all) we were getting ready to go and I stood up to go to the toilet. Halfway across the room I felt that my trousers were all wet, 'Ah sure that'll be all the water I was in this morning' I thought to myself foolishly. I went to the toilet and the water was still coming, quite alot of water too! At this point I kind of wanted to go home but my friend wouldn't let me drive, so we had to pick her daughter up, bring her partners mum into town and then bring me up to my husbands work. I was really nervous and excited so I put on my cd but wasn't really able to concentrate so I took it off and tried to relax and enjoy the view from the car, sitting on her raincoat so as not to ruin the upholstery! Eventually we got to my husbands work and then we had to drive back into town to pick our car up! Waaahhh! Never had I been so happy that we'd moved to Cork from Dublin before, it's so much smaller and easier to get around.
At this point fluid was still coming out but not very quickly and it did have a slight red tinge but I wasn't worried about that. I rang tracy and she hold us to go into the hospital, get checked out and then I could come home to labour. Ho Ho Ho. We came home and pottered around for a bit (packing my bag!) and then I felt it was time to go. I started feeling surges in the car on the way but I wanted to stop on the way to pick up a pyjamas...we went around New Look and then Penneys, I found a cool pair of white pj's with big pink stars on but then I had to find a matching top. All the while my surges were about 3 minutes apart. While we were in the queue to pay I started to really feel that I needed to get to the hospital and I think I pay have sort of shouted at the cashier who was really slowly putting my stuff into the bag that 'I had to go to hospital NOW!'
Off we headed across the road to the hospital where I had to wait for AGES before they admitted me. I walked up and down while I was waiting, my husband finished off his last essay for college in the waiting room! There were three kids in the waiting room running round and screaming and it was doing my head in so we moved to the main reception. At this point I hadn't put on my TENS or my cd and I started to feel a bit out of control, the sensations were starting to get stronger and I was kind of bent over. I felt like I couldn't do it and I started crying. My husband at this point was great, he made me put on my cd and the TENS and within 5 minutes I was walking around chatting again.
Then a midwife came out to examine me and I kept saying I wanted to go home, I wanted to go home to labour. She did an internal which after she told me would make the surges stronger (thanks for telling me beforehand!) and then about 10 mins after that things really started to kick in. A doctor came out to give me the all clear to go home, she took one look at me and said 'you're not going anywhere, you're in labour and you'd only have to come back in once you got home'. First I was saying that I wanted to go home but then really quickly I figured she was right and I was in the best place.
After this they wanted to put a trace on me and there was NO WAY I was letting that happen. I just couldn't have laid down no matter what. It's such a shame that most women think that they have to have the trace put on cos I reckon it really makes things harder. I said that I wanted the doppler used and that if they really wanted to know when my contractions were happening then I'd tell them. So they eventually agreed but I had to sign a waiver form (imagine!). I was very happy and confident to do this. Then after awhile we went up to the ward where I tried to walk around a bit but just couldn't the pressure was too much, the poor girl I was sharing a room with, I was being pretty vocal about the whole thing, but not out of control. I just felt I needed to make some noise so I did.
I kept listening to the colour part of the cd, which brought me to the field that I walked round alot with the dog when I was pregnant. It was amazing how relaxed it made me feel, I thought about the dog alot too, weirdly!
We then got ready to go down to the labour ward, the nurse tried to get me to sit on the wheelchair, of which there was no chance. Then she said I'd have to walk so, I tried a step or two and that wasn't going to work either. In the end I kneeled up on the chair facing backwards, she wasn't happy about that at all and I had to promise I wouldn't fall off. I then started feeling like pushing, it was such an unusual feeling, it just came on me, I didn't have to know that I was 10cms dilated, I could've told them I was. So I started to push. And push and push and push! After about 10 mins of being in the labour ward the nurse said 'get a baby gro and nappy, the baby will be here very soon'. That kind of put the fear of God in me and I felt a bit shakey for a bit but then refocused on the cd and kept on with the TENS. James gave the midwife our birth plan and we'd had the lights dimmed. They were very receptive to our wishes and I felt very relaxed. At one point the midwife said did I want to feel his head so she took my hand and I touched it as it crowned! So off I was pushing and pushing and pushing. And pushing. And pushing. About an hour later the midwife said that she knew we didn't want assisted pushing but she really felt that the baby needed to come out as his heartbeat was slowing down a little bit, we had a go at that but nothing happened. Eventually the doctor came in and said she was concerned and wanted baby out pretty much now, she gave me the chance to push through 2 more contractions and then we all agreed an episiotomy was for the best.
Two pushes later and the little fella was out, all 8.10lbs of him. A grand big lusty fella. I was so expecting a girl that after I was actually able to look down my first words were 'Oh my god, look at the size of his balls!' I think they were a bit taken aback by that reaction! Then he was put up on my tummy and we waited for the cord to stop pulstating. I wanted to wait and deliver the placenta but by then I was cold and tired and just wanted to get it over with so they gave me the injection. The midwife also offered me gas and air for the stitches! Jaysus I just gave birth to a baby without it, I think I can handle a few stitches! I got a local anaesthetic for that but it was a bit sore anyway. I breastfed him just after he was born and declined the vitiman K injection (so we have to give it to him orally every month now till I stop breastfeeding.
It was an amazing, challanging and sometimes unnerving experience but like I said I felt totally in control and didn't feel much pain, just pressure. It's taken awhile to get used to our new life but I'm reallly starting to enjoy him now, we still manage to go out for dinner most weeks and have a few glasses of wine now and then so that's good enough for me! I have to say I think the hypnobirthing not only helped me in the labour but has also helped me become a more confident, positive person all round, I still practice affirmations and listen to the parenting cd. Daniel is also a very happy, smiley, relaxed baby and I'd put some of that down to all the work I did with the hpnobirthing when I was pregnant.
Good Luck to all you expectant Mams!
Charlotte’s Calm Arrival
am finally getting around to sharing Charlotte's birth story, 10 weeks on! Charlotte Maeve was born on the 29th of August in CUMH. My partner Jeff and I attended Tracy's GentleBirth antenatal course in July at about 33 weeks. She is my first child, although Jeff has two from a previous marriage and therefore brought some experience to the birth. Despite being a first-timer, I was very relaxed and looking forward to giving birth even before taking Tracy's course; however, the course and the cd's just reinforced my ideas that fear around birth can often only make it more challenging.
I have to be honest and say that I was a pretty poor student! I found the hypnosis track hard to listen to at first. I loved the birth affirmation track and listened to that often, especially while out walking with the dog. As my due date approached, I began to listen to
the hypnosis track more but still, I'd have to give myself a C!
While Jeff was a bit concerned that I wasn't listening to them enough, I was still extremely confident in giving birth and was really looking forward to it. (I was also constantly listening to a cd of classical music that my father put together for me to help me stay calm and relaxed, and of course for Charlotte's listening pleasure!) We had a very simple but clear birth plan that both of us felt very confident about. I wanted a natural birth and felt very strongly about not having an epidural.
Three days after my due date, I was given a membrane sweep. I had done a bit of research and decided that I would go ahead with it, although, to be honest, on the day of my appointment I felt I didn't really have a choice (I am a bit of a pushover though). The following day around 5 pm I felt my first surge. They were initially about 15 min apart. Since the house was packed with people, Jeff and I walked down to the beach for some fresh air at about 6pm. By the time we got back at 7pm the surges were about 3 minutes apart so we decided to go to the hospital (we live about 40 minutes away). As soon as I got into the car, I put the headphones on. (Let me tell you, it helped with the bumpy ride to the hospital.) I still felt pretty calm and in control.
Either due to my inexperience or lack of research, I was a bit thrown when we checked in. It was 8 pm on Friday night so the security guard was on. He told us to go to the waiting room to be called. This actually broke my groove and I started to get a little wound up. I was
imagining being checked into a labour ward room or something similar!
Still needing to walk around, I basically just started to pace the hallway. Then I threw up in the bin (and apologized profusely to the cleaning staff!). I was doing okay even at this point until another woman came in screaming pretty loudly, also pacing the hallways. I went into the disabled bathroom and tried to stay in there although the smell was getting to me. Although the cd was helping I was desperate to find the right space. Finally, a very kind midwife walked by and saw us and brought us in to be evaluated. Charlotte's heartbeat was monitored--but FYI the mp3 player interfered halfway through so I had to stay there twice as long. At this point, I was 3 cm, still throwing up, still listening to the hypnosis track, still
hearing other women scream and still needed to find the right space.
All in all, I was still, believe it or not, pretty much in control.
Just a little disturbed that there were no beds available. So back to the hallways!
Then a small miracle happened. The midwife showed us to a small emergency triage room just outside reception (very handy to know about if there are no beds/rooms available). We went in there, shut off the lights, shut the door and Jeff just made sure that the headphones stayed in my ears. The next two hours went by pretty fast. And the hypnosis track was my lifesaver, I am sure. Even though I still felt the surges, between each one I was able to relax back down to "zero,"
so to speak. Some were stronger than others but Jeff told me later it was unbelievable. I was completely still between surges. And all I remember hearing is " you are calm, confident and in control" over and over and over.
About 2 hours later around 11pm I felt an incredible need to push.
Jeff went to get the midwife and I was 7 cm. At this point I was wheeled down to the labor room. Our midwife hooked me up straight away to the heart monitor and basically told me I had to keep it on the whole time. We had requested to have intermittent monitoring so I could walk around but I was more comfortable on the bed anyway so it was fine. Interestingly enough, Jeff was highly skeptical of this because of his experience with his first child (they were constantly looking at the monitor rather than the mother and baby). It actually helped me to relax, oddly enough. When her heart rate would dip, I would see it and it would make me relax enough to get her's stable again. I felt so connected to Charlotte, and definitely felt like we were in this thing together --something I absolutely gained from both the course and the cd tracks.
Again feeling an incredible sense to push, my waters popped about 15 min later--with quite a gush! And not more than 20 minutes later, I was 10 cm. At this stage I had to take the cd off. The surges to push came in waves of three and I only pushed when my body told me to.
50 minutes later, at 1:37am, she was placed on my chest. What an amazing moment! We asked her to wait until the cord stopped pulsating, which she did willingly. She stayed on my chest and breastfed for 50 minutes. It turns out the midwife never read our birth plan but nevertheless listened to what we wanted (communicated by Jeff not me!). She came out flying so I had a 2nd degree tear, which was sore for about 3 weeks but not unbearable. In fact it was a great reason to do nothing but just sit with Charlotte!
All in all it was perfect. We are co-sleeping, which is working out brilliantly for us (I can't remember the last time I needed a nap during the day), both of us are breastfeeding without any problems, and Charlotte is cooing and smiling all of the time! As one new mom just told me, "how come no one told me about this before!" I am just loving it. For those women who don't get as much time to listen to the cds, don't despair! Next time around I would try to at least be a B student but it still worked a charm. No drugs, just some gas and air while the doctor was stitching me up. I would highly recommend the course to all expecting parents!
Congratulations to you all and I wish you all the best for a positive birth!
Homebirth in Hospital
I wanted to share my birth story with you all. My baby Adam was born on the 10th Aug in Holles St hospital in what I would describe "a home birth in hospital" and it was a truly beautiful experience.
On Sat I had a slight show which got myself and Mark a bit excited. I was due on the 20th so it seemed quite early. That night at 3.30 I woke up and found that my waters broke, I was completely taken by surprise by it. I woke Mark up, who was really sleepy and suggested that we sleep on (!!!). We got the bags ready and made our way to the hospital. Over there they put me on the monitor to check baby's heart beat and kept it on for about 1h. All was fine so the doctor discharged me in the morning. If labour wouldn't start earlier they said they wanted me back in the hospital the next morning to induce labour, so I was truly hoping that things would start sooner than that.
Mark had tickets for the Kilkenny match that day but it was obvious he wouldn't be going anywhere so we met up with his dad and gave him the tickets. We went home, had a big fry for breakfast, then had a bit of sleep. Very slight surges started at about 11 o'clock but they were really mild and occured every half an hour. During the day they were about 20-25 min apart. We went for a walk, had a bit of dinner and then went to the video store to get a DVD for the evening. During the day I was also writing in my pregancy diary that I've been keeping during the last 9 months.
The surges were about 15 min apart and getting more and more intense, however not really painful. In the evening we put the DVD on and I sat on the fit ball. Mark was timing my surges, they were now less than 10 min apart and more intense, now they were more uncomfortable so Mark was massaging my back. I can't say I rememeber much of the movie, it wasn't a good one anyway. At about 9-10 o'clock the surges were 5 min apart and really intense so I started thinking about going to the hospital,but Mark convinced me to stay at home until they are 4 min apart, not to go too early. So we stayed until 11pm and made our way then. The surges were really strong and closer now.
We got to Holles St at 11.30 and were introduced to our midwife, Sandra (who was wonderful, btw). My surges must have been 3 min apart at this stage. She suggested connecting me to the monitor but I asked to use the Doppler instead and she agreed. She checked my dilation and I was 3 cm. I was disappointed by it and thought: at 3 cm most women ask for epidural, I still have 7 cm to go! But then I remembered that for a lot of women things progress very quickly towards the end, so I thought I would see how I get on. I kneeled by the bed with my head on the pillow on the bed, moved my hips and Mark was massaging me during surges. They were almost on top of each other now, very intense, I was forgetting to breathe through them. I had a weak moment when I thought of epidural, but didn't really want it so instead I asked for gas & air. Little did I know that Mark asked the midwife not to give it to me yet, wait until I ask for it again as he thought it would distract me and I was in my zone. By the way, it was the right decision and I soon forgot that I asked for it...Mark put the CDs on for me and I kept it on until pretty much the end.
I took each surge as it came, not thinking about the last one or the next one. I remember Sandra checking on the baby every so often, looking in my face with a very nice, genuine smile saying I'm doing very well. Soon after that I felt like I needed to poo and push, which I said to Sandra and she said that's allright and that she's not going to tell me when to push.
At times i felt like giving it a push and at times it was just bearing down, like Tracy said, your body really is doing it for you, you have to switch of the brain and switch on to your body, follow its lead as it is doing it whether you want it or not, so I gave in to my body. My voice changed and I started groaning, Mark said the noise sounded almost sexual. I went on the floor on all fours, moved around and could really feel the head pushing against my perineum and I was thinking: it's good the head is pushing and withdrawing as it will nicely stretch the area. I was also imagining myself opening nicely, like was suggested in Ina May Gaskin's book. Every time I felt the head closer and closer, I knew my progress well. Then the head crowned and I felt stinging but it was OK, only for a moment. And then I felt the head popping out and soon after the rest of the body. After that a great calm came and I felt absolutley no pain and lovely relief. My little baby boy was lying underneath me. I lied down fully on the floor and cuddled him. Sandra gave us time before cutting the cord and then I delivered the placenta, naturally as well. He was born at 1.30, 2h after arriving in the hospital.
I thanked her for letting me do it on my own, naturally, with no interventions and she said not to thank her, that she really enjoyed the birth and that's the way it should be and what she studied for and she hasn't experienced such birth in 3 years. I know she really meant it. I was elevated, so happy with my experience and with my little baby in my arms. Mark was completely speechless, astounded. Later on he told me he watched the baby crowning and being born and I think he appreciated the expierinece even though beforehand he would have said he doesn't want to see it. Sandra checked me and said I had no tear and needed no stitches - great!
To cut the long story short, I was on cloud nine for the next few days and thinking about my birth warmed my heart and made me feel exteremely happy and proud of myself. I had such a wonderful birth, exactly like I dreamt it - 100% natural, quick, calm, no pain relief and no cut!. It felt primal and animalish, I felt every bit of it and felt empowered by it. What really helped me was the positive state of mind and conviction that my body can do it as well as understanding throughout what my body is doing at each stage. I think it is importnant to follow your body's lead and ignore your brain telling you that something is uncomfortable for you. Also, throughout the labour I had my Gentle birth CD on and never took it off - it helped me to stay calm and relaxed and stay in my zone, cut out everythning else.
Post natal care in the hospital was great as well, they showed me the ropes and helped with breastfeeding, which is going well for us (though not easy). Baby Adam is a joy, but also hard work, and tiredness kicks in. My memories of my labour I will cherish and enjoy, though it was hard work, not a walk in the park.
I will get Mark to post his version of the birth. I wish everyone such positive experience - believe in yourselves and your bodies, girls, and keep up your practice, it will all help you on the day. You can do it!
Best of luck to all.
Here is our beautiful baby girl Mia Rose's birth story. She weighed 7lbs 4 oz and was born at 10.20 pm.
I had a number of shows up to two weeks before she was born and lost the mucus plug the Sunday before. Had a consultant's appointment on the Tuesday where I had an internal which showed that I was a good 1 cm and was told I was having mild contractions - I had been putting these down to period like cramps and they were same as I'd had on/off for weeks. My bp was also slightly raised so was booked in for a bp series in the hospital on Friday am. On Thursday am I woke up and went to bathroom and was suspicious that I was leaking fluid or just had increased vaginal discharge. Said nothing to DH, sent him off to work and decided to see how things went over the day. I pottered around, listened to my Gentlebirth CDs, went to my acupuncture session (she nearly died when I said that I thought things may happen soon!). She put little acupressure magnets in my ears on master pain control points (you can press during labour) and stimulated various labour points.
I rang DH at work that evening and said to him that maybe he should stay a bit late to prepare for possibly not being there for the next 3 weeks - he was really excited so I had to tell him to calm down! When he came home we went for a walk with dogs, organised final bags etc. but still had nothing more than lower back ache/cramping. Went to bed a bit disappointed as we really wanted to have as natural a labour as possible and knew I needed to go into labour myself.
By Friday morning I was still having only on/off cramps. I was going to send my husband into work whilst I went into the hospital for BP series/consultant's appointment. I was hoping if BP was fine and baby was happy even though hind waters were gone that I may be able to convince her to give me another few hours at home. But then after breakfast I got this overwhelming urge that I didn't want to be alone so asked my DH to go to appointment with me.
So we headed to hospital with labour & hospital bag and birthing ball!
BP series showed up borderline raised pressure and I had 1+ protein in urine. We went into consultant and said she was thinking of taking me in although she knew my birth plan was not that. I mentioned that my hind waters had gone and she was like "Ok I'm definitely taking you in! Straight up to delivery suite!". She also said raised bp and protein was probably due to being in early labour and was I not in real pain? (I was 2 cm on exam). It was still only cramps though.
So we arrived on Delivery Suite, straight onto syntocinon drip. This is the only bit where I felt a bit out of control as it was all happening very fast, I didn't feel that I was in "the zone" for labour and on way up to delivery suite kept bumping into people I knew (I work in med profession) which was really distracting!
Once monitors, drip etc was hooked up I put on my hypnobirthing CD and tried to relax, closed blinds down and tried to block out noises around me.
I was on max syntocinon drip within an hour and was getting 6 contractions every 10 minutes lasting 50-60 seconds. It was very intense so I put on my TENs machine - which was brilliant and really got me through those first few difficult centimetres. I was standing leaning on bed and using birthing ball for rests. Unfortunately after 4 hours of this I was still 2 -3 cm and I remember thinking oh no they're going to do a section. My consultant and midwife were great though and said we'd give it another couple of hours out of respect for my birth wishes if I was ok with that and could handle things – baby was handling contractions well so I set in my mind a 2 hour target.
For the next 2 hours I focused on every contraction, using the hypnobirthing affirmations to calm me and some of the yoga moves I’d been doing in class (rocking pelvis etc.) I made a real conscious effort to relax my pelvic floor. Two hours later I was at 3 cm and asked for gas & air as things were very intense after 6 hours of that rate of contracting! G&A was brilliant – took the edge off and allowed me to sit on my birth ball which rested my legs from standing as had been finding it too sore to sit on ball for the previous couple of hours.
I said to my husband that if at my next exam I was still only 3 cm maybe I should get an epidural as this was obviously going to be long and torturous! He was great and encouraging and said we’ll focus on next exam (an hour later). At the next exam I was 5-6 cm and I was delighted. However 2 hours later I was still only 5-6 cm which was so disappointing. I could see looks being exchanged in the delivery suite and thought to my self “no way am I giving in now!” DH was popping remedies from my homeopathic labour kit into my mouth the whole time and said at this stage” I’ve the perfect one!”. So I was sucking away on it and he said it was for late labour (as in to get you into labour when you’re overdue). I looked at him like he was mad and said “I’m in bloody labour!!” Anyway we both cracked up laughing over how ridiculous that was and I was bouncing on birthbball when suddenly my body did the most amazingly strong push downwards all of it’s own accord – I grabbed DH hand and said I’m pushing call the midwife – he was like “What?” But you were just laughing at…” - I interrupted him “Now!!”.
Our midwife came on and said “Oh are you having some rectal pressure? That’s normal as baby’s head moves down”. I was trying to say this isn’t pressure, when I had another contraction with that same incredible involuntary pushing – the midwife sprang into action, contacted my consultant (who’d gone for a lie down it turns out as she’d been on 24 hours).
She examined me quickly and sure enough I’d gone from 5-6 cm to fully dilated in less than 30 minutes.
Things calmed down a bit then, I got on all fours on the bed and leaned on the back for each contraction and push. I got rid of G&A as these contractions were totally different and I din’t need it. I worked away at pushing for about 35 mins in that position but my legs were getting tired and a bit numb. My consultant and midwife suggested I turn around to supported sitting at the end of the bed with my DH and it felt right to do that. After lots of hard work and great guidance from my midwife baby Mia Rose was born after 1 hour 10 mins pushing. I had a small 1st degree tear needing 2 stitches and a superficial graze that my consultant put 1 stitch in.
Mia Rose was a little shocked when born – she had decels during the moulding/crowning of her head but heart rate was bouncing back after each push. That meant we didn’t get to do a delayed cord clamp or prolonged skin to skin straight away. She went to a little warming incubator for half an hour and then up to SCBU for blood tests. She had a little canula in her hand for 48 hours in case she needed antibiotics but thankfully she was perfect since. She met me back in my room within an hour and a half of birth, latched on beautifully and basically stayed that way for must of our hospital stay!
We got home on Monday and all going great – we are totally besotted with her!!
Feel so great that even though things started off differently to how I hoped we still managed to get through everything using Gentlebirth, TENS and G&A – our consultant and midwife were so supportive of our birth choices- I felt like wonder woman after it all!
Drug Free Positive Birth
I attended your Gentlebirth Workshop in Cork earlier this year and it was the best thing I ever did!!
I first heard about the Gentlebirth Workshop from the yoga class which I was attending, but dismissed it (and if truth be told I was quite cynical of it) as being something which people who wanted a “drug free” birth attend. However after reading the testimonials online I realised it is for everybody who wants to have a calm and confident birth experience. As a first time mother I both wanted and needed this. The sight of blood was enough to make me feel faint and I was TERRIFIED of having a section if it was necessary!
I listened to the Gentlebirth cd’s as much as possible. If there was ever a time that I began to feel anxious or nervous about labor or becoming a parent, I would switch on my iPod and within seconds of starting listening to the Gentlebirth tracks I was calm. I can remember twice in the last month I woke up in a panicked state, but my subconscious immediately kicked in with the Gentlebirth affirmations and I went back to sleep easily. I found this to be amazing!!
The course taught me how to deal with other people’s (not intentional) fear mongering about labor. If I was ever in a situation where people started to talk negatively about labor, I distanced myself from them. “Water off a duck’s back!” as I had learned in the workshop!
When my due date came and went I was eventually brought in to be induced. This was disappointing but I went with it. Throughout my pregnancy the Gentlebirth cd’s had taught me to picture the drive to the hospital, a sunny day with no traffic but it rained and we were late for the hospital as there was so much traffic!!
Myself and my husband laughed at this and were really relaxed and calm. “We were excited about meeting our baby”.
We brought in comedy dvd’s with us to the hospital and watched these to keep things lighthearted. In the evening, the midwife said that my husband would need to go home to get some rest for the next day. I smiled and nodded at her, but in my head there was no way he was leaving my side!! Thanks for that bit of advice Tracy, because things started moving along for me quickly after midnight!! I’m not saying I wouldn’t have managed without my husband, but having him at my side helped to keep me focused and calm.
I listened to the gentlebirth cd’s constantly for the next few hours. Its difficult to explain, but when the surges started I didn’t realise that I was in labour. I had no concept of how strong they were or how frequently they were occurring. When my husband told the nurse that the surges were 3 minutes apart I really thought he was after getting it all wrong and was confused. But he was right and I was 5cm dilated.
I was moved to the labor ward, my waters broke when I arrived there and at this stage I asked and got an epidural. I continued to listen to my cd’s. Unfortunately for me, things began to slow down. My consultant explained to me that even though I was 8/9cm dilated I was not going any further. The baby’s head wasn’t turning and was stuck, so at this stage I was to have a section. Briefly I was scared, but I kept repeating to myself “that I was calm, confident and in control” and later met my healthy 9lb 4oz baby girl!!!
It was not the birth which I had imagined I would have had or wanted, but I have positive memories of the whole experience. I would do the whole thing again tomorrow and if everything was the exact same second time around I would still be happy. I really do not believe that I would have had such a calm birth experience and positive memories if I had not attended the Gentlebirth workshop.
Before myself and my husband went to the course on the first day, I said to him that if this was a load of hippie crap, we’ll make our excuses and leave. Ha, ha!! I’m so glad we stayed. I can not recommend this course highly enough to impending parents!!
Thanks for everything Tracy!
The Perfect Birth
This is our birth story.
My husband and I were expecting our first baby later on this summer. I was 36 weeks. When I went to the toilet I saw what I thought it might be a bit of show... a jelly like mucous with a blood thread running through it.... but it was so small that I did not pass any remark.
Later on that evening I went to work (I’m a fitness instructor) and taught my usual step and aerobics classes.... I’m a strong believer in exercising in pregnancy and I believe the outcome of my experience has a lot to do with how fit I was. On Tuesday morning, I had the same sort of show, followed by very gentle period-like cramps.
My husband insisted I went to my gp to get it checked, so just to keep him happy I went. GP checked me, and decided to send me to the MLU in Drogheda (where I was suppose to have my baby) for more check ups.... as i was only 36 weeks +1 the MLU could not see me (you have to be 37 weeks, in other words, full term), so I was referred to the main clinic in the Lourdes.
I got strapped to the monitor, which more or less said my contractions or tightenings had started but I could not feel any of that, so I told myself the monitor wasn’t working properly!! A doctor did an internal and confirmed that my cervix was ready, so i could go into labour any minute, but it could as well be a false alarm. I was advised not to exercise that evening... and for the first time in my life i missed my classes (I’m a bit of a workaholic!)
I spent that evening at home, not doing much, apart from planning my classes for the following day!
On Tuesday night at 11:30 I decided to load the washing machine... i went downstairs, squatted down put all the clothes in... and went I stood up.... SURPRISE... my waters broke! I called my husband down who very calmly said: ok, the little one is coming... he doesn’t do waiting around, just like his daddy!!... and how right was he!!.. We rang the hospital and they told us to come in straight away... even though my waters were clear, the fact that i was pre term by only 5 days it meant going in and staying in.
We left the house with nothing, not as much as a change of clothes, or my mp3 with the cd's ...nothing. On arrival they examined me and I was 2 cm dilated. My husband then went home and packed my hospital bag to the best of his knowledge and brought my mp3.
Contractions got more and more intense, so i used the TENS machine which i found great. I listened to my affirmations cd and I was able to sleep in between surges. At 8 am wed morning i had another internal and at that stage I was 8 cm, so it was almost time to start pushing.
I was brought to the delivery room, and met the new midwives (shift change). They were excellent, young, caring, and a good laugh. It also helped that they had trained in the MLU, so they expected me not being happy about the transfer, but to be honest I didn’t mind, as long as I had a say in making decisions. I told them about letting the cord pulsating, and having the placenta delivered naturally... and they agreed they would do their best to respect my choices. And so they did.
I started pushing at 9 am... and at 10:14 baby Colm was born, healthy, with a head full of hair and weighting 6.10lb , which is a very healthy weight considering he was 4 weeks early!! cord was left to pulsate, placenta was delivered naturally, and baby and me were in good health.
We were allowed home 2 days later. Colm is now 5 days old and I already cannot remember how my life was before him... He is the happiest, most calm baby ever... doesn’t cry, only eats, smiles and sings!!.
If I was to wish for anything to have gone differently I would be lying... it was the perfect birth.
I hope everyone in this group can have such a positive experience.
Iwan’s Speedy Arrival
Hope all is well with you.
Just wanted to let you know that we had a 2nd baby in February - a little boy called Iwan (like Ewan, but the Welsh spelling). All is going well.
I listened to my CD as much as I could beforehand (not so easy with a toddler around the place), and we tried to prepare ourselves by reminders from the book - but definitely didn't do as much preparation as 1st time around. However, as my first experience had been really positive and Tara had literally popped out within minutes of arriving at the hospital, I was quite relaxed anyway, and looking forward to another quick and not-too-painful birth.
And things went well again this time thankfully. We were already in the hospital as my waters had broken, so when the contractions started to get tougher, I asked them to check my dilation. I was only 2cm - and very disheartened to hear it - but within an hour I had reached 10cm just breathing through the contractions, and then baby literally propelled himself out. I don't actually remember doing any pushing at all, he just pushed himself out if that makes sense, it was as if I couldn't control it even if I had wanted to.
So everything went well and we are getting on fine with Iwan, and he is settling in well. So, again, it was another good birth for us. And we are busy now with the two of them, but enjoying it all the same.
Grainne & Rob
Wonderful Natural Birth
I'm emailing here with one hand. I just wanted to thank you again for the enormous role you played in the natural birth of my son. I’m going to put my story up on rollercoaster and on yahoo groups. I can whole heartily say that if it wasn’t for Gentlebirth I would definitely have had ended with a section. i was lucky to have had a supportive mid wife who stuck her neck on the line for me because after one and a half hours pushing her superior kept checking her watch and insisting the doctor be called to intervene. The labour lasted 30 hours during which time i had to turn the baby from a posterior position. I was continually told not to be a martyr. I was very lucky that Marguerite turned up when she did because after 14 hours remaining at 3 centimetres it was difficult to hold my resolve.
Eoghan is very alert and has gained more than his birth weight in under a week. I met another hypno birth mother who is due in two weeks and i assured her of how it really does work. By the end of my stay in hospital so many midwives had come to congratulate me on the natural birth with the majority of them saying ' you're that girl.....'
Magical Home Birth
I hope this finds you well. Jestin and I have exciting news to share. We welcomed our second baby girl into the world on November 25th. Elizabeth was 9 lbs 1 oz, 22 inches long and I am happy to report was born at home. Although it has been 9 weeks, I couldn't wait to sit down and finally fill you in on our own positive birth story.
After taking your GentleBirth course in September I really put all of your advice and guidance into practice. I began listening to the birth affirmations and relaxation CD on a daily basis, I filled the house with printed copies of the affirmations, I read and reread the GentleBirth book and I began to picture my positive homebirth as much as possible. I really set about relaxing to ensure I didn't become too anxious before the baby's arrival, something I know affected my last labour. On Monday morning, November 24th, at 10 days overdue, I went into CUMH for an ultrasound and tracing of the baby's heartbeat and thankfully all was well. I agreed to a sweep, as my consultant suggested, to hopefully bring on a natural labour and avoid a hospital induction on the following Friday. I was delighted to find out I was already 2 cm dilated and seemed to be somewhat on my way. It was fairly inevasive and I went home with the thought that I would hopefully not be back in the following day for another ultrasound and trace. When I got home I decided to take a brisk walk and stopped into our local church on the way home to pray for a safe and positive labour and delivery. At this point I was feeling some cramping, which I had been feeling on and off for a few weeks, but I knew it felt somewhat more productive. At dinnertime, I felt my first surge, but then nothing for the rest of the evening. I was very relaxed and comfortable.
I decided to take a bath with lavender and clary sage to help to relax even more and listened to the relaxation track and affirmations while in the bath. It wasn't until I got into bed at around 10pm that I knew my labour was beginning. My surges started pretty much as soon as I laid down and at around midnight I knew I could not continue to lay down while breathing through each surge. When I got up I had a birth show in the bathroom and really did smile to myself, thinking the baby was really on its way. I decided to move into our spare bedroom and I put on my MP3 player and sit in our glider chair. Although the surges were pretty regular, I was comfortable and did not feel the need to call the midwife just yet. I ended up sitting in the chair listening to the birth affirmations, the rainbow relaxation and the birth music for about 5 hours and I really did not mind being the only one up in the house. I remember thinking that at least by Wednesday I would have my baby in my arms and that was a comforting feeling. My surges were strong, but I was so relaxed I could imagine them working up my stomach and then back down again, almost in a rolling motion. At about 5am, I asked Jestin to pour a bath and we lit candles and I continued to listen to the CDs. Surprisingly, I remained in the bath until around 7.30am with Jestin only once coming in to add hot water to the bath. I really felt very comfortable. Once I got out of the bath, I was in contact with my midwife several times and she decided she would come around 9.30am to see how I was doing. I decided to remain upstairs with the curtains drawn and alternated between sitting on my birthing ball or standing rocking my hips while holding on to my daughter's cot. I also put on the TENs machine at this point, and kept it on until after the baby was born.
At 9.50am, my midwife arrived and did an internal and without telling me how far I was dilated just said I was well on the way and she would be sticking around. That was extremely comforting as I knew that if she was staying I must be fairly far along. She set up all her gear around me and then left me alone to continue breathing and focusing. I found it very comfortable on my own and didn't feel any of the pressure "to perform" as I did during my last labour. Still feeling good, I put on my earphones again and went on all fours on the bed leaning against a couple of rolled up duvets. I remained in this position resting until around 12.30pm and although the surges were fairly regular, I still felt like I had a ways to go. My midwife checked in on me and suggested I put in some work in order to ensure the baby arrived in the near future, rather than go into the night and miss another night's sleep. I told her I definitely felt that the surges were stronger while I was standing and rocking, so we both decided it would be a good idea to get me up and in that position. I asked my mom to bring my 16 month old daughter up to me, so I could nurse her to sleep for her nap and as soon as she latched on I had the first of 3 very strong surges that were fairly hard to breath through. As soon as she was asleep, I stood up and began rocking my hips while leaning on Jestin or the bed for support. I began to talk to the baby and let he/she know that it was safe to arrive. Fairly soon after, my surges became very regular and were almost on top of one another.
I still remained calm and was able to focus on my breathing. At around 1.50pm my little girl woke unexpectedly from her nap and my husband took her downstairs and my mom decided to take her for a short walk. At the same time, I felt a shift in the baby's position, almost as if it had dropped down and the pressure was incredible. I called out to my midwife and she came and sat by my side through the next few surges and at the same time rang her backup midwife to come. She said she would check my dilation if possible, but said if I felt like bearing down to just do what felt right for me. I couldn't believe how quickly things went from me thinking the birth of the baby would take all day to feeling like it could happen any moment. I really had to focus on my breathing and I started almost breathing while clenching my teeth. Just as the second midwife arrived my midwife scrapped the idea of doing an internal and instead laid out large plastic bags and absorbant sheets on the bedroom floor. My midwife explained that as soon as my waters went, the baby would probably arrive straight away. At about 2.25pm I thought I would really like to sit on the toilet as the pressure was getting so strong and my husband moved into the ensuite with me and I just had the urge to bear down and I gave one loud grunt and I heard a pop and my waters released. My midwife quickly came in and said to move off the toilet as soon as I was able and when I got back to the bedroom she asked where I wanted to be and I asked to sit down and she quickly placed a birthing stool under me. With the next surge I started to really yell (surprised even myself as I had been so quiet) and I felt the baby's head emerge. While just it's head was out I heard this tiny cry, which I didn't expect, and thought maybe the baby was out already and both midwifes said just one more push to deliver the shoulders and sure enough with one more long push the baby was fully delivered onto the bedroom floor at 2.37pm. It was absolutely incredible. They moved the birthing stool away and I went onto my knees and the baby was slid under me. The cord was very short, so I couldn't actually hold her, but was able to discover her sex myself. How exciting it was to have a second little girl. Just at that moment, my mom returned from the walk with my first daughter and my mom was able to run up the stairs to meet her 6th grandchild with the umbilical cord still attached. After the cord stopped pulsating, Jestin made the cut and wrapped the baby in a heated towel, while I went on my knees again to deliver the placenta. Soon after I was up on my own bed and nursing my little girl. It was so magical. I kept saying over and over again how wonderful it was to be at home and to have the baby in my arms in such a short amount of time. Once I was cleaned up and the baby was clothed, my husband brought my first daughter upstairs and a big wrapped present along with her new sister were waiting in the cosleeper by the bed. Everything happened just as I had hoped and even better than I could have imagined.
I have been so happy about sharing my birth story with anyone I meet. No longer do I have to talk about my first labour of 51 hours as now I can talk about how preparing yourself for a calm and positive birth and visualising your labour and delivery really can make all the difference. I wouldn't say my labour was painfree, but completely manageable and much quicker. The painful part only last a few hours and I was able to relax and allow the birth to happen and every step was so positive and my recovery has been so quick. It was all just so natural; no timing surges or unnecessary internals, we just relaxed and let nature run its course.
I am still nursing both of my little girls and so far my eldest gives loads of kisses and cuddles and doesn't take too much notice of the new addition to our family. I really credit your course and the homebirth scheme in Ireland for helping me achieve a birth I am so extremely proud of. I have been on cloud 9 since.
Thanks again Tracy for all your wonderful advice and for the great course we attended. Jestin and I have so much to be thankful for.
Dreaming of a Calm Birth
The workshop was the best thing that I did during my entire pregnancy. I feel so good every time I do the c.d. and in such a short time have developed such a positive attitude toward the labour. I have even dreamed about a calm birth where I am smiling. Thanks again,
3 - 10cm in one hour !
Hi girls, here’s my birth story (bit long).... Thank you all for the well wishes and congrats to everyone who has had their little bundles and loads of ‘baby birthing dust’ to anyone still waiting:)
So I was feeling great Thursday Jan 1st, I felt so energetic and good that day, the best I’d felt for months. We got home after a day of sightseeing with my Mum who had arrived 2 days previously, had a lovely meal (even some wine) and then later on that evening I lost the plug – no mistaking what it was. Then early hours of Friday morning Jan 2nd I woke up to feel my waters trickling, got out of bed and ‘gush’…. So I woke Stef (Dh), I took a quick shower, we finished packing my hospital bag, and headed off at about 9am. I felt so excited on the way to hospital coz I knew this was it – that I would soon be meeting my Luca – it was snowing quite heavily, Paris was white and very pretty.
Arrived at hospital and was installed in one of the labour & delivery rooms – they wanted things to get moving quickly as I had lost my waters and was Strep B positive. I was having contractions which the midwife felt needed to be boosted with a gel suppository as I’d been having contractions for weeks and she was worried that my body just wasn’t going to automatically kick start into full blast labour, so I agreed to the gel.
About an hour after inserting the gel she examines me – I’m 3cm dilated, so things are moving slowly. It’s nearly 2pm and Stef says to her that he thinks baby will be here before 4pm, she looked at him and said that it’s lovely that he’s being optimistic and all, but I’ll be lucky to give birth before the end of her shift at 10pm
Anyway she leaves us to it : me listening to hypnobirthing and Stef nice and chilled with his feet up reading a book. She leaves the room saying to shout if we need her.
So everything speeds up here – my contractions go from being 10 minutes apart to being literally on top of each other. I’m like this for about 45minutes or so… The pain is tough, but I’m breathing through it and just about managing – I’m using all the hypnobirthing techniques and it really kept me focused. The key was really to go with the pain, as soon as I tensed up it was more painful, whereas if I let my body relax and breathed deeply through the intense contractions I felt a lot better.
Stef can see that it’s intense and reminds me that if the pain is like this right now when I’m only 3cm dilated how will I cope for another few hours while I’m getting to 10cm. He wants to call the midwife to get some sort of pain relief.
Anyway, before we decide on anything my midwife comes back in, she takes one look at me and says ‘ooops you’ve lost that lovely smile’. This was a code between us, she’d already said that when I became really serious she would know that my labour was really painful.
She does a quick internal, yep 10cm !!! It is now 3pm, so in 1 hour I’ve dilated to 10cm.
She calls the nurse to get things set up for baby’s delivery. I’m in Shock !! Can’t believe it’s happened this quick !!
Myself and Dh just look at each other – this is it, we are finally going to meet our Luca !!
Before delivery she wants to turn baby’s head to correct position as it’s face up – she was absolutely FANTASTIC, she guides me through every contraction – we worked through it together. It was painful, but I was focused and very positive and every push brought me closer to Luca.
So after 25minutes of pushing Dh says ‘he is crowning, I see his dark hair, just a bit more and we’ll have him in our arms, come on my love, one more push’.
I could feel Luca’s head, I gave another push and he came out like a mini rocket. He was immediately placed on my chest and I just couldn’t believe it – absolute magic – every part of it : the birth, the baby, the happiness… Luca was born in under 3 hours.
Myself and Stef agreed that the birth was perfect – I never expected a pain free birth, I think that would be asking a bit too much. But what I wanted was a stress free and positive birth – I got the birth I wanted after having a tough one with Dd !!
I actually feel free – like a big hang up or fear has been put to rest!
Luca is lying next to me in his moses basket as I type this up – I can’t stop looking at him, he’s just gorgeous, can’t believe that big bundle of love was in me only a few days ago – my God no wonder I had heartburn, pressure, backache etc…but he was worth every ache and pain, the love is unreal and I know that this little man has changed my life forever.
Thanks again for the months of support and all the helpful tips & info we’ve shared.
Looking forward to a natural birth
I did the Gentlebirthing workshop at the weekend and I have to say it was fantastic. This is my second baby and I was quite nervous of how I would cope with the labour and delivery. While I wouldn't say my first was a bad experience I felt there has to be a better way and I want more options.
Already I feel so calm and know that I'm well able to have a natural birth.
When I look back at my first labour and delivery it's amazing how I told myself what was going to happen. I told myself, all be it subconciously that it was going to be long, that I would be able for the first stage but would need pain relief for the second, that my waters would go at home, that I wouldn't be confortable walking around and that's exactly what happened.
The weekend has put my mind in the right place and I'm really looking forward to the labour and delivery now. My DH also feels more in control.
I would recommend it for anyone who is nervous about how they will cope and for anyone who likes the idea of a natural birth but afraid of what it involves.
Turning Breech Babies
Just to let you know that I listened to your Breech CD from Saturday to Tuesday and when I went for a scan yesterday consultant confirmed that baby had turned!! yippee !!, was thrilled to bits with that news, had a fair idea myself that baby had turned , felt quite a lot of movement at the wend as you said I would, and then obviously could feel kicks much higher up, which feels so much more natural
Sleeping Like a Baby
I'm was finding it so difficult to sleep at night and the CDs are working wonders as I'm so relaxed. To be honest from just listening to the CD twice but my attitude has changed already and Im no longer afraid of the labour, I actually cant belive how quickly my mind has changed its way of thinking.. thanks again and i hope to get further in the CD's in the coming nights and weeks.
Christmas Baby !
Guess what - actually have time to post my birth story now!
Wee Rory is a dote, he is feeding 4oz every 4 hours and only generally wakes once in the night - lets hope it stays that way!
It all started on xmas eve around 1pm when the pains I had been getting for weeks became really regular, and I always went for a nap when DS went down in the early afternoon, but I just couldn't settle. Alarm bells rang, but I didn't say anything to anyone, I was just excited. My mam knew though, just by looking at me, and asked me to start timing the pains. They quickly became every 5 mins, although I wasn't too bothered by them. Hypnobirthing really is the business, I was sooo relaxed. I started insisting that we go shopping and finish decorating the sitting room (I knida knew this was my last chance), so I went shopping around 5pm (my mam was thinking I was mad, but I felt ok). She went with me, thinking I was going to go any minute! We got home around 5.30pm and I decided to call DH who was half an hour away at work. Then I started hoovering the sitting room! Seems bizarre now, but maybe I was doing some late nesting???
Anyhow, we got to the hospital and I was put on a trace where the contractions were showing up every 8, 7 then 6 mins. They were still manageable though. I was examined and they were talking about sending me home when they realised I was 3 - 4cms! Yay! We were left alone then so I turned down the lights and lay down to listen to my hypnobirthing music.
They were trying to get me to walk, but I wanted to conserve my energy.
The pains started getting more intense, so I went for a bath, which helped a lot. The pains were lasting for a min and a half at this stage, with only about a min between, some with no break, so I thought I should get out.
I went to the labour ward at this stage where I was examined again and was told I was 6 -7cms, hurrah! But the head was still way up high, the labour wasn't progressing. Even though I was coping fine with the pains (did I say how good hypnobirthing was?) I decided at this stage to go for the epi, as I had a feeling the waters were not going to break themselves, and it was going to be a long night.
I am so glad I did. The midwives were sure at 10pm xmas eve that I was going to have a very quick labour and baby would be born on xmas eve. Er, no! In the end, to get the head down, they tried breaking my waters (didn't work), then tried the drip (didn't work for the whole night, and baby didn't like it that much so they couldn't turn it up from the minimum).
In the end, we snoozed all night until, eventually, baby decided it was time to come at 8am Christmas morning. It was time to start pushing!
I only pushed for 8 minutes, and baby Rory reluctantly came into the world weighing a lovely 6lbs 13oz!
He is totally gorgeous, and I am so in love with him
I had such a positive birth, and despite the delay, it was perfect, the best christmas pressie we could ever have!
To make it even better, I was allowed home the same day so was home with Rory at 4pm, in time for christmas dinner!
Recovery has been great, had one superficial stitch which gave me no bother, and Rory latched on straightaway (although I won't be BF for long as won't have time when DH goes back to work!)
Better go to bed now - hope I haven't bored ye too much!
Good luck to all the mammies in waiting!!
Sorry for the delay in getting in touch but we've been busy getting to know our new baby. Emma Kate was born on 18th Jan 2008 at 13:31 weighing in at a healthy 10lbs 4oz.
Here is our story;
Braxton Hicks started about a week before the guess date. On the guess date I experienced surges throughout the day. I felt that something was starting but surges were still far apart and irregular. I decided not to say too much and we went for dinner that evening in Chan's of Bettystown (Highly reccomended). Got to bed that night at about midnight and was awoken at about two by some strong surges and a show. I woke Graham at half two and we started timing the surges. We were not sure if we were timing right as they were very close together but after quite a few we were sure they were about three minutes apart. I found the birthng ball very helpful and the surges manageable at this stage. Decided to get in the bath as the frequency of the surges made me a little uneasy and was hoping it would relax me. I listened to the practice cd throughout as we tried some deepenings but the surges were coming so fast we couldn't get focused before the next one started.
At about 5:30 we decided to leave for the hospital before traffic started to get bad as we live quite a distance from the hospital. Left at 6:30, dropping off our daughter along the way and checked in at Holles St. about 8:30.
We were brought straight to the delivery ward and got examined. Slightly disappointed to find out I was two cm. We had discussed going to a hotel room if this was the case but again the frequency of surges was a little unnerving.
We gave copies of our Birth Plan to the midwives and were surprised and delighted at how well received it was.
Surges at this stage were only one minute apart and felt mostly in my lower back. I constantly changed positions over the next few hours and continued to listen to the cd as I still could not get through the deepenings. The cd helped me focus on each surge. Graham constantly massaged my lower back and some midwives were quite amused to see the rolling pin coming out but it was very effective! I didn't find the shower much help as I had to remove the headphones and lost focus. A hot water bottle was some use but staff were reluctant to refill it, probably due to insurance reasons.
At 11:30 I asked to be examined and was relieved to hear I was eight cm. I was experiencing a lot of pressure at this stage and had the urge to push. The midwife said this was because the waters had not released so being so far gone we decided to go ahead with having them released in the hope of easing the pressure. Another reason to go ahead with it was they wanted to monitor baby's heart rate for twenty mins and I couldn't stay still for that long. It was done at initial check in and I found it very irritating. They said that if the waters were clear they wouldn't need to do this. Waters were very clear and healthy. It did help but I felt that exhaustion was kicking in due to not getting any rest between surges. After an hour I was offered the gas to take the edge off the surges and I admit it did help relax me. They continued for nearly an hour more before I felt Baby was ready to come out. The head midwife examined me and confirmed I was ready to birth. The midwives helped me into a sitting up position and I was happy to do this as I had been kneeling for some time and my legs were very tired.
The actual birth lasted six minutes and at 13:31 Emma Kate was brought into the world. She was placed on my chest and because there was no excessive bleeding the chord was allowed to finish pulsating. Graham cut the chord. Emma Kate latched on to feed which helped deliver the placenta.
She was very calm and alert and was responding to our voices straight away. Fortunately I didn't need any stitches or have any tears. I feel this was due to listening to my body and knowing when it was right for me to push.
Afterwards I felt very proud of what I achieved without opting for pain relief and felt quite well with good energy. Comparing this with my first labour , this was by far the better experience(In brief, on my first labour waters were released at 1cm, meconium in the waters, epidural, oxitocin, continuous monitoring, directed pushing, stitches and feeling dreadful afterwards).
Looking back now:
The staff of Holles St. were extremely attentive and caring and I was very happy with them apart from one or two issues which are:
I was appointed a trainee midwife who was very caring but her lack of experience came to light on some occasions.
The head midwife was excellent as she was very reassuring and encouraged me to follow my body's lead.
I would advise anyone opting to breastfeed to be well informed in advance. Unfortunately there is no set standard among the midwives and conflicting opinions can be misleading and confusing.
Graham was very supportive with the hypnobirthing both during the pregnancy and the labour. He was well informed as we had put alot of time and dedication into the preparation. It was such a relief to know that he could talk for me so I could just focus on my surges. His encouragement and support guided me through some tricky moments. He truly was the perfect birthing partner.
I will definitely be going the hypnobirthing route next time!
Wendy and Graham
New Years Eve Miracle
This is my account of the birth of our second baby using GentleBirth
Our lovely little boy came into the world at 9.30pm News Years night, weighing 7lbs and 10 ozs.
I woke up at 6.30 that morning with mild period cramps. I'd had one or two in the days shortly after Christmas but this usually happened after I'd been walking for a while. We got up, DH, DS and I, and started our day as normal. The cramps were still happening and in the midst of them I managed to do a bit of housework. My first interesting sensations!!
I was very calm and relaxed, and took DS for a little ramble around our estate that afternoon to give DH a chance to catch up on some work at home.
The cramps had stopped mid morning and did not start up again until about 4pm. There was a noticeable difference this time, they were stronger and sharper still perfectly manageable but I needed to use my breathing this time. There were a lot of visits to the bathroom and at times it felt like I was leaking rather than peeing and at about 5pm there was a lot of water released - this made me suspect that my waters had gone. DH was anxious at this stage for me to ring the hospital and let them know what was happening as it was likely that I would be going in that evening. So we did. And from then on things began to really speed up. I had to stop and breathe really deeply each time.
I contacted my sister who was on red alert to babysit for us. I told her at about 6 o'clock that there was still time but she had better hurry up just in case!! By 7 I was under a lot of pressure. The contractions were coming hard and fast and I was finding them quite painful but I wasn't going anywhere until DS was in bed!!!!!
We were in the car at 7.25 and the drive down was hard and I found it hard to breathe through the contractions - walking and keeping upright is the way to go!!!! However, I did find that blowing very loud and long, high pitched raspberries helped a lot!!!
We arrived at the hospital at 8 and I had to wait for a strong contraction to pass before I was able to get out of the car. We went straight up to the labour ward and they were surprised at how close together the contractions were coming.
I changed into my nightie and they examined me and after all that I was told I was only 2cm dilated! To say I was disappointed is an understatement!! I was on the bed being monitored and I found this very, very difficult. What I really wanted was to get up off that bed when the contractions were happening. I just could not lie down, I needed to be standing up. At the next examination I was 5cm and I climbed off the bed and put my arms around DH and kind of lowed into his neck. It helped a lot as the baby moved down this way.
And within the next ten mins or so, I felt this incredible urge to push. The contractions had stopped and there was a big build up of pressure and a funny sense of relief with the next contraction. It really is amazing the way your body takes over and just does its job â€“ this baby was coming whether or not I wanted it to!
Within an hour and a half of arriving at the hospital, our little boy was born! He was handed to me straight away and we had a really good cuddle and he had a nice cry for himself.
It was a fantastic experience!!!!
Throughout the latter part of my pregnancy I upped my listening to relaxation cds, read and reread Tracy's book, plus the excellent Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth. I logged on to this site several times a day and read all the positive birth stories I could get my hands on. I took reflexology sessions for the last month and just let my body do its job. It was a drug free birth although I have to be totally honest, I did want the epidural on hearing that I was only 2cm!! In the end, things progressed so quickly I didn't have time and I was glad afterwards. Our little boy was still awake an hour and a half after being born.
I put him to my breast but he wasn't really interested and he only really took it when we got back to the ward after midnight.
He is now almost four weeks old and a little treasure. I am really enjoying breastfeeding again and it is true what they say, the second is easier! His older brother is fantastic anyway, and all my fears concerning jealousy and not being able to spend one on one quality time with him anymore are unfounded! I am already thinking about our third baby!!!
Believing in Yourself = Positive Birth
At 12:30am on 3/12/07, I was in the bath when I felt a pop and got my first contraction. When I stood up to get out of the bath a few minutes later I had a show and my waters went. At this stage the contractions were 15 minutes apart, and we decided to make sure everything was ready in the hospital bag, and then go to bed and see if we could get a bit of sleep before things really got going. I started using the tens machine and rang the hospital to see which midwife was on duty. The contractions got closer together very quickly and we hadn't even got as far as bed yet, and they were 5 mins apart. I decided instead of going to bed, that I would have a shower and then we would head to the hospital. By the time I was getting out of the shower they were 4 mins apart so we left.
2:30am Arrived at hospital, was put on the monitor and then examined. Midwife advised I was 1/2cm to 1cm dilated. The options were to get into a bed in the hospital and send Tom home, or for us both to go home
3:30am Left hospital and went back home. Once I got home I got back into the shower as it was really helping with the lower back ache. After that I ran a bath and stayed in there for a while. I had tea and toast in the bath! I was still determined to get some sleep, so I got out of the bath, connected the tens machine again and tried to get into bed. At this point I didn't feel the tens was doing anything, and I was feeling the urge to push with the contractions.
6:15am We arrived at the hospital for the 2nd time. I was examined again and I was fully dilated.
6:30am We were taken into a room in the labour ward. We put the mattress from the bed on the floor under my knees and I leaned in over a birthing ball, rotating my hips. At this stage I used Gas and air for a little while. I'm not sure exactly what time I started to push.
7:25am I moved from the floor to the birthing stool
7:43am Baby Eliza was born at 9lb 2oz. No stitches needed. I didn't have the injection to bring on the placenta delivery, I just waited for it to happen naturally.
Overall I was extremely happy with everything and believe that the main reason it went so well was down to the fact that I was completely relaxed for the majority of my labour. Hypnobirthing helped me to focus on what I was doing and reinforced my belief that I could manage birthing without an epidural or any other kind of intervention. I found it extremely empowering to have a completely natural labour. The only stage where I had any doubts was when I arrived at the hospital feeling very tired and wondering if I had the energy to deal with giving birth. Once the midwife told me I was fully dilated this raised my spirits and I believe that it was just the fear that the contractions were going to get worse that was scaring me.
For anyone who wants to have a natural birth, I believe the secret to this is believing in yourself and that this is what your body is designed to do. Research how your body works in labour and as hard as it sounds given most of the stuff you have probably heard or seen about giving birth, relax. Its not like it is on tv shows!
Gentle Home Birth
Just to let you know we had our baby boy on Tuesday at home as planned except he arrived a bit earlier then we were expecting, his dates were different to ours and also he was making sure that he didn't miss out on his Christmas present this year.
We had a wonderful homebirth using GentleBirth and we couldn't have planned it any better. Began established labour at 1am and he was born at 8.31am. It wasn't a difficult labour at all and the delivery was my favourite part by far, everything was so bearable and like nothing I could have imagined.
If you ever want any more details or if anyone is interested in homebirths don't hesitate to contact me as we are more than willing to talk about it. We are having the best Christmas every and loving every second of it.
Feeling More Confident Every Day
The information and tips that Tracy provided were excellent and her ability to speak of her own and others personal experiences really helped to cement the beliefs I already held regarding the ability of everyone to have a calm, drug free birthing experience. Although I know I benefited greatly from attending the workshop I amazed by how much more confident my husband is about being able to cope with at the delivery of our baby (something that I know was playing on his mind a lot). He feels that he is now so much better equipped after the workshop.
The class was fantastic and has made an enormous difference to my expectation of a positive natural birth experience. I would highly recommend it. I feel it was definitely worth doing, even though I had already bought the home pack and had been practicing myself. It makes all the difference to do a workshop. It has given me a lot of personal confidence and confidence in the role of my birth partner during the birth process.
Confidence for Birth
GentleBirth is an excellent way of increasing my confidence for a natural birth.
Looking forward to Labor
I have just finished your book and for someone who had put off pregnancy because I had a huge fear of labour, I am totally cured and am now excited about the big day. I owe you so much already.
Sending Good Vibes to the Baby
Yesterday I went to a bookshop and I bought your book. I nearly read it in one go!!!!! It's very positive and my way of thinking is very much in line with yours. I am petrified, but determined to enjoy this pregnancy without fear.I want to enjoy my pregnancy and I want to send very good vibes to the baby (i don't want the baby to feel I am worried about the progress of the pregnancy and the outcome of this miracle!!)
The Better Birth Book
I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for your Better Birth book. I bought it a couple of weeks ago and haven't looked back. As far as I'm concerned, it should be a mandatory part of antenatal care to be given a copy to read. As a first time mum to be I found it brilliant from start to finish in terms of how well-written it is, how informative and relevant to Ireland (something lacking in other pregnancy books). I'm now as calm as anything about the birth !
Amazing Empowering Experience
My first birth was in the Rotunda 4 years ago. The birth was awful, I had a failed epidural and ended up in stirrups and with an episiotomy (which later became infected). My baby boy was pulled out using forceps and a vacuum. It was scary, humiliating (when I said I wanted to push they told me I wasn't ready - but I actually was!) and I felt awful (emotionally and physically) afterwards. Breastfeeding was very difficult and the baby took a long while to settle into a sleeping routine.
My daughter was born 2 years ago in Lourdes in Drogheda. There was only my husband, a midwife and me. She encouraged me to do "whatever felt right" during my labour so I went into whatever position felt natural and I had a good birth. No intervention, no drugs or stitches and baby was very content. I felt good afterwards and breastfeeding came easily but I did not like being in a noisy, busy (and unfortunately dirty) hospital.
This time I wanted a home birth. I wanted to go drug free and be relaxed and calm throughout so I practised Gentlebirthing during my pregnancy and read Dick Grantley Read, "Childbirth without fear" where he writes how childbirth is not meant to be painful. I also read Tracy Donegan's "Better Birth Book" several times. I felt very prepared and was really excited about the whole experience.
I had my first surge at 2.30am. It was very bearable. They came 20 mins apart for the first hour or so. I went downstairs and sat on the birthing ball. Everyone else was asleep and I just concentrated on staying calm and timing the surges to see if this was the real thing. At 4.50am the surges were 10 mins apart so I called my midwife (Susan Cooney, who is absolutely brilliant, I would definitely recommend her 046-9433414). My husband was with me at this stage, holding my hand and telling me funny stories during surges. Whenever I had a surge I would close my eyes and focus on staying calm and breathing through it, while he tried his best to distract me with his crazy stories.
At 6am my midwife arrived. My mam and mam-in-law arrived too, to look after our children when they woke up. We had tea and toast and everyone was in good form. I was actually a bit worried that this was not real labour because I was coping so well!!
At 6.45 my midwife examined me and said I was 2cm dialated but that my cervix was very stretchy so things were progressing nicely. I decided to get into the bath. The water was lovely so I stayed in there for about 1.5 hours, topping up the water every so often. My surges were coming fast by this stage and they were getting quite strong. I still remained quiet and focused through each one - they seemed less painful than when I went through my first and second labours. At 8.30am I knew then it was time to get out as baby was on way.
I went into the bedroom we had set up for the birth and sat on the birthing ball again. I only stayed on for a minute as I felt baby was coming, so I climbed up on the bed and started to push. After a few pushes I felt I wasn't getting anywhere and I got a little bit stressed but Susan and my hubby urged me to relax and once I did, baby slipped out just fine. It had been hard to push her out because her hand was beside her head but once I relaxed, it was ok.
She was born at 8.53am. She let a little squeak and then I popped her up to my breast and she started smelling and tasting it straight away. We let the cord pulsate for a few mins and then Susan clamped it, my hubby cut it and I delivered the placenta naturally with one gentle push.
It was an amazing, empowering experience. I was completely silent during my surges, using the techniques I had learned with gentlebirth. Because I had prepared myself, I managed the labour so much better than my first 2 births and it was definitely less painful - probably because I felt in control. My mam and mam-in-law could not believe a baby had been born so peacefully. They were in shock about the whole experience.
My children had slept through everything and when they woke at around 9am, they had a new little sister. It was so incredible seeing their faces when they came into the bedroom and saw April there.
Then Susan helped me take a bath and she put clean covers on the bed and even threw a load into the washing machine! She weighed April, 6lbs 14.5ozs and left us to have a rest.
The two nannies took the kids out and my hubby and I went to bed with our new gorgeous baby beside us.
April is 8 days old now and she's feeding great and sleeping great. She is very placid and I reckon the birth is one of the main reasons for that. Her brother and sister took really well to her, it was great that she was just here when they woke up last Tuesday morning. There was minimum disruption for them because she was born at home and I did not have to "go away" for a few days.
I would wholeheartedly recommend home birth. If I could go back in time I would have had all my children at home. It was truly wonderful.
Manageable Natural birth
I took GentleBirthing classes earlier this year. I definitely recommend the program! Our little son was born in May and it was a wonderful experience. I won't say it was easy, but with the techniques I learned in the classes, it was definitely manageable, I was very relaxed (the midwives didn't even believe I was in labour) and got to have the natural birth I'd wished for. Worth every penny! Good luck (Rollercoaster)
A New Vision of Childbirth
The GentleBirth course has succeeded in changing my vision of childbirth in just a weekend
We were impressed with the whole course and we very much liked the fact that Tracy had worked with different hospitals and was able to give information on their response to GentleBirthing. The videos were very good as a replacement of the visual images that are usually associated with birthing. Keep doing what you do!
The course was over two days and being 34 weeks pregnant, I was quite tired etc. yet I remained completely focused and never felt the time passing because the course was so interesting and Tracy is a great instructor and the course was very relevant and interactive. Keep running the course as is, its bound to become even more popular.
Enjoying Birth with GentleBirth
On the morning of the 4th of December I attended the labour ward for a check up appointment with the Domino midwives at 10am. I was 1 week overdue. I was offered a sweep but refused. I felt fine, was in no hurry and was not willing to do anything that could constitute helping matters along�. I was asked if there were any signs to which I replied â€œa few very dull aches that were barely noticeable on and off during the last couple of days certainly nothing more than I had experienced during the last 3 to 4 weeks and so did not take much notice.
I collected my son from school, went home and carried on. While I was eating my dinner at about six thirty I noticed my tummy was tightening and rising, I remember having to sit back further away from the table. This happened every so often throughout the evening. I started to slow breath with each surge. Even though I was not in the least uncomfortable or dare I say those words, pain�, I knew that it would help to speed up my babys journey. I went to bed at about nine, my husband joined me and we watched TV until about 11. It was a comedy show and I laughed all the way through whilst doing my breathing. ( I had planned on watching Gone With The Wind which was lying in wait in the DVD player as my last experience had been of comparative epic duration (2 DAYS)) but never got round to it.
I rested for about an hour and a half and then asked my husband to run a bath for me. I had practiced my relaxation and breathing techniques very often while in the bath so it felt so easy to actually do it for real. At this stages my surges were about 4 minutes apart, they had gone from 15 mins apart to 4mins apart in about 15 minutes. We called my midwife ( who was on call). I was so comfortable and relaxed that I worried that it was all just a false alarm and felt guilty about dragging her out of bed to meet me at the hospital. Needless to say I didn't enjoy my bath for much longer when she heard how far apart my surges were. We arrived at the hospital at 2:15am. I remember a security guard and a nurse outside the side entrance said something like Oh God love her� or such the like when I was going in and in the back of my head I was giggling. I felt like saying you think I'm in agony but I'm not! I'm actually enjoying this! But they wouldn't have believed me.
I had one internal check when I arrived. I was 4 centimetres. I then vomited but was otherwise fine. I was then put on the monitor for the mandatory 20 minutes. I was so comfortable there that I asked to stay. My husband was massaging the back of my neck quite deeply which really added to my relaxation. I could see the report printing from the machine with strength and length of surges. There were some that I didn't even feel. After a while I went down to the labour room. I was just about to sit back on the ball when my waters broke. With this the surges came faster yet with less intensity, I could feel that my baby was coming so I sat on the birthing stool with my husband behind me and instantly started to breath my baby down. My midwife looked up from her paperwork and could see the head crowning from across the room. I remember greeting another midwife as she entered the room. I controlled my breathing and eased my babys head out past the perineum without tearing it. There was no stinging sensation, I did not push and I was completely aware of everything that was going on. Susannah was born at 4am on the dot. (Scarlet O Hara would have only been on her way back to Tara after the fall of Atlanta at this stage)
I'm probably one of the most skeptical people you'd meet but after my first experience in giving birth (every horror story you've ever read) I resolved to try anything that didn't include taking drugs and having heard of hypnobirthing through a very good friend of mine I decided to try it. I read the book over and over again. I practically knew what was on every page. I avoided reading or watching anything that was negative about birth. I practiced breathing and relaxation almost everyday for 25 weeks and having started at a relaxation level way to high for words, eventually with a lot of work and determination I managed to come down to what I would call zero. By the end I could get to that ultimate relaxation place within 10 to 15 seconds. I practiced my breathing in the bath, lying in bed and as advised on the toilet which is why I was so comfortable with the birthing stool. After having this most positive and joyful experience I can honestly say that when they say let your body do its work, they are right. I just needed to train my mind to know what to expect. It isn't often that you hear someone saying that they had a wonderful experience and that they enjoyed every minute, if you do they've probably used GentleBirth.
GentleBirth Helps Even when things Don't Go to Plan
I attended Tracy's classes with my partner during the third trimester of my second pregnancy. I was very anxious to have a vaginal birth after an induction and emergency caesarean section three years before. I felt very anxious about labour and birth after a difficult experience the first time. I was determined to find a way to have more control over my labour and to try to resolve some of the fear that I felt.
GentleBirthing was suggested to me and it sounded like something that might help my partner and I to address these issues. I found the classes interesting and enjoyable. I took the time to listen to the cd's and practice the breathing techniques. I found the relaxation techniques and affirmations excellent during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I approached my 'guess date' feeling strong and prepared for my impending labour.
I went into labour naturally and found the techniques really helped me to relax, focus on my breathing and have the confidence to stay at home for as long as felt safe and comfortable. I was never panicked about getting to the hospital and felt the same on arrival at the delivery ward. The hospital staff remarked on how good and focused my breathing was during surges.
After many hours of 'back labour' the hospital staff informed us that our son would have to be born by caesarean section due to a brow presentation. Naturally we were disappointed but we knew that the safe delivery of our child was the priority. My partner and I asked for some time to adjust to the reality of another section and then proceeded calmly to enjoy our son's arrival. He latched on easily from the start. Apart from sore nipples the first few days, breastfeeding was effortless.
Even though my labour did not go as I had hoped, I found the techniques still helped me to stay relaxed and confident during my labour and unplanned c-section. I would recommend Tracy's classes to anyone who wishes to feel calm and confident during labour and especially to those trying for a VBAC.
Ethel and Tim
Michael and I want to thank you with all our hearts for everything you did to support Jakob's birth. We firmly believe that you were the reason we had the wonderful birth experience that we did. Your guidance, wisdom, calm demeanor and sense of humour sustained us both throughout the long day. We are so grateful to you!
Carolyn, Michael and Jakob
Thank you for all your wonderful help and support during Kashmira's birth and after. You inspired me to help other mothers have better birth experiences and have since taken doula training myself.
I want to thank you for the time you spent with myself and Dan as we waited for the birth of Ryan - and all that you did to take me through the hypnobirthing techniques.