Autumn, Martin and Louie
Autumn and Martin did a group Hypnobirthing course to prepare for the birth of their second baby, a planned VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean)
“Everyone assumes that once you’ve had a baby, you’ll know what to expect and what to do the second time around – but that was certainly not the case for me! My second pregnancy was filled with uncertainty, anxiety and doubt. After having an unplanned caesarean for breech presentation after going into spontaneous labour at 35 weeks’ gestation with my first born, I was eager to have a vaginal birth this time. However, baby had a different agenda (don’t they always?!) and stubbornly remained breech at 35 weeks.
With Meg’s advice I started a daily spinning babies routine, concentrated on my posture and saw an osteopath. Finally, at 36 weeks baby chose to turn head down…..on pancake day – what a great day to flip!
With a vaginal birth firmly back on the agenda, I remained steadfast in declining any form of intervention. My due date came and went but I ignored all talk of induction and sweeps. I trusted that my baby would come when they were ready. And sure enough, at 40+5, my waters broke in the middle of the night. Contractions started pretty quickly so I woke my husband and called my mum to take care of my eldest. I was keen to labour at home as long as possible. The contractions were manageable and so my husband and I spent some time chatting, laughing and eating toast. But just 30 minutes later my contractions were lasting more than a minute and were coming every few minutes so we decided to head in to the birth centre.
In the car I put my ear phones in and started my hypnobirthing playlist. I used the ‘up breathing’ that Meg had taught us and breathed through the contractions. We arrived at the birth centre, where I declined an initial vaginal exam as I just wanted to get settled in our room. Martin put up the fairy lights and photos I’d had printed, set out our battery operated candles and asked the midwife to dim all the lights. He got out our Bluetooth speaker and put on my playlist – honestly, it was beautiful!
The contractions started to become really intense and I started to doubt whether I could do this. During each contraction my legs would shake uncontrollably, but as soon as they had past their peak, I knew I’d be able to handle the next one. At this point the midwives were hesitant about me getting into the pool as they suspected I was only in early labour as I was still so calm. But I was pretty sure I was further along than they thought so I asked for an examination. No one was more surprised than me though to hear the midwife to instruct someone to start filling the pool as I was fully dilated! I couldn’t believe I’d made it to 10cm purely through hypnobirthing techniques alone – and yet I had!
The relief I felt when I got into the water was pure bliss. I shed a few happy tears as I let the water hold me. I have such a vivid memory of relaxing in the pool, listening to my favourite tracks and watching daylight slowly flood the room as the sun rose. I asked for some gas and air and felt my body start to instinctively push.
After an hour or so I started to get concerned that I felt the ‘pushiness’ leave my contractions. I got out of the pool and an examination revealed I still had a lot of waters bulging and baby hadn’t really descended. After a chat with the doctor, the midwives wanted to transfer me to labour ward so they could break my waters as baby’s head was now very swollen. I agreed, as I felt like we needed some assistance now and there was little they could do in the midwife-led unit.
My remaining waters were broken and whilst baby did descend a bit more, the monitoring showed the baby’s heart rate was not recovering after contractions. Forceps were recommended, and whilst I really had hoped to avoid an instrumental birth, I knew that this was the best course of action now that baby was distressed. The consultant reassured me that baby would soon be here and we could do it in the room without going to theatre. I stayed calm, still breathing through each contraction and kept my eyes firmly closed, staying fully ‘in the zone’! One push later and I birthed baby’s head. I reached down and touched my baby – incredible! With the next contraction, baby was out and placed straight onto my chest, for me to discover we had a little boy!
I was quickly stitched up while I cuddled our son. We were left uninterrupted for a good 2 hours (apart from being brought the infamous NHS tea and toast!). We had skin to skin and initiated breastfeeding and just enjoyed gazing at our boy. We were discharged after his 6 hour check and home that evening to start our life as a family of four. “