** Heath Hudson Holland - 14th October 2018 - 3.93kg **
Due to having a PAPP-A level lower than 0.4 and having a higher BMI, the hospital had started interventions to bring labour on before 40 weeks. A stretch and sweep on Monday 8th October had been unsuccessful. On examination, my cervix was soft but not dilated yet. A follow up appointment on Saturday 13th October resulted in another stretch and sweep. This time it was more successful and the midwife said I was 2-3cm dilated. What a relief! I had an induction time on Wednesday hanging over my head, I was very emotional to hear my dilation measure and hopeful things would start moving in the right direction.
On Saturday night, I started feeling more mild, regular surges but my husband, Sam, and I remained calm and focused. We decided on watching the classic movie Notting Hill to keep things relaxed. We laughed at the funny parts (there were so many we hadn't noticed before) and I used my breathing techniques to get through each surge. The surges didn't stick around and wore off after a while so we switched the lights off and went to sleep. At 3am on Sunday 14th October, I woke from a dream in which I was having a surge. In actual fact, my surges were happening in real life too! I put lavender essential oil in my diffuser and switches it on, grabbed my phone, started playing the affirmation track and breathed through each surge whilst letting Sam get a bit more rest.
At 0340 am I passed my mucous plug and woke Sam to tell him I thought things were happening Over the next 7 hours, Sam supported me through each and every surge. I tried countless positions at home to move things along - sitting on the fit ball leaning over the bed with Sam on the floor doing soft touch motions on my back, lying on my left side in bed with a pillow between my legs, in the shower standing up, in the shower on all fours with Sam spraying the shower head in circular motions on my back, to name a few.
At 0825am my surges were a minute long and 3 minutes apart so we called the hospital. They suggested we start heading in so we requested a midwife familiar with hypnobirthing if possible. On getting out of the shower, my surges started wearing off a bit so Sam and I decided to stay at home a little longer until they picked up again.
Looking back now, I'm so grateful we made this decision as it allowed me to really get into 'the zone.' At 10am we got in the car to drive to the hospital. Sam put my bluetooth headphones on me so I could listen to the Hypnobirthing tracks on the way. Surges in the car were more powerful as baby was positioned sideways meaning there was more pressure on my back.
We made it to the birthing suite and 1030am. Upon arrival, the blinds were drawn, soft gentle
music was already playing and our midwife only ever whispered. Sam set up our diffuser with lavender essential oil, place my visualisation board somewhere I would see it and turned on some colour-changing LED lights we'd bought with us. My midwife was given my birthing plan and she offered me the use of a wireless baby monitor. I gratefully accepted this as it would mean I could be more mobile without wires attached to me.
On examining me, my midwife chose to respect my requests on my birthing plan and not indicate how my centimetres I was. I feared knowing I hadn't 'progressed' would cloud my focus. Little did I know that at this point I was 4.5cm dilated. Had I known this at the time I feel I would have lost confidence in myself so was grateful that I had made this decision on my birthing plan. I experienced surges on the bed and sat up for a little while before the pressure on my back became too intense. My midwife suggested I kneel on the floor and lean over the fit ball instead. This position worked much better for me and I continued to breathe through each surge, taking each one on separately and remaining focused on the here and now. As baby descended, the pressure in my lower back intensified so the midwife taught Sam counter-pressure techniques on my hips whilst she applied circular motions and counter pressure on the middle of my lower back. As each wave came, I would say 'here's another one' and Sam and the midwife would apply counter pressure. By this point, the surges were getting very close together and I was feeling far more sensations than I had previously. I found that breathing in through my nose slowly and moaning the breath out helped.
Not long after, I started to feel the urge to bear down. I had requested not to be told 'when to push' from the midwife. I was apprehensive as I never had the urge to push during the birth of our first child and didn't know if bearing down now was the correct thing to do. I went through a phase of doubting myself and the process and not knowing how many centimetres I was only made things more tricky. My midwife reassured me by telling me to listen to my body and go with my instincts. She suggested I sit right back onto my legs when a surge came and to move my knees further apart to open my pelvis more.
With each following surge that came, counter pressure was applied, I sat back on my legs, I was more vocal and baby descended the birthing canal. The midwife also applied warm water compresses to my perineum to reduced the chance of tearing.
At 1236pm our beautiful baby boy Heath Hudson, measuring 8lb 11oz, was born in the caul before my membranes released as his shoulder came out. Heath was born with a short umbilical cord (just like our first baby). The midwife proceeded to follow our requests for delayed cord clamping before I could move on to the bed to initiate skin to skin time and immediate breastfeeding with our gorgeous little boy.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that this birthing experience has been truly life changing. The fact that I could get into a positive mindset and birth a baby med-free still amazes me. It has undoubtedly left me thinking "if my body and mind can do this, what else can I do?"
I am so grateful to have learnt so much from Laura's True Focus Hypnobirthing classes and then to have such a supportive midwife present on the day. My body is recovering quicker this time than with my first baby and the epidural I had with her. I feel more mobile, more energetic and my milk came in on the morning of day 2! Baby Heath Hudson is feeding incredibly well and he is the most chilled out little bundle. Sam and I are truly blessed and can't wait to start our life together now as a family of four.