Juniper’s Birth 6th March 2020

This birth story starts when I was 9 days overdue. I knew that induction would be necessary at two weeks over, but at my routine appointment my midwife informed me that I would be induced the next day due to the hospital being fully booked on the weekend. I was not happy about being talked into an induction early because it better suited the hospital schedule and I was really set on having an active labour without monitoring, so I definitely had a bit of a stress out.

I reluctantly agreed to visit the assessment unit the following day and my husband and I went home and discussed our options using the BRAIN method that we’d been taught in hypnobirthing class – we both decided to try to delay the induction as much as possible if safe to do so. I then put the “coming out script” on and relaxed to this for a while.

At 10 days over I was assessed at hospital and baby was doing fabulously. I’d had an excellent pregnancy and I was very active throughout so everyone agreed to give me two more days before I would be induced. The midwife told me I was 3cm already and sent me home with a stretch and sweep. The fact that my cervix was responding gave me some confidence in my ability to birth naturally and in the event that I didn’t go into labour on my own, having a solid idea of what the induction process would be like really helped me to accept this new birth plan and eased my worries.

My husband and I decided the best thing to do was to relax at home and get oxytocin flowing as much as possible. He cooked me a delicious meal, gave me a lovely light-touch massage and we watched a feel-good film together – I had done all of the things in the past week to get labour going (pineapple, acupuncture, curb-walking etc) and I felt I just needed to let go. We listened to positive affirmations together and I relaxed to the come on out script a few times.

At 2am the next day I was woken up by period-like pains. I knew instinctively that labour was happening and that I needed to rest. I told my husband I was in labour and to get some rest. I took some panadol and read my book and drifted in and out of sleep. My surges were around 10 minutes apart and very manageable and slowly ramped up until I was only able to read between surges and had to breathe through them using ‘up’ breathing.

My husband woke up at 6am and made us breakfast as I was aware of  the need to keep my energy up. By about 7am I found sitting on my knees leaning over the bed to be more comfortable than lying down and my surges were every 4-5 minutes and more regular. My husband gave me some light-touch massage at this point.

At around 8am we called the midwife who came to see us at our house. I had stated in my birth plan that I didn’t want to know how many CMs dilated I was in labour as I wanted to stay in my zone, so she examined me and gave some instructions to my husband about travelling to Birthcare. I was 4cm but had no idea and didn’t think I was in active labour at that point. I felt fine, I didn’t experience contractions in my stomach or a tightening at all in labour, only period-like sensations.

I was breathing through surges and visualising riding the crest of a wave during them. I tried a TENS machine at this point but after a few hours decided I didn’t enjoy the sensation and I preferred to labour without it. I mostly laboured on my knees, bent over the sofa and even managed to doze a bit between surges.

By around lunchtime I had ditched the TENS machine because I wanted a shower and pretty much laboured in there for the next few hours. The sensation of the water really soothed me and I much preferred the powerful shower on my back whilst I leant forward. I was really in the zone and time flew by, I continued my up breathing and some of the surges were pretty powerful at this point.

After an hour of the surges coming every two minutes we called the midwife and decided to head to Birthcare or hospital if a pool was available. I had a bit of a wobble at this point and convinced myself I was in very early labour and that the surges were bound to get more powerful so I wanted options for pain relief. My husband helped me to relax and focus by going through some positive affirmations.

Getting dressed was really difficult but I made it into the car and just as we left home I yelled at my husband to go back as I really needed a number two, he hesitated and then I decided to just head for hospital and hold it in (they had a pool available). I continued my breathing and this part of the labour that I dreaded was not as bad as feared. I was very much in the zone of getting there.

Upon arrival at the hospital at around 3pm we waited for our midwife to arrive and the hospital midwife started to fill the pool, I spent a while labouring over the side of the bath and then had the urge to go to the toilet again so spent some time breathing on the loo. Once our midwife arrived she examined me, at which point my waters broke and I started shaking uncontrollably, I felt so much adrenaline and had the thought that it could be time to push but dismissed it as wishful thinking as everything felt so manageable at that point. I asked the midwife if I could explore pain relief options and she said with a smile I wasn’t going to need it, I asked if I was ready to push and she said yes so I got in the bath (which felt amazing) and started my down breathing whilst kneeling over the side whilst my husband kept my breathing focussed.

After around 45 minutes I felt like I needed to move into a better position so I went into a squat position leaning backwards and my husband said the head appeared – he hadn’t planned on being at the business end so he got a bit of a shock! I felt a big pressure (which I don’t recall being painful) and after a couple of pushes the head was out, after another push my gorgeous baby was brought onto my chest at 4.30pm and I genuinely couldn’t believe that she was here and we’d done it! Although undeniably not in early labour anymore, I still couldn’t believe that I had birthed a baby!

I felt incredibly proud of my body and very proud that we stuck to our guns and gave our baby the chance to come out naturally, safely and gently when she was ready.

Even if the birth had taken another turn, I am convinced it would have still been a positive experience because of the tools that hypnobirthing gave us. I was so calm throughout (if you knew me, you wouldn’t believe it) and the idea that fear of the birthing process is learnt really resonated with me. I had a few minor complications to deal with after the birth and spent the night in hospital and hypnobirthing really helped me breathe through this, remain calm and focus on the baby. I would recommend hypnobirthing to everyone – thank you so much Helen!