At 3:43am on the 17th of March 2020 I woke up to an intense surge. Not long after that, another one came and another. I had been having Braxton Hicks for a couple weeks before, but these definitely felt different. I woke my husband up and he started timing the surges. They were already between 3 and 3 and a half minutes apart.
During this time I used a lavender scented face cloth to breath in while the surges came. We had been diffusing lavender essential oils in the weeks building up to the birth while listening to the hypnobirthing audios, especially the Rainbow Relaxation which we listened to every night for about 6 weeks before the birth.
Because my surges were already so close together, we contacted our midwife and had to leave for the hospital immediately. In the car, I listened to some of my favorite acoustic songs from a playlist I created. I found this helped to keep me calm and relaxed while driving in the car. I also used my surge breathing and 5-4-3-2-1 relaxation technique to manage the surges throughout the drive.
When we got to the hospital, I remained relaxed, listening to the Rainbow Relaxation while I sat on a birthing ball and walked around as much as I could between surges. I envisioned my cervix opening and thinning as the surges came. My husband helped with light touch massage and applying a wheat bag to my lower back which really helped with the discomfort. He also reminded me to breath and relax, as we had planned and prepared for before. I continued to smell the lavender scented face cloth and recite to myself the ‘Lavender’ relaxation technique.
After about 2 hours, we moved to the birthing pool. The warm water provided a welcome relief from the intensity of the surges. The lights were off and we played the Rainbow Relaxation. As the surges became more intense we changed the music to just the hypnobirthing sounds, without any narrations. Moving through the transition phase was the hardest part. I found that I really had to dig deep to remain relaxed and kept reminding myself that I could do it! I used all my mental strength to try to relax my body and bear down with the intense surges that followed.
The expulsion reflex was so intense, my whole body was taken over! I had an overwhelmingly strong urge to push and couldn’t help but make loud groans as I did. I tried to listen to my body and do what felt right. My midwife then advised that I use the energy I would to make the sounds to really bear down and focus on moving the baby down. This really helped. My baby was having trouble moving under my pubic bone and I had to start pushing harder than before to help move her.
My midwife noticed the amniotic sac was still intact and was causing a blockage for baby to move down. She nicked the sac and I felt a major relief in pressure. After a couple more pushes, my baby’s head was crowning. I tried to take the next part as slow as I could, but again the overwhelming urge to push took over. I touched my baby girl’s head as it was coming out and it gave me the motivation I needed to focus on breathing her down and out. After another 2 or 3 surges her head was fully out and I got to see her little face for the first time. I waited for the next surge and with one more push she was out.
I grabbed her and lifted her out of the water and onto my chest. This was the most incredible moment! My husband and I cried tears of pure joy. Our little girl was here. After soaking in our precious baby girl, I took a moment to acknowledge the amazing thing my body had just achieved. A fully natural birth, using only my breath and mind power to birth my baby. I had a huge sense of pride in myself and my body. Our little girl weighed 3.49kgs and was 50cm long. She was so alert and responsive following the birth. I also felt really good afterwards and was able to start breastfeeding shortly after the birth.
My midwife was so supportive of the way we wanted to birth and it was such a huge help to have her on board with our birth ‘plan’ and taking a really ‘hands-off’ approach. We had very little interventions other than checking on baby regularly with the doppler.
My husband was also an incredible birth support person and I couldn’t have done it without his attentiveness and physical, emotional and mental support. Thank you to Helen for giving us all the tools we needed to experience a beautiful birth!
Lots of love
Lisa, Monet and Addison ❤️
PS. I wrote down 4 hours in my book as you suggested and it was pretty spot on! My labour started at around 3:43 and she was born at 9:41. I was in active labour for almost exactly 4 hours! Crazy coincidence I’d say 😊