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The right birth on the day – Elly’s story

The right birth on the day’, a key lesson I learnt during my Wise Hippo hypnobirthing course.

It hurts so much, nothing you do will help!

A lot of my friends couldn’t understand why I was ‘bothering’ with something that ‘won’t help’. I was told ‘it hurts so much, nothing you do will help’, there was also a lot of eye rolling. So immediately I was faced with negativity. At 26 weeks pregnant, with a big bump and feeling exhausted these were the last ‘friendly’ bits of advice I needed…

I was ready to jump on board, to make my outlook for birth positive. So here is my hypnobirthing journey!

Firstly I ought to start by telling you I suffer from anxiety and have a big phobia of hospitals and surgery. Previous experiences have left me with the hugest fear, so when I decided to opt for a home birth (this news also received by friends with utter horror), I was looking for something, anything to support me. I stumbled across hypnobirthing online and after a little research I emailed the Wise Hippo and the local course leader contacted me. After much discussion with Rob (husband and birthing partner extraordinaire) we decided to go ahead.

We started in January and opted to do it one to one at home. Zoe arrived and from the word go I was feeling positive. We had tea and biscuits (obviously a good starter) and we went through our fears. Zoe is great and we got along really well. She likes Sia. She named her daughter Sia. Queue the theme tune to my birth. Yep that actually happened.

The birthing partner role is key

What I loved about the course is how involved Rob was. It really highlights the birthing partner and sharing the experience together. This is what got me through the birth, by having learnt the various methods together we were ready for anything! I was feeling calm and relaxed and was regularly visiting my beach house to take a break from my worries.

By 39 weeks I felt completely ready. I was excited to meet our little girl and I wasn’t scared anymore. 8 weeks of listening to my Wise Hippo MP3s and having Zoe’s support I just couldn’t wait for it to begin!

I’m feeling calm and relaxed. So calm and relaxed.

24th March, due date. I woke up so excited. I knew nothing was going to happen, but I secretly wished it would. A quick toilet trip (it felt like the 100th of the day) and panic. THE PLUG! Oh my god. It sunk in. I’m going to have a baby. It’s real. It’s not just a bump. I felt a bit fuzzy the rest of the day. I think it was finally sinking in…

That night Rob set the pool up. We knew it could be days but we wanted to be ready. The dining room reconfigured as a tranquil birthing room!

Good Friday, 25th March. I’d been recommended to try acupuncture if I was getting impatient so off I waddled into the village to see a lady who runs an acupuncture business from home. Now I’ve had acupuncture before so knew vaguely what to expect… but within 10 minutes I was very dizzy and nauseous and by the end I wanted to go to bed. I waddled the 5 minutes home and all of a sudden ZAP! Oww my bum. A shooting pain. Half an hour later ZAP in my bum again. And again. I didn’t say anything. I thought it was twinges from the needles. So a big fat curry for dinner then off to bed.

ZAP! Owww my bum. What was that?

10pm. I couldn’t get comfortable. I started to think maybe it was contractions. I turned on my contraction app (yes it’s a thing, and a great one!) and started to monitor. They were actually 10 minutes apart. This was it. I was so excited. I crept downstairs and prepared for my large bump to become baby!

Well it doesn’t happen that quickly. Well for me it didn’t! The night was long and I spent the whole time standing up. All contractions were in my bum. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t lie down. My feet!!! The app I used was fab. I really focused on timing them and by 6am they were about 6 mins apart. I had spent the night pacing the house, watching The Big Bang Theory and listening to music. It was Sia. She became a bit of a theme tune to the birth. My dance moves with the bump were epic. The yoga lunging totally goes to ‘Alive’. In her words…

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing. I’m aliiiiiiiiiiive!

And I was breathing. I was still feeling really positive and breathing 54321 through every surge. That’s right I was so relaxed I’d moved on from the ‘painful contraction’ to a surge. But my feet were bloody sore!

Breathe 54321

Saturday, 26th March. By 8am my surges were more intense and longer but I was focused and calm. The mother in law had now arrived, (no she’s not one of those, she’s awesome and my other birthing partner!) and she and Rob helped me through each surge. They’d both attended the course so were aware of how I wanted to do things. They were amazing. 3 Harry Potter films later (yes I’m obsessed) it was 6pm. Surges 4-5 mins apart and I was fine. I was doing it. The breathing was key and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

It seemed like a competition and I was totally winning!

Now my birth plan was rigid, but in the back of my mind I could hear Zoe saying ‘have the right birth on the day for you’. When the midwife arrived I opted for an examination (against my plan) as I wanted to see how far I’d got, it seemed like a competition now and I was totally winning. 6cm! I was thrilled. I boasted. Totally impressed with myself.

By 11pm I got in the pool. My dream pool. My beautiful idyllic birth plan water birth. NOPE. It wasn’t. Because of the surges all being in my bum I just couldn’t get comfortable. Was this it? My dream birth over? Panic set in. Queue epic birthing partner. Rob stared in my eyes, we breathed together, 54321, and we discussed the right birth for us. I calmed down and got out.

Was this it? My dream birth over?

Easter Sunday, 27th March. 1am the surges were intense and I was tiring. My legs felt like jelly. I’d been awake and standing for 36hrs and I was exhausted. I had another examination just to see where we were. Waters broke and I was told I was 7cm. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 1cm in 7 hours??? Panic again. Rob to the rescue.

The midwives were whispering and I was getting wound up. Rob took them to one side (part of the birth plan, and a great idea, thanks Zoe!). He came back and said to me we want to call an ambulance. Is that ok?

An ambulance? Nooooooo

Now. The day before this was my worst nightmare. But now. Yes please! I was tired and I wanted help. I just kept saying to myself, Zoe would say have the right birth for you, so I did. I accepted the plan needed to change.

The 15 min ambulance journey wasn’t great (I got the lights and siren, totally dramatic!) I took gas and air and held my mums hand. Yep birth partner number 3 was called in! I was rushed to the delivery room where I soon found out the reason I’d come in was due to difficulty in monitoring the heart beat. It continued to drop out until they got me on my back with my legs behind my head. My mum held my legs. Great 👍🏻.

It’s like doing a poo…

Heartbeat back and stable, I was suddenly 10cm. It’s time to push she yelled. Uhoh. It’s like doing a poo the midwife said. DO A BIG POO!!!

The next 2 hours hurt. I’m not going to lie.

Easter Sunday, 5.33am. After much jiggling of baby’s shoulders (which were stuck), and three lovely ladies with their heads in my area (dignity out the door) and emergency buzzers going off she was here… MY BABY!

An Easter baby. My own Easter bunny 💜

I couldn’t believe she was here. There she lay on my chest. The most amazing moment of my life!

I had the injection (against the plan but I wanted to get it over and done with) and BEEEEEP the emergency buzzer. They all flew in again. You need surgery.

Surgery? You’ve got to be kidding me?!

The worst thing they could have said to me. Surgery? Really? I’ve come to a hospital what more do you want?!!!! But I stopped myself. I needed to get into my wise hippo zone. The beach house. The anaesthetist held my hand and wheeled me away.

3hrs later I’m in recovery after removal of a retained placenta, a second degree tear and major blood loss. Yeh it sounds dramatic, but now having had surgery whilst awake twice in my life it really wasn’t that bad. I was at my beach house!

So that’s my birth story! Amazing eh.

No it didn’t go to plan, no I didn’t get my dream birth and yes it hurt. But I had the right birth for us on the day and that’s all that matters!

Zoe was amazing and since Violets birth she’s been a great support and a good friend. Having this support is invaluable and not something I expected from the course. Wise Hippo bravo.

Hypnobirthing wasn’t what I expected, and I certainly didn’t have a beautiful birth (it was pretty ugly actually), but I now have the most beautiful little girl. My heart melts everytime I see her.

I used the course to help me with things I’d never thought I’d cope with again. The ambulance ride, the surgery, the change of plan. So thank you for guiding me through a tough time and helping me understand how to make it as calm and as relaxing as it could be.

I learnt so much and despite moving away from the birth plan we had the right birth for us on the day. And that just makes it perfect! I genuinely couldn’t have done it so calmly without what I’d learnt. So thank you hypnobirthing. Round of applause.

Violet Emilia Rose 27/03/16, 5.33am, 7lb 7oz

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