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"No matter how fast things progress, you still have your breath." Noreen's assisted birth story.

Yesterday around 3pm I went to bed for a nap, woke up just before 4. When I went to the loo mucous plug had come away and there was a bloody show. Felt some lower abdominal cramping. Phoned maternity emergency room, confirmed this meant body was getting ready for labour and could start soon or be a few days. Surges started to happen regularly with no real break between then and going from mild to moderate and then strong very quickly. Waters released around the same time and continued to release. Phoned the maternity hospital who advised we come in, which I was relieved by as things seemed to be happening very quickly but at the same time I still expected to be sent home for another while. By the time we got there a urges were intense. Midwife did an exam and I was 7cm dilated so straight to delivery room.

Once I was in the delivery room surges continued to build and I asked about an epidural as the intensity plus the lack of a break between surges was really full on. When the midwife examined me I was already 10cm. I used the 6 in-6 out hypnobirthing technique throughout and it definitely helped, at times I doubted my own strength to keep going and my husband’s encouragement and knowledge from hypnobirthing was invaluable and kept me going. As the surges progressed the next exam showed our baby was in a transverse position so the midwife worked with me to use every surge to try and reposition. They also started me on an oxytocin drip but by the time the cannula and everything was set up (which surges kept interrupting) there wasn’t any time for it to take effect. The on call consultant needed to do an episiotomy and kiwi to help the baby as slight heart rate decreases were evident and there had been a grade 1 meconium as well.

Because everything happened so quickly hypnobirthing was the only tool I had to use and I don’t know how I would have coped without it. I still had moments of questioning whether I was strong enough to cope as the surges were so rapid but I think without hypnobirthing I would have felt much more panicked and struggled to cope. While we didn’t get near having time to talk about my birth preferences having developed the preferences helped me think through the different aspects and I felt more able to ask questions during delivery, e.g. about the level of episiotomy etc.

So from surges starting around 4:30 he was born by 8! Delighted he’s here with us now and so glad we did the antenatal course with you, we both felt so much more prepared.

Honestly it was totally different to what I had expected. I was fully aware expecting to go over dates and was preparing myself for how induction might play out, an early(ish) and rapid birth was so unexpected. Initially I was doubting myself that it was the real deal but then once we got to the hospital and the delivery room I was amazed by how my body knew what to do and I felt empowered enough to say what I wanted position wise. Thinking about it I think hypnobirthing antenatal preparation is even more important when things don’t unfold as expected as no matter how fast things progress you still have your breath!

I definitely didn’t expect to hear I was 7cm when we first got to the hospital but I was totally floored when we got upstairs less than 10mins later and I was already 10cm.

In terms of positions, I found leaning over the side of the bed on my elbows really helped me squat/bear down as things progressed. But I did find my legs needed a break as things went on so I knelt on the bed and put my arms over the head of the bed, it was really nice being able to rest my head on my arms between surges. Because we needed to check his position periodically I did a few as well lying on my left side and my right leg drawn towards my armpit, not pleasant!

Post-partum is definitely a learning curve, right now we’re smack bang in the middle of night 2 - Caelan is happy out once he’s on me but the minute I pop him down it’s like he’s been abandoned for hours!!! But what I’m finding helpful is that I knew to expect it, coming back to preparation again I guess. If I hadn’t heard night 2 stories from other people I would be assuming I was doing something wrong so I’m all for sharing realistic birth and postpartum stories.

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