“Early stage labour started around 6.30am with mild surges that felt like menstrual cramps in my stomach. The surges were completely manageable with the hypno breathing and by 9am we decided to go into the hospital.
Triage was uncomfortable. The room was tiny and hot. While we only stayed in triage for 40 minutes, it was in triage where I had my first wobble! Actually, it happened during the move from triage to the birthing suite. I guess it was bound to happen! I had sat in a hot and tiny room; the gas and air (offered in triage) made me feel sick (the breathing technique was a much better way to get through the surge); the teaching assistant nurse who examined me conducted an internal exam, which was uncomfortable and required a senior nurse to “check” – meaning I had to have a second uncomfortable internal exam.
Eventually, I was taken to the birthing suite but they took me to the wrong room! I was completely frustrated at this point, and feeling beside myself, but my trusty Mark reminded me to “come back” and assisted me through my surges with breathing and telling me – a ton of times — to “relax”.
I think the main point here is if you are having hospital/birthing centre birth BE AWARE of transition periods. As you reminded us Jo, many times, to be aware of these transition periods. I had to keep reminding myself that I’m not in a bubble where I can tell the world to “stop and wait” – I’m having a baby!
I realised I really needed to focus. I had to have the will power to get back to the breathing, to find my most comfortable position and to get into a rhythm of focus, breath and position.
Once inside the birthing suite, I found my comfortable position, a yoga position on all fours. Mark was a star throughout! He used the contraction app. I told him when to start the app (at the start of the surge) and when to stop. It gave him a “job” and as the surges were increasing in frequency he was able to remind me “ok you’re 2 minutes apart… you’re 1 minute apart”. This helped me not only to get ready mentally and physically (in position, for my next surge), but helped me remain focused and in some small way have some control. All the while, and in between the surges, Mark used light touch massage on my lower back. In fact, he became my modified TENS machine!
I forgot to mention we brought the TENS machine, but forgot to check the TENS machine bag BEFORE we put it in our overnight bag – big mistake, big, because there were no wires, in the bag, for the TENS machine! If you want to bring a TENS machine, make sure you check your TENS machine bag before you leave home! This could have been another wobble moment waiting to happen, but because I was so focused with my rhythm it didn’t throw me off focus. I just forgot about it and went straight back to breathing.
We had great support from the birthing suite midwifes. They read our birth plan and we told them we were using hypnotherapy, they were encouraging from the very start. They even asked “are there any words you want us not to use?!” They were also very conscious of the breathing and really helped assist with my breathing techniques. At the very end when I almost caught myself breathing “too hard and too fast”, the midwife coaxed me in a very soothing tone, “relax, don’t breathe too hard”.
So our darling girl Eleanor was born (weighing 8Ibs) at 11.33am, an hour and a half after we arrived into the birthing suite, while listening to the Depthometer script (on repeat by now) while I was squatting with Mark massaging my back.
Jo, you had told us to visualise how many hours you wanted it to last. I said to myself, at the time – “ok, 2 hours! I want 2 hours for the active birth” and well, I did it in one hour and a half! Mark and I want to thank you Jo for this incredible birthing experience. I wish the rest of the hypnofamily all the best for your journeys ahead. Stay focussed and in Jo’s words, “You can do it. You know you can”.
Much love and hugs, Averil, Mark, Penny and Baby Eleanor”