The Birth Story of Charlotte – Our Hypnobirthing Baby
On Sunday 6th May, I woke like every other day, I was almost 36 weeks pregnant and was relieved that I had a free day to get some things done around the house. When I first got up and went to the toilet and that’s when I noticed a lot of clear fluid, I was a little shocked and tried to brush it off but felt that something had happened. When I stood up it happened again but on a much bigger scale and that’s when I knew that my waters had gone. I went to wake my husband Craig, rang my local MAC unit and they advised me to come in to confirm, but I already knew!
I had already packed most of my hospital bag the week before as I always had a feeling that my baby would be early. I was very calm and was sure to bring my hypnobirthing toolkit with me – I had my birthing affirmations all over the place and was very keen to make sure I scooped these up with me before we left.
I was very conscious that I hadn’t yet written my birth preferences – this was one of the jobs I had intended to do on this very day! I remember trying to write it out in the car whilst Craig put on some music. I knew exactly what I wanted to write on my birth preferences and was keen to get them written down as soon as possible, if my contractions were to start I wanted to go into my zone and not be disturbed and by having everything written down.
When we arrived at the hospital I agreed to a vaginal examination which confirmed that my waters had gone, due to Charlotte being premature the obstetrician on duty came round to explain what they felt was best. I made sure to ask lots of questions and they advised that if contractions started naturally that we would just go with the flow and if they didn’t they would send me on my way after 24 hours of monitoring and re access in a weeks’ time.
Craig went home to sort out some bits and pieces and I stayed in the hospital. I was feeling relaxed and decided just to put my feet up and go with the flow, I had magazines, Mary Poppins on TV, scented room sprays, affirmations and my birthing tracks to listen to. I used the time to write down my birth preferences and towards midnight my contractions started.
By the early hours of the morning, I was needing to use my up breathing throughout a contraction, I didn’t really pay any attention to how often they were as I trusted my body to tell me where I was in the process and I was quite content to just go with the flow. I agreed to a second examination which confirmed that I had begun to dilating, I was then advised that due to my baby being premature they may need to go into a Special Care Unit (I already thought this was a possibility due to my niece being born early too), however, there were no beds in Leeds. I did get concerned when she then said it might be as far as Sheffield if they were unable to locate a bed closer due to it being 40 miles away but I composed myself and reminded myself thatI was in good hands. I was slightly emotional when I rang Craig to tell him to come to meet me and I used my breathing and refocused my energy back into my body.
By the time that Craig arrived, we were advised that Airedale Hospital had a bed for us and that an ambulance transfer was being arranged. I was relieved, I had heard really positive things about this hospital and it wasn’t as far as Sheffield, it was 25 miles away. We had to wait a while for the ambulance transfer and when the paramedics and a midwife (just in case!) arrived with a wheelie bed it all felt a bit unreal! Craig had to meet us there as there wasn’t enough room for us all (it was a tense moment when we left, what if the baby came in the ambulance!?). I wasn’t that nervous as soon as we made the journey to the new hospital, I kept doing my breathing and had a really good chat with the paramedic and the midwife on the journey. I didn’t expect the sirens to come on but as soon as we left they did, I don’t know why but I found this hilarious! Whilst we were travelling to the hospital the midwife felt my stomach whilst I was having a contraction, she said she could tell that I had been doing hypnobirthing and that it was really working. This really spurred me on and when my contractions kept coming I went into my zone and as soon as they finished we were back laughing and joking.
Luckily Craig wasn’t far behind and when we arrived I was put in the postnatal ward (I didn’t realise this at the time but when I started noticing newborns in the rooms it was clear where I was). Before this, the baby was monitored to which we received a lot of compliments on the heart beat base line, this sort of information was so reassuring to hear because we had no idea why my waters had gone early so it was everything to me to know that my baby was okay.
I used my birthing ball as I wanted to stay upright and open whilst I listened to my birthing tracks, we put my birthing affirmations around the room and I just went into my zone. With it being the start of the very hot summer of 2017, the room was absolutely boiling! Craig did everything he could to keep me cool and sprayed me with cooling spray during every contraction and it really helped me focus. I tested out my new TENS machine and found it a really useful!
I decided to take a bath and felt very relaxed in the water and I must have fallen asleep as I woke up with a start with a very strong contraction, the strongest so far and I admit, it took my breath away. I quickly continued my up breathing and told myself my affirmations in my head – my favourite at the time being ‘My surges cannot be stronger than me, because they are me’. By late afternoon I was in need of a rest, I was determined not to be on my back so I decided to lie on my side. Craig closed the curtains and turned on the TV and I spent a few hours in and out of sleep. I had begun to become quite vocal during contractions and found myself laughing. Mooing was a joke during our NCT class, our tutor had told us that midwives knew that a labouring woman was well on her way if she was making these sounds and I was making them.
Towards midnight, Craig had put on some tealights in order to create a relaxed and romantic atmosphere… and… Notting Hill was on the TV, my favourite romantic film, I was in my happy place. I agreed to a final vaginal examination where I was offered gas and air, I happily obliged (this was the only method of pain relief I said that I wanted to be offered within my preferences, if I wanted something stronger, I wanted to be the one to ask, I didn’t want it to be suggested to me). I loved it and felt quite spaced out straight away! The examination confirmed that I was about 5 or 6cm and that it was time to get ready to go down to delivery suite.
I got back on my birthing ball and Craig began to pack our bags and out of nowhere I felt a huge urge to go to the toilet. The sensation was exactly like needing a poo, I told Craig I needed the toilet and that I wanted him to come in with me. All of a sudden I felt like I wanted him to protect me, this must have been my method of transition! I tried to go to the toilet but nothing. We went back to the room and I continued my breathing with my now best friend, gas and air and my birthing tracks and drifted in and out of sleep. By about 1.30am I felt I needed to go to the toilet again so Craig and I made the trip back to the bathroom. On the way we bumped into the midwife who was coming to take me to delivery suite and look after us during the second stage of labour, I went into the toilet and after a few minutes the midwives flew into the room saying it will have been my baby’s head and not me needing the toilet – I that a lot of people referred to giving birth as having a big poo!
I was advised that the midwives wanted to monitor me during the second stage and I agreed, I felt most comfortable laying on my side and Craig helped ensure that I was propped up with pillows – my contractions started coming and I knew that it was time to for my baby to be born. I wanted to keep my eyes firmly closed and concentrate on my affirmations and although I asked not to be coached to push on my preferences, my baby was well on my way and I was so happy that I had got to this point on my own that I didn’t mind an extra bit of guidance.
My baby was put straight onto my chest for that perfect skin to skin moment, I didn’t cry despite being a crier normally, I was still in shock. My baby was crying away, I was so so proud of all of us. Craig was crying which shocked me even more and he had forgotten to tell me the only thing that I was dying to know. The sex of our baby! We hadn’t had the slightest urge to find out as we wanted a surprise but I was absolutely convinced that the baby was a boy, when he said ‘It’s a girl’ I was absolutely gobsmacked and knew her name immediately. Charlotte Terri. Charlotte was born at 3.09am weighing 5lb 13oz.
I had been quite indecisive about the 3rd Stage of labour prior to the birth as I was still unsure how I wanted to birth the placenta, it was something I was still a little apprehensive about therefore I decided to go for the injection which meant that I delivered it quite quickly.
I was so proud of what I had done and I was proud of Craig for helping me – we had worked well as a team and brought our daughter into the world in the calmest way possible. Given the fact that I had very bad anxiety at the beginning of my pregnancy I was relived, proud and ecstatic at how my birth had gone. It was everything that I ever wanted and we had lots cuddles and skin to skin time with our baby girl and some much needed toast and my favourite thing in the world.. a cup of tea. I asked Craig to ring my Dad first as I knew out of everyone he would worry that he hadn’t heard anything, I was right, he hadn’t slept all night. It was really nice to hear Craig speaking to our parents to tell them they had a new grandchild. I just held on tight to Charlotte in awe and disbelief. Me, a mum?
I had decided very early on in pregnancy that if I could, I would breastfeed Charlotte. I had told myself beforehand that if it wasn’t to be, it wasn’t to be. We were very lucky that Charlotte latched on straight away and we laid there for a while until we moved back up to the postnatal ward, laughing when the room which they gave us was the one that we had been in during labour several hours before.
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