Kerry and Michael attended my group hypnobirthing class in preparation for their third baby. Kerry had previously had two very fast labours, which she hadn’t realised were classed as precipitous births – meaning under three hours. It’s easy to think that if you have had a straight forward, fast birth that you do not need to prepare for the next birth. But one of the big benefits of hypnobirthing means that it is dedicated time to bond with a new baby, as well as helping both parents to mentally prepare. For Kerry and Michael a fast birth can also bring its own worries, which Kerry explains in this wonderful birth story of Evelina Fae:
Having experienced two speedy labours prior to this pregnancy, I was feeling anxious about how fast this birth would be. The last birth was roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes from the first contraction. Both my previous births started with waters breaking dramatically, without notice, a week or two before my ‘due date’. I was aware that anxious anticipation bubbled through me during the third trimester this time. We expected this next one to be even quicker but how quick exactly? Where would I be when my waters broke? Would it create a mess in public? Would I be close enough to home? Would Michael be close enough to get to me in time? Would the midwife get to us? Where would our two boys be at the time? Would we be able to get someone to pick them up from school if necessary?
We set ourselves up for a water home birth after the most amazing (albeit intense) experience with previous precipitous births. For peace of mind I avoided going more than a ten minutes walk from the house as soon as I reached full term at 37 weeks. I had underlying nerves every time we stepped out of the door, especially as my body was teasing me with intense Braxton hicks and back cramps from about 33 weeks. I had practiced hypno birthing along with yoga meditation with my previous babies, so I knew how powerful the practices were in bringing about positive experiences, however they happened. I truly believe my first labour, which initially shocked and scared me with it’s super speedy, overwhelming intensity, completely changed course when I switched into a meditative zone of peace and trust. You can read a bit about my first birth here….. or hear about them both here…. I was so grateful for these two positive experiences, but also didn’t want to take the preparation for them or how they happened for granted. Anything could happen this time.
I also knew that so much had changed since my first pregnancy seven years prior. My hubby, who worked away most of the time prior to Covid, unfortunately missed the first birth and had never been around really for the prep either time. It was important for us both that he felt empowered and trusting in his own knowledge this time. Especially if the speed of birth would mean no professional assistance was there in time. Would he need to deliver baby himself?
We joined the most amazing online hypnobirthing course with Colleen Stewart at Harmony Hypnobirthing. It refreshed what I knew already, inspired us both with new visualisation practices through her beautiful guided meditations and educated us about so much stuff I had been unaware of. We completed the course feeling more informed about our choices should things go a different way and most importantly we felt like a team. The added layer of support was so valuable. I delved deep into my meditation practices every evening. I took a relaxing bath listening to my ever growing labour playlist whilst connecting to the growing baby. This daily commitment to my preparation was invaluable, developing triggers to enter that state of powerful bliss at a moment’s notice. Who knew how little time I would have to actually get into that state when the time came?!??…..
This baby chose to stay cosy beyond the ‘due date’. It was at 40 weeks +2 days that I woke up in the early hours to go to the toilet and have a drink of water. Then lay awake for a long time, unable to get back to sleep with all the thoughts running around my head. This had been the pattern for the last couple of weeks so nothing untoward at this point. I tried to distract myself by reading for a bit, feeling the late trimester discomfort – faint back cramps that niggled a little, but nothing more than I’d already experienced. I turned over and they faded before returning a minute or two later. I got out of bed to squat down in an attempt to soothe it but this time it lingered a little. Nothing suggested imminent labour at this point, but I felt compelled to wake hubby up to let him know as a ‘just in case’. I glanced at the time and it read 3.51am. We both popped downstairs to grab some water and I went to find my birth ball to have a little bounce. Suddenly I felt a powerful wave, and I instinctively moved onto all fours. Within about five minutes I’d experienced three of these so phoned the midwife at 4.04am. I was on the phone to her for six minutes during which time I had four more intense contractions. This meant I had to simultaneously give her the information whilst zoning my body and mind into a place of peace. I explained that I experienced quick labours and at the end of the call she said “ obviously you know your own body, but you don’t sound like labour is happening any time soon” The power of hypnobirthing was already taking effect. I was able to talk assertively and calmly whilst experiencing powerful, lengthy and close together surges. I quickly told her I was hypnobirthing to explain my tranquil manner despite the urgency, and she set about sending a midwife out.
The next 10 -12 minutes my body pumped with an intense cocktail of hormones and surged powerfully into readiness, as my breath directed my mind into grounded steadiness and my heart felt the exhilaration of knowing that our baby would be in my arms very soon…very very soon. Michael set up the water birth space. The pool was filling up surrounded by photographs of our boys, fairy lights and Colleens affirmation cards. My birth playlist and essential oils triggering my body further into ease and flow. I felt the urge to go to the toilet but had barely sat down before transition happened. The adrenaline hit me, I went from silent to sounding a bit like a stunned gerbil as I called to Michael. He knew shiz was about to go down from my voice. I pulled myself to standing using the edge of bath and didn’t get any further. My waters exploded everywhere on the next contraction. Hubby rushed in with a giant saucepan! ( 🤷🏼♀️😂🤪) and started throwing towels onto the floor as a cushion. I quickly felt down to see if head was there but couldn’t feel it. I knew she was coming imminently though.
Hubby asked if I wanted him to carry me to the pool but that was never going to happen at this point. Sure enough, on the next contraction her head came all the way out. Hubby was in position behind me ( burning his back against the radiator) marvelling at her little squidgy face and delicate bubble forming on her left nostril upside down facing him. He said “she looked like spiderman “! Then on the next contraction she slip slided her way out into my husband’s arms at 4.33am. Hubby sank into the toilet seat, and there she was – a fresh, new little human taking her first beautiful breaths. We finally saw the little girl that we had wondered about for so long. Despite my whole body shaking I knew we were safe.
I gathered her in my arms and found my way to the cuddle chair that hubby was throwing waterproof material and old towels over. I was conscious that as well as being a major shock to my body, my heart and soul would also need time to adjust to the fact that this little life, that had been nurtured tenderly within my womb for nine months, had been separated so suddenly from me. We no longer moved as one. It really was a huge shock to the system on so many levels. I held her skin to skin close to my heart, as if we were still one for just a little longer. My heart simultaneously breaking as I said goodbye to one phase of our journey together, and joyous as we entered this new world of growing together.
The midwife knocked at the door about three minutes after Evelina Fae arrived, seven minutes after that my placenta was birthed and shortly afterwards she sweetly took her first feed from the breast. We waited until the cord stopped pulsating before cutting and tying with the most beautiful crochet cord tie made by @holly_and _daisy – kindly gifted to us by Colleen in her hypnobirthing pack. (The cord healed so quickly and dropped off at five days post partum) Our two boys Elijah,6 and Bodhi, 3 awoke at 6am ish and got to meet their new little sister in the cosy comfort of home. Fortunately I didn’t have any perineum tearing so once the midwife had finished her checks we were all able to remain in our pjs for the rest of the day. Snuggling, resting and bonding with Evelina Fae and each other.