I taught Sarah and Ben hypnobirthing in preparation for their first baby in 2018. They were so much fun to teach, and the lessons were extra special for me as I was also pregnant. Our babies were born a couple of months apart and we have stayed in touch ever since, and had play dates as our girls have got older. When Sarah became pregnant with her second baby she attended some online hypnobirthing classes with me as a refresher. Here is the birth story of her second daughter, Shelby:
The day before my predicted due date I had woken up in the morning with slight pressure pain in my pelvis but thought nothing of it. I attended my midwife appointment at 9:40am for her to tell me the head was less engaged than two weeks previous and baby is now slightly in the wrong place. I thought ‘great I’ve got time to get a cotton cord tie’ after seeing one of Colleens Instagram posts and had arranged to meet her the following day. (A cotton cord tie is an option to use instead of the NHS plastic clip that goes on baby’s umbilical cord after birth)
At 11am my Mum picked up my eldest daughter to look after her for the day, as a final rest period before the baby arrived. The pressure pain felt worse than a few hours previous, but because of what the midwife had said, I again thought nothing of it. I presumed it was just general aches and pains of full term pregnancy.
My daughter went and I asked my husband if we could quickly look at fixing the isofix into the car. Plus to remind ourselves of how to attach and detach the baby car seat (last minute I know!!) We did that and went inside. We sat talking in the living room, joking around and enjoying some rare alone time. I sat on the birthing ball as it seemed to help the pain. I decided to do a quick workout on the spin bike as that usually relieves any tensions and aches. After 20 minutess I decided it really wasn’t helping. Instead I decided I would go and have a bath before we settle down to watch a film and have some lunch.
I went upstairs, started running the bath and noticed my mucus plug had come away. I got into the bath and almost instantly the sensation had gone from a pressure to an on off pain. Within 10 minutes this had become more intense and I realised this was early contractions. I text my husband who was downstairs to give him a heads up we were no longer in for the day we had planned.
I stayed in the bath for about 45 minutes and things were getting more and more intense. I decided I needed to get out of the bath and prepare my daughters dinner as I wasn’t sure how capable I would be doing that when she got home. In the kitchen I put my music on full blast and started cooking and tidying the kitchen, while singing and dancing to distract myself from the contractions.
By the time I was done in the kitchen I was having to breathe through every contraction. I shut the curtains, put the fairy lights on, and some chill out music. I bounced on the ball and got my husband to start timing the contractions. The app flashed up three times to say we should go to hospital, but I wanted to wait it out longer. I had originally wanted a home birth but this was cancelled due to covid lockdown. For this reason I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible. We decided to ring my mum at 3:30, because Mums know best. She instantly said we need to start making our way to hospital. Luckily I only live a ten minute drive away.
By this point I could barely move. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to get to the car, let alone sit in the car and breathe through contractions! I grabbed by headphones from the kitchen, put on my hypnobirthing music and within two seconds of that being on my waters broke! My husband helped me into the car, I put my headphones in and listened to my hypnobirthing tracks. At this point I was focusing and breathing through every contraction.
By the time I got to the birthing center I was 9.5 cms dilated. I got into the birthing pool and continued to have the most beautiful, relaxing and calm water birth. Something I was desperate to have!! My husband described it as a Scientology birth. It was such a magical and empowering moment for me. It was the birth I had dreamt of having.
My daughter was born calmly and with no complications. But unfortunately as she was lifted up out of the water to be placed on my chest, her umbilical cord snapped. Her cord was so short and thin, no doctors or midwives had ever experienced it. The birthing pool filled with blood, and instantly my baby was rushed off. She had lost a lot of blood, and within four minutes of life had a blood transfusion, tubes fitted to help her breath, and was incredibly weak. She went to special care where she was kept nil by mouth for 24hours. The doctors explained that trying to feed her would use up too much of her energy and would likely stop her breathing. I worried this was going negatively impact our breastfeeding journey. But when she could, she latched on well and has breastfed ever since. Her blood sugar levels fluctuated and dropped low on occasions. But finally they were stable enough for her to come onto the birthing centre with me over night. That night she cluster fed from 9pm until 6am the following morning! It was exhausting but I am so glad she was fit enough to feed and gave her high enough blood sugar levels to be able to come home.
If you would like to know more about how hypnobirthing can help you to prepare for a positive birth, and how to cope with the unexpected, you can book on to my group hypnobirthing course in Dartford here. If you would prefer a private class you can contact me to discuss dates here. Online hypnobirthing classes are also available on request.