This absolutely beautiful birth story was sent in by Sam, who completed my hypnobirthing course just in time before the premature birth of baby Harriet Rose. I love how Sam and her husband used all of their hypnobirthing techniques to stay calm and in control of what could have been a stressful situation, but also managed to keep things within their control and make the best decisions for a calm entrance to the world for Harriet. Sam writes:
Harriet Rose was born at 31 weeks, 9 weeks early and what an amazing experience it was.
Three weeks prior to Harriet’s arrival we had an overnight stay in hospital for reduced movements and a decline in babies heart rate. At this stage we’d only completed one of our hypnobirthing classes and so were quite anxious at the possibility of the babys early arrival without us gaining all the information we needed. In the morning prior to being discharged we were sent for an emergency scan and were prepped by the NICU team that if the baby were to arrive that day she would be taken straight to a specialist hospital where they would be able to offer her the care that a 28 weeker would need. A super stressful time for us but following the scan which showed all to be ok, we were sent home.
Thankfully we completed our second hypnobirthing class and felt confident as a couple that we would be as prepared as we could should she make the decision to arrive early. At this point we’d made the decision to have a home birth and had even ordered the pool as it made so much sense to us to bring our baby into the world in an environment that we had full control over and were completely comfortable in. I was confident that with everything we’d learnt on the Harmony Hypnobirthing course that it was absolutely the best choice.
A week after our overnight stay, and two days after we completed our class I began to get dull aches in my lower abdomen and upon checking, had lost part of my mucus plug. Following a call to the hospital we made our way in for close observations. Once hooked up to the machines it was clear I was not contracting, I was asked if I would accept a fetal fibronectin test to which I said yes and used my hypnobirthing breathing techniques to ensure I kept calm and limited any discomfort. The test came back immediately as positive and I was advised that I would be admitted straight away and would be transferred to a specialist hospital whether I did or didn’t go into labour. This to me was the only thing outside of my control, I could control how and what I wanted for my labour but I could not control where my baby would be cared for so ultimately, was concerned my baby might not be close to home. I was given steroid injections in order to mature the baby’s lungs and was kept on monitors whilst I waited for a hospital transfer space. As there was no signs of contractions and a more urgent labour came in, we were lucky enough to remain in our local hospital and I was advised the following day, prior to being discharged again, that I may or may not go into labour in the next two weeks.
Two weeks to the day, at 4am I felt a slight pop and the tiniest leak. After a trip to the toilet and a check of the bed I believed it may have been my waters breaking. I began to feel contractions coming and going but was unsure if it was actually happening given I’d been in and out of hospital so much. This is where myself and my partner began to take the positions we’d agreed on when discussing our wishes for labour. Ricky took over monitoring my contractions so I could focus on my breathing and listening to my body. I’d spent time in the previous weeks listening to ‘music for labour and delivery’ and had found that the lavender scent really settled me. After a couple of hours contracting I decided to take a bath. I lit my lavender candles, turned on my music and lost myself in the bath, breathing and moving for comfort. By 9am we made the call to the hospital and made our way in. Ricky controlled discussing the last few hours with the nurses, he answered the required questions and reminded me that I needed to focus on my breathing techniques when at times they were slightly more erratic. I was popped on a monitoring machine where no contractions were picked up- was I not in labour?!!!
I was focused on my wishes, I wanted a natural labour with only gas and air as an option for pain relief and I was certain I did not want any intervention, Ricky was absolutely aligned. I had wanted a home water birth, but that was plan A and hypnobirthing taught me that you require back up plans so plan B was now in full flow. A premature birth wasn’t what we had hoped for, but we still wanted things to be as calm as possible. By 11am they requested if I would consent to an internal, once complete it was confirmed I was 6cm dilated and being moved to the delivery suite. The suite was beautiful, not what I’d expected, it was a big space and felt comfortable. For those hours of labour I remained silent, with Ricky answering required questions and offering words of encouragement when needed and ensuring I was hydrated. I heard the nurse advise to a colleague that I was simply ‘breathing the baby out’. I asked for the lights to be dimmed and slept in the moments I wasn’t contracting. By 4pm I was 10cm, my midwife was amazing. So respectful of my wishes for silence, she narrated what she was doing but did not hassle me for anything. She fully prepared me for what might come, she advised that when the baby was born there would be a lot of people in the room, she would probably not come out crying and would potentially need to be worked on and taken away straight away. The chances of us holding our baby were super slim. I requested gas and air as the contractions really vamped up. As Harriet was so early, they advised me to just listen to my body, don’t force it and let it do what comes naturally. I felt the urge to push and focused even harder on my breathing, I overheard the nurse say they may have to intervene as the baby’s heart rate had dipped slightly to which I was completely against, so it was in that moment that I knew I had to get my baby out. After one and a half huge pushes baby Harriet arrived. Our little superstar came out with big cries and my dream came true when she was handed to me for skin on skin, something I was sure I wouldn’t get. She was a fighter already. After some beautiful cuddles she was transferred to SCBU. I felt like a superhero!
After them explaining I may need a little help with delivering my placenta, I agreed to the syntocinon injection. Unfortunately my placenta had attached itself to my cervix so I was sent to the operating theatre for a manual removal. This meant an injection in my back to numb my lower body. The operation was quick, I remained calm whilst listening to Michael Buble. Before I knew it I was in recovery. After four long hours I was finally reunited with Harriet in SCBU at midnight where she was fighting with all her might. She was responding so well she could remain in their care at our local hospital. Fast forward twelve weeks later and she’s home. She spent five weeks in hospital and has exceeded all expectations. She’s utterly perfect!
Whilst my Plan A didn’t happen, I was prepared for the unprepared and used what we’d learnt on our hypnobirthing course to accept our new path and adjust ourselves to ensure it was a positive experience, the best experience of our lives!