The Birth of Helenka - A calm geriatric pregnancy and birth
It was a joy to welcome Aga and Thomas on to my group hypnobirthing class in Dartford, as Aga is a friend of mine. (We used to live together in a house share many years ago!) Aga has always been interested in health and well being, so it was no surprise to me that she wanted a calm and natural birth. However, at age 42 she was classed as having a geriatric pregnancy which could have automatically made her high risk. This meant, that despite being otherwise healthy, her options for birth could be limited. Aga writes:
Being pregnant for the first time, at the age of 42, was quite stressful for me – although I had no medical reasons (apart from my age) to worry. Classed as a ‘geriatric’ pregnancy meant that I could be higher risk of complications.
I attended Colleen’s hypnobirthing class as my view on giving birth has changed over the years completely. I used to think it was best to pre-book a c-section, in order to avoid the pain and trauma that I was told about by many women. It is part of my culture to scare women by exchanging difficult birth stories!
With age I have matured to recognise the benefits of all things being left as the nature intended. As I was going to be a mother now, I wanted to give the best start to my little one. The hypnobirthing course was amazing. For me, fear surrounding birth originated from not knowing the process of what happens during labour and birth. Colleen explained it in a very accessible way. I remember thinking that nature is amazing – the way that we are built is incredible, and not only we are designed to give birth but also a child is programmed to be born. This is the first thing we do together.
Being very positive after the course I hoped for a natural birth in a birthing centre. However, hospital policy was that I would be recommended to have an induction. This was purely based on my age and my geriatric pregnancy. All signs showed that I was perfectly healthy, and so was my baby. Luckily, my consultant was very understanding. She even reassured me that she had both her babies over the age of 40, and that she would sign me off for a natural birth, if that is what I wanted.
My birth was almost exactly as I had hoped for. My birth started by the book, after midnight on the due date. My waters broke at home, then the mucus plug came away. Contractions came right away and were growing in intensity and frequency. I was able to manage the contractions during the night mostly on my own, until my partner Thomas woke up.
About 9:00 am we were ready to go to the hospital. I was admitted to birthing centre with no problems. I was already fully diluted and was in fully established labour. Midwifes there were incredible, I was not only feeling supported, guided and looked after, I could actually feel that they love what they do and they are there to help me give birth how I imagined. My notes were respected at every point, I was consulted and asked for consent every step of the way. They also cared for my partner whose role is so important and can be overlooked.
Since my baby was not coming out and the heart rate did rise we had to be transferred to the labour ward, just for extra monitoring. After my labour was not progressing as it should, the head would pop out but then was sucked back in, I agreed to a suggested solution – suction cap and episiotomy. It was all very smooth and didn’t cause any extra stress, I knew it was the right thing to help bring my baby to the world. Everyone was very clear about the process and what it involved.
Our beautiful daughter Helenka was born within 15 minutes at the first attempt with the cap, weighing 6.1lbs. I could not thank the midwifes and doctors enough who were there to support us. They made it really special for all of us. I highly recommend hypnobirthing class as it put me at ease, helped me understand what will be happening to me during labour and helped me to stay calm and positive through the pregnancy. Together with my partner we were looking forward to the big day.