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Cora’s arrival – Our Birth Story

It’s taken me a while to get settled into being a Mummy of two, breastfeeding and trying to give Ted enough attention are a full time job in themselves let alone keeping on top of all the washing a newborn creates, how did I forget so quickly?? I’m hoping now I’ll be able to dedicate some time to writing again too and Cora’s arrival seem as good a place to start as any.

Cora arrived on Friday 30th October, unfortunately on labour ward after induction as there were concerns around her size and my placenta function. I delayed induction for a week with monitoring every second day to ensure she was happy – she was on every trace so I asked to speak with a consultant the day before the planned induction appointment so I could be involved in the decision making based on the information they could give me.

The doctor felt she couldn’t be confident that my placenta was functioning fully and recommended induction as the safest option – after a fully natural homebirth with my son I wasn’t keen but both my husband and I felt if we were advised out was safer than in for our baby, to ignore it would be foolish and selfish…so our induction appointment for the Friday morning remained and I went home to prepare practically, physically and mentally!

Once Rich was home from work we went out for our last meal as a three – it was so emotional spending that time with Ted, knowing it was his last evening as an only child and it felt really odd knowing the day our baby would be born in advance.

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I practiced Hypnobirthing methods throughout my pregnancy and knew I would need to call upon them even more now in order to remain calm, positive and in control. My husband was so supportive of the methods and knew I wanted things to be as natural and intervention free as possible, I knew with complete confidence he would be my advocate throughout and make sure nothing happened unless it was necessary in order to keep myself and our baby safe.

We arrived at 7.30am and after all the checks it was decided that I was advanced enough already to just have my waters broken and then see if everything else could progress naturally.

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Initially the most uncomfortable part was having liquid trickling for the next 7 hours!! We walked, we ate, we chatted and we laughed – Rich even said how much he was enjoying the time together as it was so rare (and about to become even more so!) We popped back to be allocated a room and have traces done every few hours to ensure baby was happy.

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Doctors did their rounds at about 2pm and suggested an oxytocin drip to speed things up, something I wasn’t keen on, they were accepting of this and it was agreed we would review the situation at 9pm.

We kept active, pacing the corridors and stomping up staircases, I could feel things progressing slowly and had confidence in my body, I was controlling everything and maintaining a calm approach even when a pushy abrupt doctor tried to force me onto an oxytocin drip when my contractions slowed due to monitoring despite the earlier arrangement. I knew I was progressing and that the machine was just failing to pick up my contractions despite his claim “these contractions are not going to get your labour started”

I refused and got quite upset at his approach and insistence without examining or talking properly with us or the midwife with us. Rich stepped in though and was amazing, asking them to remove the monitor and leave me to my own devices for another hour and a half (the agreed 9pm) unless there was a concern for either myself or Cora, which there wasn’t.

I then refocussed, plugged myself into my hypnobirthing mp3 and refused to let an appalling bedside manner ruin my focus. We then paced the floors, climbed the stairs and removed ourselves from the ward to be able to work together on what we had practiced in an environment we felt safe in…

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I was in established labour by 8.30 stopping approx every 2 minutes relaxing into and breathing through each contraction, we returned to our room just before 9pm and were told the ward was really understaffed at the change of shifts which would work in our favour as they would allocate us last and leave us to our own devices as we had requested but told us to buzz if we needed anything. At five past 9 I told Rich I thought I wanted some gas and air so he grabbed Nina, the midwife who had been looking after us before she clocked off and asked her for a mouthpiece, as she left at 10 past she appologised she couldn’t stay until our baby arrived but we all thought it would still be quite a while and it was Friday night!

As my next contraction came I took a drag on the G&A and told Rich I thought I needed to push!!

He had a quick look and quickly whacked the buzzer for help, as I guess they thought we wanted water or something unimportant nobody rushed to us so Rich had to stick his head out of the door and shout “Help…I think we’re having a baby in here!”

A lovely old school midwife came to his rescue and encouraged me onto the bed (apparently kneeling ready to deliver a baby onto a hard hospital floor isn’t deemed the safest!) I managed to make it onto the bed, staying on all fours and rocking. Theย  midwife told me she thought one good push and I’d have a baby…it actually took two and at 9.28 our darling daughter arrived looking the image of her big brother. I used nothing but the techniques we practiced and about 10 puffs of gas and air for pain relief and I cannot explain how proud I am we were able to manage the situation and the labour in the way we did. I know without the relaxation techniques and the confidence they gave us I could very easily have lost control and ended up with a very different delivery.

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Thank you so much to Barbara of Romsey Relax for her support and enabling both me and Rich to be sitting here today feeling empowered rather than deflated and bullied.

I know I have been very lucky to have relatively straightforward labours and that hypnosis techniques would be unable to prevent any inevitable complications, I do however think that Natal Hypnotherapy truly is a wonderful tool that can benefit everyone who is interested in it and that they should be given the opportunity to experience it.

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Natal Hypnotherapy – My Hypnobirthing Journey #1

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It is the current labour and birth trend and I am firmly on the bandwagon!

When I was expecting Ted I was a little late to the party and all the classes near me (which was a lot less two years ago) were fully booked when I discovered Natal Hypnotherapy or Hypnobirthing but I armed myself with the ‘Effective Home Birth Preparation’ CD and set about using it almost as religiously as I applied bi daily bio oil but it was my first pregnancy and time was plentiful – this time I needed to be more organised!

Firstly I have to say, this isn’t a way of floating off to another planet while you give birth and omming your way through delivery which means your baby pops out without a peep from you but in my experience it is a way to maintain control of aspects of a situation that you don’t have much control over!

The aspects you have control over are;
– Your confidence
– Your responses and reactions to what happens
– Your anxieties
– Your partners ability to know what you want and therefore his ability to support you fully. 

This doesn’t mean you have to be opting for a pain relief free journey, it just means you’re armed with the skills to stay in control.

The hypnosis sessions do take a bit of getting used to and to begin with when I was pregnant with Ted I just fell asleep but after about five or six times of listening I found myself coming round at the end of the session and I began to have more and more faith in the process.

I found the breathing techniques amazing, they helped me to manage my first birth and mean that I’m now able to hold it as a happy memory, this doesn’t mean I didn’t find it painful and tiring and feel like I couldn’t do it at times but I felt armed with information and techniques, supported and powerful. I had complete trust in my body and my baby and their ability to work together to do one of the most   natural things possible.

This time I decided I’d like an even deeper understanding of the process and wanted to attend a course, through trying to plan this we actually ended up booking a 1:1 with a local lady we had met through the Southampton Home Birth Group. I’m so pleased we did as what we ended up with were two tailored sessions in our own home that allowed us to have all our questions answered and meant Rich was relaxed, I think he would have found a group session a lot harder and ended up laughing with other nervous Dads!

The sessions also made us realise how relaxed and prepared we already are which was a great confidence booster.

I had been trying to fit in time to listen to the ‘Pregnancy Relaxation’ CD since about 22 weeks and had found it really helpful to spend half an hour on keeping myself calm and rested while Ted napped although I probably only managed two or three times a week. At about 30 weeks I moved on to the preparation CD and we did our 1:1 sessions around 32 weeks – this has left me with plenty of time to cement everything in my mind and continue to prepare and practice.

Our sessions with Barbara of Romsey Relax also helped us understand the stages of labour and link them to Ted’s birth story, we did activities which in all honesty I was sceptical about before as a bit pointless but actually Rich and I found making a list of things we’d like to happen at each stage really helpful for our communication and understanding of what we (for we, read I!) wanted. Rich was the most amazing birthing partner last time and I know he will be again, he is completely aware of what I do and don’t want and how to facilitate that but also would feel comfortable making tougher decisions on my behalf should they be necessary.

I know that hypnotherapy is still seen as quite alternative and a bit ‘hippy’ but if you’re even a little bit intrigued I urge you to give it a try.

I saw Luisa Zissman tweeting about it recently and she said:

You wouldn’t run a marathon without preparing…

This is exactly how I feel and believe that on top of eating well and staying active this is just another part of my labour prep, now when should I start carb loading?!

Through the joys of social media I have also been lucky enough to stumble across The Calm Birth School. Currently these lovely ladies are offering to impart some of their wisdom on to expectant Mummies for absolutely nothing. They will send you an intro and three sessions via email link and they’re great!

Suzy and Hollie are cool, open and non judgemental and I love that they’re really clear about wanting to help everyone achieve their perfect birth, whatever that may be. If I was a London lass I’d have been signing up for their sessions for sure.

This is about empowering women to trust themselves and their bodies, about making anxieties smaller (and hopefully disappear) and arming ladies with the confidence to deal with anything they’re faced with – there are no wrong answers, it is just an additional tool in your kit but if you trust it, it may just be the only one you need!

I have less than six weeks to go now and who knows how this baby’s arrival in to the world will be.

I’m hoping for another lovely home birth but we’ll see – either way, I know for me, the Natal Hypnotherapy sessions with Barbara and the additional learning via The Calm Birth School have already given me so many positives and that as I sit here I’m not anxious but excited about the experience and meeting our new family member.

I know that regardless of how things pan out I’m certainly better equipped to deal with them than I could possibly have been without.

Intrigued at all?
Check these out more info…
Romsey Relax
The Calm Birth School

Or buy CD’s/downloads here.

This post is based solely on my own findings and experiences and is not in collaboration with any of the mentioned companies.

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