The birth of Maximus

First time mum / Spontaneous Birth on Labour Ward / Hypnobirthing

 

 

Written by Lizzie

 

 

Going to bed on Christmas Eve, 6 days past my “due date” and having had no signs of labour yet, I was confident that baby wouldn’t make an appearance on Christmas Day.  We’d made plans to see family and to cook a scaled down Christmas dinner and, as far as I was concerned, those plans were going ahead. That night I was woken by my first surge.  It was a tightening focussed on my uterus; a bit like a stomach cramp, but was definitely more intensive than I’d ever felt before.  Similar surges continued throughout the night and by 7am the intensity had started to pick up.  Thinking this was it, my husband and I went into full hypnobirthing mode: work through our plan for staying calm and relaxed, and connect me with my “anchors”.  During my pregnancy, baths had become a real comfort to me (never having enjoyed them before) and so my husband ran me a bath whilst I tried to keep to my normal waking-up routine.  By the time I got out of the bath, my surges had stopped altogether.

 

 

After the first false alarm we decided to continue with our Christmas Day plans.  We saw family, went for walks with the dog, and I made Christmas dinner.  From mid-morning my surges had started again and were happening intermittently throughout the day, and by 8pm they were happening every 4-5 minutes.  At that time I started to use the Freya app, which I found really helpful and comforting (albeit it’s repetition drove my husband crazy!).  They continued throughout the night, but the frequency wasn’t changing much.  We made a few phone calls to the birthing centre, just to keep them updated, but they were very relaxed about our progress and encouraged us to stay at home and work through our plan.  They recommended that I take some paracetamol, which I did, but it turned out that it would be the only medicine I’d take from start to finish.

 

 

By the early morning of Boxing Day, my surges were happening every 3 minutes, and by this time we were both really tired and getting a bit frustrated at how these early surges were both something and yet nothing.  Mollie had always told us that birth was nothing like what you see on TV and that we wouldn’t be rushing to the hospital after the first surge, but I hadn’t quite appreciated how a long and gentle labour could be so tiring.  Being our first time and now that we’d hit the 3 minute mark, we decided that we’d feel more comfortable going to the hospital now, so we headed in.

 

 

All things being well, my birth plan was to have a water birth in the local midwife-led birthing centre and we were lucky to be able to set up in a big private room as soon as we arrived.  My husband set the room up by dimming the lights and only letting in the natural light of the early morning; putting my candles on (only battery allowed!); and getting my lavender smells out ready for me (another anchor that I’d found during pregnancy).  Not long after, the midwife checked me over and told me that it would still be a while yet, but we decided to stay in the hospital anyway.  I found myself most comfortable sat on the exercise ball doing my breathing exercises, but I still found myself moving from there to the bed or the shower every so often.

 

 

 

 

9 quiet but tiring hours and a few more checkups later, the midwife suggested that a change of scenery and a car journey might help break up the day for us, so we went home again.

 

 

Once we got home, my husband ran me another bath and then he tried to get some sleep.  This time, getting out I felt a definite change in my surges and new something was happening: back to the birth centre we go!

 

 

The midwife started filling up the birth pool as soon as we got back and getting in was a big relief (not least because it takes 30 minutes to fill!).  Even though my surges were the most intense they’d ever been, I felt my most comfortable being in water and being able to kneel or crouch.  I continued with my breathing techniques that Mollie had taught me and using the Freya app (my husband ready to walk at any moment!) and it wasn’t long before I started feeling my body wanting to push.  This was the first point that I began to feel slightly overwhelmed; my body had never felt like this and I wasn’t sure whether to push or not.  I kept asking the midwife what I “should” be doing at each point and apologising for not knowing, but she reminded me that there’s no right or wrong way.  I reminded myself that this transition is normal and it just meant that it wouldn’t be long until I got to meet my baby.

 

 

 

 

Still upright in the birth pool, I let my body push through each surge and began to think the baby was almost here.  After a few minutes of little progress, the midwife told me that the baby’s heart rate had started to drop and was getting worse with each push.  I tried not to panic and really focussed on my breathing.  The midwife suggested that I empty my bladder to help ease his way, but that felt impossible.  At that point, even getting out of the birthing pool felt too hard.  With nothing coming, the midwife decided to move us up the labour ward and let the doctors assist.

 

 

The doctors were all very calm, but they were talking about the different medical options available and even mentioned surgery.  There was so much information to take in so quickly that I can barely remember it.  Just as the doctors were preparing to fit a heart rate monitor to my baby’s scalp, the midwife tried one more time to empty my bladder, this time with a catheter.  Two full pans of urine later and the midwife could see his head.  Within two surges our baby was here: Maximus Joseph Philip, born 11pm Boxing Day 2022.

 

 

 

 

Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of surges or the unknown of labour, but having done it this way and allowed my body’s natural processes to do their thing, I could not be happier with how it panned out.

I am so thankful that Mollie was able to give me the tools and understanding to help me have such a positive and enjoyable experience, and I’ll forever be an advocate and promoter of Hypnobirthing.

 

 

 

Baby Maximus born via spontaneous vaginal birth on labour ward on 26th December 2022. 

 

 

Their thoughts on their Hypnobirthing course…

 

Lizzie and her husband completed the Complete Birth Preparation Course  to prepare for their birth. Afterwards they reported feeling prepared and confident for however their birth unfolded.

Here’s their review of the course: 

 

“My husband and I didn’t realise how much we didn’t know about labour, how positive an experience it should be, and the level of control that we should have over what does and doesn’t happen.

Thanks to Mollie’s course, which was a great mix of the science and emotion of birth, and her support, I now feel fully prepared and positive about what’s to come. Whatever your plans, I would recommend Mollie’s hypnobirthing course to all expectant parents.

I have also attended Mollie’s most recent relaxation and connection sessions which have allowed me the time and space to connect with my baby and meet other lovely mums to be. It is a positive and safe space to share thoughts and feelings on birth and all things babies with the guidance and knowledge from Mollie.”

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