My first labour was a water birth with my daughter. I was told how ‘good’ it was but personally I felt shocked with how painful it was and how out of control and scared I felt throughout it. So, I wanted to go into my second labour feeling in control and being equipped with some tools to deal with the pain and each progressive stage. I did an online hypnobirthing course, read lots of positive birth stories and practiced my breathing techniques during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
My due date came and went and I had tightening’s on and off over the week. At 40+8, I took my daughter to the park in the afternoon and felt some tightening’s which felt different to anything I felt before. I remember feeling quite teary and emotional although didn’t register that was the start of labour. We came home and my tightening’s continued, I went to the loo and lost some mucus plug and then realised this was it! I rang MAC for some reassurance who advised to monitor how things were going and to call back once I was 3 in 10.
I went in to our bedroom and got into a safe, focused headspace, bouncing on my birthing ball. I used a hypnobirthing app to help count my breaths through each surge and in between it played positive affirmations which was a calming background noise. I was preparing myself that this was the very start of things happening and could take days so was just going with it. I text my Mum to let her know things were happening and she came over in preparation to look after my daughter. I was in our bedroom from 3pm to 7pm which passed so quickly – at this point I felt like I was in control – I’d had some paracetamol and some toast and was up breathing through my surges. My daughter came up to bed so I then moved downstairs – again feeling like I was coping fine and that I was in for the long haul.
Then, the combination of my daughter being safe and settled in bed, Mum being here to look after her, it was dark outside, the surges suddenly ramped up and I became quite vocal through each one. Mum (hearing the change) suggested that we should think about going in. My husband drove and I had my app playing positive affirmations and counting my breaths in the car which really helped keep me in the zone. The surges were very intense and painful but I felt in control and had a pattern of how to get through each one. It felt manageable and I remember the car ride very vividly.
When we arrived at the hospital the surges ramped up again and I had to stop in the corridor to breathe through them. On arrival to MAC I was asked to do a urine sample, I went into the toilet, sat down to wee and my waters broke and I suddenly had the urge to push. This was the first point which I felt scared – I panicked as I saw blood, felt it was all too quick and was unsure why I was pushing. In hindsight, I was transitioning but I didn’t realise it at the time!
I was wheeled very swiftly round to labour ward and put in a room with a pool. The MW and my husband very quickly dimmed the lights, put my hypnobirthing app on and I felt back in a calm space. I leant up on all fours over an armchair and within 15 minutes had delivered my beautiful 10lb baby boy. It was a very intense ending but I felt in control and knew that me and my body had the strength and ability to do it. It felt so different and so empowering compared to my first labour.
We did delayed cord clamping and had an active third stage. Jude came out like a superhero, fist first, so I had a small tear near my urethra which needed some sutures but that was managed with gas and air and more up breathing. I felt exhausted but proud at what me and my body had achieved. We were discharged home that evening, straight from labour ward.
I was very thankful to be lucky enough to have two straight forward labours as I know a lot of it is luck of the draw. I am incredibly thankful to the amazing midwives and to the NHS for allowing me a safe and supportive place to deliver my babies. I am also so thankful to hypnobirthing and the preparation that allowed me to feel informed, in control, and empowered to birth my baby.