My surges started around 7pm on a Wednesday evening while I was watching tv with my partner, Phil. They seemed pretty regular and so I began timing them. As I watched the clock, I confirmed to myself that they were in fact regular and thought I should let Phil know. He was super calm about it and we agreed to see what would happen. I was reluctant to get excited as we’d had a false start a few weeks prior to this. We spoke more and the surges were still pretty regular but we decided to go to bed and agreed that if it were the real thing it would continue.
I listened to my relaxation CD as I went to sleep, welcoming the waves of each surge and feeling excited and nervous. Eventually I fell asleep. I woke around 1am convinced that the surges had stopped and decided to go downstairs and put on the tv so I could see if they would start up again. They were irregular and light for the next few hours as I dozed, watching a film.
At around 4am, Phil came downstairs to see how I was. I was calm and smiling and the surges had become more regular again. We decided over coffee and toast that I felt like this might be it, so we decided to get our birth room prepared (the dining room), our pool up and to call the midwife. We arranged for our older son to be picked up when he woke up. I remember telling him to get dressed that morning in his school uniform and that when he came home that afternoon he might be a big brother. All the while relaxing through my surges and smiling the whole time.
Our first midwife arrived at around 7am and I was checked over. I was almost fully effaced and 3cm dilated and I was pleased with how things were going. We were told that the midwives were about to change over shifts and were asked if we would like our pre-natal midwife, who was about to come on shift, to attend our birth. I was so excited to hear this and the thought of having the same midwife we’d seen throughout our pregnancy here for our birth was perfect. It felt like the stars had aligned for us!
I relaxed in the lounge through my surges and moved between sitting on my ball to kneeling or walking around. My labour continued this way for a while.
Around 9am my surges became more powerful. I had this urge to take myself away and told everybody I was going upstairs to the toilet. I ended up laying on Reuben’s bed with our cat. Every time I had a surge he would rub himself against my stomach and I would stroke him until it subsided. It was so relaxing and everything just felt so easy and calm.
Phil came to check on me after a while and we talked about how I was feeling. I was convinced that we still had a long while to go and said that we should talk to the midwives about going and coming back later.
I went downstairs and spoke to Jo, our midwife. I told her we probably had a long while to go and that maybe they would like to come back later when things were ‘more established’. I remember her smiling and saying that she’d rather stay and see what happens. I decided at that point that I may as well get in the birth pool. Phil set up our diffuser with the essential oil mix that I’d used during pregnancy. I rubbed my belly with a different aromatherapy blend, turned on my hypnobirthing music and got in our birth pool at around 10.30am.
When I got in, it was like something changed dramatically. I felt like I reached another level of relaxation. My body completely relaxed and I found that kneeling was the only position I wanted to be in. Within 10 minutes my surges were stronger and my primal brain had completely taken over. I didn’t speak, I breathed or moaned through the surges and wasn’t even aware of what was happening around me. All I was aware of was Phil sitting near me, stroking my arm during surges and the waves that came quick and fast with barely a break in between.
At around 10.45am I had two surges very close together, they were so intense that they took my breath away and shocked me out of my relaxed state. I suddenly had a moment of self doubt. I remember whispering to Phil that I’d decided we needed to go to the hospital because I needed an epidural. He started laughing and told me that I was fine, I was safe. I feared that I still wasn’t that far along in my labour and didn’t think I could carry on. As another surge started building, I started to cry as I remembered my labour with Reuben and what it had felt like that first time. I sobbed while I felt all the emotions from before. It was so cathartic; this emotional outpouring, this release of everything that I had felt for my first labour. I remember our other midwife, Vicki, coming over very quietly and repeating very gently, “It’s ok, you’re safe. You’re safe”. I smiled and cried even more as I relaxed again. At that moment, I needed someone to reassure me and she did that perfectly.
I calmed and relaxed and breathed through one or two more surges and suddenly felt a lot of pressure. I was very relaxed and back in my state of hypnosis. I stood up from the pool when the pressure came, saying a I needed a wee and, with help, got out of the pool to take myself upstairs. There were mutters about bringing towels, just in case, as I waddled up the stairs.
I sat on the loo, only to find blood in my underwear. I called Phil and told him to get Jo, all the while completely relaxed and saying “Oh no, do I have to go to the hospital?”. She looked and explained that it was my show and that everything was fine but that I needed to get downstairs because the baby was coming.
So I waddled back down the stairs, calling to Phil to tell him to hurry up because the baby was coming. He was right behind me the whole time but I was so deeply relaxed that I had no idea!
As I returned to the pool, the pressure returned and I knew I had to push. My body went into autopilot and I moved into a position that felt comfortable without even thinking. Three short pushes using my breath and following my body’s cues and at 11.12am Jo said, “Max, catch your baby” and there he was in the water between my legs.
The sense of joy and elation I felt was insurmountable as I picked him up out of the water and put him onto my chest. His big eyes looked around our dimmed dining room and at me, just blinking. He was so quiet and calm. After a minute or two, Jo asked if she could give him a little rub, which she did and he suddenly became more alert and cried out. Up until that point, I don’t even think he realised he had been born!
We had our golden hour and it was perfect. We cuddled and nuzzled and stared at our beautiful boy. I smiled and laughed.
I had birthed this little person so easily!
I still to this day get emotional thinking about Lucian’s birth. I was so relaxed, I didn’t believe I was in established labour. I was calm and smiling through most of it. I managed to switch off everything outside of myself and turn inward so that I could relax and focus on what my body needed to labour the way that I did. It was the total opposite to my first birth experience.
I want to stress that I did my homework; I listened to scripts regularly, I did my exercises, I covered my kitchen cupboards in inspirational quotes that I saw constantly. Every day, I told myself my birth would be beautiful and ignored any negativity that people tried to impose on me. I trained myself, through attending a hypnobirthing class and practice, to completely relax my body and mind, to trust my instincts and follow my body’s lead. I read books and studied natural birth. Because of this, I was able to have, what I believe to be, a perfect, natural, unmedicated home birth. I am so grateful that I found hypnobirthing both for myself and for my son.