Catherine & Christian's baby Ana
Unplanned unassisted home birth, Sweden - November 2020
Catherine and Christian gave birth to their second daughter at home unexpectedly! Catherine said the birth left her feeling really empowered! She really did listen to her own birthing instincts. Here's their story:
"I took a private HypnoBirthing course with Miranda late in my pregnancy, about my 35th week. I found it very beneficial, as it helped release fears I had around labor and made me feel more confident about my ability to have an unmedicated birth. I also appreciated all the resources Miranda shared, like the Evidence-based Birth website, birthing videos, and information about naturally inducing labor.
From when I started the course until I gave birth, I practiced Rainbow Relaxation and listened to the birthing affirmations on a daily basis. I also practiced the breathing techniques and relaxation exercises whenever I could and watched positive birth stories on YouTube. My partner ran through the hypnosis scripts and relaxation exercises with me a few times, and we discussed the different stages of labor and support I wanted from him during each stage. I stayed quite active during those last weeks, walking and spending time on my birthing ball daily and doing brief online prenatal yoga videos and videos from MommaStrong. As I got closer to my due date, I ate between 6 and 9 dates per day since Miranda had mentioned they can make surges more effective. I was feeling a little anxious about the birth but mostly excited and curious to find out if my preparation would pay off.
On the morning of my due date, I had a lot of discharge and wondered if it was my uterine seal and/or amniotic fluid. As the day went on, I also felt like the baby was really low, like pressing on my rectum. I was feeling fine otherwise, occasional bouts of lower back pain but nothing out of the ordinary for that stage of pregnancy. At around 2:30pm, I had my birth show, so I expected labor to start in the next couple hours. At 3:50pm, I did Rainbow Relaxation, and normally, I fall asleep 5 minutes in and wake up at the end, but this time I woke up from back pain a few times during the track. At 4:30pm I was going to go for a walk with Christian, but soon after we left the house, I didn't feel up to it. It occurred to me that the back pain might be surges because it was becoming more intense. I wasn’t sure though because it was still quite manageable with deep breathing, hip circles, and relaxing my body. I thought I’d time them for the heck of it, and sure enough they were coming regularly, lasting about 90 seconds each at 4 min apart.
I hopped into the shower to see if they'd subside, but they didn't. The water felt wonderful though and helped with the discomfort. When I got out of the shower, at around 5:15pm, the surges were longer and more intense. I told Christian to call the babysitter because we should go to the hospital soon. He asked, "Shouldn't we wait until you've had the surges for an hour?" and I said, "No, I really feel we should go now." I assumed we still had time before the baby would arrive though -- at least an hour or so. But as I was getting dressed, the back pain got really intense and I got on all fours, moaning and surge breathing. My toddler came over to see what was going on and gave me some light touch massage on my back. 😂 All of a sudden, I felt like I had to do a massive poop and had an uncontrollable urge to push.
I called Christian over and gathered all my strength to crawl to the bathroom and tried to breathe the baby out. The urge to push was so great though that I listened to my body and my instincts. I felt the baby's head come out and heard Christian on the phone with emergency hotline personnel, telling them that he could see the head coming out. He simultaneously threw some towels under me and tried to talk with my toddler, who was witnessing the birth and didn't seem to know what to make of it. Christian tried to turn the bathroom lights on to see better, but I insisted on keeping them off, as the darkness helped me stay in the zone. I was still on all fours, feeling uncomfortable with the baby's head sticking out, and wanted to push some more, so I did, maybe two more times. I heard Christian tell the emergency personnel, "I have to go, the baby is coming out, I have to catch the baby!" Then at 5:26pm, the baby came out, landing in Christian's hands. My baby seemed to be sleeping when she came out, which disturbed the emergency hotline personnel, who kept telling Christian to make the baby cry so that her lungs would work. I was a little annoyed about that because we had just experienced this incredible, gentle birth and didn't want to disturb the vibe by making her cry, but I guess I understand that the emergency personnel wanted to hear some sort sign indicating the baby was okay. As Christian tickled her and tried to get her to cry, the ambulance arrived, my placenta came out, and the baby and I were whisked away to the hospital to get checked out. All was fine. I had two superficial tears that required stitches but nothing major. Baby Ana was perfectly healthy and so far seems pretty mellow!
All in all, it was an incredible experience! The worst part was having to go to the hospital after the birth, as I would've preferred to have spent those special hours after birth at home with just our family. However, I suppose for an unplanned home birth, we needed to be checked out immediately.
HypnoBirthing helped immensely during labor and birth, both to manage the discomfort and to help the process go smoothly. I felt very relaxed and focused throughout and at no point felt overwhelmed by the labor or like I needed pain medication (unlike when laboring with my first child). At one point the emergency personnel asked Christian how I was doing and he said that I was more relaxed than he was. The midwife at the hospital also commented that I seemed very relaxed.
Thank you, Miranda, for helping us achieve this magical, empowering birth!"