Born in hospital, Amsterdam - July 2019
This couple took a private course with me during the summer of 2019 in Amsterdam. They were planning a natural birth so when the mummy got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and the gynaecologist suggested an induction at 38 weeks, they felt that their dream birth might be no longer an option. But they did their own research, and I supplied them with evidence-based resources, and made an informed decision to wait...and what a beautiful birth they had for their baby daughter!
"I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at week 35, after I had a growth scan. I was able to control the GD with diet alone, but was recommended to speak to a gynaecologist . I had a further growth scan there and the estimate was 3.9kg at 38 weeks. They estimated the birth weight could be 4.1-4.5 kg if I went full term, and they reommended I should have an induction to avoid any risks associated with a larger baby.
This was really not what we wanted as we had wanted a natural HypnoBirthing experience, and we were both upset, especially me. Additionally, they said that if I was induced I wouldn’t be able to use a bath in labour and could likely lead to needing syntocin induction which I heard made contractions more intense.
We spoke to our HypnoBirthing tutor, Miranda, and she sent over some evidence-based birth articles and said read these and then make the decision based on facts. There were no hard facts that bigger babies posed significantly more risk for mothers or themselves. Both the US and UK bodies said 40+6 is the max recommendation for GD babies. So we decided to let our baby go full term, and then reassess. In the meantime we tried everything to get labour going naturally, but at 40 weeks there was no sign.
We were resigned that we would have induction at 40+6 weeks but wanted to try more natural methods of inducing, so from week 38 to 40 I had spicy food, massages, nipple stimulation, sex, reflexology, but there was no signs.
I had an attempted sweep where my cervix was fully closed, and two sweeps which were 1cm dilated, finally at 40+3 I had a sweep and I was 1.5cm dilated. I took the 0.5cm as a big positive and changed my mindset that this is going to happen today!! I made this recipe that Miranda gave us, that is supposed to bring on labour, aubergine parmesan, and we were really trying to believe in it. It’s a mission to make it!! So we were determined it would work. After we ate, we played chilled music and were chatting, then suddenly at 11.35pm I felt something like I was peeing! I thought oh gosh I’ve peed myself or my waters have gone, and it was my waters!
We were so excited, my husband didn’t believe me at first but it was happening! We lit some candles and I was going to bounce on the ball etc but my surges started coming quite quickly. My husband said let’s get some rest try and sleep but I couldn’t lie down as I felt it all in my back. He thought I would be having hours between surges but it was immediately intense!
My husband put the pads of the Tens machine on my back, but it didn’t work properly, we didn’t really know what we were doing! And it was just continuously on and annoying me, so I asked him to take the pads off. When he did he didn’t realise it was still on, and the pads stuck to his hands and were giving him an electric shock 😂😖 until he pulled all the cables out. We should definitely have practiced it before!
As I was feeling it all in my lower back I got under the shower and had the water directed onto my back. After a while it wasn’t enough and so I decided to have a bath. In the bath I had candles and my HypnoBirthing affirmations on repeat. I had my eyes shut and was breathing through the surges, using the surge breathing. All the pressure was in my back, we put a towel in the bath and the weight of that on my back helped, and my huband was pushing on my back when I had a surge. I also trickled water on my arms using a bath scrunchie which helped.
At 2am my husband called the midwife. He told her that I was being sick and bleeding a bit and it seemed to be happening quickly. My surges were happening frequently and lasting for a minute. The midwife said that the birth was progressing nicely and that everything was normal. My husband had to let her know if the contractions start to become regular and to call her again. I continued in the bath having surges and listening to my affirmations and he called again at 4am as the surges were lasting for a minute with only now 4 minutes between them. The midwife arrived at 5am. I barely registered that she was there. My husband says she just left me to be in my HypnoBirthing zone till 5:30am when she wanted to check me to see if we could go to hospital. I had to get out of the bath and lie on the bed, that was hard as the pressure was all in my back and it was worse when I was out of the water. I asked her not to tell me how many cms I was as I didn’t want to be disheartened but she said it’s a good time to go to the hospital now. She told my husband that I was 7cm!! 😊 but I didn’t know this at the time.
My husband was rushing round getting our things, I told him to calm down (he says he wasn’t stressed though, he just wanted to have everything ready to help me get to the hospital quickly and smoothly as possible). I wanted to wear my black maternity dress, he couldn’t find it and kept coming in and out with different dresses 😂 we didn’t plan on what to wear to the hospital!!
My husband carried all the things down then I made my way downstairs, I had sunglasses on to help me stay in my zone. The taxi drive was awful it seemed so long and the driver was having a loud phone conversation! I felt every bump and just tried to keep calm and had my HypnoBirthing affirmations playing loud which helped me. Once we got there we got a wheelchair and this lovely angel helped us carry all the things up to the Bevalcentrum (birthing centre).
We didn’t even open our labour bag to get candles or affirmations which I had spent ages printing 😂, I just wanted to get straight in the bath, the light was dim and lovely in the bathroom and for the rest of birth I barely opened my eyes.
At 10am the midwife wanted to check me again, I was able to stay in the bath which was fine. I was 10cm! She told me before that I had been 7 and now I was all the way there and ready to push. I said I wanted to breathe the baby down, using the HypnoBirthing birth breathing, and I did that for about an hour, then my body started pushing naturally, it felt like when you need to be sick but in the reverse direction!
The midwife suggested that I try the birthing stool for a bit, and I was happy to try it because I thought maybe this is an easier position if my baby was finding it difficult to turn.
I sat on the stool with my husband behind me and continued to breath / push the baby down. There was a mirror beneath me so I could see if I wanted to but I preferred to shut my eyes as when I saw part of the head I thought it seemed so small vs how much I thought was out so I blocked it out. This part was 45 mins but seemed a lot longer to me and was the most challenging part. I kept thinking surely that’s the whole head now! I listened to the midwife here as she said when the head is born you need to stop pushing whilst we see if the cord is around the neck, and she told me how to angle my pelvis so she could receive the baby when it was born. She was applying warm wet towels to my perineum which helped soothe, and then with several more surges the head was almost out, the baby’s heart dropped for one surge - we think because of the cord round the neck, so she told me to really hold my breath and push into the next surge. My body was naturally pushing and after that surge the heart beat had gone back to normal. After a few more surges the head was finally out! 🙌As soon as it was out it was such a relief but I was a bit concerned about the shoulders being stuck after the talk with the gynaecologist so I was mentally preparing for them to press a panic button or something. The cord was round the baby’s neck but I didn’t know this at the time, the midwife calmly took it away and in the next surge the baby was here ❤️ there was alot of water, blood and the baby had pooped when coming out.
Our baby was placed onto my chest, the baby was very long and we couldn’t see whether it was a boy or girl, so the midwife picked her up and I moved the cord and my husband said it’s a girl!💕 we were crying and so happy!
After that they helped me into the bed and the placenta was born soon after, naturally, which did need some surges to help it out but no syntocin injection. I just lay cuddling my baby girl whilst I had stitches and then we chilled together, the three of us.
My husband asked me did you not want gas and air, and I said oh I forgot that i could have had it here 😂 but I didn’t need it anyway. He said he didn’t want to ask me during labour as I was doing so well and didn’t want to put focus on pain relief when I was so focused and relaxed. He was also aware it was a good backup option if I did need it. It was only really then that I realised I had done it and given brith without any pain relief! 💪 I was so proud and our baby girl was and still is really calm (mostly!) it was an amazing experience! She was 3.92kgs (8lb 10oz) and has been feeding well and thriving, we’re both absolutely thrilled with her 💕
We stayed in the hospital for 5 hours after I’d given birth. We ordered a taxi from the hospital. The driver was really nice and drove us carefully home. Bruno Mars 'just the way you are' was playing! Then there was the stairs to climb up to our Amsterdam apartment! It was like climbing Mount Everest and I went straight to bed. The first night went smoothly and she slept really well.
Thanks again for everything Miranda 😊we really couldn’t have done it without you"