It was four years ago yesterday that my little son, Forest, was born into this world. Four years! Where did that time go?
As I'm sitting here remembering those first special moments of Forest's life, I thought I would share with you his birth story.
I was past my "due date". 5 days over to be exact, and the midwives were talking of induction or doing a "sweep". Myself and my husband, Nik, wanted our baby's birth to be as natural as possible and having recently completed our HypnoBirthing course with the lovely Gilly Gibbin, we politely declined and tried some more natural ways instead. I listened to Rainbow Relaxation, affirmations, Nik did a fear release hypnosis script for me. I felt really confident, relaxed and happy.
That evening, we decided to go to the cinema and then for a curry. We both absolutely LOVE hot, spicy food, but for some strange reason, during this pregnancy, my tongue just couldn't handle anything spicier than a poppadum! But I was determined....so I ordered the hottest, spiciest curry that my mouth could tolerate and I literally inhaled it, as I swallowed each mouthful without it touching my tongue. We had a lovely evening, talking about our future with our baby, our plans and dreams..... excited that our baby would soon be here.....
....that night at 2am I felt a few twinges in my tummy. It felt a little bit like I had a dodgy belly from all that curry, so I rolled out of bed and padded my way to the bathroom. False alarm, no upset stomach. So I got back into bed and went back to sleep. Then I woke a bit later to some more cramps, these ones were coming in a regular pattern and then I realised that AH HA! these might actually be SURGES! yippppeee! I was so excited!
Nik and I spent the morning having breakfast and I started to feel like I needed to breathe through the surges. Each time a surge started, I would close my eyes and relax my whole body, I asked every muscle to relax, and do the surge breathing that I had been practising for weeks.
Nik ran the bath for me and I relaxed in there for a while. Actually, I was in there for hours! It was so nice! I had the bath full right up, lovely and warm and I laid flat so I could get my head under the water. The surge breathing was fantastic. Breathing up and into my tummy with every surge. I wasn't feeling any pain at all. Just tightening. Each time a surge came, I visualised myself and Nik swimming in the ocean, with our faces in the water watching the fish, and with each surge of the wave, we would be taken out, carried out gently and back again. bliss!
We started to time the surges and we soon realised that it was probably time to call the midwife. As we had planned a homebirth, the midwife came over and gave me a little check and confirmed that I was 4cm dilated.
The midwife stayed with us. She could see that Nik was being a supportive partner and she left us to it, and did some of her paperwork (and watched TV!). Nik was doing lots of light touch massage while I relaxed on the sofa or bounced up and down on the exercise ball. The light touch massage was really helping my body to produce more endorphins. I listened to Marie Mongan's soothing voice on the Rainbow Relaxation CD. Nik and I spent hours relaxing through surges. He was just amazing reading scripts to me, doing light touch massage, and reminding me of all the tools I had in my Hypnobirthing "toolbox". He even kept the midwives refreshed and well-fed with tea and cakes.
The midwife did a little vaginal exam and said that I was at 6cm. She said things were slowing down, so we decided to go for a walk. We have a lovely park right outside our front door, so Nik and I stretched our legs and went for a wander. Each time a surge came, I would drape my arms over Niks shoulders and relax into him and breathe. I would move my hips from side to side in some kind of dance. This seemed to help relax my lower back.
After a few hours, Nik filled the birth pool and I jumped in. It was so relaxing and peaceful. I was comfortable and feeling so positive. After a while I got out and our midwife suggested we go upstairs and have a little sleep. So Nik and I crept into our warm bed and cuddled up. I drifted off into a lovely sleep. It was a short nap but it helped us.
I got back into the pool for some more relaxation. After a while I got out and went to the toilet. It was then, after 38 hours of surges, my membranes released (waters broke). I stepped into the empty bath, and against the white floor of the bath, I could see that my waters were slightly tinged brown. A sure sign of meconium being present. The midwife said that it was time for me to be transferred to hospital as this is what's classed as a "special circumstance" (complication) and we need to get baby checked.
At this point, Nik and I were a bit sad that we weren't going to get our homebirth as planned, but still felt positive and upbeat. The ambulance arrived and off we went. The paramedic kept asking me if I wanted gas and air "everyone has it - go on love, give it a try". I declined politely. I really didn't need it! I was enjoying my surges!
Once at hospital, I found it more difficult to stay in my happy place. I knew the stress hormones were starting to kick in. Nik worked with me, reading scripts and encouraging me with his words, and I managed to stay calm as the endorphins were released.
Baby was monitored and showed some abnormalities in his heart rate. The midwife said that it would be best to start me on the syntocin as I hadn't dilated much since arriving. Nik and I remembered what we were taught in the HypnoBirthing course and we asked what the pros and cons of syntocin. After a few more tests, it was confirmed that baby needed to come out now, as our baby wasn't tolerating the strong surges I was having. A C-section was needed. Nik asked lots of questions....why was this required, what if we waited a while, what alternatives are there......but we agreed to go ahead with the c-section.
It was then that Nik and I had very mixed emotions. Happy as our baby would soon be here, but sad that our natural vaginal birth wasn't going to happen.
Nik got prepped in his scrubs and I was taken into surgery. Nik placed his face next to mine and we breathed together. I remembered all of the positive affirmations I listened to. I did my calm breathing and I felt good! We couldn't wait to finally meet our baby! The medical staff were really supportive and encouraging.
The surgeon lifted Forest into the air and all we could see was this little baby, with huge balls (enlarged because of the hormones from my body) and covered in meconium! What a sight! I couldn't stop laughing! It was the happiest moment in my life.
They gave Forest a little clean up and he was placed on my chest. I couldn't stop laughing and the surgeon told me to be quiet as it was making his stitching all wonky!
Wow! A baby boy! We were in love! Forest and I enjoyed some skin-to-skin and he latched onto my breat and had some yummy milk and we were moved down onto the ward.
Nik had some skin-to-skin time with Forest and fell asleep with him. Watching my husband (my best friend) cuddled up with my little newborn baby son, was really truly something that I will never forget. That moment of bonding. So beautiful.
It wasn't our planned birth. There was a lot of medical intervention. It was longer than we had hoped too! But I can honestly say that 52 hours from start to finish, it was unbelievable how the HypnoBirthing techniques carried me through. I even slept through surges! Nik and I worked together as a team. Each and every step we felt in control. We made informed decisions and had some wonderful midwives supporting us. I felt relaxed and calm, even through surgery. We had a really positive birth experience.
This is why I decided to become a HypnoBirthing practitioner. I wanted to help other parents achieve a positive birth experience, no matter what turn their birth may take.
Soon I will share Daisy's birth story with you - a natural HypnoBirthing VBAC!