When we found out that we were expecting our second child (Daisy), we were so excited!
Our first birth, Forest's birth, was a long labour followed by an 'emergency' c-section, using HypnoBirthing techniques to stay relaxed and it was a positive experience. By the time I was pregnant with Daisy, I had been teaching HypnoBirthing for 2 years, and I found myself aching for a natural vaginal birth.
I really wanted to experience a vaginal birth using HypnoBirthing. Not only did I want to enjoy a calm birth for myself, Nik (my husband), and our baby, but I also wanted to know exactly how it feels to birth this way. To really feel those downward surges and get to experience the whole thing.
Nik and I practised our HypnoBirthing techniques every night. One night we would practice a deepening exercise together, followed by a fear release. The next we would practice an instant relaxation technique together. It became a bedtime routine, a ritual. It helped us both stay connected and helped the bond together, with our baby. Every day I practiced my breathing techniques, listened to my affirmations, fell asleep to the Rainbow Relaxation hypnosis CD. I enjoyed this precious relaxation routine. It helped me focus on my baby curled up inside my belly. Every day I gave my full attention to my beautiful son Forest (he was only 2 years old), and my work (I was teaching HypnoBirthing in a hospital), so this time set aside for practice really helped Nik and I to bond with our baby.
It was so much fun teaching HypnoBirthing to lots of pregnant ladies while I too had a big bump!
We were living in Singapore at the time. A week before our 'due date' I felt a bit unwell during the day. I felt like I might be getting a cold/flu, I felt a bit achy. That night we put Forest to bed at 7pm, and I did my usual daily yoga routine, and we went to bed early to do some practicing. About 2am I woke up with some cramps in my lower tummy. I went to the toilet as I thought that maybe I had an upset stomach. Maybe something I'd eaten? No, everything was fine. So I got back into bed and went back to sleep.
An hour later I woke up to some more cramping. This time they were regular cramps. I knew then that this was the start of labour! Eeeeee! So exciting! I started to do my surge breathing every time a surge came on. I changed positions and got on my hands and knees on the bed, and started moving forwards and backwards in a relaxing rhythm, breathing through my surges. I went totally into my zone and focused inwards and talked to my baby. Nik woke up and I told him that I think it's time. It was now about 6am and I could feel my surges becoming longer, and closer together.
Nik called the midwife who said to head into the hospital. He then called our babysitter, Elise, who was on standby. As we were living in Singapore so we didn't have family close by. Elise turned up about 6.30am, and as Nik was giving her instructions on when to wake Forest and give him breakfast, I was still on the bed, on my hands and knees and in deep self hypnosis. I wasn't experiencing any pain at all. Just tightening and pressure with each surge. I felt wonderful. Nik did some light touch massage on my arms and gave me my phone to listen to the Rainbow Relaxation with my earphones. I wanted to stay there in my dark bedroom and birth, but Nik reminded me that in Singapore the obstetricians don't support homebirth.
Nik helped me down the stairs and into the waiting taxi. I stopped a few times to breathe through my surges. I said hello and goodbye to Elise and got comfy in the backseat of the taxi. This was the part that I was worried and nervous about. Nik and I had used fear release scripts to help me manage this. My experience of Singaporean taxi drivers during pregnancy wasn't too good, with their swerving and on-off-on-off acceleration making me feel sick. But the taxi driver was really great, and I stayed relaxed listening to the Rainbow Relaxation.
We arrived at the hospital and made our way to the labour department where the midwives took us straight into the birthing room. They said that if we wanted to a room with a birth pool that it would cost an extra $100! I remember coming out of my relaxation to ask Nik if he thought that was ok! I was a bit irritated by it.
In the birthing room, Nik dimmed the lights. The midwife gave me a vaginal exam and put a monitor on to listen to our baby's heart rate. I had agreed with Nik that I didn't want to know how open my cervix was at each check, but I was desperate to know! I KNEW I was far along in the first stage. I could feel it. I was so excited to hear that I was at 7cm and my cervix was nicely thinned! This gave me a massive boost. The midwife left the room and Nik used some light touch massage to help me release lots of endorphins. I could literally feel it working! my body tingled and I felt so calm. He was really encouraging, using a very calm voice telling me how well I was doing.
I sat on the bed with Nik in front of me and he reminded me to relax the whole of my body, as he could feel muscles in my shoulders tense with each surge. His encouragement was so valuable. He asked me if I needed the toilet so we went to the bathroom together where I sat for a while having surges while waiting for my pee to come! The midwife popped in to check if we were ok, and left the room again. I was actually relieved to be left alone with Nik, I felt that we were a team, and I didn't need anyone else.
Nik gave me lots of snacks (I had so much dried apricot!) and water, to keep my energy levels up.
I got into the warm bath but I couldn't get comfy. I breathed into my tummy, during every surge. I filled my tummy with lots of air, imagining that I was in the ocean swimming with the surge. Suddenly my surges started to feel different. I felt a pushing down at the end of each surge. There was a pressure in my bum towards the end of the surge. I remembered that this was the amazing signal that my baby was now ready to move down and out! It was my sign to start my birth breathing. I told Nik and he continued to support me. I remember feeling suddenly quite negative. I said to Nik "I can't do this anymore!!". I felt an overwhelming desire to go home! I wanted to stop the birth, I didn't want to continue! Nik said gently "Miranda, you ARE doing it!". Wow, his words were like magic! He really helped me keep going. Nik remembered that this is the transition period where some mums feel negative or anxious. That feeling passed not long after.
The midwife came in and I didn't feel the need to tell her that I was in the second stage. I got out of the pool and onto the bed where I got onto my hands and knees and started swaying. I could feel my baby moving down with each birth breath. I started visualising the opening blossom.
Nik told the midwife that I had started my birth breathing. She placed a mirror under me, so that I could watch my baby's head crowning. I was so excited by this! She didn't say much at all. She was a quiet presence, leaving Nik to comfort me.
My legs started to feel tired, so I laid down on my side. The birth breathing was incredible. I could feel it working, helping to nudge my baby down, while still staying relaxed and breathing. The midwife had again left the room. Nik continued with the light touch massage, just on my arm this time, and I didn't want him to stop! I kept drifting off into what felt like sleep.
I could feel something pop out from between my legs. I said to Nik to check to see if it was a baby's head, he looked and said no, that he didn't know what it was! He called the midwife into the room and she looked and said that its the membranes coming out (my waters hadn't released at this point). Our baby's head was nearly crowning! The obstetrician was called and when he entered the room I felt a strange negative emotion. I didn't want this new person here. I decided to ignore him and stay focused inwards, reminding myself that Nik was there to protect me.
Just as the obstetrician arrived, my membranes released and there was meconium present. He asked me to lay on my back and push into my bum. He said that there was an urgent need to birth this baby, and that I needed to push. Nik stayed close to my face whispering "just breathe our baby down Miranda, you're doing so well". I decided to listen to Nik, and carried on with my birth breathing but I could feel my body doing some amazing instinctive pushing. Like the whole of the surge was a push. I groaned and moaned with each push, directing the power down, and with a little help, Daisy was born! I realised then that I had had my eyes closed for the whole thing! Daisy was placed onto my chest with a towel covering her, and I looked down and cried my eyes out!! We did it!! We had a vaginal birth! Nik and I were both crying so much we couldn't talk. What a feeling! I wanted to do it all over again!
I felt so empowered! I was a GODDESS!
After the placenta came away (I don't remember how long it took, as it's all a blur!) the obstetrician told me that I needed stitches. While I had skin-to-skin with Daisy, he stitched me up. I hadn't even known I had a little tear!
Daisy started to suckle on my breast and we were left alone for about an hour to bond together. This hour was so lovely. It was our time together to get to know each other, without medical staff around. The room was dimly lit, quiet and warm. Nik held Daisy and I couldn't stop crying. Watching Nik have skin-to-skin with our new precious little baby was the most wonderful thing to see.
The next few hours passed by in a blur of breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, and getting to know one another. Nik was my rock through the whole birth, we worked together as a team. My heart burst with love for him, our new little baby girl, and our son Forest, who was waiting patiently to meet his little sister. What an incredible experience.
Sending you all much love and positive birthing vibes, wherever you are xxxx