I was perceived as being 7 days late and much as I was trying to relax about letting my baby wait until they were ready to make an appearance, I was tired and heavy and quite honestly, over being pregnant. My mother was already suggesting castor oil and each drop off at nursery resulted in a collection of ‘oh, I thought you would have had it by now’, ‘still pregnant then’ or ‘you POOR thing’. My first child had arrived after I’d resigned myself to being induced and thus let my husband have more to drink that was safe to drive so with this in mind I duly sent him off to the pub with a friend and said ‘enough to be over the limit, little enough to be able to sober up very quickly!’. I drew a lavender scented bath, got in and mild cramping in my tummy started about 5 minutes later.
I lingered in the bath for over an hour, enjoying each surge, knowing that in all likelihood I was to meet our new baby in the next 24 hours. J got home after a few hours and I casually suggested he drink a LOT of water and eat a large meal, to which he responded with ‘nooooo, seriously?’.
After dropping my son with a friend, we spent the next few hours eating supper, watching Friends & Modern Family while my surges slowly became more powerful and regular. By 11pm we reached 3 in 10 and called the hospital. My surges immediately slowed. For next four hours, whilst intensifying, they came every 7 – 10 minutes. I had another bath, I walked a marathon round our kitchen but they refused to speed up. Eventually we decided to go to bed and after two hours of clenching J’s hand every ten minutes I got up to have a pee and BANG they immediately started to speed up.
By 7am we called the hospital who wanted to speak to me. Practising my Up Breathing with J through every contraction, it was hard for the midwife on the phone to gauge the intensity of my surges but on asking how I felt, my instinct told me I was ready to go to hospital.
The drive to hospital this time could not have been more different from our first. Naturally we were far more relaxed, but I wasn’t screaming in pain, out of fear. As my surges came we breathed through them together and arriving at hospital was nothing but exciting.
On arriving at the delivery suite we met our midwife, Cat, and she stood back as a another surge arrived in reception and let J & I breath through it. Having watched me she took us straight through to our birthing suite where she examined me and found I was already 6cm dilated. I remember absolutely beaming at J. She then discovered that the baby was back to back and this was almost certainly the cause of my irregular surges.
I got in the pool and after about 15 minutes decided it was time to use some gas and air as my surges got more powerful. All the while Cat was brilliant, completely respecting the moment for me & J, sitting quietly in a corner while we laboured as a team.
After about an hour, I lost it. I couldn’t do it anymore; I’d come this far, so confidently, but now I was done. I was transitioning. Cat recognised what was happening and came to reassure me and help me regain my mind-set. Adopting a UFO (Upright, Open and Forward) position in the pool I stared at J who had moved onto Down Breathing with me. I did not push once. In 4 or 5 surges my baby was crowning, one more and his head was born. With my final surge, my body birthed his and Rufus arrived at 11.14 am, two hours after arriving at hospital.
Cat instructed me to reach down through my leg and I found Ru and brought him up to my chest. It was complete magic. She popped some towels over us and after a while I moved over to the bed where I birthed my placenta and we were left alone. Me & J and the latest addition to our family. It was so calm, so peaceful, SO DIFFERENT from my first experience. I was elated and empowered, Ru was feeding, and it was perfect.
I can honestly say that my only regret was that I did not know about hypnobirthing the first time round. The difference it made to so many aspects of my second birth is immeasurable and I am forever grateful to those involved for introducing me to and being part of my hypnobirthing journey and positive birth story.