Anna & Martha - "If I could do it all over again I would, it was a life changing experience"

March last year I got the phone call my antenatal classes were all cancelled, panicked and upset I rang Elle. I knew Elle was training to become a Hypnobirthing instructor and thought I could get advice on what to do to help me prepare for birth. Elle was so calm and sweet, she explained that she had nearly completed her course and would love for me to be one of her first to trial EGG out on. I jumped at the chance and said YES!!!

With all the knowledge and guidance Elle had given me and my husband my birth was just magical and I smile as I’m about to tell you my story....

Thursday I went for my midwife appointment I was 40+4 days, I was asked if I would like to come in for a sweep over the weekend if no sign of baby which I declined and then I was told my induction will be booked for the following Thursday which I declined too as I wanted my birth to be as natural as possible and if me and baby are all good then baby will come when their ready. So we both agreed if baby wasn’t here by 41+4 I would have my sweep that day.

That night I went to bed at 10.30pm and mentioned to my husband I just didn’t feel right.

At 2am I woke up and felt the urge to wee as I climbed out of bed my waters broke.

In disbelief I didn’t think it was real, however I could see the clear fluid trickling down my leg.

I woke my husband up excited and nervous after a few minutes of taking in what had just happened we decided to ring the midwife. She said to come in to be checked over to make sure everything was ok.

In hindsight I wish I didn’t ring the midwife so quickly and waited a few hours to see what might of happened as I knew my waters were clear my baby wasn’t in any danger. In my head I thought the quicker I got checked out the quicker I can come home and get back to bed.

I arrived at the birth centre at 2.40am, I had to go in on my own as with COVID rules James wasn’t allowed in until I was in established labour. The midwife was lovely and checked my waters and said everything was fine and I was 1cm dilated. I was to go home get rest and if my contractions had not started I would need to be back at 10.30pm to be induced. This upset me as I really didn’t want to be induced if not needed just yet. The midwife went out to book my induction, I was sat on the bed and had my first surge. I was so excited as I never got Braxton Hicks in the run up, so didn’t know what the feeling was going to be like. When the midwife came back into the room I smiled my contractions have started. She explained to go home take paracetamol and get some rest and see how the rest of the day progresses.

4.30am, I had taken some paracetamol and thought right let’s try and get some sleep, I lasted 15 mins. The surges were making it so uncomfortable for me to be lay down.

I decided to get in the bath, i lit my candles and put on my birth music playlist and got my freya app out to time my surges. I told my husband to stay in bed as there was no point us both up being tired.

The surges were becoming more intense so I started to use my up breathing that I practised with Elle. Between the Freya app counting out for me and the up breathing I really felt in control. At 6am the surges were strong and frequent at this point the Freya app was now telling me I was in established labour.

The bath was becoming uncomfortable and I needed to get out. I found being on all fours on the floor was the most comfortable place to be. My waters had broke some more and was constantly flowing down my leg, I began to feel sick and needed the toilet too, I knew my body was preparing to give birth. I lasted till 8am and knew at this point I needed to go to the hospital. As I rang the midwife, I could barely speak as I was concentrating so much on my breathing and keeping calm , the midwife knew it was time for me to come in.

Due to COVID I had to go into the centre on my own again.

As I staggered into the hospital struggling to walk my husband was parking the car. I was greeted by Jo who was going to be my midwife, she checked me over and said I was 5cm dilated. Elated at the fact, I cried and said is my husband allowed in now.

i found comfort again being on all fours on the bed, I was asked if I would like Gas & Air which I agreed and Jo started to run the bath for me.

My husband started to set the scene, he learnt so much from Elle he felt very prepared and knew what to do and how best to look after me, he dimmed the lights (lucky the centre was brand knew so they had installed twinkly lights in the ceiling which was perfect), my birth playlist was playing through the speakers and my aromatherapy spray was sprayed around the room.

It was time for me to get into the water, the relief of my body floating and the warmth gave a rush of calmness and instant relaxation. I used the gas and air to help me breathe through surges and I found leaning over the bath on the my knees with my legs open to be the best position for me. My husband on hand helped me with water and food when I needed it. I couldn’t speak but my signal of waving and clasping my hand meant I wanted water.

Luckily my husband just instinctively knew what I meant.

Jo was wonderful and had read my birth plan so knew that my husband and I wanted to be left alone unless we needed her.

Jo popped in after a few hours to check on me and baby and make sure we were both ok she knew to check me without asking as I requested this in my notes. Because I had drank so much water and had been in the bath for nearly 4 hours she needed me to try for a wee. Whilst I was on the loo the bath was emptied and refilled with fresh water.

Between the intense surges I was having I could not for the life of me have a wee, I was offered a catheter to relieve my bladder which I agreed.

Whilst Jo did this she was able to do a check to see how dilated I was.

The relief of my bladder being emptied took some of the pressure away in my tummy.

Jo informed me I was 8cm dilated so needed to get back in the water as baby will be here soon.

It was now 1.30pm I’m back in the water concentrating more than ever with my breathing, the gentle movements and swaying in the water helped me to feel relaxed.

After a couple of hours I began to have a wobble, crying for stronger medication and didn’t think I could do this anymore. Luckily my husband and Jo were great they knew I didn’t really want this and it was a sign baby was going to come very soon. They encouraged me to keep going and baby was going to be here before I know it.

All of a sudden I felt my body change I started to make mooing sounds. My up breathing became different so naturally I started to down breath.

It’s crazy how your body knows exactly what to do and in my head I was going with what my body wanted keeping calm and relaxed as much as I could.

I used my positive affirmations to stay in control and give me strength to know I can do this, my body can birth my baby.

I began to breath my baby out.

With knowing this an overwhelming emotion came over me and I began to cry happy tears I’m finally going to meet my baby that I have grown and cared for inside of me. After nearly an hour of gentle down breathing, my baby was born at 4.05pm, Jo passed baby through my legs and on to my chest.

We didn’t know the sex so was a surprise to find out we had a little girl.

The love I had gazing down on this tiny human being we had created, was so overwhelming, it’s a feeling I have never experienced, my heart was made bigger that day.

We stayed in the water whilst we did delayed cord clamping and Martha latched on straight away to my delight.

After 40 minutes I needed to get out the water to deliver my placenta. I chose not to have the injection and to deliver my placenta naturally. This gave James an opportunity to have cuddles and lots of skin to skin.

Once out the water and one little push the placenta came out whole, my midwife then gave me a science lesson and showed me how healthy my placenta was. I then climbed into bed and had lots more skin to skin with Martha who latched on again and feed so easily.

After an hour myself and Martha were checked over. I was lucky to have no tears and just a slight bruise, due to COVID I had to be tested at this point too. Which came back negative the next day. Martha had her NIPE checks and her vitamin K injection.

I managed to have a shower and whilst James got Martha cleaned up and dressed we climbed back into bed to have celebratory Tea and Toast, which was divine and very true what people say it’s the best thing ever!

After 6 hours of Martha being born we were discharged and sent home. The feeling of walking in that day pregnant and walking back out the same day with a baby I was in shock and awe, my little family was now complete.

Thanks to Elle and my midwife I felt in control, knowing the knowledge I learnt, I knew my body was capable and strong to give birth.

The midwife was so good to respect my wishes from my birth notes and was an advocate for Hypnobirthing. She was so impressed with me that she said it was a pleasure to watch such a wonderful birth, seeing Martha being born so calmly and said I had to have a home birth next time.

I wish every woman knew about hypnobirthing, knowledge is power, birth is a wonderful experience and however you birth your baby knowing your options and staying in control you can have a great experience whatever may be.

Elle, I want to say thank you for changing my mindset from being scared and not having a clue to having the knowledge and strength to know I can birth my baby! If I could do it all over again I would, it was a life changing experience that makes me smile from ear to ear talking about how Martha came into this world.

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