I was recommended One to One by a friend who had a home birth with a pool. It sounded like an amazing birth and she even said it wasn’t painful; immediately I thought ‘that sounds the way to do it!’ Decision made then – great! I enthusiastically informed my husband ‘I want to have a home birth with a pool using hypnobirthing – It’ll be fine!’
My husband was not so keen. I was so disappointed – this is what I really wanted for the birth of my first baby – we weren’t far from the hospital if things went wrong – birthing is natural, why wasn’t he as keen as I was?
We agreed to both think about the decision further and my husband was keen to find out as much information as possible on the risks and what things could go wrong and what would happen if we were at home. My instinctive reaction was – why is he being so negative? He wants to know the problems but can’t see the benefits! It was very frustrating.
Our One to One midwife Kelly was amazing start to finish. Chris asked his long list of questions and I began to realise that these were important valid questions that I hadn’t thought of. I also realised that for him, he wanted to protect me and the baby and it was a vital part of the decision-making process. I’d already looked into hypnobirthing and he had yet to find out the details. Kelly explained the whole process and reassured Chris that the baby was monitored throughout and there would be advanced warning to take action if anything went wrong. We also then attended the hypnobirthing workshop and that allowed Chris to understand the whole ethos. We agreed to have a home birth and to go to hospital if needed.
A few weeks before my due date I started drinking raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose capsules, doing peroneal massage, lunges, squats and inversions. I went into labour on the Friday evening, 13 days before my due date. We thought they were Braxton hicks as I’d been having them for a few months so Chris went to the pub! They continued all Saturday and I thought – I’ll just distract myself so we went to do our weekly shop in Asda. They started getting stronger so we headed quickly to the check out. We picked the wrong queue, eventually got to the front and the man at the checkout enquired ‘sorry for your wait -how are you today?’ to which Chris replied, ‘my wife is in labour’. The look on his face – ‘no one’s ever said that before – do you want me to call an ambulance!?’ Even though I was having to breathe when the contractions came, it seemed funny to me, since doing the hypnobirthing, that he should ask if I wanted an ambulance – I felt totally in control and not panicked. I always thought Chris would be panicked too but he was totally relaxed.
We got home and carried on as normal. I vaguely remember watching ‘take me out’ sitting on a gym ball, having to breathe more as the contractions were becoming more frequent and stronger. They continued throughout the night on Saturday and into Sunday. I listened to my hypnobirthing app, as I had been doing every night over the last few months. It got to Sunday lunch time and the contractions were coming every 5 or so minutes lasting for about a minute so we gave Kelly a call and I got into the bath. The heat helped and I felt relaxed. Chris was amazing; as the contractions got more intense he talked me through the relaxed breathing. When Kelly arrived I hardly realised as I was focussed on the contractions. I remember my right hip really aching so she felt my stomach and said that the baby was on that side and that there were some techniques we could try to turn her into a better position. I had my bottom in the air (and didn’t care!) while Kelly applied a heat pack and massaged my back. She then used a scarf wrapped under my bump to lift up her body weight. I felt the baby move around to the front and immediately felt the right hip pain go.
My waters still hadn’t broken. Kelly offered to go upstairs and try some techniques with me on the bed to relax my pelvic floor. After doing this my waters broke. Chris then went to fill the pool. He returned to speak with Kelly to say that there was a leak in the hose pipe we had bought. Kelly went downstairs to investigate and I found out afterwards that we’d bought a sprinkler hose and soaked the entire length of the house!!! At this point I really wanted to get in the pool and Kelly told Chris to say I needed to try a few contractions on the loo. At this point I felt the urge to push and luckily the pool was ready! As I got in the feeling of relief was so powerful that my contractions stopped. As soon as they stopped I then felt the urge to push again. It was much stronger this time. I felt like I was in the pool for minutes but Chris informs me it was more like 3 hours!
The second midwife Rachel arrived but both her and Kelly left Chris and I to get on with the hypnobirthing. The music was playing, candles were lit and Chris continued to count my breathing. I found myself making strange noises when I needed to push. Beforehand I’d always wondered if I’d know how to push. The only way I can describe it is it being like when you throw up – the feeling that you can’t control it and you just go with it. Finally, after lots of urges to push Eleanor came into the world – into the pool! We cuddled in the pool and I gave birth to the placenta within half an hour or so. I felt so tired after three days of surges but so happy that we had a gorgeous baby girl. I can truly say it was hard but not painful and I had no tearing. Hypnobirthing brought my husband and I closer and we were so thankful for Kelly’s expertise and confidence in us.
Two and a half years later it was time to do it all again!
This time around I was more worried– it sounds strange but it went so well last time that I was anxious to do everything exactly the same this time around. With a toddler, and both my husband and I working, I felt we would benefit from going to hypnobirthing again. My husband’s reaction was ‘we’ve already done that’ but I knew a refresher would do us the world of good. We went along to the hypnobirthing classes again, and it reminded us of the importance of oxytocin on dealing with surges and for the onset of labour. My husband pointed out to me that the more relaxed I could be, the better it would be for the birth of our new baby. This was hard what with working and looking after our daughter but made me prioritise the hypnobirthing practice (every night!).
My daughter arrived early so I was fully expecting the same this time – I finished work and was off for a month before the new arrival!! Within that time, I made some affirmation bunting, lots of flapjacks, used the gym ball a lot, ate curries, drank raspberry leaf tea, did peroneal massage and did the hypnobirthing every night.
I was having a Sunday afternoon roast with the family and felt more regular surges coming on. I didn’t tell my mother in law as I knew she’d worry. When everyone went home and we put my daughter to bed I had a warm bath. I knew then that this was the start as the surges were getting stronger. By midnight I knew I wanted the pool and Chris to call Kelly. Chris filled the pool (no sprinkler hose this time!!) and the candles were lit and the hypnobirthing CD was on. My surges were about 5 minutes apart and I remember pulling down on the towels on the towel rack in the downstairs loo before getting in the pool.
In the pool, I started to get frustrated – it felt like I was pushing but not getting anywhere (I was comparing it to last time), Chris reminded me to stay calm, relaxed and started reading out the affirmations on the bunting which actually helped! (I had been sceptical writing them out). Our baby turned the wrong way to come out so it meant a longer labour but eventually came out (after his shoulders had a bit of help from Kelly). He didn’t cry, he looked so relaxed and I held him in my arms.
Our baby boy Harry came at 04:24. I gave birth to the placenta and then it was floating next to us in a bowl in the pool! Kelly made me a placenta smoothie! I never thought I would do this – whether it was placebo or not I did feel I had a lot more energy after, this time compared to last time! My mum had crocheted a blue and green heart cord tie and we used it for the cord. I had no tearing again even though he was bigger than my daughter. Again, the labour and birth wasn’t painful but hard work!!
I never thought I’d want a third baby but Kelly has made me feel so confident in birthing that I’m tempted! My husband and I doing the hypnobirthing course was invaluable and I couldn’t have had the birth that we had without his understanding and support.