My entire labour from first surge to the moment I met my baby girl (after not knowing the gender) was 41 hours in length. Without the hypnosis and breathing techniques I practiced so hard during my pregnancy I am not sure how I would have coped with such little sleep and extreme exhaustion.
On Thursday 21st of feb I had acupuncture done in the morning and that afternoon at 3pm I had my first surge. I had been having Braxton Hicks through my entire third trimester but it’s true “when it’s real you’ll know”. At this point they were between 7-15 minutes apart and extremely manageable, I listened to my tracks and just maintained a calm atmosphere at home.
By Thursday evening the surges were 3-5 minutes apart and still manageable, I found comfortable positions through the night and was completely and 100% in a bubble. It felt fantastic and I felt in control. On Friday morning the surges had ramped up and I decided to go to the hospital where I agreed to an internal examination. The first time I strayed from my birth “plan”. I was 1cm dilated and went back home to go back to my bubble.
The day passed and I continued to shower, listen to my tracks, enjoy massage from my partner and really explore what felt best while in the deeper end of the surges. That afternoon I returned to the hospital for a second examination, I was still 1CM dilated and felt quite deflated from here. It had been well over 24 hours.
I returned home again but this time I felt I couldn’t get as comfortable, I was beginning to feel irritable and tired. My partner was amazing at reminding me of what I was doing and my body was on its own journey, by 11pm that Friday night I went back to the hospital and asked to stay there to continue my labour. I hopped into the bath where I stayed for almost 2 hours. While my partner fanned me (the entire time) and my mum got me water, i wriggled around the bath into different positions and found the affirmations to be exactly what I needed. I needed a boost of power.
I moved to the shower where I sat and my partner held the hand held nozzle over my back and I could have stayed here forever, this provided the best pain relief. A midwife offered me morphine a few times which flustered me and was the next time I strayed from my birth plan, pain relief was not a factor in my mind and specifically not morphine.
Around 2am I asked for a third examination where I was 3cm and my forewaters were broken.
Meconium was present in the forewaters and it was suggested to me that I be induced with Syntocinon. I agreed to this, baby was soon monitored through surges when one midwife said to me that if it wasn’t coping I would need an emergency c section. I was devastated to hear this as I knew it wouldn't be necessary and I didn’t want this is my bubble of thought.
Once I was induced, the surges became a lot for me. I asked for gas which in hindsight didn’t provide pain relief as much as the shower but it was enormous help to regulate my breathing which I had begun to forget to do well. I then sat straddling a chair beside the bed and this was by far the BEST position of the entire labour. I felt an urge to push and even now I look back on that scenario so fondly. I’m already excited for the push feeling next time around!
It then came time to really bear down and at this point it had been 40 hours and I knew I needed to rest my body. I asked to lay on the bed, something I never expected at all but exhaustion was taking over. My partner asked for a mirror to be put at the end of the bed and this was incredibly motivating! 1 hour of pushing on my back (which felt like 10 minutes) and bub was put on my chest at 8:38 am Saturday 23rd of feb.
A baby girl we named Lucy Rae.
There are some photos here from my labour that I look at with so much joy. My partner felt so involved and values his knowledge so highly. Although I did have a medicalized birth in some aspects, I am in awe of what my body did entirely itself.
I feel so strong and empowered every single day when I think back to the birth of my daughter, I cannot advocate hypnobirthing Australia strongly enough.
Thankyou Katie, we are so grateful.
Sally and Viliami (and baby Lucy) Hornsby, NSW