Sarah's Story - Hypnobirthing and Doula Support
🚨Mentions of Emergency Episiotomy and Forceps delivery 🚨
I’ve had such an amazing pregnancy, no real curveballs, sickness and kept up yoga until the day he was born....I had a doula and been practicing PBC Hypnobirthing from 25 weeks and a KG Hypnobirthing classroom course. And it came into its own after being diagnosed With polyhydramniois at 39+5 and my midwife led unit birth plan could be no more due to now being high risk.
We had a weekend of working it out, using BRAIN and writing lots of thoughts about all options down. We went to my favourite vegan restaurant owned by a good friend who’s a birth goddess and doula and enjoyed some time together, talking to her as well as my own doula - who was phenomenal!
We went for a tour of the delivery suite at the hospital we would now be going to, and spoke to the senior midwife about our options. She was amazing and really put my other half’s mind at ease, and set up a meeting with the consultant for us to talk about inaccuracies that we wanted fixing on the scan and about how little intervention I could get away with to keep it as close to my birth plan as possible! Every member of staff across the weekend and on Monday respected my wishes… as my birth story hopefully shows, especially people who have last minute hurdles!
Here goes....At 2pm on Monday I went in, armed with options, questions and a refocused birthplan. Before starting the induction procedures and having used BRAIN and feeling empowered we met the senior midwife and consultant and for an hour they chatted to us, really relaxed us, listened to us about hypnobirthing and were genuinely amazing. They agreed to a rescan and vaginal examination (VE) before just giving me drugs. I was put at ease and felt my partner and I were calling the shots! The scan - done in a private room which went on to be my birth room - showed his cord was out of the way and he was engaged and the VE confirmed I was already 1-2cm, I agreed to a sweep, so no need for a pesary!
Because the consultant actually spent an hour with us, so I felt comfortable in accepting the examination and trusting him. We were able to go for a walk and some spend time together - basically getting excited that we’d meet our son very soon!
At 4pm the same consultant managed my waters breaking because of the amount there was likely to be! (There was a fair bit!!!) and then was able to have first stage in our private room on the delivery suite - which we had time to really decorate and make our own, and got the clary sage on a diffuser and dimmed all the lights and the midwives helped move the bed out of the way and I was really already in the hypnobirth zone - I did some yoga in my room and lots done to get the oxytocin flowing as much as possible! At 10pm handover from the first consultant, he came into the room and just said ‘wow, now I get it’ and even wanted to take a picture in front of my affirmations and candles! Every midwife that came on popped down in these early stages and loved the room, and didn’t want to handover! We had three midwives in total but the first one really put me at ease, and made sure that all the midwives and Dr has read our birth plan. which was key! I got the TENS machine on and spent lots of this time on my birth ball!
As requested i didn’t have any VES that I didn’t want....the first of the night was at 10pm at my request. I called my doula to come at this stage too...Then I was 2/3cm but my cervix was still thick, I didn’t get disheartened, and they accepted my request not to use synthetic oxytocin and wait for my surges to intensify - I worked with my OH and doula to do this - On my ball, in the toilet and dancing around and being spoilt with hand and leg massages from my doula and hip compression from my OH (learnt on our Hypnobirthing course!). I started getting tired, so I lay down laterally left and tried gas and air and it helped regulate my breathing and focus on that! I could feel him moving down and watch each surge!
At 2am I was 2-3cm I had another VE and was told that I’d need to accept the oxytocin drip and change to clip monitoring on baby’s head, neither of which I wanted at this stage and had already put off for hours! But eventually, At around 3am they gave me syntocinon but within 5-10mins baby’s heart rate dropped and wasn’t happy so they turned it off, the Dr came in and asked to see it on again and the same thing happened and the midwife called it and said I could go without!
Then at 5am I had a VE and was 8cm but fully effaced with two cm on one side (because I was lying on my side) my body wanted me to push so much, but I was told to hold off to stop swelling and that lasted a few hours... it was really intense and took a lot to focus to stay in the zone, but I did thanks to the practice and support of my doula and OH again advocating for me. Our midwife was concerned about monitoring and kept suggesting different interventions but as we declined she respected our choices - on numerous occasions!
At 6am, and what I now know was the start of very long 2nd stage, I was so thankful of being able to start to push! It was the hardest thing I’ve done but I felt so powerful too, and my down breathing practice was used with lots of deep groans which do help. It was exhausting - and didn’t change to clip monitoring on baby’s until 2 hours into breathing baby down - something my doula now felt would help me and baby. At this point the midwife advised a doctor do be involved and for a kiwi delivery. I just remember a hazy conversation at times but trusted the people around me to call it!
At this stage I didn’t think I could do it anymore - in total I was pushing for three hours, of really intense surges, mainly on my knees over the end of the bed using gas and air to focus but at 8.30am I was exhausted and my heart rate was dropping and baby was stuck in the birth canal and struggling - it took a while for a doctor to arrive which I remember felt an eternity...especially when I could hear beeps on monitors, which I tricked myself into using for counting breaths!
Then at around 9.30am the doctor came in and it was a quickly needed decision by my OH/Doula to not go to theatre or have an spinal block! So, I had my room turned into theatre and had an emergency episiotomy and assisted delivery, with forceps and only a local anesthetic, because there was actually no time for spinal block and to get me to theatre. The consultant was clear and respected my hypnobirth plan - despite a room full of pediatricians and doctors and lights on full - I kept my eyes closed and my doula and OH advocated for me.
The senior midwife in the room at the time checked the language she should use because
she had to help me recognize surges now as I was out of it and wasn’t on gas and air now so I could hear the consultant and understand. This bit was all a blur but I was able to go with the flow and my partner and I made informed choices in an emergency situation - and got our wishes - Including me being able to help deliver baby and bring him to my chest, magical. He had to be immediately checked on resus but they knew I wanted him back and did all checks and got him stable within minutes. I had an actively managed 3rd stage due to risk of PPH (post partum hemorrhage) but have been able to keep my placenta!
The bit that sticks in my mind about the whole assistance part is the fact that when the consultant was stitching me up she took the time to talk to me, calm me down and even asked my playlist to be turned up because she was enjoying how relaxed it made her feel during the procedure!! she also said it was the calmest, easiest forceps delivery she’d EVER done and our midwife agreed.
I have had to ask my other half for a lot of this information and times things happened,
because I managed to stay in the zone, so I don’t really remember the specifics. Now We are okay - a bit bruised and sore from stitches, but he is healthy and I’m going to heal! we are already home and I am so so happy that I still managed to hypnobirth my way through it, and only had gas and air and didn’t need any of the synthetic hormones or other drugs either! So not how I imagined my birth, with a few scary moments but overall so positive and we were in the right to place after all. Plus, it seems that in the process I have shown a high risk, consultant lead ward how Hypnobirthing can help in all situations. Just before we were moved from delivery down to a private room, both consultants from the night before came in to our room to meet Harrison, and actually thank us for making their roles more pleasurable because of Hypnobirthing!