Matilda and I 3 minutes after she was born, still enjoying the comfort of the water.
One thing I found massively helpful and comforting during my pregnancy was reading positive birth stories. Along with the fear release techniques taught in our Hypnobirthing classes and the better understanding of how my body would work during labour and it's natural capability to birth my baby easily, they rewired my mind to see birth as an enjoyable part of the transition into motherhood.
I thought I should share my birth story as it was most certainly a positive experience and left me in awe of what my body could do.
So here it is. . .
Our daughter Matilda was born at 5.54am on Wednesday 28th October weighing 7lb 5oz. It was the birth which I had prepared for and envisioned throughout my pregnancy and was the most wonderful day.
I woke at 7am on the 27th and thought I was starting to have some contractions but thought it was going to be a long time before we met our baby so my husband went to work and my sister came round to keep me company for the morning. We spent the morning watching television and drinking tea and I continued to have the occasional contraction but they were very irregular and not in the slightest bit uncomfortable.
My husband came home from work at lunchtime (only due to the fact he had a dentist appointment!) and around 3pm we went for a nice long walk which really helped the contractions to start coming far more frequently and starting to get a bit more regular. By the time we got home I was having them about 4-5 minutes apart but I still wasn't positive that I was in labour as I had no discomfort and wasn't even that sure when they were coming as I kept saying to Francis, 'I think I might be having one!'
My Mum came round and I had a nap and then we all had dinner together and watched more television with more tea! About 9pm my Mum went home and Francis and I started watching Love Actually as I had always wanted to do during labour (although I still didn't believe I was in labour and was telling everyone there was no way that the baby was coming)
The next few hours I spent walking around the living room, bouncing on my ball, using my breathing and listening to affirmations and around 1.30am I asked Francis to ring to let the birthing centre know we needed to come in reasonably soon as they were now far more regular and starting to get more intense. The midwife on the phone asked where I could feel the contractions and when we told them that I could just feel a lot of pressure in my lower back and tailbone she said that it was probably going to be quite a while yet and to have a relaxing bath and to wait until I could feel them round the front too.
I wasn't convinced, but got in the bath as instructed and munched away on a packet of Jaffa Cakes. After only 10 minutes I called down to Francis and told him I didn't care what they said, we were going in! My body was just telling me that I needed to go if I wanted my lovely water birth (the bath just wouldn't cut it!)
We set off for the birthing centre and arrived at 3am to be greeted by a lovely midwife called Anna. She talked to us for about half an hour and then examined me after which she quite excitedly announced 'Wow, you're a good 7 centimetres!'. . . Followed by 'I honestly thought with the way you were behaving that you couldn't have been more than 1 or 2 centimetres!' If that isn't testament to how well Hypnobirthing works, I don't know what is!
Anna popped out of the room to go and fill the pool and to get some gas and air in case I wanted it and had only been gone for a few minutes when I let hubby know that the baby was coming! My body had just started pushing itself and took me by surprise as this was only 30 minutes from Anna examining me at 7cm!
We called Anna back in and much to my delight she said that the pool had just finished filling and I ran across the corridor faster than I thought was ever possible to get in the lovely warm water.
The next 2 hours were quite intense but easily manageable using the breathing techniques and with some light touch massage and encouraging words and I think every one thought our baby was going to be born a little sooner than she finally arrived.
When Matilda's head finally made an appearance, it became quite obvious why it had taken a while. . . 'Oh there's a little hand there too' said the midwife! Matilda had come out waving hello with her hand above her head!
I could have sat in the birthing pool with her for hours as it was the most amazing feeling I had ever had and I only checked to see whether we had a son or daughter when the midwives asked if we wanted to see what we had.
We had a good few hours of skin to skin and she breastfed so easily within 30 minutes of being born and continued to do so. She also slept very well from quite early on and it was mentioned by so many people how alert and content she was in those early days.
Obviously inspired by the amazing benefits of Hypnobirthing and how well it works, I decided that I desperately wanted to train to become a Hypnobirthing teacher and be able to share what we had learnt with other families so that they too can have a wonderful start to their lives together.