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Michael and I wouldn’t have been able to birth our baby the way we did, without you and your course.

From the very beginning I told myself that baby was going to arrive “late” (I put late in quotation because baby wasn’t late. Baby arrived exactly when she wanted to. She was just late according to medical standards). I believe that instilling from the beginning that I’d go past 40 weeks really helped me at the end of my pregnancy because I was still very content and happy being pregnant and just surrendered to the fact that baby would come when she wanted to.

I was 41+3 (which is the day the hospital initially booked me in for my induction until I changed it to 42+3) so I went into the hospital for an ultrasound and CTG to check on baby. All results came back positive, baby was happy and healthy and my placenta was still providing baby with all the nutrients they needed. The ultrasound estimated that baby was 4.2kgs, so the doctor came and spoke to me about staying and being induced that day, but I kindly declined. That same day I was getting Braxton hick, just like previous days for the past 2 weeks, so I didn’t think anything of it. However, little did I know that the beginning of my labour was just around the corner.

I went to bed at 1030pm because like I said, I didn’t think anything was starting that day. But I woke up at 1130pm and just knew that this was the beginning of labour. I put on a relaxing Hypnobirthing track and tried to go back to sleep because I knew I wouldn’t be getting any rest for a little while. At 1am I couldn’t lay down anymore because the contractions were intensifying. Not that intense that I needed Michael just yet, but too intense to stay in bed. I moved myself out to the lounge room where I lit some candles, had clary sage in the diffuser and was in and out of a forward leaning position.

I woke Michael at 5am and told him he wouldn’t be going into work that day. At 6am I ran a bath and stayed in there until 8am. After the bath I put on the TENS machine which stayed on for the rest of my labour unless I was in the shower or bath. I then had a random burst of energy and wanted to vacuum the house. My contraction then began to space out being 10-15mins apart lasting 40-50 seconds. Not enough for me to sleep, but enough for me to have some rest. At 2pm my contractions were 7-8mins apart and were consistently 50 seconds long. I decided to have a bath and give the TENS machine a rest. By 330pm nothing had changed, so we went for a walk where I did some curb walking to see if we could get some things moving along. By 6pm when the Sun started to go down and my contractions started coming more frequently (5-6mins apart). I set up in the lounge room where we listened to our birthing playlist whilst Michael was doing light touch, counter-pressure points and saying affirmations which all helped me focus on my breathing and zone out.

By 1am (26 hours since the beginning) I was exhausted due to not being able to lay down or sleep because of the back pain, so I decided to have a bath. During the bath my contractions intensified even more, lasting 50-60 seconds and coming every 3-4 minutes. At 3am Michael called our midwife (who was starting annual leave at 7am that day) who suggested we stay at home longer but the pain in my back was so intense and due to the length of my early labour I was sure that things would start ramping up soon enough and I didn’t want to be stuck in morning work traffic to get to the hospital if that’s when it all started happening. We arrived at the hospital at 4am and were taken to the birth suite. I initially declined a cervical check because I just wanted to get back into my groove. I tried movement and the shower to help with the back pain (alongside the TENS when not in the water). My contractions were intensifying but still 3-4mins apart and lasting 50-60seconds. I decided I need to know how far along I was at 5am, only to find out that I was 3cm dilated after 28hours. Find out I was only 3cm dilated broke me at that point. I spiralled and started saying/thinking that I couldn’t do this anymore. Forgetting that those first few cm are the hardest to get to. I lost focus on my breath and just focused on the pain which made it worse.

My midwife had to leave at 7am and the midwife that took over told us that we had to either go home or move to the maternity suite. She made us feel really pressured and we couldn’t relax or try and get back into the groove of things. We decided to go to the maternity suite because the car ride was painful enough at 3cm dilated.

By 9am I was asking about pain relief options because the back pain was intensifying and it’s all I could focus on. Michael discussed the options with the midwife and passed on the advice to me. I decided to go with endone at 930am under the pretence that it would put me to sleep, and I desperately wanted to rest. However, endone did absolutely nothing for me. By 1030am I had opted for a morphine shot because I wanted something where I could still be mobile. The morphine slowed down the contractions which gave me time to lay down between then, but the contractions were still just as intense as they were before the morphine. The morphine wore off in 1-1.5hour. At 130pm I opted to try sterile water injections. I had been warned that they would be painful, but they weren’t anymore painful than my contractions were at that time and they provided amazing relief for the pain in my back. After the sterile water injection most the pain was in my abdomen during the contractions. Unfortunately they only lasted for 1-1.5hours. Once they wore off and the pain returned to my back the midwives suggested we try some spinning babies moves during my contractions, which was unsuccessful at moving baby. So I opted for a second round of sterile water injections at 4pm. This time the pain from the injections was unbearable (more painful than giving birth). I’m not sure if this was due to a student midwife doing one side or if it was due to being the second lot of injections in the same area as the first. However, once the injections were done it did provide some more relief.

At 6pm the student midwife checked my dilation progress and said to the more senior midwife, “7cm, oh no, maybe 5cm”, which would mean I had only progressed 2cm within 13 hours (this was again soul crushing). However, we now think this was me transitioning because I was vomiting, had bad shakes and kept saying I couldn’t do this anymore. The positive thing was I was now allowed to move back to the birth suite.

We moved back to the birth suite at 7pm and I was asking about what I could do for pain relief because in my mind I still had a long way to go if it took 43 hours to dilate 5cm. At 720pm I opted for another morphine shot. This took some convincing from Michael as I had originally asked for the epidural, but Michael said let’s just trying one more shot of morphine because I can still be up and mobile. He knew that I didn’t want to birth laying down. I’m so glad he pushed for me to try another morphine shot before having an epidural. My waters broke at 735pm, but I thought I had pee’d myself, after this I had an overwhelming urge to poo, and because I was last told I was 5cm dilated I thought there was no way baby was coming. I went to the toilet and was trying so hard to push out a poo which was the worst possible thing because by the end of my labour there was a lot of trauma to my anus. The midwives informed us that this was it, baby was coming. Due to having a morphine shot I wasn’t allowed in the bath, but instead chose to continue labouring in the shower.

Whilst in the shower I was on my knees and used an up and down movement the help baby descend further into my pelvis. When baby’s head started crowning Michael had to turn the shower off. From this moment I could feel that I was going to tear, so I asked for a warm compression on my perineum and clitoris. Baby came out in one push on my knees in the shower. Once she was out it was the most euphoric feeling that I just can’t explain.

I had a physiological third stage of labour even though the midwives were pushing for the shot due to my bleeding and baby’s breathing (which was still in the normal range but there was a higher amount of mucus). My placenta came out after 30 minutes and this is when the cord was clamped. I did end up getting some shots in my leg and pills inserted into my rectum to help control my bleeding. I ended up losing approximately 950mL of blood. I also sustained a second degree tear to my perineum.

For the first 4-5 week’s postpartum I felt a lot of trauma surrounding my birth. There were multiple times throughout my labour that I lost focus on my breath and told myself I couldn’t do this anymore which made me believe I wasn’t strong enough to birth my baby. This made the whole experience feel like a negative one.

But by unpacking it with Michael, writing this and putting together a video it has made me feel empowered and strong. I made it through 48 hours of labour with next to no sleep or rest. My baby chose when she was ready to enter this world, and she was happy and healthy when she did. My body was capable of birthing my baby and my placenta. I have a new level of respect for women after going through a birth. WOMEN ARE INCREDIBLE!

Michael and I wouldn’t have been able to birth our baby the way we did (with minimal interventions) without you and your Belly2Birth Hypnobirthing course. Michael was doing all the things! Affirmations, light touch, counter pressure, movement, being my advocate and honoured my birth plan even when I threw it out the window.

P.s Aoife was 3.68kgs when born, not 4.2kgs like the ultrasound had predicted at 41+3.. just goes to show how inaccurate they can be.

Thank you again!


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