Natalie, premature membrane release, epidural, spinal puncture

On the 26th of January 2018, Jon and I received exciting news, we were going to have a baby. Of course it took me four pregnancy tests within the hour to confirm to myself that this is really happening! As most first new parents-to-be, we were overawed by the news. We decided to go privately and book an Obstetrician.

I have suffered anxiety for many years so the thought of birth absolutely scared me. I was wanting to have a c-section as it was a planned event that I could prepare myself for. I thought this would be better for me and my battle with anxiety. However, as the months went by and we did some more research we came across the teachings of hypnobirthing.

I’ve always used meditation and affirmations to help with my anxiety and with the knowledge I had and the practice I had already done I thought I could actually do it, I could give birth naturally.

The more I read and thought about it, I really wanted to try for a natural birth.

I also heard a lot about Hypnobirthing Australia and the lovely Renee was recommended to us. Jon and I booked private hypnobirthing classes with Renee in the comfort of our own home. It was then that we broadened our horizons on ways and techniques around natural birth. Knowledge is power and the knowledge we obtained in the classes with Renee was crucial and essential to the birth of our daughter. With our four sessions completed with Renee I was not scared of a natural birth anymore. I really knew what was happening to my body. It became empowering knowing I could actually try have a natural birth.

The day did not go as planned but we had the tools there to get us through.

On the 1st of September at 35 weeks I had my first show. I knew it was going to happen within the next few weeks. That whole week I felt different and was experiencing a few pains. It was not until the next Friday I had another four shows over one night. I woke up at 6am the next morning and heard a ‘pop’ which what I discovered was my waters breaking at 36 weeks.

We got our bags and headed to the hospital. We got comfy in the birth suite and I was having period type pains but very bearable. My first internal examination at 10am showed that I was 3cm. Around midday the on-call Obstetrician came in for an internal. It was then we were told our baby was posterior. He was not sure if we would get the natural birth we hoped for but wanted to give us time to try. He mentioned it would be a long labour but I continued with my visualisations, breathing and massage. At 2pm I was 5cm and experiencing four contractions every ten mins. The surges were becoming intense. This was when I was asked if I wanted an epidural but I knew I wanted to keep using my hypnobirthing techniques - massage, positions, visualisations, music and hypnobirthing tracks. It was half an hour later I asked for the epidural. I was exhausted and just needed to take the edge off however, this is when things went pear shaped. The on-call Anaesthetist was brought in to administer an epidural. I was very nervous about the epidural and I was in full active labour experiencing four contractions every ten minutes. To my horror, during the epidural procedure I had what they call a spinal puncture. Not very common but it happened. The needle went too far in and into the spinal space. From there I was asked if the Anaesthetist could give me a spinal block and I refused. There was no way I was having a spinal block knowing I wanted to give birth naturally. She had to redo the epidural a second time but I was sure the epidural did not help me as the contractions were still intense only now my whole body began to ache - my arms, my neck, my back and my head. It was from the spinal puncture. I was not going to let that stop me from giving birth to my baby. I began to use the gas at that point.

By 7pm I was 10cm. I was swaying and squatting on the side of the bed using the gas to help with the pain. Jon was massaging me and using the hypnobirthing cues to get me through each surge. At this point, the obstetrician returned to try and turn our baby through force but our baby was not cooperating. He was happy to let me keep trying a little longer.

By the third midwife shift change I was ready to give up. I was exhausted. However, I was able to re-focus thanks to the support of Jon and the midwives, as well as the techniques we had learnt which drove me to birth my baby. No tears, no stitches and no grazes. She was a beautiful healthy sized premature baby, born at 9:52pm. Our sweet Emmie-Mae had finally arrived to meet us. .

My body was aching like I had just run a marathon and my head was pounding from the epidural puncture but all that pain was taken away as I held my baby in my arms.

I believe training my mind and doing the work during the last few weeks of pregnancy helped prepare my body for a natural birth. I listened to the tracks everyday. I did lots of visualisations of giving birth naturally and I constantly made sure I practiced my breathing techniques we learnt during hypnobirthing. Jon was amazing too. He knew what to say and do at the right times. He had the scripts to read and he would massage me just as we practiced. It really helped having my partner there to support me and just know what to do and say at the right times. The hardest part was the recovery from the spinal puncture. I was in theatre the next day to have a blood patch and it took a few weeks to feel myself again. But I’d do it all again to hold my baby in my arms.

A massive thank you goes to Renee from Hypnobirthing Australia who prepared us for one of our biggest challenges but definitely the best experience of our life. We have recommended her and hypnobirthing to many of our friends. Thank you Renee for your constant support and guidance through this new adventure.

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Renee Bradfield, Perth WA

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