Stephanie, second baby, drug free, big baby

Stephanie is a Hypnobirthing Australia superstar! She wanted a calmer experience for her second birth, one where she felt in control and perhaps, drug free this time. Just have a read and see how many 'tools' she used throughout her labour; breathing, visualisations, affirmations, clary sage, nipple stimulation, movement, water, light touch massage, acupressure, vocalisation and music/self hypnosis. See! Hypnobirthing superstar!

I really believe that the course helped me stay relaxed throughout my labour and gave me the natural, pain relief free labour and delivery that I wanted to have."

"May 5th, 2018, we had just found out we were pregnant with baby number 2! We initially felt surprise; we had only decided to try for another baby a month earlier, then excitement. Telling our family was much of the same reaction, surprise followed by excitement. Once the first emotions passed, I began to feel nervous about the birth, my first birth didn’t go how I had hoped and I didn’t want to have a repeat of that experience. After speaking to a few people, I discovered hypnobirthing. I had heard about it before but thought it sounded a bit “hippie” for me, after speaking to multiple people I thought I would look into it, so I ordered a book and CD. When I had finished the book I knew I needed more information and wanted to be shown how to properly do the breathing exercises. Enter Renee. I really enjoyed Renee’s course and got a lot out of it, she was so helpful, answered our questions and made me feel at ease. After finishing the course I started preparing, I was listening to the tracks as often as I could and practicing the breathing exercises – not easy with a toddler, luckily my partner was very supportive and helped out where he could.

At 36 weeks I had to have an ultrasound as my belly was measuring small, it was at this scan I found out I was going to be having a big baby, my first baby was just under 4kgs so I knew this was likely but hearing it confirmed made me quite nervous. Shortly after, I started preparing my house, I had the visualisations placed around, then wrote and stuck up multiple affirmations that resonated with me.

The most important affirmation to me was “my baby is the perfect size for my body”, I needed to remind myself of this often as I did become fearful of delivering a large baby.

I had been drinking red raspberry leaf tea since 36 weeks and so when my due date came around and still no signs of baby I started using clary sage on my pillow and in a diffuser. At my 40 week midwife appointment I was offered a stretch and sweep, I agreed, my midwife found that I was already dilated approx 2cms! At 40+3, Jan 17th, I was ready for this baby to come, I had been having Braxton Hicks for two days and we were ready to meet our baby, so at 8pm that night I decided to try expressing.

At 4am January 18th I woke with pains, I thought it was more Braxton Hicks, although they were more painful, I turned to Joseph and said we should have gotten a TENS machine and that I would go in the morning to get one, he laughed and said “I don’t think you are going to make it till the morning”. I was shocked, I suddenly felt unprepared! I took a moment and thought about my hypnobirthing lessons. I started a timer and my surges were 15 minutes apart. By 5am they were 6 minutes apart so we called the hospital to notify them what was happening, we then called my mum so she could watch our son.

I jumped into the shower which felt amazing, although it slowed my surges back to 15 minutes apart. I was breathing through the surges with my eyes closed; this made me feel very relaxed. If I forgot to do the breathing exercises I noticed such a difference, they seemed to last longer and were much more painful. By 6am my surges were 3 minutes apart so we called the hospital again and packed the car. By 6.30am we had arrived, the midwives asked if they could do an examination to see how I was travelling and to check baby, I agreed. I was almost 5cms! They put the monitor on and found baby’s heart rate was decelerating at times so they moved me into the birthing suite and put the monitor back on. I was so uncomfortable, I just wanted to stand and walk around, but also wanted to ensure that baby was safe. At 7am my midwife arrived, I immediately felt calmer, a student midwife also asked if she could attend and I was more than happy for her to join this experience. The midwives helped me get comfortable as much as they could, and allowed me to stand, but I still couldn’t walk around. After an hour of monitoring they were happy with baby’s heart rate, I could take off the monitor and start to move around!

I had my labour playlist playing and I was still breathing through my surges, I was so relaxed. My midwife was so impressed, she kept telling me how calm I appeared and that it really seemed I was escaping reality during my surges.

The other midwives on the ward were also impressed with how quiet I was, this was definitely from the hypnobirthing! I moved a lot through my labour, moving between the shower, standing and walking, lying on the bed, sitting on the exercise ball, the movement really helped. Preparing for my labour Joseph had been doing the light touch massage, but during my labour this didn’t help and made me frustrated, I much preferred a harder rub on my lower back through surges to help with the back pain.

At 10.30am my midwife asked if she could do another vaginal examination, I agreed as I wanted to see how my hard work was paying off. And it was - I was at 8cms! As soon as it was done I jumped back into the shower, I was about to sit down when my waters broke, I called in the student midwife as it was a bright yellow-green colour, while I was explaining this I felt that I needed to sit down. And then it hit, transition, I was so uncomfortable that I began to yell that something was happening, that it didn’t feel the same anymore, everything I learnt went out the window. The student grabbed my midwife and everyone helped me move back to the bed, they had the mat ready as they weren’t sure if I would make it to the bed! I got to standing on the side of the bed, I couldn’t get in. The pressure was unbelievable I was so loud with groaning, grunting and even a little screaming – so much for that quiet labour! I felt the urge to bear down so that’s what I was doing, then I heard the midwife say I needed to pant, I found this hard but I listened and slowed everything down. I went back to that place of relaxation as best I could. I found standing hard as my legs felt they would give out, Joseph was sitting on the bed holding me and helping me stay up.

Before I knew it the baby’s head was born, I reached down and felt it, what an incredible feeling. Then I felt another urge to bear down, so I did. 10.46am and my baby was here. I looked down and saw him enter this world and saw that we had another BOY!

The midwife immediately passed him to me and we had our first moment of skin to skin. I noticed a lot of blood on the floor and asked if this was normal. I was helped into the bed and more midwives joined us. I was offered the oxytocin which I requested not to have and the midwives agreed. Then I felt more blood, more midwives and medical staff were called in. I had had too much bleeding. At the same time my baby wasn’t breathing as well as he should, he needed some assistance. He was taken to the newborn bed and examined, the paediatrician was called in. He was having some breathing support while I was having medication to help stop the bleeding and bring on my placenta.

Although the post birthing moments didn’t go to plan I felt very reassured and I knew exactly what was going on with myself and my baby throughout these moments. He had to be taken to the nursery while the doctors finished stitching me up (I had a second degree tear) and to make sure the bleeding had stopped. Once this was done I got to have a shower and then go and see my baby. Joseph had followed him through to the nursery and when I came in I was surprised he wasn’t holding him – he wanted me to have the first uninterrupted cuddles, and so we did. We tried breastfeeding and he instantly latched, he was a hungry boy.

He was here, our beautiful big boy. Vincent Joseph, born at 10.46am on Jan 18 2019, weighing 4420g at 55cms long.

My bleeding stopped after multiple medications and fluid. Vincent was found to have a collapsed lung and low blood sugars, which he required oxygen and fluids for almost 24 hours. The next morning he was well enough to leave the nursery and on Jan 20th we took him home and he finally got to meet his big brother, it was such an amazing day for us all!

I am so thankful for Renee and the Hypnobirthing Australia course; it gave me a different insight into a calm and natural way of birthing. I really believe that the course helped me stay relaxed throughout my labour and gave me the natural, pain relief free labour and delivery that I wanted to have."

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Renee Bradfield, Perth WA

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