I prepared myself for a marathon, not a sprint

The last 2 weeks of my pregnancy, I was very eager for my birth - like everyone I suppose!!. What I focused on in the last few days before welcoming my beautiful little boy was not to feel scared but to be excited for the challenge that is labour. I couldn’t wait too see if I could do it.

My husband and I opted for the private course, as we really wanted to have a personalised experience and be able to ask questions no matter how silly in the comfort of our home (plus it took my husband little convincing to do the course in the first place, so private it was!) Having Renee come to our place on a Sunday morning was such a beautiful way for us to prepare for the birth of our first child. The Hypnobirthing Australia course definitely set my husband and I up to think of birth as a positive experience and not something to be scared of. I kept an open mind and put everything we learned into practice that Renee had taught us and for that our birth was a beautiful experience.

I was feeling pretty crampy and uncomfortable in the last few days and spent my time in isolation (thanks corona) bouncing on my gym ball and replying to messages of everyone asking “is baby here yet?”. On the Wednesday I started to have my show and got very excited at the prospect of labour being around the corner. Wednesday rolled into Thursday with my cramps starting to feel a bit more like something was happening. I had an appointment with my midwives on the Friday and I knew they would want to talk to be about induction. I was 40+2 at this point and was getting a little impatient as you do. I had messaged Renee on the Thursday asking her thoughts on stretch & sweeps as my impatient brain was contemplating it, and my baby brain couldn't let me remember about what was said in the course.

Renee sent me through some great information which reminded me that intervention was not what I wanted and that “nobody is pregnant forever”, I centred myself and trusted that my body was doing all the right things and labour wouldn’t be too far away.

After having dinner at my parents we came home and started getting ready for bed, I actually said to my husband "I don’t think you're going to work tomorrow" as I just felt as though something was going to happen overnight. I woke up at 1.00am to the cramps that had definitely become more intense, it was now that I realised that this was actually the surges as they were coming in regular waves. I kept trying to rest as I knew I needed too. At about 3.00am I felt this massive “pop” in my belly, like a balloon bursting, I jumped out of bed to see that my waters had broken. I woke up hubby and told him and we were so excited! I was planning on labouring at home for as long as possible but when my waters broke we wanted to ring the hospital just to double check we were okay to do so. When they asked me about baby’s movements, I couldn’t remember when I had felt him move last, as my surges were in full swing at this point. They said it would be best for me to come and get checked just to be on the safe side, and if everything was okay then I could go back home.

We arrived at the hospital just after 4.00am and they hooked me up to the CTG monitor, as they needed to monitor his movements for a while so I was stuck on a bed (which I was not thrilled about) so I took that time to just relax, focus on being calm and enjoy what was to come. After being on the monitors for a while I asked to get up as my surges were definitely feeling a lot more intense. The midwives were also worried that I had meconium in my waters. It took three midwives to confirm it was just my show still coming away. Because I was finding the surges more intense they asked if they could check me to work out a plan. I agreed and I was 0cm. I didn't let this get me down as I prepared myself for a marathon not a sprint, they said they would put me into a room on the ward to see if I would progress over the next few hours, otherwise they would just send me home, but I would have to return later that evening to be induced if nothing happens, this was due to my waters being broken and being on the clock with the risk of infection.

They put us in a room on the ward at 9.00am and my husband and I thought right this is it, we don’t want to come back to be induced so let's put all our hypnobirthing into practice.

We dimmed the lights, set up our diffuser put our music on and made the room our own.

I moved through my positions, found a lot of comfort in being in the shower working through my surges. My husband was timing the surges the whole way through and was noticing them getting closer and closer together. At about 11.00am I felt them getting super intense and I had the feeling of needing to push. I thought to myself surely not, surely we aren’t at the pushing stage yet? The next few surges were so intense I was holding onto hubby trying not to push as it was just us in the room and I had no idea if I should be pushing or not. Tony rang the midwives and they came in and asked if they could do a vaginal exam, the midwife was just as shocked as I was when she told me I was 8cm and that I needed to get to the birth suite asap. They bought in a wheelchair and threw me in it, I didn't even have a chance to put any clothes on they just threw a hospital gown on me and Tony grabbed our music and diffuser.

We got to the birth suite at 11.30am and after labouring a while in there, my beautiful midwife Michelle said that baby had turned and his head sideways so we needed to try some different positions to get him back into the right spot. For the next 5 hours I tried different positions trying to get ready to push. (Thinking back on it now, I think because I sat down in the wheelchair for them to take me to the birth suite is when he may have turned, perhaps in hindsight I should have tried to walk and continued to let gravity do its thing!). I had that moment where I said I couldn’t do it and I needed help but Tony reassured me that I was doing it and to keep going. My midwife offered me the gas so I used that for a bit before I was finally ready to start pushing. They took the gas off me at this point as they wanted me to focus on my breathing and bearing down. All I could visualise was the poster Renee told us to put on the back of the toilet door haha. The surges kept rolling in and his head would come out a little bit and sliding back in, this was so hard, as I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t push hard enough. After almost an hour of pushing the doctor came in and said that I really needed to focus in the next few pushes and get baby out because I had been pushing for a while and was starting to get tired they might need to intervene. I was not going to let that happen so with everything I had left and with everyone telling me I could do it, my beautiful little boy was born 4.58pm on the 8th of May. He was put straight up onto my chest and I honestly could not believe he was here. I was in awe of him and what our bodies can do.

We waited to clamp and cut his cord then I had some mini surges to birth the placenta. That was an easy push to get out! It was at this point things got a little scary, they pressed the emergency call button and about 15 midwives and doctors came running in. I could feel myself getting faint and I said for Tony to grab bubs as I couldn’t hold him on my chest any more. I had started bleeding and they thought perhaps some of the placenta was left behind but they were able to sort it out pretty quickly. I had a second degree tear and as the doctor stitched me up, I held my beautiful baby on my chest and soaked it all in. Our darling Nate Stephen Buist weighed 3735g and 51 cm. We stayed in the birth suite for a while soaking up the cuddles, I had some dinner and face timed the family of course. We were back in our room by 8.30pm. I felt a little overwhelmed at this point as I think the adrenaline was wearing off and hubby had to leave. I wasn’t allowed to see him until the next morning for only an hour. With corona restrictions happening though we were sent home the next evening to begin our new chapter as a family of three!.

I can’t thank Renee enough for all her knowledge and insight into the Hypnobirthing Australia program. It allowed us to have the most beautiful birth experience and I can’t wait to do it again!!

Photos by B Creativ Designs

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Renee Bradfield, Perth WA

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