Hypnobirthing Natural Water Birth
Since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to have a baby. I've had maternal instincts and been surrounded by an abundance of beautiful babies within my family. There was no denying it that when I fell pregnant I was over the moon and beyond.
Having always been kindly exposed to the beauty of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, I knew the type of birth I wanted to have and the type of parent I wanted to be from very early on on life.
My pregnancy was nothing like I expected. There was no f*ing “glow.” No time to take insta pics in my bikini on the beach or in my babies perfect nursery… Nope. None of that. I unfortunately was of the rare sufferers who fought with Hyperemesis Gravidarum the entire way through.
HG is like intense morning sickness that never goes away, no matter what. 37 weeks straight of vomitting. 259 days of spewing, every.single.day. Spewing in the car, at the shops, at work. You name it, I spewed there.
Whats worse is they don't even really know the cause of it yet, weather it's genetic or not. There isn't enough research. So taking the medication feels like taking a risk but not drinking water/ eating is far worse. Every day you feel this sort of mum guilt just for being sick. Imagine your worst hangover that never ends, then add in all of the pregnancy hormones and body changes on top of that.
Unfortunately I had to stop work early and hospital visits quickly became my favourite pass-time. During the first trimester I needed to stay there in order to keep up fluids via IV. Initially I lost weight, became anaemic and spent most days debilitated and unable to work. I spent all my days in bed and simply trying not to vomit. I found myself on Youtube and Facebook watching video after video to make myself laugh.
The one thing I felt really blessed with in my pregnancy was a strong connection to my baby. It came without thought. I loved feeling his kicks and movements, and responses to me, and music. I never once felt alone.
With perserverance and some seriously tenacious support from my partner, we got through the HG pregnancy journey. Looking back it now feels like years ago, and a massive blur.
I know I couldn't of done it without Nick. His understanding, patience and constant acts of service meant everything to me. I'm sure anyone suffering HG would agree that the little day to day things become huge so a strong support network can make a world of difference.
Despite the unexpected pregnancy downs, we are here now on a lifetime high with a totally magical birth experience and our dream angel baby.
We found Kirsty our amazing hypnobirthing teacher through facebook and reached out to her at 33 weeks pregnant. For the next four weeks Nick and I put in intense practice in hypnobirthing and trusted that my birth would be a calm gentle birth.
Hypnobirthing is all about being educated about birth and labour, knowing exactly how your body is working during birth, releasing your fears and knowing how to use relaxation, breathing techniques and self hypnosis to lose any tension you may have, allowing your body to work in harmony with the feelings of birthing.
The best thing I learned during the course was all of the information regarding any of the medical interventions that could come about, and what they would involve. I felt totally equipped with confidence to calmly navigate through any of these should they arise during my birth.
Kirsty came over to our house for private sessions and gave us countless resources. We learned breathing and hypnosis techniques that we could utilise together and we had our very last session with her the day before I went into labour.
Meditation is something I do daily as ritual, and I have taught myself from a young age how to go into a state of mind that allows me to dissociate from the room and go within. When it came to birth, however, it is because we put the practice into doing hypnobirthing specifically which allowed me to have the calm gentle birth I desired.
I was experiencing contractions from about 36 weeks. I will refer to these now as “Surges” as I feel its a more fitting word to my experience. The initial surges were pain free so I assumed they were “Braxton-hicks” contractions warming the body up.
It is now 9.30pm on Thursday night and I am 37 weeks pregnant today. I’ve just spent the day getting acupunture and I’ve been to the chiropractor.
Nick and I were lounging on the couch just chilling, listening to music. I started having regular surges. I noticed them getting closer and closer. I was using my practice breathing to get through each surge and found them entirely pain free.
As the surges became closer together, with each rest I started to go deeper into relaxation. An hour later we noticed they weren’t dissapearing or slowing down so we started to time them as “practice.” I remember it lasting for over two hours, the rhythm staying continuous and looking at Nick saying “what if this is the real thing?”
2 hours later. I'm still experiencing the surges! We rang the hospital and decided it was time to go! For the hours that had gone by I had been sitting on my birth ball listening to my meditations, timing contractions, and moving through the surges calmly. I took myself so deep into relaxation that I was in the most euphoric state I’ve ever felt before and the hosptial trip was exciting.
The surges were feeling amazing. Each one came about like a wave of euphoria leaving me excited for the next one. Even though I was excited I stayed so calm the whole way there. The drive to the hospital went by in a flash. Being so late at night there was no-one on the road and when we got there we got a park right near the entrance.
When we moved into the maternity ward I continued to relax myself by doing my Hypnobirthing breathing and listening to some Bob Marley music. Nick didn't leave my side once.
Mum arrived to support us all and we were moved to a birthing suite until the morning where I continued to have surges all night. I wasn’t in any pain as I was breathing through each one but I was getting extremely tired by now.
In the morning there was a switch over with midwives which was quite overwhelming. They wanted to break my waters as I had been having the surges for so long now. 12 hours and counting…
I made the choice not to be informed about my dilation as I didnt want it to hinder my mindset but Nick was well aware the whole time. He didn’t give me any indication of how far along I was at any stage.
At this stage I decided the surges weren’t bothering me. I wanted a nap and I wanted to try resting, walking, and anything I could first to see if my waters would break on their own.
Mum and I walked around the ward, and then after a short nap I got up and my waters had broken! I was relieved and so ready by this stage. I continued my relaxation for 4 more hours. My surges were becoming intensely powerful by now but there was no progress with my labour.
With a re-assesment of the baby we realised that although we had thought so, it was only my hindwaters which had broken. This meant I actually a lot of water bulging, sitting in front of my babys head. Selah was having to work really hard to move down, and my body was having to work really hard too.
We agreed it was time for us to accept the help to intentionally break my waters whilst I was still so calm and content so that I could harness all of my good energy for the labour.
We relocated to a beautiful birthing suite where the walls were painted like waterfalls and we set the mood. Using calm music, affirmations and nice dim lighting my perfect birth environment was achieved.
I laid down with a heat pack for a bit, still listening to my relaxations, then had my waters gently broken.
Moving to the shower Nick stayed with me, helping me count through the surges as they came and went, whilst my birthing bath was being filled up.
Things were getting real now, and I knew this but I was so deep in my meditative trance that it all felt so natural and I wasn’t at all fearful. I lost all track of everything and went completely within.
After the shower, I got straight into the bath on all fours, and continued to relax listening to my meditations, affirmations and Nick counting.
I knew what was happening around me yet it felt so surreal and I was still in my own world completely. I stayed completely silent during this except opening my mouth to say “now” and “okay” every time the surge came and left to promt nick to count. He would count 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 with exactly the right tempo.
The counting kept me stable in my surges as my subconsious mind knew what to do with it already from practising my hypnobirthing in the weeks leading up to today. I barely had to do a thing.
This part only became more and more intense, I could feel the build up in my body, and I could feel Selah moving down through my body with each surge.
Powerfully consuming every part of me now, I felt like all of my energy was working towards getting through each surge. In my mind I kept thinking “Stay in each moment, there is only right now” to keep my mindset strong.
I was reminded by Mum and Nick to breathe, relax and allow my body to do it’s natural work. “The body knows what to do. “
Once the baby was completely in position I started feeling that intense desire to push that you always hear about. A mighty unexplainable force. I wanted to hold my breath and push him out with all of my might. I was moaning and absolutely roaring. I remember saying “I can’t do this” automatically. I yelled this a good few times without even thinking those words.
I could barely move by now the surges were coming so quick. They lasted forever and the feeling of pressure was crazy. I remember finding it so hard just moving from all fours to laying on my back, even whilst floating in the water.
Nearing the end I looked over at the midwife. I remember begging and pleading her for help, and her saying “I’m so sorry!” with a look of deep compassion.
By now I just knew there was absolutely no going back. I knew my baby would arrive in just a few surges and as soon as I really accepted that, it actually became easier.
Nick got in the bath and held me from behind as I laid back and held my feet up on the walls of the bath.
It was here I let my body go and do whatever it wanted. I had now surrendered to my own sounds and movements, and had completely and utterly handed over the labour to my baby and my body. The only thing I had to do was rest in between surges, and breathe deep.
Happening so fast for me now, I started to feel a little bit stranger with each surge and with one huge push Selahs head was out!
“The craziest memory I will ever have is his head, right there, in front of me, his body still inside mine, in the water.”
As soon as I saw his head I went into complete shock, and then we all excitedly and nervously waited for the last surge. It felt like the longest wait in the world, and then with one last gentle push Selah made his grand entrance!
Seeing him coming into my arms was the greatest feeling I will ever experience and in this moment I laid back onto Nick and held Selah in my arms in the bath. We had birthed him just the way we had envisioned it. It was truly an out-of-body yet so deep in-the-body experience.
Still being in shock I realised we had done it! I had given birth, pure and naturally, entirely drug free. Roaring when I needed and resting when I could. Exactly how I imagined, in the water, grabbing my own baby into my arns. Truly euphoric, empowered and immediately in love.
After I had done all of that drug free, I was ready for whatever drugs available and I still didn't need any. I delivered the placenta naturally and almost immediately after getting out of the water once the cord had stopped pulsating. I had a very healthy thriving placenta.
Selah weighed 3.5kg and measured 58.5cm long. For 3 weeks early that is incredible!
I remember having growth scans in the weeks leading up to his birth as my doctor suspected he may be small. We were so off!
He is in perfect health and breastfeeding so well. He latched on all on his own within a few hours of being born. We were alone in our private room when he first latched on and it was such an incredible experience seeing him know exactly what to do without any assistance.
My HG journey was finally complete, and I was able to eat again! The nausea was gone, and my body was filled with it’s own natural release of oxytocin.. the love drug.
Selah didn’t cry for sometime after birth and doesn’t cry often. He sleeps like an angel. He is a calm and gentle baby and I think my calm and gentle birth has encouraged that behaviour.
Despite the HG I was able to give him everything he needed and have the birth I’ve always dreamed of. I am so thankful.
I am thankful to the midwives at GCUH for acting calmly with understanding and kindness and allowing us the space we needed to birth the way we planned. All of our birthing preferences were respected and fulfilled.
I am thankful to Kirsty our hypnobirthing teacher for helping me to remove my self-doubt and empowering both Nick and I with the knowledge and resources to make it happen.
I am thankful to Nick for being so supportive and determined with me. For making sure we worked together and for not sleeping for days on end with me. If you're reading this now, Thank you. I appreciate you beyond what words could say.
I am thankful to YOU if you’ve read through my story and made it this far, Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed my birth story and maybe it will encourage some other women to release the fear so many of us have around birth.
We should believe in the power of our incredible bodies.
We were made for this! Incredible mama: @rebeccabrooketaylor