I get to meet some seriously good people in my line of work. I always have a joke that anyone who practices yoga - or learns about hypnobirthing - is a good person and a good friend to have. Never has this been more true than when I met Erin and Bryn. They approached me early in pregnancy to book in for a HypnoBirthing course and they joined five other couples to learn the tools and techniques they would need for the big journey ahead. They also asked me about my doula service, but I was unfortunately unavailable for their birthing time. I sensed they really needed some extra support so I put them in touch with a student midwife who has previously completed my hypnobirthing course and has birthed two sons using the techniques.
Erin faced a few hurdles along the way. Diagnosed with gestational diabetes, her labour started with spontaneous release of membranes at 37 weeks - just one day after she had finished her Yoga for Birth program with me!! With no other signs of labour, the risk of infection grew over the following days, so she opted for induction and antibiotics. With the subsequent constant monitoring she remained calm and focused and made an important decision to allow a monitor to be clipped to baby’s head - and was able to achieve her desired waterbirth. This is what hypnobirthing is all about .... learning about your options, asking the right questions, and making important decisions to ensure the best possible outcome.
As you will read from Erin's story, the preparation she put in, the great decisions she made and the SUPPORT she received were crucial in the successful and positive outcome of a journey that took a few twists and turns!
"Hi Carrie, it's been a week since we held our little man in our arms for the first time! We've been living in a blissful baby bubble and we've been embracing every moment
Last Thursday night we had just fallen asleep when I woke to my waters releasing. Frantically Bryn rushed downstairs to install the baby car seat while I called the hospital and let them know we were going to wait for contractions to begin and we would keep them posted with our progress. By the next afternoon nothing had happened, so we went into hospital to get checked out. They said ideally we want contractions to begin within 72 hours as after that time the risk of infection to baby rises.
My birth 'plan' was to have the most natural, intervention free birth as possible. But as we know, birth is unpredictable and can take spontaneous twists. After acupuncture, yoga, meditation, drinking raspberry leaf, and eating eggplant, dates and all other foods that supposedly get labour going, we still felt no progress. The hospital had us booked in for 6 am Sunday to get the ball rolling, but upon waking on Sunday we decided to wait until 10 am to see if baby would come on his own after another walk up the hill near our house. He just wasn’t quite ready to make his grand appearance on his own.
We arrived at the hospital at 10 am and by mid-day we were all set up with the Syntocinon Drip. We were trying to avoid antibiotics however if we were to refuse, we were unable to birth in the tub due to my waters being open for so long and the risk of infection to baby being high. I had my heart set on a water birth my whole pregnancy so we decided to have the antibiotics, so I could get in the tub and keep my anxiety levels down and continue our journey for a calm water birth as we had planned.
My best friend Lonnie works at a day-spa and she came along to give me massages to keep the calm vibes flowing. Our midwife set up tea lights around the room and the lights were dimmed. I began breathing through the techniques learnt at our Hypnobirthing classes and moved my body through various yoga poses. Because I was hooked up to a drip I had to have the wireless FHR monitor strapped to me at all times, which started and stopped and dropped out due to my stretching. This was a nuisance and eventually they couldn’t keep track of baby’s heart rate, so we had to have a monitor clipped to baby’s head. While we were hesitant at first, this ended up being a better option as it allowed me to move more freely and was optimal for water birthing.
At about 6 pm our midwives changed shifts, and I was assigned a midwife who also teaches calm birth classes on the Sunshine Coast. Upon handover Bryn went through all our birth preferences with the new midwife. He reported back to me and I was soo pleased to hear she was on the same page with everything we had visioned in our birth preferences, and she knew all the calm birthing & breathing techniques we were practising. She even had peppermint essential oil in her pocket as a saviour for when I threw up after trying the gas.
Around the same time, my student midwife Lauren (who has birthed 2 babies using Hypnobirthing techniques taught by Carrie) also arrived, she was with me throughout my pregnancy journey and it was lovely to have another familiar face in the room for support and encouragement.
At about 7:30/8 pm I hopped in the bath, squatting near the side, my surges were intense and the waves lasted 4 and a half breaths. As I hummed and moaned on the out breath, Bryn massaged my hands and stroked my face to remind me to relax and open. I found myself tensing and it was a real mindful practice to tell my body to release, once I released and let my body relax and trust it knew what to do, the pressure of the surges was instantly much less painful.
As I came out of each surge Bryn, Lonnie and Lauren would place my positive birthing affirmation cards and sticky notes I had written out on the side of the tub in front of me. They were a great reminder of all we had practised and helped me to stay focused and determined. Each surge brought us closer to meeting our baby. My body and baby knew what to do.
I could feel baby’s head was getting close, the midwives held a mirror in the tub and everyone could see the tip of his head as I was surging. At around 10 pm baby’s head popped out, and after one more wave of breathing his body was out too. Bryn pulled baby from the water and put him on my chest. The feeling was a rush of joy, relief, happiness and accomplishment.
I was pulled from the bath instantly as I was loosing quite a lot of blood. I had the needle in my leg to birth the placenta fast as I had a high risk of haemorrhaging. I needed 2 stitches due to baby grazing me with his fingernails on the way out, but no tearing. Bryn cut the cord, and put on the first nappy!
Elijah River Harper was born at 10:10 pm on Sunday the 9th of December. 5lb 12oz. 48 cm.
The whole day was intense, empowering and raw. I felt incredibly supported and grateful for all that were present with me during the whole experience. Even though Elijah’s birth didn’t go to ‘plan’, we still got to water birth and use calm birthing and breathing techniques to birth pain relief free. I would not have been able to be as in control of my birthing experience without the knowledge and education learnt through Carrie’s Hypnobirthing Workshop and Yoga for Birth classes at Joymamma. Thank you Carrie, I can’t wait to attend mama and bub classes in the new year. Erin xx