The Birth of Ayla
Ayla, our first baby was born on 10th May 2016. Things began 14 days after my due date. After a while I started having what we knew for sure were surges, so like we’d done in our hypnobirthing practice we started making the living room calm and relaxed with music and candles and I got on the birth ball. We started timing the surges with an app, something with hind sight I wish we hadn’t done as this became our main focus for a while instead of hypnobirthing. But we did do a lot of hypnobirthing practice over the next few hours as the surges increased.
We played the hypnobirthing cd with relaxation sequences and Al massaged my back and reminded me to do the up breathing and visualisations with it, which really helped us keep calm. We called for the midwife a few times and they kept telling us to call back later. About 1am we called and said we definitely needed the midwife as the surges were coming very frequently. When she arrived at 2 I was thankful it was one I’d met the week before and we filled the birth pool and got in. With the disruption of her arrival and getting in the pool I lost my hypnobirthing frame of mind a little and became fixated on the arrival of the gas and air. The midwife was amazing and helped me get back into the breathing again and Al was even more amazing, constantly reminding me about the up breathing and visualisations we’d done in all the practice runs!
One thing I didn’t expect was the midwife saying she was going to have to leave in half an hour at about 7am. I understand it was the end of her 12 hour shift(!), but at the time – as things were progressing nicely and I was feeling relaxed – I was quite freaked out by it. Soon after two new midwives arrived, who we hadn’t met before. I didn’t take to one of them at first and the whole thing of having to deal with new people definitely slowed things down a hell of a lot. So did day light, which we hadn’t thought through during all the planning and I’ll make sure the room we’re in will stay dark if I give birth again. This disruption and feeing watched, as the two midwives hovered in the room (something Abby had told us can cause tension and slow things down) all caused me to feel less calm again and at one point, possibly during the ‘transition’ phase I was seriously asking to go to hospital to have a Caesarian. Thankfully Al persuaded me to stay at home where I’d said I definitely wanted to be unless there was an emergency.
After an hour or so (12 hours into labour), I started to feel completely exhausted and didn’t want any more gas and air so I did the last four hours, the ‘second stage’ entirely with hypnobirthing and the help of Al and the midwife I didn’t take to at first, who was amazing at this point!- I felt like Ayla was stuck and she helped me have the determination to get her out! Ayla was born at 12:41. I didn’t know, but this was just in time before they were talking about transferring us to hospital, which they recommend at a home birth if the second stage goes over 4 hours. Once she was wrapped up in my arms the midwives persuaded me to leave the pool because I was worried Ayla might get cold. I’m convinced this slowed down the arrival of the placenta, by me getting cold and as this resulted in me losing a lot of blood and us going to hospital (for fluid replacement), I will definitely stay in the pool next time and possibly have the injection as well.
Ayla was born calmly and drug free at home and that’s what we were hoping for after doing the hypnobirthing course with Abby and learning so much about labour and birth – I knew I wanted a homebirth from the start, but I didn’t realise how much this could prevent potential interventions, which I am so thankful we didn’t have to go through. I’m totally convinced that the combination of a homebirth and Abby’s course were what gave us the happy birth we had. Everyone remembers giving birth forever so I’m eternally grateful to Abby for our happy memory x
Jo and Al, Leeds