The Birth of Rhia
At the age of 38, after 4 years of trying to start a family, many failed attempts enduring different medications and two attempts of IVF I am amazed at what my body has managed to achieve.
I had an easy pregnancy, apart from the morning sickness in the first trimester I had no other symptoms. I developed gestational diabetes, but I managed to control this with food and exercise. Taking three 30-minute walks each day not only helped the diabetes but also helped my mental state of mind, as I was self-isolating at home from 10 weeks pregnant. Not being able to share this joyous experience with anyone when we had waiting so long for it and had been bystanders to everyone else’s happy moment was difficult to process at times. The gestational diabetes was tough as it wasn’t just sugar, but carbohydrates hidden in foods I love. I was supported with a dietician and I had to record blood glucose an hour after I had eaten which was then reviewed by the dietician. We got through this and it has also helped us be mindful of what we are eating.
I had always known due to being an IVF pregnancy that I was not going to be allowed to go past the 40 weeks due date. Therefore, I decided early on I needed to take steps in preparing myself to be induced, potentially a long labour and also the possibility of having to manage the early stages on my own due to the COVID restrictions in hospitals. All the while hoping and praying this baby would come of its own accord so that I could stay at home for as long as possible with my husband by my side.
We heard about hypnobirthing through a family member who was also pregnant at the same time as us and had used loveyourbirth for there online course. I was 30 weeks pregnant when we started the course. The course was thoroughly engaging for both myself and my husband. I wasn’t expecting my husband to really enjoy it but I think he really appreciated the tips and techniques and the knowledge that he does have a positive role to play in labour.
At 38 weeks pregnant I had my last check up and scan at the hospital. My diabetes was under control and baby was growing well. I was given a provisional date for my induction which was the day before my due date but again I was hoping I would not have to use it and this baby would come of its own accord. The week after nothing was happening so I was advised to go for a stretch and sweep. I was happy with this decision as I just thought that I was better of doing anything that would help this baby come of its own accord and not leave it to late where they would have to intervene further. The stretch and sweep wasn’t to bad, invasive and a little uncomfortable but when you have been through 3 years of examinations and IVF then you’re kind of used to it. Nothing can be as bad as that! The days passed and nothing was happening, I was advised to go for another stretch and sweep (Friday 9th). I had to go into hospital for a COVID test as I was being induced 2 days later so I thought again I might as well have the stretch and sweep. The examination showed that the baby was in the correct position and I was now 1cm dilated. This baby was making moves, maybe this baby will come before Sunday and I wouldn’t have to be induced (fingers crossed). Saturday, we kept up with the promoting the oxytocins. Relaxing, eating a nice meal my husband cooked for me and just enjoying our last night together before I had to go into hospital. Sunday (11th) morning nothing had happened so off we went to the hospital for my induction.
I’ll never forget the feeling when my husband dropped me off. As it was a Sunday the car park was so quiet and the hospital itself was empty. There was an air of calmness. My husband helped me with my bags to the door and then we had to kiss and wave goodbye to each other as he wasn’t allowed in with me. I felt completely fine, calm almost as if I was checking into a hotel for the night. It was a strange but exciting emotion. 9.30am on the 11th October I checked into ward 4c at Calderdale Hospital. The room was nice, clean and warm. I felt fine, I said to myself we got this. 10.30am I had my first assessment. I was still 1cm dilated the heartbeat was good, no concerns. I opted to have the 24hr pessary inserted. The day passed with ease, no pains. I felt relaxed, watching TV and facetime my husband. The thought of what was about to happen didn’t really enter my mind. At 8pm I had my third assessment, I started to feel a few pains almost like mild period pains. The baby’s heartbeat was still fine and I felt relaxed.
At 9pm the contractions started, I called my husband to let him know. From around 10pm the pain had started to get worse from this point onwards I had to use my hypno-birthing techniques. The breathing techniques, remembering to keep hydrated, I was pacing around the room and trying to stay calm. I was playing out the role of my husband in my head and doing the things that I knew he would have been doing for me. Even though it was night time and I was not actually hungry I snacked on the treats I had brought in with me ‘keep your energy up’ kept running through my mind as I knew I would need that energy soon.
I didn’t really look at the time but I knew the next assessment wasn’t till 1am. At 1.30am I was offered 2 paracetamol and codeine for the pain which I took. The pain was starting to intensify but I kept pacing around the room, holding onto the end of the bed when I had a surge and breathing through the pain. At 2.15am I was offered an examination which I accepted. I wanted to know how far dilated I was. I was 4cm dilated and now able to be moved to the Labour ward where my husband could meet me and I could be offered alternative pain relief. I had to wait for a bed to be made available, so I just had to continue on my own for now. I called my husband so he could make his way to the hospital. I packed my belongings up and kept going breathing through the surges and taking sips of water when I could.
At 3am I was moved to the labour ward. I still remember the sensation of being moved down in the wheelchair. I kept my eyes closed as I was moved so I didn’t have to endure the bright lights of the hospital and I could keep focused on my surges. Once in the labour room my husband met me and I could let him take over in looking after my needs. He handed me my eye mask which was the best piece of hyno-birthing advise I was given. It really helped me stay focused and blank out the harsh reality of a cold sterile hospital room. I could imagine I was in a much nicer environment. My husband put some music on gave me sips of water keeping me hydrated. Again the advice about the cup with a straw was perfect. Ideal for when you’re wearing an eye mask. I was offered gas and air which I accepted and this helped me get through the surges. I don’t really remember much of what was happening around me as I kept myself focused and in the zone. At 5.15am my waters broke and I was now 8cm’s dilated. Although it had only been 2 hours since moving into the labour ward it felt like I had been there ages, I had no perception of time. I was starting to feel tired and like I was getting to the point I couldn’t go on. I remember my husband telling me I was nearly there, and he could see the top of the babies head. This spurred me on and I remember again being told that when I felt like I couldn’t do it was probably the time when I was nearly there. I just had to do one more big push. Internally I had to give myself a talking to, to give myself the strength to safely deliver this baby and not put her under anymore stress. The waters had broken, she needed to come out. With this in my mind and one big surge our beautiful baby girl was born at 6.16am.
In what felt like a whirlwind, in less then 24hrs of going into hospital saying goodbye to my husband and being induced on my own, our little girl was born and changed our lives forever. The nurses were surprised with how quickly and calmly it happened. Especially for our first birth. It was the most magical experience and I honestly believe the hypno-birthing helped me get through it. Thanks for all your help and advise.