The Birth of Finn
Before I got pregnant, I’d fallen into the trap of thinking TV and movies accurately depict childbirth – or at least the part where the woman’s labour starts dramatically with a gush of waters breaking or a sudden intense abdominal pain. Things were much more subtle for me!
I had a bit of bloody show around 38 weeks; I excitedly thought maybe my baby would be EARLY! Two weeks later and still no baby, just lots of questions from friends and family regarding where the baby was and when I was going to be induced. I laid out some meaningful affirmation cards beside the bed to read when I was feeling stressed about the lack of baby!
Ten days after that (41 weeks, 3 days) and we were meeting with a consultant at St James’s; I know that our hypnobirthing course gave us the confidence we needed to go into that meeting with clear heads and a plan of action – I was not going to accept an offer of induction.
The consultant agreed and booked a scan for 42 weeks. The night before, I’d had a bit more bloody show, so I was hoping baby would be born before that anyway. That night I had some surges but they faded away after a couple hours. I didn’t tell Paul or my mom (who was visiting from Canada and staying with us) because I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.
By Wednesday mid-morning the surges had returned; I was hesitant to tell anyone because I was convinced this couldn’t really be labour. I even spoke to the homebirth midwife when she rang to check on me but told her I didn’t think anything was happening today. Finally, around 2pm I let my mom in on my suspicions and went to lay in bed with a hot water bottle and my hypnobirthing tracks. I breathed through the surges just like I’d practiced, then messaged Paul around 4.30pm to let him know something might be happening!
I switched to bouncing on my ball and watching reality TV for a few hours; Paul dropped the dogs off with his dad and went to get us some snacks. Things started to get more intense so I got the TENS machine on and returned to the bedroom; we stuck some of my favourite affirmations where I could see them in bed and Paul laid with me.
I think it was around 11pm when we called the homebirth team again. Paul got the pool set up and the midwives arrived around 1am. I consented to an internal exam; I was 5cm dilated. I jumped in the pool and felt immense relief. From that point it really became about me and Paul. I’m not sure either of us could have coped as well if we hadn’t practiced hypnobirthing. There were many times that I felt overwhelmed and proclaimed I couldn’t carry on, but Paul knew just what to say and when to say it. He was with me and managed to pull me out of those moments with just a few words or even just a look.
At 5.45am I felt the need to push. At some point the midwives had a shift change but I wasn’t really aware of any of that – I was in the zone! This was not Daisy’s hypnobirth that we watched in your class – I was roaring like a lion, gathering every bit of strength I had with every push! At 8.30am I proclaimed ‘I can only do this for 15 more minutes!!!’ I was so tired, but I knew I was so close. And at 8.49am on Thursday 21st of December, I scooped Finn Stanley Wills, all 9lb 2oz of him, off the floor of the pool.
I delivered the placenta very shortly after, Paul cut the cord, the midwives cleaned everything up while I had skin to skin time on the sofa with our little baby. No pain relief, and just three little stitches for labial grazes; my homebirth had gone exactly as I had hoped (and planned!).
I feel guilty and heartbroken when I hear other moms say they had traumatic births. I feel almost ashamed to have only positive things to say, like I’m somehow abnormal for feeling that way. I hope that more couples do hypnobirthing courses and have homebirths too; the combination of those two things absolutely gave me the best chance of having the best birth story I could have ever imagined.
I don’t remember pain; I just remember joy, pride, and amazement. I want other women to feel that way, too.
Madison and Paul, Leeds