The Birth of Oliver

My waves started ‪on Saturday evening, sometime ‪between 10 pm and midnight. It wasn’t a latent phase I expected, the first waves appeared to come in 3s every 10 mins.

Because I didn’t feel my tummy tightening at the front at all and all the sensations were in the back I wasn’t really sure if I was in labour, despite the regularity of the waves and their intensity.

My husband started to get the house ready with low soft lights and running a bath. As soon as I got into a bath I felt much more relaxed, and it was easier to meet each wave but even at that point I wasn’t sure if that was the “real thing”. After a few hours and quite intense waves, my husband rang the birth centre to check if we could come in. They were ready to receive us, but I really didn’t want to be anywhere but my bedroom and couldn’t imagine travelling by that point. The most comfortable way for me to meet each wave was standing, leaning with my arms against a wall. I could not focus on anything else but the breathing and meeting each waves with deep, low “ha” sounds, breathing down into my belly. After about 6 hours of me doing very loud “ha” sounds, and my husband trying to comfort me, we decided it was time to travel to the birth centre, like originally planned.
I had my eyes closed almost the entire time and kept dark glasses on during the 20 minute journey, as we wanted to keep that oxytocin flowing.

When we arrived at the birth centre, on a Sunday morning, I kept visualising the pool birth I wanted. I consented to a VE and we found out I was 7 cm dilated.  A lovely midwife prepared a pool for us almost immediately and left us to it, as we wanted to be alone for as long as we could. My husband took care of the environment and pulled all the blinds down, set up the fairly lights and candles. I got into the pool as soon as I could and found that the warm water took the edge off my waves beautifully. I opted for gas and air as I found my waves were getting quite intense. My husband kept passing me water and some snacks and gas and air on demand.I lost the concept of time and I could only focus on managing my waves and sensations with breathing. I kept talking to myself about opening like a flower. I did have a classic transition moment just before Oliver’s head emerged and I felt briefly like we were not progressing, so I said to my husband “I can’t do it anymore, I want them to take it out!”. Of course he recognised that we were nearly there and encouraged me with “Your body was designed to do it, you can do it, we will be meeting our baby soon!” At some point after, I remember feeling Oliver’s head with my hand, and he was still in his amniotic sac. Feeling the head of my baby emerging gave me extra motivation to embrace the waves and let go of any tension. I felt the urge to push and didn’t hold back.  I did feel the infamous “ring of fire” but …I was really glad to…because I knew it meant I was really close to meeting my baby. I had two big attempts at pushing, and I felt Oliver slipping out, and it was such an ecstatic moment.

My husband caught him as Oliver swam out and placed him on my chest while we were still in the pool. It was ‪3 pm on Sunday.

Our baby was so calm and kept looking at us and being very alert, after a while he settled and got more sleepy and stayed on my husband’s chest while I was focusing on breathing and birthing the placenta. It emerged after 45mins or so and we moved to a family room to catch up on sleep.I visualised our perfect birth many times during my pregnancy, and I know I could not have achieved this without the hypnobirthing prep.

Anonymous, Leeds