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Lauren & Kieran joined a group hypnobirthing class in 2022 to help prepare them for the birth of their first daughter. Using many of the techniques learnt, and having the support of a student Midwife, Lauren went on to birth her baby girl Lia.

When Lauren sent me her birth story, these were her words attached "I want to thank you again for all the tools the hypnobirthing course gave me and my partner for the birth of our first child Lia. Although it wasn't without its challenges, I never felt out of control or in doubt of myself or my body. The course was invaluable, and I can't wait to push out more babies".

This birth story features - gestational diabetes and navigating the end of pregnancy, rupture of membranes, discussion around induction of labour, the use of acupressure, hip squeezes, active birth positions. Along with many other hypnobirthing practices. Monitoring of baby with CTG and fetal scalp electrode. 3a tear requiring. surgery

On Monday the 8th of August I had an OB appointment up at the hospital. I honestly think this is what kick started my labour. I hadn’t seen this OB before, and she was so lovely and respected my questions and concerns. Up until now every OB had informed me that I would have to be induced due to my GDM before 40 weeks and none of them really heard me when I asked questions about why or if I could wait. At this appointment, the OB was happy with her approx. weight, and I informed her I wanted to avoid the cascade of intervention that often follows an induction of labour. She agreed with me and said that due to my rising BP she was happy for me to come in for monitoring in a couple of days and then we could revisit the issue from there. I left that appointment with Kieran and Bec (Student Midwife) feeling so positive that she listened to me, and I wasn’t being pressured.

That night Kieran used all the pressure points for at least an hour, we had been using the pressure points from our hypnobirthing course for the last week or so, but that night was the first night using the induction points as I was 38 weeks and 2 days. I rolled some clary sage on my wrists, and I had an orgasm (if that shocks you then the amount of detail that is about to come might be too much for you). That night I would have gotten up to pee six times throughout the night. At 8am I realized I was bleeding. I kept resting and checking, I then passed a few blood clots. I texted Bec and she suggested I call the hospital to see if they wanted to assess me. I went in and woke Kieran up (he was sleeping in the spare room because my pregnancy snoring was next level!) I gently woke him up and told him we might be going to the hospital. I called the RWH, and they said to come up and bring our bags, just in case! We took our time, had some brekkie, put our bags in the car and headed into the hospital around 10am.

Emergency was empty so we were seen straight away, after assessing my pad and the photos of the bleeding from that morning the ER nurse said they were going to send me up to birth suites to be assessed where I would most likely be induced. I was devastated! I had just spent so long fighting off induction due to my GDM and now I was going to be induced due to some random bleeding. I was in tears and didn’t feel ready to be induced that day. Kieran reassured me that this was how it was meant to happen and that we were going to meet our baby girl today. I was wheeled up to birth suites after about hour wait for a room. We were met by a lovely midwife who started setting everything up and she kept reassuring me everything would be fine. An OB came in and did a speculum to try and assess the cause of the bleeding. The reason couldn’t be found, and she started talking me through the induction process. I remember thinking that I had heard all of this so many times before and I consented to starting the induction process. I burst into tears again, but the midwife was so loving and heard everything I was saying and made me feel more at ease with the process. Kieran and I tried to get excited about meeting our baby girl and not getting too hung up on how it was going to start.

The OB returned ready to insert the balloon catheter that would begin the induction process. She wasn’t the gentlest OB, and the exam was quite painful, however she quickly withdrew not long after starting and said, “There’s no need for that you’re already 3-4cms”. I couldn’t believe it, I burst out laughing and couldn’t have been happier to know that we were doing this on our own. The OB asked to break my waters while she was doing her exam which I consented to, I barely felt it and the small trickle that followed was anti-climactic. It was 12.30pm, I was put on some monitoring for my BP they took my blood, I asked to be given at least an hour to see if my body responded to the rupture of my membranes and my midwife was very happy to do that. I was bought in some lunch, and we were given some time alone. I ate, we called Bec and told her the good news and she started making her way to the hospital. At 2pm I wanted to get off the bed, all the tests had been done and my back was feeling a little uncomfortable so I asked to be unhooked from the BP machine so I could get up. My midwife was happy to do so. I was put onto the wireless HR monitoring, I had my straps from previous appointments which I had decorated with Lia’s initials and my hypnobirthing affirmations, breathe loose lips, loose fanny, you can do this. Everyone who saw them commented on them, it was my way of taking control of knowing I would need to be monitored the whole way through the labour.

Once I stood up, I felt my first surge, no worse than a period cramp but it was in my back not in my belly. I started walking around our room which Kieran had set up beautifully with candles and music and my surge and relax skin rollers. We realized we had forgotten the pads to the tense machine but turns out I didn’t need to use it anyway. We then called my mum and Kieran’s parents to let them know what was happening. I instinctively started swaying with each surge and they slowly moved from my back around my right-hand side and into my belly. The HR monitor wasn’t picking up my surges, so I started timing them on an app on my phone. I was so excited that things were happening without any oxytocin, my body and my baby we’re doing all the right things and I wasn’t going to be induced!

From 2-5pm I Laboured away in our room with our playlist on, my candles flickering, everyone respected our birth plan to have everything dimly lit and quiet. I had two midwives for the birth, they were both lovely and respectful. The head midwives approached me at one point and quietly told me that my blood tests had come back positive for pre-eclampsia but not to worry, it didn’t change any of my birth preferences and I could just keep doing what I was doing. I wasn’t worried, I felt safe where I was, and I was oddly calm. Bec arrived around 1pm and just quietly held the space while Kieran helped me through the surges. At one point, Bernhoft “Stay with me’ came on the speaker and I reached out for Kieran’s hand, and we had a little slow dance to the music as I swayed through a surge.

They started ramping up over the next couple of hours, but I never felt out of control. As things started to get intense, we started using the hip squeeze technique from hypnobirthing and the counterpressure was perfect to get me through! I ended up on the floor on a mat in a frog position, I was quiet and breathing through each surge which we’re starting to come quickly. One of my midwives gently approached me and said they wanted to get the contractions stronger and closer together and suggested I start the syntocinon drip, in my head I was thinking “you’ve got to be kidding, I’m barely getting a break and they’re bloody strong” but I agreed, I couldn’t really speak at this point, and I had this feeling that it wasn’t going to be long.

As one of the midwife's set-up the drip the other was monitoring me, the external HR monitor wasn’t picking up bubs heart rate anymore, they attempted to move it a few times with no luck. I was squatting very low in the ground with Kieran squeezing my hips almost constantly. I remember becoming very nauseous and asking for an antiemetic, although I hate the feeling of being nauseous, I secretly thought, nausea can be a sign of transition, but I talked myself out of it because surely, I was wrong. About two minutes later the feeling of contractions changed. I said to Bec “I have a lot of pressure” I don’t remember if she responded, I almost didn’t want to say it out loud because I thought I couldn’t be ready to push, it had only been a few hours.

The midwives became increasingly concerned that they couldn’t pick up bubs heart rate and insisted that they put the internal HR monitor on her head. I was very happy where I was and was hesitant to move but was encouraged that this was the best thing for baby. I said OK but I would need some gas and air if they were going to get me to move. They set it up for me and showed me how to use it. I loved the gas and Air, it didn’t take away the pain, but it dulled the intensity in my head, the mouthpiece rattled when I took a breath in, and Kieran picked up on the midwives telling me to listen to the rattle and focus on my breathing and kept repeating this to me for the rest of the labour phase. I was practically picked up and put on the bed as I felt very weak, laying on that bed while they put the HR monitor on her head was the worst most painful point up until then.

Laying on my back during the surges felt so wrong and uncomfortable and the gas and air was the only thing stopping me from screaming. I bit down on the mouthpiece so hard while the put the HR monitor on her head I thought I was going to break it. The OB came in as they we’re having problems attaching the monitor, it took three attempts, I was on the edge. When the OB finally attached the monitor, I could hear whispering and chattering and Bec lent over to me and said “I’ve got some good news for you” I instantly knew what she was going to say, I was right I was going through transition this whole time! I said “I’m ready to push aren’t I” I can’t remember any emotion except being a bit smug that I was right. One of the midwives joked that she’ll just pack up the oxytocin drip that she had been setting up for the last ten minutes then, I was so happy!

I was allowed to get back down on the floor at this point and the midwives told me not to push, to just breathe baby out for the next hour or so. That was better said than done. My body was pushing and trying to breathe through that pressure was difficult. I was starting to grunt and moan, it felt like the only way to get through the feeling. I was still using the gas and air and being guided by Kieran to listen to the rattling which helped me focus on my breathing. I heard a midwife behind me say “just breathe, don’t push” and I quietly said “you try not to push” apparently it was quite comical but, in my head, I yelled it very seriously.

Around 5.30/5.40pm the HR monitor on bubs head fell off, unfortunately this apparently had to be replaced, I hated the idea of getting off my knees and back onto the bed, but I was unable to communicate that at the time and although I didn’t want to be on the bed once I was on there it felt ok, I layed on my side and instead of breathing, I started to allow my body to push. The midwives re-attached the HR monitor and bubs heartrate started to drop, instead of coming back up in between surges it stayed low, and the OB was called.

All of a sudden there was this huge pressure in the room that bub needed to come out very quickly. I pushed for a few contractions on my side but couldn’t make any progress, so the midwife rolled me onto my back. The bottom of the bed was taken away and the foot pads were inserted so I could get some leverage. They took the gas and air off me, which I understood but was very mad about. It felt like I was pushing for so long, it was actually only 22 minutes in total. I looked up at Kieran at one point and said the words I think every woman says at some point during childbirth “I can’t do it” I remember everyone in the room saying that I can, and I was so close. I could sense the OB standing next to me, I heard the head midwife say, ‘she’s got it, just give her a bit more time”. Bec later told me she had a scalpel in her hands ready for an episiotomy, luckily my midwives knew I didn’t want that unless it was an emergency. I could feel the pressure and I knew she was crowning and had been for a while, Bec suggested I feel her head, I was scared and declined the first time but being asked again I managed to reach down and feel the tiny tip of her head. After a few more surges I managed to push her head out, I felt this sharp stinging pain as her head came out, but I was actually surprised how the crowning felt, I didn’t feel the ‘Ring of fire’ compared to the internal exam to attach the HR monitor to Lia’s head, it was a lot less pain. Once her head was born her body quickly followed without any need for another surge, she was handed to me and laid on my chest where she cried, and I cried and even Kieran cried!

Post birth was not the euphoric experience I had hoped for. Lia was doing great, her Apgar was 9, she stayed on my chest, but the midwife was concerned I had a tear. After internal vaginal examinations by three separate people, I used the gas and air for these as I found them more painful than the birth itself, it was concluded that I had an internal 3a tear and I would need surgery for it to be repaired. I was devastated and in a lot of pain after being poked at by multiple people. I got an hour and a half with Lia before I was wheeled off to surgery. She latched right as I was being wheeled away so I was concerned about her blood sugars since she didn’t get any colostrum before I had to leave her. Kieran had beautiful skin to skin contact with Lia while I was away. Thank goodness for our student Midwife, Bec who stayed with him for a while and helped him feel comfortable with a newborn.

The next hour or so was heart wrenching, I just wanted to be with my baby. I opted to have a spinal block for the surgery thinking that I would be done quicker and wouldn’t be too out of it when I got back to Lia. However, after three failed attempts to place the block and a shooting pain down my legs I asked them to knock me out. I was bawling, I had just given birth without any pain relief, and I was required to sit up straight while they attempted to put the needle in. I just wanted to be back with my baby. The procedure was done under a general anaesthetic, and I was back with Lia and Kieran three hours later. Seeing Kieran wheel Lia into the room once I got back and asking him to pass her to me was a moment that’s in my heart forever. We finally got to sit together as a family and reflect on what had just happened. Although the surgery was a traumatizing experience, one I still find it hard to think and talk about, Lia’s birth was amazing.

I am so proud of how I handled labour and delivery; I am one of those women who cannot wait to go through it again.



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