Isla’s beautiful hypnobirthing birth story.
Born October 15, 2017 at 0830am, 40 weeks + 5 days, weighing 3.54 kilograms, 52 centimetres long.
Written by her amazing mother Emma.
About a week and a half before Isla’s birth date, I started getting irregular but intense contractions (thanks to Google I was pretty sure they were contractions but I wasn’t entirely sure as this was our first baby…they were very different though from the Braxton Hicks that I had been experiencing for months). I would have a few of these contractions throughout the day and a lot more at night. They came on every night and would last approximately 5 to 6 hours however they were extremely irregular and would eventually dissipate. Every night I thought to myself, tomorrow we will have our baby but for now I’ll just ignore the contractions until I can’t ignore them anymore. But by the morning they were always gone.
After a few days of this, I called my midwife to let him know what had been happening and he suggested a quick check up. I went in and we checked baby’s heart rate which was perfect, she was obviously comfortable in my tummy. I wasn’t quite 40 weeks yet. The midwife told me to take it easy and that walking over 5 kilometres a day through the forest when I was so heavily pregnant probably wasn’t the best idea and could be aggravating things a bit!
I continued doing my normal activities, daily walks (just not as far), swimming most days, and lots of nesting. I felt so happy and content towards the end of my pregnancy, uncomfortable of course but I never really experienced that overwhelming feeling of I’m totally over it, I need the baby out now that so many people had told me about. I was simply enjoying time off with my husband as he had started holidays.
Friday 13 October, I experienced painful contractions most of the day and I felt really uncomfortable most of the night. I didn’t sleep at all that night and again I thought yay baby day, but again the day came and went.
Saturday 14 October, my husband and I got up went to the markets as we do most Saturday mornings. I was exhausted this particular day. We had breakfast, we walked around, did loads of people watching, got our groceries, and went home.
I spoke to my midwife as it had been a week since my last check up and we discussed another check up for Monday or Tuesday (41 weeks gestation) as I was still getting so many contractions and still no baby.
After the markets we went home, I felt nauseated all day and irritable with Logan (my husband) and I almost never feel that way. I remember he was using the drill to fix our gate and I wanted to scream at him for no reason! I went to lay down but the pain was too uncomfortable and the nausea was annoying me. I took a long bath which was wonderful. I got out and went to the kitchen to heat my wheat packs so I could go to bed. It was only 500pm but i was exhausted from over 24 hours of no sleep. I was standing at the microwave and suddenly my legs were soaked and the floor around me was wet. I called out to Logan and said “Babe come in here and bring me a towel!” He looked at the floor and was so excited. We were both so calm and happy. I waddled to the toilet with a towel between my legs, super excited. I had a shower washed and blow dried my hair and put on a dress.
We called our midwife and went into hospital to confirm that it was in fact my membranes that had ruptured. Which it was! Yay!
My contractions were the same as they had been, irregular and infrequent so I wasn’t worried about premature membrane release. We left the hospital and I was craving laksa so we got some on the way home. We had dinner and went to bed. I woke up at about 1030pm in labour that I could no longer ignore. I got up and had a bath and let Logan sleep. I stayed labouring in the bathroom until Logan woke up at 100am. I got back in the bath and listened to some music. I also used clary sage and lavender oils both in the bath and in the diffuser and I found them to be so calming.
By 200am my contractions had really ramped up. I started listening to my Hypnobirthing Australia™ affirmations and hypnosis tracks
. I moved to the shower on my birthing ball. Logan was wonderful, massaging me and looking after me, telling me how much he loves me. He was using a contractions app to count my contractions and from 200am it was telling us to go to hospital (contractions were lasting approximately 1 to 2 minutes with 1 minute breaks) but we wanted to stay at home as long as possible. As this was our first baby we knew we could be in for a long labour.
We stayed at home until 430am when I suddenly thought sh*t I need to go to hospital. I had no concept of time and I thought I had only been in labour for an hour or so and was a bit conflicted because I thought it might be too early to go, but I just had an overwhelming feeling that we should. I told Logan this later and he said that it felt like FOREVER for him! Logan called our midwife and he said he would meet us there.
Labour was getting extremely intense, I got out of the shower and felt it was too hard to get dressed. I lay in the foetal position on the bed and told Logan I couldn’t go to hospital and I wanted to stay home. He somehow got me dressed. He always joked I would ambush him with a home birth! I could tell he was nervous and kept telling me we had to get to the car. It was pouring rain, (which was lovely) and I felt like I couldn’t walk to the car. I had two long intense contractions on the way so I got pretty soaked but I didn’t care. Once in the car it was impossible to sit on my bottom and I kind on lay on my hip best I could.
Again, I had no comprehension of what time it was. But I later realised we arrived at hospital around 445am. When we arrived we went to our birthing room where I asked to have a water birth.
My midwife wanted to check my progress before I got in the tub, I was 4 centimetres dilated. I remember thinking, oh god is that all. I had told Logan as part of my birth plan that after the initial exam, I didn’t want anymore internal exams as I knew it was not an indication of how quickly you dilate and I didn’t want to be disappointed if I wasn’t progressing.
I stayed labouring in the pool for the next few hours. I got out once during that time to try the shower. I don’t really remember much about the shower but I know I didn’t like it and wanted to get back into the tub quickly. Logan told me later that I threw a chair at him and bit his finger, funny how we remember things differently!
When I was in the birthing pool I went into deep hypnosis for a few hours, it was the only way I could manage the pain. I felt totally in control of my labour and was so looking forward to meeting my baby. I was unaware of things happening around me.
At about 730am something in me changed dramatically and I felt like I was going crazy. I started screaming and I couldn’t control myself. I started begging for an epidural and told Logan I didn’t want to do it anymore and that I needed the midwife to check my dilation because if I wasn’t progressing I wanted out! This was the complete opposite of my birth plan (I now recognise this as being transition). I could not, as hard as I tried, calm myself and get back in the zone! I was begging for help and I started crying.
Normally in hospital they check progress after 4 hours and because I had only been labouring at hospital for 3 hours my midwife wanted me to keep going for another hour before he checked me. I begged him, and said if I hadn’t progressed I wanted to get an epidural, I said, “I’m not strong enough, I’m too much of a sook and I can’t do it!” He and Logan tried to calm me and Logan kept saying, “This is not what you want babe. You’re doing so great, I know you can do it. I love you so much.” I started crying and I begged him to please let me get the internal done, I needed to know if I was getting anywhere. I felt like I had been possessed.
My midwife really didn’t want to do it. He said he it was unlikely to have progressed that much and I should give myself more time. He said I was doing so great. This news made me wild and I felt like everything was hopeless. He kept saying trust your body and try and work with the pain, which is exactly what my hypnobirthing practice had taught me too, but at that point in time it felt hopeless. I wasn’t myself at all.
After my begging and pleading, my midwife did the exam. And then he asked me had I been feeling the urge to push? I gave him a look as if to say are you serious and said I had already been pushing, like he should have known! He said ok you’re fully dilated, you can push away now and have this baby. I was so relieved and extremely excited. I kept thinking to myself, “You did it, you are so strong, so close now. I can’t wait to see my baby.” It was like a whole new wave of energy came over me and I went into full primal mode.
Logan was absolutely incredible throughout the entire thing. He constantly reassured me, he was always right by my side (except at one point which I will explain in a bit), he was my advocate for everything. We had talked a lot about what I did and didn’t want in the months leading up to the birth so he was very informed. When I lost it and started demanding things I didn’t actually want he stayed calm and he managed to control the situation without stressing me out even more than I already was. He gently told our midwife when things weren’t happening the way I wanted, he answered all the questions that needed answering without interrupting me during labour, and he continually reminded me of what I wanted when I lost focus. He reassured me of how strong and brave I was being constantly.
My midwife and Logan worked so well together and really looked after me in every possible way. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. It was so nice just having those two in the room and no one else throughout the entire labour and birth.
Once I was fully dilated and pushing (still in the birthing pool – glorious) my midwife was checking baby’s heart rate very regularly with the Doppler. After a while the heart rate was dropping and I was told it was no longer safe to birth in the pool and that I would have to get out. This was very disappointing for me as I really wanted a water birth, but I honestly didn’t care that much when my midwife told me the reason why.
Part of my birth plan was that I would do anything I was told if there was any risk to the baby at all and so I somehow got out of the tub and over to the bed. Initially I was a bit scattered and was having trouble pushing once I was out of the tub, I was screaming with each push which wasn’t achieving much except annoying Logan and my midwife I’m sure. My midwife explained to me how to push effectively, he said stop screaming don’t make any sound and push as hard as you can out of your bum – do a long push then have a short break with a few pants, a long push, short break, and long push again. Then rest and then wait for the next wave. I tried this and it was like a revelation, everything went so much better and the pushing phase was not that bad at all!
Once I was on the bed it felt like everything happened so fast, but I think in reality it was an hour or so.
Every push, I envisioned my baby moving slowly and gently down, facing the right way and doing what it was supposed to do. I worked with my body through everything, I kept telling myself to surrender to the pain and let my body do what it was designed to do, that people were doing this everywhere in the world and they were just fine.
My thought patterns were really positive at this point. I let my body open slowly and kept telling myself that my baby and body would do everything. When I felt each surge I pushed as hard as I could for as long as I could just like my midwife had told me. My Hypnobirthing Australia™ tracks were literally playing in my mind on repeat, all my meditation and practice had really payed off. I didn’t even know I had memorised the scripts until i went into labour! It was a calming and useful tool, and god only knows what my thought patterns would have been without it (pretty crazy I imagine).
I could feel my baby was almost ready to enter the world, my baby was starting to crown and Logan said something to my midwife and then he said to me, “I’ll be right back.” I gave him the devils stare and said, “WHAT! You’re not going anywhere our baby is nearly here.” He said, “I have been busting for hours I need to go!” I said, “Are you f*ing kidding me, you left it until now? You better hurry up!”
I held the next push for as long as I could, he was super quick to his credit. He didn’t miss the beautiful birth of our daughter!
Once my baby was born I was waiting to hear crying, I couldn’t see as I was on my knees and resting my upper body over the back of the upright bed. I remember I kept asking is it ok, is it ok, what’s happening? When I finally heard crying I started crying too. I said, “What is it?” Logan said what do you think, I said a boy of course and he said, “No it’s a girl.” We were both a little shocked but totally in love. We had been calling our baby a boy pretty much from the moment we found out we were pregnant. I guess my gender intuition was way off!
The midwife passed her through my legs and put her on my chest. She was the most divine little bubba I had ever seen in my life. I felt instant overwhelming love, I felt so empowered and in disbelief that we had created such a perfect being.
Hypnobirthing Australia™ prepared me for birth. I honestly think that it allowed me to have my perfect birth. I achieved everything I had hoped and dreamed for the birth of our gorgeous baby. Thank you so much Caitlin for all your help and guidance, you were simply wonderful.
Birth really is like nothing you can ever imagine. It was absolutely intense and primal and crazy and perfect.
My birth was completely natural without a single intervention or drug, not even paracetamol, nothing! I stayed at home for 5 hours labouring before going to hospital with very frequent and long contractions. I went from 4 centimetres to fully dilated in 3 hours which is crazy quick apparently but my midwife thinks that’s because I had been in pre labour for a week or more. No suction or forceps, she did come out with a perfect awkward cone head but her head is normal now. I had a physiological third stage because I wanted to do it all totally natural so I refused the syntocinon injection to get the placenta out. It came out with a little more pushing after only 20 minutes. Isla stayed attached to the placenta until it stop pulsating and logan cut the cord. Logan and I held her skin to skin for hours before anyone look her away to do checks which was so special.
I was able to get up and have a shower, wash my hair and put fresh clothes on. I felt like a new person. My body was sore but I hardly noticed at that point in time because the LOVE hormones make you so high.
We spent lots of time bonding and cuddling our gorgeous girl and then called our family to tell them the lovely news.
For all the critics and sceptics I can assure you that there is no greater power than the mind. I honestly believe that Hypnobirthing Australia™ equiped me for birth. I know it might sound a bit hippy dippy but I would recommend it to any mother about to embark on this journey. I was petrified from birth from all the stories I had heard from people and hypnobirthing changed that for me.
Hypnobirthing Australia™ may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I do think having a plan is a great idea. When I first became pregnant I thought a birth plan was silly and that you should just go with whatever happens on the day, what is there to plan? As time went on I realised this was not the best policy for me. My hypnobirthing teacher made a great point that stuck with me. She said “You wouldn’t run a marathon without ample training and you wouldn’t sit an important exam without studying, why would you bring another person into the world without some training and study.”
It’s important to do your research, really think about what you do and don’t want, and make a plan. Think about what resonates with you and work towards achieving those goals. Things won’t always go the way you intended, but if you have a plan you may be able to better cope and prepare yourself for any unexpected surprises. You may be more comfortable with whatever your birth brings because you will be informed from all your prior training and study.
Birth is a beautiful process and you should give yourself the greatest opportunity to birth your baby in WHATEVER way you hope to, it’s your baby and your body.
I was part of the midwifery group practice at the Mater and I have to say they were all incredible. The midwives are so understanding and excellent at their jobs, I could not speak more highly of the care we received and continue to receive from them.
Isla is the apple of our eye and we have never been happier.