Jenni shares her healing natural birth story following two difficult birth experiences
I was hit with a wall of anxiety
"As most mothers are I was ecstatic to find out I was pregnant with baby number three. However a few days later I was hit with a wall of anxiety I would have to give birth again.
I would not class my first two births as easy or straightforward. The first was an induction with a lot of intervention which resulted in my son being delivered by forceps after a failed ventouse. My second birth was different I was in a midwife led centre during my labour however my daughter was back to back and in a difficult position so she was delivered in theatre with forceps.
I know birth can sometimes be an unpredictable journey but I really wanted this one to be different, which why I turned to hypnobirthing. I told myself, my main aim this time was to DO IT MYSELF and avoid intervention were possible. I did not want another forceps delivery.
The day I went into labour with my third baby I was a picture of the stereotypical nesting pregnant lady! After unfortunately spending the week previous on the sofa with covid, I had a sudden urge my house must be cleaned from top to bottom and then I had to walk around the estate with my eldest son.
I knew this was labour starting
In the evening that day I remember an achy feeling in my back but I thought I had over done it cleaning during the day. I went to bed as normal but woke up during the night achy and uncomfortable. I decided to get up and go downstairs get a drink and watch the tv. This wasn’t unusual for me as I often got up during the night in my last trimester.
After some time downstairs, I started to notice that these aches were rhythmic. At first I didn’t think this was labour but possibly Braxton Hicks so I decided to use the opportunity to practise my breathing techniques. I used an app on my phone which had an audio track guiding you though the breathing technique and timing the contraction.
After repeating this several times I noticed there was a pattern and each contraction got stronger but not painful. I knew this was labour starting. After a little while I started to find the audio track on my app distracting, so I turned it off and counted in my head and breathed through each contraction, in for 4 and out for 8.
At around 3am I knew it would be best to conserve my energy for labour so I decided to go back to bed and I fell asleep. I was awoken at 6am with an intense contraction, so I decided to get up. At this point I still wouldn’t describe my contractions as painful but more intense than previously and as well as counting/ breathing I need to be upright and use movement gentle swaying or pacing to ride the wave of the contraction and distract myself. I went downstairs and made myself some tea and toast.
I called my mum around 8am to say I was in labour and she should come over to look after my other two children. I think I thought I was still in the very early labour as I was cool as a cucumber breathing and swaying. I had shower and got myself ready added some bits to my hospital bag.
I decided to call the hospital around 9am. Its worth noting at this point, whilst learning about hypnobirthing I had decided that I would like to have a home birth. However I was labelled as having gestational diabetes from 30weeks due to babies size and extra fluid (polyhydramnios) at scans, despite a negative glucose tolerance test.
Although I used my hypnobirthing confidence to research and reject the interventions such as early induction, I did lose my confidence in a home birth, largely because I was tired of arguing with consultants.
When I spoke to the hospital I told them I knew that I was in established labour I was having three contractions in ten minutes but I was comfortable and able to talk through them whilst on the phone and they agreed I should stay at home for as long as I was comfortable and give them a call when I was coming in.
My mum arrived at 9.20am and my contractions seemed to ramp up in intensity. I now couldn’t talk through them and I had to go into myself to breathe through them. Although once they passed I was calm again but my husband was now getting quite anxious to leave.
"Oh, you're 8cm!"
I think it was roughly around 10am when we left and I’m pleased we did as the traffic was not easy! The car journey was challenging as my contractions were more difficult to distract from without being able to move freely. I had a headphones on with guided meditation on and my eyes firmly shut. The journey was slightly longer than usual due to a road closure which felt like an eternity but I tried to remain focused on my breathing and meditation.
Once I arrived at hospital I paced back and forward like a caged tiger trying to regain focus over my breathing and letting the contraction pass through me rather than resisting it. I told the midwife quite sternly I was not getting on the bed to be examined until the last minute so she had to have everything ready, and there was a slight urgency/ surprise in her voice when she said ‘oh your 8cm better get you to a room’. Off I stalked down the corridor when they were calling after me to ask if I wanted a wheelchair!!
When I was in my room, I asked the midwife to raise the bed and I stood at the end of the bed leaning on the bed with my elbows with head in hands. I went into myself to gain focus, trying to count my breaths and use gas and air to help gain control over my contractions. I think at this point I thought I still had a while to go and this was ‘real’ labour starting.
The midwife had to ask me to undress my bottom half and make way for baby, not long after I did my waters broke. I had never experienced this before as in both my other labours my waters had been broken by a midwife, it was like someone had thrown a bucket of water at the floor, both my husband and I exclaimed in shock!
My contractions were so intense now I could no longer focus on breathing or counting. I did the classic ‘I can’t do this’ you hear about but not because my contractions were too much but that I thought I still had hours of this to get through.
But I dug deep, with each contraction I took a big breath on gas and air as it was building up then roared and grrr’ed my way through the peak and returned to the gas and air as it was passing.
Then I noticed that instinctively I started to grip the sides of the bed and dip my bottom down with each contraction, so I was squatting but gripping the bed. I didn’t realise I had been pushing until I felt a bit of a burn and then the midwife exclaimed that my son’s head was out and he was blowing bubbles.
It was magical
She then said right next contraction get him out, which actually put me off as with this contraction I was thinking about pushing and not following my bodies instinct. So with my next contraction after, I did as I had before and followed my instinct and out he came, at 11.49am.
The midwife passed him up through my legs and I lay him on the end of bed. I stood over him for several minutes, cradling his face and kissing him whilst shouting I DID IT!! It took three babies but I finally got my I DID IT moment and I completed my main aim of doing it on my own with no intervention. That moment healed any trauma myself and my husband had gone through with the births of our other children, it was magical."
If you would like to feel informed, prepared and totally empowered for your birth, have a look at my upcoming Hypnobirthing courses here.
Who am I?
Hi, I'm Emma. 5* rated Hypnobirthing and antenatal teacher and the founder of Blooming Births Hypnobirthing.
I pride myself on offering honest, bespoke and evidence based antenatal courses, developed after years of extensive training.
After giving birth to my own two babies, I continue to work closely with the Newcastle Maternity units and stay up to date with current working practices so that you are well informed about what to expect from your local trust.
I'm also an affiliate member of The Royal College of Midwives and a breastfeeding peer support volunteer. I'm continually updating my knowledge, including training with the UKs leading midwives, doulas and birth rights consultants.