My waters broke at 2am Wednesday morning after a busy day on Tuesday running errands and going out for dinner with friends. Unfortunately we weren’t able to be at the Birth Centre as we went over their 18 hour limit after my waters broke, and I still wasn’t in established labour. So we were referred to the hospital and booked in for induction at 10.30am on Thursday.
Induction had been one of the things I had been very apprehensive about, but when it came to it it felt like the right thing to do, and I could understand and accept the reasons for it – everything was now about protecting Gwyn. Wednesday was filled with last minute baby preparations, putting the Christmas tree up, bouncing on a ball, eating as much as possible and listening to the birth preparation CD a few times. By midnight things had started to be intense enough to stop me sleeping, and require my full attention. I started listening to the Labour Companion CD at this point, which really helped me to re-focus and get me though the longer, stronger contractions. I started off visualising waves rolling into shore, crashing powerfully on rocks at the bottoms of a cliff face and retreating again, but as things progressed I started imagining I was climbing the steep side of an active volcano. At the top I would walk round the edge of the crater feeling the intense, powerful heat and looking at the beautiful dangerous churning bubbling lava, but feeling safe above it, before descending the mountain again.
We left for the hospital about 4.30am, after having been told to stay home when calling at about 2.30. They were quite surprised I was 6cm dilated already, and moved us straight through to a labour room with a pool – which was so blissfully relaxing I had to get out as I was falling asleep! Things slowed down a bit from there – though at least that meant I got quite a bit of rest – and they put me on the induction drip and strapped the monitors to my belly about 10am. The room filled up with people at this point, with lots of information and doctors saying I shouldn’t try to be a hero, and they’d be back to give me an epidural whenever I wanted. This prompted a fleeting doubt that I wouldn’t be able to do it without additional pain relief, but it passed very quickly and from this point forward I was confident I would manage. I had a little smile to myself, and re-entered comforting deep hypnosis as the next contraction started. I remember one of the doctors commenting on how I had totally entered my own little world and looked very peaceful.
To be honest, the intensity of the contractions whilst on the drip was a shock – especially the first one where my uterus started to push Gwyn down (partly possibly because I was fast asleep at that point, so it was a bit of a rude awakening!) But steadying my breathing, prompted by Evan saying 3,2,1 relax, and some gas and air brought everything back under control. Between each contraction, pretty much right up to the end, I was able to either talk to Evan and the midwife, or go into such a relaxed state it felt like I was fast asleep, whichever I needed to do. So even at the end of the 36 hours I felt like I had energy left – and was commenting about how it was no where near as difficult as I expected it to be – and right after Gwyn was born I said that I’d happily do it all again!
It is funny how all the things that I had worried so much about before the birth really didn’t matter once we were in the moment. And not just the birth itself, but also our concerns about visitors descending before we were ready….which is lucky as by complete coincidence our mothers arrived at the hospital at the moment he was born – they somehow managed to talk themselves through to the delivery ward and were in the room to meet him when he was only 10 minutes old!
Many people have asked how the birth went, and have been very surprised at the positive response I give and really impressed that hypnotherapy worked so well. It is really sad that there is the expectation that my answer would be a “horror story” of pain and drugs; if only more women knew what a positive experience birth could be.
I’m enjoying the postnatal recovery CD still, which has been really useful to help me relax. Even Welly (the dog) has taken really well to Gwyn – though luckily he no longer howls every time Gwyn cries!