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My first birth was one of the best nights of my life! I had spent the night before, in the birthing pool (with no water in) listening to my birthing music and visualising my birth. I was quite unconcerned that I had gone quite far 'over' time, as I trusted in nature, my body and my baby, but I felt some pressure from the hospital's side, which is why I spent the evening in a dry birthing pool! Three days prior to the birth, my body (which had been very active during pregnancy) decided to just stop and relax! On the third day however I was dancing around the kitchen, baking empanadas and making soup for the freezer when I noticed some tightening sensations in my lower abdomen. When my husband came home, I commented that I'd had a few of these sensations since he'd arrived, and that's when he decided to start timing the sensations.
When my husband told me there was a definite pattern and so this must be it, I asked him to drive me to the beach for a walk. He was a little concerned, but decided to fulfil my wish, and we had a beautiful walk on our local beach, watching the waves and breathing in the fresh air.
When we arrived home again, I decided to watch some comedy whilst bouncing on my birthing ball, but I couldn't help my husband with preparations as the surges were getting stronger (by now I was also in agreement that they actually were surges!) We had planned to birth at home so he had to rush around filling the birthing pool and fetching me drinks and whatever else I needed. I think he ended up more tired than me in the end. We even forgot to play our birthing music that we'd prepared, as I started to listen to the Rainbow Relaxation CD and never turned it off again - poor midwives who had to listen to it on repeat!
When the midwife and midwife student first arrived, they examined me and confirmed I was 6 cm open. We were all very happy about this so I continued with my relaxation techniques in the birthing pool, however, the next time they examined me I had only opened 1cm further. The midwives were happy with this, but I had expected more. I wasn't disappointed, more inspired and determined really. I have to do something different, I thought, and that's when I looked up from my bed where they were examining me, to my wardrobe door. I saw all my HypnoBirthing posters including the Optimal Position for Birthing and particularly the Opening Rose. As soon as I saw those, I knew something had changed - often only one small thing can change the entire direction of a birth.
I returned to the pool, and the next time the midwife examined me I was fully dilated. Not long after this, my surges slowed, almost to a stop, and I remember laying across the side of the birthing pool, dozing in a light sleep. I believe this was my body saving up energy for the grand finale, which came not long after.
I was still in the pool, on all fours with my husband kneeling directly in front of me and the midwives were sitting somewhere behind him. They don't realise how close I am, I thought, so I reached down and felt for the baby's head which I knew must be close to being born. 'I can feel hair!' I exclaimed, and they all nodded encouragement. On the next surge my baby whooshed out into the water, and I was glad I knew she wouldn't try to take a breath until she felt air on her face. To her it was just like being in the water in the womb. I looked at my husband and the two midwives but no one moved. 'The baby's out!' was all I could think to say, and I have never seen three people move so fast!
My husband was the first to get to the other side of me, and he said the baby was so slippery that it was like trying to pick up an ice cube from a drink. He finally managed to pick her up and show her to me. 'It's a girl' I discovered, but my husband commented later that she was more like a rocket!
The birth of my second daughter was also one of the best nights of my life, and was similar to that of my first in that they were both HypnoBirthing babies, born in water, right there in my living room!
The main difference was, that being my second birth, my husband, the midwives (this time it was a midwife student who was completing her first full birthing, while the qualified midwife observed her) and myself, had even more trust in my body, the baby and nature. In fact, I was only examined once during the whole birthing - that was around half an hour after the midwives had arrived and had settled in.
So both midwives took at back seat, shared an ice lolly with us (when I suddenly fancied one), and listened to the babies heartbeat periodically, while my husband and I calmly worked together to open and expand my body ready for birthing. We danced, sang (well it was mainly me singing), cried and laughed as the surges increased in strength.
I had not slept much prior to the birth, so if there was one thing I would change, it was how tired I felt. I wanted to sleep, but the surges wouldn't let me, so instead I tried lying on my left-hand-side on the sofa. This wasn't so comfy so my husband covered our beanbag in a soft towel and I lay tummy-down in the beanbag while he used light-touch massage on my back - now that was relaxing!!
I had quite a few resting moments during this birth probably due to my sleepiness, but at one point, whilst in the birthing pool, I felt I was beginning to feel over-whelmed, so I asked my husband to read the Forest Fantasy script to me - one of my favourites - and it did the trick! Back I went into my birthing body.
I spent a lot of time relaxing in the pool during this birth too, but when I sensed it was time for the baby to be born, I suddenly decided I needed to wee (probably due to all the water I'd been drinking as it was a hot, spring night). So at the right moment between surges, I told my husband 'now' and minutes before the baby was born I almost ran to the toilet, my husband supporting my arm.
When I returned to the pool, the student midwife came and knelt beside me as she wanted to guide the baby's head out. We had planned that my husband would actually receive the baby, but when the time came, I wanted him in front of me holding my hands, so the midwife had that honour instead.
Once the head was born, I took a breather, and then remembered my mirror - what a surreal experience to take the mirror and look down at the back of my baby's head. I remember thinking ‘I still can’t see what you look like and I still don’t even know if you’re a girl or a boy’.
I didn't have to wait long though, as after my short breather, on the next surge, the baby's shoulders and body were born. The midwife student passed the baby to my husband through my legs so that we could gaze upon her together and moments later she was lying on my tummy and making her way towards her first milk feed.
First time pregnant
I am particularly passionate about giving babies the best possible start in life. What happens before, during and after birth (and during the first few years of life) is fundamental in shaping our lives. It can characterise babies’ personalities and can even turn on/off certain genes, and therefore directly relates to our health and happiness throughout our lifetime.
Expecting our second baby