Where to begin and how to put into words one of the most important days in my life? When I think about the day Alexandre was born, I was definitely excited and full of adrenaline knowing the time was here. But one word I can use to describe the moment I knew I was going to meet my son was SURPRISE!
Around 2am on January 7, I woke up to a soaked bed. It took a minute for it to register and initially I thought I had an accident in the bed! When I got up to go to the bathroom, it finally dawned on me that my waters must have broken. At first I was panicking as I was only 35 weeks along and I had a plan of getting everything prepared, packing my hospital bag (I had a list, but had not gathered any items together) and then hanging out on the couch for the next four weeks while I waited for the big day.
Alexandre had another plan!
I quickly woke my husband and we took a moment to mull over what we were supposed to do next…we called the doctor and he told us to go to the hospital. We calmly and quickly gathered our things into bags and loaded up the car.
When we got to the hospital, we were admitted to the ER and after the typical ER shenanigans, we were upstairs on the Maternity Ward. The doctor wanted me on antibiotics as with broken waters comes risk of infection. I hadn’t planned on having an IV so I wasn’t too excited that this early on, a detail on my birth preferences was already not being followed! The rest of the morning was just spent waiting patiently until the doctor came for a visit. I hadn’t experienced any real surges at this point and when checked I was only 2.5cm.
The doctor said that he would give me until 6pm for things to start up on their own and then talk about inducing. Again not too happy so I made it my mission to get things going and my husband and I went down the list of natural ways to start labour. By 4pm I was feeling a bit crampy but no more than what I would say were light period type cramps. At 6pm the midwife came in to talk about induction process and I told her that I most definitely did not want to go the induction route. She put a call in to our doctor and he agreed that as long as mom and baby were doing well we could wait it out and see how things were progressing in the morning.
A wave of relief washed over me and I felt like I was no longer on the clock to get this labour progressing.
I was able to relax more and by 9pm I noticed my surges coming a bit more frequently.
That night I laid in the bed with the Rainbow Relaxation CD on loop. I was comfortable enough just listening to the CD so my husband napped on the couch as I figured he would need to be alert to help me out when things got more intense. I’m not sure when it happened but at some point, I felt my surges become pretty frequent. I never timed them but I would guess they were around four to five minutes apart in the early morning.
I found that the counting during my surge breathing kept me calm.
But I also found the surge breathing a bit difficult, as my abdomen was so tight I felt like I wasn’t able to expand it as much as I wanted to. The surges were definitely more intense at this point but at no time did I feel I couldn’t handle them. At another point I felt them slow down and I was able to sleep a bit.
When I woke up around 7am, I felt the surges had completely gone and my heart sank and my thoughts turned toward what I thought would be an inevitable induction. I woke my husband and again we tried a handful of natural techniques to start a slowed labour. The doctor dropped by about 9:45am and we discussed options and I was very surprised to find that one option was to go home, stay on antibiotics and be monitored daily which at that time I felt was the option we would choose.
The doctor then did an internal exam and to my surprise (and his) I was at 7cm!
The midwife didn’t believe it either, calling me the “silent labourer”. While we waited to be moved to a delivery room, about three other midwives popped their heads in to see if it was “really true” and to see why I wasn’t screaming for an epidural. This was a real confidence boost for me and made me even happier to continue the Hypnobirthing techniques.
By noon I was in a delivery room and after a final internal exam, I was 10cm. I couldn’t believe it! Between the time the doctor came and when we moved rooms I had only had a handful of mild surges no worse than period cramps while my husband and I read scripts and I did a bit of surge breathing. The doctor recommended I be given a bit of Pitocin to help my surges become more regular. Again in my plan, I had no intervention listed, but at this point, I was so excited that my son was going to be in my arms, I just let it slide and didn’t try to fight it.
The surges began to come more frequently but again very manageable.
I never did feel that Natural Expulsive Reflex however and after a bit of J breathing, the doctor recommended that I try and push a little. I tried to “push” as relaxed as possible.
This is when I learned that things don’t always go to plan. Luckily I went into the birth with an open mind and I believe that the HypnoBirthing classes helped me stay calm when I needed to the most. After an hour, baby wasn’t descending properly and so out came the ventouse, yet another intervention! After a couple of tries by the doctor to assist baby, he decided that there was something, not known at the time, keeping baby from coming down. It’s times like these when we value the expertise of our doctors! he doctor decided that a Cesarean was the right option as any further attempts to assist might be detrimental to baby or me.
I was totally calm and smiling when we made it into the operating theatre. This journey was finally coming to a happy end!
After being given a spinal injection, the first “pain” medication thus far in my labour, I was completely numb from the stomach down. My husband was sat next to my head. After a bit of tugging and pulling, I heard the most beautiful cry. At this point the only thing I was focused on was my baby and not even thinking about how he entered the world. I was just happy he was safe! As it turns out, the umbilical was too short for him to descend all the way into the birth path, so Caesarean was necessary.
The use of Hypnobirthing techniques was amazing and I know it played a large part in this birth.
In the classes I learned ways to stay calm and relaxed and this enabled me to have a very positive and enjoyable birth experience. I also believe that while I was calm, it carried over to the others in the room as well. I remember in between surges during the birthing phase, my husband, the doctor and me were chatting about food and wine and our favourite restaurants in Dubai! At no point during the 36 hours after my waters released did I feel fearful. Even though I technically had no control over what nature had in store for the birth, I still felt in control personally and emotionally and I believe HypnoBirthing made that possible.
Alexandre’s birth wasn’t perfect or in the end, the birth I had planned out for us but looking back on it, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Kim and Regis x