The birth of Adaline – A positive hospital birth story

I am PETRIFIED of needles and hospitals so when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby, I knew I would have to overcome my fears.

I had heard a few people recommend hypnobirthing and as someone who loves yoga, meditation, positive affirmations and crystals (yes crystals), I figured it was worth a shot.

A friend recommended Laura after having some private sessions.

Nauseous, sleepy and far too lazy to Google different local courses, I jumped straight on to her website and booked the next lot of available group sessions. 

Let me tell you now that our birth would not have been remotely close to the empowering experience we had if it wasn’t for the classes we booked and the expertise Laura shared with us. 

After weeks of growth scans showing baby b to be on the small side, it was recommended that we be induced between 39-40 weeks.

At our last growth scan (38 weeks) I was offered a sweep by a very pushy doctor. I used my BRAINS and asked for time to discuss with my husband before agreeing. I was hopeful it would mean an induction wouldn’t be necessary but I think I knew deep down it was unlikely to work miracles.

We knew that agreeing to an induction meant saying goodbye to the birth we had pictured. We wanted a pool birth. We weren’t allowed a pool birth. I went back to work feeling upset and deflated.

Laura’s words ‘take control of what you can and let go of what you can’t’ came to mind and I went straight to my boss and told him I was starting my maternity leave at the end of the day. If we were to be induced in a weeks time, I was going to enjoy one last week off to myself. I was going to enjoy a Christmas movie marathon, go for lunches at nice cafes and fill my week with bubble baths and oxytocin. 

Without telling anyone, we booked our induction for 39+1 weeks. The day after our first wedding anniversary. 

When the day came, we sat waiting (very impatiently) for a call to head in to hospital. Our bags were ready. At 2pm off we went, excited at the prospect of meeting our baby. We listened to Laura’s mp3 tracks in the car and talked about how we were looking forward to our mince pies!

After monitoring and an examination, we were told that my waters could be broken without the need for a pessary or other hormones. However, it was looking like it would be several hours until a delivery suite would be available and my husband would have to go home in the meantime.

Using our BRAINS, I put my foot down and said that I was also going to go home until the call came despite this ‘not being advised because you’re here for an induction’. An induction that I could have booked for 5 days later I added. Reluctantly, the midwife agreed to have me discharged. She came back 15 minutes later to tell us that there was space for us to move up to delivery.

We were given an explanation of the next steps of induction and introduced to an overwhelmingly large amount of midwives and doctors. I agreed to have my waters broken on the basis that we could wait the maximum amount of time they would allow before starting the syntocinon drip. We were told 2 hours. 2 hours is better than nothing we figured.

My husband hung the fairy lights, spritzed the room with sleep spray and we sat and watched Miracle on 34th Street as I bounced around on a birthing ball. 2 hours later, we were told we could wait another 2 hours but that would be it.

I had a nap, listened to some music and bounced some more. At midnight, which ended up being 5 hours after the breaking of my waters, it was time for the drip.

The canula was something I feared the most but my husband sat at the other side of me distracting me with talk of our recent holiday. 

After only an hour, the surges were INTENSE. I used the breathing techniques to get through each one, knowing that I was making my way closer to meeting our baby.

After three and a half hours, it was clear to my husband that I was struggling. He spoke with the midwife (using his BRAINS) about having an epidural.

With a calm, clear mindset, I, phobia of needles, asked to have an epidural. I was told it would be at least 30mins as the anaesthetist was in theatre. 2 hours and a lot of controlled breathing later, he arrived. Did the sight of the scrubs and the equipment scare me?

No. I knew I had taken control of this decision and that it was going to help lead me to our baby. 

I had my first examination at 6.30am and was told that I was 5cm. By 8am I had an extreme urge to push. We were told by the midwives that my body wasn’t ready for that yet and that I could damage my cervix. We knew I wasn’t due another examination for another 2 and a half hours. I stood my ground, again. And told them incessantly that I needed to push.

The midwife said she could do the examination to see if anything had progressed. It had. I was 10cm.

We were told that it is advised, when on the drip, to wait an hour before coached pushing but the midwife was happy for me to listen to my body and push when the urge came. She told us that she could see the head and that our baby would probably arrive in the next 20 minutes.

The atmosphere in the room changed. The midwives moved me on to my side and held one of my legs up, my husband sat in front of me holding my hand and encouraging me every step of the way.

How exciting. We were so close. “I’ve changed my mind,” said the midwife “It will be here in 10 minutes.” I felt so empowered knowing I had come so far and all I could picture was meeting our little one. 

At 8.45am, as the sun rose over the skyline, visible from our hospital window, my husband told me that we had a little girl. I asked halfway through my contractions why anyone would give birth more than once.

I knew the moment they placed her on my chest for immediate skin to skin why. After delayed cord clamping and my husband cutting it, we were left to enjoy some incredibly delicious toast and a lot of emotional cuddles. 

Our birth was by far the most empowering experience of my life and it wouldn’t have been without the help of Laura.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! 

What can I do if my birth path changes?

Often when speaking with families, this is an area where they feel like they need extra support – what if my plans change?

What are my choices?

Am I allowed?

Ultimately- every choice is yours and if you do come across any curveballs, these tips can be used to help support you to do what’s right for you and your baby. A few around traditional hypnobirthing and some are around making informed choices

During all of my classes, I’m keen to help support you to feel confident in this area – this is what hypnobirthing is.

It’s about preparing in a variety of different ways in order to help our bodies and minds feel safe

Here are some of my top tips for you – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Remember that every decision is yours and yours alone – no one can demand you to do anything.
  • Ask for research and alternative opinions – is what’s being suggested based on you specifically or is it a generic recommendation? You and your baby are individuals so things should be suggested as such.
  • Ask for time & privacy to chat with someone you trust – it’s rare we don’t have time to discuss things & really think them through. Don’t feel you need to make a decision on the spot.
  • Take some long deep breaths, close your eyes and take a moment for yourself.
  • Use the affirmation – ‘I take control of what I can and I let go of what I can’t.’
  • Weigh up the benefits & risks using the BRAINS acronym.
  • Listen to your gut – even if it doesn’t know the answer, it will guide you down the path you want to take next.

What is a positive birth?

The term ‘positive birth’ has been used for a few years now but what does it actually mean?

It can mean a lot of thing for a lot of different people and it’s something that EVERY family deserves. Giving birth is one of the most important days in your life and it’s vital that your wishes are met, regardless of what they are.

For me, it means having a birth experience that you feel positive about. Unfortunately, there are far too many families out there who feel that they haven’t had the birth experience that they longed for. This is where hypnobirthing can really help.

For a lot of people, a positive birth experience is about feeling confident and in control of all of the decisions that are made around pregnancy and birth. Birth has twists and turns and can be unpredictable, yet, by feeling like the person who has the final say can really have a positive impact – at the end of the day, it’s your body, your baby and your birth and it’s your right to be the one in charge.

Positive birth isn’t about a type of birth, it’s not about whether or not you had pain relief or where you decided to birth your baby – it’s about you being in control every step of the way and control looks different for everyone too – it really is that personal.

So how can hypnobirthing help?

Despite its name, hypnobirthing is not only about relaxation techniques or hypnotherapy, it helps you to make the most of any environment too, but it also helps you to make informed decisions and trust your instincts, whatever they may be.

During my classes, we discuss the different procedures and protocols that can often have an impact on specific interventions that are suggested, we talk about the power of the mind and how words can have a profound impact on how you feel.

I am a firm believer in empowering parents to do what works best for them and helping them to feel confident at standing up for the positive birth that you deserve.

If you live in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate, Wakefield, Halifax and beyond – get in touch and together we can work through the hypnobirthing techniques!