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Baby Patrick - Lockdown Waterbirth in the Labour Ward

I wanted to let you know that our baby boy Patrick arrived on Monday at 38+5 - he is already ruling the roost and we are completely smitten with him!

I also really just wanted to tell you how my birth went and thank you for all of the knowledge and tips you gave us. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was central to the positive way my birth turned out.

We had been preparing for the fact that I was likely to be induced at 40 weeks which would have meant beginning labour in the labour ward. We had mainly practised the scripts with a view to assisting me in the event I was by myself for some of labour. I had been listening to the scripts or having Nick read them out to me most days.

In fact my waters broke in the middle of Sunday night (38 + 4) but I had no contractions at all. I went to the birthing suite for assessment at 2am and was told that I could be induced there and then in the labour ward or wait 24 hours at home to see if anything happened. If nothing happened, I was told to go to the labour ward for induction. I was really keen to avoid this and so chose to wait at home. Nick and I discussed that I should try and remain as relaxed as possible - so we aimed to get some sleep and then to go for a gentle walk and choose a Christmas tree.

However, almost as soon as I got into bed I started having contractions. I tried to sleep through them but wasn’t able to so I got up and sat on the birthing ball. Nick took care of packing the rest of the hospital things we needed and packed up the car etc in advance. It was calm and we were just trying to carry on as normal. At some stage I put on some hypnobirthing mp3s in the background and just spent ages with my eyes closed focussing on breathing.

I also used a TENS machine which really helped me focus on breathing through the surges. The breathing we had been practising absolutely kicked in and even as the surges become more intense I was able to breathe through them and felt confident that I was in control. If it hadn’t of been for our course I don’t think I would have had the confidence to stay at home and try and wait as long as possible.

In the early afternoon I found myself losing focus and starting to feel overwhelmed by the frequency and intensity of the contractions. Listening to the mp3s in the car really helped me to make it to the birthing suite. We arrived there at 3pm and I agreed to an examination to see how I was progressing. At this stage the surges were really powerful and I was starting to worry that I wasn’t coping. I was told that I was around 3/4cm and that we could try a hot shower to assist.

This was the part where I had a big wobble - within minutes the contractions were so intense I couldn’t feel where one ended and another began. I was finding it harder and harder to do my breathing and was saying I couldn’t do it and that’s when I started crying! Nick was encouraging me to breathe and doing the breaths with me. He put on the mp3s and sorted the lights etc in the room and helped me to regain focus.

The midwife suggested that perhaps we should get in the pool instead of the shower. As soon as I did (40 minutes after I had been assessed) I could feel myself wanting to push. The midwives (who Nick had told about hypnobirthing) told me to to trust my body and go with it. I was confused because it felt too early to push so I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and let my body take over. I used gas and air to breathe out when the surges came and Nick was fantastic at supporting and encouraging me when I felt like I couldn’t go on. It was obvious though that the surges were pushing my baby out and soon I could feel the baby’s head. The midwives observed everything that was going on but apart from checking baby’s heart rate didn’t intervene at all other than to suggest different positions or to tell me that everything was going perfectly.

Our lovely boy Patrick was born after about an hour in the pool - it was totally calm and I felt completely in control of his birth and am fortunate that I did not require any stitches.

I never ever thought I could give birth the way that I did. I am SO grateful to you for changing my fears about birth such that I can genuinely say I had a positive birth.

Nick and I have discussed a lot since how hypnobirthing helped us, albeit not quite as we suspected given the birth was so quick - all of the scripts Nick had recorded for me were not required for example - but clearly the techniques were!

The midwife who had helped me in the birthing pool came to visit us the next morning whilst we were waiting to be discharged. I thanked her for helping me with such a good birth and she said ‘you didn’t push your baby out, you breathed him out - it was amazing to watch.’ And Nick and I think that’s probably the perfect testament to hypnobirthing and everything you taught us!

So thank you once again - here is a photo of little (8lb11oz!) Patrick and another at 6 months old.

Gemma and Nick xxx

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