I am very fortunate that I had a straight forward pregnancy and loved being pregnant. I was pregnant and gave birth during the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in attending my 12-week scan and all antenatal appointments alone along with the majority of my labour.
I was under midwife led care and everything was going smoothly. At my 38-week appointment my midwife routinely measured my bump which had grown to measure two weeks ahead of my due date. My midwife booked me in for a growth scan the same day. The growth scan measured my baby at 8lbs 8oz at 38 weeks however this wasn’t certain which still meant my baby could be bigger (or smaller!). My options for potentially carrying a big baby were explained to me which included planned caesarean, induction or to choose to let things start naturally. After consideration, the best option for me was to go ahead with a planned induction at 41 weeks if my baby had not arrived naturally before that. I asked to try two sweeps in the meantime but unfortunately, they didn’t work for me. Baby was clearly comfy!
I had heard negative induction stories from friends and negative stories on forums online but I was also nervous about what would happen if I chose not to have one. I kept telling myself that their experiences were theirs and wouldn’t necessarily mean my experience would be the same.
During my pregnancy, friends and family had mentioned hypnobirthing to me but I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it would be for me. I very much had a ‘go with the flow’ attitude to my birth and said I would deal with things as they would arise. I was sent details of a virtual taster session being held by Carys at Be Kind Hypnobirthing and both my husband and I attended.
I found the session by Carys to be informative and inspiring. We learnt breathing techniques which I told myself I would remember on the day. Carys also shared positive affirmations which I also printed off and packed in my hospital bag to stick up at the hospital.
The day came and I attended the maternity unit at around 8.30am. I was very nervous not knowing what to expect and my husband also had to leave me at the door due to the Covid-19 regulations. The staff were lovely and made me feel at ease straight away. I was induced later that morning however there was no guarantee the induction would work and they would try again the next day.
Believe it or not, I had an enjoyable day considering I was restricted to one room (Covid-19 regulations). I had magazines, watched tv, listened to positive music I had chosen and ate my way through snacks (I think I had most of Morrisons with me!).
Mild surges started in the late afternoon (I remember because I was watching The Chase on tv!) and I started to bounce on an exercise ball. At this time, the surges were manageable and I started to use the breathing technique I remembered from the taster session held by Carys which was to breathe in to the count of four and out for the count of 8 with each surge.
Time surprisingly passed quickly and the midwife said my husband could now join me. He arrived around 8pm. I was still using the breathing technique (and squeezing his hand a little!) with each surge. They were now increasing in frequency and intensity. From now on, it gets a little blurry. I’m not sure at what time exactly, but I asked for gas and air. A short while later, the midwife examined me and told me that I was 9cm dilated and I would be prepped for delivery. I continued with gas and air and breathing techniques through the final stage of labour. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick the positive affirmations up in time but I did try to repeat them in my mind. My beautiful baby girl, Leisi, was born at 00.39am weighing 8lbs 8oz.
Once I was back in my own room and had time to reflect on the birth, I realised how incredible it was to have managed the majority of my surges simply by breathing. I never realised breathing alone could be such a natural pain relief. I was so proud of what my body had achieved.
Looking back, the whole experience was positive for me and not the horror story I expected it to be. I would do it all again!