I met the lovely Verity and her partner Alex just 10 weeks before their beautiful baby was due to be born. Verity and Alex attended one of my Hypnobirthing Australia classes to support them in feeling confident and calm in labour and the lead up to baby’s arrival.
Continue reading to see how Verity navigated her birth plans changing and how hypnobirthing supported her to strongly advocate for herself as her journey progressed to a cesarean birth.
I am so excited to share with you this empowering & inspirational experience.
Here is her story…
If you had told me a couple of years ago that I wouldn’t be scared about giving birth I wouldn’t have believed you.
Luckily for me, my cousin introduced me to hypnobirthing very early on in my pregnancy as she had just completed the course herself. I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I began researching online, reading books and listening to podcasts from about 7 weeks. I feel like that really helped my frame of mind.
As soon as my partner and I arrived back in Australia from the UK, I knew I had to find a practitioner so we could complete the course. That’s when I came across Kirryn from Bear your Birth. She was thankfully able to squeeze us into her weekend long course, very last minute. We finished that weekend feeling so confident and prepared to give birth in 10 weeks time.
I am so grateful for all the helpful tools we were given to use during birth and how close it brought us together as a couple.
I was registered with our local family birthing centre and my expected due date was 28/04/2021. With a very low risk pregnancy and no concerns whatsoever, I was planning on having a very natural, intervention free birth. My due date arrived and there was no sign of our little baby making an entrance. I knew that was totally normal and that they (we didn’t find out the sex of the baby) would come when they were ready.
One week later I went in for my 41 week appointment which was booked on the maternity ward as it was protocol to see one of the doctors at that stage in pregnancy.
I had CTG monitoring and everything was fine. We had discussed induction and I told him I would like to wait until 41+6 to give my body as much chance as possible to go into labour naturally. He had agreed to sign the forms. The doctor performed a bedside ultrasound and requested that I go down for a proper ultrasound. If I had known it was because he was concerned about the size of the baby I would have declined. I didn’t want to know.
When I returned back to the ward he told me that my baby was classed as macrosomic, measuring 5.2kgs and that now classed my pregnancy as ‘high risk’. Because of this, I was no longer able to go to the birthing centre and would now be giving birth on the maternity ward.
I was absolutely heart broken. I felt as though all of my options had been ripped away from me so quickly. I was unable to have a water birth.
The doctor wanted me to stay for either an induction or c-section that night but luckily my midwife was there to help advocate for me. She advised if there’s no increased risk for stillbirth and no other risk factors, I may as well go home. Then I could discuss it with my partner and return the following day for more monitoring and to look at our options. I was discharged against medical advice.
The following 2 days we went back into hospital and spoke to multiple doctors all who tried convincing me to have a c-section because of all the associated risks of delivering a big baby. However, I had done my research and also reached out to Kirryn who reassured me and sent me an email full of different links about birthing big babies.
I wanted at the very least to let my body go into spontaneous labour and try and birth my baby naturally. We agreed to come in on the Saturday, at 41+3, to have my waters broken if nothing had happened by then.
I was having light, sporadic contractions on the Friday night and Saturday morning and losing a lot of mucus so I knew things were on their way. Alex and I headed into the hospital at 2 o’clock on the Saturday. We went up to the ward and we were taken to room number 11 which is his favourite number. It also just so happened to have some of the birthing centre equipment in there which put my mind at ease a little.
The midwife performed a vaginal examination on me and said I was 2-3cm dilated. She was waiting for the doctor on duty to come and speak with me and then she would return to break my waters. I was still having light contractions but by this time they were becoming more regular. Maybe about 2 every 10 minutes.
Alex and I were playing music on the speaker, dancing around the room and keeping in happy spirits. At about 4 o’clock after I went to the bathroom I got on the bed my waters broke on their own! I was SO happy and I really believed in my body’s ability to birth my baby.
The midwife and doctor returned and discussed going on the hormonal drip because the baby’s head was bobbing up and down which ran the risk of a cord prolapse. I declined and said I wanted to wait at least 2 hours to let my body do it’s thing naturally before introducing any interventions.
In that time my contractions increased and had started to become more intense. It was Alex, my birth photographer and I in the room. We had the lights off as I moved into lots of different positions. On the bed and in the shower, I was listening to meditation music on my noise cancelling headphones.
There was a new midwife on duty who was very pro natural birth. She could see things had progressed themselves and was happy for me to continue labouring naturally which I was very excited about. At about 6:30pm I asked Alex to phone my student midwife to come in as I felt I needed her presence there, too.
I continued to labour all over the room… on all fours, on the bed leaning over the top of it, sitting on the fit ball, standing and swaying. Alex and my birth photographer were amazing support. Without even having to ask they were massaging me, applying cold compresses, offering me water and snacks. By this time my contractions had increased to 3-4 every 10 minutes and I remember thinking to myself that it was getting too much. I was starting to psych myself out.
The midwife on duty offered natural forms of pain relief. I agreed to having the gas and air with a TENS machine on my back.
I mustn’t have been breathing very well as Alex stopped me at one point. He said ‘I want you to put on your hypnobirthing tracks and focus on your breathing’. I am so thankful for this because it really helped me get in the zone.
I had a little routine going where I sat on the edge of the bed in between contractions. Alex sat in front of me and held the TENS machine button. As I felt one coming on I would say ‘now’ and he would turn it on. I stood up and swayed my hips through the contraction leaning on Alex for support, breathing in the gas and air. As I could feel the contraction going away I would say ‘now’ again and he would turn it off. I would sit back on the edge of the bed. All while listening to my Hypnobirthing tracks and really focusing on my breathing.
I laboured this way for about 2 and a half hours and wish I had started it sooner. I felt like I could continue forever and like time was passing by so quickly.
At around 10:40 the midwife came into the room. I was expecting her to do another VE but instead she said she just needed to check the baby’s heart rate as they think the monitor is picking mine up instead. Our baby’s heart rate had dropped to about 60 bpm for 5 minutes and she couldn’t get it to come back up. I remember hearing somebody call a code blue caesarean over the emergency phone and next thing I know there were about 10 different people rushed into the room.
I had the doctor on duty on one side of the bed telling me they need to get the baby out as soon as possible and asking me to sign papers for an emergency cesarean. The anaesthetist at the end of the bed telling me the risks of having a spinal block vs going under general anaesthetic because they didn’t have any of my recent bloods. A midwife was putting a catheter in. A nurse was putting a cannula in my hand. All while I was laying on the bed still having very intense contractions.
I looked over to Alex. I could see the fear and tears in his eyes. I told him not to worry, my beautiful student midwife was there reassuring him that everything would be okay. They handed him his scrubs and off we went to theatre. Unfortunately my birth photographer wasn’t allowed in so she waited in the birthing room.
As we entered theatre I was introduced to a few more doctors . They asked me to sit on the side of the bed with Alex in front of me to prepare for the spinal block. I don’t remember it hurting at all but I was still having very intense contractions.
They quickly laid me back down on the bed. I lost feeling from the chest down within a couple of minutes.
I had Alex sit by my side holding my hand and all I could feel was pressure and movement in my stomach.
It was the strangest feeling knowing what was going on but not being able to feel any of it.
In what felt like a couple of minutes later our baby was born at 11:03pm. At this time we still didn’t know the sex. Baby wasn’t responding right away and needed some oxygen. Alex and I cried together not knowing what was going on. I told him that if they had to take the baby anywhere to go with them and leave me behind.
It wasn’t long before we heard a little cry and the biggest sense of relief came over us. Everyone in the room asked Alex to go over and that’s when we found out we had a little boy!
Alex cut the rest of the umbilical cord, wrapped him up in a towel and carried him over to me. I didn’t feel comfortable holding our boy while they were completing my surgery. I was very shaky from all of the drugs. I gave him a quick cuddle and Alex held him until we got to the recovery ward.
Even though my birth went the complete opposite way I had planned I felt at peace with what had happened and I owe it all to hypnobirthing.
I am so grateful I advocated for myself and trusted in my body to allow myself to labour naturally. I am already looking forward to attempting a VBAC for my next baby and will definitely look into doing another hypnobirthing course beforehand.
This blog was shared with full permission by Verity.
To learn more about Hypnobirthing Australia and preparing for a positive birth experience, visit my Hypnobirthing page.
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