Nature's Mothers Blog

Childbirth, Parenting and Other Passions

Childbirth Hypnotherapy October 20, 2010


When I was about 35 weeks pregnant with Ayla I started to feel slightly nervous about my birth and decided to look into Childbirth hypnotherapy.  I found out that it was probably too late (and I was probably too disorganised) to get on a course in time.  I’ve heard of people who have had “pain-free” labours as a result.  I was worried that it would make me feel like I wasn’t in control, but apparently it does just the opposite.

I’m not sure exactly how hypnotherapy works but I think it is a lot about positive affirmations and not using words that cause fear…eg. “contractions” become “surges”.  The power of the mind is amazing.

The Hypnobirthing Centre runs courses in London and surrounding areas, but have Hypnobirthing relaxation and breastfeeding CDs and downloads for those of us further away.  They even offer teacher training course.  The Hypnobirthing Centre has a fantastic reputation and I will definitely be looking into them for next time!!!

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The home waterbirth of Ayla Ivy! June 22, 2010


On Friday, June 18th, not many hours after my last blog post, after a big walk, some sex and feeling much more relaxed about whatever will be will be, I woke up at about 1am with some fairly strong contractions.  5 days after my due date.  I brushed them off as Braxton Hicks and snoozed for a while.  When I woke up 40 minutes later they were still going and I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t lie down through them, so I got up and started timing them and wandered around, just in case this was it.  They were 5 minutes apart and quite intense.  I woke Steven at about 2, saying that I thought this was it.  He didn’t quite believe me, as my waters hadn’t broken(they broke first with Erin) and he was sure they were Braxton Hicks, but when he saw me have a few contractions he began to believe me.

We called the midwife who said she’d be on her way, and we set about doing what prep was needed.  Steven was lighting the rayburn to heat the water, pumping up the birthing pool and lighting the fire in the lounge, while I was putting music on, lighting candles, moving my birthing altar in, lighting the oil burner with soothing, calming lavender oil and leaning forward and breathing through contractions.  I remembered the Rescue Remedy and Steven and I had a few sprays which really helped to keep us chilled.

Our amazing friend, Julie, who we live with had heard the commotion and was up making tea and snacks, helping with the fires and helping to fill the pool by the bucket load, and making sure we all had what we needed.  She had to leave at 5am for France, so sadly missed the birth.  Thankfully the lovely Spike, who lives in the mobile home, was around to keep an ear open for Erin(who was still fast asleep) and continue where Julie left off.  The pool got filled up and I got in.

By the time my midwife, Lynne,  arrived at around 4am my contractions were much closer together and pretty intense.  She did an internal examination to discover I was 5cm dilated. Yay!  She asked me where I’d like to give birth if the birthing pool never got filled up in time and I found a spot close to the birthing pool where I’d still be able to go onto all fours and lean against the pool, and Steven could still massage my back.

Steven was a superstar and let me boss him around telling him exactly how much pressure I felt I needed on my sacrum (his bodyweight a lot of the time!).  He also reminded me to breathe slowly and deeply and held me really tight so I could put all my bodyweight on him every now and then.  He was my calm, my rock – as always.

The pool got filled up and we got in.  The warmth and weightlessness was comforting and made the contractions feel less intense.  In fact I think it may have slowed things down because my contractions slowed right down.  Erin woke up at around 6.30 and she popped in to say hi and then went on a wander with Spike.  She came back in every now and then and was not at all bothered by the animal-like sounds I was making, and came up to me and stroked my hair and gave me little kisses.  I had not planned to have her there, but she seemed so comfortable that it seemed wrong to chase her away. This would only have made her feel left out.  And because she was comfortable, I was comfortable.

By 8ish, I was truly pooped and even thought how nice it would be to go back to bed and try again another day, but on examination I was 9cm dilated.  My waters had still not broken and the midwives (a second one had arrived earlier – they’re meant to have two there for the birth) did say that, while completely my choice, they could just prick a hole in the membrane( breaking my waters) and this would speed things up. I tried walking around for a while and going to the toilet, but this didn’t seem to do a whole lot.  Contractions were further apart and less intense. Were I still 5 cm and had lots of energy and contractions were going strong, I’d have refused having my waters broken – but being so close but with things seeming as if they were coming to a standstill I decided to go ahead and have my waters broken. It is a completely painless procedure and just involves them using something that looks like a long crotchet hook and breaking the bag that holds the water around the baby.

When the midwife broke the waters there was a bit of merconium (baby poo) in it.  Lynne was not concerned as she said it looked fresh. The second midwife, however, was talking about sending me to hospital – as if baby swallows merconium it can be dangerous, and it can be a sign that baby is in distress.  However baby’s heart rate was great and Lynne, thankfully, put her foot down and insisted that I was having baby at home and there was no need for concern. She said that the only thing the hospital would do was monitor me, and they could do that right there in the birthing pool. I felt like there was no need for concern and knew that I was probably too close to the birth for them to send me to hospital anyway. It just shows you though, if Lynne were not on I may have been sent to hospital completely unnecessarily, so thank you Lynne!

I’d been nibbling breakfast bar, bananas and weetabix throughout and having sips of juice and tea and Lynne had a hand held doppler/heart monitor that she could use in the water to listen to baby’s heartbeat whenever she needed to.

Breaking the waters meant that babies head came right down onto the cervix, getting the last of it out of the way so that babies head could move down the birth canal. I got back in the birthing pool and contractions suddenly became very intense and painful, but I had the midwives and Steven there to help me to stay strong, stay calm and breathe.  I refused gas and air this time, as although they say it has no effect on baby, it is under researched and nobody knows for sure. I was also feeling a bit nauseous and didn’t want to risk gas & air making me be sick.

I don’t know how to explain how I was feeling at this time. I switched off to everything around me, and felt really internally focused and safe, but almost out of my body at the same time.  In a good way. Before I knew it I could feel Beanie’s head moving down and after a biiiig push, and a stinging feeling (the ring of fire) as baby’s head crowned, I felt down in the water and I could feel her head. The hardest part was over. I waited for the next contraction to push her body out.  I waited for more than 5 minutes but didn’t have a contraction. I was calm though and ready. The midwives suggested Steven rub my nipples, which he did, and this brought on a strong contraction. I was on my knees leaning forward against the side of the pool. Her little body came shooting out between my legs and I reached down and lifted my gorgeous little grey bundle out of the water for her first breath ever.  Welcome to the world, little Bean!

Erin was apparently there for the birth although I was completely oblivious to this. Soon after, she jumped into the water with Steven and I, and we all marveled at the little miracle who was slowly turning from grey to pink. We stayed in the birthing pool for probably 30 minutes or so, Erin was overjoyed to be swimming, and ended up under the water a few times probably drinking mouthfuls of blood, membrane, etc! But she loved it. Baby had her first feed, latching on just as easily as Erin did. No breastfeeding problems apparent here! Steven and Erin went for a shower, while I got out of the pool and delivered the placenta naturally in a squatting position (I chose not to have the injection). Baby was still attached to the cord and when Steven and Erin got back, Steven cut the cord.  We put the placenta in the freezer as we plan to bury it and plant a tree on top of it.  And I only had a tiny, skin deep tear on my perineum that didn’t need stitching and healed within the first day – thank you perineum massage!

It was an incredible experience and although painful and tiring at the time, it was exhilarating and empowering, I would do it again in a heartbeat for the same result. Our daughter is gorgeous and we are loving falling in love with her! Erin is a fantastic big sister and just wants to help and cuddle her little sister all the time.  We’ve decided to call baby Ayla!

A few people have said how brave I am to have baby at home, but for me it would have taken much more courage to go to hospital and have interventions, so I feel very blessed to have had the birth of my dreams, once again.  I was also blessed with wonderful midwives who really did talk me through those final stages, reminding me to trust my instincts and that my body knew what it was doing and that I was strong.  I know that the midwife who wanted to send me to hospital only wanted to do so out of fear of things goings wrong, and she redeemed herself by being wonderfully calming and gentle and I felt really safe around her.

I do believe that my natural pregnancy – my diet, exercise, the products I have used, books I have read, and my determination to stay positive and believe in my body – have helped me to achieve this wonderful result.

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Erin’s birth day! April 4, 2008


I thought I’d record my birth experience while it’s still fresh in my mind….

Steven and I were lying in bed last Sunday morning on Erin’s due date at about 9.45 and we both heard a popping sound and felt my belly move. We decided it must have been a big kick! When I stood up it didn’t take me long to realise that the pop must have been my waters breaking! Steven and I looked at each other and had a little nervous giggle and wondered what happened next. We each had a little spray of Rescue Remedy and then Steven ran me a bath (with a couple of drops of lavendar oil to help me stay calm) and let Jodene know what had happened (We had been holding thumbs it would all happen while Jo was visiting). I called the midwife who called back while I was in the bath. She said that it was good news and she’d like to think that at some stage I’d start feeling a bit of pain, that she had a few other calls to make and to let her know if my situation changed.

Steven lit my labour candle and let those who’d been at our mother and father blessing know that my waters had broken. They all lit their candles and it was comforting to know that there were friends out there thinking of me and sending me positive energy and strength.

After my bath I decided to keep myself busy. Steven and Jo cleaned my car, and Jo started making loads of yummy lasagna for later and to freeze while I vacuumed the house and packed away clothes and generally tidied up. Occasionally I had to stop and make sure I had a towel under me, as everytime Erin moved I had an extra little gush of waters and otherwise a constant dripping. By about 12 my contractions were noticeable but not painful at all, but Steven started timing them and by about 1pm I was having a contraction every 5 minutes and they were starting to get painful, so I thought I better give Liz (the midwife on duty) a call, just to let her know that there was definitely something happening. She happened to be at a friend of mines who is also pregnant when she got beeped, she had no signal on her phone so borrowed my friends home phone and read my number out which Zelda recognised…so she knew something was up! Liz said she had one more call to make and then she’d come on over to see how I was getting on.

When Liz arrived soon after 2pm I was starting to have to breathe, lean forwards and rotate my hips through my contractions. She examined me and said I was 2 centimetres dilated and that I would have a baby today!! This made me smile! She asked whether I wanted to have baby at home, but I opted for the birthing unit because a massive bath of warm water really appealed to me. The birthing unit is midwife run and has no pain relief available besides gas and air, which is what I wanted…40 minutes drive from real pain relief would save me from giving in in a moment of weakness. Liz went to another call and then called me at about 4pm to say she’d be opening the birthing unit for me in half an hour. At this stage Steven was trying to pack the car and Jo was packing food, etc for the evening ahead, but I wouldn’t let poor Steven go far. I found that him pressing down on my sacrum (as we were taught by my yoga teacher in a birthing workshop) really made a difference, so everytime I felt a contraction coming I’d shout for Steven and he’d have to come running.

The 30 minute car trip to the birthing unit wasn’t too much fun. I sat on the back seat with Jo and she rubbed my back through my contractions while I leant forward and grabbed Stevens shoulder. It didn’t slow things down though, my contractions kept coming regularly and the first thing I did was get in the birthing pool. Steven got in with me, which was great…my personal masseuse! Being in the water was really nice and I didn’t feel the urge to get out, except for toilet trips. It was not the pain relief I had read it could be, but it felt good all the same. As the contractions got more painful the rest of the day became a bit of a blur. My mind did a good job of zoning out completely. I disconnected from everything around me and just focused on the birthing process. Jo kept an eye on me, she put Emiko’s aromatherapy oil blend that she made for me for labour on a piece of cottonwool on the radiator (we couldn’t light burners and candles …health & safety) and put in music of my choice. Jo also kept the Rescue Remedy coming when it looked like I needed it and made good use of the homeopathic birthing kit, asking me how I was feeling and giving me the appropriate remedies. I got to a stage where the contractions were very painful, the massage wasnt’ working and I didn’t really feel like being touched, so poor Steven didn’t have much to do, but both him and Jo kept me chatting between contractions so that I wasn’t just waiting for the next one. They also reminded me to breathe through contractions if they could tell I was holding my breath or not breathing evenly. It was very reassuring to have 2 people there with me who were so positive and knew that I could do it, even though there were moments when I didn’t think I could!

Liz, the midwife, was wonderful. She could tell that Steven and Jo wanted to be very involved, so she put up a partition so that she was sitting in her office doing paperwork and we had complete privacy. She came in roughly on the hour to check babys heartbeat, which she could do while I was in the water, and occasionally took my blood pressure, and offered me words of encouragement. Erins heartbeat stayed regular and Liz commented that she was one chilled out baby.

I think it was about 6 or 7pm when I got out to be examined again…I think I was 6 centimetres dilated by then and Liz said I seemed to be progressing by a cm per hour. I was starting to feel tired but just kept focusing on my breathing and Jo kept giving me apple juice and a bite of a breakfast bar between contractions to keep my energy up…I still had 5 hours of hard work ahead. Pain relief didn’t cross my mind, I knew I could do without and I knew it would be the best for me and Erin and Steven and the whole bonding and breastfeeding process. At some stage, probably around 9ish I started “growling” through contractions. Steven made me feel that it was ok to make a noise and I found it really grounding. It helped me turn my awareness inwards and stay with the process. The noises must’ve been a bit scary for Jo & Steven, but they knew to expect them (we’d watched a birthing dvd beforehand!!) They’re not noises that you’ll make at any other time in your life.

At about 10pm I was obviously in a lot of pain (but still with short breaks in between, or less intense contractions), and Steven made me aware that there was Gas & Air (Entonox) available and reminded me that it wouldn’t be harmful to either me or Erin. I decided to give it a try. It didn’t do much for pain relief, but helped me to stay focused on taking deep breaths in and out. If I started sucking on it when I felt a contraction coming on, by the peak of the contraction I had a nice tingly sensation for a few seconds which dulled the pain a teeny tiny bit, or at least acted as a distraction from it.

By between 10.30 and 11pm I reached the stage where I was groaning “i don’t think I can do this anymore”…this is typical of transition into the second stage of labour(actually giving birth), so while uttering these words I KNEW the end was near. Thankfully I had Steven and Jodene to make me realise that soon I was going to meet our child and that I was strong and I could do it. A second midwife, Fiona, arrived as there has to be 2 at the birth and she was great though I was in no state to make conversation her.

At about 11.10 I felt like I needed the toilet and I got out of the pool and sat on the loo. All of a sudden I got the urge to push and felt down, only to feel Erins head. I told Steven to call Liz, who came and immediately started getting things ready in the birthing room…I did not deliver in the toilet thankfully! I didn’t feel the need to get back into the pool, I had gravity to help me outside of it. I leant forward onto a chair half standing, half squatting and Erin arrived at 11.24 after a few pushes, which, I won’t lie, burnt like crazy. I was obviously very zoned out at this stage, because I hardly remember it (which is natures way of making sure we are not put off and have more babies!) Steven and Jo saw Erins little scrunched up face come out, Liz expertly guided one of Erins shoulders through the opening and out she popped into Stevens eagerly waiting hands.

Steven then passed her through my legs to me and they guided me to sit on the edge of the bed. We wanted to only cut the umbilical cord once it had stopped pulsating, but it was a bit short and would have made it difficult for me to hold Erin so Liz put the clip on it and Steven cut the cord. I then had my precious little girl in my arms and every bit of pain was completely forgotten!

I had decided to have a natural third stage (normally they’d give you an injection as the baby is born to make your placenta come out fast…not normally necessary but convenient for medical professionals especially in hospitals where your bed is in demand). Breastfeeding makes everything contract and helps the placenta to come out and I wanted to make the most of that first few hours when Erin was awake and alert and making eye contact, and obviously I wanted to feed her as soon as possible so I spent about the next hour waiting for the placenta to come out. One of the midwives suggested putting a bowl in the toilet and me sitting on the loo, as the position could help and it did, I delivered 1 x placenta (which is quite pretty and shimmery and big, but soft and easy to deliver) into a bowl…charming…but by this stage I didn’t care, I had my beautiful baby in my arms, who looks just like my husband!

I then had a quick shower and a final examination where a little tear on my perineum was discovered, but didn’t need stitching. Steven dressed Erin Petal while the midwife filled out the paperwork, Jo packed the car and we left the birthing unit at about 2 am, home to our lovely warm beds. I enjoyed a massive plate of lasagna and a glass of port first though. Steven and I spent our first night just looking at our beautiful little girl and feeling overwhelmed with love for each other and her. Erin has been super alert and has had no problems breastfeeding. The midwife said that she was so alert because I had no drugs and her breastfeeding so easily is probably due to the fact that she was not seperated from me after the birth, neither of us were drugged and she went straight to the breast. She smiles loads in her sleep (some say it’s wind, others say it’s something more magical) and she’s just the happiest most chilled little girl.

Steven and Jodene were both absolutely amazing. They looked after me so well, and helped me so much and I’m so thankful to them for being there for me! I’d do it all again tommorrow for the same result!!

I do believe that my natural pregnancy kit contributed greatly to me being prepared for this special day and for making it so amazing!


A walk to Durgan beach, a few days before.


Jo & I just finished fish & chips in Porthleven

Collecting wood…the day before Erin was born
Between contractions in the birthing pool in helstonDuring contractions…Steven working hard Our little precious grey bundle!!Liz the midwifeFood timeErin’s first nappyErin Petal sucking her fingers
Hello Aunty Jojo! Erin’s first bath

A proud daddy!
A happy family!

 

 
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