Cat: Our Stories
The Hypnobirth of Eloise Olivia
Born: 2 January, 2015
Weight: 3.73 kg (8lb3oz)
Michael and I want to introduce you to our precious daughter, Eloise Olivia who was born on Friday 2 January 2015 at 7.28pm after a 12-hour labour.
My waters broke at 41 weeks on New Years Day. After brief monitoring our OB sent us home for 24 hours but nothing happened. So we went back on Friday and I was induced a 7.30am. Upon letting the staff know we were hypnobirthing they allocated us a midwife who is herself a hypnobirthing instructor. She immediately turned off the lights and encouraged us to set our atmosphere. I had the Rainbow Mist relaxation track playing the whole time (poor Michael, I’m sure he never wants to hear it again) and we put up our affirmations.
We were able to let her know that we wanted to try without any intervention and she was very supportive of this. I ended up using gas through my surges and Michael was absolutely incredible at reminding me to relax, breath through it, drop my shoulders, relax my jaw… and repeated many of our affirmations – most helpful that every surge was bringing our baby closer to us. I was offered pethidine at a couple of points but Michael was able to advocate for me and refused.
Our Obstetrician came back into the room about 2pm and said I was 3cm dilated. Slightly disappointed we pressed on. Not long after this the afternoon shift midwife came into the room. Tammy was incredible, very intuitive about what I wanted and needed and gave Michael space to be my key support person. The morning nurse had me laying on the bed on my side when the nurses handed over as I’d just had antibiotics, but Tammy said she instinctively knew that I wasn’t comfortable and had me get up straight away. While the morning nurse had discouraged me from sitting on the toilet as she couldn’t monitor me and the baby, Tammy set the monitor up in the bathroom so I could sit on toilet for about 3 hours or so.
Michael stood with me the whole time, he didn’t leave my side all day except for one toilet stop himself. The soft touch massage didn’t work for me… I found that I needed him to stand in front of me and push my shoulders down to force me to relax. The sound of his voice and this pressure on my shoulders reminded me, even in my gassed-up-stupor, that the surge would be over soon, that relaxing would make a difference to how I experienced it. As I said to you, I knew it wouldn’t be a silent birth, but I found that vocalising really helped me to get through the surges and gave me something to focus on.
In the end Tammy insisted I get off the toilet so I didn’t have my baby in there (I had about an hour of bearing down what they called “involuntary pushing” on the toilet) – it was so wonderful to hear those words as I knew it would be nearly over and we would be meeting our daughter.
Shortly after that our OB arrived. This is where Tammy stepped in to support Michael – I was on all fours on the bed at this stage and she got quite insistent that I crawl up the bed to hang over the back so I could use gravity to help my birthing. I eventually managed to do this and Michael continued to allow me to squeeze his hands and dig my nails into him as I hung over the back of the bed for half an hour. Tammy thankfully kept telling me to try to stop vocalising and focus that energy into my pushing… While it didn’t work every time, when I did do this the whole experience was much easier and I could tell it was making the process much quicker.
Michael was amazing Cindy, I wouldn’t have gotten through it without him. There were moments I wished for an epidural, and two occasions I remember wishing they would just cut me open and take her out. But Michael’s calmness and gentle insistence that I relax, remember that our baby was coming to meet us and to drop my shoulders and relax my jaw got me through every single surge.
The hypnobirthing classes really helped to prepare us to have the birth we wanted and for Michael to feel empowered to support me through our birthing experience.
Speaking to the OB and Tammy, the midwife, in the following days I realise that it was quite a unique experience, particularly at the hospital I was at (Tammy said most patients have epidurals. Other nurses even asked if she would be ok looking after a patient like me who was vocalising so much and refusing pain medication). I found out afterward just what a challenge I had been presented with.
Despite my waters breaking Eloise wasn’t quite ready to be born… and given my waters breaking my OB didn’t want to risk infection – I wasn’t effaced, wasn’t dilated, she still hadn’t engaged and she wasn’t quite in anterior position. Our OB was impressed that I only had gas and stuck by my plan despite the fact things weren’t favourable at the start of the day – he was so supportive.
It was the most intense and challenging thing I have ever done in my life. But of course, as we knew it would be, the most incredible experience of our lives. Michael and I proved to each other what an amazing team we are and we are so thrilled that we could have the birth we had planned for.
Tracey, Michael and Eloise xxx