Hypnobirthing at Lewisham Hospital Birth Centre (Greenwich): a Positive Waterbirth
The Birth Story of Ibraheem
I was blessed to have a low-risk and pretty healthy pregnancy, despite suffering with vomiting and nausea for the 9 months, along with hip pain during a certain period.
Once I reached 37 weeks pregnant, I was experiencing braxton hicks often. They would come at random times and of varying intensity, and by the time my due date arrived I was impatiently waiting to go into labour!
At 40+1 weeks, I started to feel braxton hicks at around 6pm as I was preparing dinner, but they were easy to ignore and were happening at random timings (which I was used to) so I thought nothing of them and carried on as normal.
After I had my dinner and cleaned up, I went for a nice warm bath then got into bed to watch a movie with my husband. During the movie I noticed a few braxton hicks but again, I just ignored them. It was about 10pm once the movie had finished, and it was at that point I realised the ‘braxton hicks’ had occurred a few times during the movie, so I thought I may be in labour as typically there would be a long period of time between the braxton hicks. I wasn’t 100% sure if I was in labour or not so I just took a couple of paracetamols and headed to bed.
At 10.20pm, after going to bed I was woken up by a contraction. I went to get a hot water bottle and again, tried to sleep. I was woken up again 20 minutes later with another contraction. It was at that point I realised it was different to braxton hicks and my labour had started. I felt excited that I was finally going to meet my baby and the anticipation of waiting to go into labour was finally here! I was also aware that as it was my first pregnancy this part could last days, so I wasn’t in a panic of any sort.
I realised that I wouldn’t be able to sleep and lying down was not the best position for me to be in. I gave my husband the heads up that I was in labour but told him to sleep as there was no point us both being up and the pain was manageable at that time. I figured it’s better for him to get rest now as I would need him later on.
I decided to binge on some Netflix shows which was a great distraction. I wasn’t timing my contractions at this point as I didn’t want to get stressed or worry about if things were progressing, rather just let my body do it’s thing.
I was able to breathe through the contractions quite easily and I wasn’t too phased by them, up until about 3am when I felt they were getting more intense. I woke my husband up at this point and asked him to help me attach the tens machine, which helped ease the intensity in my back. My husband stayed awake from that point onwards and started timing the contractions while getting the last bits together and putting them into the car. By 4am I was having contractions every 5 minutes.
We called the hospital to let them know I was contracting every 5 minutes. The midwife asked to speak to me and I told her I was managing the pain with my breathing and the tens machine. She told me that it’s better for me to stay home as long as possible, and to come in when I was contracting every 2 minutes. I wanted to delay going into hospital for as long as i could as I didn’t want to be sent home, and I also wanted the least amount of intervention, so I was happy to stay home and wait till the contractions were 2 minutes apart.
For the next 2 hours I was sat on the toilet with diarrhoea and was vomiting like crazy! I think I had vomited about 8 times by this point but I knew that meant things were progressing. The intensity had really ramped up by 6am and the contractions were happening every 2 minutes, so we decided to head to the hospital.
The drive to the hospital was about 20 minutes, but definitely felt longer! It was snowy and icey outside and my husband decided to park a walk away from the hospital entrance. I was in my pajamas with a blanket wrapped around me and on our walk into the hospital I had 3 contractions.
Upon arrival to the birth centre the midwives asked me to stay in an examination room while they check my notes. I was just focused on my breathing at this point and kept telling myself I was about to meet my baby soon.
It felt like they were checking my notes for a really long period of time, when they finally came into the examination room after checking my notes and asked me to do some standard tests, like checking my blood pressure, doing a urine sample etc. I told them I wasn’t able to do a urine sample at that point as I was feeling uncomfortable and I was having little time to breathe between contractions. I asked how long this would take as I was eager to get into the birthing room and get into the water. The midwife asked if she could do a cervical examination but warned me there was a chance I would be sent home as she didn’t believe I was in active labour. As it was my first baby she had assumed I was not as far along as I may have thought and as I was calm she didn’t believe I would be near 4cm dilated. I remember feeling so deflated when she said there was a chance I would be sent home as that was the last thing I wanted.
She did the examination and was shocked that I was nearly 7cm dilated. I was so happy to hear that I was progressing well and I wouldn’t be sent home.
We started walking towards the labour room when I had the sudden urge to poop. I told the midwife and she ran to get some paper towels, only to tell me that was actually my baby I was feeling! We headed to the room and I went on all fours on the bed as they prepared the water and also checked baby’s heart rate. At this point the contractions were very intense and I started feeling the urge to push. My husband grabbed some lucozade and started squirting it into my mouth inbetween contractions for an energy boost, which was an absolute lifesaver! At this point I still had the tens machine on and had it on its highest level.
The water was finally ready and all the checks had been done. My husband helped me take the tens machine off as I got ready to get into the water. As soon as I got in I instantly felt a relief, and the warm water felt like a massive hot water bottle wrapped around my body. At this point the urge to push was getting stronger and the midwife told me to just listen to my body.
I was just following my body, I don’t even remember trying to push as it felt like my body was just doing what it was supposed to. I was having gas and air at this point but I didn’t feel it was working or making a difference to me. My waters then broke as my baby’s head emerged, and with 2 big pushes he was out! I didn’t feel the ‘ring of fire’ or even realise he was out until the midwife told me. I was so shocked as to how easily he came out, and that it only took 2 pushes - Baby Ibraheem was born at 8.09am!
I was only in the water for about 20 minutes in total but the moment baby was born I was so overwhelmed with love and joy but was also in shock that it had all happened so fast.
After some skin to skin with baby my husband cut the cord, and I was then taken out the water to deliver the placenta while my husband had his skin to skin with baby. I had some second degree tears which the midwife stitched up, and once baby had been checked I was told I could head home whenever I was ready! We were the only ones in the birth centre that morning so were lucky to have all the midwives with us. We stayed in the hospital for a few hours while we had some food, I had showered and also enjoyed all the cuddles with baby. We left at around 6pm that evening.
They told me I was the most calm first time mum they had ever seen and that I would be welcome back anytime!
I honestly don’t think that would have been the case had I not completed the hypnobirthing course, as I felt in control of my body, knew what was happening at each stage and was able to breathe through the contractions with my baby in my mind!
The whole experience was honestly so empowering and I’m proud of my body for what I was able to achieve.
- Rumaysa, First-time Mum, Greenwich
Lewisham Hospital Birth Centre, (London Borough of Greenwich)
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