At the time the country went into lockdown, I went into labour.
When I found out I was pregnant with our second child, I knew I wanted try for a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC). The birth of our first daughter ended in an emergency caesarean after an induction when I was 37 weeks (due to her measuring small at the check-up). I felt as though there were many things I did not know about birthing the first time round, and I wanted to give my body the best chance at birthing naturally the second time. At 36 weeks, my husband Darryl and I attended Karmaura’s Hypnobirthing workshop in Yungaburra. We immediately felt relaxed – Alana teaches with such passion and sincerity! We left feeling excited and confident that we would have a positive birthing experience.
I was 39+2 weeks when I felt my first contraction in the middle of the night. Contractions were coming every 10 minutes, lasting a minute long. Little did I know I had just started a 38-hour marathon! With every surge, I practiced deep breathing and kept my body mobile to give bub the best chance to position correctly. I read my visualisation cards and positive mantras that I had laid out. This helped me surrender to each surge rather than tense and fight against them, which I had done previously with our first child out of fear. I also used my acupuncture cheat sheet and sniffed clary sage as often as I could.
I was absolutely exhausted upon arrival. They examined me and I was only 2cm dilated, but fully effaced. Although I felt defeated, Darryl kept reminding me that “you can do this, you ARE doing this!”. 3 hours later my waters broke and we noticed meconium. This unfortunately meant that I had to be monitored for the rest of my labour. By this time, I had only progressed to 4cm. Darryl instinctively started our ‘slow dance’ technique, until I felt that my body just couldn’t stand up anymore. I hadn’t kept any food or water down since contractions had started and I desperately needed a rest. I requested an epidural which was initially declined due to the chance of rupture because of my previous caesarean scar. However, upon the doctor’s assessment of myself and bub’s heart rate, he was happy to arrange an epidural to give me some rest before pushing baby out. My whole body was shaking with adrenaline and I knew I needed to get my head back in the game, so I played my hypnobirthing tracks which helped me regain focus and feel calm. 2 hours later I was 10cm dilated! We started our “baby time” playlist and after a few hours of pushing, our beautiful baby girl Jessica was here. I felt absolutely euphoric! We did it together; mother, father, midwife and baby. What an incredible team! She was immediately placed on my chest and let out a healthy cry. We had skin-to-skin cuddles for 1 whole, beautiful hour.
Darryl and I definitely felt more in control and less fearful of birth this time around because of the knowledge and skills we gained from our hypnobirthing course. I was confident that my body knew exactly what to do, I just had to trust it. Thank you, Alana, for helping me realise this. The work you are doing with all expectant parents will have a lasting impact on generations to come! x