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My Labour Experience | Hypnobirthing and Water Birth

Author: Lauren Coleman

At 7.12pm on 1st November 2018 I reached down into the water and brought my baby boy to the surface. Felix Theodore Coleman arrived into the world in the birthing pool after a short yet (obviously) very memorable labour.

Birth Preparations

I decided early on in my pregnancy to invest in my physical and mental wellbeing in order to build my confidence around the birthing process. I was lucky to meet some fabulous women along the way who supported me through acupuncture, hypnobirthing and yoga. However, babies are unpredictable and we all know despite the best intentions, plans can often go awry – I am well aware I had a huge dose of luck on the day my son decided to make his entrance.
Through the second and third trimester I attended weekly yoga sessions. The classes were small with just two other ladies and our teacher Claire tailored every session to our stage of pregnancy, as well as adapting positions for my ongoing nausea. I look back on those sessions fondly as it was a time I felt really connected to my growing bump.
James and I both read Hollie De Cruz’ Your Baby, Your Birth book. I bloody love this as it features testimonials from all forms of birth; vaginal, c-section, epidural, water and reassured me that whatever the situation it was possible to feel in control. I listened to daily meditations, had affirmation cards dotted around the house and actively sought out birth stories to prepare myself for every eventuality. Near the end of the pregnancy James and I attended a session with Emma-Jane, a local hypnobirthing tutor who helped me refine my breathing and build on what James and I had already learned about the hypnobirthing process. As I suffer from nasal problems I had struggled with the various breaths so meeting Emma-Jane was really helpful as she helped me nail my technique.
At 36 weeks I started a course of four pre-birth acupuncture sessions in order to prepare my cervix and uterus. However I didn’t make it to the fourth session. At 39 weeks +2 days a certain someone decided it was time to arrive. He clearly didn’t care we had a carpet arriving the next day or that I hadn’t managed to finish my tax return!

The Big Day

On the morning of the 1st November I woke at 3am with Braxton Hicks and stumbled to the bathroom for yet another toilet trip. This time though I was met with a show. I stayed awake until 6am as every twenty minutes an uncomfortable tightening surged across my back. I fell asleep for a couple of hours and woke to find the pain continued and began rising in intensity and frequency. As the morning progressed the pain across my back grew more powerful and was only slightly eased by standing in the jet of the shower.
In terms of labour aids, I’d bought it all – the birthing ball, the woven scarf for reboza sifting, the relaxing candles and the melodic playlist. What did I use? None of it. All I wanted to do was to lengthen my body. As each contraction came I breathed and swayed on James’ shoulders. At one point I even hung off the bedroom door! Despite their lack of use, I’m so glad I’d collected together all the various aids as these preparations made me feel in control as my due date grew closer.
Around 11am James called the birthing centre to confirm they were open. We were advised the best place to stay was at home until the contractions came closer to together and increased to a minute in length. I made my way to the bathroom and crouched on all fours in the tub insisting James used the shower hose to spray my lower back. As early labour continued, water became a bit of a theme.

By early afternoon I had reached the all-important ‘three in ten’, I deliberated when we should make the fifteen minute trip to the hospital. I didn’t want to be told I hadn’t progressed enough but equally didn’t want to get caught in rush hour traffic. At 3pm I was contracting on the drive outside our house, swaying back and forth and summoning up the courage to get into the car. Somehow I climbed in. I clung onto the grab handles and willed the journey to pass quickly. Thank god we found a parking space just outside the door to the maternity unit and made our way inside.

On arriving at the birthing centre we met the midwifery team, the lovely Emily and the equally excellent student Eve. I was offered an internal examination which revealed I was three centimetres dilated. I was gutted. With active labour being defined at 4cm, it was suggested I think about going home or going for a walk.
Then at that moment I felt a pop as my waters broke. I was hit by the most overwhelming contraction, a wave of extreme nausea and an intense need to use the loo. I dashed into the bathroom. Apparently while I was otherwise engaged the team had decided the latest turn of events could mean it was likely I was going to advance quickly and so just after 4pm I climbed into the birthing pool.

Thankfully things progressed very quickly. James was incredible but I spent most of the time with my chin in the water, head dipped and eyes down concentrating on my breathing. Yes there were expletives but most of the time I spoke only to James only to demand a drink or the spray of water across my back as each surge came and passed. Later when I was out of the pool I looked down at my toes and most of my nail polish had disappeared despite having a pedicure days earlier. While I was pretty good at relaxing the top half of my body I struggled with my legs and feet and must have scraped them along the bottom of the pool as I entered each wave!
Around 6.30pm I begged the midwives to ‘help me’ and I knew I had reached transition. I was on the home straight. Then came the need to push and what can only be described as a primal, animalistic urge to birth. As my body convulsed, uncontrollable guttural moans came from deep within. At one point Eve told me I’d need to conserve my energy to get the baby out but I felt I had little control over the noise.
The midwifery team used only a mirror and doppler to check on my progress and as the second stage of labour advanced the baby’s heartbeat was monitored after each contraction. After about 40 minutes Felix’s heartbeat began to slow and I was told I needed to push with all my might otherwise I was going to have to leave the pool. There was no bloody way I was getting out. With one final contraction I gave it my all and birthed my beautiful baby boy. The labour was intense, exhilarating and painful, but it was everything I hoped it would be.
Despite the quick birth, as you all know it had taken quite some time to get to this point. After several years of infertility, two rounds of IVF and over 240 days of sickness, he was finally here. And just like everyone said, he was well and truly worth the wait.

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30 thoughts on “My Labour Experience | Hypnobirthing and Water Birth

  1. Aw Lauren, I’m so pleased that you got the birth that you wanted and Felix was delivered safely into the world. Your birth story sounds so similar to mine, the water, the focus on breathing, hardly talking and the nails 😂 mine was a lot longer however!
    Hope you are enjoying every minute of being a mummy!

  2. Congratulations Lauren i think hynobirthing is amazing , i planned a water birth too last november but it turns out i couldnt deal with the contractions in water and was better off on land so to speak. Glad i had the option though. I ended up on my back, legs in stirrups, coached pushing, not at all what hynobirthing teaches, but i found it to be a really positive experience and i put that down to hypnobirthing and i wouldnt change a thing! Great that your son got a wonderful entrance to the world, I’ve found that the birth seems easy now compared to the early days of parenthood that follow!

    1. Huge congratulations on your little November bundle of joy!
      I was in hospital for four nights after and I’m with you on those early days. As much as I wanted to get home we were in a little bubble for those first days with hot meals and lactation advice for every feed and no housework. Real life was a bit of a shock afterwards! x

      1. I had made meals for 2.5 weeks stored in the freezer, i remember wondering why i hadnt made 2.5 months worth!! I pretty much discharged us after a day, i hate hospitals and had planned a home birth so it wasnt where i wanted to be! But hot meals for a few days would have been pretty good!

        1. Two and a half weeks worth is ace! I was convinced he was going to be late so hadn’t done any useful prep like that. One of my best girls bought me a Cook voucher though which was amazing! x

  3. Oh Lauren! I’m so glad you’ve shared your story, what an amazing one! Little Felix looks perfect, I’m so happy for you! xx

  4. What a wonderfully written piece. Delicate but powerful and sooooooo inspiring. Thrilled for you and James and Felix to finally all be together, like you were always meant to be xxxx

  5. What a lovely story, well done and congratulations! I used hypnobirthing with my second and I think it’s really amazing x

  6. So lovely that you had the birth that you hoped for. Sounds like you were an absolute superhero, well done you *biceps emoji* !

    And also worth saying that this is really beautifully written. I love the description that you ‘brought your baby boy to the surface’, which on reflection applies to any kind of birth. It’s a lovely uplifting piece to read, makes me want to hurry home from work all the quicker to cuddle my little one.

    1. All women are super heroes Jenni!
      And thanks so much for your kind words. Hope you had lots of cuddles today x

  7. Beautifully written Lauren, thank you for sharing. I’ve followed your journey on RMS/RMF and am delighted the birth was everything you hoped it would be. Hope you’re enjoying life as a new mum.
    Are there any particular meditations/affirmations you recommend? I’m about the embark on my first round of IVF and always welcome recommendations for different resources!

    1. Sarah, I’m back doing yoga in a few weeks so I’ll get some recommendations for you. Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of the Zita West meditation during IVF. For me, short and sweet ones without a forced voice were the ones that resonated with me best.
      Best of luck with everything x

  8. I had goosebumps reading that Lauren!! So delighted for you, and such a brilliant name! I did hypnobirthing with my second and it was amazing! A water birth was my dream but he arrived so quickly he was born in the back of our car so we didn’t quite make the pool! 😂

  9. Ah Lauren. I’ve read this twice today. And welled up both times! You did incredible and I’m so delighted that you had such a lovely birth. Especially with all the challenges you faced leading up to that day. Felix is just perfect. xo

  10. It’s lovely to read your birth story after following your journey, I’m so happy for you all! Felix is just beautiful. I’m halfway through with my second and you’ve definitely encouraged me to look more into hypnobirthing this time xx

  11. Oh the overwhelming gutteral animal noises!!!!! I don’t know what I turned into while giving birth to my first but it was weird and scared my husband! So pleased you had a lovely experience, what a lovely uplifting story. xx

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