The lovely Bec and Nic did the hypnobirthing course with me via zoom in preparation for the birth of their baby boy. Here they tell us the awesome story of how they didn’t realise initially that labour had started and they JUST made it to hospital minutes before their son was welcomed into the world!!!
” I thought it would be good to update you all that we had a bit of a surprise on Fri 27 Aug, ending with the birth of this amazing guy, Kip!
I am loving telling the story!!
My estimated due date was Fri 3 Sept, and the week he was born I could feel that he was still right up in my ribs, so I didn’t think he was going to be arriving before that. At my 38 week appointment they said he was engaged but still high up. On the Thursday night (was 39 weeks on Friday 27), I couldn’t sleep at all, and had a lot of pressure in my pelvis – for some reason I got it in my head that all the sensations were of him dropping. And I thought quite a few times throughout the night, I don’t want to be a baby about this, but I’d say that these sensations are more than ‘uncomfortable’! I definitely wondered how I was going to cope if I was going to have those intense feelings for a couple of weeks awaiting his arrival!
In retrospect, it was early labour! And of course all the signs were actually there – lost my mucus plug at some point, and was having surges, but I had trouble in my exhaustion to identify it as such! At about 5:30am I started to wonder if it was labour. By then I felt pretty nauseous, but put it down to being tired. At about 7am I went and had a shower and told Nick what had been happening overnight. Of course he was like, that sounds like labour! But we were both very conscious of all the stories of long labours, labours that come and go, etc, so kept our expectations low. Nick timed a few surges just to see where we were at. Something I had not expected was that they weren’t super obvious to me – the cramp-type feeling I was getting was not completely subsiding at any point, so I found it hard to identify the ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ of each surge. But at that point they were about 5 mins apart and the most intense feelings lasted 1 min or so. Nick called the Birth Centre, and like us, they were very calm and just said, keep doing what you’re doing, don’t worry about timing them, just pay attention to when Bec can’t speak during them. Again, in retrospect, I was nearly at that point already so that should have been a bit of a sign!!
I was meant to have personal training at 12pm that day, and my second Pfizer shot in the morning. I texted my trainer to say I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t think I’d be up to training and would check in with him Saturday, and asked Nick to call the Drs and postpone my vax – naively, I said to ask if they had appointments in the afternoon ‘in case I feel better’ – luckily they didn’t! Again, the fact that I needed Nick to make that call should have been a sign!
For most of the morning I found lying on my side and breathing through the most effective technique. I was a little too conscious of all the stories of exhausting yourself early in labour, so I was taking it as easy as I could, and trying not to escalate my coping strategies too early! I was pretty in my own zone from early on – Nick was counting for me and doing light touch massage, which did help but I think after a certain point I was tuning everything out.
By mid morning, I felt like I wasn’t getting much of a break. Because I was struggling to tell the beginning and end, I told myself it meant they were irregular and therefore I still had a long time to go! We had a group chat going with our student midwife, and she suggested a shower – that was a godsend. After the shower, I think all I did was lean against the bed/bench/table and moan loudly. Vocalisation really helped me – small tip though, take some throat lozenges with you to hospital in case you end up staying in – my throat was really sore after!
At some point I started to feel overwhelmed so went to get back in the shower. As soon as I went to step in, I felt pressure in my butt so got out and called out to Nick. I went to sit on the toilet because I’d remembered reading that was helpful, though at the back of my mind I did realise that meant he was on his way! Nick was already on the phone to the birth centre, and they spoke to me for about 10 seconds before telling Nick we should come in. Nick came in and told me my brother would come pick us up in 20 mins, and I remember thinking that 20 mins was way too long and I wanted to be at the birth centre right then. However, it did take 20 mins to get me up and get our things together. I don’t particularly remember, but I know I had surges on the way out and again at the car (we live above a cafe so apparently I provided some interesting entertainment for the people waiting for their coffees…). I was adamant that I was not getting in the car until I’d had the next surge. Luckily, in the car I got a bit of a break and only had two surges, right when we were close to the hospital (also luckily, we live a five min drive away). My brother dropped us at the entrance and Nick did the COVID check in while I had another surge outside.
We walked straight in and the birth centre had the room set up and the bath run. I basically made a beeline for the bath because by then I could feel his head, but was unable to tell anyone! I jumped in and hoped that they knew his head was there. First surge in the bath and his head was born, and second surge the rest of him came out! Everyone was absolutely in shock and no-one was ready for it!
We were able to do skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping and physiological third stage. Unfortunately though due to the quick exit and his size (4.26kg!) I had a third degree tear that meant I had to go to theatre. I was really glad that the birth centre was able to follow our plan, and that Nick was familiar with it too – they helped me express before I went so Nick could feed him, and Nick checked with me multiple times that I didn’t want to ask them to wait until after the first breastfeed. I said to Nick once we were home that they could have suggested anything to me at that point and I would have agreed, so the plan was very important. However, I did really want to go ASAP so I could be back again ASAP.
Nick and Kip hung out with the midwives while I went and had the best nap I’d had in months!
Was wonderful to be reunited again after, and then get to breastfeed! We spent Fri – Monday afternoon in hospital, which had its ups and downs. I was mostly desperate to get home, but also the support we had while there was fantastic. The midwives were amazing and we got help with things like bathing, feeding and swaddling which was reassuring and helped us be confident in going home.
The next week was pure bliss! We were on an extreme high and completely in love. The ‘three day blues’ hit me a bit later (about day 7), and was actually precipitated by a midwife visit that sowed doubt about breastfeeding because Kip hadn’t put on the weight they would have liked. However, I have a great online support network of friends who were invaluable in reassurance and encouragement. I highly recommend connecting with anyone and everyone you know (and trust!) who has been through it before. By the next home visit, Kip was back to his birth weight (and then some!) so that put me at ease, and the midwives were helpful and reassuring as well.
Since then we’ve been enjoying our little bubble. Restrictions have had their upsides! His grandparents, who all live in Vic, are desperate to meet him though, so looking forward to borders opening at some point.
So as promised, the TL;DR is: an impatient baby decided to arrive ‘early’ and with great haste. Coupled with our commitment to stay chill – and stay home as long as possible – this resulted in us checking in to the hospital at 1:30pm and his birth time being exactly 1:35pm! Luckily had a ride to the hospital because if Nick had gone to park he would’ve missed the birth…
Ali & Klade did the hypnobirthing course with me in preparation for their first baby. They were also needing to navigate several maternity models as they were embarking on an inter-state move which meant a change in care-providers. Here they tell us about their baby’s early, but wonderful, arrival!
“12 hours after we finally moved in, my waters broke and I gave birth to little baby Jack – 4 weeks early!!
We had a bit of a journey through every maternity environment possible, and thankfully all midwives had a good understanding of hypnobirthing and our birth suite had fairy lights and affirmations already up on the walls.
In using the techniques I was able to only use gas and managed to get through 10hours or so of active labour! We were hoping to have a water birth but due to being preterm we were not able too due to the risk of infection, but I was pretty proud of myself, and Klade was so amazingly helpful with cueing me and using supportive touch to get me through.
We ended up in NICU for a week with Jack having some breathing troubles, jaundice and struggling to feed also. But we are now 6 weeks on and are doing so well!
Learning from you was incredibly valuable and we are so thankful we got to have the birth we wanted, if not slightly earlier than expected 🙂
Amy & Michael attended the course in the lead up to their first birth. They welcomed their beautiful baby boy Mack Harvey into the world at Hurstville Private hospital with the support of an obstetrician.
Here mum Amy tells us all about Mack’s journey into the world…
“My membranes released early in the morning, 1:50am. I went to the bathroom and came back, sat on the bed and thought I had just lost control of my bladder. I went back to the bathroom and saw a bit of mucus and realised it was my membranes releasing. We actually couldn’t believe that it was all happening now! 2 weeks early.
I wasn’t having surges and felt fine so I got up and got ready, had a shower, washed my hair and shaved my legs 🤣 I had to go to hospital because I needed IV antibiotics due to testing positive to group b strep earlier in my pregnancy. This was the main factor that dictated what my birth would be like.
We dropped Samson our dog off at Mum & Dad’s place and went to the hospital, we got there around 3:30am. I started having surges but they were about 15 minutes apart and stayed that way for a while. I felt really calm and ready, I had a birth ball and was breathing through my surges resting on that on all fours. I really wanted to do things as naturally as possible.
When the obstetrician came in around 9am she said she wanted to move things along. I was 2 weeks early and being my first pregnancy she thought my labour could take quite a while because my cervix wouldn’t have softened enough. Also because I had GBS and my membranes had released the risk of infection was higher. She said I could wait until 10am and move around a bit and try and move things along but if my surges weren’t more frequent I would need the drip. I was wearing a fetal monitor so that made moving around a bit hard, it kept sliding down my stomach. I finished my 2nd lot of IV antibiotics around 10am and the midwife came in and said it was time for the drip. Both my husband and I wanted more time to move things along naturally but the midwife insisted that the obstetrician had said 10am so we just took a deep breath and went with it. I really didn’t want to be on the drip however all I could do at this stage was trust the obstetricians decision.
I started the oxytocin around 10am and stayed pretty calm breathing through surges on the birth ball but within about 2 minutes I started having strong regular surges that just got worse and worse. There wasn’t much of a gap in between them, I was able to breath through them for a while and used the gas but that made me feel a bit nauseous and I was vomiting a bit, the gas doesn’t take the pain away it just makes you a bit giddy. Mick was amazing throughout the whole birth but this part especially. His touch was very comforting and holding onto his shoulders got me through a lot of surges. I eventually got to a point where the contractions were basically constant and I couldn’t get comfortable at all so I asked for an epidural. I didn’t want an epidural prior to starting labour however my biggest concern about the epidural was not being able to move around and my movement was already severely restricted so I decided it could only provide me with some relief.
I got to about 7cm dilatation when they put the epidural in. That was the hardest part, breathing through contractions; staying still and sitting upright while they put it in. Mick really helped me through this.
Once it was in I could finally talk again, I basically couldn’t say a word throughout the whole first part but Mick said I looked really calm 🤣 about an hour later I was fully dilated, and they turned the epidural down so I could start pushing. Another thing I didn’t want to do was push but the baby’s heart rate was dropping so I continued to trust the judgement of the obstetrician and midwives. I pushed the baby as much as I could but the obstetrician had to use the vacuum and do an episiotomy in the end because of the way I was positioned on the bed and the baby couldn’t make his way out by himself and he had the cord in like a figure of 8 wrapped around him!
The obstetrician helped his head out and I was able to push his shoulders out. He was placed onto my chest immediately, he let out a few cries, Mick and I both cried and then he settled almost straight away! He was a calm baby from the very beginning. The cord was clamped and cut by Mick after it had stopped pulsating and I birthed the placenta easily. Mack, Mick and I all bonded while I was stitched up.
I didn’t want to be induced, use gas, have an epidural, have an assisted delivery or episiotomy 🤣 but hey in the end it was all good. I was calm, wasn’t scared, felt informed and that the decisions I was making were right for the circumstances. It was still a natural birth and we are both healthy! The obstetrician was impressed with how quickly my labour progressed once I started the oxytocin and how quickly I dilated, I was visualising the baby moving and my cervix softening the whole time. Mick used acupressure points and I smelt some clary sage throughout the my labour. I think I did my best considering the circumstances. Unfortunately testing positive to group b strep and having my membranes release set me on a path where intervention was inevitable.”
Cassie and Cam attended a course with me back in 2020 in preparation for the birth of their beautiful baby boy Hugo. Here Mum Cassie tells us “what a wonderful experience giving birth was”!
“My waters broke early Thursday morning… about 5am. It took me a little while to realise that my waters had broken… I thought I had lost control of my bladder because I was 11 days early at this point. my bags were not ready for hospital, so I decided to do this… and a few little things around the house. I had no other signs of labour, but I called the hospital and went in for a check-up as per their request. Everything was fine so I went home!
The hospital did mention to me that if I didn’t go into labour within 24 hours, I would need to be induced. After the hypno course, I knew this is something I wanted to avoid and fortunately my OB was very across my birthing preferences and said we would hold of induction for as long as it was safe for the bub which was very comforting.
Later that afternoon, I got a really bad migraine, which is out of the norm for me so we called the hospital again and were asked to come in for a check. I was given some medication for the migraine because I didn’t want to go into labour with it, got an all clear that the bub was safe and I was allowed to go back home.
Once I was home, I managed to get about 3 hours of sleep before getting some contractions at around 2am on the Friday morning. They were light and I kept sleeping through them. Later that morning, the hospital asked me to come back in for another check up because it had been 24 hours since my waters broke, so we went in. Everything was progressing well and while we were there, I permitted them to give me a vaginal exam because I was curious and it turned out that I was about 4cm dilated! That was really empowering to know because the contractions were still fairly far apart, I wasn’t in pain, and they gave me the green light to go home again!
We stopped at a bakery, saw my mum quickly and once home cam set up the environment including closing the curtains, candles on, low lights and playing my hypno tracks. The time was passing without me even realising it. Cam was amazing and was watching how I was doing and noting how often the contractions were coming but I wasn’t aware of this at the time. My time at home was spent in the shower and sleeping between contractions.
Cam kept me at home for as long as possible. I wasn’t aware at the time but it was peak hour on Friday night and we didn’t live close to the hospital. Afterwards, Cam did say the time to go to hospital was an hour earlier then we actually left but he was worried about peak hour traffic. The car journey was the hardest part and I am grateful for his decision to keep me at home. it was 35ish minutes in the car rather then what could have been over an hour…
When the environment changed in the car, bright lights, traffic, sitting down while contracting etc.. I really did come out of my peaceful zone, and I was feeling the contractions. My tracks were still playing on my phone in the car, and when I got to the hospital the midwife could hear my tracks, and immediately knew I was hypnobirthing! I had another vaginal exam once I settled in, and I was 8cm! Checking my dilation was very empowering for me and kept me motivated and confident that I could have a natural labour drug free.
I decided to have some gas, but I found it too overwhelming. I felt like I lost control over what was happening because I could not feel properly and so they lowered the dose. Once she did that, I could feel the baby bearing down. Thankfully gas wears off really quickly… so I was able to say to the nurse and cam that I was ready to push, however I think because it was so quickly, they may not have fully believed me and warned me that if it was too early, I might cause other issues. So, I asked them to check me, and I was indeed 10cm!
20 minutes later our baby boy Hugo was born! It was amazing!!! I could feel him bearing down on me, and I knew exactly when to push.
My nurse was amazing, it all happened so quickly that my OB just made it. Little Hugo’s heart rate dropped which I think was scarier for Cam. They said to me that I had one more push to get him out before they would need to intervene with an episiotomy but I managed to push him out safely, no cuts or tears.
I cannot begin to explain what a wonderful experience giving birth was. Cam was amazing – he was so cool throughout, he kept me at home and made a huge call without burdening me which I am so grateful for. He never once panicked, and he played such a crucial part in this birth being so good.
My midwife and obstetrician were fantastic. We spent time going through my preferences with my OB prior to labour so she was able to just make everything easier, I was able to trust that she knew what I wanted. I got immediate uninterrupted skin to skin, Hugo had the chance to crawl up feed on his own for the first time, and the chord clamping was delayed until it went white.
It’s been such a great start to Hugo coming into the world and really set me up for a positive 4th trimester with him, I’m over the moon with his birth and I would recommend you in a heartbeat!”
Amanda and Julian came to a course in preparation for their first baby. They were being supported by the midwifery group practice at RPAH and they recently welcomed their beautiful baby girl Sienna into the world….
Wanted to give you an update on the arrival of our baby girl Sienna Mufale who was born yesterday.
We’re so grateful for everything we learnt through the hypnobirthing course and it set us up for a labour we were excited for!
I started getting slight surges on Tuesday night, most of which I could sleep between. When I woke up on Wednesday morning I noticed a ‘bloody show’ when I went to the bathroom. From there I had some period like cramping and inconsistent surges throughout the day. I tried to ignore them as much as possible and distracted myself with watching Schitts Creek and making sure our hospital bags were all packed and ready to go. That night my surges started to feel stronger but were still inconsistent and spaced 10 minutes apart. I wasn’t able to sleep through them so I played one of my birthing playlists and started diffusing clary sage.
By 4am the surges were stronger however still weren’t coming regularly (7-12 mins apart). I was tired from being up all night and confused about how things were progressing. We decided to go to the hospital at 6am just to get some reassurance and an update on progress. They did a cervical exam and found that I was between 3-4cm! The midwife also did a stretch and sweep to help the labour move along. She gave me the option to go back home which I was happy with- so we went back and I started using the TENS machine which was amazing.
The surges were immediately more intense and regular after the stretch and sweep. I went from having surges every 10mins or so to having a surge every 2mins. I went from using the shower to the TENS machine to manage the intensity. Julian was an amazing birth partner and was there supporting me and holding me throughout each surge.
We went back to the hospital at 10am and the midwife said that I had dilated to 7cm! By that stage I started to feel my body telling me to bare down through the surges. I got on a mat and exercise ball and used some of the positions we practiced in the course to get through the surges. We also had the lights dimmed and music playing in the background.
When I started transitioning I felt that I needed to get in the bath and change positions. The bath was amazing at relieving the pressure in my pelvis and at helping me relax between surges.
I remember watching the videos of waterbirths during the course and being amazed at how calm and quiet they all were while pushing. Safe to say this was NOT my experience. I found the pressure and surges overwhelmingly powerful and I needed to use my voice to get through them. When I pushed Sienna’s head out I remember roaring like I’ve never done before! After another contraction I pushed the rest of Sienna’s body out where she was passed through my legs and I could lift her out of the water and place her on my chest.
The most amazing and intense experience ever! I opted to have the injection for the placenta delivery and had two blissful hours of skin to skin with Sienna.
Thank you for helping us feel confident and excited for this birth! We used so many tools that really made a difference
Parents-to-be Nicki & Bart attended the course with me in preparation for the birth of their baby girl. They were birthing at Royal North Shore in the Midwifery Group Practice. Here is their story of welcoming their gorgeous girl Sienna into the world…
“Hey Kerry! I’m going great thanks and Sienna is too! She’s been such a little angel since she was born ♥️
We had a fairly good labour, but had a little bit of a hiccup towards the end!
At 39w 6d I got a stretch and sweep at my midwife appointment and she said I was already 2-3cm dilated. At about 7pm that night I started to get mild contractions and was on the exercise ball breathing through each one until about 10:30ish. I spoke to my midwife, and she said to try get some sleep and call her when I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I got in bed and put on my hypnobirthing playlist. At around 3am I could no longer handle the contractions on my own so I woke Bart up and he helped put the tens machine on (which was amazing). At around 5:30am we made our way to the hospital and I had my waters broken and was sitting around 6cm. I changed up my positions that we learnt, breathing through the contractions – my midwife offered me the bath but I didn’t want to take the tens machine off.
It was around 7am when I got the walking epidural and I was able to close my eyes and have a little rest (I hadn’t slept since 8am the morning before by this point) we did another check and I was at 9cm and not long after I had made it to 10cm – around 10:30am she told me we would be ready to start pushing soon. In between this I was able to change my positions to try open up my pelvis, leaning on Bart/swaying, on the ball, leaning over the bed etc. I think I was pushing for about 2.5hours and she just kept getting stuck around the bend of the birth canal, she’d come down with each contraction but then go back up and by the end of it I was completely exhausted.
The midwifes called the doctors to come check everything and they said it was probably a good idea to take me into theatre and intervene. The options I had were forceps or c section, and I knew I didn’t want forceps so I had agreed to a c section (I was always open to this if it meant the safe delivery of our girl). The took us into theatre and prepped me for c section, but luckily the doctor I had was quite senior, he had a feel and said she was just so close, and he wanted to try just once with the vacuum to see if he’d get any movement and he did. With three pushes her head was out, and a minute or two later the rest of her body followed. Vacuum wasn’t ideal but ultimately looking back now was better for me than forceps or a c section. I was cut about 2-3cm they said and the recovery of the stitches is a little tender so I could only imagine what the incision of a c-section would have been!
We had our hypnobirthing playlist playing, dim lights, lavender in the diffuser, massages/acupressure, words of reassurance, calm breathing. All the things we learnt and had in our toolbox were really handy. I would say I was fairly calm throughout the whole process, although in that last 20 or 30 minutes I did have moments of “I can’t do this anymore” but persevered and kept pushing until I had no other option. Every birth is different, but had I been able to push her out naturally for a shorter timeframe I would say it was as close to our “birth plan” as possible!”
Jacqui and Mitch attended a hypnobirthing course with me in preparation for the birth of their first baby. During the pregnancy they found out that their baby boy had a heart disease. Following birth their son had unforeseen complications and passed away a few hours after birth.
Below, these incredibly strong and inspiring parents tell us about the birth of their beautiful boy River…
“I have wanted to tell you about my birth, Mitch and I have separated our birth from what happened after as we truly loved that experience and want it to remain a happy memory.”
I practiced my breathing and my calm bubble space constantly in the lead up to birth. My waters broke at 3am on Friday morning and I was completely calm I showered, washed my hair, we packed up the house and headed to the hospital.
The entire time I felt very relaxed and didn’t have any contractions. Because of our boy having a heart disease they wanted us to stay at the hospital overnight and if I didn’t go into natural labour then they’d induce me the next morning, no contractions started so I had a good night’s sleep at the hospital. At 5am, the next day I was taken back to the birthing unit and they started induction at 7am with syntocinon in a drip. They asked for my birth plan however I really didn’t have one as I really just wanted to “go with the flow” and do whatever was right for the health of myself and my baby, so I just asked for dim lights, played my music which was chilled songs that I like and mentioned I wanted to try not to have an epidural and if I was to have one I at least wanted it after I was 4cm. Words like contractions etc didn’t bother me at all as I don’t associate these words with anything negative, so I didn’t ask anyone to change how they worded things. The midwife we had on the day was amazing as she was very calming.
Once the early contractions started, I liked being on the birthing ball. The midwife realised he was posterior as I was feeling everything in my lower back and there he stayed until it was time to push. They started getting more intense from 10am, I would go from sitting on the toilet to back on the ball to leaning over a chair with a pillow. I was offered gas however I didn’t want it and just focused on my breathing instead so from 10am-12pm I went from 2-4cm, Mitch said my breathing was amazing. I did say to the midwife I was considering an epidural but she and Mitch both said I was doing so well and to keep going and so I did.
It started getting quite intense so the midwife suggested getting on the bed. I went on the bed lied on my side and she gave me peanut ball and I held on to the railing, this position really opened up my pelvis. From 12.30pm-2.00pm I went from 4cm-7cm here the midwife taught be how to use the gas which I then used for this entire time which certainly took the edge off, although I didn’t use it well for every contraction. During the intense contractions there were moments I had thoughts of “I can’t do this anymore” which I didn’t let myself say out loud, moments of wanting to just go to bed and wake up and deal with it later, moments where I literally forgot how to breath but my best moments were when I actually managed to only think of my breathing and think of my bubble place.
After some time, I started naturally pushing and the midwife was telling me to try not push but I was ignoring her as it felt so natural to push. She could tell I was still pushing so they checked me and I was good to go! They asked what position I wanted to be in but I actually felt comfortable being on my back, they moved the bed up so I was in a more sitting position.
I was pushing from 2.30pm. This was my favourite part of labour, the pain had lessened and I was so excited to be so close to the end. They guided me on how to push and I loved that I felt like I was completely in control since I could feel my contractions and the team would say you let us know rather than telling me. I was so close to getting him out on my own however just couldn’t quite get there so they got a doctor in to do an episiotomy which didn’t bother me. I didn’t feel the local anaesthetic go in and didn’t feel the cut which was 3cm, after this I was able to push him out. He was born at 3.11pm. The feeling was just so surreal and relieving they put him straight on my chest and Mitch got to cut the cord after delayed cord clamping.
For me it felt like I held him for the longest time however I was told it was only very brief. I will be forever grateful for that cuddle and kiss before they had to take him from me and start operating on him in the room with us.
During the entire birth Mitch was an amazing support for me. I loved having him close by and during active labour loved having him just holding my leg and just constantly told me to breath and that I was doing really well. During my pushing he was so emotional crying from how proud he was of me and how happy he was. He has been saying how in awe of me he is and that it was his proudest moment.
It truly was the best moment of our lives.
Thanks again for your class, I am so glad I did it before giving birth as lots of those tools helped me get through it and helped me reach one big goal of mine which was to not have an epidural.
My biggest note to people would be that from when we first found out about River’s heart disease at 19 weeks, we were extremely upset for our boy, however we never let this effect our pregnancy. We stayed so positive, never doubting that he wasn’t going to be ok and just wanted to continue giving him the safest home to grow inside my belly. Our biggest focus was to surround him with love and positivity. Even though we lost our boy which is far from what we or anyone at the hospital expected, we still appreciate all the positive emotions we had during pregnancy and how connected to him we were. We love thinking and talking about our pregnancy, our birth and our boy.
We’ve been surrounded by incredible support from family and friends during this time which is helping get us by.
Jacqui and Mitch would like to say a particular thanks to Westmead hospital – the pearl midwife program was amazing and the heart centre at Westmead as well as our cardiologist have been so good to us pre and post birth.
Make yourself comfortable and sit back to read the birth story of Zoe – the beautiful baby girl born to first time parents Amy & Dave. This is such an empowering birth story that highlights the importance of being educated, knowing your rights and making decisions that feel right for you and your circumstances….
“My birth story is a long one which begins way before I gave birth thanks to our little one being far too comfortable in my belly (she must have been enjoying all the ice cream I was devouring). So I apologise for the length but I really wanted to share my story in the hope that it might benefit someone else who ends up in a similar situation to me!
I knew early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to do some sort of birth and parenting class as neither me nor my husband have been around many babies. Due to covid, everything the hospital offered was online so I started researching private classes as I was sick of zoom! I came across hypnobirthing along with some other similar courses but the hypnobirthing syllabus resonated with both of us as we’re big believers of the power of the mind and the stellar reviews for Kerry’s course confirmed it for us.
We took Kerry’s course at 26 weeks which I was worried was a bit early but that was the only one with space on and, in the end, I was so glad to have that extra time afterwards to process and practise everything! The course left both Dave and I feeling so much more prepared for what was to come and also really excited for birth rather than fearful! Up until then, I’d just thought contractions were these painful side effects of labour rather than the body physically assisting the baby down the birth canal. In the weeks leading up to my EDD, I would play the affirmations every time we did the perineal massage or during my acupuncture sessions and I would try and practise the meditation whenever I could, although I definitely didn’t do it as much as recommended (sorry, Kerry)!
From 36 weeks, I began acupuncture weekly. At first, I was so nervous about inducing labour early because I wanted a decent amount of maternity leave before the baby arrived to get ready and relax (turns out, I needn’t have worried about this!). From 38 weeks, I started to expect labour could happen at any moment as they talk about term being 38-40wks which meant that, by the time I reached 40 weeks, I was a bit disheartened that nothing had happened yet. Especially as at my 38 week midwife appointment, they said they’d need to book my induction in at the 40 week appointment, which panicked me because I’d never considered induction a part of my birth journey.
Sure enough, at 40 weeks, they talked me through the induction process and said they needed to book a date now. The way they spoke about my birth suddenly changed from talking about when to call the hospital if I go into labour and how long to stay at home for, to the induction process almost being inevitable for me now that I was almost 40 weeks pregnant, and that I’d require all of the hormones and drugs because I’m a first time mum. I left the appointment feeling so disheartened and almost defeated. Up until that point I’d just been so excited to experience birth! I’d heard that labour induced by synthetic hormones can be a lot harder to manage as it isn’t guided by your baby and body.
After this, determined to not be induced, I kicked my natural labour induction activities up a gear! Acupuncture, massage, eating pineapple, diffusing clary sage, acupressure (after a quick email to Kerry to check that was okay!), walking up stairs sideways, bouncing on the fit ball…you name it, I was doing it daily! I decided to go in for a stretch and sweep at 40+3 and found out I was already 2cm dilated. How exciting, labour must be imminent! But nothing happened. Nor did it after a S+S at 40+6, 41+2 or even 41+4…except my mucus plug came away. Again, this got me excited but still nothing!
Eventually, having declined to talk induction thus far, at 41+2, the midwife said it was hospital policy for me to be induced prior to 42 weeks and she wasn’t in a position to sign off if I did decline it so she asked me to go in and see the doctor the following day. I agreed and, the following day, I went to the day stay for additional monitoring and scans and to speak to the doctor. Again, I explained that I knew that my baby was fine, I wanted to give them a chance to come when they’re ready and I didn’t want to have hormones which could place my baby under undue stress and lead to a cascade of interventions. I was also due to give birth in the birth centre and was sure I’d want to be in the water, both of which would not be possible if I went the synthetic hormone route. The scan showed my baby measuring 4.2kgs so the doctor was saying I probably wouldn’t be able to give birth vaginally anyway.
They were quite persistent about having an induction date booked in. I was currently booked to come in the following day at 9am for cervidil but really didn’t want to. I said I’d compromise and go to 41+6 so that it was prior to 42 weeks (their cutoff). But, because it was Easter, they were completely booked out. So, after much back and forth, we went home to think about it but knowing I wouldn’t take the induction the following day.
The next day we went in for monitoring again (something I agreed to while fighting induction). There was a brilliant midwife on duty who understood my fears and what I was hoping for and she suggested that she check my cervix to see whether or not I’d need the cervidil. Amazingly, she said she could stretch me to 3cm and didn’t think the cervidil would help. Therefore, I could just have my membranes ruptured and this I could do in the birth centre. This was at least one step in the right direction! Due to Easter, the only day I could get into the birth centre was the following day so, after many discussions with Dave and a few tears (picking my baby’s birthday felt so weird!), we booked in for the following day. Finally, we would meet our baby!
After spending the evening hoping to go into spontaneous labour, I woke up the next morning, still pregnant! We made a packed lunch (luxury of induction!) and headed to the hospital. At 9am, they released my membranes. Miraculously, there was no meconium so I could stay at the birth centre. The midwife had advocated on my behalf that I wouldn’t need to have a cannula in straightaway (something the doctor said I had to have) and I could have six hours to try for labour to start before being transferred to the labour ward and the drip being started (the doctor had said maximum two hours). As we both agreed that I didn’t want to spend six hours in the birth centre with nothing happening only to then be transferred to the delivery ward, the midwife and I agreed that we’d reassess after lunch and make a decision then.
After the initial gushing stopped (weirdest feeling ever – I couldn’t stop laughing!), we went for a walk to a cafe. But had to leave swiftly once the gushing started again! Back in the birth suite, I felt really awkward because I thought it was inevitable that I’d be transferred to the delivery suite for the drip so I didn’t unpack any of the things I’d brought with me such as fairy lights and hypnobirthing material. I was feeling some cramping but it was similar to that that I’d experienced after the S+S so I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
Around 11.30am, I had my baguette and we decided to watch some RuPaul to pass the time. I was bouncing on the ball and sniffing clary sage and we were doing nipple stimulation to try and bring on the labour. About 30 minutes into the episode, I felt the cramps intensify, so much so that we had to keep pausing the show so I could breathe through the. Within a few minutes, I was having to stand up and lean against the wall to get through them. Dave decided to download an app for timing contractions and I would tell him when to press start and stop.
It’s from here that I lose track of time but, very quickly, I could no longer talk and was using hand signals to tell Dave when I was feeling these cramps (I’m hesitant to call them surges here as I truly didn’t believe I was in labour!). We remembered we’d hired a TENS machine so Dave suggested we try that. Note to other expectant parents: practise with the machine before you’re in labour! A midwife came in and had to help us figure it out! As soon as we got it working, it was absolute heaven. Such relief! It felt like someone was massaging my back. Why hadn’t I put it on sooner?!
I continued to breathe through the surges (I still didn’t believe I was in labour though). I had my eyes closed and was using the visualisations I’d practised to get through them. I also found pushing against the wall helpful and Dave held a mini fan up to my face; the white noise was really helpful. Best $15 I spent! I quickly became exhausted from standing so was trying out different positions such as leaning on the ball or the bed but nothing was working. It all felt like an out of body experience and I really had no idea what was going on except that I was just in my zone working through these sensations. Dave did try and play the affirmation tracks at one point but I think I was too far gone as I remember to telling him to “turn that f’ing woman’s voice off!” – whoops! I will add here that I think Melissa has a beautiful soothing voice but it just wasn’t working for me at that moment!
Again, I’m not sure what time it was, perhaps 2pm, Dave went to get our midwife because he felt that something was starting to happen. They said they’d be in after they’d finished their lunch to which he had to really stress that something was happening! Nobody thought it would! And I think because I was so silent, the midwife just assumed nothing was happening. From that point, our midwife was in the room with us but she left me to it and would simply come and listen to the baby’s heartbeat intermittently. She never said anything so I assumed all was fine and just stayed in my zone.
After what seemed like forever, I think I finally realised that this probably was labour and these were real surges! I remember asking the midwife whether I could get into the bath but she said it could slow down labour so I should hold off as long as possible. And she’d also spoken to the doctor and agreed that labour had started at 2pm so they wouldn’t check my dilation until 6pm (at which point we could make a decision as to whether I needed the drip or not). I remember feeling so disheartened and also defeated because this indicated to me that they thought I probably wasn’t even 5cm dilated at that stage yet I felt like I was at the end of what I could physically cope with. I kept thinking that I’d need some more serious pain relief pretty soon as I couldn’t go on as I was for much longer.
It was at this point that I said to Dave and the midwife that I couldn’t go on and they’d need to get the baby out of me some other way (I believe I said they’d need to cut her out!). And then I let out this animalistic roar from nowhere and had this urge to push. I could clearly feel a complete change in my body and what it was doing. Incredible! The midwife asked me if I was pushing, which I confirmed, so she said she’d better go and run the bath! Errr, yes please! I think this was about 5pm.
As soon as I got into the water, I felt a huge sense of relief as the weight was taken off my legs. The bathroom was dark and it was just me, Dave on one side and the midwife on the other. I knelt down and leant on the bar across the bath for support and used this to counteract each surge as it came. To feel my body naturally bringing the baby down was awesome! In my head, I didn’t believe I’d be able to push them out so, with each surge, I pushed as hard as I could. In hindsight, probably too hard…At this stage, I was beyond thinking rationally and trying to breathe the baby down! Once her head was out, Dave said that he actually saw her turn, as we’d seen in some of the birth videos on the course. He was totally blown away seeing this in person!
After 55 minutes of pushing, our baby finally joined us! Zoe Magdalena was born at 5.55pm on April 1st weighing 3.67kg (nowhere near 4.2kg!). The midwife guided her out and straight into my arms. Dave checked out her gender (she was a surprise) and then the midwife helped us back into the bed. She explained I’d passed a large clot so would prefer to give me the injection to birth the placenta. I was more than happy for this in case I was bleeding. Luckily, there wasn’t any. I had a second degree tear but, otherwise, we were both healthy.
Our midwife was incredible: she did delayed cord clamping without me needing to ask and Zoe was left with me for four hours of skin-to-skin before they stitched me up or took any measurements. During labour, she just left me to it, only speaking up at one point to ask Dave to make sure I was keeping hydrated. It was only afterwards that I realised I also hadn’t had any cervical examinations as Zoe was born five minutes before I was due for my first one!
After a shaky start to my birth story, in hindsight, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Even the midwives couldn’t believe how perfectly it had turned out! It took me about a week to recover from the shock of how fast it all happened, and many debriefs with the midwives and Dave and anyone else who would listen to me recount it! This was definitely an important part of my healing process.
I owe a huge part of this to Kerry and the information she had given us on the course plus the support leading up to the birth. It meant that I felt empowered enough to challenge the hospital and, ultimately, had the most incredible birth experience. Had I not spoken up, things might have gone very differently. Thank you, Kerry! From Amy, Dave and Zoe xxx”
Mum Nicole and Dad Johnny attended the course with me during their second trimester. From early on in the pregnancy their ‘plans’ for birth changed when they discovered they were having twins. With support from their Doula Amanda (Essential Me Doula) and following their hypnobirthing course, they made informed decisions to have the best birth possible with their circumstances…
Yes we had our twins! Vivienne and Olympia. They are 4 weeks old now. I’ve been in the ‘bubble’ and meaning to share our birth story with you!
We’re going well. The girls arrived at 36 weeks exactly. We were very happy to get them that far after a few scares during the pregnancy. There was an artery to artery anastomosis (AAA) in the placenta which was cause for concern so the Doctors were cautious and discussing the option to take them out around 32 weeks.
Anyway we got them further along then booked in for an induction on 19th April. I had a balloon catheter overnight then when they were close to breaking my waters the next morning a team of Drs walked in and said they were uncomfortable delivering identical twins with AAA naturally. It had never been done before at the Royal nor by the Professor (consultant in charge that day). So after hearing the risks that one twin may not make it we were very comfortable to book in a CS that afternoon. We knew there was a possibility of that outcome through discussions in the weeks leading up to the birth though the ultrasounds had been looking positive and we’d got the all clear to try for a natural birth.
Whilst is wasn’t the birth I’d desired, it was a wonderful experience and our two baby girls came out lungs blaring and APGARs of 9. They did delayed cord clamping and skin to skin straight away. Once I got stitched up and out of recovery they wheeled me into the NICU for more skin to skin and my babies went on the boob straight away.
It wasn’t until 22 hours later that I got to see them from being up in the ward and unable to make it down to the NICU but my husband didn’t leave their side. They needed some glucose and humidicrib time for a few days to regulate their temperatures but other than that they were fine and after 4-5 days of tube feeds with colostrum and expressed milk, they came up with me on the ward for 2 nights then we all got discharged together.
They’re doing well and putting on weight and keeping us busy and entertained. They are just divine.
Thanks for your wonderful support. The learnings we took away from the course were so helpful in giving us a positive birth experience.
First-time parents Renee & Sam attended the hypnobirthing course with me in their second trimester. Renee had recently been advised she had gestational diabetes and the topic of induction was already been discussed with her.
Fast forward a couple of months and their beautiful baby girl Skyla decided she was keen to be welcomed into the world before her estimated due date and the discussion about induction was no longer even needed!!!
Here are some snippets of what the proud new parents had to say about the birth…
“Our little hypno bub arrived yesterday at 9.22am no name yet !
But we managed to do it ‘au natural’ (tens machine + gas) and no induction
Contractions started Monday evening. Finally went into hospital at 5.45am.
9.5cm dilated when we got to hospital.
Only used gas and TENS machine. Managed to push out the ‘little’ one at 9.22am.
Weight was 3.78kg, 54.5cm which is apparently quick tall.
She won’t blow her own trumpet but she was amazing!
Such an amazing effort by Renee – thanks for the great guidance Kerry!