Birth Stories

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All too often we hear negative stories of labour and birth, in fact a pregnant woman can become a magnet for others to share their negative stories. While it is very important for those who have negative experiences to discuss them with someone**, the pregnant lady facing birth in the coming months is not the person to talk to! Things often do not go as ‘planned’ that doesn’t mean birth can’t be an amazing experience that you’d love to do again!

Below are just a few stories from amazing mums, I’d encourage all expectant mothers to read positive birth stories on various Facebook Groups, Websites and Blogs……….

 ** Please note if you have had a traumatic experience there is help out there. Ask to speak to your hospitals mental health support midwife or contact Nurture, a charity specialising in this area for therapists close to you!!

Sarahs Birth Story from the MLU

Just to let you know our baby boy Dara arrived last Monday morning 14th Oct at 5am weighing 3kg (6lbs 9oz). He is doing really well and we are just so happy with our little man 😊
Labour was v fast. After going to bed I had period type pain as I had done on other nights on and off. I did some breathing but really it was mild compared to period pain I have had and I didn’t think much of it. I noted it was coming in regular waves at one point and I was smiling wondering if something would happen soon!
At 3am I woke to small gush of waters and straight away a show and surges. In hindsight we may have spent a little long trying to time surges before ringing MLU. We were calm which was great but unaware delivery was imminent. The midwife listened to 2 surges and advised to come in (10 minute journey). As soon as we hung up the phone the surges ramped up and pressure was in the back. I found it difficult to get off the loo and said a few times – we’ll go after the next one, trying to gather ourselves and get shoes on etc.
We arrived in MLU at 4.45am. I requested to go on the toilet but was pulled off it by the midwife when she saw the surge. I wanted to go on all fours immediately but was examined on the bed – I was 10 cm dilated. I moved to the birthing stool and after another few surges baby was delivered at 5am. It was very intense but I didn’t feel the need to push on the peak of the surge as my body was already strongly pushing baby out. The midwife remarked afterwards that I just breathed him out and that I was very laid back. David was also calm and absolutely fantastic in giving me support and they remarked on this too. We got skin to skin straight away and David cut the cord after DCC. The 2 midwives were fantastic in talking me through the birth, always preempting the next moment ahead which I loved. They told me afterwards that Dara was born with his fist up at his cheek.
I used some of the breathing exercises from 3am when I woke up. The rectangle one came to me straight away. I was only getting around 2 sides of the rectangle a lot of the time but it was still a great distraction! Breathing exercises also served me during the stitches.
We are mastering the breastfeeding at the moment. I’m using the haakaa pump and I’m finding it brilliant. It has helped the milk come in. I’m sorry I didn’t have it in the MLU to help the initial few drops of milk. Unfortunately we had a bad experience with the lactation consultant who hurt my breast with no warning and was very negative in my ability to breastfeed and berated me a few times! My sister who is a PHN has supported me all this week so we are making loads of progress now thankfully. Dara is regaining the weight he lost (back at 2.89kg yesterday) and his jaundice is now is at safe levels.
Hypnobirthing was hugely beneficial to us during the pregnancy, in labour and also during the last week when we experienced lack of sleep & anxieties. I have no doubt it will continue to serve us in the coming months. I just want to say a massive thank you to you Nadia. Your course was fantastic and I will definitely recommend it to anyone considering hypnobirthing or experiencing fear.
Apologies for the very long message.. just wanted to let you know our good news and that hypnobirthing made a huge difference to us. We are very grateful.
Sarah & David & baby Dara

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Ciaras Birth Story- from planned home birth to hospital

Our little Prince Charming arrived! 12 days overdue born in Holles Street @ 9.04pm, weighing 7.10lb with big alert eyes 👀

We were induced in the end due to ‘reduced waters showing on scan @ 12 days over. So they broke waters to get the ball rolling. Game changer was the confidence we had to question doctors preferences in the height of the moment in order to slow things down, BRAINS focussed us & we managed to convince the doctors to allow us time to try to deliver naturally using the tens & Hypno birthing tools. The outcome was an intense, swift 6.5 hours natural labour!! delighted with outcome, midwives were AMAZING so supportive, happy at home already 😊
Thank you so much Nadia, it really does work!!!
One of the doctors who had been insistent on prepping for a c-section came over to see us the next morning & humbly acknowledged she had got it wrong. Although not our original birth plan, we wouldn’t change a thing🤱🏻👌🏻

Alannahs Birth Story

When it came time to choose our antenatal classes, I wanted to learn more about hypnobirthing as I had heard such good things about it from my sister. We booked our hypnobirthing antenatal classes with Nadia because she is a practicing midwife. That gave me great confidence as I knew she was very practical and could give us great concrete knowledge about childbirth.
My partner and I learned so much from Nadia in the space of only a few hours that we felt so glad we booked with her. Nadia really helped prepare us in so many ways, we are first time parents so there was a lot for us to learn!!! Looking back now, I don’t know how we would have survived the birth without the knowledge she gave us!
We learned about the crucial role the birth partner plays in childbirth and honestly, with the help of all we learned in the hypnobirthing classes my partner was amazing, he knew what was happening every step of the way and knew how to help me through it all. I felt so supported and definitely fell more in love with him! :)
As a couple we had a lot of big changes happening around the time of the birth, moving house and changing jobs to name only 2. I managed the stress of it all using the hypnobirthing tools that Nadia taught us and we were able to handle it all! I felt so calm and empowered right up to the day before I gave birth.
I wanted to go into labour naturally so when I started having contractions at home on the Tuesday I stayed calm, monitored the time between them and breathed through them as we had learned in the classes. After 48 hours of contracting around the clock, I was sore and tired and we went into the hospital to have a VA, just to see if I had progressed at all. I was admitted and I continued to contract for another 48 hours, I had talked through my birth preferences with the midwifes and they understood that I wanted to try and go into labour on my own. I found the midwifes in Galway University hospital to be so kind and respectful of our birth preferences, in fact, they were excited to hear we were a hypnobirthing couple as lots of midwives in their department had just returned from a course in hypnobirthing so they wanted to support us in any way they could!
After 4 days of contracting I was exhausted and felt it was time to ask for pain relief and some assistance. I asked for pethadine, it was amazing. I felt so much better, however, after a VA that I had asked for, I still hadn’t progressed further than 1 cm so I was upset, but my partner comforted me and we rallied. I continued to monitor the contractions and by 3:30pm on the Saturday I was being walked into the labour ward. At the time I felt I was being brought in because I was 3 cm dilated, however, in hindsight the midwifery team must have assessed the situation, seen how tired I was and felt the baby needed to come out. We found out during labour, the reason why I hadn’t progressed naturally.
In the labour ward they began to hook me up to syntocinon which upset me as I did not want to be induced. I told the midwifes that I did not want to be induced. I was scared because I had heard the contractions with syntocinon were very painful and I really did not want an epidural. However, again, looking back, the team around must have felt it was time for baby to come out, I was 40 +10 and absolutely exhausted. The contractions were so overwhelmingly painful from the syntocinon that by 10pm I asked for an epidural. By 11pm the epidural was administered, from then on my cervix began to dilate really quickly, I went from 4 cm to 7 cm in the space of an hour. At that point the consultant was brought in to use the kiwi as baby was not progressing through the birth canal. Baby was not engaged fully and he was coming down at an awkward angle. Although this was all very distressing for us, at least we knew what was happening as Nadia had explained all the different types of interventions that could potentially occur. From then on my partner took over my decision making as I found it hard to cope. This is another tool we had learned in the classes and we had discussed the chance of this happening at length. He really stepped up and looked after me, he didn’t leave my side, and advocated for me.
After 3 attempts using the kiwi the consultant asked for the forceps, this really upset me and my partner. However, my partner stayed calm and strong and when the consultant looked to him and said she would need to give me an episiotomy, he could see babys head and felt it was necessary for the baby to come out. 10 pushes later, following the episiotomy, I had my baby on my chest, in my arms, I was so relieved, tired, overwhelmed, it was crazy.
The midwife clamped the cord before it turned white which we were annoyed about but we were just glad that baby was ok that we didn’t say anything. My partner cut the cord.
After some skin to skin with baby, I asked my partner to do skin to skin with our little boy as the consultant was still stitching my episiotomy and I was absolutely exhausted. My birth partner had a wonderful 40 minutes of skin to skin with our baby boy while I received stitches and had a rest.
Our baby is 6 months old now and we are back on our feet and enjoying our beautiful little boy so much. He brings us so much joy every day and the pain of the birth seems so small compared to how much we love him and how he was worth it all. It wasn’t an easy birth, but the trauma all fades away and the human body recovers amazingly! We have healed beautifully and have already spoken about growing our little family in a year or 2!
So thank you Nadia for preparing us as much as anyone can be prepared for the rollarcoaster that is childbirth! 💕

 

 

 

Birth Story of Max Nicholas Byrne – 8th April 2019

Two days before Max’s due date, at about 1am, I woke up to what I would describe as symptoms of mild indigestion. These symptoms started to come in waves, effectively surges.  As I was very close to my due date, I was expecting this. Having gone through the stages of labour in Nadia’s classes, I knew there was no cause to panic.  I was in early labour, pre-labour. Quietly, I opened a contraction timer on my phone and started to time the surges, leaving my husband Peter to sleep! As it approached about 6am, the timer was showing more regular surges.  Though they weren’t exactly five minutes apart, I decided to wake Peter.

Pretty certain I’d just had the show – I decided to call the Rotunda; my husband called work. I went in for an examination and they confirmed I was in early labour. I was sent home at this stage – and after getting into a taxi for the second time that morning, we decided just to bring the car the next time.  Our first taxi driver gave us each packs of fizzy Haribo though – sound!

We sat home and chatted.  Peter made me a delicious sandwich while I bounced up and down on my Swiss ball, and practised my breathing exercises.  I had a favourite breathing exercise that Nadia had taught us, which was the Golden Thread. The surges were still mild at this stage, and as I stood up to get something, my waters broke.  Peter ferried me into the hospital for the second time and everything seemed to kick into fifth gear.  Everything, however, was going exactly how Nadia had described so far and I felt very much in control.

I was brought in for another examination and Max’s heart rate was monitored.  His heart rate appeared to be dropping and I was told that he had also released meconium in utero. It wasn’t extremely serious but we needed to progress things faster. I was moved up to the delivery suite then and given time to see if I could progress on my own. I didn’t progress on my own!

My doctor arrived in the room.  As I hadn’t progressed fast enough, oxytocin (the drip) needed to be administered.  My heart sank when I heard this, but Peter and I didn’t even need to discuss it, we needed to get Max out as fast as possible.  I thought back to my classes with Nadia, she had prepared us for every eventuality, being a midwife herself.  This was one of these situations, so I relaxed and trusted my team, my partner and myself.  I got into a personal zone then of deep breathing and focus and reached 10 cm dilation on the drip.  I made it but now I needed the epidural!  I discussed this with my midwife and with Peter, and decided this was as far as I would go naturally.  I still don’t regret that decision.

The epidural worked and with the help of surgical forceps, an hour or two later Max was delivered.  He was born at 9:30 pm that night.

I remember those quiet moments with Peter, how we both remained calm, how flexible we were when it came to changes to our birth plan and how proud I am of us. It gave me a real sense of empowerment – to know that whatever happened, we would manage.  We owe that largely to Nadia, her own hands-on experience as a midwife and hypnobirthing.  Thank you!!

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Birth story of Leon Fionn Carraro

Leon Fionn arrived 6 days early on Wednesday 14 November 2018 at 10.08 pm. I had a reiki healing session on the Monday afternoon and I definitely think that moved things along (unintentionally on my part but very useful if overdue!) On the Tuesday morning I lost my mucous plug, had increased pelvic pressure and felt that things were starting to move. I spoke to one of the community midwives and she said it sounded like a good idea to stay home and see how things went. By Wednesday morning light surges had started. I sent my partner Giacomo to work as I figured it could be another day or two until things really kicked off. I called the community midwives as I had increased fluid discharge and was a little worried in case it was my waters. They advised I was the only one who would know that but I decided to wait as I had an appointment with them later that afternoon.

All the time I felt very calm, peaceful and grounded. I had a long hot shower, used a hot water bottle on my back and tummy, tried to rest and listen to my meditations. I also used my birthing ball, watched funny shows and did lots of cat and cow on my yoga mat. While I waited for my midwife appointment I listened to the meditation track and focused on my breathing. The midwife suggested I go to the hospital as my blood pressure was slightly raised and to check if I was in early labour. I realised it was because I was having a contraction while she took it so was happy to head in at that point. My partner had met me at the clinic with the hospital bags so we drove in and arrived before 7pm and I asked the midwife to check me as I was pretty sure I was already dilated. She said she didn’t think I was as “I didn’t have the demeanour of someone in labour” but I was nearly 2 cms dilated when she checked. Once I told her that I had done hypnobirthing, she was happy to try to minimise the time I needed to spend in hospital and said I should be able to go home for a few hours at least. After tracking my blood pressure for an hour, she suggested we get something to eat and to pop back at 9pm to do one final check. After a very slow walk down the street and an interesting time trying to order and not let on I was in labour, we returned to the hospital. At this stage the surges were very intense and concentrated around my sacrum but I focused on my breathing as my anchor and my mantras to stay focused. When they checked I was 4cms dilated but my waters hadn’t broken so they were happy for me to go home for a little while. Luckily I didn’t as my waters partially broke a few minutes later when I went to the bathroom. The midwife went to find a room but all the suites were in use. She left us on our own in the ER room just popping in to check the baby’s heartbeat. We didn’t have the hospital bags as we had left them in the car until we knew what we were doing, so I played the meditation track on my phone and that was playing while I gave birth. I was still fully clothed when I felt the urge to push so I had my partner press the emergency call button and the midwife came in. They were rather shocked at how fast my labour was and how calm I was for a first time mom. Leon was born a few minutes later at 10.08pm, weighing 7lbs 8oz, with a caul and in perfect health. I became known around the hospital as the hypnobirthing first time mom! I stayed upright for most of my labour, swaying gently, doing pelvic circles and I found that really helped especially when it came to the actual delivery as I had a very short few minutes of pushing. I also walked quite a bit and felt this really helped move things along so well. It was intense but a really positive, empowering and magical experience. I trusted my body and instincts and had a calm and quiet labour without pain relief as I had hoped I would be able to. While I hadn’t envisaged giving birth in the ER or quite so quickly, hypnobirthing equipped me with the tools to stay calm and cope with things whatever way they happened. I can’t recommend Nadia and her course highly enough – without it I doubt I would have had such a positive and empowering birth.

Healing second birth…..

Our baby was due on March 11th but decided to stay put for quite a while longer. Thankfully, everything was well with both the baby and I, so Holles St were happy to agree to no intervention until 14 days after my due date. Happily, baby arrived 10 days late on March 21st weighing 7lb 14oz.

I arrived at Holles St around 6.15 a.m. on the morning of March 21st. I was having irregular surges and had put on the TENS but had had a bleed so had decided to go in to get checked. I was brought up to the labour ward where they did an internal exam and wanted to do a CTG. I asked for ten mins to walk around as I had been in the car for an hour and didn’t want to lie up on the bed for 20 mins straight away. This wasn’t a problem and when the midwife came back to us she offered to do the CTG while I stood next to the bed. The surges had become more even as I had walked and after the CTG they were happy to keep me in the labour ward even though I wasn’t in active labour. With our midwife we got active – walking up and down the corridor, up and down the stairs, squats at a wall bar, using the birthing ball and some of my yoga moves. As the surges increased in intensity I also used a booklet I had made of the birthing mantras to stay focused. During this time our midwife went off her shift and we were joined by a student midwife who was again a great support. This whole time I felt really relaxed and was very content and confident.

Around 9 a.m. a midwife asked if she could check me. After her examination she said I was in active labour and was about 1 cm dilated. She asked if she could break my waters but I asked her not to. They asked to do another CTG. This time I decided to lie on the bed as I was tiring a little from the constant movement of the previous two hours. Once the CTG was done we got moving again and within half an hour I felt that the surges had really increased in intensity. At this point I wanted to go back to the labour room and sit on the ball. This became increasingly uncomfortable and the midwife suggested I have a practice of the gas and air in case I needed it later. Once I started using it I continued to use it (I handed the TENS over to my partner around this time). Having chatted to the midwife about my preparation for labour, over the next while she encouraged me to use my oils (warm compress), music (a chanting type that I had found in my yoga class), mantras and she did some of the massage techniques. This all got me to the point where I started to feel I couldn’t do it – and the surprise that I must not have been too far from the end of my labour (it was only 10.30 a.m.).

Over the next few surges I tried to find a position where I was comfortable and ended up on my side. Once I was in my comfy position I really felt able to fully let go and allow my body to do what it needed to. We were amused to find that even though I didn’t think that I would do it, I found myself naturally making loud guttural sounds – a real sign of me having fully let go! A short while later my waters went and soon the midwife could see the baby’s head.The student midwife used warm compresses and massage to try to keep my perineum intact I didn’t feel a great need to push but the baby came out over the course of four to five surges, even crying before the lower part of her body was birthed! (She was born at 11.45 a.m.). The midwife lifted her straight to my chest (with a short stop en route for me to check if we’d had a ‘he’ or a ‘she’) and we were able to wait to clamp the cord until it had turned white. It wasn’t too long until the placenta was delivered, after which I had to have a few stitches as I had torn a little (a second degree tear). We were allowed lots of time for skin to skin and for us to get Jessica to start breastfeeding.

I felt absolutely elated after the birth. Not only was it fantastic to have had the kind of birth I had hoped for (and not had) with my first child, but it was also wonderful to feel so well. I encountered the same difficulty breastfeeding that I had with my first child but this time the fact that I was feeling so physically and mentally well the outcome was different. The PHN visited on Day 5  (with my son this was the day I’d given up BF, adamant that I didn’t want to try to keep it going) and although I was really struggling, her encouragement and your reminder to not give up on a bad day kept me going. It turned out that Jessica had a tongue tie and that this was most likely the reason for all our problems with BF. We had the tongue tie snipped with Dr Alan O’Reilly (also recommended by the HSE lactation consultant we saw) and soon things really started to turn around with BF. So here were are now, 5 weeks postpartum with a happy mum and a happy baby!

We are so grateful to you, Nadia, for what you helped us to achieve through our session with you. I had read the Marie Mongan book but you really took it to a practical level for us. We felt really prepared!

Thank-you!

Connies Birth – Helens Story

Hi Nadia- Introducing our daughter Connie born 19 Feb at 2.19pm! 8lb 5oz! She arrived 6 days early, her due date was today. I had an all natural birth, didn’t even use gas and air, had an episiotomy. The labour started on Dunday night and I did all my prelabour at home on the floor and with the birthing ball. I went in to Holles Street at 10am on Monday and I was 2cm dilated. 4 hours later she was born!! MY surges were all intense back pain, whih confused me as it wasn’t in my stomach. Thanks a million for all the guidance in classes, we are all doing really well!

PS We had 11 mins of delayed cord clamping which I’m sure you’ll be delighted with!

-Helen

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Bodhí’s Birth- a home, hypno, water VBAC!

Hi Nadia, I’ve been meaning to write to you and keep forgetting!! I got my home birth after all…the blood pressure went up a bit and we weren’t sure but eventually went into labour (after acupuncture and two sweeps) at 41 weeks. Gave birth in the pool it took about 5 hours. The hypnobirthing helped so much to keep me calm and focused. Also to give me body confidence. I used the birthing mantras on repeat!! They helped all the way to the pushing stage where I didn’t hear anything anymore!! Also the breathing was so important. I used it the whole way to the end. I tried using the gas and air but it was interfering with the breathing and so I stopped… Didn’t make a blind bit of difference, it actually made it worse.

It was painful !! The whole thing. But so, so worth it. I did not look like one of those women in the videos however… I don’t know,.maybe I didn’t go that deep into hypnosis or something!  I made a lot more noise!! Haha yeah the vocalisations kind of took me by surprise! It’s so intense you really turn into something other than your usual self. I gave birth in the pool in the same room we did the course in. It was perfect! Had it so nice. It really couldn’t have gone any better (I would have taken a shorter labour though haha). The boys got up about 7 and mum was there to watch them till 8 when she took them off to get breakfast somewhere before school. They didn’t come in the room, I think the noise I was making might have freaked them out! Once they had gone I felt I could really let go and I gave birth 15 mins later!!

Truly a wonderful experience I feel so lucky. The baby is perfect just getting over the nipple pain of breastfeeding which is great, also healing so quickly it’s just all gone so well (no tearing too!).  Thanks again for everything!!! I feel I couldn’t have coped with out the education, calming atmosphere low lighting and affirmations… I needed it all.  But truly the hypnobirthing course took the fear out of it for me, and the mantras really helped. So thanks for all the help in the process!! So glad I did the course!

-Clara, Chad & Bodhí

The birth of Caleb- Best Mothers Day Ever!!

I got the best mothers day present ever. My baby boy Caleb was born at exactly 40 weeks at 6:06pm on Sunday 26th March 2017.  The birth went just as quick as the pregnancy! All thanks to the hypnobirthing I was really in the zone and prepared for giving birth.
I started to have slight surges the day before. I woke up at 7am feeling uncomfortable and after an hour I realised I was having surges 5/6 minutes apart. I just went on with my day as normal and as the day went on the surges started to disappear. At about 5pm they came back so I decided to go distract myself and make up the moses basket for the baby. Within an hour or so they were gone again.
On Sunday morning I woke up at 6am feeling the same discomfort as the day before. This time the surges were consistently 5/6 minutes apart. At 7:30am the surges were regular at 5 minutes apart so at 8am I woke my Husband Michael up and told him I think its time to call the hospital as the surges were very consistent. I called the hospital and I was put through to the midwife. I explained I was 40 weeks pregnant and think I’m in labour. The midwife told me to stay at home until the surges are at 3 minutes apart or if the pain is unbearable as it was my first pregnancy she wasn’t too concerned. I was happy to do so and Michael went out to buy stuff to make sandwiches as we couldn’t be sure how long the labour would go on for. From reading and other people’s stories about first time births we expected to be there for a while. When he left I went for a sleep. I woke up at 12pm and the surges were now very intense. When I timed them they were 3/4 minutes apart. Michael came home at around 12;30 and I told him we have to go to the hospital soon. He was ready to leave straight away but I told him to make the sandwiches first.
We reached the Rotunda at about 1:30pm. I was brought through to the ER and was put on TENS machine and my blood pressure was taken which was a bit high. The midwife checked to see how far along I was and I was 2cm dilated. After about 20 minutes the baby wasn’t kicking and she asked when was the last time I ate. I realised I hadn’t eaten since about 9am. I knew those sandwiches would come in handy! Michael went to grab them from the car. After a couple of bites the baby started going crazy and kicking away. After another 10 minutes or so the midwife came to check on me. She asked if I would be ok to stay at the hospital. Although I was only 2cm my blood pressure was still a bit high. I was happy to stay and she called ahead to the pre labour ward and then at about 2:30pm brought me up.
At 3pm Michael went to put the car in the car park. I called my mam to let her know I was in the Rotunda. At 3;45 I stood up from the bed and my waters broke. I called one of the midwives and told her. I then phoned Michael and told him to bring my bag of clothes.
Thats when the surges got stronger and more intense! This is when the breathing techniques really came into practice. At about 4;30pm I was examined and I was 7cm dilated. They asked if I wanted anything for the pain and I said I will try the gas and air. The midwife went to get the gas and air and I told Michael to go get the baby bag from the car. But he just took one step and I told him to call the midwife I felt like I needed to push. She quickly came with the gas and air and wheeled me into the labour room. With every breath then I was in the zone! All I could hear was faded voices and instructions. I was so calm and just breathing through every surge. After 20 minutes of pushing Caleb came screaming into the world. I looked at Michael and the first thing I said was “is it a boy?!?!” We knew the gender but I wanted to be sure.
During those 20 minutes of pushing whenever the midwife left the room Michael was brilliant. He reminded me to breathe when I was getting a little bit stressed. Although he didnt attend the hypnobirthing class with me from me explaining everything to him before hand he knew exactly what to do. At one stage I heard the midwife repeatedly say “she’s brilliant”
I listened to the tracks before bed every night preparing myself for labour. My labour was so fast I never got to listen to them during. However I think they were in my mind and helped me stay calm. I had a slight internal tear so had to have some stitches.
Any midwife that came into the room was told how brilliant I was. They were surprised for a first time mother how calm I was and really in the zone. They were very happy to hear I did the hypnobirthing. My story was spread all over the ward I felt so special and proud of myself.
During my pregnancy I was telling everyone about the hypnobirthing. I would highly recommend it. The breathing techniques really helped me in the first 3 weeks post baby too as I was very sore.
From this positive experience I am well prepared for number 2!
– Louise Fay
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The Birth of Elise…..

Similar to my other 2 labours I niggled on and off for a couple of weeks before the day of arrival! I used the bath and TENS machine as well as listening to my Hypnobirthing track and practicing breathing techniques (the golden thread breath and the rectangle breathing being the two I found the most helpful!).  On Thursday the 6th April I had a few surges throughout the morning, similar to previous days. I had the TENS on and had a bath as with other days but told my husband, John, I wanted to go swimming in the afternoon with the kids (Ethan 2 and Alannah 4) as I loved the feeling of being in the water…the weightlessness in the pool at the end of pregnancy is fabulous!! So we picked my daughter up from playschool at 1pm and had lunch and then headed down to the pool. We were home by 3.30 and I started to notice they were more frequent, and getting stronger.

John brought Alannah to ballet at 4 and when while he was gone I put the TENS back on and I could no longer talk through them…I had to concentrate on breathing but in between I was fine. A friend phoned me and it was only then I realised they were 5 mins apart as I had to keep stopping the conversation to breathe. When John returned he started to prepare dinner- a new recipe for sticky ribs he was trying out! I told him things might be happening but we’d wait until we picked Alannah up from ballet before making a move. He jokingly said could we wait until after dinner……but I wasn’t so sure, I didn’t fancy having a baby in the car! He left to pick Alannah up at 5 and while he was gone the surges got quite intense and I started to vocalise through them…..what can I say I’m a moany person and  I find this really helps!! I can remember reading a book called Birth Skills by Juju Sundin on my first pregnancy and it made so much sense to use vocalisations in labour. I was finding it difficult to be around Ethan as I couldn’t give him the attention he wanted as I was concentrating on the surges. My brother was there but he had plans to go out that evening so my sister and her husband arrived to mind the kids while we went to the hospital.

John arrived home at 5.20 (a little longer than expected as Alannah had a bathroom emergency after ballet…typical!) and he took the child car seats out of the back of the car and lay down a towel (he remembered from the first time that I was not going to be sitting down for the journey).  Even at this stage I wasn’t sure if it was labour or not. But I knew I couldn’t stay in the house with an audience anymore so at 5.30 we left the house. The drive in was very strange….I saw people I knew out the window going about their daily business as I came up from all 4’s between surges. The surges spread out a little in the car…..nothing like a bit of adrenalin to slow things a bit! We hit a bottle neck at the port tunnel and I told John to use the bus lane from Whitehall. At one stage I felt the car slow down and heard the window go down and John say we’re going to the Rotunda….. I sat up from all 4’s to see a female garda look at me and wave us on frantically. I put on the Hypnobirthing track to relax soon after. Just before we got to the hospital I felt a small gush of fluid and I honestly didn’t know if it was a show, waters or if I’d wet myself!

We arrived to the hospital just after 6pm and went to reception to register. At this stage the TENS was on level 6. I was chatting away to the clerk until I had a surge and had to squat and vocalise. She said to go straight on in to the ER. There I was met by the lovely midwife Amy who assessed me and said I was 3cm. I told her to send me to the early labour room since established labour is 4cm and I didn’t want to be rushed! But she said the cervix was very stretchy and booked a bed in the labour ward anyway. I walked on up to the labour ward and in to room 6 where I met my midwife Terri. I contemplated calling Nanni (the SECM I had booked for a homebirth which was off the cards when I became high risk in the pregnancy) to come in and do some acupuncture to keep things moving however things changed quickly enough!! Five minutes in I felt my first ‘pushy’ surge while squatting and attempted to go to the bathroom but couldn’t sit on the toilet. Another five minutes later I climbed up onto the bed on all 4’s and asked for the gas. Man, I love that stuff! This wonderful wave of complete detachment came over me. Not detachment from the labour experience but from everything else….from everything else in life apart from that moment…..it’s so hard to describe. There was clarity in that moment that this was it……. my body was having a baby. People say you will ‘know’ when you are in labour, and maybe subconsciously I did, but being the third baby and with all those niggles I was obviously in denial before now. I’m not sure exactly how many more surges I had during this ‘spaced out’ time but I can remember at one stage leaning over to the side and Terri asking me if I could come to the centre of the bed again and I said ‘I can’t, I can’t do it’ and John being the supportive birth partner said ‘Yes you can, you’ve done it twice before’ and I replied ‘No not having a baby, I mean I just can’t move to the middle right now’ and himself and Terri had a giggle.

Then I felt a gush followed by that unmistakable feeling of the head coming, crowning. Terri said nothing except to listen to my body and I sucked on the gas like my life depended on it and felt my body bear down. In my head I was reciting some of the many mantras and affirmations for birth. ‘My body is made to birth this baby’, ‘My mind quiets, my baby descends, my body opens’. ‘Thousands of women are birthing with me’. It was so powerful and I felt so in control and aware of the whole thing. No ring of fire this time, just a massive intensity followed by a huge relief with the delivery of the head……and soon after the body. It was amazing! I turned around to see what the sex was and said exactly that….’that was amazing!’ as I looked at the wriggling, squirming, screaming baby girl I had birthed! She was beautiful, and she was amazing! I wish I could bottle that feeling and use it if ever I was having a bad day. You gotta love that post-birth euphoria that emanates empowerment and love -and quite possibly complete delirium!

I think I’m a birth junkie. I’d do it again tomorrow. Pregnancy not so much but I guess we can’t have it easy all the time! Not that labour and birth is easy (especially those afterpains…need to get working on a hypno track for them!!), but it is doable…..and it’s amazing!

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Liz’s Birth Story- the birth of Cormac, a speedy first baby!!

Cormac arrived 3 days early on the Wednesday 5th October 2016 at 8.43am. I suppose the whole experience started the previous Sunday evening when I realised I had felt a reduced movements to what I’d normally feel. I had a gp appointment on Monday morning so I said I’d wait and see what she said. She listened to my bump with a stethoscope and said the heartbeat was fine and I shouldn’t worry. I asked should I go to the rotunda just in case and she said to wait a day and see if it was the same maybe go in then.

I left the gp a little reassured but after discussing my husband and thinking back to my dealings with the community midwives I decided to ring the mobile number and get their opinion. They advised that I go to A&E for a check up just in case. I was glad to hear that to be honest as I was still a little worried after the gp visit.

We headed into A&E and they traced his heartbeat and did a scan and found everything to be fine.  They asked me to come back Tuesday morning for a more detailed scan as that was their policy when this happened.Tuesday morning scan was fine the sonographer was happy and found nothing wrong. I headed off home happy everything was ok. I had an appointment that evening in Dun Laoghaire with Noreen Maher the reflexologist recommended by Nadia so went along to that & enjoyed the relaxation. I was on the way home on the dart when I realised I hadn’t felt any movements in a few hrs. I got home about 7 and mentioned to my husband. I decided to drink something sweet and lie down for while to see if I was just distracted at my appointment and hadn’t noticed the movements. However I couldn’t feel any movements after drinking about 2 or 3 litres of lucozade and water. We decided to go back into the hospital as the doctor had said if it happened again to come straight back in. I was very  worried at this stage as I had gone from having reduced movements to none at all. My husband tried to reassure me that everything would be fine as we drove into town. We were seen very quickly once we got in and straight away they found a good heartbeat. I was so relieved. I was given more lucozade and told to rest and see if I could feel any movement however I couldn’t feel anything. After a while a doctor came and did a scan. She said everything looked fine but as this was the second time presenting with these symptoms that she would recommend that I be admitted and induced the next morning.

My husband and I were both a bit shocked because we weren’t expecting this baby to arrive early and being induced meant it would definitely happen the following day. I asked if there was any other option (thinking of the BRAIN acronym! ) and the doc said we didn’t have to agree to the induction but it would be their recommendations in this scenario. She asked if she could do a VE and said that my cervix had softened and would be favourable to an induction. She then said she could do a sweep and see if anything happened overnight and if nothing did then they would proceed with induction.

We agreed to this and she did the sweep and I was then admitted to the hospital. It was about 1am by the time I got to sleep that night and I found that doing the hypnobirthing course helped me relax even though I was feeling very nervous at this stage. I was glad to have my headphones as there were some ladies on the ward in prelabour so it helped me get a few hours sleep to listen to the hypnobirthing track , despite the noise and nurses coming in and out.

I was woken the next morning at 6 am and the nurse wanted to do a trace of the heartbeat. She found it was quite high up around 160 and put me on a drip to see if this made any difference. She then called a doctor to come and take a look as this made no difference. In the meantime I had started to get cramps and although I didn’t realise it at the time I had actually gone into labour! I called my husband and suggested he start making his way in as things were getting going. The doctor examined me around 7.30am and said I was already 3-4 cm and that she was going to break my waters.

Once this was done the contractions intensified. I rang my husband again and told him what was happening and make sure he was on his way. I was brought up to the delivery suite and met the 2 lovely midwives one being a student. Although they were monitoring the heartrate they said I could change position on the bed if I wanted. I decided to go on all fours which helped a bit with managing the surges. I hadn’t planned on getting an epidural and used the hypnobirthing breathing techniques to get through the contractions. I tried to use the gas and air but just couldn’t get the hang of it so just kept breathing and focusing on the baby moving down. I also had a play list playing. In the meantime I rang my husband and he was stuck in traffic on the Drumcondra road. For some reason he decided not to use the bus lane (to all husbands pls don’t be as honest as he is!)  I told him to hurry on and had to hang up then as I couldn’t speak due to the contractions. The midwife asked me to lie on my back as the baby’s heartrate was dropping between contractions and asked could she do a VE I agreed and she said I was approx 10 cm and the baby was coming fast!

The student midwife offered to ring my husband and see where he was. He had abandoned the car illegally and was trying to get to the hospital as fast as he could. He has a reputation for being late and did not want to live up to it! The doctor then came in and told me that the baby needed to come out. I could feel the urge to push so the midwife said to push when I felt I needed to. I remember the doctor saying she would have to cut me and I said I didn’t care just get the baby out. My husband ran in the door at this stage and a few minutes later Cormac entered the world. The doctor ended up using the ventouse and I was left with one small tear which healed well.

The 2 of us were in complete shock as we never expected everything to happen so fast! Cormac was taken over to be checked by the paediatrician so we didn’t get to do the delayed cord clamping but we didn’t mind. We heard a cry and he was brought over to me for skin to skin. It was all so surreal but amazing. He was 6lbs 10oz and was perfect and really alert. I was able to feed him then with the help of the wonderful midwives. The whole labour lasted about 1hr 45 mins.

After a while we were both brought the amazing tea and toast and I was brought for a shower. We had another bit of time alone in the suite with Cormac while a bed was sorted in the ward for us.
We left the hospital on friday after getting loads of support from the staff with the breastfeeding which was invaluable.
Cormac is now almost 6 months old and flying it.
We have to credit Nadia with helping us cope not just with labour but throughout the latter stages of the pregnancy when doubts or worries crept in, the hypnobirthing mantras took over and put me at ease.

  • Liz, Alan & Cormac

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Nikkis story- the birth of baby Annabelle

It has been a busy five months, and I have been enjoying lots of time with baby, doing plenty of skin to skin, and feeding myself so have not been checking emails. :-)
I had a gorgeous baby girl weighing 7lbs, and we called her Annabelle. She was due on Thursday the 8th of September, and was born on Wednesday the 7th. Unfortunately it wasn’t very straight forward, and I ended up having an emergency section, but the tools Alan and I learned from the hypno birthing were consequential during the entire labour journey.
My waters broke at 1am on the Sunday night, and we called the MLU in Cavan who told us to make our way down to the hospital. We arrived at 3am and they confirmed my waters were gone, but my contractions hadn’t started. They gave me the option to be admitted then, or go home for a few hours, which I chose to do, as I figured it was best to be in my own comfortable surroundings until things started to progress.
I went home and rested in bed listening to my tracks for a few hours, went for a stroll with Mum, took a bath and felt I was coping quite well. The MLU rang a couple of times to see how I was doing, and asked me to come back to the hospital at 5pm that Monday evening.
When they admitted me into the MLU suite, they examined me and I was only 1cm dilated, baby had also turned so I was experiencing back labour. :-(
I stayed in the MLU until 9am on Tuesday morning, and unfortunately was still only 1cm dilated at that stage, so I was brought to the labour ward and induced. I had the epidural at 4pm that afternoon, but was still dilating very slowly.
At 12 midnight on the Tuesday night, I finally got to 10cm, but baby’s head still wasn’t very far down. They gave me 1 hour to push to no avail, so they brought me to theatre for a forceps delivery, which failed. So Annabelle was born at 2.20am on Wednesday morning, by emergency section.
Myself and Alan are so thankful we had done the hypno birthing course, and even though it wasn’t the natural birth we would have preferred, the tools we learned help get us both through a difficult couple of days.
In general I tend to be a worrier, and get extremely nervous, but I felt so calm throughout the whole ordeal.
Thank you for preparing us, and all your invaluable knowledge. We have recommended expecting friends to do the course also.
I bumped into the other couple on the course with us a few months back, (can’t remember their names) but they seemed to have a very quick, easy going labour! (Lucky them :-))
Kind Regards,
Nikki and Alan

Ashlings Birth Story – Staying calm and confident during a fast a furious labour!!

I had been to a reflexologist on Tuesday 25th October, when I was 6 days overdue, to try to get things moving. Tuesday evening I had a few twinges, as I’d been having for a few days, and going to bed Tuesday night I listened to the hypnobirthing track. I woke at 1am with surges. I woke Francis at ten past 1 and told him something was happening. I tried a bath but the surges were quite strong and I felt the bath was too small so got out.  I then tried all fours on the yoga mat with the hypnobirthing track but found the surges quickly getting more intense and ran to the bathroom. I just made it to the bathroom when my waters broke with a loud pop. Francis rang the Rotunda who advised to come in to be checked as the waters had meconium.

We got to the Rotunda just after 3am and were seen straight away. I was examined and told I was already 8cm dilated. I was brought straight to the delivery room and was feeling the urge to push as I arrived. Francis was told to get the babies’ clothes ready straight away. The baby was being monitored and I tried all fours on the bed but the baby got distressed so I was restricted to lying down on my back and pushing. I asked for gas and air which worked well for me. The baby became more stressed so I was given an episiotomy and really encouraged to push hard to get the baby out quick and avoid other interventions. Our baby was born at 4:26am weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces, and thankfully no ill effect of the meconium.

Hypnobirthing helped me stay calm and confident as I approached the end of my pregnancy and the breathing exercises were a great help during a fast and furious labour, and afterwards when the cut was being repaired. I am very grateful to Nadia for introducing me to Hypnobirthing and am sure that my labour was a more positive experience as a result of the course.

Michelle’s Birth Story- “You can’t control every situation, but you can control your reaction!”

I was told all through my pregnancy that because I kept fit and healthy that I would have a nice easy birth. I went to hypnobirthing classes because I wasn’t so sure, so I wanted to be prepared. Let’s just say… I’m SO grateful for hypnobirthing!

On my birth plan, I indicated that I would prefer to have a birth that was as natural as possible, without any epidural or too much intervention. I had hoped to avoid coached pushing or an instrumental delivery.

Labour started around 7am on a Sunday morning. We stayed at home until 11pm Sunday night, went for relaxing walks, did massage, had a shower, chatted excitedly about what was to come; and later listened to the HB tracks and practised breathing. When the surges became very strong, we went to the hospital. When we arrived we realised we’d forgotten my chart! Disaster! Ian (my husband) had to leave me in the waiting room to go home and get it. Despite the blunder, I stayed calm and relaxed and kept breathing and replaying the HB tracks through my earphones until he came back.

Labour was pretty much as I’d imagined it to be. It was hard work but the HB kept me focused, calm and breathing all the way through. At one stage (at about 6cm) Ian thought I was asleep! A few hours later, I have to be honest, I was finding it harder to stay focused and pleaded for the epidural but Ian knew I didn’t really mean it and he had my midwife talk me around. I had my HB tools, I could do it.

Delivery was not what I had imagined. The midwife had to break my waters, and there was meconium. I went from 6cm to 10cm very quickly. I remained calm, positive, breathing. Still no sign of baby so we started coached pushing. After over two hours of pushing with little progress baby was getting distressed so the midwife recommended an episiotomy and ventouse. I quickly agreed, took some big deep breaths, and thought “you can do this” as Ian reiterated my thoughts out loud. The last 30mins were tough, I was so tired and admittedly, had lost focus. Then the most amazing thing happened… my perfect, healthy, beautiful little boy came into the world (8.38am Monday)!

The most vital piece of advice that Nadia gave us was: “you can’t control what happens, but you can control your reaction”. Without HB, my experience could have been negative, even a little traumatic; but with HB I can see that although I didn’t have my “ideal” birth, I can take such pride in how we dealt with everything. And the end result is just so amazing, HB has taught me to be thankful for the experience that lead to our baby being born.

Suzanne’s Birth Story – a speedy second baby!!

My due date for our second child was Monday the 17th of October and the previous Wednesday evening I was at the cinema with a few friends. Every half an hour or so I was getting slight cramping in my belly but didn’t think anything of it, I thought it would last for a few days. On Thursday morning I woke up to some blood tinged mucus on my pad. I still didn’t think anything of it as I knew a show could mean labour might still be a few days away. I ran a few errands in town in the morning, still getting those slight cramps every so often and they continued throughout the day.
After collecting my son from his nanas and putting him to bed, myself and my husband were having dinner at about 7.30pm. I noticed the cramps were getting slightly stronger and I had to walk around to relieve them. They were about 20 minutes apart and only lasting for about 20 seconds. When we finished dinner we started watching something on the tv and I bounced on my ball. I decided to go up to bed to see if I could have a nap. I turned on my hypnobirthing tracks but the cramps (I still didn’t think I was properly in labour so wasn’t calling them surges) were increasing so I couldn’t manage to sleep and the time between them was getting shorter. I called my husband upstairs to get him to start timing them. I didn’t notice him timing them, I was breathing deeply and using a hot water bottle to ease the surges (I was pretty sure this was labour now!) he told me they had gotten to 2 minutes apart lasting 40 seconds so I decided to ring the hospital. The midwife told me to come in and get checked out. We already had most of our things in the car, we just had to drop our son off at his grandparents and then make our way in. It was about 10pm.
The car journey was quite uncomfortable, I couldn’t sit down I had to kneel facing the back of the car with my arms around the head rest. With every surge I was breathing really deeply, and bouncing slowly up and down. They were coming thick and fast but were manageable. We got to the rotunda and left the car in the ambulance section outside while we checked in. My husband left me in the waiting room while he went to find a parking space. There were plenty of people waiting but no staff around that I could see. I was having regular surges in the waiting room, all the time bouncing up and down and feeling a lot of pressure down there. During one surge my waters broke so I went out to the reception to see if there was anyone who could take a look at me. When the next surge came I felt something just dropping into my cervix and I knew it was her head starting to come out!
I was shouting now for someone to get to me and some of the people waiting ran out to find some staff. A midwife came around the corner with a wheelchair, bundled me into it and ran down to one of the emergency rooms. They got me up onto the bed and I pushed when they told me. It was all over in 2 minutes! My husband missed everything trying to find a parking space, he came back into the hospital and was brought into the room to find our daughter on my chest, after 3 and a half hours of labour and 18 minutes after we arrived at the hospital! He was very disappointed needless to say but was happy that we were both ok.
The difference between this labour and my first is worlds apart and I have to attribute that to the hypnobirthing course. With my first, I was tense, panicking, in shock and ended up having an epidural, a forceps delivery and an episiotomy after 16 hours of labour. I don’t think hypnobirthing guarantees you a fast labour but I was in the right mindframe for weeks beforehand and that resulted in me being completely relaxed and focused which enabled everything to advance at whatever speed my body allowed it. The recovery from this birth has been brilliant, with no stitches for me or trauma for the baby, we were able to settle down very quickly and things have been great since then.
I have been recommending the hypnobirthing course with Nadia to every pregnant woman I come into contact with because it made such a difference for me. I hope everyone soon cops onto the fact that labour doesn’t have to be the painful, horrible experience that it’s made out to be, all you need is the right positive mental attitude and the willingness to bring your baby calmly and gently into the world. Thank you Nadia for running this course and providing this invaluable information to pregnant women everywhere!
Many thanks,
Suzanne

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Lydia’s Story – The exciting story of when Arya was in a hurry to come into this world!!!

38 weeks pregnant I had gone for my regular scan on Thursday, all was good, baby was in the correct position. Doctor was very relaxed and said he didn’t need to see me until 40 weeks. I finished work the next day, going out for dinner after to celebrate. The following day was packed with DIY tasks as we had only moved into a new house. That night I woke at least 4 times to go to the toilet which was unusual for me but I thought nothing of it. Sunday morning my bump felt different and I couldn’t get comfortable while having a lazy Sunday morning. My husband ran me a bath and I listened to my hypnobirthing cd. I couldn’t fully relax, I just felt different. My husband came in to inform me he was off to football. Although I wasn’t sure how I felt – I didn’t think it was a good idea for him to go….we debated it….he didn’t go!
Not being able to relax in the bath I got out and while standing in my towel I felt period like sensation / discomfort. I was on the phone to my Mam when I had my first surge….although at the time I wasn’t sure what it was. That was around 11am. Within a few minutes my surges were 3 minutes apart. Determined not to be the “first-time mothers” mentioned in the ante natal classes, I was reluctant to ring the hospital but we did and were told to come in. By the time my husband walked from our bedroom to get the hospital bag I was on all fours in the bathroom and my waters had broken. Surges at that stage were constant, with no break between then – this was approx 15 minutes after my first surge!
We rang the hospital back and they advised us to call an ambulance. It took over 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, in the mean time the emergency service stayed on the phone with my husband giving instructions and reassurance. I zoned out and concentrated on everything I learnt and practiced in hypnobirthing….and it worked. I was fully in control, felt empowered..even though I was giving birth in my bedroom (on the new carpets!)
I was on all fours rocking back and forth but remembered to get some water into me. My husband who was adamant he didn’t want to be at the “business end” during labour, had to check if he could see the head as instructed by the emergency services over the phone. The head was there and I was ready to push. The emergency service guy on the phone kept trying to get me to lie on my back, I tried once and it was unbearable so I flipped back over. I now know it was a safety precaution in case the baby came out…but at the time I was fully concentrating on managing the surges until the ambulance arrived. Two paramedics finally arrived and the female paramedic checked me and advised I was having the baby now and all would be fine. They kept asking me questions but I was in the zone and didn’t answer which was difficult and frustrating for them. I used hand signals and tapped the floor to indicate the wave of surges. I had one small break in surges and she asked if I wanted to try walk down the stairs as they had a stretcher at the end of the stairs. I did – although I felt empowered I still wanted my baby to be born in hospital…..that didn’t happen.
We made it to the ambulance, got to the quays which was heavy with traffic from GAA supporters going to a Sunday game, so we also had a police escort. The sirens from the ambulance and Garda car made the noise insane but I still managed although with difficulty to concentrate on my breathing. For safety reasons I had to be on my back and strapped in while in the ambulance so the intensity of the surges was difficult. Finally we were pulling up to the Rotunda, I had to try not to push during the journey, so the minute the ambulance stopped, the paramedic shouted to push and along came my baby instantly. 24 seconds according to the report at 13.53, less than 3 hours after my first surge. I didn’t even fully realise I had given birth, it was just surreal. My husband had jumped out of the front seat of the ambulance and was thrown in the back just as our baby was born. He got to tell me we had a beautiful baby girl.
She didn’t cry, made hardly any noise. The paramedic put her on my chest with a sheet over the two of us and we were wheeled into the hospital, much to the amazement of the crowd on the street and in the hospital. We were brought up to a very quiet labour ward where the cord was cut and I had skin on skin with my baby. Placenta was delivered quickly and I had a second degree tear which was stitched a few minutes later – I used my hypnobirthing breathing for that part too. My husband got to have skin on skin while I had a shower and tea and toast.
The whole experience was amazing and this is from a women who was fainting looking at photos of the stages of labour in the ante-natal classes. Hypnobirthing gave so much to me – kept me positive and calm during pregnancy and gave me the ability to basically deliver my baby alone. It’s amazing and I highly recommend it!
Thanks Nadia for all your guidance.

Lydia, Damien & Arya

Baby Arya

Stand and Deliver! The Hypnobirth of Baby Tiarnán.

Friday 8.4.
I was four days overdue when my birthing began. I felt exhausted after being on my feet all day. I rested in bed after an evening shower around 7/8 pm. I could barely move for tiredness.

I felt better after a while and cuddled my toddler to sleep very tenderly; I talked to her about when she was born and held her like a newborn.The baby inside me was active all evening. My partner B spent time cuddling with me and feeling baby move as I sat in bed. My 11 year old stepdaughter came in for baby snuggles too around 10.30. I think we could all feel that this was the beginning of birth.

Period-like cramps began that night. In the morning I had a tiny show. I was really excited by this as I never experienced labour before – for my first child I had a crash Caesarian under general anaesthetic after an induction gel caused her distress. I felt so delighted this time to be going into spontaneous labour at home.

Saturday 9.4.
I had mild surges through the day while out and about with family. We brought our toddler to ballet and mooched around second-hand shops. I treated myself to a thai curry lunch with wine, feeling very good. I went for a walk, played board games with the family in the evening,  and looked through baby photos of the toddler with her, which she loved! I was getting infrequent surges all day, and really enjoying it!  Toddler went to bed with more lovely cuddles. I watched Graham Norton for a laugh.  When my bedtime came surges started being 10/15 mins apart. I breathing and ‘conducted’ them with sweeping gestures of my arms! My partner was there to turn to for every surge.  They continued through the night and neither of us slept much. B made me porridge with cream and honey to eat in bed at 5am! Yum!  I put TENS on at one stage but the surges stopped when I did so we removed it and they returned. We had sex in the morning – that was surprisingly great as it helped me to relax all my muscles below. Kissing through surges felt good too.

Sunday 10.4.
Surges came on / off all day. My mother arrived at lunch time to mind our little girl. I went for a rest as I was tired and wanted to space out on the surges.  B and toddler came home, she was put into her own bed for a nap, and he lay down with me. We did lots of cuddling, more sex. All felt good and the surges started to establish sporadic rhythms. Our toddler fell asleep that eve in our bed between us, it alarmed her a bit to see me jump up for surges, and it was interesting trying to explain to her that my body was getting ready to push the baby out!

We got up out of bed in the evening  and hung out in the sitting room as surges started to regulate into the 5.1.1 pattern. After an hour of 5.1.1 I had one a bit stronger and promptly brought up my supper! Then it was time to go. We got to hospital just after midnight.  It was surreal kneeling on the back seat of the car – I mostly wondered in amazement at the length of time red lights took up!

It was quiet in the hospital. We went straight into admission and got a VE – so painless and gentle it surprised me! I was 3cm dilated so delightfully we went straight up to labour ward into our room.

I was introduced to the head midwife, K, and our own midwife, O. O put a CTG machine on me for our admissions trace.  It immediately made surges more uncomfortable. However the midwives were a step ahead of me. As soon as the CTG machine was attached O left the room, I think to talk through our birth preferences with K, as B had asked her if she read our preferences. I was oblivious to this request, just focused on my breath and surges.  Then head midwife K popped into the room and stated that, as the consultant had signed off on our birth preferences, she would be happy for me not to wear the CTG, and use a Doppler. I was very happy and surprised! These midwives were up for keeping it as normal as possible. ‘Normal’ was a word K used to describe the decision to go with intermittent monitoring. The thing is, in my preferences I did not refuse CTG! I just stated that I might do so if I felt it was unsuitable. Our wonderful midwives however just let it go, which set the tone for a super experience! I wore the CTG for a 30 minute trace, it was taken off and I never saw that machine again.

O reminded me that entonox was there if I needed it which was fine with me. I felt reassured to know there were pain relief options available but I hadn’t as of yet any need to use them.

So we settled into the surges and spent two hours just riding them. B, my partner helped me though every one of them. He used lovely imagery of us on the sea riding waves towards our baby.  I was stretching my hands and arms up and up and ‘drawing’ my breath in the air with big circular motions of my arms. Stretching arms and hands up and out really helped me through the surges. I did feel that I had to stand and move during them – I couldn’t lie or sit through them, that was painful. Also during surges I sometimes rubbed my face with my hands in a rubbery kind of way which gave great relief to my jaw and kept things relaxed below. B applied acupressure to my lower back at times when my pelvis and back got tired, and rubbed my hips gently. I did lie down and rested when I could but that wasn’t for long as I found it painful once surges began and did not find it easy to rise into standing from another position for each one.  When I was standing I felt fine, like I could handle anything! At times I imagined myself as a sea goddess riding the waves which felt very powerful and quite comical at same time!

I requested a VE from O after 2 hours. It was not planned, I just wanted to know what was going on as I felt a bit of pressure in my bum.  Again it was an easy VE, and I was 6/7cm. Great!

We continued, it’s a bit of a blur, but at one stage O coaxed me to rest on the ball, and also got me into the bath for 20 mins, which was really super though I found it hard to move into standing during surges. The surges had changed and I needed to stretch my arms into the air to the point where my sides were really stretched upwards. This was amazing relief and I really enjoyed the side stretches!  I felt so powerful. I think that move lifted a lot of weight and pressure up off my pelvis and legs which made the surges much more manageable.  We made it back to our room as transition was beginning. O took a break and K came in and took over. I had a moment of doubt during transition but K reassured me that that was what was happening and I was doing fine.

B and I stood for ages in a really stupid place in the room – I simply couldn’t move. I held his arms and leaned against him during surges, and the two of us just focused on the breath through surges. In, out, in, out. Nothing more. B tried some imagery but I found it very distracting.

Then all of a sudden I had a crazy urge to push!  I asked K to do a VE and she did a quick efficient one – no discomfort again. I was 9 1/2 cm – just the rim of the cervix to disappear! A bag of waters was bulging in front of baby’s head despite that waters had broke heading into transition.  K said they were probably acting as a cushion making things easier for me.

We headed towards the ball as B and K were encouraging me to do but never made it past the side of the bed. The pushing surges took over my body. I had to squat during surges, stand while resting. With the push feeling I became very alert and communicative – I spent the time up to this stage in a dreamy, spaced out, near-silence.  At this stage I came to life. I remember that I called out “I feel so alive!” in response to the push feeling.  After a few noisy primal pushes I felt around inside for the head descending. I could feel it just in the back of my vagina! Amazing! O kept checking baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler between surges and I kept feeling for the head to know what stage it was at.  I broke my own waters doing this which we all had a great laugh about! I found it very intense and the standing was tiring so at one stage I tried to go on all fours on bed as encouraged to by everyone but I quickly hopped off again declaring that wasn’t working. So K and O prepared the floor beneath me with towels. B was at my left holding my hand, K was like a car mechanic on the floor ready to catch baby.  I spoke a lot about how powerful it was. I had good craic with K – she thought it was hilarious when I told her to get out of the way as I descended into squatting. I also told her she was a hard fucking taskmaster at one stage!  She was encouraging me to bear down. It took a while longer than I thought it would, but eventually the head crowned, I asked B to tell me to push during surges.  The final surge was a surprise. K encouraged me to give one last push as we were nearly there – I did and felt the nose slide out and next thing the whole body came slithering out in one big whoosh! I could feel the tiny body move very fast through me! K whisked baby into my arms and blankets were bundled over us and all of a sudden there I was holding a baby! I was assisted onto the bed and B sat next to me and we just held him for ages so bewildered and happy. Only then we had a peek – a boy!

K and O took care of the third stage – after 10 mins or so the cord had stopped pulsating and the placenta released on the next contraction, and they popped it out. I was barely aware of this I just knew that they were doing great work and I got to rest finally!  B then cut the cord.

Baby latched and fed –  I must have held him for ages! Tea and toast was served!  O told us that over 5 years in the Rotunda she had never seen that kind of birth. She had never seen a natural third stage or anyone deliver standing up. She commended us on our research and our birth preferences and I raved about the Hypnobirthing course we had done. K was equally supportive and a pleasure to have as a midwife! She was so into our birth she wanted me to catch my own baby! She was great.

Tiarnán was born at 5.35am. We had spent just 5 hours labouring in hospital. He remained skin to skin with me and his dad until we got to our ward at 8.30am or so, when he was promptly stripped by the ward nurse and put into bed with me, skin to skin once again.  We stayed like that all day – we were due to be discharged but he had to do his first wee and decided not to do it until the late that night! We were home by noon the next day though.

Four days later and I felt great, my body exhausted but strong and painless. It was a drug-free birth and I needed no pain relief afterwards either.  I had no anxiety, no other-worldliness as I did on my first birth which was so shocking and traumatic. I felt alert and normal, in love with my baby and my beautiful family, ready to take on the world (after a nap!). Our birth was a fantastically healing experience for me, one of exquisite closeness for me and my partner, and the safest most beautiful birth for which we could have hoped for our son!

Lynn’s Story – The arrival of disco baby Freya!

Hi Nadia so here is my birth story!

After completing the Hypnobirthing course, I was actually looking forward to giving birth and meeting my baby finally, and so was very relaxed in the lead up. 3 days before my due date, I started to get surges (on the Saturday). I told my husband that it’s starting and we went for lunch into town. They never really got more frequent than 4 mins apart,so the hospital said not to come in. They continued into Sunday and I didn’t really sleep. I watched Ireland in the rugby on the Sunday and saw exactly what adrenaline does – my surges stopped completely! They started back late Sunday evening and again, no sleep for me. They continued all day Monday so my husband worked from home just in case. The whole time,I was bouncing on my gym ball, I think I had about 2 showers a day with candles and relaxing music, and lots of lying in bed listening to the Hypnobirthing tracks.
On Monday night I got into bed, determined to try to get some sleep when my waters broke. We drove into the hospital. At this stage the surges were very strong and frequent.I was examined, but told I was 1cm. I was really disappointed as I thought that I would have been much further along, but my cervix was totally thinned out, so my body was doing something! I was admitted to the pre-labour ward, as my waters had gone.I was there all day Tuesday, again with surges about 4mins apart, but no further progress. Then early on Wednesday morning, they got much closer together and I was taken to the delivery suite! Yes, we were finally going to meet our little “disco baby”.
But, my surges stopped again! In the delivery suite I got out all my tools to try to get me in the right frame of mind – I had music, candles (battery ones), my own pillow and of course, my husband!  I kept mobile to try to get the baby moving again, but unfortunately with no success. Looking back on it, I think I was probably just too tired at this point.The midwife said that they wanted to put me on syntocin. I really wasn’t too keen on this, as I knew once I was on the drip I would need to be continually on the ctg and not be as mobile. I was assertive and advised the midwife that I really didn’t want to be on the drip and wanted to wait to see if it started again naturally. They agreed to leave me another hour, but unfortunately nothing had started, so I agreed to get the drip to kick start the labour. I felt in control of the decision.
I was doing really well with the drip, and using my breathing and a TENS machine. I was really loud, but doing fine! Then my TENS machine went from level 3 to level 10 by accident – it felt like I was being electrocuted! This really knocked me out of the zone, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t seem to get back there. I had been on the drip for about 3 hours at this stage and I was just exhausted, so I asked for the gas and air, and an epidural. I was just so tired!
Once I got the epidural, I managed to get about 40 minutes of sleep.Finally after what seemed like an age, the midwife told me, “ok, you can start to push” Unfortunately, my little disco baby decided that she would come out with her head sideways, so after about 45 mins of pushing, there was no sign of her! The midwife got concerned, as the babys trace was worrying so they decided that she needed to get out asap. The room went from 2 people to what seemed like 20 people in the space of about 2 minutes!
Freya was delivered by vacuum about 5 minutes later at 16:52 one day after her due date, to a very tired and emotional mammy!
Even though nothing went the way that I had pictured it – on the drip, epidural, no delayed cord clamping – I felt in control each step of the way. Despite how it may have seemed, I did feel very calm throughout the whole thing. I was very relaxed and I think this really helped me to deal with each decision which I had to make, despite being so tired. Without the Hypnobirthing, I really think the whole thing would have been much more traumatic for me. I can’t say that enjoyed the labour, but I definitely have not been turned off forever and we hope that Freya can have a little brother or sister in the not too distant future!
– Lynn
Freya Crofton

Sinead’s Story- the beautiful birth of baby Fiadh!

Fiadh was born on 17th January, 2 days before her due date. I had a show on the Thursday and felt a few new pains on Saturday night. I woke at 6am on Sunday morning when my waters broke. We both stayed calm, had showers (more than one as the waters kept coming!) and had breakfast and made our way into the Rotunda. There wasn’t a single person in the waiting room when we got there at 7am which helped with the calmness! I was put  on a trace and because I had reduced movements, was advised to stay. While this wasn’t our plan, they were very honest and respectful but reinforced that they would prefer if I stayed.
I was admitted to the pre-natal ward at about 11 am and was told that if nothing happened by 6am on Monday morning, I would probably be induced. I sent Simon home at 1.30 to get some rest. At about 3 I had a really strong surge and when I went to the bathroom I had passed some blood. I informed the midwife and was told to call her if it happened again. I had what I now know to be contractions every 20 mins and just after 4pm, I felt a really strong surge that took my breath away. I used the bathroom again and had passed more blood.
I was examined by a doctor at 5.30 just as Simon arrived back in and was told I was 5 cm dilated!! We were brought straight up to the delivery suite. The midwife could not have been nicer. We went through the birth plan and everything was perfect. The lights were turned down and the room was lovely and calm and quiet. The surges got stronger and I did waiver a little and said I might need an epidural!! The midwife said no problem we’ll examine you in a half hour and see how you’re doing. I spent the first half of the labour on my feet, walking about and rocking. I used gas and air and visualised meeting my baby. I used a lot of the breathing techniques from the hypnobirthing class to help me through each of the surges and found them really helpful. Knowing that each surge would only last a short amount of time was also really helpful!
Once I was fully dilated and an hour of active bearing down, Fiadh hadn’t made much progress and so we discussed the options available. Again the midwives said they understood we didn’t want any intervention but explained what was best for baby and myself. I was put on a drip that made the surges stronger. I needed an episiotomy and after bearing down for what seemed like no time at all, Fiadh was born at 10.38pm!!
Fiadh was 8lb 2oz and 53 cm long. I suffered a 3rd degree tear and had to go to theatre. The midwives were disappointed for me that having had no intervention or pain relief that I needed to go to theatre but there was no way to avoid it.
I felt that the whole experience was extremely positive. Simon was involved and we both felt empowered and as if we had a voice in proceedings. Things didn’t go exactly as planned but we couldn’t fault the level of care that I received.
Thanks again for everything and best wishes in the future,
Sinead & Fiadh

Niamh’s Story………Frankies birth- he made his mama work!

I hope you are all well, and still hypnobirthing, if you haven’t already hypnobirthed your beautiful babies! Three weeks ago today myself and Pauly had the privilege of meeting our wonderful baby boy Frankie. He came into the world, not quite according to my birth plan(!) after a fairly long labour. We used the techniques we had learnt in the weeks and months coming up to the birth, and they proved very helpful to us in dealing with what I would consider to be the hardest work I have ever done!!

My labour surges started on Friday evening, and we had a nice evening, sitting on the birthing ball, listening to the cds and working on breathing techniques. This was all very calm, and helped us both get in the zone – the surges were manageable, and over the night I was able to rest in between them – they were around 10 minutes apart and sometime longer. Saturday they kept coming, so I realised this probably wasn’t a false alarm! Again we stayed at home and kept with the techniques; the TENS machine proved really helpful, as the surges were becoming stronger and closer together. I made sure to eat and stay hydrated, and by Saturday night things had intensified somewhat, although we had not gotten to a regular 4 minutes apart lasting a minute each for an hour. In fact, my contractions never seemed to follow a totally regular pattern like we expected – some were 2 minutes apart, and some were 10 minutes apart. By Sunday morning the intensity had built up so I figured we should go into the hospital and get checked out.

The doctor examined me, but was only at about 1 cm, and so we had a ways to go! She also told us that she thought the baby was not in the correct position – his spine was in line with mine. [Now I had been so sure in my affirmations that baby was in the perfect position for birth!! What was this about?!] She knew we were hypnobirthing so advised us to go back home and wait until I was in established labour. She advised me to rock on all fours to try and encourage baby into the correct position. The fact that he was not in position slowed things down a lot, so although the surges were intense, it didn’t seem to be progressing (as quickly as I would have liked!!)

We went home. I was slightly disheartened. Pauly was a great help throughout the day, helping me to cope, and keeping my spirits up. We used TENS, breathing techniques, hot water bottles and listened to the cds.By Sunday night the intensity of the surges was getting a bit much for me to handle, and I was also getting tired. I didn’t feel I could face another sleepless night of pain. We went back to the hospital just before midnight and I was checked again. My day of labouring on all fours had done little to expedite things – my cervix was thinning, but still needed to come forward and dilate. The doctor said she would admit me, although I wouldn’t be in a delivery suite as I was not yet in established labour. At this point I needed pain relief so I was happy at the thought of something that would help me to rest – I couldn’t believe I still had so far to go! She advised that Pauly should go home and get some rest, and we were going to follow her advice. [My advice to anyone is not to let your partner go home – I would have been lost without him – I cannot stress this enough]. Pauly came with me to settle me in. I had a shot of pethedine and moments later my waters broke, so Pauly decided to stay with me. The back labour was tough  –  I was most comfortable on all fours rocking – and found it very difficult to move around or lie down. I slept and rested as much as I could- the pain relief helped with this. And we continued to focus on the breathing through the tough surges. Pauly helped with light massage and brushing my hair – anything to help me through!

I was examined again at around 8am Monday morning, fully expecting things to have progressed into established labour. Unfortunately despite the intensity of the sensations I was feeling, I was not yet 3cm. I found this very difficult mentally, as I had been laboring for so long and still the end seemed so far away! We continued to deal with our situation using all the techniques we had. I had a bath around midday on Monday which helped a lot. I remained very calm, although I reckon I was in transition at this stage and was beginning to doubt myself and my ability to continue. Late afternoon we were examined, and I was fully dilated. I think maybe if the midwives on the ward had been more in tune with the hypnobirthing, they might have realised sooner that I was fully dilated despite my (relatively) calm exterior. Poor Frankie was still stargazing, and he needed to turn before he could come out. We tried lying in different positions and I was being encouraged to push (at this stage I couldn’t feel all of the surges – I was exhausted!) In the end it was decided that the team would need to intervene, as I was very tired and Frankie wasn’t turning. He was delivered with forceps to help turn him/help me push him out! Again Pauly was my rock throughout this process, encouraging me every step of the way, and believing in me when I had lost all self belief. Frankie came into the world at 8pm on Monday night at 8lb 9oz, and we are all getting on brilliantly! It’s been a hectic few weeks, but we are getting our heads around it all finally!

Best of luck to you all with your births – wishing you all a wonderful experience and I look forward to hearing your stories. Massive thanks to Nadia and all the community midwives for the help, support and advice throughout our pregnancy and birth.

Niamh, Pauly and Frankie.

frankie

Grainne’s Story………when things don’t go to plan

Our little boy Daimhín was born on the 4th October.  He’s five weeks old now.  I’ve been meaning to write this email for ages but as you can imagine it’s hard to get a second :-)

Unfortunately I had to be induced a week early so my birth plan went out the window.  However, I still followed the methods I had learned as much as I could.  I had my CD in the delivery suite and listened to that during the hours I was there.  I had also made a playlist of nice relaxing music and songs I liked and had this playing during the day.  I found both of these really helped.  I kept in mind all of the mantras that I liked and thought would help me and I thought that this did really help.

Now, I did end up going for an epidural.  This was due to the initial drugs that were given to me the night before really didn’t agree with me…so by 4pm the next day I had had enough and opted for the easy option.  Even though I took the epidural and the induction I still tried to keep the experience as calm and nice as I could so I really enjoyed the experience off the afternoon and labour.

Unfortunately, at the end, my temperature started to rise.  I was warned that if it would reach 38 degrees they would have to use the forceps as this would become dangerous for the baby and he would have to be pulled out asap.  And of course me temperature reached this so this is what happened. It’s a pity as I thought I was doing well pushing and was enjoying the experience.  But even though we had to use the forceps the experience was still great with the baby came.

So to sum up, I definitely learned that you have to be flexible with your birth plan.  Mine completely went out the door and was kinda out of my control.  I couldn’t turn around and refuse the induction as it would have been dangerous.  But this didn’t mean I wasn’t able to use the techniques to a certain extent.  I think having all the knowledge that we learned in the class helped me to remain calm and collected and enjoy the experience.

For the next time, I will definitely be using hypo-birthing again and will hopefully be able to the more natural route.  It would have been nice to
experience the beginning of labour at home and do my exercises and prep etc. but sure that’s how it goes.

I hope you are all doing well.  Best of luck with your births and babies.
A big thanks again to Nadia.  Thanks for all the help and support.

Gráinne, Ray and Daimhín

Marlena’s Story………First time mum – a very happy experience!

I had my appointment at the hospital in the morning of the 29th of December, at 40+5 days. The doctor examined me and told me that even though baby was correctly positioned, she still wasn’t fully engaged. She offered me a sweep, told me that it’s less effective on first time mums but may help induce labour. Considering the position of baby, it would be unlikely that anything would happen on the next 24h. I agreed, and used my hypnobirth breathing techniques through it and it was quite manageable pain wise.

We went back home, took a nap in the afternoon and woke up at 3pm starting to loose the plug (doctor had warned me so no surprise). I had very minor period like cramps at the time, again very manageable – I’ve had worse actual period pains before!

The afternoon went on, we decided to go watch Star Wars (who knows when we’d have time to go to the cinema again!) and settled on the 17h30 session. We left home at 16h30, my period like pains were a little more intense but I still walked, talked and did everything normally. We stopped at Woodies DYI, shopped around for stuff for our new apartment and after my husband Rodolfo suggesting several times we should go home as I would not enjoy the movie with this “slight discomfort” I agreed and at 17h30 we were back home.

When we got home, I bounced on my pilates ball, and listened to a track with beach waves, which I chose to use during labour. The surges were not slowing down and at around 18:00 I decided to use my app to track the contractions to see how far apart they were. I asked my husband to google “difference between contraction and period like pains” and the results were not helpful :) I finally decided to call the VHI Midwife service at 19:00 (not the hospital as I was convinced I was not in labor), and mid conversation I had to give the phone to my husband as the surges were getting intense and I had to focus on my breathing. I told her that according to my app, my “period like pains” were 3 min apart sometimes. One of the times that I gave the phone to my husband, the midwife told him to grab our things and head to the hospital as she suspected I was in labor, as I could barely speak. I was not convinced, in my mind labour should be more intense than what I was experiencing. I kept breathing, bouncing on the ball and listening to the sound of waves at the beach. I took a shower, grabbed our things and headed out to the Hospital. My waters started leaking while I was in the shower.

We got to the Hospital at around 20:30 and I was still thinking I would get sent back home, as I didn’t expect to have dilated enough and I really wanted to labour at home until it was time. I stopped at the reception while my husband parked, waited for the surge to finish to ask where I should go and got into the emergency room straight away. The midwife examined me and told me I was 4 or 5cm dilated, so it was straight into labor ward – it was time, and I couldn’t believe it! I asked for room 5 by the way, no such luck :)

I got into the room (room 9!) and met our midwife Marina. I told her we were hypnobirthing and reviewed our birth “guidelines” with her. I settled in, switching between the hypnobirthing tracks and the sounds of the ocean and breathing through the surges. I sometimes had an urge to push, which I knew it was too soon, so I did the horse’s lips exercise A LOT to make sure I relaxed my pelvic floor and just let the labour progress.

One hour in I decided to change positions and my husband got the pilates ball from the car (forgot about it!) and Marina helped me put the TENS machine. Now about the TENS machine, I tested it beforehand and was convinced it was a waste of money, but it really did wonders for me and I had it on until baby was born. Amazing little machine, best thing ever.

I got to 8cm fairly quickly but didn’t progress for some time. A couple of hours later Marina said she needed to put me under the drip, as my surges were not regular and I hadn’t progressed in some time. I agreed, and soon after the surges were more intense and frequent. I kept listening to the tracks, breathing as needed (sometimes the square breathing, sometimes the horse’s lips), and picturing myself at the beach in my hometown. I switched from the ball (quite slippery when your waters are leaking) to lean on the back of the bed on all fours, to rest on my back.

I know that I asked the time several times through labour and time just flew by, and I’m sure I was able to sleep some parts of it. At some stage Marina suggested that she’d break the waters as even though I was leaking I still had a considerable amount of liquid which could be delaying labor. I agreed but that didn’t seem to speed things up by much.

At 4am, I started feeling sick and wanted to throw up (which I did!), with the drip increasing with time. I’d read that was a sign that the birth was near so I suspected it was close.

I finally asked for gas and air and I admit I was disappointed with the relief. I’d done fine so far without it but found that it was useful to control the breathing during the surges so I continued using it.

It was finally time to push and Marina guided me through it. I felt I needed the incentive and support more than the guiding so I agreed. I pushed as much as I could but baby was not too convinced it was time to come out. Marina told me that her heart rate was dropping with each surge, so we needed to get baby out as soon as possible. Another midwife was called in, and they told me that they needed to do an episiotomy to help with the delivery. I asked for another chance to push, and nothing progressed on the first surge, nor the second. At this point, my husband and the midwife were grabbing my legs and cheering for me. The midwife gave me the local anesthesia as they couldn’t wait longer, and on the third (and last!) surge my husband said he could see her head as well! I pushed as much as I could and baby was born – nothing like the threat of an episiotomy to gather your final strengths! Our daughter was born at 5:03am.

We did skin to skin, my husband cut the cord and waited for stage 3, for the placenta to be delivered. I was very high energy, high spirits and felt like the last hours had just flown by – I never thought I would feel so well after delivering our first daughter!

Unfortunately one hour later, including two drip attempts, the placenta was still “stuck” so I had to go to theater for a manual removal, which involved a spinal anesthesia. So I got away with no epidural for labor, but ended up needing a spinal –  but I was mentally prepared that not everything could go planned so soon enough I was reunited with Rodolfo and our daughter :)

Throughout the entire time, my husband Rodolfo was  amazing, always asking if I wanted to change tracks, if i was thirsty, offering massages and everything we had discussed before. He was amazing, always with a calm and positive attitude – i had warned him I could snap at him for no reason during labour, and that never happened, We were both so calm and relaxed that we both fell asleep at some point. He was definitely on top of his hypnobirting game!

My recovery was unbelievably fast, I did have a second degree tear that I wouldn’t have known about if the midwives had not told me. I was a bit sore for 2 days (managed with paracetamol). We spent 3 nights at the hospital, including New Year’s. The doctors were ready to let us go home after two, but I enjoyed all the support for one extra night.

I admit our hypnobirth training happened mostly over the last 3 weeks before my due date, when my maternity leave started, but together with the classes, it definitely worked for me and we’re very happy we did it :)

Marlena & Rodolpho

Alana’s Story……….The speedy birth of Molly- a positive induction!

I’m finally getting around to writing down our birth story! I’ve really enjoyed hearing all of yours and it’s a good way of recalling all the details before I forget :-). Molly Margaret Lenahan arrived swiftly into the world on November 24 at 11.27am. She weighed just shy of 9 pounds.

After a relatively trouble free pregnancy, at our last midwife clinic the Friday before Molly was due my blood pressure was up. They sent me to the ER to be monitored for a few hours and, aside from about 3 million braxton hicks contractions, all was well. They offered to do a VE then and I declined, preferring to go home to relax and let everything progress naturally. They asked me to come in on the following Monday to the day ward to check the BP again. That weekend I had a show and lost my plug (pretty gross!!).

Monday 23 November I went to the day ward and had the BP monitored again, and they took bloods. Here the doctor informed me that my platelets were dropping steadily and that they’d like to induce me the following day. I then consented to a VE to check my progress. I was already 2cms and therefore the plan was to break my waters and see if that got baba moving.

I spent most of that night on my pilates ball hoping I’d go into labour naturally… no such luck! Myself and Kevin went into the Rotunda at 7am with our bags packed. I was in the induction ward by 8 am and they broke my waters an hour later, at about 9am. Almost immediately I had intense surges coming in on top of each other. I lay on the bed breathing with Kevin and trying desperately to distract myself! The midwife told us to go for a walk to ‘get things moving’… I felt they already were but kept my mouth shut! Kevin enquired as to whether he should go and get the bags that we’d left in the car and was told it’d be a good few hours yet so he had loads of time. So off we went down the hall for our walk. I made it ..as far as the bathroom and locked myself in. I was very sick and the only thing that felt good was sitting on the loo at that point! I remember there being a few girls outside waiting to use the bathroom and Kevin rather politely telling them they best use the other bathroom down the hall.

I managed to get out of the bathroom and continued down the hall. I had to stop after a mere few steps as I started bearing down; I knew the baby was coming and there wasn’t a thing I could do to stop it. I leaned against the wall and Kevin rubbed my back. A lovely nurse came by and saw I was in bother and got me a wheelchair. As soon as I was back in the induction ward the midwife and Kevin had to pretty much lift me onto the bed for another VE, and they then discovered I was 9cms.

Proceedings from here get a tad blurry… I was rushed into room 9 (I remembered this from our tour was the ensuite room… score!!), I insisted I knelt on the bed instead of lying, tried really hard to relax and go with my body. I completely forgot about pain relief until the last moment. I was handed the gas and air but it really was too late. Molly came out in about 3 strong contractions, 17 minutes after I arrived in the delivery suite.

Afterwards I was in pretty severe shock, shaking like a leaf and a bit out of it! I had a small tear so when the doctor came to do my sutures I finally got a go on the gas and air, such craic!! I was lying there asking the doctor all about where she was from and whether she had children of her own… She pretty much ignored me, I guess she was concentrating on the task at hand (and thank god she did!!). I was on cloud 9, buzzing :-). Kevin did skin – to – skin pretty much immediately.

I was certain I was having a boy so when I turned around to see the baby for the first time I got a bit of a shock! Myself and Kevin are absolutely delighted with her, she’s loads of fun, our cheeky little monkey!

We both really enjoyed the hypno birthing classes and although it ended up all being such a rush, we still felt empowered and informed enough to ask questions to ensure we made the right decisions both for us and for Molly.

Attached are a few pictures of our Molly,  now 10 weeks old :-)

Alana & Kevin

baby molly3 AGbaby molly4 AGbaby molly AG

Avril’s Story……….The arrival of Grace…..you can’t control every situation- only your reaction!

 I write this from my bed on post natal. Baby Grace Anne Caffrey arrived at 21:49 weighing just 5lbs11oz.  She was in a rush to come meet us so my waters went 5 weeks early on Sunday and have been in since then.

They burst fully at 5 pm and surges started to come hard and strong at 6 pm. Used my breathing techniques to try stay calm and was able to breathe through it. Went from 0-4/5 not sure which in 2 hours. However we knew she was breech so was for section.

I was so against this prior to doing the course with you Nadia so I am eternally grateful to you for helping me get my head into a good place for any eventuality.  Myself and Andy talked through delivery and I was handed my baby with a huge smile on my face. To say the feeling is euphoric is an understatement.  I feel tired and sore but absolutely amazing.  I got skin to skin straight away but she had to be taken for antibiotics then. When she came back she latched and breastfed for over 40 mins.

I have attached 2 pics, she is the image of Andy. I’m thrilled and I can’t wait to hear all of your birth stories.

Love Avril xxxx

baby grace2 ABbaby grace AB

Laura’s Story…….Speedy Arrival- a spontaneous onset for a first time mother!

Today it will be 5 weeks since since Sophia first joined Tony and myself. Leading up to my due date we where certain of 2 things, we where having a boy and he was going to arrive early… Our daughter decided instead to join us 3 days late….

By 2 days past our due date we were trying everything to try and get things started, the raspberry leaf tea, the sage oil and the sex:) ( not together though) and on the night of the 19th I went to bed hoping to wake up with surges…

Fast forward to 4:30am and I awoke with what felt like period pains, at this stage I believed it was just some more Braxton hicks and thought I would leave Tony sleep a bit more… Things quickly intensified  and by about 5:30 I had managed to lose my plug, have a show and wake to Tony. At this stage the waves where getting stronger and I decided to have a shower to try and relax and for some reason also felt the need to wash my hair. After the shower I started using the tens machine as the waves continued to get stronger and sent to Tony to make tea while I emptied the dishwasher..

At about 7:15 we called the hospital to see if we should come in and I was advised that I probably had a while to go and that I should have a bath and leave it a couple of hours.. 30 minutes later my body was telling me that it was time and we should start moving. I sat in the front seat of the car for about 2 seconds before realising that I wouldn’t be able to sit and instead got into the back seat with the exercise ball. We may have gotten a few funny looks as we drove into town with me on all fours…..

As we drove into town I continued to use tens to deal with the surges and we listened to the calm birth track as we went ( not recommended btw). It being a Sunday morning traffic was easy and we found parking 200 meters from he hospital entrance…. Those 200 meters where quite slow given we had to stop every few meters as the surges kept coming.

After we presented ourselves at reception we went to the waiting area where I tried to take a seat but instead ended up on my knees and bent as I tried to breath through the surges. It must have been a little loud as I was very quickly greeted with ” is this your first love” and ” come with me”.

Once in the emergency room I was put on a trace and struggled to stay on my back. As Tony was reminding me to breath Nadia popped in to get something and told me to visualise the rectangle:)

20 minutes after the trace began I was given an internal exam to be told that I was 8.5 cm dilated when Tony asked ” should I get the bags now then?”. From here we made our way to the delivery suite where we met our mid wife, Mags. Having seen the suites already everything her seemed pretty normal and familiar to us which was quite nice.

I got into position on all 4s on the bed and made use of the gas to help with the surges. A few minutes after my water broke, I listened to my body and pushed when I felt I needed to. As my body was tiring the mid wife asked me to reach down so I could feel Sophia’s head which gave me a bit more power to continue. When head was out, I got exhausted and even asked if mid wife could help me by pulling, Tony was here to remind me to breath, give me water and telling me how good I was doing which helped me so much. After a couple of pushes Baby was out, the feeling of her going out was unique and unreal. As asked on Birth wish Tony told me the sex of the Baby, because of the adrenaline or the cord he told me “it’s a boy”, the mid wife asked him to look again, and he said “it’s a girl”.

Sophia been placed on my chest and latched almost straight away. I delivered the placenta shortly after and then came the best tasting toast ever!!!!! Then I went to shower, Tony did Chest to chest with Sophia. As I had no episiotomy nor tears and Sophia was fine I was allowed bring her home that evening and we got to spend our first night together in our home.

Laura & Tony

Meadhbh’s Story……..a very early arrival!

Hi Nadia was meaning to contact you. Baby Senan gave us a big surprise by deciding he was coming into the world last Wednesday night. Didn’t think I would be back in labour ward so soon!

I was 31 plus 4. I couldn’t move around as planned as was on different monitors and on drips with antibiotics etc and ended up getting epidural. However I really feel hypnobirthing was beneficial anyway. I didn’t panic at all when waters broke and stayed really calm through all of the labour and time in a and e.

Thankfully he is doing great in neonatal the staff are amazing. He has no problems all tests good he just needs to grow a bit more.

Thanks for everything.

Meadhbh and Rob :)

Sarah’s Birth Story- the positive birth of a ‘Drama Queen’

Hi everyone. Its Sarah here. Just getting around to sharing my birth story. Alexandra Marie Ewings was born at 9.30 am on December 5th. She arrived into the world in a hurry. My little bundle of joy weighed 7lbs and 3.5 ounces. She was delivered by an emergency caesarean section.

First I will share a little background story to her birth. On Friday, November 27th I finished up work. This was two weeks before my due date. I arrived into the Rotunda for my appointment with the midwives. My blood pressure was a little high and I put this down to rushing around trying to finish work. It was suggested we take my BP a few minutes later to see if it had gone down. It hadn’t. As I was now 38 weeks I was asked to stay in hospital and have the blood pressure monitored overnight. The BP came down to a nice healthy range throughout the night and I was allowed home the following morning. I was asked to attend the day care clinic on the Monday (November 30th) to keep an eye on the BP.

On Monday I headed in to the day care clinic to have my BP checked. I expected it to be high on the first reading due to the journey to the hospital but low on the subsequent readings. This wasn’t to be. Also, a trace of protein was found in my urine. I was asked to stay in so the blood pressure could be monitored and it was explained that I would need to complete a 24 hour urine collection. I hoped this wasn’t a sign of preeclampsia.  Simon suggested I hop into bed and put on my hypnobirthing tracks. I found them wonderful for helping me to focus and remain relaxed.

Tuesday came around and the results of the urine collection came in. I had preeclampsia. I felt disappointed. I had made it to 38 weeks without any sort of difficulty. I thought to myself this hadn’t been in my plan. When the doctor came around to speak about induction I was upset. I had a great chat with Simon when he came in. The worry and upset soon passed as I chatted and remembered what was most important. I needed to meet my baby safe and healthy. A decision was made to monitor the blood pressure throughout the week and induction was booked for the following Monday. I found my hypnobirthing tracks and techniques to be a God send. I remained chilled and focused remembering the task in hand. I got my mind ready for a positive induction. I felt I could still rock it even if it was going to be different than the spontaneous labour I had dreamed about. I found my friend Laura who was in our classes to be an amazing support. She reminded me of all the mantras we loved and I kept repeating them to myself. It’s amazing how much my mind set changed. I now knew I faced induction but felt calm, relaxed and very positive about. I was also reminded of Nadia’s words from the classes about a positive birthing experience no matter what path it takes.

Fast forward to Saturday, 5th of December. Two days before my induction was planned. I text Simon at 8.45 to let him know my blood pressure reading was good. The medication I had been taking seemed to be regulating it. I also let him know that baby’s heart beat was sounding nice and strong on the Doppler.  At 8.55 one of the midwives popped me on the CTG monitor. This was done every morning. My baby’s heart beat was always strong and this was such a comfort. Knowing the baby was content made me a happy mamma to be. This morning was different. Within a couple of minutes my baby’s heartbeat disappeared from the monitor. I rang the bell and before I knew it a team of people were around me. I thought I had lost my baby. It took what felt like a lifetime for them to pick of the baby’s heartbeat again but they did. I’m sure it was only a few seconds. It came back low. The doctor informed me it was time to go to theatre. I wasn’t going to argue. I just wanted my baby out safe. I asked one of the nurses to ring Simon to come in.

Once we arrived in theatre one of the nurses placed the Doppler on my tummy and my baby’s heart beat was strong but they still needed to be delivered. I instantly relaxed. From here on in I remained calm and chilled. I practised my breathing techniques and had my mind reciting birthing mantras from class.

Unfortunately due to the need to deliver my baby so quickly Simon didn’t get there in time. He hurried straight in but everything had to move quite quickly in theatre. Alexandra was delivered at 9.30. Simon arrived at 9.32am. She came out howling and happy. She was given to me very quickly and was placed on my chest. Simon arrived in and I told him we had a beautiful baby girl. They tested the blood in the cord to see if there was any sign of distress but there wasn’t. So it is thought that Alexandra just pulled on the cord and caused what they described as drama. They even nicknamed her drama queen!

I had lots of skin to skin with Alexandra in recovery and she crawled to my breast. She fed so well and I melted as I stared at my beautiful daughter. I felt and still feel like the luckiest lady in the world.

It may not have been the birthing I hoped for but I didn’t find the whole experience to be traumatic either. Of course the loss of heartbeat from the CTG was scary but once I heard Alexandra’s heartbeat pumping strong I felt I could relax. I put my positive experience down to what we learned in class and to the hypnobirthing tracks.

For now we will enjoy getting to know our little daughter but hopefully next time my birthing journey will take a much more natural route.

To the staff in the Rotunda and in particular Nadia thank you so much for everything.  We have felt so well looked after right from day one. You have been an amazing bunch of people and we are very grateful for all of your support.