"We felt incredibly lucky to have the birth we had spent months planning"
Huge congratulations to Jo and Shaun on the wonderful arrival of their son Mack.
Born 12.11pm at Truro Birth Centre on the 6th January 2023, 10 days after his EDD, weighing 8lbs. Below Jo shares her journey from pre labour, birth experience through to third stage. Jo and Shaun used Hypnobirthing and also had me as their Doula. Jo talks about how this and the supportive midwives at Truro Birth Centre played an important role in her having the birth she hoped for and worked so hard to achieve.
I finished work for Mat leave on the 15th December and Shaun and I became pretty convinced he was going to come any day from then, even though all info suggested first babies typically come beyond due date (Mack’s was 27/12/22).
Due date came and went and no pre-Labour signs, by January 3rd we were getting pretty impatient and there was lots of talk of sweeps and inductions.
Terri (our doula) came into her own at this point and it was with her reassurance that we trusted the natural process, focusing on relaxing / resting and allow things to kick off more naturally.
I sensed a change in me on the 4th as suddenly had a lot more energy! 2am on the 5th, woke up to the first part of the mucus plug coming, went back to bed and the contractions started. Pretty intermittent but too strong to sleep through.
Morning came and as Terri predicted (reassuring us that this was normal) contractions paused. So we took the time to rest up, nap and met up with friends for a dog walk inc hitting the lusty steps!
Shaun and I sat down for some dinner about 7ish on Thursday evening and then started playing some monopoly deal which quickly ended when the contractions returned - much to our delight. I wired up to the Tens Machine at this point.
Popped the film ‘Sing’ onto Netflix to help keep the Oxytocin flowing and Shaun started timing the contracts which were increasing to 3 in about 10 mins. Shaun also set up the lounge with candles, clary sage on the essential oils diffuser and I found that standing, leaning on the window sill and focusing on the breathing was the best way to embrace them!
3am came and we were thinking it might be time to head in to the Truro birth centre - spoke to Terri and she said we could if we felt it the right time, but we could still be quite early in terms of stages of labour, and therefore have to come back and might be better to wait a little longer for labour to progress at home.
We reassessed and opted to stay at home - anything but standing became a bit of a no go and I started to feel quite sick as the intensity really picked up. Shaun made some beans on toast which I managed some of and he was massaging my back through the contractions. I just kept focused on the hypnobirthing breathing and getting to meet our son soon!
By 7am I wasn’t chatting anymore to Shaun and he said things seemed to be getting stronger so we opted to head in. The 30 min van journey was…. wild as I hadn’t been able to tolerate sitting for the last 12 hours - popped my headphones on and just focused on the best hypnobirthing breathing possible, to fuel the uterus muscles with max oxygen and that meaning contractions could be as powerful as possible and we would get to meet Mack in the shortest time!
We arrived at the (nearly full) birth centre in Truro and to my relief I was 5cm dilated, so we could head to a birth centre ‘Marazion’ room (about 9am!) as Terri also arrived!
The midwives at the birth centre were amazing from start to finish - honouring the birth plan we had written and by 9.30am I was in the water and it was an incredible feeling of weightlessness. Contractions continued to increase in frequency and intensity - and that’s where Terri applying back pressure and Shaun’s supporting words, love and hydration made all the difference!
By 11.45am there was a definite change in the contractions to a very intense downward pressure on the pelvis region, particularly the back! It was more intense than I was expecting and timed into the ‘transition phase’ where I had a moment of thinking ‘this is an impossible task, how is he going to fit, can I have some gas and air!’ Terri reminded me that the feeling was normal, and it was great sign of us meeting him very soon and to keep the focus on the breathing.
The midwife prepared the gas and air and I then started becoming very vocal with each contraction bracing against the edge of the pool and Shaun! After about 30 mins, his head complete with intact membrane popped out and then swiftly went back in to Shaun’s surprise! As it went back in my membranes released and there was a notable pressure release. Mack’s head then came out with the next contraction and two contractions later he was born into the birthing pool. The midwives remained very hands off and I was able to scoop him up from the water and Shaun and I got the first glimpses of our son who much to our surprise had his eyes open!
We ‘waited for white’ on the cord and asked Terri to cut it for us. Shaun enjoyed some skin on skin whilst I was helped out of the pool. We opted for a physiological third stage and the placenta came about an hour after Mack’s arrival with only a slight bit of encouragement needed from the midwife.
Mack also started breastfeeding pretty much instantly and we couldn’t believe how calm and wide eyed he was!
After an inspection from the midwife, we were all pretty surprised / elated to find there was no tearing - just a small graze on each side. The surprise was due to the amount of blood in the pool, but it was then decided this must have been from the membrane release.
Mack then had all of his checks and they were happy for us to head home 3 hours post delivery.
We felt incredibly lucky to have the birth we had spent months planning towards and that the antenatal learning and prep had paid off (we opted for the daily dates, raspberry leaf tea, lots of yoga & swimming and perineal massage) to bring Mack into the world in the calmest way. Hypnobirthing, Terri’s guidance and chatting to lots of other parents completely changed our outlook on pregnancy and birth.."
Hypnobirthing courses available throughout 2023. Doula availability in July, and then from September onwards. www.cornwallhypnobirthing.co.uk