Physically and mentally prepared

After completing a HypnoBirthing course with Brooke with my first baby (born June 2017) I knew that I would implement the same strategies to allow for another drug-free, calm, peaceful (and hopefully short) birth.

Due to COVID-19, this birth was going to be without my husband so I needed to be physically and mentally prepared for that.

Being surrounded with coronavirus panic and uncertainty was challenging at a time of already great change and heightened emotions. Speculation and changes to hospital policy made ‘planning’ more difficult but I tried to revise the skills and strategies learnt in HypnoBirthing to prepare myself for the calm birth that both myself and baby deserved.

Using the continuity of care model that My Midwives follow has allowed us to experience and enjoy the absolute best pregnancy and post-birth outcomes possible. The support, genuine care and skills and knowledge base that these women bring are second to none.

Sharon delivered our first baby and has been with us every appointment and step of the way with this second pregnancy – knowing that we will say goodbye soon is already hard to process.

Loving pregnancy

Like with my first pregnancy, around 37 weeks Braxton Hicks contractions started rather regularly. My midwife, Sharon was confident that these practice contractions (or ‘surges’ as they are referred to as in HypnoBirthing) were setting me up for a nice short labour; so I tried not to find them too frustrating.

At 38 weeks I had a night full of contractions, getting nice and close together; then I fell asleep and realised that 2 hours had passed and baby was not coming out that day. Slightly disheartened, but absolutely loving being pregnant and not wanting to wish that special time away, I remained calm knowing that my baby would come when she was ready.

Chilling at home

On 14 April, at just over 39 weeks I woke at 4am with contractions; they were present while I got my daughter ready for day care and prepared for the day; but this was the daily routine I was used to now so I had no reason to think this day would any different.

I had a midwife appointment at 9am with Sharon where the contractions were strong and somewhat regular but I knew that baby could still be a few weeks away. My husband and I then went and did our daily ‘maternity leave wander’ around the park before a delicious Vietnamese lunch (at home of course).

I spent the afternoon much the same way I had since starting maternity leave two weeks earlier – sitting on my exercise ball, doing some exercises, watching TV and relaxing at home. I collected my daughter from day care and we played and hung out before I put her to bed at 7pm.

My husband and I had dinner and when he went upstairs to shower at 7.30pm I started to think the contractions were getting a bit stronger. I washed up the dishes and tried to watch some TV but was starting to feel more pressure.

Baby is on the way

I called Sharon just after 8pm – thinking the baby might be coming soon but still unsure if it was just more ‘practice contractions’ as they we still 8 or so minutes apart (as they had been frequently over the past two weeks).

After 15 minutes on the phone she asked me to write down the time of the next 5 contractions then text her a picture of the times and call her back. As the contractions were getting stronger I asked my husband to record the times for me; two minutes apart already. At 8.31 I stood from the ball and my water’s broke.

Not alone

My husband phoned Sharon and she raced over to pick me up straight away. We don’t have family in town so with travel restrictions from COVID-19 and changes to birth suite/visitors allowed etc, my husband needed to stay home to look after our toddler.

I knew that I would be birthing ‘alone’ but with hypnobirthing and Sharon/My Midwives I knew that I would not really be alone. I felt confident and my body was ready. Sharon arrived and I stood outside watching the stars and most beautiful moon while they got the car ready. After racing to the hospital, we arrived at the birth suite just after 9pm.

I stood outside watching the stars and most beautiful moon.

No fear, just calm instinctive birthing

The aspect that leaves me most satisfied to have chosen this continuity of care model was Sharon’s ability to read me – as a birthing women – and know how to best support. While I was standing by the bed, having very regular contractions, Sharon was preparing the room; she’d say ‘breathe through this one, Court’ and let me focus, doing her thing and letting me do mine. She knew what I needed in that moment – no interruption, just support.

Liz, the Managing Director of My Midwives arrived as I was getting into the water at 9.20pm. I felt a strong contraction then heard Sharon say quietly to Liz – ‘get your phone ready, she’s about to have this baby’. In my head I thought ‘oh yeah, in a few hours’.

Then as I felt another contraction, I realised my baby’s head was coming out – I reached down and touched it. Another contraction very quickly followed and her shoulders came out into my hands.

I scooped up my baby and placed her on my chest as she opened her little eyes and looked around. No fear, just calm instinctive birthing.

I scooped up my baby and placed her on my chest.

20 minutes later…

Sharon phoned my husband and I was able to tell him that the baby had arrived – at 9.24pm. I was in the hospital for less than 20 minutes so it was a big shock to him (and to me!).

Liz took a video of me telling my husband over the phone; such a special memory to have recorded.

After a few minutes in the pool we moved to the bed to let the cord stop pulsating and deliver the placenta. What an empowering experience to deliver my own baby and cut the cord.

Sharon did her checks and paperwork and I chose to leave at midnight when my husband and toddler came to pick me up.

A moment to cherish

The look in my little girl’s eyes when she saw me with her sister in my arms is a moment of absolute joy that will stay with me forever.

That hug and look of pride in my husband’s eyes when I walked out of the hospital less than 3 hours after he kissed me goodbye at home will get me through the darkest pits of parenthood.

A huge thank you to Courtney and Colin for sharing their empowering birth story during the pandemic of COVID-19. I appreciate my couples taking the time to share their honest experiences with others. B x