A Birth Story: Dany Griffiths (Hypnotherapist specializing in Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond…)

Sunday, 3rd June

Between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm I started getting little tightening sensations and just for fun started checking them against the clock and realised that they were coming every 8 minutes. Told Jim (my husband) and didn’t think anything more about it.

05:00 pm felt a bit tired so had a nap.

06:30 pm woke up and had dinner and watched some TV – little tightening sensations continuing but didn’t bother to check how regularly. Rang my mum and said I was getting a little sign that things might start happening soon. She said I sounded incredibly calm and I reminded her that I’d spent many months focusing on a calm and relaxed birth and felt completely confident and in control.

10:30 pm sensations were starting to make me think of period cramping – not uncomfortable just really low in my abdomen. I looked on the internet and found a story of woman saying she’d had these feelings and two days later went into labour so I thought – things will probably get started tomorrow or Tuesday then and Jim and I discussed whether he’d go into work the next day or not and went to bed.

11:30 pm felt restless so got up and lay on couch and listened to a relaxation CD.

Monday, 4th June

01.11 am woke up and went up to bed. On and off throughout the night tightening sensation kept waking me up and I’d go to the loo, noticed signs of the mucous plug so again thought that things would start happening soon and then go back to sleep. Not thinking to check how regularly it was happening

06:00 am sharp feeling in my back woke me up and I woke Jim telling him to rub the area and felt ok again.

06:20 am went to loo and saw some fresh blood. This made me wonder if something was wrong as I was getting low abdominal cramping and some blood loss. Another part of me thought that of course a blood show can also indicate that the baby could very soon be born but I pushed that thought aside as I really didn’t think I was in labour.

06:30 am told Jim he wouldn’t be going to work and called the hospital. They told me to put a pad between my legs and call back in an hour.

07:30 pm back to only seeing the mucous plug so phoned hospital and said I felt ok about the blood loss but told them how I was feeling because I was getting these fairly regular sensations. They told me to take a couple of paracetamol and have a warm bath. I told them I was practising HypnoBirthing® and didn’t feel happy with that advice so they told me to ring my own midwife if I wanted someone to come out for an assessment.

07:35 am Jim and I decided to assess how regularly I was getting these feelings and they were coming about every three minutes

07:50 am phoned midwife (Viv) and she told me to ring the hospital and ask for a midwife to come out to me as she was working on the antenatal ward and couldn’t come out. I told her what the hospital had said so she said that she would call and arrange for a midwife to come out and would call me back to let me know when they would be coming.

08:05 am I then rested on some cushions and watched Jim hoover the carpet and blow the pool up.

08:10 am Viv phoned back to say a midwife would be with us at around 9 am

08:15 am Chatted with my friend Sarita telling her that I thought things were getting started and taking a moment now and then to breathe.

08:30 am had an overwhelming need to open my bowels. Went to the loo and “pushed out” a poo so dramatically my whole uterus shook. I thought woohoo I’m not going to poo in my pool and then once again started thinking was that a sign that I’m going to give birth soon – it was such a strong urge to push

09:05 am Midwife (Trish) arrived. Jim was still getting the pool ready but Trish told him not to fill it yet as there was still plenty of time and it would get cold. I was upstairs so Trish came up to assess me. She started off my checking Evan’s heartbeat and then my blood pressure. Jim came up and asked her when she was going to see how dilated I was (he was thinking that I was going to be a lot further along than Trish was expecting as this was very common in HypnoBirthing® mums). Trish said that by looking at me she guessed I was about 5cm dilated. When she checked however she said in a very surprised voice “my goodness – you are fully dilated, you are ready”. She hadn’t even got her stuff out of the car and I heard her in the hall way on the phone saying “get another midwife here NOW she is about to have this baby”. Jim was then frantically trying to get the temperature up in the birthing pool so I could give birth in there. But in the meantime Trish started getting every towel we owned and laying them on our bedroom floor and bed. She also said that I could start pushing with the contractions (known as surges in HypnoBirthing®) now that I was fully dilated. I said that we don’t push with HypnoBirthing® but breathe the baby down and she said that’s fine you do your hypno breathing. I then found myself humming each time I had a surge and the urge to push disappeared.

09:40 am The second midwife, Julie, arrived.

10:00 am Trish said the pool was warm enough and I virtually ran downstairs between surges as I was determined to have Evan in the pool (not least of all to contain the mess). I left Jim mid-sentence asking if I needed help because for 3 weeks prior to Evan being born I’d needed to go up and down the stairs on all fours as my back and hip were so bad and he didn’t think I’d be able to get downstairs. Apparently my waters broke as I got in the pool but I had no awareness of this. I remember laughing as soon as I got in because Jim had used the thermometer duck for Evan’s bath to check the temperature in the pool and it was still bobbing around. I asked Jim for some water and he jokingly said “pleeeease”. When I got the bottle I squeezed it over him and laughed (the midwives said one of their strongest memories was noticing how much Jim and I were laughing)

Once in the pool I knew it was time to push and that I wanted to be on my knees to give birth. The midwives were wonderful. In HypnoBirthing® classes we teach that a woman left alone will go with her natural instincts and they left me to do just that. They stood watching and I had the reassurance of knowing that they were there but no interference. I pushed with the next surge and felt something. I looked up and told them that I felt something and they said that I could put my hand down and feel her head if I wanted. For some reason I didn’t want to and when they suggested Jim could I said again that I didn’t want him to.

10:20 am The next push and her head came out. Trish asked if her head was out because they couldn’t see. I knew it had but I put hand down anyway and could feel her head. I had read a lot about water births and I knew that Evan would be fine under water as she would not try and take a breath until she was out of the water but it felt like I was never going to have another surge ever again and I found myself asking the midwives would she be ok.

10:22 am Evan was born. Jim said he saw her swim out like a frog. Trish had told me to sit back as Evan was born and that she would place her straight on me. I did just that and without really knowing how there Evan was a new face and yet really familiar. We’d asked for the cord not to be cut until it had stopped pulsating as we were waiting for that Trish and Julie started asking me questions about HypnoBirthing® – they were so amazed. They were also surprised at Evan’s colour – she was so pink. We had asked if Jim could cut the cord but Trish was so excited she completely forgot and she did it. We didn’t really mind as Trish has been such an amazing part of our birth experience – intuitively understanding that this was a different type of birthing and leaving me to trust my own instincts – that it felt right that she had done it.

I had a physiological 3rd stage whilst still in the pool as Trish (who is very pro physiological 3rd stages) said that the placenta was more than ready to come out. She got me to cough a few times – not that easy after giving birth – and with the next surge the placenta was out.

What is particularly amusing is that all through my pregnancy I’d been saying that I wanted to realise that I was in labour by about 6am to stop Jim going to work and to have Evan in my pool in the morning looking out over my garden and everything to be all done and dusted in time for me to have my lunch at 12:30pm. You guessed it the midwives were gone, pool cleared away and Jim and I were having lunch with my sister and mum at 12:30pm with Evan being happily passed between us.

Trish came to see me the next day she said that she was still on a high after 24 hours and that she had been a midwife for over 30 years and never seen anything like it (another midwife told us later that Trish had text and phoned many of them to tell them of my Birth and that it had restored her faith in midwifery. Every midwife I’ve seen since has said that Trish had text them all and that everyone had been talking about it. The management of the hospital have also asked if I would do a study day for their midwives on the subject of HypnoBirthing®.

It’s nice for me to say first hand now that HypnoBirthing® really works – although a little frustrating when people, as they have done, have said how lucky I was. I did not need luck as I simply utilised the skills I had learnt.