How hypnobirthing helped me through

Whilst the birth I experienced wasn’t what I had as an ultimate plan, I had also gone into birth with the mindset that I wouldn’t let any variations upset me or stress me out and I would employ all the skills I had learnt during hypnobirthing regardless.

One of the most precious things we did for our family was go down the hypnobirthing route, whilst we left it quite late to attend I feel that we used it the entire way through labour and birth and it was invaluable.

All the midwives commented on how good my breathing was and I really felt good and in control. There were a few hours where I achieved the most incredible zoning experience I could imagine, I was so powerful and had my cervix been playing ball I know I would’ve gone the whole way in that wonderful bubble.

It was after I had been in labour for over 24hrs, I had been in the bath for around 2 hours and during that time, each surge was assisted by the water weightlessness and I could really get deep down breath into my body. I find it easier to achieve deep breathing on my back but as I was going through back labour, it was only achieved when I moved to the bath.

I would have a huge surge of heat at the same time and Tom spent almost the entire time with a small fan on me. This increased the sensations on my body, very similar in the way that the light touch massage works and I could feel myself going deeper and deeper.

I started to get a bit wrinkly after a couple of hours so chose to get out of the water and carried on labouring whilst leaning over the sink and staring into my own eyes in the mirror. This centered me so much and I could see my reflection so calm and serene that it took the experience deeper.

Each surge just increased the level of power that I felt and it was amazing, I was enjoying meeting each one and it really was an experience like nothing else. You can feel the natural hormones coursing through every vein in your body, it feels like you’re being stroked by liquid silk, inside and out and, you feel soft and full and complete. This softness doesn’t stop in the confines of your body, it radiates out of you in waves of energy and I found watching myself in this process was like nothing else, it stirs you deeper than you can imagine. The only thing I can compare it too is the effect of your newborn baby’s stare, it drinks you in and takes your heart and sole in with it too.

Then the plot twist

Shortly after this I asked to be checked for progression as I was convinced I was well along. Unfortunately, I hadn’t progressed at all and this really broke my concentration and did get me down quite a lot. Because of this, all my body’s amazing work was knocked right back, right at the time I needed it.

I am slightly hazy with timings of everything at this point as I couldn’t write it as I went along due to the frequency of the contractions. I think that it was prior to getting in the bath that I thought I had gone through the transition I talked about as it definitely wasn’t after.  Either way, once I had been delivered this blow again I wanted to get back in the bath as the surges where so intense they were taking my breath away, which goes against everything you need for hypnobirthing. The bath just didn’t offer me to relief it did before and I couldn’t get comfortable.

The amazing ability of our bodies

The sensations were totally different now, I genuinely did everything I could to get back to where I was but it’s a process, not something you can force.  It was just after this that my parents and sister came to see us and a midwife came in to discuss some pain medication.

She explained that what I was experiencing was my body working to turn Leo from OP to OA, ready for birth and my discomfort was causing me to fight against it, causing even further discomfort.

She said that the diamorphine would allow my body to relax and allow me to sleep a little,  thus enabling the process to work. I agreed that this was the way to go whilst trusting my body to do its thing.

Diamorphine dreams

I think dreams is a bit lenient, but it was a beautiful experience. So restful and chilled and whilst I slept my body completed its mission. Again, just one more thing I am so utterly blown away by.  It’s incredible that it managed to turn him so effectively in prep for an easier birth.

About half an hour later we were down being induced and this whole process was pretty efficient. My body responded really well to the drip and his lordship was unaffected.

Induction prep

I had used my hypnobirthing breath and mental stability to prep for the induction and this helped no end. I was utterly exhausted though and this was the main hindrance for me. But without the hypnobirthing mental stability I would never have approached it the way I did. I felt safe, I felt calm, Leo’s heaetrate was stable throughout everything and there was no stress outside of fatigue.

Post birth

Post birth I made use of the hypnobirthing to cope with the discomfort due to stitches and a 59hour labour and I now use the stability and serenity I have learnt from hypnobirthing to cope with the newness of parenthood and it’s working wonders. Leo is super chilled and a really easy baby so that obviously helps, but I do wonder if he is super chilled as every part of my pregnancy and most of my labour was super chilled too.

The rest is history. If you have any stress in your mind around pregnancy and birth then do this, even if you don’t have any concerns, do it anyway. It’s a birth experience worth practicing for.

Today’s a toughie

First walk with Mr P
Part of Mr P!

Today was walk day. We want to get Sammy (our springer) involved more now and thought walking them both would be a good intro for Sam getting used to an extra body in the equation.

That went really well, Sam shows a bit of interest in babba but doesn’t seem stressed by the addition into his world.  He’s had a sniff and heard him cry too and again, nothing negative at the min so we are going in the right direction.

Pretty eyes time
Garden chillout
Fatty feet
Baby workout

We also had a bit of sunshine today so got a bit of time in the garden. Little man was in his car seat for a few mins so we could sit and relax and also try and get some of this God awful swelling out of my feet.

Milk and blues

After starting the day of pretty happy, regardless of sleep deprivation, I have started to feel slightly less exhilarated than I have been. I can feel the milk coming in and I don’t feel blue as such, just a bit bored of not just being able to do things and being uncomfortable!

Leo is still being an absolute superstar though and that’s all I really care about. He does everything how he is meant to and responds positively to everything we do with him. We feel really blessed that he is so chilled out, let’s hope it’s a sign of the person he is going to be, just like his pa.

The midwife is happy with him too, he has lost 7% of his birthweight which is acceptable and she is impressed by his feeding. My stitches are also apparently doing well and the prickly feeling I get is off the little loose ends of stitch.. Ouch!

Everything is awesome!

Baby cuddles are awesome

So now I’m a dad. That’s pretty awesome just saying it, but as I’ve not blogged for a million days again I thought I’d start with the obvious.

So let’s recap on what you’ve missed. Leo arrived after 59 hours of labour, on Monday (fair of face,  get in, supermodel ninja astrophysicist baby) 27th July at 0545. Sarah is recovering well and being an amazing mum. And I’m fine too.

Labour for me was exhausting. I never wanted to sleep in case Sarah needed me at any point, and it was emotional to the point of breaking. Seeing her in so much discomfort was awful, exacerbated by the fact that it went on for so long. I was mostly positive about the whole situation, supporting Sarah as best I could, but there were a few whole hours where I just felt totally useless.

The low point was when we had moved into the birthing suite and Sarah was being monitored. I couldn’t get in position to help her out at all with our practised hypnobirthing, so was only able to speak to her. I was however able to sit and assess what was happening and pull myself out of feeling useless and get on with supporting Sarah as best I could. Thankfully this wasn’t too long before Leo arrived.

Hearing tests are awesome

I cried quite a lot. I cried when he arrived because it was such a relief to have everyone okay and the labour finally over and the look of pure smushface on Sarah’s tired but happy face. I cried when I couldn’t do enough to help Sarah and she gave me a cuddle, I’m sure she was the one going through labour.

Breakfast is awesome!

I guess the last thing to address is my wife. She was incredible in every way, and I feel like we bonded like we always have and at the same time on a whole new level. My love for Sarah is pure and deep and easy, and now that’s expanded to my little bundle of Leo. I could not be happier.

The whole thing has been a roller coaster of love and cuddles. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. It’s everything I could have ever wanted.

Breasts, beauties and bacon butties

So, we are coming up to day 4 in the life of Master Leo Burgin and I’m pleased to say that we’re doing pretty flipping well!

The downstairs stitches have been making me a little uncomfortable, mainly because I haven’t been able to get comfortable to feed. I found I wonderful solution to this yesterday… We now have a toilet feeding station. Doesn’t sound too hygienic I know, but it’s not like I feed him directly off the porcelain!  Another upside is that I have a million shelves around me to put everything in easy reach.

Leo is also feeding like a trooper. My milk came in yesterday and he is showing a true pattern now. He likes to have a cluster session of feeding in the evening and then he is pretty consistent at every 4 hours for the rest of the time in the day, early hours of morning do tend to be something of a binge too though!

Last night was a little more restless and I decided I had had enough of the moses basket. The matress is new, but offers so little support, even for a tiny baby, that he always seems unhappy when you move him into it. It’s not because he is moving from you; you can place him on firmer, colder surfaces and he settles, so was clear to me what the issue was.  Slight gamble.

(I wish this app time stamped as I wrote, this has been written across multiple feeds from midnight to now 3.30am)

I had a very quick research and I liked the look of the Snuzpod crib so, we braved our first car outing to Babies R Us and got one. It looks great and the matress is so much more supportive. When moving him on, he doesn’t flinch and I can see his little face to check he is OK with very little effort when I’m in bed.

The car journey was an amazing success and it basically sedated little man and he sparked out once home. Another good trick to have.

So, useful tips I have come up with or been given over the last 4 days

– to minimise babies shrieks of violation when changing a nappy, have a comforter toy at hand to brush across his lips and face. Source: Tom and I doing the world’s worst job of undressing Leo,  discovered when neck of t-shirt got stuck on his mouth

– sit on open toilet to ease stitch pain whilst feeding. Source: fluke

– wipe nipple with cold water after feeding, before applying lanolin so that the milk doesn’t burn sensitive skin.  Source: mum
– beware the moment your baby first looks deep into your eyes as you will literally brake down in floods of tears in two seconds.  Source: Leo broke his mummy’s bad ass no cry policy on day two.

– buy reusable nipple pads, not the cotton ones as they prickle and it’s better for the environment.  Source: I used reusable wipes on baby and just tried what they feel like on nipple. No more annoying scratchy feeling

– be positive when first latching baby on, he won’t break. Source: amazing midwife at Wythenshawe hospital

– tickle behind their jaw if nod off whilst feeding.  Source: amazing midwife at Wythenshawe hospital

 

What I thought was transition

At 7am on Sunday 26th, I thought I had experienced some sort of transition of labour.

I had a huge surge of some sort of hormone and I felt unbelievable euphoria . This huge wave of emotion spread over my entire body and it was an incredible feeling, it brought with it tears of such uncontrollable happiness that I kept having to explain to the midwife that I wasn’t in pain, far from it, I felt incredible.. It gives you a feeling as is something soothing is going all around your body,  brain, internal organs and coating it in liquid fluff.  The feeling of the surges changed too, from upwards contractions to a deep downwards movement, hence the reason I thought it was just a random type of transition.

But… In hindsight, what it actually was more likely to be was my body prepping me for the intensity that was about to confront me in the form of my body trying to rotate my Occiput posterior (back to back) baby, so that he was Occiput anterior which is better.

Then those bad boys started. If you are worried about reading this as you plan to have a baby at some point, please don’t be.  Whilst the start of this paragraph sounds like it’s going to put an end to human reproduction, I promise you that reading on you will realise it is actually positive.. It was only my lack of understanding and frustration at the fact I wasn’t progressing that skewed my thoughts at the time.

I think what I thought was transition, was in fact my body was giving me a huge OD of natural pain killers in prep for something that it needed to do but wasn’t going to be overly comfortable. I think if I had understood this at the time, gone with it for longer and hadn’t later insisted on them examining me for progress, I would’ve stayed in a euphoric state, full of natural painkillers provided to me by my ever capable body; then I wouldn’t have been so tried. As it was, the news I had made no progress from 2cm in so many hours just flawed me and I got angry and agitated, which in turn killed the prep my body had done and then I will continue with this story in a different post, as this was about what I thought was transition.

So, whatever it was, it was bloody brilliant; a feeling I wish I could bottle and sell as I would be minted.. It was one of the most incredible sensations I have ever experienced and just another compounding moment in my ongoing realisation of how staggering our bodies are and the insane capabilities that we have, without any conscious interference, to just get things done.

I have a mountain more respect for human life again, and I was already of the opinion it’s amazing at that point anyway. How we have evolved, without conscious intelligence, to be so utterly amazing, blows my mind constantly and I only wish more people could see it the way that I do as I fear it more often than not, is totally taken for granted!

Just a brief overview

We now have a beautiful baby boy, I managed to keep draft blogs to a certain point in my progress so  these are up in order of writing and then I will give a full scale, photo mash up and description once I am more awake!

And still no Baby!

Sunday 26th early morning –  I’m convinced we went through transition at 7am this morning, I will write another post just about that though as it deserves it’s own! At that point I really felt the end was in site, contractions were coming thick and fast and the feel of it had changed from pulling up to pushing down…  Not for long, then they just ground to a halt.

Some women can have a rest phase post transition, but mine has lasted around 7 hours now with what appears to pretty much no progress.

I had a good cry about an hour ago as it is so hard to stay strong for each surge when you feel like it’s pointless. I was also expecting to have been induced by now but there aren’t any spare rooms on the delivery ward, more higher risk people have been placed ahead.

Plus side of that is that there is no infection (they did my bloods) baby and I are both still doing just fine, so are pretty low on the risk scale for that side of the ward…

Blissful half an hour

I finally managed to find a comfy position to allow me to nap between surges. The bath was great but not quite deep enough to be face down so made the surges more intense. 

Two more hours and I guess they will be putting me on drip as I probably haven’t progressed to where they want me. Gonna have to dig deep to deal with those contractions, it’s hard enough with a 3 min break in between!

It’s ramping up!

Sat 25th –  evening –  So we went to bed about 10ish with contractions about 15mins apart, although they stopped after tea for around 45mins. I managed about an hour and a half of semi broken sleep with contractions and then they became quite intense so I woke Tom up.

Sunday 26th 4am ish – They then suddenly went to every 3 mins out of the blue so we came into the hospital. They assessed me and I was 2cm dilated so a little further on but they wanted to send us home until the contractions were 3 mins apart and more than 45 seconds… That’s what they were when we came in so they decided we should stay from then as booked in for induction.

We are currently in a side room on the ward and the contractions are still coming, and strong at that. It’s testing me already so christ knows what I will be like when the full whoppers come in. I really want to sleep too but they are too intense when on my back so can’t really, finding a position I’m comfortable with is proving a little tricky, it seems to be standing up at the min but I am going to be exhausted if I intend on standing up for the next who knows how many hours!

We can’t go into the birthing centre now as my waters broke over 24 hours ago so Im being classed as higher risk unfortunately, but the rooms don’t seem to have bothered me unduly so I’m not fussed.

Typing this in between contractions which seems crazy but it’s a great distraction and I want to be able to look back through it. Tom is in the process of running me a bath at the moment, see if I can be comfy in that. All I really want to do is sleep if I’m honest, tricky when standing up!

Home again

Sat 25th early hours (not sure on timing!) So monitoring went well and the midwife did a check and isn’t worried about the bleed. Cervix only just starting to dilate, but she said the monitor is showing contractions every 6 mins.. Shows what I know, I was convinced they were every twenty.

As my waters have broken, we will have to go back in for 8 tomorrow morning for ‘progression’.. So induction basically. This will mean that I have to stay in the ward and it wouldn’t be in the birthing centre, but I have already made peace with that anyway. Being in the hospital didn’t stress me out in the slightest and there was also a woman in another cubicle making quite a moaning and crying racket which didn’t bother me either. In fact, I found myself analysing the noises she was making and deducing that she was making the whole experience incredibly hard for herself and was clearly quite stressed. We will see if I still hold that opinion once I go into full on labour.

So today is about stocking up, chilling out and hoping we make good progress..