We had an interesting start to proceedings… a power cut kicked things off on the eve of our due date…. but Dave, my partner, got it all sorted and we hopped into bed just after midnight, on what was then the 4th March. At quarter past midnight, I felt a strange sensation and immediately realised that my waters had broken! It was nothing like I’d seen in the movies: it felt like a gentle trickle which I couldn’t stop. We called the birth centre to let them know, and they advised me, very logically, to pop in a big maternity pad and get some sleep. We were to call in to see them in the morning for a check up.
The morning arrived and I was experiencing very gentle surges. After my check up at the birth centre, we were advised to head home and relax. Oh how we laughed… we’d only gone and booked to have new carpets fitted in our bedrooms that day!!! First babies never arrive ‘on time’ – we’d thought…. But, home we went… the contents of our bedrooms filling the living room. There was just enough room for me to bounce on my birth ball…
The carpet fitters came and fitted our carpets, rather bemused at this insanely excited pregnant person, smiling through surges as she served them cups of tea!
When the carpets had been fitted, I insisted that we got the flat back in order: we couldn’t bring the baby home to a chaotic mess… Talk about nesting! By early evening, everything was back in its place and I felt ready emotionally and physically. My surges began to get increasingly powerful and we decided it was time to get back in touch with the birth centre. At around 9pm, we packed the car and made our way in.
During labour, Dave was utterly amazing: he never left my side; he kept me strong, calm, confident and focused – my absolute rock.
It was a long labour: 36 hours from my waters breaking, but we worked as a team, using our practice to keep us focused and positive.
KGHypnobirthing made us so strong during preparation for labour and birth as we spent evenings relaxing with the scripts, practising breathing and visualisations, listening to the recordings, reading from the book and educating ourselves on our birth choices. We ate well, sent each other inspiring messages, filled the flat with daffodils and put the picture of the birthing flower on the wall at the end of our bed.
Our labour involved many hours listening to the a variety of other pregnancy relaxation tracks; filling beautiful imaginary balloons with each up-breath; the warm soothing water of the birthing pool; a gym ball; a birthing stool and a soft beanbag which I leaned over during the final stages, visualising a coffee plunger of all things (!) as I breathed our baby slowly down.
When Johan finally made his grand entrance into this world, he was peacefully asleep. It was at that moment that we discovered we had a son: a truly unforgettable moment.
Very soon after the birth, we were separated and Dave and Johan were blue lighted off to the hospital. They were worried about the possibility of infection due to the amount of time between water breakage and birth, as well as a possible respiratory issue. However, thankfully, he was absolutely fine. The risk was very low.
It was heartbreaking being separated like that and so soon after birth. I had to stay at the Barkantine whilst I birthed the placenta, which I’d wanted to do naturally with Johan latched to me. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. I had a managed third stage, so the ambulance could take me to the hospital asap. But, I remained strong, with the support of the wonderful student midwife who stayed with me, and I drew on my hypnobirthing practice, remaining focused, knowing we’d be back together soon. We stayed in the hospital over night for observations, and brought him home on Mother’s Day!
Johan David Braddock was born safely, peacefully and completely naturally at the Barkantine Birth Centre, London; to very proud parents on Saturday 5th March 2016 at 12.24pm, weighing a whopping 8lbs 15 ounces.
Since then, we’ve had lots of time to reflect and realise just how powerful our hypnobirthing practice was. In fact, the effects are lasting. The affirmations are firmly etched in my mind, particularly: “I am prepared for whatever turn my birthing takes…” “I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure…” And the one that helped and spurred me on in the final moments: “This baby WILL come out of my vagina!”