Maya's Birth- A story of calm, strength and feeling like a superhero!
I am so excited to share the birth story of Maya, who entered the world on Easter Weekend to her incredible parents, Veronica and Chris- who took the Calm Birth's course earlier this year.
Mum, Veronica shares Maya's birth story beautifully, describing how she and her husband Chris approached each new turn her pregnancy and labour took with calm and positivity- and in complete togetherness.
The prospect of an induced labour is a common concern raised with expectant parents, with the perception being that induction would hinder the ability to have a calm and positive birth experience. This story is one of many examples of why hypnobirthing is not redundant in this scenario but in fact all the more important- and can absolutely result in a positive birth experience. So with that, lets hear this wonderful birth story...
The moment Maya was born, I felt absolute calm and strength. I felt like Super Woman holding her, feeling everything is as it should be in the world and will be forever. I guess it’s what people mean when they talk about birth as ‘empowering’.
6 hours earlier I was being induced, put on the oxytocin drip to accelerate labour. My body was getting there, but just not quite as quickly as the doctors / midwifes would have liked – I was 3cm dilated and it could take days to reach full dilation naturally. I had already had a balloon put in the day before, which took me from 2 to 3 cms, and my waters broken that morning. Now it was 1 o’clock, I was 3cms dilated, my cervix was soft, I was having a contraction every 7-8 minutes, and the midwife was putting the cannula in for the drip to get the party properly started.
At the start of my pregnancy journey, both my partner and I were convinced I wouldn’t need an induction. The main reason for induction with first pregnancies is the baby staying in the womb longer than 42 weeks without showing any signs of coming out – we were convinced that wouldn’t be us. Armed with the hypnobirthing tools we learnt from Kate, and practiced pretty religiously, we were theoretically ready for any scenario, but deep down we had convinced ourselves we wouldn’t get to be induced – mainly because we wanted a natural birth. And then, I went for the 36-week growth scan, where long story short, they picked up mild anaemia in Maya. I needed to be induced – not late, but early. 2 weeks early. Despite convincing myself I wouldn’t need an induction, here I was, needing an induction. It was booked in 5 days after the results were confirmed, and I panicked. I had gone from all being OK and my pregnancy progressing well, to needing an induction in a matter of days. I panicked, and my partner panicked too. We tried to delay the induction date – we’d do it, but can we just have a few more days to prepare? There were no other dates available. So we did the only thing available to us, which was reaching out to what Kate had taught us and the tools we had practiced – our affirmations, our knowledge of birth, taking comfort in what was positive – Maya was fully cooked by this point, and it was in her best interest to give birth to her as soon as possible and get more tests done to better diagnose and treat the anaemia if necessary. I kept repeating what Kate had said when she introduced the process of induction in the course: “With an induction, you might think hypnobirthing goes out the window. But it’s the opposite – it comes in use even more. The body is being accelerated artificially, and hypnobirthing can help the mind catch up and be in sync with the body.”
I also reached out to Kate and we spoke on the phone, who re-enforced all those messages of calm and strength – we could do this.
So we did everything we could to stay calm, relaxed and positive. I called my sister who came to visit in a heartbeat, despite having 2 children of her own, and she brought so much enthusiasm it was infectious. She wasn’t worried at all, or if she was, she didn’t show it. She was just excited to have a date when she would meet her niece. I could see it that way too! My partner took a day off just before the induction day, we went for a great long walk, he ran me a clarisage bath, and he downloaded all my favourite shows on his tablet. We were ready.
The induction process was a lot less scary than I had built it up in my mind. First of all, it was slow. First, they did a sweep on the Wednesday morning. On Thursday morning they inserted the balloon, and I was allowed to go home until the next day. The following day the delivery suite was extremely busy, so they delayed breaking my waters by a day, which meant that it was only on Saturday that I went in for the waters and drip. All three procedures where relatively pain-free: I had Mumford and sSons playing through all of them, at the delight of the midwives to have some nice background music. I was sniffing on clarisage wherever I could, and kept my mind focused on those happy visualisations I had practiced during pregnancy. My partner and I went for lots of walks during those days wherever possible, interrupted by ice-cream breaks and decaf coffees.
And here I was in my delivery room, with my waters broken, with my oxytoxin drip put in, watching ‘Hello Ladies’ by Stephen Merchant, laughing through surges. My partner had decorated the room with big photos of happy times and landscapes, which was great as we had no windows. The photos were a great idea, not only as a reminder of happy times but also as conversation points – every midwife asked us about them and forced me to talk and think about those times. At 3 o’clock I went to the toilet, and my surges started coming in thick and fast. The pain also ramped up. I couldn’t focus on watching something anymore, so we put on my affirmations a couple of times, followed by relaxing music. Time didn’t really exist anymore, it was just a case of making it through every surge. And all the breathing practice helped so much – I figured out a surge lasted about 3 mountain breathes, with the third at peak pain, and that’s all I needed to get through each. My partner had created this video where close family and friends had recorded a calming and encouraging message for me and he played it midway through active labour, which was a great distraction, as much as it was possible at that point.
My midwife said she won’t examine me until 8 o’clock, and she expected me to be about 4cm dilated at that point. Instead, by 6 o’clock I felt a strong pushing urge, I asked to be examined early, and it turned out I was fully dilated and ready to bring Maya into the world. At this point the surges were intense, I was on the bed with my head stuck in the pillows with my partner by my side taking every single breath I took with me. By 7:45, 15 minutes before the first planned examination, Maya was born.
And there she was, perfect in every way. She fought her anemia well and two weeks after birth her blood results came back normal. Being induced didn’t take away anything from what we were hoping birth would be, quite the opposite. The hypnobirthing skills helped us turn what could have been a scary and potentially more difficult birth into a calm and positive one. Our birth was an intense, powerful and positive experience, that set us up as confident parents. I will always draw on those feelings of absolute calm and strength I felt when she was born during my parenthood journey. Maya is now 6 weeks old, she’s doing really well, growing lots, and generally being amazing. She has been relatively chilled and happy – we haven’t (yet) had any long crying outbursts we couldn’t fix quite quickly, or a night where she hasn’t spent the majority of time in her cot, waking up to feed and going straight back to sleep. We attribute that to the calm and positive way in which she was brought into the world, and we will endeavour to carry that through into her childhood.