I really wanted a natural birth because of my desire to move around and use any position I liked during birth, and because of my belief that a birth without any medical interventions is best for baby and mother. Giving birth at Aqua Birth house, using HypnoBirthing techniques allowed me to achieve this dream!
On Monday the 5th of September, I had to visit the doctor affiliated with Aqua Birth house as I had reached week 41 of my pregnancy with no sign of baby. You can only give birth at the birth center between 37 and 42 weeks and if there are no complications. The doctor said my cervix was soft and I was 1.5cm dilated and that I’d have to come in to his clinic to be induced with Pitocin the following Monday if baby hadn’t appeared by then.
Perhaps Ella didn’t like the sound of induction, perhaps it was down to all the combined efforts of natural induction I tried that evening- lots of pineapple, acupressure points and clary sage oil, or perhaps this day was my real due date after all! Whatever it was, I was woken up by my first surge (contraction) at around 11pm. I immediately used the HypnoBirthing breathing and vizualisation techniques I knew so well. I can’t express how much they help! They allow you to work with your body through each surge and I can honestly say I quite enjoyed most of the surges- the ones towards the end were a bit more intense!
The surges came every half an hour throughout the night, waking me up each time but I slept in-between. By the morning, they were about 15 minutes apart but not regular. My mother-in-law and husband were at home with me but I liked keeping the surges secret for the moment! I went ahead with a normal day with stretching and a good breakfast. By midday it was obvious the surges were the real thing as they were getting more intense and closer together. My mum-in-law massaged my back throughout each one, and my husband chose a rom-com for me to watch for distraction! I was too distracted to watch it though, and I remember doing some much needed vacuuming and dusting instead (very last minute nesting!). The surges continued to intensify and I spent most of the afternoon in the bath listening to the HypnoBirthing relaxation tracks. By 6pm, it was obvious I should think about getting to the birth center as the surges were getting close to 6 minutes apart. I hadn’t eaten yet, and I have to say: prepare something quick and easy before! I hadn’t, and my husband’s efforts were unfortunately not quick or tasty enough and I didn’t manage to eat much as my surges were quickly getting closer together. I recommend using a contraction app on your smart phone by the way- easiest way to time them. By 7pm the surges were coming regularly at 5 minutes apart and we left in a taxi for the birth center.
When I arrived at the birth center, my surges were monitored and the midwife found that they had become weaker and irregular. I was 4cm dilated. She said that I could either return home or stay over and hope that they resumed in the morning. My husband tells me that I became quite annoyed by the suggestion I had to wait and that I insisted I was going to have the baby that evening and I’d walk up and down the stairs to get the surges going again.
The next few hours really are a blur, but the surges certainly returned and by 11 pm I was already 10cm dilated and wanting to push. The time between 8 and 11 was spent in the tatami room upstairs and then in the delivery room downstairs, changing positions between all-fours and on my side, with lots of cushions in-between my legs. I listened to the birth affirmations section of the HypnoBirthing CD most of the time and used lavender oil. I felt very calm and relaxed.
My primary midwife called a second midwife and my bath was run. I got in the bath, which felt extremely relaxing. I got too relaxed it seems as my surges weakened. The midwives suggested that I would get too tired to push if I remained in the water. Perhaps this is where I could have been more insistent about my wish to give birth gently in water by bearing down rather than by pushing but the offer that it would be faster and less tiring if I squatted tempted me, so I got out of the bath and went to the birth stool. I remember noticing that it was 11:45PM on the 6th at this point and I thought it would be cool if I could birth my baby by midnight! It wasn’t to be the 3 easy pushes I had hoped for. Ella was posterior so it was a bit more difficult to get her down the birth canal, but there’s no backing out so you just go for it!
I felt her head and she was still in her sac, my waters hadn’t broken even at this stage. At 12:39pm the midwives started telling me to put my hands down to catch her but I almost missed her as I thought they were still telling me to point my chin down as they’d been telling me the whole time. Luckily I got their meaning and, along with my husband who reached round me, we caught our baby girl. We brought her up onto my chest and we lay back onto the bed. The cord was left connected for a good 3 minutes while Ella was on my chest. She found my breast soon after and suckled. The midwives left her there for about half an hour before taking her to be weighed and measured. She came back quickly and my husband, Ella and I were left alone for about an hour. We were helped up to our tatami room and spent the rest of the night sleeping all together on the futon. I fully recommend the birth center if you speak a little Japanese. Feel free to mail me if you are considering a HypnoBirthing or drug-free birth center birth! firstname.lastname@example.org