It’s long overdue, but I’d like to share Jonah’s birth story here on my blog. It seems such a long time ago as Jonah is now 14 months old. Sitting here to write it makes me feel so happy and gooey, as it was such a beautiful day full of love, tears, music, and pushing!
I’d hit 40 weeks and Jonah’s due date knowing that only 5% of babies actually arrive “on time”.
I knew he’d arrive a bit later than his due date.
North Tees hospital kept moving our dates forward at scans, and since I knew the exact day I fell pregnant, Jonah was actually just measuring big for his dates.
We’d followed a HypnoBirthing course with the excellent Vicki Lund, so we had birth preferences in our hospital folder. Jonah’s birth didn’t go exactly as I’d hoped, but it was a completely positive experience!
I’m so glad we did HypnoBirthing as it gave me confidence in my ability to manage intensity and make the right choices for myself and my baby. It also gave me a routine to focus on in the later stages of pregnancy, which helped me feel prepared for labour and birth.
On Monday 20th June around lunchtime, I heard the letterbox rattle and waddled over to the door to see what it was. Ugh, not more junk mail. Bending down to pick it up I felt a strong popping feeling, and knew it was my waters breaking. Oh my gosh! I was so excited! I’d had no signs up to this point – no Braxton Hicks, no loss of mucus plug, and no hunches whatsoever.
Martin was due back from work in 20 minutes to come with me to our routine 40 week midwife appointment. I couldn’t wait for him to arrive through the door, and when he did I excitedly told him my waters had broken and that baby was on his way!
There was green meconium staining in the waters, so when we arrived at the midwife’s clinic we mentioned it, but were assured it was normal. My surges started almost immediately, but were very mild at first. It was nothing like you see on TV, where all of a sudden a pregnant woman is immobilised by her pain.
We went home, stayed active, listened to HypnoBirthing affirmations, bounced on the birthing ball, did light touch massage, and listened to music. We ate a light dinner around 6pm, and watched the Game of Thrones season finale – not the most calm and relaxing choice of TV for labour but essential viewing nonetheless.
Later in the evening, I was well into my labour. My surges became intense and lasted one minute and were three minutes apart. By midnight I felt ready to call the hospital. I was assessed over the phone and advised to wait some more and try paracetamol, so I did that. It was so disheartening to be told I wasn’t ready when I felt like I was!
Ten minutes later I was feeling the incredible urge to bear down. Martin called the hospital again and, given my advancing condition, they advised him to call an ambulance. How dramatic it was being ushered into the ambulance in my slippers and oversized nightie!
The ride was bumpy but I was so glad to arrive in the labour ward, groaning like a big cow with each surge.
The birthing pool was being prepared for me and the sound of the water was so soothing. Before getting in, I needed to be assessed.
I was 10cm dilated already!
HypnoBirthing talks about breathing the baby down, a specific breathing technique I’d been practising for months on the toilet – yes, really. It suggests that pushing is not necessary if mum is active and can squat, letting gravity assist in moving the baby through the birth canal. It talks about how the lithotomy (lying on back) position is actually detrimental and can make labour more difficult.
Unfortunately, our midwife couldn’t get a regular trace on baby’s heart. Meconium was present so we were advised to labour in the lithotomy position because continuous fetal monitoring was needed, which also meant a water birth was not possible. I didn’t have the energy to be disappointed by this, and we wanted our baby to be safe, so we did as was suggested.
I definitely wasn’t prepared for what pushing a baby out really means. I was expecting him to just glide out, but actually it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – a massive amount of energy is needed to push like that! And, well, I wasn’t very good at pushing. It felt wrong to be working against my breath by holding it to push. Our midwife had to coach me, and eventually she advised we’d need to have an episiotomy to hurry things along.
Jonah Samuel Little was welcomed into the world at 2:40am on 21st June, the longest day of the year, to a beautiful soundtrack of our favourite music. He wasn’t crying and came out very peacefully, and was placed on my chest.
The cord was wrapped once around his neck, but he was a healthy 9lb 4oz, with an Apgar score of 9. One point was deducted for being purple!
I remember the surprise of being unsure how to handle this floppy little bag of flesh, but feeling so ecstatic he was finally here, and enjoying those wonderful newborn cuddles. It felt like I’d always known him, even though he was brand new. This little human lying on my chest had been inside me all this time. How could that possibly be?
We breastfed for the first time and Jonah was held by his daddy and grandma, whose support was invaluable. Nobody had any sleep that day, but nobody cared! We were so elated and full of joy. Jonah was finally here!
After delivering the placenta, and an hour of skin to skin, during which I was cleaned and stitched up, Jonah was taken away to be weighed and have his blood type checked, since I’m rhesus negative (turns out Jonah is too).
Kind and smiling ladies brought an endless supply of tea and toast. They kept ordering more and more for me as I was so weak and feeble! My legs wobbled when I tried to stand. The toast and marmalade was so good! Mmmm, carbs.
Labour was 12 hours start to finish which I thought was great for a first baby. I do feel my preparation in advance of labour helped, along with being active.
One thing that stuck with me after Jonah’s birth was the feeling that I’d failed at HypnoBirthing, since I’d not breathed my baby out, and I’d needed an episiotomy. But now I know it’s not at all possible to fail at HypnoBirthing! There is no way we can control every eventuality, and HypnoBirthing is actually preparation for what might happen if things don’t go to plan. Jonah’s birth was perfectly imperfect!
And yes, I’d totally do it all over again for baby number 2. In fact, I can hardly wait! We’d love for Jonah to have a sibling, and another baby would complete the Little family!
If you’re considering taking a HypnoBirthing class in the Teesside area I highly recommend Vicki Lund – she’s a knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and warm hypnotherapist. You can contact her via her One Born Without the Drama website or via her Facebook page.