Hi Kat,

I hope you are well? It feels like such a long time since we attended your classes in the summer, but I wanted to drop you a note to let you know that baby Levi was born on Sunday 20th October at 42+1 weeks. Your quote ‘Let go of all expectations” couldn’t have rang more true and i held that in mind when our hopes for a home birth took a very different path.
I was induced at 42 weeks, felt deflated as I was told I couldn’t have a pool birth and was stuck in a hospital delivery suite. Despite this we managed to look for the positives and I didn’t want to begin labour in a negative mindset. I had a pessary at Saturday at 3:30pm and had 4 hours of my uterus hyper contracting every minute and not slowing down, which the doctors weren’t happy about, although i didn’t feel every contraction. I supposedly was already contracting 1 every 10 minutes so I guess my body was preparing for labour naturally. I then was moved to the delivery suite at 1am and my waters were broken, I was hoping to avoid the synthetic oxytocin and the doctors said they want labour to kick start in 2 hours, but i pushed and asked if they could give me 4 hours before re-assessing as i felt if my body was already in early labour then perhaps it just needed a helping hand!  We then spent a very long and pretty lonely night in the delivery suite with a very average midwife checking in on us occasionally but otherwise, not offering us much other support or assistance. J managed to sleep a little and i relaxed using the hypno-birthing breathing and listened to many of your tracks. At 8am with the shift change, Bea a lovely midwife who we met the day before came back,  she was wonderful, calm and had read my birth plan, understanding that whilst my original natural home birth preferences had gone out the window, ensured our other wishes were granted (calm and quiet room, no pain relief unless i requested, music and massage and active birth positions). I had the synthetic oxytocin for the next 10 hours. It was very intense, however, i managed to keep calm and relaxed and go with the surges as they grew in strength over the next 10 hours. J was amazing and massaged me, fed me, reminded me to breath and held my hand talking me through each wave. Strangely (or not so strangely) every time the doctors came to assess me, my body shut down and contractions stopped. I felt the adrenaline kick in as I knew they’d deliver negative news…labour was not progressing fast enough, they’d come back in 2 hours and if not….it was as if someone flicked a switch and my body didn’t like them.
Despite the impact of the doctors, i felt in control of my body and when they left the room I managed to relax and go back in to my happy place to enable labour to continue. I felt proud that i was managing using only gas and air. Contrary to what the consultant originally said, my  midwife didn’t see any issues with using the pool. When she told me this J said i looked like a 4 year old in the playground, i ran over and “jumped” in. I immediately felt a wonderful sense of relief, by then the surges were so strong I found it difficult to cope out of the pool, but in it, it was like someone was waving a magic wand. At 6pm, after pushing for an hour and 15mins the midwife wasn’t happy the baby hadn’t arrived, and after doctors assessment they confirmed the baby was back to back and advised we went in to theatre to help him out with forceps. We most definitely hadn’t envisaged a giving birth in theatre so the suggestion came as a surprise, J looked pretty panicked and all of a sudden my body started to shake uncontrollably with a huge adrenaline surge. We had a moment to think about it and decided that after 12 hours, i was tired and felt it was the best option to help baby make his way in to the world.
An hour later, after an epidural, Levi was earth bound! He was placed on my chest and J and I melted in to our own little world admiring his perfection whilst the placenta (which didn’t want to come out) was removed and i was stitched up.
I look back at Levi’s arrival a month on, and even though he didn’t arrive at home, even though he entered the world in a brightly lit theatre with over 10 people staring down at him, my memories are happy ones. I think of me in the  birth pool, of calming music surrounding us and J and Bea giving me the most wonderful support and lavender massages. I don’t think that our experience would have been the same without having practiced hypnobirthing, which gave us confidence in understanding the choices and decisions made and the ability to remain calm and relaxed in a very unfamiliar, clinical environment.
I sing your praises to all pregnant friends and tell them about your classes,  I hope that I see you again sometime soon at the well garden.
Wishing you lots of love and best wishes
E (and J and L).

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