Baby Grace Elizabeth kept us all waiting until 2 January - more than 42 weeks - when she was born at 9.25am weighing 9lb 1oz!

At 16 days "late" there were a lot of people asking why we hadn’t been induced - and why doctors weren’t worried about us being so late. But our midwives were fab supporting us in waiting and we had no interventions to start labour (stretch and sweep / induction etc). We did have a check in line with Stoke Mandeville’s policy at 14 days overdue, where they monitored us for 20mins and gave us a scan, but everything showed up normally so they booked us in for one a few days later in case we still hadn’t had Grace.

 

However my waters went at 3.30am on the 2 January and contractions started to be every 8-10mins by 4.15am. Midwives arrived shortly after 4.30am and I got in the pool around 6am.

With just some gas and air, and a lot of breathing and listening to the colour of calmness mp3, we had a relatively smooth labour. The transition stage was hard but I was glad I knew it was coming as that made it manageable - if I hadn’t been prepared I think I could have panicked at this point!

I was surprised how fantastic the advice of breathing your baby out was - I’d  been a little sceptical but it helped no end in managing the end stage, with gentle stretching avoiding any damage and meaning after he birth I felt much better. I even touched her head while in the pool and giving birth, something I was surprised about but glad I did!

Unfortunately due to scar tissue from the last two not being as stretchy as I’d have liked (perhaps more perineal massage or use of an epino, which I’d considered but discarded would have helped!) and after an hour of gentle breathing I needed to get out the pool for a small episiotomy. Grace was born then on the next tightening and placed straight on me and fed straight away.

While 6hours wasn’t as quick as some expected for my third, it certainly beat the 23.5hours and 17hours with the other two. But more than that it was a fantastic experience - one I felt truly blessed to have had.

Unlike my previous birth, Graces heart rate was steady and relaxed throughout, and even being much bigger than the last two (both under 8lb) we didn’t need any intervention for her birth - both the others had forceps, and Alex also had a raft of other interventions too.

I can’t explain what a fantastic experience the hypnobirthing and home birth were. Amazing. Andrew was a star supporting me, I was much more relaxed and the other kids could come in straight after (before the cord was cut) and meet their new sister. I even cut the cord - after we’d waited for it to stop pulsating as per the birth plan, and the placenta delivery was relatively quick and straightforward - I don’t remember it with the other two, but the midwives were so good at communicating each step I felt I truly understood what we were doing at each stage and we followed our birth plan almost to the letter!

Afterwards I had help feeding, showered and went in to my own bed! I even managed a cuppa and banana sandwich :)

Overall I can not recommend hypnobirthing and homebirthing enough. As a scientific person, who appreciates low risk approaches to most things and isn’t swayed by ‘alternative’ approaches, I can truly say the course and books I read were enlightening and definitely not the mumbo jumbo I had perhaps preconceived they might be.

I am so pleased to have had your support for the course and look forward to seeing you when we catch up in a couple of months!

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                                                                             -Sarah and Andrew

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