Our daughter Ella was born at Stoke Mandeville 5 days early.
On Friday 20th October, I woke up and went to the toilet at around 8am and thought I had lost my mucus plug so I knew things were progressing in the right direction.
In the evening we were sat watching TV whilst our dinner was cooking in the oven and I felt a gush of water, and thought my waters had broken. I took myself to the bathroom only to find a lot of blood loss rather than water, there was so much blood I just thought the worst as I was always told in my classes that blood loss wasn't common/normal. My husband rang Stoke Mandeville and they asked me to come in straight away with my hospital bags as they said if I was bleeding as much as I was saying they would very likely be keeping me in.
On route to hospital I felt the baby move which was a relief and I started to feel mild contractions (like dull period pain). We arrived at hospital around 9pm and I was put on the monitor straight away so they could keep an eye on our heart rates and my contractions. I was still continuing to bleed and lost a lot of blood again when I went to the toilet. Not long after that I was examined and was told I was 2cm dilated, they did not know why I was bleeding and said I may have a ruptured placenta. There was talk of a c-section and induction, but, informed by our hypnobirthing course, I said if there was no real emergency and me/the baby were ok for now could we leave it to see how things progress as I was still having contractions that were getting stronger. The doctor agreed to would leave me for a few hours to see how things progressed.
My husband helped me stay calm and encouraged me to put into practice everything we had learned with hypnobirthing. I was listening to my hypnobirthing playlist and positive affirmations, and was focussed on doing my breathing throughout this time to help me through each of the contractions, which were getting stronger.
My waters broke at 4.30am and when I was then examined I was found now to be 5cm dilated, which is what they class as 'established labour'. I truly believe I got myself to established labour due to my breathing/hypnobirthing - and I'm so grateful that we were informed enough to ask for time, as that is clearly all I needed! As I was now in labour, I was able to carry on by myself and was moved to one of the labour rooms.
When I got into the labour room we got settled and I started to use my tens machine whilst still doing my breathing and hypno-birthing. Eventually I started using gas and air too, with the occasional massage from my husband that really helped.
When I finally asked about more pain relief they said it was time for the baby to come out!
Ella was born at 9.32am after being in labour for 5 hours but altogether from everything starting it was about 12 hours in total.
I was really happy with the birth, especially after the worrying start - and that was thanks to the hypnobirthing classes I did. I was glad hypnobirthing gave me the knowledge and confidence to discuss the birth with the doctor, otherwise I think I could have very easily been induced or ended up having a c-section.
Doing the hypnobirthing course was so beneficial for Andy too as he was able to stay calm too and knew how to support me.
They still don't know what caused my heavy bleeding - my placenta was fine - I guess it just goes to show how unique our birth experiences are!
- Laura and Andy