Lucy Kempsell

1st baby, (induction of labour/physiological birth)

I was recommended by my Midwife to contact Gemma when I mentioned I was intrigued by hypnobirthing, I didn’t know a great deal about it but figured anything that could help me deal with the unknown of labour and birth was definitely something I wanted to explore.

Now a little about me… I’m 27 and have avoided hospitals my entire adult life. They terrify me! Doctors…medications…complications…machines the lot! So although I was delighted at the prospect of having a baby, the actual HAVING of the baby proved to be quite frightening. So, I booked on Gemma’s workshop for two reasons 1) I wanted a natural birth, my body is built for this and I wanted no interventions, no inductions, no medications and 2) as I knew it was going to be so important for me to be able to relax in a hospital environment, even though I planned to be there for as little time as possible, my plan was home labour, hospital birth… how wrong could I be?!

My labour experience was, everything I had feared originally, did so not go to plan, and yet I still managed a natural, minimal pain birth!.. Gemma is simply put – amazing. There is no thank you big enough, she helped me bring me baby girl into the world safely, naturally and made me feel like an absolute superstar in doing so! Gemma, we love you.

At 36+6 it was a Sunday, and we had gone to the Christmas panto that day (laughed all day, lots of oxytocin!) and that night 11.30pm my waters broke in the house. Cue excitement and a little adrenaline and Dougie and I holding hands and breathing together as we thought baby imminent! I phoned labour ward to let them know and because I was early they wanted to see me, uh oh this means hospital earlier than I thought. Okay, I’ll be home in a few hours to labour at home I’ll be fine… Get to hospital, consultant comes in, tells me they want to put me on a drip, give me an epidural, followed by horrible speculum exam followed by BP check and guess what, blood pressure is sky high. I try to explain I’m not good in hospitals and that it’s nothing to worry about, but of course I get kept in because of it and Dougie gets sent home. I managed to stop crying for long enough to explain to the consultant that I don’t want an epidural and I don’t want the drip, and so long as baby is ok, can they give me more time? Different consultants said different things but eventually they said they’d give me 36hours so till Tuesday morning, but I couldn’t go home. For me, this was my absolute worst nightmare. Every blood pressure check was sky high, 153/102 at one point! And the adrenaline was taking over, everything that I didn’t want! The whole time I was watching the clock and counting down these 36 hours knowing at the end of it was a drip and an epidural which I did not want. The only reason I got through those 36 hours of hospital, with 4 hourly checks on me and baby, was listening to my tapes, curtains shut, lavender oil sprinkled and fairy lights on. I had made my little bed my cocoon of safety, my baobab tree, and I breathed, and breathed and breathed.

Tuesday morning came, and at 6am I was woken by a consultant I hadn’t yet seen, she explained that at 7am they’d get me my epidural and get me on the drip as we couldn’t wait for baby any longer. I burst into tears and begged was there no other option, shaking like a leaf. She asked my concerns and I explained that I was so hoping for a natural birth with nothing false and I wanted to be relaxed and I knew that was all ruined now thanks to my hospital stay. She said that one other option was a pessary and they’d give that 12 hours to work and then that was it, drip and epidural. I agreed to the pessary as although it was a helping hand, to me it wasn’t as extreme and I did understand that it had been so long since my waters broke so I did need to hurry baby along. So 7am Tuesday morning, the Midwife popped in the pessary – even though my legs shook the whole time, it was easy. The Midwife shut my curtain whilst saying I’d feel nothing for a few hours and they’ll give it 12 hours to work.

By half 7 I had had 5 strong contractions, I was sure of it. Buzzed the Midwife, who told me nope, I wasn’t even 1cm when she put it in so it won’t be contractions yet. I listened, and thought oh dear, if that’s not a contraction then they must really hurt! So, every 7minutes, I used my breathing, closed my eyes and told myself my affirmation ‘every pain, every contraction gets me closer to meeting you’. 6minutes apart…5minutes apart…By half past 9, i was bent over the arm chair, pressing my head into the back of it, rocking on my tip toes and breathing into it. The contractions were coming on top of one another and I text my husband to say ‘ come now!’. I buzzed the Midwife and she said no, it’s not contractions yet, your next check is at 11am but let me bring you a paracetamol!

5minutes later, I buzzed again and demanded a cervical check, she tutted and said okay let’s take the pessary out, you’re not dealing with the pain very well. One part of my brain was saying the baby is coming, and the other part was saying the Midwife must be right, how can I do this for the next ten or so hours! I managed to climb on the bed and then everything happened very fast! The Midwife in surprise said oh! Baby is coming, your 8cm we need to get you down to labour ward! And I was frantically wheeled down through the hospital corridors, in and out of lifts, and into the labour ward. Thankfully, Dougie got there just as I was coming into labour ward, so this was about 10.30am, and another 30 odd minutes of contractions and then I could start pushing. Wow! I can honestly say I enjoyed this stage, the satisfaction, the relief, and the amazement of my body completely taking over and pushing this baby out. I almost felt like I was catching up with my body and it really did do all the work for me. Dougie was amazing, between pushes he was in my ear doing 3.2.1 relax, our special touch and had a cold cloth on my head, we were so in sync it was incredible. Just as she was about to be born, they realised she was coming face up, so told me it was going to be harder to push her out, I took some gas and air and was given a little cut and two pushes later my little baby girl was in my arms at 11.51am. Only at that point did I realise I hadn’t opened my eyes since being in the ward.

My labour experience was everything I feared, did so not go to plan, and yet I still managed a natural, minimal pain birth! I cannot explain enough, how I couldn’t have managed this, my hospital stay and the discussions around induction without this course and the techniques I learned. Not only did it help me relax, it helped me have the confidence to ask what my other options were, not simply accepting what the first consultant said, and to listen to my body.

Gemma is simply put – amazing. There is no thank you big enough, she helped me bring me baby girl into the world safely, naturally and made me feel like an absolute superstar in doing so! Gemma, we love you.

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