Helen's Birth Story - Baby Beau - Calming Epidural
Beau was born on the 25th December to incredible first time parents Helen & John.
Helen's story contains medical interventions. Her epidural was a really positive decision for an exhausted Mama. It provided her with the much needed opportunity to rest & preserve some energy to deliver baby Beau. It also allowed Helen to calmly get deep into her birthing zone & have the most positive experience possible, given a number of challenges.
Helen's Mama Glow Birth Story:
The hypnobirthing and post-natal course that we did with Carrie was amazing. I am so pleased I was prepared for what could happen, as a lot of the things we discussed in the course happened to us! At 39 weeks I was admitted to hospital with double vision in my right eye and high blood pressure. After tests to rule out pre-eclampsia I was sent for multiple MRI and CT scans to rule out anything more serious. I never thought that I would be using my hypnobirthing techniques so early! Having never had an MRI or CT scan before, and with no support allowed from partners at any point (I’m sure no one would ever be allowed in the room with you anyway but a bit of husband support is always wanted!), I was on my own in the hospital and really drew on the breathing techniques to get me through, especially as the machines can make you feel claustrophobic.
On Christmas Eve at 39+5 and still in hospital, it was suggested I have an induction as the eye issue may have been down to high blood pressure. Delivering the baby should resolve the high blood pressure and in turn, take the pressure off my eye. My husband and I weighed up our options, to understand the risks to the baby, myself etc and we decided to go for it. Ultimately I wouldn't have been discharged until I gave birth so if we decided to wait, I would have been sat in hospital pregnant, with one dodgy eye and no partner over Christmas until the baby decided to come! Also, with inductions they rarely let you do them at inconvenient times, so knowing they suggested it for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day firmed up the decision that it was medically necessary. My husband John came at 4pm on the 24th December for visiting hours and was allowed to stay from then on. At 6pm I had the pessary inserted and we bunkered down for the night, watching a bit of Line of Duty while I was on the birthing ball and trying to get some sleep. At 3am on Christmas Day my waters broke naturally and my surges got increasingly stronger. I was able to manage the pain with breathing techniques and a tens machine for a long time before I needed to request pain relief. This was something I didn’t decide on lightly as I had wanted a relatively drug-free birth. I wasn’t able to keep codeine down (even with an anti sickness tablet), so I had a pethidine injection after weighing up all the pros and cons. I was then able to nap in between each contraction and eventually at 2pm was dilated enough to go to the delivery suite, 20 hours after the induction started.
By this point I was super tired. Having been in a hospital bed for a week, I didn’t have the strength to be upright, walking around or in the positions that I wanted to be. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t give birth if I’m clenching just trying to hold myself up!’ Our incredible midwife saw that it was taking a toll on me and we talked through more options of pain relief, how I wanted to have the baby, and what we could do. She didn’t push anything on me, and after much deliberation I decided on an epidural. I hadn't wanted one pre-labour but, talking it through with my husband, I knew that was the right decision for us to give me the rest I needed. In hindsight, this might have been transition as I went very quickly from 4-10cm and could have been my ‘I can’t do this!’ moment! You have to stay super still for an epidural, and having a contraction when you’re meant to stay still is not an easy task! I held my partners hands while breathing through the epidural & a canula going into my hand. I’m so proud of this moment as my husband said it was amazing to watch me be so in the zone while doctors and midwives worked around me.
The next part is a bit of a blur as I was able to go deep into the zone and block out quite a lot, particularly as the emergency button was pressed a couple of times. The baby was getting a bit distressed and they couldn’t monitor his heart rate very well due to him being so low down, so we had a ventouse delivery and this in turn came with an episiotomy. A few pushes (it may have
been more than a few but I was very in my zone at this point!) and our gorgeous little boy was out on Christmas Day at 5.02pm weighing 7lb 2oz.
A couple of hours later I was still having what I would call contractions, rather than the period pain type cramps you are meant to get and my husband called in one of the midwives. By this point I had had the epidural removed so was given gas and air to try and remove some of the blood clots but I needed a trip to theatre. Going to theatre without John and our baby was really hard but this was where I really pulled it out of the bag (!) and used every breathing technique Carrie had taught me. So much so that when I was getting the second epidural put in, I was so in my zone they kept asking me if I was ok and could I open my eyes. I was like ‘shhhh I’m doing my hypnobirthing breathing!’
We are now six weeks post-birth and baby Beau is doing amazingly well. A huge thank you to Carrie at Mama Glow Studio. Without her invaluable advice, support and the toolkit she taught us, I would have been a super panicky mess, particularly with the rather challenging birth we had. I would recommend hypnobirthing, and particularly Mama Glow Studio, to anyone. Things may change along the way & it will help you massively.