Mike and Katie - The Birth of Hugo (July 2021)

When we got pregnant I was so excited. We were very fortunate to fall pregnant quickly. However, I began to have a reoccurrence of my anxiety due to previous negative experience as a student midwife. I felt anxious at antenatal appointments and my heart rate would go through the roof. 

This is where Shelley came in. We wanted to explore hypnobirthing to help ease my anxiety, due to experiences on placement and to give my husband the tools to help support me during our pregnancy journey and ensure he didn’t feel like a “spare part.”

From the beginning Shelley made us feel confident and supported us to make informed decisions, whilst the scrips allowed me to relax. 

As an epileptic, the current NICE guidelines and hospital protocols recommend that a pool birth, may not be appropriate, due to the associated risks that come with epilepsy. In my case seizures are brought on by lack of sleep, lack of food and stress. Due to hypnobirthing with Shelley I felt prepared by the knowledge of the pain fear cycle and power of breathing to avoid adrenaline taking over. 

Shelley also went away and got information from current midwives on up to date practices in regards to pool births in a obstetric unit. 

I was getting regular scans and reviews, due to my anti epileptic drugs. During one if my reviews, I took the information Shelley had supported me with to the consultant and felt empowered to discuss my birth preferences because of my informed knowledge and approach to addressing my preferences, I got my wishes confirmed - It was written in my maternity notes, my preference to have a water birth was confirmed in writing. I was thrilled. 

This is where my pregnancy takes a turn. On my growth scans my baby was measuring large for gestational age. They looked at his placental function and blood to his brain to check all was okay. Luckily all seemed fine, my placenta was just doing a good job of growing him. My growth scans went from 3 weekly to biweekly. He continued to grow and was estimated to be 9lbs 4oz at 39 weeks.

I was given the option to be induced there and then, or to try a stretch and sweep to see if this would bring on labour naturally. Personally, from my time as a student midwife, an induction of labour was not something I wanted to do. Therefore, I opted to have the stretch and sweep. Nothing happened. 

At my next appointment at 39+5 I got consented for an elective Caesarean section for the Thursday (40+1).

When you have an elective caesarean you are required to stop eating from 22:30 the evening before and only clear fluids until 06:30 the following morning. My husband and I went into hospital excited to meet our boy. Time passed throughout the day and we were told labour ward had been extremely busy and many people had to go into theatre because of emergencies. We were sent home that evening at 17:30 completely deflated, but were told to come back the following morning. At this point I was also extremely hungry and thirsty as I had still not been able to eat or drink throughout the day. 

Friday morning came and we were told we were first in as a priority. However, the other elective went first, we were later told it was due to the other elective saying we were happy to wait. No one checked this with us. Other emergencies happened. It got to 16:00 and we had both lost hope that we were going to meet our little boy. 

Next thing we knew, the team came around and told us we were going to theatre, at this point it felt completely surreal. Somehow though, I felt completely prepared and calm. I firmly believe this was because of the techniques we learned in hypnobirthing. I felt completely relaxed and prepared. I knew any minute we would meet my boy!

At 17:32 Hugo Thomas John was brought into the world weighing 8lbs 12oz completely healthy and he was perfect. Our birth preferences were followed. My husband cut his cord and I got skin to skin immediately. Following birth I was supported to breast feed whilst in recovery. 

Although I did not get my pool birth, I feel as though I followed the BRAINS acronym, my husband was completely involved in the decision making and my birth preferences were adhered to. This wouldn’t have been possible with out Shelley’s support and professionalism. I will be forever grateful.