The birth story of Elka Rae
The birth of my second child was another wonderful hypnobirthing experience. I had a beautiful hypnobirth with my son Oliver and I went into this labour excited to birth again. It was a wonderful way to feel coming into birth. I had tightenings often throughout my pregnancy and these intensified at 39 weeks gestation. We live 1.5hrs from our birthing hospital so I was mindful that I didn’t want to wait too long to transfer when I went into labour. We had 2 nights away in what I thought was early labour, but was instead the start of a prodromal labour. I didn’t experience prodromal labour with my first baby so it was a new experience to me. My mind started to doubt my body which I knew wasn’t ideal heading into birth. I reached out to the Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioners which was the best thing I could have done for myself at that time. I was given lots of reassurance and some tips for getting through the last days of labour. If you’re struggling at the end of your pregnancy, I highly suggest you get in contact with your hypnobirthing practitioner. They’re a wealth of information!
When I was 40 weeks and 2 days, I had an appointment with my private midwife. This was really lovely and I left feeling very relaxed after a good chat, knowing my baby would be coming to me soon enough. When I climbed into bed at 9pm, I realised I was having some surges. With the prodromal labour, this was nothing new for me, so I tried to put it out of my mind and go to bed. I couldn’t quite settle so I decided to put the bags back in the car just in case. I heated my heat pack and settled into bed at 11pm. I woke at 2am thinking it was morning. I thought ‘another false alarm’ then looked at the clock. Not morning, and I’m still having some surges. I made some toast and moved around the house. I realised things were maybe happening now. The difference was that every surge was uncomfortable, not some uncomfortable ones and some tightening ones. They were consistent, and at 3:30am I decided I would wake my husband so we could sort out our son. Oliver woke to the sound of people in the house and I took him out to the car so he could spend the day with his grandparents. As I swayed and contracted, I watched the shooting stars above and wished for a wonderful birth. It was a lovely moment for me, my last with Oliver as an only child. I got very emotional as he left, and felt my surges intensifying.
I called our midwife and let her know I was ready to have a baby. I told her we’d meet her at the hospital at about 5:30am and call if we had any issues on the way. It was Saturday morning, and I knew our birth photographer had a wedding this morning. I decided I would call her anyway and see if she wanted to come, knowing she may not be able to. She was happy to come along and told us she would meet us at the hospital at 5:30am also. At 4:30am I told Ben that my labour was established. I could feel the change in my surges, I knew we would be having this baby this morning.
The trip to the hospital was hard. Sitting on my bottom isn’t something I like to do during labour. I was in the back seat so that I could hop onto my hands and knees but decided I would stay sitting in case my membranes released. I felt every bump in the road. I was vocal with my surges, I just wanted to be out of the car. We got to the hospital and I again got very emotional as we arrived. I was going to meet my baby soon, something I had wanted for so long. My surges were strong, I was ready.
Once we got into the birth suite, my midwife Klare hugged me and welcomed me, and I was immediately excited. I was here to have a baby! It was my birthing day! How wonderful. Ben got to work setting up my birth space, placing some fairy lights and my aromatherapy diffuser in the bathroom. I was happy to move around the birth suite and enjoyed light touch massage from Ben to start with. I was enjoying my labour now, I remember saying how incredible the woman’s body is, I felt so powerful. I knew when I was ready to hop into the shower. When labouring during my first hypnobirth, I used “affirmations for beautiful birthing” throughout my whole labour at the hospital. Ben asked which music I would like, and I asked him to play my Adele playlist this time. We had been to the Adele concert some months before and I was in the mood this morning. I didn’t feel any fear and didn’t feel the need for hypnosis at that stage. I chatted to my midwife and Ben between surges, I kept telling Ben how wonderful it was to have no fear this time. I could feel what my body was doing and it was really enjoyable. I was loving this second labour! Time passed, and I instinctively knew it was time to change positions and get ready to meet my baby. I asked my midwife for a birth ball that I could kneel and lean against it. My breathing changed soon after this. I couldn’t do my surge breathing anymore – in fact I couldn’t breathe at all! I knew things were changing. It was here that I started to feel fearful (thanks adrenaline). I decided if I asked Ben very nicely, maybe he’d listen to me. “Ben, I don’t really want to do this anymore”. “You’re safe darling” was the reply, drats. I guess I’m having this baby. I was repeating birth affirmations in my head ‘I am safe, my baby is safe’, ‘every surge brings my baby closer to me’. These were really helpful during those harder moments.
\I started to breath down with my surges. I felt my membranes release at some stage and continued on, trusting my body knew what to do. I asked Ben if he could see her head because I could feel it moving down. Klare said she hadn’t seen any head on view yet, how could this be I thought! The next surge was big – I knew they’d be seeing some head with this one, in fact, her whole head was birthed with that one almighty surge. I really roared her out, wow. With the next surge came her body – 7:01am and she was here. I scooped her up and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A whole head of thick dark hair, and she was so so beautiful. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. Oliver was bald when he was born so this hair was such a difference for me! I was flooded with oxytocin and so in love. Klare helped me to move to the bed where I quickly birthed my placenta.
The afterbirth pains were really full on second time around. Immediately following birth they were long, strong, and much more intense than labour if I’m being completely honest. They floored me a little, but I had my beautiful bundle, she was worth the discomfort. Again, I kept thinking wow, how powerful is the female body. Clamping my uterus and closing off those blood vessels. We named our girl Elka Rae, I was so in love.
We had skin to skin, Elka had a feed and Ben enjoyed some skin to skin before she was weighed and measured. She weighed in at 4005g (8lb 15oz), which I could not believe. I had just pushed out a 4kg baby, what! I couldn’t believe it. Had I known I would be having a 4kg baby I probably would have been fearful, Oliver was 3.3kg. But of course, my body grew an appropriate sized baby for me which my body comfortably birthed. I actually recovered physically from my birth a lot quicker this time, despite the size difference.
I feel so lucky to know what I do about birth. As a midwife, I know lots of things related to birth, but doing the hypnobirthing course with my first born taught me so much more. I’ve had two wonderful experiences which are so special to me. I feel like I birthed without fear this time round. Although I felt fearful just before I delivered my baby, I also knew that this was almost the end. Having that knowledge made it much easier for me. Trust yourself, ensure you have a great care provider who is willing to help you have the birth you want and surround yourself with positive birth partners. You too can have the birth you desire!