This is one of my all time favourite birth stories.
It's a perfect example of how hypnobirthing can help you maintain your calm when labour throws you a curve ball.
The presence of meconium in her waters could have led them down a cascade of intervention, but Raluca made choices that felt best for her and with a little bit of time, things unfolded naturally.
Raluca had put in all the practice prior to her birth and on the day absolutely rocked it! Here is her story...
I started to look into hypnobirthing due to a traumatic first birth because I felt I needed to take control of my birthing experience and avoid the same outcomes as the first time.
The sessions held by Ashley were great, they were at home, so no need to arrange childcare for my eldest.
I was able to put to rest a lot of issues I had around my first birth, the wealth of information delivered by Ashley has been extremely useful and the techniques I learnt are now something I am using in a lot in other situations when I need to stay calm.
From the moment I started practicing the breathing and visualizations I started to feel increasingly calm and confident and really enjoyed my pregnancy, whereas up to that point I had quite a few moments of panic.
One evening 10 days before my estimated due date, I went to bed ready to start my breathing exercises. There were no signs that things were imminent and as I was told by several midwives this baby was likely to be late, I was thinking I had quite some time to sort out the little jobs I had left.
As I was starting to do my usual relaxation exercises I felt a bit of an unusual kick and then I felt my waters trickling. My first thought was that I was imagining it - I could not have the baby yet as I had not done my hypnobirthing exercises that day! And of course I was told baby would be late! But within a minute it became clear my waters were going, so I called the hospital and went in to get checked.
By this point, apart from the waters I had no sign, no surges, not even Braxton-Hicks so I was sure they would send me home to see if labour would start. After being checked, we found that there was meconium in the waters, the baby was potentially distressed and the standard procedure for this was induction.
I cried, as this was the last thing I wanted and all of my plans seemed to go out the window. I prepared myself for a lot of things but that scenario was not one of them. I knew that if the baby was distressed I would accept induction and I knew there was an increased chance I may need pain relief and intervention.
I was heartbroken but the midwife was incredible, she listened to me and offered me the possibility to delay the induction if the baby was not in distress.
From here I decided that irrespective of what was going to happen it was important to stay calm. I asked for an examination that confirmed I was not in labour yet, and I also asked for a stretch and sweep hoping this would start things. I was also put on a monitor and I was not mobile, but fortunately the baby was doing fine so we decided I had a couple of hours to see how I progressed.
Nothing really happened apart for some Braxton Hicks tightening. I had these all throughout pregnancy but this time they were fairly regular so I started timing them and they were every 4 minutes. This was the moment I realised my body was trying to go into labour.
So I started to focus on my breathing and visualizations, not to help me through the surges as I could hardly feel any, but to make them more efficient and more intense. And they did get slightly more noticeable but not as much as the midwives would have liked.
By now I was confident, baby was doing fine so I refused induction and I asked for a further 2 hours if all was still okay. I accepted induction if I was not at 5 cms within the next 2 hours and I managed to get on a birthing ball and on my feet as long as baby was still picked up on the monitor.
I got to work even more with the breathing and visualization; l put so much concentration into them, just willing my body on. The surges got more intense but I was still laughing and talking through them so I started to get resigned that labour wasn’t establishing and I would probably have to be induced.
About 15 minutes before my agreed 2 hours were up I realised I had to focus on breathing, not to make my surges more intense anymore, but to get through how intense they were getting. I asked for the midwife who checked and I was 5 cms.
I was ecstatic, I managed it all by myself and we were back on track with my plan.
Within minutes I had the most intense surges where the upwards and downwards stage seemed to merge into one. I got on my knees and got my partner to call the midwife as things were progressing fast and the baby was definitely coming.
Three more surges later the baby was here.
So I went from 5 to 10 cms in minutes.
I wish I could tell you when I started my downward breathing but I don't remember much as it all progressed so fast. All I know is that there were people in the room telling me things but whilst I could hear them I was not processing what they were saying.
I focused on myself, breathing was my mission and I was in my own little world and followed my instincts. Baby was fine and alert and we were home within hours.
In spite of how it all started I had the natural birth I hoped for, with no pain relief and no interventions and it became such an amazing, empowering experience.
The fact that I regained my calm, self belief and was able to apply all the things I have learned made all the difference and I truly believe this is all due to hypnobirthing.
This is the best thing I ever did so if you are thinking about it just go for it. Thank you Ashley for everything!