NATASHA & KALANI
My name is Natasha Khamjani and I am a freelance choreographer. I have a gorgeous 9 year old called Skyla and her birth was not the birth I had wanted (although she is the daughter I wanted!). This was how her birth went and its followed by my sons birth which was the birth I had dreamed of thanks to hypno birthing!
With Skyla it was an 18 hour labour - 9 hours that was manageable and then 9 hours that was difficult. Looking back on it now (having done a lot more research and reading) I made a lot of mistakes.
Going into hospital too early (even though my contractions/surges were close together and the right length).
An unfocused car journey (again I learnt about this in my hypno birhting course 2nd time around) .
Too much talking in labour, which broke my primal instincts (as I learned in the lead up to my second birth) to get into the zone.
The baby doing a meconium poo, which meant I had to be hooked up to monitors which meant no water birth and less mobility during labour.
Not resting enough before the labour so tired to begin with!
Getting stuck on my back on the bed and not realizing that the baby was spine to spine.
Too much gas and air!
A terrible midwife who I felt did not communicate with me at all.
She eventually was delivered after I had an emergency epidural and they had to use forceps, ventouse and give me an episiotomy. The team at the end were fantastic and I felt that I was in good hands.
I was mesmerized by Skyla when I finally had her in my arms and I was pleased that she latched on straight away which made me forget all the rest for the moment. I did request to see someone to talk through the labour about a month later as I found myself being really upset by it and wanted to be talked through it, this did help!
9 years later and I was pregnant with the baby boy that I had longed for. When I first found out I told my midwife that I wanted to go to the labour ward and have an epidural but as time went on I felt like I should give the hypno birthing option another go! Last time I had had a CD that I listened to but knew there were courses that you could go on and felt like I needed more than just a CD. When I went to look around Lewisham hospital there were a few companies that had stands - I met Lisa Toth there who runs yoga classes as well as hypno birthing courses.
I decided to sign up for the yoga classes and enjoyed those a lot, even crying a bit when she said ‘Give yourself permission to do nothing and just focus on you and your baby’ as I had been very busy at work (typical freelancer taking on too much). On another yoga students recommendation I decided to sign up for one of Lisa’s hypno birthing courses. My partner Frank was not keen!
It was just a one day course and had 3 other couples in it. We worked on visualizations; vital breathing and relaxation techniques that we needed to practice and she recommended some great books to read. It was a brilliant day and Frank and I walked away feeling more confident and positive about the challenge ahead.
I read the hypno birthing book that came with the course and listened to a CD a friend had given me but most importantly I read the Ina May ‘s Guide to Childbirth which was FANTASTIC!!!!!
I changed my birth plan to go to the birthing centre and put down again that I wanted a water birth.
As a choreographer my busiest time of year is the summer! I had put things in place that I could work up to the 22 June and then would have a week off before my due date. I had to get to the 22 June…
I had decided to have some acupuncture with Anna from Birthtale as she had a 99.9% success rate of women not going over due (thanks to acupuncture, which I am big fan of anyway!). Anna was brilliant and it clearly worked...
On the 21st June I had woken up to a cervical show....I was determined to get to the end of the 22nd and googled info about the ‘show’ - Dr Google said it didn’t mean that the baby was coming straight away so that morning, almost in defiance I taught a full on funky street dance warm up on one of the projects that I was working on and carried on as normal (although in the back of my head I knew time was running out to power on!).
That evening I taught myself how to use the TENS machine, and made sure my hospital bag was in order....when I was sleeping I could feel mild contractions but said to the baby, ”nope, I have to get through tomorrow and I need to sleep tonight!”
So the next morning I got up ready to go to work but knew that something didn’t feel quite right.
Frank (my partner) was teaching with me on this project alongside another friend so I let them know that I was going to skip the morning session as I was feeling a bit tired but I’d be with them to help out at the afternoon session! I also run my own school and we had a rehearsal that night that I was determined to get to!
I spent the morning rushing around emailing info to my covers for the following weeks and making sure everything was in place. Every now and then I’d get a surge (contraction) so would stop and practice the upward breathing technique and once it passed I’d go back to rushing around. I had a shower and got ready for work. When I opened the front door and went to unlock the car I stopped, gut instinct telling me not to get in and thinking that giving birth in the car, in traffic, on my own would not be that much fun.
I called Frank and let him know I wasn’t going to make it to the session and put covers in place for my evening rehearsal. I told myself I better start to focus on what was happening as knew the baby was on the way.
I went to the kitchen and ate lots! With Skyla that had been another mistake – not eating through labour!
I put some pillow on the floor and put my computer on and thought I’d watch Bridesmaids, as I love that film. As soon as I stopped rushing around the surges increased in frequency and became more intense. I put the TENS machine on (which was brilliant and I had loved it in my first labour) and thought I’d call the birth centre just to let them know where I was at.
I didn’t know it then but the lady I spoke to - Ali – would be my midwife later, she told me I had to come in straight away as it was my second baby and another lady had given birth at home on her own that morning which she didn’t want me to go through! I was shocked (and also aware that I had gone to hospital too soon last time). I told her that I probably had ages and was about to watch a film. She repeated that I needed to come in NOW! Soooo glad she did that!
I hung up, texted Frank and told him I was heading to the hospital and to meet me there, this was around 2pm.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d called a cab and as I’d dropped my last phone down the loo a few weeks earlier I hadn’t yet re registered with Uber. Finding a cab was very hard with the surges, which were coming every 2 minutes now and lasting around 30 seconds! I ended up talking to an automated voice for Data cars, which I wasn’t sure even worked! I got my hospital bag, an ice bag for the placenta (I had decided to do placenta encapsulation this time with Birthtale) and the car seat as thought it would save Frank time if he was rushing to the hospital (of course I didn’t need to take this but always like to make things hard for myself!).
I waddled out to the cab as if all was well as I didn’t want him to know I was in labour incase he said he wouldn’t take me. It worked as he flew to Lewisham Hospital hitting all the road humps at full speed and he had asked me if I was going to pick a baby up (seeing the empty car seat and failing to see my enormous stomach hidden by a baggy top!). I knew it was essential to keep in the zone on the journey so did the upward breathing technique and visualizations that Lisa had gone through with us.
On arrival I remember that I couldn’t find the birth centre!! I kept as calm as I could and loaded down like a donkey (carrying all the stuff) I breathed my way around the hospital for 10 minutes looking for it! I went up to the 5th floor and back down to the ground as was sure it was in the green zone. Finally someone helped me and I made it to the birth centre which was tucked behind the green zone in the pink zone!
Through all that craziness the breathing techniques worked as my labour continued to move forward and did not slow down, I must have looked quite a sight!
The lovely lady on reception was horrified that I’d been carrying so much stuff and quickly got me settled into one of the lovely rooms (which I was pleased were available).
As soon as I got in I drew the curtains, put essential oil around the room and put on relaxation music.
I had text Frank and knew he was on the way. I enjoyed being on my own for the moment and really zoned in and deeply focused on the breathing and visualizations. Imagining my cervix opening on each surge and really breathing into that. I stayed standing up and used the TENS machine the whole time. Ali popped in with a student midwife to say hello. I had no vaginal examination and she respected the fact that I was doing hypno birthing, and she left me to it.
Frank arrived and was asking too many questions at first about the surges and when the next one was coming, I asked him not to and he stopped immediately which was brilliant.
He also drew his hands up gently on the sides of my stomach every time I had a surge, which was fantastic and really helped.
The surges became really intense really quickly and I just about coped. Frank was being great the whole time with just the right amount of encouragement and support. The midwifes came into the room and checked the baby's heart rate which was all good. I was getting a bit restless and irritable and said I needed the loo (fear of pooing in labour!).
I went to the loo but could not go and got quite upset, the trainee midwife came in and helped to reassure me that all was ok. She probably wanted to make sure I didn’t give birth on the loo, I was worried that I might too! By the noises I was making which were very primal and animalistic, Ali knew that the baby would come soon so started to fill up the birthing pool. As Frank and the trainee midwife helped me over to the pool I could see that my water had broken which didn’t happen with Skyla.
I made it into the pool, which felt lovely and I remember feeling so happy that the birth seemed to be going the way I had wanted it! I now realized that I needed to switch to the downward breathing (I was surprised as it had only been 2 hours of upward breathing). The noises I was naturally making were really helping although I was aware that I was going from a bleating sheep to a mooing cow to abstract alien animals!!
Frank was helping to hold me up at the side of the pool and still being brilliant with words of encouragement. The midwifes were also fantastic, so different from last time. With all the positivity around me I continued to focus on my breathing and gently bearing down.
I began to want to push but when Ali checked to see how dilated I was, the baby’s head still felt like it had a long way to go. This made me determined to push him out and I was probably a bit too forceful as two pushes later and his head was out! I remember shouting "help" at that point as it was such a strange sensation! Ali encouraged me and told me I was doing fine..I dug deep to remember that in hypno birthing this is when you need to keep breathing with it and relax, not clam up and be frightened.
With my first birth I had never felt the baby's head come out as I’d had an epidural so this was a new and amazingly intense sensation.
After about a minute or so I pushed again and my beautiful boy came easily out and Ali placed him straight into my arms. He was still in his sack, which was completely intact and quite rare! Ali peeled it away and then gave him a bit of a rub down to get his circulation going. Finally his first cry and breaths and he was back in my arms!! I was soooooo happy that all had gone well and was smitten with this little beauty in my arms, as was Frank.
The lovely midwives left the placenta until it had completely stopped pulsating, which I was pleased about.
I’d done it! I felt proud and thankful that I'd had the birth I had dreamed of! Thanks to the hypno birthing course, yoga, acupuncture, books and positive people around me.
So Kalani Jemeth Chi Khamjani – Wilson was born on the 22nd June at 5.24pm (3 hrs and 24mins after I’d called the hospital) weighing 6lb 2oz. He now continues to grow into a beautiful little boy!
The next bit!
I’d never delivered the placenta on my own (last time I was still under the effect of the epidural) but this all went well (it took a bit of time and I finally got to have some gas and air to help!). I had to have stitches, probably as a result of my determined quick delivery. Again I used the breathing and relaxation techniques from hypno birthing, as well as gas and air which really helped!
Kalani latched on well and his big sister arrived to meet him and fell instantly in love! Once we’d had all the checks done we decided to go home and we were in our own beds by midnight that night! What a beautiful day...I couldn’t believe it had been so fast (even though I’d probably been in mild labour since the night before which I had been in denial of!).
I am taking the placenta capusles made by Charlotte from Birthtale and think they have helped with my milk supply. I also had a fruit shake three days after giving birth at my home, which was great and tasted of fruit only for any curious mums to be! I also have had homeopathic tablets made as they can be helpful in the menopause and for the baby.
So all the alternatives that I invested in were well worth it and I’d recommend that all parents to be educate themselves on hypno birthing and do some reading, especially the Ina May book to empower yourselves and take giving birth back to how it was before hospital intervention.
I know this was long so well done if you are still reading!
Much love, light and hypno birthing
PS I forgot to add that Frank said I looked like a Goddess as I went down the steps into the birthing pool which is pretty cool statement to keep!