• Sarah Purvey

Strength. Informed Decisions. Support. An Amazing Birth Story

So, here is a spectacular birth story, that makes my heart sing. What an honour it is for Arlette to have shared this story with me and then with you. Arlette and John came to my Hypnobirthing Australia classes in Hobart, in September 2016. Let’s just say that John was a little sceptical initially and I think it may have taken Arlette a little work, to get John across the line. However, it didn’t take long and he was pleasantly surprised by the practicality of the classes. And wow. What a birth partner he turned out to be .Be inspired by Arlette’s strength, the support that John gave her and the empowered decisions they made, as a team, when their birth took a few twists and turns. This is what my classes are all about. Support, tools and making empowered decisions, when birth doesn’t go the way you want it to (and let’s face it, when does it?!).Grab yourself a little cuppa and have a read of Arlette and John’s beautiful story…

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your help during our birthing journey. Thank you for your wisdom, your knowledge and your inspiration for a positive birthing experience.After being injected poked and prodded with drugs all these years for my MS, I was sick of it, I wanted to be in control of my body for once and what was happening to it regardless of which path my birth took.I was determined to undertake a 100% natural child birth (after reading about relapse in MS and epidurals).

Along with Jon I undertook the course. It was so much more than I expected it to be, I came out with the tools to overcome my fear of childbirth with a positive attitude and appreciation for what it is to be a woman. I was excited for the birth of our baby. I did my vision board, I listened to all the mp3s and meditated on a daily basis to prepare for the birth of our baby. I was at peace with the idea of giving birth and felt calm with whatever path my birthing was to take. I had prepared myself for questions, for breathing, read on delayed cord clamping.I felt as prepared as you can be for the birth of your child.

As you said, you wouldn’t rock up to a marathon without training first. I was confident I had trained my body to give birth to my child, both physically and mentally. However, as much as you might prepare, as much as you might read or meditate nothing prepares you for the birth of your baby. Life is notoriously unpredictable, as such, it only makes sense that this extends to birth; the start of life.In the early hours of 30 November 2016, I began the early stages of my labour. I breathed through my surges, had time on my fit ball and was comfortable. I could visualise my breathing and myself riding the wave of the surges.

After enduring a day of this, I went into hospital on the Wednesday. However, it was determined I was only the early stages of labour and given the choice to go home, which I took. I saw my obstetrician the following day and he was quite content with the baby’s position and was confident I would have the natural birth I so desired. I continued to my early stages through all of Thursday and most of Friday. Friday I began to internally examine myself and felt that it was time to go into hospital. I was exhausted after enduring a marathon three days in my early stages with very strong surges.

As an MS patient I am used to pain and discomfort, the addition of labour was intensifying my already pre-existing symptoms. When I got to the hospital, I knew I didn’t feel quite right, I could sense my endurance had run out. However, I maintained calm and with the guidance of Jon with his guiding my breathing and the light touch, I continued my labour without pain relief for an additional 8 hours into the early hours of Saturday morning. The midwife was so impressed and confident I could naturally bring my baby out because of how calm I was, despite my symptoms resurfacing, this being my first baby and how hands on and involved Jon was. Especially as we joked and cuddled between surges.

Unfortunately, the infamous fatigue started making things even more challenging and I could feel myself running out of stamina.

Three days of early labour and additional time in actual labour had taken its toll. I requested an epidural on my own accord, the way my body was going I was going to trigger a flare up regardless. This was not a decision I had taken lightly and it was one that I had made the previous day after much reflection with background reading and education from my hypnobirth and birthing classes. I was focused on a calm and gentle birth and at that point I knew my option for that was an epidural which I intended to have switched off when it came time to bear down my baby.

However, this was not to be so. After a few more hours I had opened all the way, however, the force of my surges against the time it took for my cervix to open had resulted in my baby’s head beginning to swell; his head was no longer able to fit through my pelvis without serious and potentially harmful intervention. Although I was breathing naturally and fine, my condition slipped between my fingers and I was unable to control my body temperature, as a result my baby’s heart rate was slightly elevated. However, doctors and midwives were surprised the baby did not seem to be any further affected. I was told by a doctor my option at this point was for a c section delivery.

Even in the midst of my birth I calmly asked if it was absolutely medically necessary and if there was any other way for a natural birth. He stated that the fact the baby’s head was a bit swollen was cause for concern and sought a second opinion from another doctor who agreed. I requested delayed cord clamping, however, this request was declined given the nature of my condition and the baby’s potential condition. This was not just my birthing experience, this was my child’s life. I made an informed decision to proceed upon the doctor’s advice.

I felt empowered with the knowledge of my option throughout the entire process, we asked questions we were not afraid to ask.

At first I had a frustrating moment regarding my body. I said to Jon that at times it feels like my body can’t do anything right (regarding my MS an my impeding C section) and then I said to myself, “I am prepared for whatever turn my birthing takes, I am safe and my baby is safe”. I realised these were the most important things to me. Jon continued to talk me through my breathing and do the light touch in theater. He was my rock during the whole process, we were in this together and I can confidentially say he got me through this labour.

During the c section the sheets were dropped and we saw our little boy for the first time we were so happy. I was able to have skin to skin straight away and this little man barely even cried. We welcomed Benjamin Glenn George Williams into the world on 3 December 2016, weighing 3.6 kg.Throughout our stay in hospital it was constantly stated how relaxed and calm our baby is. Even now, this child is very calm and centered, he is a kind and gentle old soul and channeled this energy from inside the womb too. I feel that I have known this baby for a very long time.

Although I could have probably crossed out almost all my “birthing preferences” on the day, I wouldn’t take back my birthing experience for a second. I felt empowered, instinctual and knowledgeable about all the risks and procedures. I learned so much about myself and found myself falling in love with Jon even more so. We got through the birth together of our baby together and it was beautiful. I just wanted to thank you so much for all your help and support during this special time in our lives. You gave us the knowledge and power to ensure a beautiful birthing experience. Thank you so much.”

I am Sarah Purvey, a Clinical Psychologist, Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner in Hobart, Tasmania and a mother of two precious girls. I am passionate about helping mothers have positive birth experiences. I hope that women will inform themselves and learn strategies to help them through their births, regardless of whether they want to have a caesarean, epidural, natural birth or home birth. No one would run a marathon without some training and birth is harder than that, so childbirth definitely needs some preparation too. Birth can be an empowering and joyful experience and this gives you and your baby the best start to the rest of your baby’s life. Contact me now to book a Hypnobirthing class in Hobart, Tasmania, or enrol for Hypnobubs Online, if you’re not in Tasmania (you can upgrade this to a Skype session with me too).

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