Andrea Burnand Birth Story

Andrea wants her birth story to be an inspiration to other expectant mothers. She wants everyone to know that if they stick to the whole programme it will pay dividends in feeling energised and healthy throughout pregnancy and then the birth itself will be quick and pain free. “If you really believe it, it will be the birth you really want and deserve.”
I’m stealing a few minutes between feeds to write my birth story, which I hope will be an inspiration to all your clients. As I said to you, we must spread the word; your help in preparing me for the birth of baby Jade with your programme was fantastic and made the pregnancy and giving birth the most amazing experience of my life. So here is how it was for me!

My due date wasn’t for another five days, so although I had visualised the head of my baby dropping deep into my pelvis, I didn’t recognise the start of my proper contractions. I felt energised at work all day, not bothering to finish at lunchtime as usual. Experiencing what I thought were just Braxton Hicks, I drove an hour through the London traffic to spend an evening with my best friend. We laughed about the curry she cooked sending me into early labour. Little did we know how right we were.

Driving home I still perceived these period like pains as being Braxton Hicks, so I stopped off at a local restaurant for some tea and a chat with my brother in law for an hour or so.

On climbing into bed at midnight I tried to settle but although with the use of ‘my safe place’, I nodded off, the strength of the contractions woke me. By 1.30am I realised this must be the ‘real thing’ and promptly ran a bath. At about 2am I had what must have been a “show” and felt very excited as I realised this was definitely “it”.

From 3am or so, back in bed and going to my safe place, I dozed in and out of sleep, giving my husband’s hand a squeeze every time I experienced a contraction. At 5am, Nigel announced that I now had had six or seven, five minutes apart and we ought to ring the labour ward.

Because I was having a home birth, it was great not to have to get dressed, go out into the cold and drive to the hospital. I’m convinced this would just have slowed me down.

The first midwife arrived at 6am and examined me. She was amazed, (considering this is my first child), as I was already 3cm dilated and exclaimed, “my goodness, your cervix is so thin!” Of course it was; I had spent the last thirteen weeks telling it to be thin by now!!

My contractions were coming at varying intervals; sometimes three to four minutes apart, sometimes seven or eight. After another bath, they speeded up slightly, and when the second midwife arrived at 7.30am I was delighted to hear I was 7cm dilated.

I was not expecting so much discomfort in my back, but Nigel and the midwives continually massaged it as I, positioned on all fours on the bed, buried my head in the pillows in a trance-like state between the contractions, off in my safe place.

When the contractions were every three minutes or so, I asked for the gas and air. It did absolutely nothing to help ease the crescendo that is the height of a contraction, but it did give me something to bite on and squeeze! !

I can’t say I was able to maintain my hypnotic state throughout the contractions, but being in my safe place between them helped to conserve my energy and focus on the next one, telling myself each one brought my baby closer to me and the stronger they were, the better they were doing their Job. Each contraction felt like a wave crashing onto a beach. At the height of the crash there is a tremendous force but the beautiful sensation of the water flowing away back out to sea as it seeps away made it all worthwhile. As each one ebbed away I felt an amazing sense of peace and almost euphoria.

I think it must have been about now my waters finally broke.

At 8.20 am the midwife examined me again. By now I was upright on my knees, leaning on Nigel with him pinned to the headboard facing me. I said I wanted to push. “Go on then, push,” said the midwife. I was fully dilated.

I hadn’t expected this to be such an effort. It took a few contractions to realise I had to hold the push between the contractions to stop the head slipping back in. At one point the midwife positioned a mirror so I could see the baby’s head. I freaked! I didn’t like seeing how much more pushing there was to do. I found myself making some very primal, animal like noises with the effort.

Mirror removed and two or three contractions later, with Nigel and I braced against each other, out she slipped.

I heard someone say, “it’s a girl”, later to be told that was me. She cried a little and just looked cold.

Nigel and I held her close as the midwives set about cleaning up the bed and me. I didn’t want to wait for a natural delivery of the placenta so I had the injection I could now get on with the business of nursing my little girl and enjoying some precious tears of euphoria with my husband.

Baby Jade was born at 8.30am. Just three and a half hours after I started regularly contracting. Weighing 71b 2oz, she was a perfect size to get out through my pelvis. She didn’t need to be any bigger just as long as she was mature.

I am convinced that the ease of the birth of Jade is due to my sticking to all the advice given in the programme. It is essential to stick to the dietary advice. A gluten free diet is restrictive but not prohibitive and is well worth it for the energy it gives and sense of well being. Throughout my pregnancy I was constantly congratulated on looking so well and healthy – I had never felt fitter and healthier.

The visualisation and self-hypnosis classes and tape are excellent and do work. My husband really did believe this the moment the midwife said on first examining me, “My goodness, your cervix is so thin”.

I miss the evening ritual of heating up milk, pounding the herbs and mixing it all into a comforting evening drink. Followed of course by spreading on the anti-stretch mark oil and then, in the last month, using the internal birthing oil. All to be followed by half an hour listening to the tape. No wonder I always slept so well.

The only part of the programme I found really hard to fit in was regular exercise, either swimming or yoga and I guess I should have relaxed more.  I certainly did feel better during the times I did do any of these activities.

I kept to the programme almost religiously, missing it the evenings I was unable to stick to it. And as for the week away on holiday,when it barely happened, on my return to you for some reflexology I felt like I’d gone back to square one.

My advice to anyone therefore is to heed all the instructions given in the programme and follow them. It will pay dividends as you feel so energised and healthy throughout the pregnancy and then the birth itself will be quick and pain free ‑ If you really believe it, it will be the birth you really want and deserve.

I hope my story will be an inspiration to other expectant mums. You can have the pregnancy and birth you want and deserve with just a little determination and by sticking to the whole programme.

Andrea Burnand

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