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A week to go till my due date. The Swede is in America for work and I am anxious, home alone. Concerned by a tightening of the uterus, I go to the hospital late at night to be monitored. I was told that I was having contractions, albeit very far apart. All totally normal; “they could die down, then again they could accelerate and babe could come at any time,” the midwife reassures me.

11th November The wanderer returns. I wake up at 3am with the snoring Swede next to me. I am experiencing cramps like those I had felt in the very early stages of pregnancy. To alleviate the discomfort I run a hot bath and plug in the ipod, listening to the hypnobirthing downloads. “I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby. I am relaxed and happy that my baby is coming to me… I see my birth fi lling a magnifi cent balloon…” I feel calm.

By 5am – the cramps are more intense and I have some bleeding. I climb in to bed beside the jet lagged Swede, my trusted hypnobirthing partner, and tell him. He murmurs half-hearted sympathy. I call my doula Indira and she says not to worry. “This is totally normal, all signs that the cervix is preparing itself for the baby, just try and get some rest.”

Kate Horne is a London based documentary fi lm producer/director and journalist with a particular passion for South America.My Kidnapper, her directorial debut, has been shown at cinemas across

Britain and was recently broadcast on More4 to critical acclaim (

Indira Lopez-Bassols is a ‘Doula-UK’ recognized doula and can be contacted on 07956 586 923 or

the family

Kate Horne, documentary fi lm producer, director and journalist, updates us on the birth of baby Oskar

By 8am – I can no longer ignore the goings on inside. I shake the Swede. “You don’t think these cramps could be contractions do you?” Otherwise known as surges in hypnobirth talk. “The baby can’t come now,” he mutters. “It’s the middle of the night,” and rolls over. “Idiot,” I say, hitting him. So much for maintaining my serene hypno state. I insist he monitors how far apart the surges are: one minute and lasting one minute. I call Indira. “It sounds like this is it Kate. It could be a long ride so you just sit in there and do your best to relax.” The Swede is still horizontal; all those bloody hypnobirthing tracts he was supposed to be reading to me, the massages. Nada!

10.48 –With the hypnobirthing downloads waving over me I begin clearing out my email outbox, anything to keep me distracted. I send emails about potential documentaries which seems so ridiculous now. I go upstairs to tell the Swede that he should be showing me some TLC. As I tower over him waters gush out beneath me. The water is green/brown; meconium, a sign of foetal distress. I call Indira who suggests I go to the hospital. By now I am shouting hysterically at the Swede. “Get the bag, the bag!” “What bag?” I call the hospital and tell them I am on my way. I am instructed to go to the Lewis Suite.

12.00 –What am I doing here? I am in a cordoned off cubicle, strapped up to a machine monitoring my baby’s heartbeat. They are unable to get an accurate trace. I know that my baby wants to get out and I’m losing patience fast. I scream out the midwife’s name and she appears from behind the screen. I grab her hand. “Listen lady, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m not supposed to be here.” No, I’m supposed to be upstairs in the lovely, mellow birthing centre. My baby is coming, that’s all I know and it’s not going to come out here in this horrible sterile environment. “Get me a doctor NOW and get me to the birthing centre. Please.” Who have I become? I have visions of the caesarian I so wanted to avoid, determined to have the natural birth I’ve been longing for. “Call Indira and tell her to get here, NOW.” A comforting doctor appears: “You’re 7.5cm dilated.” She fl ags up the meconium. “I should be sending you upstairs.” I cut her off mid sentence. “Don’t send me up there.” I cling onto her arm. “Ok,” she says reluctantly. “If you’re ready to push.” Ready as ever.

12.30 – The doors to the “suite” at the birthing centre fl y open. A petite, raven-haired lady hones in on me. “Hi darling, I’m Luisa,” she says in reassuring tones. Water is pouring into a water bath, my water bath. I clamber in and immediately feel soothed by the warm water. Luisa monitors the baby’s heartbeat and looks concerned. “Darling, you’ve got to come out of the pool. The baby’s heartbeat has decelerated.” At that moment Indira arrives. Just knowing that she is there and will take charge of the situation if necessary reassures me. Luisa is clearly worried. She looks at me squarely: “OK darling you sit in the squatting chair and we’re going to push.” This is where the Swede comes into his own. He wraps his arms around me from behind and I squeeze onto his hands. I feel a huge urge to push and everyone takes me through three big pushes. Up until now I hadn’t felt pain but as the baby begins to crown the pain is indescribable. No hypnobirthing can eliminate that sensation and I have taken no pain killers. For a moment I start to doubt myself. Then I make the move down on all fours for one last push.

At 2pm Oskar Robert Elmér is born and I feel the greatest natural high of my life, a huge release of oxitocin and rush of endorphins. Moments later Oskar is on my chest and routing out my breast to start suckling and I feel like I have died and gone to heaven.

Oskar, me and the Swede are shown through to a lovely room with a double bed and en suite bathroom – not what I had expected from the NHS. I attribute my smooth birth to Luisa who could have sent me upstairs but had faith. While a pain relief free labour meant I felt the acute pain of the crowning, there was something incredibly empowering and primordial, about having a natural birth and most importantly I am up and feeling good hours later rocking my babe to sleep.


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