A hypnobirthing water birth

Mama R – “We are both so glad we joined Claire’s Hypnobirthing Courseand spent the time practicing the relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques. We are sure this really helped make our birth experience so positive.”

How are you doing? Hope you’ve been enjoying the sunshine! Our lovely little bear was born 3 weeks ago on 16th April – here’s his birth story.
When I heard about hypnobirthing in early pregnancy I was immediately interested. I was already feeling anxious about the birth, I think partly because in my medical training I had only been exposed to births with complications – unfortunately doctors don’t get involved in straight-forward births – so I had a negatively-skewed view of what labour was like.

The philosophy behind hypnobirthing really made sense to me – the more anxious and scared you are, the more ‘fight or flight’ hormones you make, which are counter-productive to birthing your baby. So I persuaded my, admittedly skeptical, husband to sign up for your hypnobirthing course! We are both so glad we did, and spent the time practicing the relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques. We are sure this really helped make our birth experience so positive.

My waters broke at 1am on 16th April (39weeks +2 days) and surges then started within half an hour. They felt like period cramps, coming every 15 minutes and I practiced trying to relax my whole body during them. I stayed in bed to get some rest then woke my husband up a few hours later to tell him that ‘thunderbirds are go!’ and he wouldn’t have to go into work today! It was very exciting knowing we were going to meet our little boy soon. We had a big breakfast, went for a long walk, and danced around the kitchen. My surges definitely got more frequent and stronger when I was active, and I kept reminding myself that this was a good thing, and helping our baby’s safe arrival.  

The midwife told us to come in to be checked 12 hours after my waters had broken. At this point my surges were lasting about a minute, 5 minutes apart and they were manageable with concentrating on my Hypnobirthing breathing. My vital signs were normal, baby was looking happy on CTG monitoring, and I was 3cm dilated. But when they looked at my pads they were worried my waters were lightly stained with meconium, which could mean baby was distressed. They started talking about sending us upstairs to be induced, as I was not strictly-speaking in established labour yet (4cm and above). I was quite upset and disappointed, as I had felt that everything was going well. After a bit of discussion among the midwives, they agreed to give us 4 hours to see if things progressed naturally. We were thrilled and determined to get things going, so we went for a long walk around Heath Park and the hospital grounds. My surges got stronger, and I had to stop every couple of minutes and lean on my husband as he rubbed my back (think we got some curious looks from dog-walkers), and I repeated to myself that they were “strong, powerful sensations of warmth” helping to get my baby into the best position for birth. I decided to try the TENS machine which my friend had lent me and it was quite soothing.

I was re-examined at 6.30pm and was 7cm, and baby still seemed happy on the monitor, so they were happy for us to stay in the midwife led unit! The midwife said his head was lying a bit to one side; before practicing hypnobirthing I think this would have panicked me, but instead I reminded myself that “baby knows best” and he would get himself into the right position.

I got into the birthing pool and it was lovely to feel weightless and warm. My husband put on our ‘labour playlist’, and fed me jelly-babies and sports drinks between surges! The surges were strong but your body gives you time to recover between them. The midwives were great, really respecting our birth plan, being supportive in a non-intrusive way. About an hour after getting in the pool I felt the urge to push. It really helped focusing on breathing down to my baby, visualising the birth canal opening for him, and holding onto my husband’s hands. And I did a LOT of ‘mooing’, I couldn’t help myself! The midwives guided me in my pushing, as I had requested in my birth plan. It felt very strange once baby’s head had delivered and we were waiting for the next surge, because I could feel his head rotating, ready to deliver his shoulders. With the next push I felt him slide out of me, and I picked him up out of the water, which was surreal and amazing! Our lovely son was born at 8.30pm weighing 6lb 15oz.

I was very lucky and didn’t tear, I wonder if perineal massage and birthing in the water helped with this.

We feel very grateful for our birth experience. Hypnobirthing gave me the confidence to trust in my body and my baby. I also learnt a lot from hearing birth stories in yoga each week.

Thank you again Claire! Looking forward to seeing you soon at baby massage!

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