Daddy G – “I can say without doubt or bias that Hypnobirthing was the foundation of our success. We want to thank you, Claire, for helping us to learn the techniques and for giving us the confidence to take control of our experience.”
I thought I would write to you, as promised, while the memory of our son’s birth is still fresh. I am very proud to inform you that our baby boy was born at home on Friday the 17th April – his due date – at 06:15, weighing in at 8lb 3oz; happy, healthy and safe.
My partner was phenomenal. While I’m conscious that you may only want to share positive birth stories, I worry that our story is so overwhelmingly positive that your future Hypnobirthing parents may not believe it. I’m also conscious (as a writer) that, in all the best stories, there must be some form of conflict or obstacle that must be overcome, usually by an unlikely underdog, who, in the end, achieves glory against all the odds.
Well, our story does not fit that pattern. It’s glory all the way!
My partner did her homework in the weeks leading up to the birth; she went to sleep listening to her Hypnobirthing tapes, she exercised her pelvic floor daily and massaged her perineum. She made sure that she was mentally and physically ready, to the best of her ability. If you do decide to read this out to future parents, I’ll let you say it again; do your homework, I promise that it pays off.
My partner woke me up gently at 04:00 to tell me that she was in labour. I calmly got out of bed, ran her a bath and put on the River Dawn music while she did her up-breathing. She got in the bath while I inflated the home birth pool and called the midwives. Her surges were coming every 2 minutes and were lasting 1 minute each, so Angela, the midwife, said she would be right over.
While waiting for Angela to arrive, my partner, I admit, did poo, wee and vomit in the bath – which I later cleaned up – but even this worked in our favour because it meant that the birth pool cleanup was minimal, and that’s the bit you have to send back! Ha!
We had written a list of ‘house rules’ for the midwives (photo attached) which I asked Angela to read through once I’d greeted her. My partner then came downstairs and Angela listened to the baby’s heartbeat. She was happy with the baby’s position and condition, but she requested permission to perform a dilation exam – one of our house rules – and my partner consented, Hypnobirthing up-breathing all the while.
Angela confirmed that my partner was 5cm dilated and hastened to call a second midwife in readiness for baby’s arrival. My partner got in the pool, which was ready just in time at a perfect 37 degrees. She knelt down, leaned over the side of the pool and knew instinctively that it was time to start down-breathing. I informed Angela that the time to push had arrived, and she was ready with the gas & air tank. My partner used the gas & air tank for her remaining surges and was calm throughout. The second midwife arrived – Charlotte – 15 minutes before our son came into the world. I stayed at my partner’s head, holding her hand and telling her how brilliant she was, while the midwives watched her business-end and told us that the baby was crowning. Our son’s head came out underwater, and the midwives told me that he was moving his mouth as though saying ‘hello’. They asked my partner to stop using the gas & air and to give a big push. She obliged, and with one Herculean effort, our son was born. As I announced that it was a boy I felt a thrill of pride and joy that I’ve only ever experienced once before; at the birth of our first son, who is now a brother. A lump rushes to your throat and you say some pretty weird stuff in a high voice. My partner turned and held our son in the water. As instructed, the midwives let my partner have this moment of skin-to-skin with the baby she had carried so beautifully for 9 months. Once the umbilical cord had stopped pulsating, I was given the honour of cutting it. I took off my shirt as my son was handed to me in a towel. He was tiny and warm and perfect against my chest. I showed him around his home as the midwives assisted my partner from the pool and helped her to deliver the placenta. She had a first-degree tear that required a couple of stitches, but was otherwise in remarkable shape. The midwives actually said that my partner should be the poster-girl for Hypnobirthing. And I agree. I’ve never seen anything so reportedly difficult be made to look so simple. I’ll say again that my partner was phenomenal. To bring a baby into the world, so calmly, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, is nothing short of miraculous. To summarise my experience: My partner told me she was in labour. She got in the bath. I filled the pool, called the midwife. The midwife arrived, called for backup. My partner got in the pool, pushed out our son and got stitches. The midwives packed up and left. I emptied the pool and cleaned the bath. We had a cup of tea and some toast while calling our family members with the news. Throughout the day, one group at a time, our family came to the window to wave at their new grandson/nephew/cousin and to place presents and cards in our porch. It wasn’t even sad that they couldn’t hold him, because he was here!
I can say without doubt or bias that Hypnobirthing was the foundation of our success. We want to thank you, Claire, for helping us to learn the techniques and for giving us the confidence to take control of our experience. Thank you. And to anyone sitting in Claire’s living room, politely drinking her tea and eating her biscuits with any cynicism regarding Hypnobirthing, I urge you to pay attention. Hypnobirthing embeds subliminal confidence, and confidence is life on easy mode.
Good luck to all your future parents, with much love and gratitude.