Mama C says “I had a few wobbles but I found the Hypnobirthing breathing and my own affirmations of ‘I can do this, my body was made to do this.’ brought me back from tipping over into the ‘fear zone’ as I like to call it.”
Myself and my husband attended Claire’s hypnobirthing course when I was 20 weeks pregnant with our first child. I found the course to really make sense to me as I had been practicing mindfulness and yoga for a long time. The concept of using your breath and affirmations to focus your thinking and help to stop your brain going into fight or flight mode made a lot of sense. We practiced the affirmations and listened to the guided meditations weekly up until the birth. I was due on 13th October 2021.
I woke up that morning and had a show and felt very tired. I rested as much as I could that day as I felt a change, as if something had shifted. By 7pm that evening had started, they were irregular and mild to moderate in intensity. This continued on and off until 7am the next morning. They then stopped for 2 or 3 hours and I managed to get some sleep. They then started up again and i was using the Hypnobirthing breathing techniques to help me with managing the pain. The duty community midwife came out around 5pm that Thursday (14th October) to examine me and the intensity was really ramping up – i didnt mind being examined at that point as I wanted to know how dialated I was. The pain from the examination really took me aback as I found it excruciating and I was only 3cms! This was the first of many wobbles but I found the Hypnobirthing breathing and my own affirmations of “I can do this, my body was made to do this.” brought me back from tipping over into the ‘fear zone’ as I like to call it. I was having a planned home birth with a birthing pool and the realisation of having limited pain relief set in at that point. I could have, and would have changed my mind at any point but I started using my Tens machine and my other Hypnobirthing tools, I felt a sense of calm again and that I could do this.
The midwife left again at approximately 6pm and told us to call back when the contractions were closer together. By 7.30pm they were coming thick and fast, the same midwife and her colleague came back out by 8.15pm examined me again, which I initially refused. The midwife explained to me that I could have gas and air at any point but she wanted to stagger the pain relief to support me. I was examined and I was 4cm, they got me straight on the gas and air and into the birthing pool. This was an Instant relief and, once again, I felt that I could do this. Once I was in the pool the first two hours were manageable, but I was exhausted and I was having double contractions. My husband had made a really calm setting of low lights, music I liked and I was also lucky to have my mum present. All of these things and being in my own environment made me feel safe. Despite multiple wobbles I never felt unsafe which was a game changer for me looking back. The midwifes had a changeover at 9pm and two new ones came over, they were all lovely and let me get on with things really. They were really impressed with how I was managing on my first baby and I told them I had been practicing Hypnobirthing :).
Another wall came when I was transitioning into the second stage of birth. I had been very quiet throughout the whole labour and went very much into myself so I surprised myself when I said very loudly “I need drugs, now!”. They said that I was so close now and they wanted me to get out of the pool to have a wee. The walk from my kitchen to my downstairs toilet was very uncomfortable as the urge to push took over. Although it wasn’t as if I was actively pushing, my body was just doing it. I was fully dilated and needed to get back in the pool asap. The second stage was about an hour or maybe two, I honestly can’t remember but I gave birth on my knees leaning forward in the pool which I think helped.
After being in established labour since approximately 8.15pm on the Thursday our beautiful baby girl entered Into the world at 1.27am Friday morning in the birthing pool to Smokey Robinson-Tracks of my tears. We didn’t know what we were having and I was in such shock and awe they had to ask me to check the sex. She went straight onto my chest, I had delayed cord clamping and my husband got to cut the cord. After this I was put on my sofa with my baby on my chest, I needed some stiches as I had a second degree tear. The injection for this HURT, but the anaesthetic kicked in pretty fast and I didn’t feel the stitches going in. My legs were shaking uncontrollably for a few minutes and I was really lucky to get that huge rush of oxytocin after my birth.
Our baby came out very alert and the midwives said that they had been checking her heart rate all the way through and she was never in any distress. I originally asked for them to wait 20 mins for my placenta come away naturally but when the time came I asked for the injection, I had nothing else to give and said “I can’t do anymore.” ha! The midwife helped me with the first feed, they did what they needed to do and left around 3.30am. After this I sat in bed with our newborn baby having a cup of tea and toast. I had an amazing birth and feel very lucky to have had it, but i also worked very hard to incorporate everything I had learned in Hypnobirthing. If things had been different I believe I still would have been able to use the techniques and have a positive birth despite it not being what I wanted.
We are now navigating life as new parents, very tired but very happy.