Where to begin....... Well I’ll simply start with why I choose for me and my husband to do a hypnobirthing course. Our first child was born after a prolonged induction and then emergency C-Section due to prolonged second stage. I felt out of control from the initial plan of induction through to the delivery of our daughter, and for some time after her birth until I actually got home! This was not an experience I wanted to repeat at any point in my life. I did know however that I still wanted to have more children, but never how I had my 1st born. I’m hugely grateful that she was healthy and that eventually I recovered physically and mentally, from the stress of her delivery.
So in summary me and my husband wanted to take back some control! I researched hypnobirthing and I was lucky enough to know a lovely friend (back in the UK, we live in Qatar) who was trained in this. So I contacted Sarah and when I was around 25weeks pregnant, we started the course via video call with her. This was one of the single best decisions we could have made. She went through the course step by step in such a professional, informative and caring manor. She clearly knows what she is teaching extremely well, and allows you ample opportunity throughout to make it feel interactive.
By our last session which seem to fly by, we felt a sense of control, optimism and excitement, all of which we lacked at the start of the course based on our last experience.
How did it help in the actual birth...... This is where so much of our course and discussions with Sarah came together! From the meditations, breathing exercises, reinforcing what our bodies are so amazingly designed for, and having confidence in my own ability to birth our child!
Along with my amazing husband we had great health professionals who all advocated for my choices, they were patient and I was able to really get the birth a wanted. I did need pain relief (my choice) and Forceps (again my choice and informed consent). Most importantly I did not feel like I had failed or that the birth wasn’t as perfect as it truly was!
Would I recommend hypnobirthing? HELL YES I would!
Rupert is 7 months tomorrow. How did that happen. I’m still trying to come to terms with my birth but seeing as it is maternal mental health week I’d thought I’d finally share it.
Rupert is my first baby and first pregnancy. My sister is the fabulous Devon Mama. I did the course with her extra early and I thought I had it all sussed. I had practised my hypnobirthing and planned my birth like a wedding. It was all I ever thought about during my pregnancy. I had a really healthy, straight forward pregnancy and I had a plan to have a water birth in the local birthing centre. I was looking forward to bringing my baby into the world.
Let’s go back to that autumnal weekend in October. Throughout the weekend I was having lots of tightenings. On the Sunday evening I felt little gushes with every tightening. I decided to have a bath and as I got out I suddenly felt a big surge and gush. Not knowing if this was my waters breaking I shouted Adam and called the delivery suite. I was told to keep timing my surges and later that evening my surges were closer so I called again. They told me to come in. I asked if I could go to my local birthing centre but unfortunately there wasn’t enough staff on for this so they said I could have the pool room at the hospital.
We drove to the hospital and I listened to my hyponobirthing tracks and practised my breathing techniques. Once we had arrived I was examined, it was confirmed my waters had broken & I was 1cm dilated. I found very it uncomfortable to sit or lie down so I tried to stay mobile, walking around and swinging my hips. It was a long night and I couldn’t help but clock watch. I was looking out the window at the quiet dark night and just wanted things to progress faster. I couldn’t rest and was pretty tired but I kept on going until about 3am, I then asked to go into the pool. The midwifes went to get the pool ready and it had an problem I was offered a bath while I waited. The bath was nice, the warm water felt good, but at that point I was hitting a wall, completely exhausted. Adam my birth partner & husband helped me breath through my surges and was calming me about my worries. After the bath the pool was ready. The pool was nice it calmed me and I felt weightless. I stayed in there for a few hours breathing through my surges. The sun had risen and I was a bit disappointed I hadn’t had the baby through the night. I always imagined having the baby in the darkness.
By this point I was pretty knackered and was wondering how I could possibly go on without any rest. The midwifes offered me some diamorphine to relax me so I could sleep. I was a bit hesitant to have any drugs as it wasn’t really part of my initial birth plan but I couldn’t have carried on without any rest and still found it uncomfortable to sit or lie down. I had the diamorphine and it worked quickly with no side effects I felt soo much better and I managed to get comfortable on the bed and have a few hours solid sleep.
Once I woke I still wasn’t progressing so I was given to options to go down to the ward or go home. I didn’t want to just sit in a room and stare at the clock so I decided to go home and home is where I would be most relaxed. As my waters had broke I was advised there was a risk of infection if I hadn’t had the baby with 24 hours so I was told to come back that evening at 6pm to be induced.
My sister came over to my house with a tens machine which really helped, she practiced some hyponobirthing with me, I had a shower and plaited my hair which really helped me relax. Adam rested too. I was a bit apprehensive about being induced.
We went back to the hospital on the Monday evening and I was induced. I did feel more confident and in control. Not so long after being induced my surges felt a lot different and stronger. I was breathing through them and using the tens machine. Like hypnobirthing taught me, I was trying not to tense up but I was finding this hard. The surges were so strong that all I wanted to do was curl up and tense and I felt like pushing. I was also making a lot of strange noises.
The midwife sat with me and assessed me for sometime and decided to send me up to delivery. At this point I was so happy to go to delivery, the baby was coming! By this point I still couldn’t bare the pain, I was desperate to have any pain relief I could so I said yes to an epidural. The epidural took two hours to put in with three anaesthetists, I had to stay so still completely exhausted and stopping every time I had a surge, I remained calm throughout and continued to breathe, it was 4am by the time it was in. I was then put on the syntocinon drip. It was now a waiting game. It was nice to chat to all the staff, they were soo friendly and they kept my mind off what was happening.
As shifts were ending we were now on our fourth midwife Charlotte. I felt like I was on the homestraight I was very high and excited. I was being monitored and now couldn’t feel the pain. However some of my blood results came back and it was showed that I had an infection, I was then put on antibiotics. The midwife was concerned that the heart rate of the baby was dropping every time I surged. The doctor came in an suggested a c section may be required. I stayed calm but didn’t really think we’d have to go to theatre but at that point I just wanted the baby out safely.
A few hours later another doctor came in and decided an emergency csection was required. I was prepped for surgery and Adam was in his scrubs ready. It all happened quite fast and I put my eye mask on and took deep breathes as they wheeled me down to theatre. The staff really did look after me soo well. In surgery I didn’t want to see anything except my baby. Adam was holding my hand and talking in my ear. I had a sheet put up and my baby playlist was on. Within 5 minute the baby arrived at 1.06pm, it was a boy!
I couldn’t believe how quick they got him out. He was taken to be sorted out so the lovely lady in there got my phone and took a picture of him and showed it to me. A few minutes later I met him in person a beautiful red squishy baby boy wrapped up with an orange hat. We had some cuddles as a family of three.
Due to the infection, he was then taken off to the special care baby unit for antibiotics with Adam. I was in theatre for a bit longer while I was stitched up. Everyone there was so amazing and I felt very safe. When the surgeon had finished she checked I was ok and explained she found that I had a bandls ring which is an obstruction of part of the uturus and that I would have never been able to give birth naturally. Over time this will go but it could have been why I had such discomfort and pain.
Later on Adam myself and they baby were all back together in our room where I could hold Rupert properly do skin to skin and feed the baby. We were then moved to the ward. We stayed on the ward for 4 more nights and I was lucky that Adam could stay with me to. I had a really hard time as it was not a peaceful place and I really struggled to breast feed. I did have amazing support though with all the maternity staff.
Looking back now I think I suffered a bit with post natal anxiety. Once I had left the hospital and was home I really missed the security I felt in the hospital. It took a lot time and pain to breastfeed properly but I am so glad I persevered and I am still breastfeeding today 7 months on.
Although this is definitely not the birth I had hoped for, without hypnobirthing I definitely would not have been as calm and in control. Sarah’s course taught both of us, as a couple. Adam as the birth partner had an important role to play. He was so very supportive, help me with our decisions, stayed calm and made me feel safe, I couldn’t have got through it all without him and the knowledge we gained on the hypnobirthing course will forever stay with us in difficult situations.
Although it took time to recover physically and emotionally and the whole experience was a bit traumatic and unplanned, Adam and I have a happy and healthy baby boy and the end result was totally worth it.
Thanks again to Sarah my amazing sister for all her love, knowledge and support. I recommend her to anyone.