Updated: Nov 8, 2021
When I found out I was 7 weeks pregnant with my first baby, my second thought (after total joy and excitement) was “Oh my god, this means I’ve got to give birth”! I was absolutely terrified after all the negative or scary stories I’d heard from family members or friends so I knew I had to try and find some sort of coping mechanism to change my outlook on birth or give myself a better chance of accepting it was going to happen whether I liked it or not!
I looked into Hypnobirthing and thought it was worth a shot - I was so scared, I had nothing to lose! I’m so SO glad I did as it totally changed my whole outlook on birth, Hypnobirthing made me aware of my choices during labour (when I thought I had very little!) and prepared me for the actual physical process of giving birth.
During pregnancy, myself and my husband practiced a number of Hypnobirthing methods to promote relaxation and focused on positive affirmations to try and build my confidence about giving birth. I think such a key part of Hypnobirthing and my positive birth experience was having such a supportive birth partner who could advocate for me and know some techniques that would help to relax me so I’d definitely recommend this to other pregnant women.
It got to my “due date” and there was no sign of our baby girl. My hind waters were leaking so I was booked for an induction at our local hospital at exactly 2 weeks “overdue”. I’d had one night of on and off contractions a few days before, but it had come to nothing so I was feeling pretty miserable and fed up. I kept trying to remember ‘my baby will come when she is ready’ and got into bed to try and get some rest, knowing that I could face the induction with all the techniques I had learnt in the morning.
I woke up at 3am after a funny sensation. Thinking I probably just needed a wee (again!) I got up to go to the ensuite where my waters broke all over the ensuite floor. My contractions came on really strong straight away so I got in the shower and focused on my breathing and riding the wave! My husband ran me a really relaxing bath in candle light and I spent a couple of hours relaxing and breathing as best I could. The contractions were intense but I tried to rest as much as I could between them, enjoying some nice tickles from my husband (a technique we learnt and practiced through Hypnobirthing).
The contractions started getting much stronger and more regular so the Birth Centre at our local hospital encouraged us to go in to be assessed. We got outside and the car was frozen solid (it was early November!) so I hope none of our neighbours saw me swaying in the street in my husband's underpants, baggy t-shirt and a pair of flip flops whilst he de-iced the car!
During the car ride my husband was convinced things had slowed down because I was so quiet but I’d just got into a zone to try and ride out the contractions, which I found really challenging to have in a confined space. I was really missing the water and eager to get to the hospital so we knew what would happen next.
Our midwife (who was incredible!) met us in the carpark (it was about 5am now) and could feel the intensity of the contractions on my bump. She was keen to assess me (with my consent), so we knew what our options were and could decide what would happen next. I practiced my breathing through the internal examination and was amazed to find out I was about 9cm dilated - our baby girl was so close! By this point I was desperate to get back in the water and thankfully the Birth Centre had been running the pool so I was able to get straight in which was amazing and helped so much.
My husband set up our speakers with our birth playlist on (my daughter was born to Enya), he set up our battery operated tea lights, dimmed the lights and set up my hand-held fan as the hospital was much warmer than home! I stayed in the pool for another hour and then all of a sudden felt things shift - I just knew I needed to push. It was like a bodily function I could not control, I just felt the need to bear down so the midwives told me to go with my body and do whatever I needed to do.
At 8:10am, our daughter was born into the world. As part of our birth plan, we chose delayed cord clamping so watched our baby girl crawl up to my breast to start feeding, which was incredible. I had a tear so I needed to go down to the labour ward to have some stitches but I was on such a high holding our daughter it didn’t matter one bit and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Don’t get me wrong, giving birth was messy, mentally challenging, physically demanding, noisy (I had no idea I’d moo like a cow) and the hardest thing I've ever done, but I have never ever felt so empowered and strong. 9 months before I was honestly terrified of giving birth but hypnobirthing gave me all the techniques and knowledge to know I could do this and I did!
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