The excitement at being pregnant meant two things; tell our family the exciting news and get straight onto Amazon to order all the baby books I could find. I read a book about a mother who used hypnobirthing. I was fascinated by the idea of a natural birth, your body managing its own pain and that there were a range of techniques to help you achieve this. After some research I settled on the Mindful Hypnobirthing book by Sophie Fletcher as my first real look into what Hypnobirthing entailed.
We all know childbirth is described like something out of a horror flick, after reading these books, I found it is possible to give birth without interventions, without drugs and your baby can still arrive safely. The focus of hypnobirthing is;
Using mindful techniques to relax during pregnancy
It is important at this stage to say that my primary focus was the safe arrival of my baby. Part of that for me, was that I would prefer to do whatever was needed for that to happen, even if that meant more pain for me rather than baby. Hypnobirthing covers how to find evidence of impact of interventions during child birth on you and your baby, I would advise reading and discussing with your midwife or consultant to help you make your choices.
My preference was for a natural birth using ‘gas and air’. I did not wish to be induced and did not wish to use drugs. I would have preferred to not have an episiotomy but for any natural tearing to happen during labour. All my choices were evidence based and not from a place of fear. If for some reason this could not happen I wanted to move straight to caesarean section. Hypnobirthing techniques can also be applied to c-section delivery.
So what happened? My waters broke two days before my due date, but I did not start having contractions. I was reviewed in hospital 24 hours later (this is important due to risk of infection) and midwives were sceptical that my waters had broken at all. Examination confirmed I was 1cm dilated. I was told ‘I would need to be induced’. I discussed with the midwife I did not wish to be induced and asked what my options were. The risk of infection due to waters having broken meant it was induction, or overnight monitoring to see if contractions started. In the meantime I would be listed for a planned c-section the next day. Alas, no contractions! But I had a peaceful night in hospital using my breathing techniques to relax and walking around the ward to stay mobile (and to see if gravity would get things started!). The next day I had a c-section and my baby boy was born. I can hand on heart say it was a wonderful experience (even with complications) because I used the hypnobirthing techniques to remain calm and relaxed during the surgery and afterwards. I still use the breathing techniques today if I find myself stressed or going into a difficult situation.
Most importantly the choices I made meant there were no complications with initiating breastfeeding for my baby boy, but that might be a whole other post!
If you are interested in this story, it is part of our monthly segment on Hypnobirthing, you can read our last blog here.