I hadn’t given childbirth a lot of thought before I became pregnant with my first daughter and although news of my pregnancy evoked a general feeling of joy in everyone I told, there were people who gasped with fear at the thought of giving birth. I was warned of the many ailments to expect in pregnancy and everything in the media seemed to portray birth in a negative light. Despite this, I really enjoyed my pregnancy, doing my best to stay healthy and remain positive. I didn’t experience any of those pregnancy ailments and I had a very short labour, giving birth naturally to my baby precisely on the due date with only the help of a TENS machine and a calm, relaxed mind courtesy of Natal Hypnotherapy.
Not everything went as planned, my daughter passed meconium so I had to give birth on the labour ward, strapped to a machine that was monitoring baby’s heart rate but I took this in my stride and got on with the job instinctively and without fear. Hypnobirthing doesn’t guarantee a certain type of birth but it helps you to remain calm in any situation and calm is always going to be the best thing you could be for your baby!
The hypnobirthing techniques I learned gave me a focus and that became my escape to another world, a world in which I could birth my baby naturally and instinctively no matter what was going on around me. I felt empowered to train as a Hypnobirthing teacher to help dispel fears of childbirth and to effectively prepare women and their partners for birth.
Second time around
I thought I knew what I was doing and was expecting a very straightforward run. The pregnancy itself was textbook but I was told the baby was breech at my second scan and it got me thinking. Although there was plenty of time for baby to turn, I wondered what would happen if she didn’t…
I was hoping to have a home birth this time and began preparing for that using the Natal Hypnotherapy CDs. At 32 weeks I had another routine scan which showed that baby was still breech so I thought I’d better take action. I tried everything to encourage her to turn including hypnosis, moxibustion, reflexology, osteopathy, inversions and lots of standing on my head!! All to no avail as the next scan at 38 weeks showed that she was still head up and bum down so I was booked in for an ECV (manual attempt at turning baby). This failed and the hospital gave me no other option but to have a caesarean one week later. I was distraught, I felt like I could birth this baby normally but was shocked that the hospital were so keen on c-section. I went home and began to explore my options with the help of my brilliant doulas, Caron Smith and Maisie Hill.
Eventually I found the wonderful Maya Midwives who happened to be experienced in vaginal breech birth and very keen to support me.I was listening to my Natal Hypnotherapy prepare for home birth CD again every day, sometimes two or three times a day and I made a poster for my bedroom wall with affirmations and other positive thoughts about the birth.
My due date came and went and then a week later there were still no labour signs. The midwives advised that I didn’t do anything to augment the labour, such as acupuncture or reflexology because breech babies must come when they are ready if they are going to come at all. So I waited and waited. The Hypnobirthing helped me to remain calm, relaxed and focused at this stressful time when friends and family were growing increasingly concerned. When I reached 42 weeks I decided to go to hospital for a scan and CTG monitoring to make sure everything was ok. The doctors said baby was doing really well and couldn’t find anything at all wrong but would be happier if I’d have a caesarean the next day. My instincts told me to wait a little longer and so I agreed to come back two days later for more CTG monitoring. In the meantime I began to prepare myself for the caesarean (by listening to the Natal Hypnotherapy CD) as it was becoming increasingly likely that I might have to give in at some point. Again the CTG monitoring showed that everything was fine but I agreed to go in the next day for my bloods to be taken in case the caesarean was necessary. Although I was more prepared for it, I couldn’t understand how my body could grow this baby, keep her nourished for 9 months and then just abandon her and me when it was time to be born.
That very night I woke at 4am with contractions that felt ‘different’ to the Braxton hicks I’d been having for weeks so I called the midwife, Andy, and she arrived an hour later. I wasn’t in any pain at all but had been preparing for this for months using Natal Hypnotherapy so didn’t really expect to be. There was about an hour where the contractions were really intense but at no time painful and our daughter was born two and a half hours later (bum first) at 7:30. Andy said it was the quickest birth she’d ever seen, so quick that Viv, the second midwife missed it! I used only a TENS machine and Natal Hypnotherapy techniques and our beautiful breech baby daughter, Amália Rose, was born calmly and peacefully in our bedroom. Her birthday is 7th October 2012, 17 days past the due date. I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome, I am so glad that I trusted my instincts and my baby and that I had the support of such wonderful midwives. I will treasure that moment forever.