Birth story - Laura and baby girl
My first baby was 2 weeks ‘overdue’ and induced (despite me already being in labour) and was eventually delivered after 12 hours on induction ward, via ventouse, by a bloke I didn’t know telling me to ‘push harder’. I pulled all the muscles in my arms through straining and ended up with an infected episiotomy from the rubbish job he did of sewing me up.
My second baby swam into the world after one push and 5 hours of letting my body do what it was made to do. At one point I looked up at my husband and said ‘I feel amazing’.
I tried to read a hypnobirthing book during my first pregnancy but just couldn’t relate to it. It was very American and very ‘hippyish’ and deep down I just thought how much can breathing and positive thinking really do? It’s still going to hurt like hell right?!?
After seeing Louise Petland and Hannah Michalak achieve such amazing births I knew when my time came again that I would download your course and give it my all, hoping for a better birth. I didn’t expect it to change me in so many ways. I think it should be called ‘hypnolifeing’ rather than hypnobirthing.
For the last few weeks of my first pregnancy I would wake up every morning disappointed I hadn’t gone into labour, I tried every trick in the book and was so consumed by finding ‘the thing’ that would send me into labour that what I actually did was fill my body and mind with tension and pressure. No wonder I went to the full 42 weeks!
This time round every night I would practice my breathing and listen to my affirmations and when I woke up I was grateful for another day with my first child and completely at ease with the fact my baby was taking her time and getting ready for her arrival, whenever that may be. Whenever I was asked when I was due I simply said ‘july’ or ‘any day now’ and at points even forgot my ‘due date’.
On Sunday 30th June I woke up to gentle irregular surges and thought, oh yay this will be the practice ones, my body is getting ready!! So off I went to my baby shower completely calm and relaxed and excited at my first sign of impending labour, fully expecting to go to bed that night and planning what I was going to do with my toddler the next day. I bet you can guess what actually happened!
By the time I got home at 7pm I had lost my plug and things were rapidly increasing in time and intensity, however mentally I was still so sure it would all slow down, and I was completely fine with that! Surely my baby isn’t coming a day early, surely it’s not as easy as all this?! By 10pm my husband took the executive decision to call the midwife and start filling our birth pool. Unfortunately there were no on call midwives available and we were advised to make our way to our local birthing centre. I was gutted. For about 20 seconds. I had a tiny cry and then was hit by a sudden sense of gratitude, so many women I know would love to go to a birth centre but can’t and here I am crying about it. My mind flipped and we were back to feeling calm, ready and fully prepared to have my baby even if that wasn’t in the four walls I’d imagined. I double checked my hospital bag, called my mum to stay with our toddler and off we went!
We got to the birth centre at 11pm and I remember seeing the electric candles on the window sill and the big birth pool filled up and ready and thought yes, this was meant to be. We put my labour playlist on and very soon I felt the need to hum through my surges and wanted my husbands hands on my shoulders as we stood and swayed together.
I decided I wanted to be examined as I felt mentally prepared for whatever the outcome, and would you believe it I was 7cm. I certainly couldn't! I had one surge whilst lying down and my god I don’t know how I did that for 12 hours first time round. I was quickly back on my feet so that gravity could do its thing and by midnight my midwife said I could get in the pool if I wanted to, and the gas and air was ready. 5 minutes later she was asking my husband for a baby hat. I knew we were close. Another 5 minutes later the second midwife joined us. She was coming. A grand total of 20 minutes after I got in the pool, and one conscious ‘push’ my babies head was born, and less than a minute later out she came, performed a full breast stroke under the water, opened her eyes and swam towards her daddy. Euphoria doesn’t cover it.
I quite simply can’t believe that women are still being told to push. Being in the water gave me privacy I didn’t even know I needed. I could feel my body wanting to ‘open’ and recognised it from my first labour, however this time instead of holding my breath, tensing my whole body and doing what I thought was ‘pushing’ (which was actually just me fighting everything my body wanted to do) I let everything go, from my chest to my knees I could feel everything open, and it felt amazing. I didn’t feel like I was being watched, I wasn’t scared about pooping, I didn’t even feel my waters break (they exploded the first time), and when it came to that last bit of head coming down I felt that rather than ‘pushing’ I was actually focusing my energy into my baby to help her make that final step to joining us.
What I was hoping to achieve through hypnobirthing turned out to be minuscule compared to what I actually got. I watched women calmly breathing their baby down and hoped I could do that too, even if it was just for a few surges. I read the stories about feeling empowered by birth and hoped at the very least I’d feel ‘good’ about it. Everything I hoped for was given to me and then some and I just don’t quite know how to express how grateful I am. I want to go and find every doctor I can and say ‘you’re doing it all wrong!!!’ But for now I’ll just make sure to tell every expectant mum I know to download your course, or read your book, or even just to google it and have a think about it.
I now fall asleep in 10 minutes rather than an hour through relaxation. I can now out willpower my toddlers tantrums by remaining calm and focused. I have brought myself back from the edge of panic attacks through up breathing. I am breathing my way through latch and let down pain as me and my baby perfect breast feeding. The failure I felt from my first labour has been healed by my second.
I don’t think the skills I have learnt through your course will ever leave me, it’s not something you can just stop doing. I’m 6 days postpartum and already jealous of my friend who is due to give birth in a few weeks (don’t worry I’ve made sure she’s done the course too).
So to round off this very long story, I will say thank you one final time. You have changed another life. Thank you.
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