Eliot's easy zen hospital birth
I found out about hypnobirthing from a friend when she sent me a hypnobirhting book. Once I read the first few pages, I knew that hypnobirthing was for me. I passed the book to my husband and he was also enthusiastic. I had been terrified of birth due to traumatic stories I had heard. I avoided reading the last chapters of my week-by-week pregnancy guide because I couldn't even think about how the baby would come out. But after reading about hypnobirthing, I knew there could be a positive way to give birth. We decided to take the HypnoBirthing course together with a couple we met at our local antenatal classes. We started the course when I was 30 weeks pregnant. The hypnobirthing approach and the course enabled me to take a positive and relaxed approach to pregnancy, labour and birthing our baby. It also brought me and my husband even closer together as we prepared ourselves for the arrival of our baby.
Because of the confidence we gained during our hypnobirthing course, we decided to go for a water birth at home. However, there was a change of plan at the last minute when we were told that there were no community midwives available to come out while I was in active labour (on my due date). Even though things didn't go exactly to plan, the hypnobirthing approach was essential to the positive experience we had when birthing our son, Eliot. The birth was a natural, beautiful experience, with no medical intervention.
The night before my due date, I started having period-like cramps in addition to Braxton-type tightenings, and I woke several times overnight. The cramps continued on and off in the morning and when the midwife came for a scheduled appointment at midday, she said I would probably be another day or so. Through the afternoon, the cramps became more frequent, about 4 per hour. I pottered around the house as normal and rested. As the afternoon progressed, I used the HypnoBirthing breathing, visualisations and affirmations, and I was really very relaxed about how things were progressing. I was still thinking of the sensations I was having as cramps, but on reflection later, they were actually surges.
I refused dinner, which was not usual for me, and around 6.30/7pm I had the start of my "show", which was accompanied by stronger cramping, and I realised these were definitely surges, timing 2 or so, every 10-15 minutes. They gradually got closer together, but I wasn't in any pain, just a bit of discomfort for a few hours before things really took off.
Around 10pm, I got in to the bath as things got more intense, and while in the bath my husband called the hospital to ask the midwife to come out. When the midwife rang back, around 10.30pm, we found out that no midwife could come for the home birth, as the one scheduled overnight midwife had phoned in sick and there was no cover available. They said I could have the birth at home "if I could hang on" until the next shift, at 8am in the morning! This obviously made me feel tense, as I knew the birth must be close. I was temporarily taken out of my 'zone' by this, and it was at this point I did start to feel some pain due to the situation, so I got out of the bath and started with the TENS machine. I managed to get back into my breathing, and managed the surges well. Since things were progressing rather quickly, we contacted the hospital again around 11.30pm, asking if someone could possibly come out to check me over, but we finally ended up just deciding to go in to the hospital as the water birth room was available.
We got to the hospital at around 1.15am, I was examined at 1.20am and I was already 6.5cm dilated! I felt very relieved, as I was preparing myself mentally to be told that I was only 2-3cm and that I would have hours and hours of protracted labour in the hospital. So, they tried to fill the pool in time for me to get in for the birth itself, but I never ended up getting in (assistant forgot to turn on the hot water!) and I delivered Eliot at around 2.30am.
In addition to the hypnobirthing breathing and relaxation technique and support from my husband, the TENS machine and a bit of gas and air enabled a very smooth, easy and beautiful birth. I only needed 3 'pushes' at the end, and Eliot came out without any difficulties. They weren’t really pushes though, as my body just started to feel like I wanted to bear down, so I breathed into that sensation. I was lucky enough to be able to reach down and feel Eliot’s head just before his whole body came out. And the physical sensation I experienced as Eliot finally emerged into the world was the most amazing and beautiful sensation I’ve ever experienced in my life.
So all in all, it went really well for us, and we feel very very lucky and blessed on all fronts, for having our beautiful son Eliot safely delivered healthy and well, for having it be a positive and relaxed experience (despite unforeseen staffing failures by the community midwife team) and for having been able to successfully birth naturally.
Three years later, we went on to have a baby girl and had our perfect home hypnobirth. Emmeline was born in water at home after a beautiful, quick and easy hypnobirth. I even got to catch her as she floated in to the world. And when I thanked the midwife for all her help, she commented that she didn't really do anything. My daughter is a contented baby, always smiley and cries very little, a perfect little hypnobaby.