After becoming pregnant with the assistance of IVF, I was delighted to be pregnant and wanted a natural and not overly medicalized birth.
As hypnosis had helped me remain calm and focused during the IVF process, it seems like a natural progression to use hypnosis to birth our much anticipated little bundle of joy.
Our pregnancy was uneventful, I was fortunate to not suffer with morning sickness but did develop a serious stodge craving at lunch time! Apart from medical concerns that I was having a large baby which resulted in lots of monitoring towards the end of the pregnancy; checking the size of the baby and quite a bit of pressure to agree to a planned cesarean section, however, this did not fit with my own plan for the birth of our child.
I had a positive view of birth from my Mum; she gave birth to me at home and on her own, whilst my Dad and older brother were soundly asleep upstairs! I believed that if she could birth her baby on her own, that birth was something that I could do without fear as well. I really appreciate my Mum’s positive impact on my own view labour and birth and this helped me to ‘filter’ the stories that people love to tell pregnant women about birth.
I attended a series of hypnobirthing classes with my partner and then committed to the daily affirmations and hypnotic relaxations in preparation for birth. My partner had an active role, he was on hand to help with the relaxation and offer support.
I practiced self hypnosis and the birth affirmations prior to labour, every day and then it began!
Two days before my due date, I started to feel restless during the day and as the evening progresses, I could feel sensations rippling through my womb, nothing unpleasant, it didn’t hurt but I knew that labour had started. When we rang the hospital, they didn’t agree because I was so calm and able to speak, we only went to hospital because by now I had had a partial tear and was there was an infection risk.
My due date was Easter Sunday and things were progressing well when in the early hours of Friday morning I felt a little dampness, we didn’t know at the time that a partial rupture of the amniotic sac had occurred, possible due to a little foot pushing through. As I wasn’t in any discomfort, we went food shopping in the morning, general pottering about throughout the day. My memory of Friday evening was watching a documentary about Sparta and with a feeling of increasing restlessness, as the evening progresses, I could feel sensations rippling through my womb, nothing unpleasant and it didn’t hurt but I knew that labour had started. When we rang the hospital, they didn’t agree because I was so calm and able to speak, we only went to hospital because by now I had had a partial tear and was there was an infection risk..
It is quite common for hypnobirthing mums to be to be calm and relaxed when they present at the maternity unit and then to be given the suggestion that you’re not in labour as you’re “too calm”. We are put in a birthing room without examination, mainly at this point because of the potential rupture, having had the comment that if I was in labour, I wouldn’t be able to speak. The restless feeling continued into the morning, as did the very gentle surging sensations which were rippling up and down my abdomen. We were repeated told that I was not in labour and without examination, sent home in the afternoon to go for walk.
We arrived back with every intention of following the midwife’s instruction, however, the discomfort was incredible on walk. Looking back, my baby was ready to be born on Saturday, was fully engaged and putting pressure on my cervix. Four hours later and we were back in the maternity unit, to be told that I would need to be induced, still no examination.
We settled down for the night, the surges continuing gently through the night and my partner using the hypnosis techniques he had learnt to help me keep relaxed and try to help speed up labour. I had a lovely peaceful asleep on a giant beanbag whilst my partner continued with the hypnosis!
Easter Sunday dawned and again we were told I wasn’t in labour, needed to be induced. An element of self doubt crept in when the birthing mothers either side of me were screaming and I commented to my partner that perhaps they were right because I had no desire to scream like that.
At midday the registrar started to induce labour with a pitocin drip, which is a synthetic version of oxytocin (oxytocin is the hormone your body produces naturally to induce contractions and is the famous “love” hormone). Only after the drip had started was I examined. I can still remember the look of shock on the midwife’s face as she looked at me and said she needed a second opinion, I was wondering at that point what she had seen! It seemed that I understood my body and had been in labour all along and was now almost 9cm dilated, however, I remained on the pitocin drip.
Contractions were monitored and my partner asked with each surge if I had felt the contraction, I hadn’t and continued to sleep. At three fifteen the midwife suggested I get on the bed, almost immediately I had a strong urge to urinate and then realised that the baby was ready to come. Using the breathing technique we had learnt, and leaning over the bed, with one downward out breath, our baby’s head appeared and with one more gentle down breath, Adam was born at twenty seven minutes past three in the afternoon, a gorgeous 8lb 1oz little boy.
After the birth of Adam, I needed some stitches which the midwife felt would not have been necessary has I been left to birth without the pitocin.
We had a peaceful birth and for that I am grateful, looking back, I wish I had asked whether the pitocin was in fact necessary when 9 centimetres dilated.