“Is it normal to wish that I could do it all over again?”

This week’s story comes from Joni Armstrong, from Sydney, Australia! Joni did the TCBS online course.

“Hello from Sydney, Australia.

 I love reading all of these positive birth stories and just wanted to let you know my own positive experience. 

I had my first baby three years ago and had a very traumatic experience (very lengthy labour, epidural, maternal exhaustion, forceps, episiotomy, tear, milk didn’t come in and finally a repair ten weeks later to my very painful perineum which didn’t heal following a dodgy stitching job. 

When I found out I was expecting again this time last year, I was elated – but as time went on I felt my anxiety levels rise and rise as I became terrified of having a repeat experience. Every appointment with my midwife would end in tears and while I couldn’t wait to meet my baby, I dreaded the labour – I just didn’t think it could be a positive experience at all. 

Enough was enough and I had to make a positive step in trying to work through my anxiety, so after Googling for a local hypnobirthing course I came across the TCBS online course.

Now, I was one of those sceptics – I had read Ina May Gaskins ‘Guide to Childbirth’ when pregnant with my first… all I took from it into birth was trying to breathe through surges by blowing low toned raspberries (I’ve never been so dehydrated in all my life…I did this for a good 20 hours and it didn’t work!) 

I was not convinced that any breathing techniques would help me, but I just kept telling myself to give it a go. 

So, to begin with I downloaded the TCBS audio book via iTunes and listened to it three times back-to-back (I have an hour commute each way to work). I also downloaded the ebook to my iPad and then signed up for the online course so that my husband could watch the videos too and coach me.

I would practise the breathing every day – even on the toilet as suggested! – and found that the MP3s were really helpful also.

Due to my anxiety and after meeting with my midwife and the hospital obstetrician, we agreed that I would be induced the day before my guess date. This for me was essential to me managing my fear and anxiety of a long labour. My midwife really reassured me that I would not have the same experience second time around.

My induction was commenced at 9am. I felt calm and ready to take on labour; when my surges began ramping up I just calmly counted – four in, seven out,  only hearing Suzy’s voice in my head.

My entire labour was spent on the birth ball, and after three hours I opted to start on low level gas and air. At three and a half hours I was given a VE and I was at 6.5cm – just a snapshot in time I told myself and back to the ball I went.

An hour later I had an overwhelming feeling of needing a number two and my midwife asked me if I needed to push. I didn’t know what that sensation was, as with baby number one I had an epidural, so I just reiterated to her that nope, I just wanted to poo . She then suggested I stand a little off the ball to have a wee look – and there was my baby’s head! I couldn’t believe it! I had done it!

The urge to push was overwhelming now and I got up on the bed on all fours and half an hour later baby Imogen Margaret was born, a healthy 3.93kgs and the image of her daddy.

From start to finish, I had a five-hour labour, a small second-degree tear and I was home by 7pm the same day.

I honestly believe that TCBS helped to heal my mind when it came to labour. Suzy’s calming voice guided my breathing and the MP3s set a nice ambience in the birthing suite.

I often think back to that day and get a bit teary, mourning the calm birth experience that I wish I had had with my first baby, and being so happy that I was able to have such a positive and happy experience with baby number two.

Is it normal to wish that I could do it all over again? Not have another baby that is, but just have the experience again.

Thank you so much for making these resources available – they were totally invaluable.”

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