“..I think keeping positive and maintaining calm breathing was a major factor..”
This week’s Birth Story comes from the lovely Tara!
“I decided to go to hypnobirthing as a few friends had recommended it and as I was, like most, petrified of giving birth. I thought anything was worth a shot, but I’m a real cynic and deep down thought it would be an expensive waste of time.
When I started hypnobirthing, I was suffering from severe morning sickness and feeling thoroughly depressed and struggling to bond with bump. But I threw myself into it and listened to my affirmations, did all I could to maintain a positive attitude and a belief that my body was made for this and I practiced the breathing techniques regularly. I also spent a hell of a long time on my gym ball, eating dates and drinking raspberry leaf tea! Despite the continual vomiting and nausea, this all really helped me to build and maintain a positive attitude in relation to the pregnancy and birth which, I believe, had a massive impact on my birth experience.
On D-Day, minus one week, my waters broke around 1pm. I surprisingly stayed calm, then calmed my mum down (who was starting to flap and pack HER bag!). I waited for labour to kick-start, but nothing happened, so in the evening I was called down to the birth centre for some monitoring and a sweep. Around 10pm, with still nothing happening and only 1cm dilated, my husband and I left the hospital to drive home. Annoyingly, the motorway junction was closed and the journey took an hour in standstill traffic. I still wasn’t having what I thought were contractions, but felt an uncomfortable pressure.
As soon as I walked through the door, contractions started thick and fast and within 20 minutes they were lasting a minute every 3 minutes. Back to the hospital we went and within ten minutes of arriving at the birth centre, I was 6cm dilated and was being helped into the water bath. On dry land the contractions were getting too much for me, the only way I could get through them was standing up and I became woozy and tired pretty fast. The bath was a life saver, it helped me to let go and let the contractions take over. It sounds strange but it helped to be able to squirm in the water, push off the sides when needed and lean back between contractions and when it got too much and I was spaced out.
Within around 3 hours, I had given birth to a baby boy, 8lb2, with no stitches needed. I didn’t have any pain relief or gas and air. I would like to say I was a warrior and resisted it. But as soon as I got into the bath, I was in the zone, just trying to just get through each contraction and I didn’t think to ask for any. My routine during contractions, when it was starting to get too much, was to breathe deeply and plead with myself that three breaths and this one will be over! The midwife couldn’t believe how relaxed and quiet I’d been and laughed out loud when I told her calmly it was starting to burn a bit when he was crowning!
I had as good a birth experience as I think I could have had (I’ve even described it as amazing!) and I think keeping positive and maintaining calm breathing was a major factor in that. Obviously, it still wasn’t pleasant and I was so lucky that my baby was in a good position and everything went smoothly. But my labour was very intense (with no noticeable early labour at all) and I really believe that hypnobirthing helped me to not panic and to go with it to let nature take its course.
Thanks to Liz, my Calm Birth School Instructor, after a horrendous, depressing pregnancy of constant vomiting, my birth experience has given me something positive to look back on (and I might, just might, be convinced to go through it again)!”