This week’s birth story comes from a lovely couple Helen and Damian, who attended a TCBS Hypnobirthing Course with Laura Clarke of The Birth Cloud, covering Solihull, Birmingham.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us!
You are told that every birth is different but despite having thought of every eventuality, our birth was eventful to say the least. We would have been lost without Hypnobirthing. What could have been a very stressful and demoralising time, became a far more positive and relaxed experience than we could have hoped for. We were one of those couple who were very sceptical about the benefits of hypnobirthing but we couldn’t have been more wrong. Laura’s coaching in the session we had and her support up to, during and after the birth has been invaluable.
All along we had hoped to avoid being induced. We were told by many people and in literature, that helping yourself to go into labour naturally is the best way forward and to avoid as little intervention as possible if you want to have a smooth and positive birth experience. Imagine our disappointment when we were told we had to be induced unexpectedly and sooner rather than later. Not to worry, we talked to Laura about the situation and our expectations – a much needed extra boost to what we had learnt previously.
Bags packed, off to hospital we went. We had been told by the midwife, to expect the induction process to take a while. However, we were imaging 3-5 days rather than the 11 it took. The medical part of the process began smoothly enough. I took to bouncing on a ball and we went for walks to the local park, all in the hope to get things moving. We listened to our favourite songs, watched episodes of a TV series we had been following and kept each other entertained. All was going well and we were feeling positive.
This is when the first test of our resolve began. Unfortunately, two days into the process, the ward was put into lockdown due to a sickness bug. This meant we were all confined to our curtained areas. No more walks or moving around to help the induction process. We kept positive and made the most of spending time together, which in our lives is a rarity. Now the hypnobirthing training really kicked into action. Over the next five days, I was put into five different rooms. Every time, there were new ladies to get to know, new midwives and a different set of rules for each room. During this time, any signs of labour I had been experiencing had stopped. Many of the ladies I was with, were far luckier and progressed quickly through their labouring process. Watching so many ladies come and go through the room was soul-destroying however I knew that we’d get there in the end, so I focussed on being positive for them and helping them as best as I could. I was able to help many of them with the breathing techniques and positive thoughts we had practised ourselves with Laura as they were struggling and clearly hadn’t had the same advice and support.
We were pretty fed up by now of waiting as it was now day nine. We could have been very despondent however our hypnobirthing training kept us going. By this point, my husband and I were the only people in a four-bed room, so we made the most of it. I bounced on the ball, we sang our favourite songs and danced our wedding dance. We made the staff smile as they walked past or came in to do my obs.
After two days of hearing “You’re next on the list”, we had pretty much given up. 11pm that night, I said goodnight to my husband and turned off the light. Fifteen minutes later, the curtain began to twitch and a midwife appeared to take me to the delivery suite to have my waters broken. To say I was excited and relieved to get things moving is an understatement. My husband joined me and by midnight I was attached to the drip and my waters had been broken.
Now our hypnobirthing training really kicked in. All along we had known what we wanted our birth experience to be like, including pain relief and the ability to move around. Unfortunately, the moving around was taken away pretty quickly as I was confined to the bed for the drip and monitoring. The midwife, who was lovely and very experienced, tried to persuade me to have an epidural. This had never part of our plan, partly due to medical advice, so I was determined to carry on without. My husband helped me to stay positive by playing our favourite music and keeping my spirits up with his unique humour and personality. He encouraged me to use the breathing techniques we had learnt with Laura. I succeeded for a good while, however things quickly changed. My contractions had increased in frequency and intensity, far quicker than was expected (I was fully dilated by 6am from only being 2cms at midnight) so I had the epidural to help ease the pain I was experiencing. Unfortunately, baby was not coping well, with an increase in her heart rate. She was also presenting back-to-back and was still too high. The medical team decided the best way forward was to attempt to turn her and head to theatre for a forceps delivery. Failing that it would become a c-section or a sunroof job, as my husband calls it.
At this point, we could have become panicked. However, Laura’s training kicked in again and helped us to remain calm. I reminded myself of one of the sayings we had picked with Laura: ‘I cannot calm the storm, so I will stop trying. I will instead calm myself and know that the storm will pass’. All that was important to us was we had a healthy baby. Combined with the skill of the theatre staff in keeping us calm, we turned a rushed, forceps delivery with complications of a chord around baby’s neck, an Apgar score of one and an infected placenta into a calm, positive and happy experience. Using humour, distraction techniques and our breathing, we got through the birth. Baby Niamh was born on 14th September at 12:40pm weighing 5lb 15oz and is thriving after a couple of days in hospital to check we were both ok.
For anyone thinking about hypnobirthing but you are unsure if it is worth it, all we can say is, ‘Do it. Give it a try’. It completely changed our way of thinking and the preparation we undertook for the birth of our beautiful girl.
Our top tips:
- Sing and dance along to Shania Twain when brushing your teeth to improve your pelvic floor muscles.
- Put the sayings on walls around the house as it will actually make them stick in your head ready for you to use when you need them.
- Bounce on a ball – it passes the time and will help the induction process.
- Practise your breathing techniques as they really do work.
- Pack your bag with your birth partner as it helps them to help you when you’re in hospital.
- Listen to and sing along to your favourite music – it will pass the time and make you smile as you remember memories associated with them.
- Move around if you can – those walks to the park were invaluable.
- Make sure you involve your birth partner with the sessions as much as possible. I cannot stress enough the difference the work Laura did with us made to my husband’s ability to support me during those long days in hospital. He was my rock. He kept calm, was able to liaise with the medical staff and was my advocate when I was unable to.
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!