Birth Story - Building Confidence for a Positive Birth
Huge thanks to my wonderful clients J & C for sharing their birth story.
'My pregnancy was fairly straightforward, but I do have an intense fear of pregnancy and birth. A friend had mentioned offhand in a conversation about hypnobirthing techniques, I did some research and found Susanna's course. I started reading as much as possible, as well as doing the one-to-one hypnobirthing course - knowing what was to come, however hard it was, really helped. It removed a lot of the myths around birth, but was sometimes overwhelming; but I read a lot of the books Susanna recommended, which made me feel quite empowered. Knowing I had choices was really important.
One week before my due date, and after a long tiring day as a bridesmaid, my surges started at midnight. I don't recall my waters breaking at all (the midwives offered to break them, but they'd gone some time unknown to me - no TV drama-style flood!).
My husband made me a cup of fruit tea in bed and I tried to relax and go back to sleep. By the time the morning came, the surges were more frequent; I had hoped to relax in the bath and watch my favourite series, but only got as far as the bath and a slice of toast before we called the labour line. I sat in the car with my eyes shut the whole time, using the breathing exercises we practised through each surge which had become quite intense. I intended to use the pool, so I was taken to the birthing unit at first. After a few hours of pacing the room and breathing, I was given gas and air, but my heart rate had increased, so I was moved to a high-risk ward - not how I had planned it! The midwives were really understanding, knowing that wasn't what I wanted, but they wanted to monitor us further.
A heart monitor was strapped to me and my belly, and after a few more hours, I felt like I had reached the end of what I could do without further help. After agreeing to an examination, I was barely dilated and offered an epidural. I was given it at 4 a.m. and went to sleep almost immediately. My husband had been keeping me topped up with water, and finally got some rest in the chair next to me. When I woke up a couple of hours later, I agreed to another examination, and it had really made a difference; by midday, we were ready to go.
I didn't feel an urge to push due to the epidural, but I could feel when I was having a contraction. I had been on my side most of the time, and I was asked to move to my back. I said I would be very uncomfortable and didn't want to, but would try. As soon as I did, mine and the baby's heart rate changed, and they moved me back to my side. It felt like instinct to be in that position, even if a little awkward with a dead leg propped up.
The staff were so respectful of my choices and wishes. They explained everything, and knowing beforehand made me feel like I was actively part of it, that it wasn't just happening to me. I had been in labour for nearly two hours, and it was their practise to call in an obstetrician after this time. She came in and talked about taking me to theatre for forceps, but when she came back the baby was nearly here.
He was immediately placed on my chest and started feeding, and I was relieved that he was here and everything was ok. I had an injection to help birth the placenta (which I had already planned to have), and two stitches. The epidural made it impossible to stand up until the next day, and the staff were so helpful, including when I forgot I couldn't move my legs and tried to get out of bed when the baby cried in the night!
I'm so glad I prepared as much as I did - some people say 'it's no good having a birth plan as babies have their own', and I'd hoped for minimal intervention where possible, but being prepared and knowing what was available went a long way. It gave me a lot of confidence and made it easier to make decisions for myself in the moment. Hypnobirthing was not only a technique to help with the birth process, but valuable, empowering knowledge that really did make a difference to our experience.