Updated: May 6, 2020
One thing I have always known is that when I got pregnant I was going to do hypnobirthing. I had heard such great things from mums I had worked for that there was no doubt in my mind about how amazing it could be.
My husband and I did a lot of research in to different courses and decided we wanted to have face to face Mongan Method classes where we could learn relaxation and breathing techniques as well as the science behind birth and go home and practice. We started classes around 22 weeks, as like the body, the mind needs training. Every day listened to my birthing affirmations, relaxation music and practised relaxation techniques. I became a little addicted to my daily meditating and nightly bath with calming music and essential oils. I had never been so calm and confident as I was throughout my pregnancy and I was excited about birthing my daughter.
My friends and family joke that I sneezed and my daughter was born. It didn’t quite happen like that but it was as natural and normal as sneezing is! At 11.30pm when I was 38 weeks and 5 days my membranes released. I was so shocked with how much liquid was coming out (totally different for everyone woman) and the fact it was a slightly pink colour but so excited that this meant we were much closer to meeting our baby. I rang the hospital and they asked for me to come in to be checked (protocol when you have decided to give birth in a labour ward or midwife led unit). On arrival they asked if I was having any contractions. I told them I was having some tightening's but nothing different than the last couple weeks and nothing I couldn’t talk through. They told me (after all checks were ok) to go home and get a good night’s sleep and booked me an appointment for 24 hours’ time in case things hadn’t progressed. We got home around 1am. I told my husband to go back to bed and that I would have a bath as I felt a bit mucky since my waters broke. When I was in the bath I noticed my tightening were a little more intense but nothing too uncomfortable. I moisturised (haha), made a hot water bottle and got in to bed.
After about 30 minutes I woke my husband as I thought it was wise to time my tightening's, as they were becoming a little more intense. He downloaded the app and noticed after about 30 minutes that they were lasting a fair amount of time in quite quick succession. He called the midwife unit around 2.30am to say things were progressing fast and we thought we should head it. The midwife said that was great but I was only in very early labour (I wasn’t) as a first time mum it was likely thing would take a while (also a lie) so to stay at home and let things progress. Over the next hour or so I had a couple baths, used the tens machine, walked around, bounced on the ball, listened to birthing affirmation and calming music, did my relaxation techniques and pooped like a machine (very common in labour).
My husband called the hospital again around 3.30am to say that I had told him I wanted to come for gas and air as I was feeling more uncomfortable. They told him I was probably still in very early labour and would get sent home or if I wanted any pain relief I would have to go to the labour ward (not what I wanted and also not true) so we stayed at home.
By 4.15am I told my husband that I had the urge to bear down. I also had a urge to gag and was losing the remainder of my mucus. He rang the hospital and said that I was having the urge to bear down. They asked how quickly we could get there and as we lived 1.7 miles away the answer was quick.
My husband threw the bags in the car as well as me and drove to the hospital as I breathed through my tightening’s. I kept lifting my bottom of the seat as my husband kept asking what I was doing, I kept saying “I can feel her head right there”. We got there, left the car on double yellows and waddled up to the birthing unit.
The midwives were waiting at the door, took me in to a side room and asked to examine me. An examination was not necessary as with just looking the midwife told me I was 10cm plus 2 and on the next contraction we were to get to the birthing room.
I managed to waddle to the birthing room and naturally put myself on all fours. At this point my body was naturally bearing down with each tightening without me even thinking about it. I asked if they could fill the birthing pool and I was told there wasn’t time and that didn’t bother me at all. My husband asked if I could have some gas and air as I had only had two paracetamol so I had a few inhales of gas and air during my tightening’s.
Everyone in the room was very silent and let me follow my body. Our daughter was born at 4.59am after arriving at hospital at 4.30am. My second stage of labour was 17 minutes! I ended up with a second degree tear thanks to my daughter coming out with her elbow next to her head but didn't even notice. I was stitched up by my midwife in the room straight away and it caused me no issues with recovery.
Never once did I feel out of control or unable to cope. I listened to my body, lent on my partner and focused on the fact that every tightening bought my baby closer to me. I thank hypnobirthing for this. I firmly believe without hypnobirthing I would not have been able to do my whole labour at home feeling in such control. Birth is natural, normal and healthy, it’s nothing to be afraid of, it will give you the biggest gift of all.