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After my first birthing experience which involved gas and air and an epidural, me lay on my back whilst being screamed at frantically to push and pant, bright surgical lights shining at me, surrounded by medical equipment, I felt exhausted, quite ill and, if I’m honest, in shock. It wasn’t how I’d planned it – I’d pictured bean-bags and lavender oils and dim lights, a water-birth and a very special experience for me and my baby. Don’t get me wrong, when my baby boy was placed in my arms, it was still the most amazing, special experience and one that I will never forget, but the part leading up to that – the pre-birth experience - was etched in my memory. I remember saying shakily, ‘Never again’ to the auxiliary  afterwards, and she just laughed, said that she had said that after her first baby, but had gone on to have three more. I thought she was crazy!

 

When I found out I was pregnant again (over a decade later) I was determined to try and find everything I could to ensure that I would have a different birthing experience as I was, to be truthful, very frightened. I just didn’t really know how or where to start. So I read and read and read. I didn’t really find out anything new from my last experience - the Bounty Packs and other literature all seemed to point to the inevitability of pain and pain relief. I eventually joined Yoga with Anna White in South Manchester, which was the start of my journey to a better birth. I then, by chance found a book by the NCT reduced to £2.99 from £16.99. I bought it and, after reading it, thought, ’This was meant for me.’  It referred to the option of  Birth Centres, which, to be honest, hadn’t even entered my head or been mentioned to me before. So I went on-line and found Stockport Birth Centre at Stepping Hill. I went on a personal tour with the Consultant Midwife and I changed hospitals immediately after as I was so impressed with their philosophy and my journey continued.

 

The real turning point was a chance remark from the Consultant Midwife at Stepping Hill Birth Centre during my Active Birth Classes. She asked if anyone had heard of HypnoBirthing®  because she had witnessed a young girl who had done HypnoBirthing®. She had come into triage extremely calm, saying she thought she was ready to birth her baby. The midwives were sceptical as she looked so calm and thought she would be about 2 cm dilated. On examination, she was 10 cm and gave birth in the same calm way an hour later.

 

That was it!! It was sold to me there and then!! I was ready to try anything. So I gave HypnoBirthing® a try.

 

I followed the relaxation programme faithfully, listened to the daily affirmations CD everyday, and thanks to the thorough education of the history of childbirth and how our bodies are made to birth, how fear affects birthing and fear release techniques, the fantastic breathing techniques and many other HypnoBirthing®  ‘birthing tools,’ I finally achieved the beautiful birth I knew existed.

 

 

My own HypnoBirth ….

I was extremely lucky in that I had my partner, Greg, as my birth partner and my friend and colleague Jean (a retired midwife) as my Labour Companion.

My baby’s due date was 12th and he still hadn't’ arrived by the 15th but I wasn’t fixated on the dates as with HypnoBirthing® we talk about a due time or month*. I felt baby would arrive when he was ready.

 

I started getting practice surges* (I’d been having more frequent ones all week) that evening at around 8 o’clock. I went to bed as usual and woke around 2ish with stronger tightenings* – Greg and I were too excited to sleep but knew we had to reserve our energy, so did the Rainbow Relaxation and other relaxation learnt through HypnoBirthing (Disappearing Letters) and eventually we nodded off for a while.

 

We were up at about 5 or 6 o’clock but there didn’t seem to be a regular pattern to the surges* , except that they were between 10, 15 or 20 minutes—different each time. I phoned triage to let them know and remained at home doing relaxation and massage.  Greg did some massage learnt at Yoga Parent Class and Light Touch Massage from HypnoBirthing®  programme (I felt Greg did not feel/behave like a spare part at all due to attending the classes and reading the literature from the HypnoBirthing®  programme and Yoga and he really knew how to support and help me and worked with me).

 

At about 10am, we lay on the bed and did the Rainbow Relaxation together, when suddenly my waters released* and I had a birth show* straight after …I phoned triage to let them know ….. stayed at home a while longer ….

When surges * got more regular, I made my way to Stepping Hill Birth Centre with my relaxation CDs on and just kept focused on my surge breathing from Hypnobirthing  which works with the surges *, shortening them and relieving them and took myself into deep relaxation, keeping body and mind totally relaxed.

 

At triage….

 

At triage they asked Greg to establish how often surges were coming and they were thinking I was still not in established labour (I later found out it was because I was so relaxed). I put my relaxation music on in triage and Greg massaged my legs and abdomen with lavender and almond oil, massaged my back and we did deep relaxation for baby and me. I knew and trusted that whilst I was relaxed my body could get on with birthing without discomfort and it did!!

 

The midwives were surprised to find out my surges were now every 2 mins (due to breathing technique they were only lasting between 30-45 seconds). When examined (my only examination as I didn’t want to feel like I was on any time-scale, which I learnt from HypnoBirthing), I was 7-8 cm dilated, which they were also really surprised at as they thought I would be a lot less due to my relaxed state. I was quickly moved to the pool room which was beautiful and I would highly recommend it. Jean explained my birth preference sheets* and the midwife was fabulous and highly supportive of natural childbirth and my birth preferences.

I started to feel sick but knew this was a good sign due to Hypnobirthing book – I knew my baby was close to being born.

 

The birth in water….

I got into the pool and Greg held me from behind as I kneeled in pool. The surges* were a lot stronger and I felt a change in them as I began to feel my body pushing down. I changed my breathing to birth breathing*.

When the head crowned I was almost ecstatic. I was saying ‘Yes’ because I knew how close baby was and was telling myself each surge brings my baby closer to me. A few more breaths, to which I was apparently smiling (a hallmark of Hypnobirthing® mums), and baby Harry Nicholas Traynor was born in the pool with absolutely no pain relief throughout and my Labour Companion, Jean passed him to us. It was a wonderful moment. After it had stopped pulsating, Greg cut the cord. It was amazing. Harry weighed 8lb 3oz and we were totally overjoyed. The midwife said it was one of the nicest births she had seen. 

HypnoBirthing® gave me the confidence and the understanding of how to have a natural birth. This was priceless! The combination with the Yoga classes was great as the two methods really complemented each other. I now don’t feel ‘Never Again!!’ but that I could do it all again tomorrow as it was a very beautiful, special experience.

Why I chose HypnoBirthing….

*Hypnobirthing uses much gentler language to help mums disassociate birth with anything negative or medical. In this passage I have used a few, but in the classes you will learn many more

 

Practice surges                         = Braxton and Hicks contractions

Surges                                          = labour pains/contractions

Tightening                                    = contraction/ pain

Birth show                                    = Bloody show

Waters released                         =waters broke

Birth preference sheets           = birth plan (so women understand birth is a

                                                       changeable experience and cannot be fully

                                                       planned. This means HypnoBirthing mums

                                                       are prepared and relaxed if anything does

                                                       change

Birth breathing                           = is used instead of the traditional forced

                                                       pushing, which is often exhausting and difficult

Due month                                   =Due date

 

I think Birth Centre sounds better than hospital also.