Positive Birth Story
Any woman who is pregnant or has been pregnant has been there. The moment a woman turns around after congratulating your on your pregnancy and then lowers her voice and says something along the lines of ... 'of course, the birth was awful!' and proceeds to regale you with her horror story. I'm never entirely sure what the purpose is of doing this to anyone - it's going to fill the poor recipient with fear and anxiety at what should be the most exciting time of her life! It is no wonder that there is a 'birth is scary' ethos amongst women.
I found out about hypnobirthing a few months into my first pregnancy after hearing all the horror stories and starting to feel anxious and worried about what was to come. I read the book and after reading through the science part of the literature I couldn't find anything to disagree with so got cracking with the course. I listened to the MP3's, did the visualisations and the breathing exercises with hope that they would help me to control my anxiety about that whole labour thing (I just had no idea what to expect and so couldn't really visualise it) and slowly the due date came closer.
I'd decided I wanted a water birth at the local midwife lead unit - my husband and I were both a bit nervous of a home birth due to our complete lack of any experience of the labour process and wanted the security of the 'hospital' without the stark hospitally bits.
Eventually, it became clear that little Q was not going anywhere fast without a bit of encouragement and at 40 +12 I went in for an induction. I remember crying my eyes out at the thought of loosing this midwife led water birth and how out of control I felt suddenly. Luckily my husband is a complete rock and brought me back to reality nicely and we focused on the end result - meeting little Q.
We went in first thing and they got the induction started and then we waited, and waited and eventually around 10.30 pm they nicely but firmly suggested that as nothing was happening my husband should go home and I should get some sleep and we'd try again tomorrow. I had just said goodbye and settled down to read when 'POP' my waters went and I started feeling some mild surges.
I spent the night pacing the induction ward, having a bath and listening to my hypnobirthing MP3's whilst trying to do the breathing all very quietly so I didn't wake the other 4 women in the ward who were blissfully snoring away. By 5 am I knew I was well on my way and asked to be checked, the midwife found I was 5 cm dilated and suggested that we call my husband back rather quickly! Then came the best news, as I was in control and the labour was progressing as expected they wanted to transfer me to the midwife led unit and a pool was available!
Getting into that pool was just the best. The relief of not having to hold your own weight and just concentrate on breathing and letting your body do what it is supposed to do was wonderful. Eventually, at 2.30pm little Q made her entrance and I just held her and it was indescribable.
It wasn't pain free, getting to the midwife led unit was uncomfortable and transition from surges to pushing Q out was challenging but it wasn't awful. It was manageable, it was an experience and it was made both by feeling in control and understanding what was happening and when. I can't recommend hypnobirthing enough, whatever your birth story is planned to be I feel it will help you meet the challenge of labour so you can focus on the most important thing - meeting your new baby!
The Positive Birth Story Project
Recently I've started looking into Hypnobirthing again and came across Siobhan and The Positive Birth Company. They are campaigning to challenge the stereotype that birth is scary and awful and have set up the #positivebirthstoryproject and are aiming for as many women as possible to share their positive birth stories and reduce the physical and mental trauma that women can experience as a result of this fear.
You can read more about this campaign and hypnobirthing here and look out for it on social media!
I would love to know if this has struck a chord with you, has hypnobirthing helped you out ?