A life changing birth experience, in the best possible way!!
When I told my husband that we were going to Hypnobirthing classes, in a gentle way, he told me he didn't understand why he needed to come and asked, 'Don't I just tell you to push?'. Admittedly, I thought he'd do much the same. My big reason for wanting to go to classes was so that he knew how to help me (and wasn't useless, sitting on his phone while I was in labour). I didn't know how much we would both learn, or how involved he would become.
Hypnobirthing equipped both of us with knowledge to view labour and birth as a normal experience, rather than a medical emergency. We worked with our midwife throughout the pregnancy to ensure we were supported to have the birth we wanted. The birth we wanted was calm, non-invasive and fun (yes, we actually laughed through my labour!).
We were extremely fortunate to work with midwives at Gladstone hospital who also shared similar views to us. When we arrived at the hospital to have our baby, we found the room dimly lit, a sign on the door asking people to knock quietly and wait (I was so happy and comforted to see that it was the sign from the folder that they had arranged for us) and we were able to use our own music and diffuser.
I took on so many of the suggestions for a calm labour and birth that Shari taught us in our course. This started with practising breathing from about 32 weeks (what else do we do when we cannot sleep properly?) and using meditation tracks. At 39 weeks, I used Clary Sage and quickly started seeing my mucous plug start to come out.
The other very important part of my practise was to ensure I was prepared for "horror birth stories" that some people love to tell. Additionally I also had to prepare myself for comments about not being a "martyr" when people (some perfect strangers) told me I'd have the epidural, or to just accept any pain relief I could. When people would start talking like this I would smile and nod, while I focused on nothing but my breathing. Sometimes it was part of what Shari taught me and other times it was merely becoming more aware of my breathing as a way of distracting myself. Preparing myself for that was so important as I'm quite susceptible to taking on the energy of others or even just letting one little word overtake my own thoughts and attitudes. I now make a real effort to tell people my positive birth story, even if it is a random stranger!
On my due date, I managed a huge sleep in followed by an even bigger breakfast. I went about my day and as I was cleaning my floors, I started to feel tightenings but quickly dismissed them, telling myself no one has their baby on their due date. As they became closer together, I phoned my husband and he suggested letting the midwives know. My midwife offered to come and check on me at home which was comforting. Later that afternoon my waters broke and we went up to the hospital to check if it was in fact my waters.
Upon arriving and seeing the room so beautifully prepared, I felt safe and even more relaxed. My midwife confirmed I was losing amniotic fluid, and asked if I wanted to stay or go home until things sped up a little. I opted to stay (I don't know why in all honesty but I felt safe and calm, so perhaps that is why). After about four hours of being at the hospital, I told everyone I wanted a nap and they respected these wishes, and my husband was quietly relieved to get some shut eye himself!
When I woke up at 4am the following day, I had decided I'd had enough and didn't want to do it anymore. I woke my husband and told him it was too hard and I'd just have a C-Section. Knowing me very well, and remembering everything he learned at Shari's course, he told me to lay down and go back to sleep. With a kiss on my forehead, he returned to the recliner and closed his eyes, and so did I!
I woke again at 6am and announced, 'I'm ready to do this'. I got moving, sat on the fit ball, lay on the fit ball in the shower while my husband held hot water on my back and was then offered to get into the birth pool. Throughout this, my husband applied pressure to my lower back during surges, light touch in between and encouraging words.
I followed my body's cues and got in and out of the pool as I pleased, moving around to keep things progressing. While in the pool, I announced to my midwife that 'Something's happening'. She recalled that this was very different to other things I had said throughout labour and asked to check my progress (I was at 22 hours of being in labour by this point) and I happily obliged.
Upon getting out of the pool and stepping onto the ledge, I let out quiet a loud roar and squatted down while my husband and midwife took my body weight. Upon checking me, my midwife told me that my baby was ready and I said, 'I know, I've been bearing down in the water for ages.'
My midwife raised the bedhead up for me to lean on and I recall her asking my husband, 'Do you want to do this?' and he replied with a very enthusiastic, 'Yes'. After two pushes, my husband caught and passed our beautiful baby girl through my legs for immediate skin-on-skin contact.
Without the knowledge we learned at the Hypno birthing course, my husband and I would have been at a loss as to how to birth our baby. We went in feeling prepared, equipped and excited to experience labour and childbirth. Shari answered questions throughout and presented the information in a way that was not only easy to understand but also easy to remember. My husband proudly tells people that he helped to birth our baby and eagerly recommends Hypno birthing to friends. We both highly recommend the course to anyone who is expecting their baby!
Jemma & Shane
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