This was my second pregnancy, having had my daughter 11 years ago at the age of 23, however my husband Tom’s first baby. I wanted to do a hypnobirthing course because I went into my first labour with the attitude, “I don’t want to have any expectations and the medical team will guide me” as I thought I knew enough about giving birth because I had read What to expect when you’re expecting. As no surprise to you I’m sure, that labour ended in nearly 30 hours of labour, a failed epidural (which became disconnected and baby and I caught an infection), an episiotomy and ventouse delivery. Whilst I wouldn’t say this was traumatic, it just wasn’t a great experience and I always felt like labour just happened to me, and I never really got to choose what I did or didn’t want.
Fast forward quite a few years and I started listening to the Australian Birth Stories podcast and my eyes and mind were opened to hypnobirthing. When we fell pregnant, we definitely wanted to try hypnobirthing in the hopes my husband could gain some knowledge about labour and birth and so that I could gain confidence to go into labour and birth again. Our friend recommended your class and I am so, SO glad she did! As a first time dad, Tom thought that all babies were delivered in a hospital, with a private OB, whilst a woman laid on her back screaming at her husband, “you did this to me!!”
I followed your advice. I made a vision board and saved it as my phone screensaver and popped it on the fridge. I listened to the MP3s in the shower each night. I had affirmation cards on the bathroom mirror. I bounced and did hip circles on the gym ball. I rested.
Monday 28th March at 9am my waters broke at home. I had a midwife appointment at 10am (in my home as we were in MGP) and she sent us into hospital for quick monitoring as my BP was slightly elevated. I had my first contraction in the car on the way there, followed by another 3 in the 20 minutes it took us to the hospital, but they were so mild and I could talk through them. The hospital had to monitor us in a birth suite as they were so busy, and after 20 minutes of monitoring, the midwife offered for us to go home and labour but Tom, who felt very confident in knowing what to expect, asked if we could stay another half an hour as he felt things were progressing very quickly. The midwife allowed this and Tom went to the car to grab our bags “just incase”. He came back to the suite to see me, breathing through my contractions on the fit ball and he knew we were staying put.
As I was labouring, I was saying to myself, “relaxed jaw, relaxed shoulders, relaxed body. You can do anything for a minute.” (so different to the “No, No, No” that was in my head the last labour). My body was so relaxed and I actually felt myself accepting the contractions and letting them intensify because I knew they were serving a purpose, so I didn’t fear them. Tom was also able to provide light touch massage and both him, and my midwife and student midwife were saying my affirmations to me throughout also, telling me my body was made to do this and that each surge was bringing me closer to my baby.
All of a sudden I heard the nurses start to fill the bath and I actually thought they were mental and I was going to miss my opportunity for a waterbirth because surely I had another 12 hours before my baby was here??!! As soon as I got into that water, my body started bearing down. After about 15 minutes or so my midwife suggested I get on all fours, at which point I birthed my baby to her cheeks and then didn’t have another contraction for 4 (hundred) minutes. She suggested I move into a lunge position and my baby actually shot out like a torpedo into the water and I scooped her up and onto my chest! What an amazing, empowering feeling. I had absolutely no pain relief and did not have to make a single decision the entire time because Tom and my birth team knew exactly what I wanted, thanks to our birth preferences we had printed and discussed beforehand.
2.5 hours active labour (um, WHAT?!)
After Aubrey was born I did need stitches for a 2nd degree tear, thanks to the torpedo’ing and had 850mL postpartum haemorrhage, but we were totally mentally prepared for this and neither Tom or I were worried. The only thing that took us both for surprise were the after pains that lasted 4 whole days and had me writhing in pain each time I fed. Absolutely awful.
Tom has told literally everyone about you and hypnobirthing and how wonderful it is - I think our friends think we have joined a cult or something. We cannot believe how much just changing your mindset could affect our experience so much, but it really did. I know this has been a very long g email, but I just felt that I needed you to know how amazing our experience was and I couldn’t portray that in a quick Instagram DM. We have recommended you to so many pregnant friends because we particularly loved how you provide options for all types of labour, including epidural and caesarean - it wasn’t at all about promoting a drug-free birth, rather teaching us to trust our bodies and utilising medical intervention where necessary. We are truly thankful to you for delivering the course in the manner that you did and allowing us to have the most amazing experience to bring Aubrey into the world, as an educated and empowered couple.
We wish you all the best and a safe delivery for your little baby boy and I am sure you will have such an amazing experience as you have afforded so many other couples.
Bec and Tom
Photos and birth story shared with permission.