With my first pregnancy I accepted that the nine months were to mentally and physically train for the marathon known as childbirth. I learnt about hynobirthing through a friend, she loaned me Marie Mongan’s book and my partner and I both read it. I used hypnobirthing techniques, specifically the affirmation tracks with my first birthing experience, no drugs, vaginal delivery with suction. With the aim of a similar drug free delivery, I incorporated hypnobirthing into my training regime with my second, although a lot harder to practice with a toddler also requiring attention!
By the third trimester my training involved listening to Melissa Spilsted’s hypnobirthing tracks (hypnobubs hypnobirthing online course); specifically the affirmations, light exercise and eating well, although that involved some chocolate.
My second child was later than anticipated, at forty weeks and five days my cervix was 2cm dilated and I requested a membrane sweep. After the sweep, my obstetrician suggested walking and bouncing on my gym ball. Nothing happened.
That night, with my cervix 3cm dilated, I stayed overnight in the maternity ward. I tried to stay calm, sleep and continued listening to the hypnobirthing tracks. Around 2am I decided to dance to help start contractions. So there I was in the middle of the night with my headphones on, looking out into the hospital carpark and the forest beyond. Newborn babies were crying in other rooms as I danced to Taylor Swift’s ‘shake it’ to help my baby arrive. Nothing happened.
My partner arrived in the morning and it went back to the birthing suite for an artificial rupture of the membranes (ARM). My obstetrician suggested going for a walk; I ended up walking for an hour, looking around the hospital waiting for something to happen. My toddler and his grandma came by and picked up his pram while I was mentally trying to encourage his sibling to arrive. Nothing happened.
The next step in the induction process was delayed due other patients with emergencies; so I read research articles for my potential future PhD and my partner did some work. I remember that I had some Christmas cake, a cup of tea and then finally the syntocinon drip was started at 11.30am.
Everything that I had trained for involved moving and bouncing not lying on my back, apparently this is what is recommended for a birth not requiring the ‘cascade of intervention’. There was meconium leaking with the amniotic fluid and with all of this combined, I started to doubt whether I could have a drug free vaginal birth. My partner offered the best words of encouragement at this point.
After a few hours I thought ‘ok, this is what’s been dealt, I’ll just go with it’. The midwife was very supportive and explained that once the syntocinon starts it gains momentum. Once the contractions started, I started listening to a tune by Riley Lee called ‘no one sleeps’. Initially, the track wasn’t on my two day old phone so I had to first download it, between contractions. As the contractions began to gain strength, I moved over to Melissa’s affirmations, focused on one spot, used heat packs and breathed. The bed was facing the bathroom door, so I focused on the doorstop. My partner blocked it several times and I had to eventually explain my visual focus point. As with my first birthing experience, my partner ended up providing many heat packs and each contraction was five breaths for me. After three breaths the last two feel a lot easier. I was still chatting to the midwife and my partner about childbirth, babies and various other topics between contractions. I was even chatting online to a few friends, not mentioning that I was in labour at that point.
At 4.30pm I was 4cm dilated, and at one point I remember thinking ‘I can’t do this’ and then Melissa’s voice said ‘I am strong’ and my thought changed to ‘ok, I’ve got this’.
I remember telling the midwife I was ready. She asked if I wanted to change positions. I basically changed immediately from lying on my back to being on my knees and facing the back of the bed. My obstetrician came by to look at said I was fully engaged and ready to deliver. I started joking with the midwife, ‘Look I really need to go to toilet Terri, what sort of service is this?’ The midwife and my obstetrician were laughing along with me.
I asked my partner to squeeze my hips with each contraction, which helped immensely with counteracting the pressure. I was now focusing on a red button behind the bed, using five breaths per contraction, holding a heat pack against my abdomen and the counter pressure as my pain relief.
I finally had about six contractions where I pushed down three times with each contraction, holding my breath. I felt my baby’s head come out and focused on breathing and holding a heat pack to my abdomen. Then I felt her entire body being pushed out. I saw her fall out onto the bed and she was still attached to me via the umbilical cord. I think seeing her beneath me with my partner hugging me, looking over my shoulder at our new baby was the best part. She was covered in meconium and had to receive medical attention but immediately after she was on my chest and suckling the breast.
Sabrina was born at 5.27pm weighing 3.03kg and she is doing very well. I still feel very empowered by this birthing experience.
Seeing ‘heat packs and hypnobirthing techniques’ beside the pain relief method makes me feel good and I know that mental and physical preparation including the hypnobirthing tracks were all part of the process.
I'd also bought your album from itunes for a friend and she had a thirty minute VBAC labour, right after they told her she’d have to have another c-section!
I’m sure your affirmations helped her stay calm throughout the process as we were encouraging each other to listen to them throughout our pregnancies.
From now on, I’ll be buying gift vouchers as they are an ideal pregnancy present!
Take care and keep up the great work
Find out more about how the hypnobubs hypnobirthing online course can help YOU to prepare for your calm and empowered birth - HERE!
Please enter your details below for your Free Course Preview and Pregnancy Relaxation MP3 so you can get started with your hypnobirthing practice today.