When I found out I was pregnant my initial thoughts about giving birth were “to have no plan”, “go in oblivious” and “it will all be over soon enough”. And then the birth stories began… 40+ hours, tears, cutting, trauma, pain, pain, pain. I really didn’t want my birth to be like this. I read that giving birth is similar to running a marathon and made my mind up that I needed to do some preparing.
I had heard about hypnobirthing through a friend and stumbled across one of the books when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. After reading the book I was relieved that there was potential for a calm and controlled birth, however still somewhat skeptical (“one born every minute” begged to differ). At about 30 weeks pregnant I was on the receiving end of a horror birth story and that very same day I saw Rebekah’s hypnobirthing facebook page with classes starting in Esperance! I emailed her straight away.
After the classes my hypnobirthing preparation really began at 36 weeks pregnant (when I had finished work and had a bit more time). I listened to the hypnobirthing CD’s at least every second day, made a ‘birth board’ to help with visualisations and affirmations and continually told my baby that ‘she is in the correct position for birth’, that ‘I was looking forward to the day of her birth with great joy’ and ‘I am going to birth calmly and gently’.
I woke up at 2 am the morning of the 26th of September as I was experiencing consistent tightening in my belly. I felt incredibly excited but didn’t want to wake Ben in case it was all in my imagination. I remained calm and rested in bed, breathing through the mild tightening. A couple of hours later I went to the toilet and had a small ‘show’ and knew that our baby was coming. The mild tightening continued for the rest of the night and into the morning – I stayed in bed relaxed and continued to breath and say my affirmations in my head. When it was morning I was in no rush to get to the hospital as I knew this was just the warm up – I ate some breakfast, had a shower, listened to the hypnobirthing tracks and went for a small walk with Ben (& got swooped by Magpies). As we live half an hour out of town by mid morning we decided to go into Esperance Hospital and get checked out. I was told the surges were consistent but very mild, baby is breathing well and to come back at 1 pm. During this morning visit I handed my birth preferences over to the midwives. They were more than happy to read and discuss these with Ben and I and thought they were great. I made it clear that I did not want to be offered medication – I would ask for it if I needed it. This made me feel very relieved and excited to have our baby in Esperance.
We left the hospital at about 11 am and went down to the local Coffee Cat. The surges were already getting stronger and I knew it wouldn’t be long. I stayed relaxed and continued to breath and drink a delicious iced mocha. At Coffee Cat a lady I know yelled out “run Izzy and the baby will fall out”… she didn’t know how right she was.
We returned to the hospital at 12pm as the surges were close together, strong and very consistent. While breathing calmly I pictured my muscles moving upwards and my cervix opening. I visualized roses opening, lotus flowers, me floating over waves, and breathed in and out for 8 with every surge; telling myself that ‘I can birth calmly and gently’ ‘every surge brings my baby closer’ etc. It wasn’t long before I felt the sudden urge to go to the toilet and I stayed there for some time. While sitting on the toilet the urge to “bear down” came on very strongly. The midwife tried to do a VE to check my cervix was open as they were surprised it was all happening so quickly. I couldn’t lie down for long enough so the VE was unsuccessful – I knew I was ready and our baby was coming! It took some convincing to get me off the toilet and onto the birthing chair. It wasn’t long before Emily’s head appeared and thanks to the encouraging words of my husband, the midwife and doctor (who came in in the last 5 minutes), I remained in control and continued to breath. Emily Elizabeth was born at 3.21pm on the 26th of September!
The Doctor put Emily onto my chest straight away and she stayed there for the next two hours. This was truly the most amazing bonding time. I was in a euphoric state and felt very awake and alert (medication free). Baby Emily was calm and peaceful and barely made a noise until she was weighed and measured, two hours later.
I am now very grateful I looked into hypnobirthing. It allowed me to have autonomy over Emily’s birth and helped me to stay calm and in control.
My ‘labour’ part was about 3-4 hours, medication and intervention free ” thanks to hypnobirthing techniques! Emily came out very peaceful ” no crying at all! Apparently her heart beat stayed the same the whole time! And has been a beautiful bub since.
Isabel and Ben, Esperance, Western Australia