Like many women, the idea of birth scared me. When a friend told me of her amazing hypnobirth, I was eager to learn some strategies to ensure that fear would not determine the type of birth that I would have.
My Husband Luke and I enrolled in the Hypnobirthing Australia course with Melissa at 23 weeks and it just made so much sense. We immediately threw ourselves into preparation for the amazing birth that I knew we could have. We prepared by surrounding ourselves with affirmations, daily breathing and relaxation practice using scent triggers. We also did a lot of research into care provides before deciding on Dr Maneesh Singh (who would have to be the most passionate, experienced, supportive, committed and hilarious obstetricians ever!!!). Luke and I wrote a birth plan that we were both comfortable with and shared this with Maneesh and the wonderful midwives at John Flynn hospital.
At my 38 week appointment my doctor found that I had a reduction in my amniotic fluid and he told me that the next week he would see where I was at and talk about the possibility of inducing. I really wanted to avoid this but trusted him. I contacted Melissa with my concerns and she responded with the most supportive and helpful advice. I started playing the baby come out track each day, had clary sage baths, raspberry leaf tea and played the fear release track. At my next appointment my fears were alleviated, fluid looked good and baby was ready to go.
The night before our birth day I felt some cramps that were a bit more intense than what I had been experiencing so I went to bed early listening to fear release. I didn’t tell Luke because I wanted him to have a good sleep. At 2am I woke up to some mild surges. I tried my best to sleep and rest even though I was so excited. At 5:30am I woke Luke and told him that he wouldn’t be going to work because today was the day that we would meet our little girl. We stayed home listening to our tracks, affirmations, moving in and out of the shower. At midday Luke called the hospital and told them we were on our way.
Even though my surges were intense and getting closer together, the trip to hospital and check in process slowed things down. I was worried that my surges would stop completely. Unfortunately, John Flynn has a policy for monitoring the baby on admission while you lay on the bed. This didn’t feel comfortable and whilst my self-talk and relaxation tracks helped, I felt like things slowed down even more. During this time Luke set up the room to make it our little safe haven. We had LED candles, blankets and pillows from home and aromatherapy with a beautiful mix of lavender (my trigger scent) and clary sage.
Once I could move around the room again it wasn’t long before my surges were more intense and coming closer together again. I could feel that my surges were really effective and I reminded myself that every surge was bringing me closer to meeting my little girl.
I wanted a water birth so I asked my midwife if I could get in the bath. Being familiar with my birth plan she knew that I wanted minimal internal examinations but told me that I would need one before getting in the bath. At this stage I didn’t care because I just wanted to be in the water. Luke asked that I not be told how far along I was. I later learned that I was 4cms. I’m so glad that I didn’t find out because I think that I would have been disappointed as I had no idea how quickly things would move from here. By the time the pool was filled things had gotten really intense and I started to feel like this was beyond me, my self-talk and relaxation tracks weren’t helping – I wanted out. I went through text book transition (asked /begged Luke for an epidural). Luke gently told me that I was doing an amazing job and that he was so proud of me and that we would cross that path if we got to it.
At this time Luke became really protective of me and my birth space. He got me in the pool, shut the blinds to the birthing pool and quietly whispered affirmations to me. One nasty side of the day that I did not anticipate was that I would vomit after each surge, so Luke spent the rest of the birth holding on to me in the pool and catching my vomit in a bag – I have never loved him more J. When I could no longer continue my long slow breaths, I knew that things were starting to change. I knew that I needed to breathe my baby down quietly, however other physical changes gave us away.
It was at this point that I was truly grateful for my choice in care provider. We all knew the baby was coming, including our doctor who was now pool side, but bub was not coming in a hurry. I heard a conversation around me that I was doing so beautifully in the pool and that he knew I could do it so he wouldn’t intervene. I remember feeling so supported and safe. I spent the next two and a half hours bearing down, feeling my baby move slowly down the birth path. It was hard work. I was thanking myself for staying fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy and that I had rested through birth because I still had the strength and energy that I needed to safely bring my little girl into the world.
With the gentle encouragement from my doctor, our midwife and Luke as well as a few jokes and giggles, I worked through the exhaustion and brought our baby into the world just after midnight. The most amazing feeling that I have ever felt was the feeling of my little girl wriggling, turning and emerging from my body, into the water and into my arms.
Birth was the most intense experience of my life but it was so manageable. I have the lowest pain threshold of anyone I know, but I did it, using only hypnobirthing as pain relief.
It’s been only three weeks since our little Frankie Rose came into the world and I feel healthy and fantastic. There is no trauma or residual fear. I know that I will feel just as excited and confident for our next birth because of this amazing experience. I am so grateful for my care providers and for my absolute champion of a husband. Hypnobirthing is just as beneficial for the birth partner as it is for the mummy to be. At no stage was Luke helpless or hopeless. He was my birth space protector and did everything that he could to make sure that I knew I was safe, loved and that I stayed focused on the calm and beautiful birth that we had planned. I feel like the experience brought us closer together.
Finally, thank you to Melissa and Hypnobirthing Australia for making me believe that I had the strength to birth and for giving me the tools and support for a calm and gentle birth. I promise to shout your praises from the rooftops!!! You have a place in our hearts forever J
I’m still telling everyone about Hypnobirthing. It really the best decision that we have ever made.
Nyree, Luke and Frankie 🙂 xx