The Hypnobubs Online course was a game changer for us!!
I was so excited about my birth story I just wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I came close to sharing it a few times after completing the Hypnobubs online course but constantly deleted it for fear of it being too long. I like reading other’s birth stories no matter how long so now, on the eve of my daughters first birthday, I’ve decided to do it anyway. So settle in and read it if you like but you’ve been warned!
Neve is my third child. My son is nine and my oldest daughter is seven. In the interest of maintaining a positive view of birth, the only thing I would like to say about my first two deliveries is that I was uninformed and underprepared. I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) which has risks
associated with pregnancy and birth and therefore I was induced with my son at 38 weeks, (25-hour labour, vacuum extraction) and my daughter (an elective Caesarean section) at 38 weeks also.
My student midwife who is my best friend introduced me to the hypnobirthing concept for my third baby, and as a psychology student, the science behind it made perfect sense to me. I was adamant I did not want an induction or section again and so I aimed for the elusive VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). Although my obstetrician was hesitant due to my risk factors (I was considered a high-risk pregnancy due to the SLE, VBAC, and the fact that I had a PPH (postpartum haemorrhage) in my previous birth) he was very kind, supportive and informative.
My husband and I did the Hypnobubs Online Course as my husband travels a lot for work and pinning him down for face-to-face classes would have been impossible. My husband LOVED the course. He said it made him feel empowered and really defined his role in the labour and birth. There was also a LOT of things about pregnancy/labour/birth that I knew, and assumed everyone knew, that he didn’t know – so doing the course educated him on the processes involved which gave him a much better understanding.
I almost always fell asleep during the Hypnobirthing Tracks. I also struggled to visualise myself in the bubble of comfort and often felt my mind wander when trying to concentrate. I wasn’t sure I was “getting it” and thought I was going to fail! There was also a moment towards the end of my pregnancy where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I was exhausted and feeling generally low and just couldn’t bring myself to do any of the meditation or watch any of the videos. Funnily enough, it was at this time I received an email from Melissa Spilstead wishing me all the best with the course and I took it as a sign to persevere.
I had a section booked on St Patrick’s Day which would have been almost 41 weeks gestation for me. In the weeks leading up to this date, I did everything in my power to encourage my little girl to come out on our own terms. I had seven stretch and sweeps, took clary sage baths, rubbed clary sage on my belly, walked on the beach morning and evening, walked with one foot on the curb and one on the road, ate curry, drank raspberry leaf tea, sat leaning forward on the fit-ball, crawled on all fours, and even had sex – despite my complete lack of interest! I think she was fairly happy in there and I worried I wouldn’t go into labour before my booked section. I had tightenings on and off for two weeks leading up to baby’s arrival.
On Monday night I felt like I had hit a wall so-to-speak, and decided to go to bed really early (8 pm). I was teary and felt nauseated and generally exhausted. At 10:26 pm I woke to an intense tightening and immediately knew it was on! My second tightening was three minutes later and my membranes released. I was so calm and relaxed. My husband called the hospital to let them know and they said to come in immediately. I honestly felt like I was in no hurry. I had a shower and called my sister, midwife, mum, and my best friend.
At midnight we drove down to the hospital. I was so happy and calm that the triage nurse did not believe I was in labour. I am sure she thought I would be sent home. My tightenings were happening every 2-3 minutes but I felt so calm that I don’t think people thought there was much to it. Once in the hospital, the midwife put the monitor on me (due to the risk factors I needed to be monitored throughout the entire labour). I was admitted despite being only 2cm dilated at 12:30 am.
My husband put the birthing tracks on but I don’t remember consciously hearing them. The monitor kept slipping off and I was so focused and “in the zone” I made no attempt to keep them on, so the midwife left to get a monitor to pop on the baby’s head. I just stood next to the bed and talked and acted normally in between surges, and leaning on either my husband or the bed when the surges came.
At the end of one of my surges, I automatically made a pushing sound and the midwife asked if I felt a little “pushy” on that last one but I wasn’t really listening. It wasn’t long after this that I thought what I was going through was ok but given I was only 2cm I likely had hours to go and I said to my husband I think I will end up needing an epidural. He recognised this as “transition talk” and said of course and left the room and said to our student midwife “I’m just coming out here to pretend to ask you for an epidural”.
Two more surges and the student midwife said she’d like to examine me again because I sounded different. I got on the bed in between surges and my daughter was already crowning! The midwife came running back in and at 1:23 am, 40+2 weeks, my student midwife caught my daughter as I breathed her out. It was the most amazing experience of my life! So calm and wonderful! The midwives were all talking about it and constantly came into our room in the days following saying “you’re the hypnobirthing mama?!”. The on-duty midwife said she had never experienced a birth that calm and she couldn’t believe how I just “breathed her out”. Apparently, she has mentioned it to my friend even lately!
It was easily the best day of my entire life. I was on such a high for days and felt invincible. My daughter and I were able to bond without the fog of anaesthetic or painkillers, or the drowsy haze of anti-nausea drugs I had with my first two births. Little Neve was the calmest little baby, she still is very chilled. I can honestly say there were moments that felt intense but that I didn’t feel pain. I was so calm at the moment and was able to fully relax and let my body do its thing. Neve is our last baby and I am genuinely disappointed I will never get to do that again, but so grateful for this experience in my life.
It was less than three hours from my first surge to having Neve in my arms but in hindsight, I was having surges for days earlier.
If you’re pregnant and reading this I hope it helps. If you have a moment where you think you’re not getting it, or that everything feels too hard and you’re not sure it’s worth it, it is. Just do the tracks even if it doesn’t feel like you’re absorbing anything, you might surprise yourself. Thank you to all the other mamas who shared their stories when I was pregnant (and after), it was so comforting to read them and know I wasn’t alone.
And thank you to Melissa Spilsted for the course, it’s the greatest thing we did for ourselves, total game changer. 💛