I completed the hypnobirthing course with my partner early in the third trimester of my pregnancy. I practiced the deep relaxation tracks regularly and then on a daily basis in the couple of weeks before my due date.
My desire was to have a natural birth with minimal pain relief or medical intervention. At 37 weeks of a seemingly normal pregnancy, I started to present with some early warning signs of pre-eclampsia. I was fortunate to have a fantastic obstetrician who respected my wishes and was happy to wait as I hadn’t yet developed the condition. After a couple of days of monitoring, I decided to undergo a ‘stretch and sweep’ procedure to get things moving along given pre-eclampsia could develop at any time.
Two days later, my membranes released and I started to have surges. By 9am that morning, my surges were intense. Even though I had done a lot of preparation for the birth, I initially felt anxious and experienced a lot of negative thoughts as the surges became stronger and stronger. To be honest, at that point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to handle a natural birth without an epidural.
I’m really lucky to have an amazing partner who was with me every step of the way and was fully prepared for the birth thanks to the hypnobirthing course. He went over my birth affirmations with me when I was feeling anxious and played ‘Surge of the Sea’ on speaker when I was doing it tough. I focussed on my breathing, zoned in on Melissa’s soothing voice and started to calm down. I stayed in a calm state for a couple of hours.
I had now been labouring for 12 hours at home until I eventually reached a point where the surged became overwhelming so the hospital advised us to come in. Once I arrived at the hospital I asked for an epidural. My partner said if I didn’t try my other pain relief preferences I’d been kicking myself so I decided to try gas. It certainly took the edge off and I felt like I could keep going.
After only an hour of being in hospital, the midwives checked me and to my surprise I was fully dilated. I couldn’t believe it! It was all happening so quickly. At this stage, I felt really motivated to get my baby out quickly and I told myself repeatedly that I could do it. I kept thinking of how close I was to holding my little baby boy in my arms after all these months. After about 20 minutes of pushing, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, Jacob. I was so relieved, happy and immensely proud of my son. My son unfortunately had some breathing difficulties and had to go to special care unit but after a night’s stay he was discharged without any concerns. Despite this, I am happy to say I had a positive birth experience and achieved my goal of giving birth without an induction, strong pain relief and medical intervention.
I’ll also add that the techniques I used in the course were really useful when faced with stressful moments when I was learning to breastfeed.