I first came across hypnobirthing when I was seven months pregnant. It was completely new to me and sounded interesting so I researched as much as I could on the internet. I read story after story from women who had used the techniques and had experienced calm, relaxed and even pain free births. It all sounded a little too good to be true but I decided that it was definitely worth a try. What could I lose?
I thought I'd give hypnobirthing a try and started practising the techniques as soon as I could. By the time I started my maternity leave I was listening to the tracks every day and feeling much calmer about the birth.
I had a very strong idea of the birth that I wanted - as natural as possible in a birth pool. When the time came though things didn’t go according to plan, my waters broke but I didn't go into labour. 48 hours later I still had no sign of contractions and I was advised that an induction was necessary due to risk of infection. Me & my partner, Dan, talked through our options with the doctor and decided that induction was the right choice for us. The birth centre pool experience I'd hoped for became a distant dream.
I was hooked up to a monitor and induced via a hormone drip - basically everything I hadn't wanted. The doctor warned that I was likely to need an epidural but I was able to use the techniques that I had learnt to keep myself calm, relaxed and in control. Despite things not going quite according to plan, I went on to have a beautiful birth experience. My lovely midwife, Hannah, was supportive of hypnobirthing and all of the skills I had practised just kicked in. I was relaxed and focussed and went on to give birth in just over 3 hours using only a tens machine for relief. I felt completely calm and in control and the pain I felt was minimal. Dan says that I made more fuss when they put the drip into my hand than when I actually gave birth!
A positive birth is not about having a 'perfect birth', it is about being in control, making informed decisions and knowing the best ways to keep you calm, relaxed and comfortable so that you have the right birth for you.