|Sam's Hypnobirth Day|
| I read about HypnoBirthing I think in a Pregnancy magazine and the whole approach made sense and really appealed to me. At the time I wasn't even pregnant but I shelved it away in case I ever needed it and two wonderful births later, I am so, so glad I did! I went to classes when six months pregnant and really enjoyed them as a chance to learn more about the tools and techniques that could help me in labour and spend time with Andrew my husband planning for our much wanted baby boys arrival. I particularly enjoyed watching the wonderful births which were so gentle and calm and inspiring 'Could I really be that relaxed in labour?' I wondered.
I would love to say I did everything we were taught and practiced every day but this is real life and I didn't! I did however love the affirmations and played the relaxation tape daily to help me unwind. The baby seemed to like it too. I also did the breathing and a little visualisation but always felt I should have done more. I also have to be honest and say up until going into labour though I hoped HypnoBirthing would work, I did have a little sceptism. It sounded too good to be true, surely I couldn't be that lucky?
Fast forward to my due date and beyond. I was ten days overdue and due to be induced on the Friday. It was early on the Thursday morning and I couldn't sleep, anxious as I was to avoid the Induction which though I probably would have gone along with. was something I actively wanted to avoid if I could help it. I got up and got on my birthing ball, did some visualisation and shortly after was excited to get a 'show'.
I had some very early labour warm ups. I was so happy that soon maybe something was going to happen so ignoring all (sensible) advice I marched around the house for the next six or eight hours to ensure labour continued. It was only mild but pretty regular and I didn't really want to rest in case it stopped as had happened before to me. Andrew went to work with the assurance I would ring him if anything developed.
As things seemed regular but still very manageable, nothing more than period cramps Andrew came home and watched TV. While I continued to do the breathing and rainbow relaxation, wondering if I was in labour or not as it all seemed so easy. He must have noticed a change in me as he rang his mum about tea time 'Tell her I'm not having any pains so I can't be in labour' I said as I breathed through my surges which had got stronger by this point. We rang York hospital, they weren't too concerned but said to come in if things got unmanageable and I couldn't cope.
Around 8pm Andrew decided we were going to York. I was unenthusiastic. I was coping fine, What was the normally calm Andrew getting all worked up about? I thought I probably was in very early labour but I was reluctant to make the journey and get sent home so I resisted, but he insisted so off we went. The midwife who greeted us more or less said I was not in established labour and talked about me possibly staying the night as I was due to be induced the following day. In her defence I know I was very calm and relaxed and almost enjoying the experience at that point. I was a bit disappointed she thought I wasn't in labour as I thought I was. At the point we were about to depart homeward, I had a surge and she decided to do a final check and examined me. Suddenly her atttitude totally changed. I was 7cms dilated! 'You are not going anywhere' she said. I think I mentally punched the air in relief at this point. 'Classic HypnoBirthing Mum' said my subconscious out of nowhere.
Joy of joys as I had visualised the birth pool was available and I rushed (waddled) in there as much as a 9 and a half month labouring woman can to take my place so no once else could lay claim. There was, at the time only one pool at York and it was highly sought after. As the time went on I enjoyed the pool as I love water and it also gave me my own space. The surges got stronger but I stayed relaxed and tried to concentrate on my breathing. I did have some gas and air at one point but purely honestly because the midwives were pushing it on me and my friends had told me how great it was and I didn't want to miss out! Though the sensations were stronger, I found that if I concentrated on breathing and thinking of my affirmations it was quite manageable.
At around midnight just as the midwife had left the room for a break my waters broke and I felt the urge to bear down. Just over two hours later (I was tired because of all the walking I had done or I think it would have been quicker) Sam 'swam' up to us and they placed him on my chest. 'Happy Birthday Samuel' sang the midwives. I was so happy and proud to have had such a straightforward and natural birth and this gorgeous baby boy.
I can honestly say that I forgot some of the HB techniques, like the visualisation and partner led hypnosis and deepening. I don't even think I did the second stage breathing correctly but I am convinced the affirmations, the relaxation and breathing practice that I had regularly done prepared me amazingly well for my birthing which was after all a first birth for an 'older mum,'. The midwife I had was great and told Andrew it was a lovely, easy birth though she had not heard of HypnoBirthing. I apparently was also very unusual by telling my friends a few days later I wish I could re-live it all again and savour every moment. Again something other HypnoBirthing women have said is not an uncommon thought.
Sam was also a textbook HB baby in that he slept well, hardly cried and was very easy to look after. I only realised how lucky I was to have found HypnoBirthing when I talked to my contemporaries at the time. Only one other mother had as good as experience as me, and guess what she turned out to have used HypnoBirthing too. When I fell pregnant again 15 months after Sam was born, Andrew said 'I guess we will be doing HypnoBirthing again?'. It was a rhetorical question. It was far and away the best investment I have ever made and I went on to have a wonderful, gentle, lovely and fast home birth with my second son Joseph. I cannot recommend HypnoBirthing enough.