This week we have a lovely birth story, which again did not map out the way they had planned, but nonetheless turned out to be a simply amazing birth with the incredible support of her husband who initially was pretty sceptical about hypnotherapy.
“I wanted to give a testimonial about Natal Hypnotherapy as it has had such a profound and positive effect on my life since getting pregnant and having my baby boy, Ethan.
My husband, Ross, was a bit sceptical about attending the workshop with our Natal Hypnotherapy practitioner, Elaine from fear-free birthing and prior to going, I got the question ‘do I have to attend?’ a couple of times. But doing the intense workshop was amazing. Ross was asking loads of questions throughout and he was truly fascinated with the different mental stages of labour and how he could play such an important role during the birth rather than being a bystander. We both came away feeling very positive about what was to come and armed with the practical means to prepare.
I read Maggie Howell’s Effective Birth Preparation book cover to cover and my husband read several of the chapters; he even took photocopies of it with him when he worked abroad for 3 weeks during my third trimester. We practised the 321 relax technique as often as we could together. It was so great he was fully onboard, I felt so supported. I listened to the birth preparation download every night on my iPod before bed and found it sent me to sleep every time. This meant I slept great during my whole pregnancy much to the annoyance of my pregnant friends who were not experiencing quite the same thing. I found the book helped me make sense of how we, as women, are designed to give birth and how it can be an empowering positive experience. I don’t know what it is about being pregnant that makes mothers feel the need to share but I had a lot of ‘friends’ imparting negative and sometimes terrifying birth experiences on me. I would smile and say thank you for telling me that whilst inside feeling really scared but then I would go home and continue to read Maggie Howell’s book. I instantly felt calmer and armed with the knowledge that ‘I can do this’. It was really amazing.
The day finally came when I was told that my hopes of going to a midwife lead unit with beautiful hotel like rooms, birthing pools and double beds was not to be, as baby’s growth had tailed off and I had to be induced that afternoon. I cried as we left the hospital to collect our bags; my dream birth plan had already gone out the window. But Ross reassured me that we could have an equally great birth experience in the hospital as they not only have a midwife lead unit with birthing pools but they also have the medical intervention to get baby out safely should we need that. We were determined to make it positive no matter where our baby was born. So we had a lovely lunch in the sunshine in our back garden and returned to the hospital with all my ‘baobab’ items packed.
It turned out on the first examination that I was already 2 cm dilated so they were able to break my waters quite easily. It all then happened very quickly. We were told to go for walk to get things moving but I was getting strong contractions before the midwife had even left the room. We made the bathroom area as comfortable as possible by putting mats on the floor and I used the birthing ball to support me as I knelt. We had the birth hypnosis recording playing and I breathed my way through every contraction. Ross massaged my lower back and counted me through each contraction. I was in the zone. The midwife came in to check on us. Ross explained the contractions were coming every 3 mins but the midwife seemed sceptical. She mentioned something about giving me something to intensify the contractions as it didn’t ‘sound’ like much was happening. 2 hours since my waters had been broken I was then examined. The words were ‘oh my word, you are 9 cm dilated!!!’ The midwife was truly shocked I had progressed so quickly but more so that I was not screaming the place down or had had any pain relief.
The next bit was not so pleasant as I was forced to remain on the bed whilst they tried unsuccessfully to get a blood sample from baby’s head. I did lose my cool at that point and was quite upset that I had been forced out of my zone and made to lie down where gravity could no longer assist. But Ross kept me calm and with some gas and air I was then able to refocus and push baby Ethan out into the world just 3 hours after my waters were broken. It was not the birth plan I had in mind as the midwives didn’t have time to run the water in the birthing pool as requested but without the hypnotherapy, I would not have been armed with the ability to focus internally and shut out the outside world.
I had several of the midwives compliment me afterwards on how calm I was and how impressed they were with Natal Hypnotherapy as a birthing technique. They apologised for having to intervene at the end; feeling bad for breaking my concentration and calm. They had not witnessed anyone using hypnotherapy before and said it was simple amazing – they were truly amazed at how calmly I got through my second stage. I felt so smug.
It is so nice that now every time I get asked ‘how was the birth’ I can say such positive things. People are genuinely surprised at my answer every time. Consequently, I am recommending Natal Hypnotherapy to all my now pregnant friends.
And just as a little ad on – I am still using the post natal hypnotherapy to get me through my toughest challenge yet….motherhood. The nights I listen to the cd before bed, seem to calm me, help me sleep and enable me to tackle the next day with renewed vigour.
I cannot thank Maggie Howell and Fear Free birthing enough. Simply Amazing, life-changing, awe-inspiring, empowering stuff!!!!”
Thanks you so much for sharing your story.
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