I love this story from Annabelle as she talks about how her surges really flipping hurt, and she shouted the house down, but in between them she was relaxed and calm. THIS is the power of hypnobirthing - with daily practice it WILL make a difference to your birth. Huge congratulations to Annabelle and Stephen on the birth of Marty, and a big thank you to them for sharing their story.
Marty arrived on 20th October at 10.57 and I'm writing this to say a huge 'thank you' to Liz Dew and The Calm Birth School for helping to make my labour an amazing event and a memory which I will treasure.
Marty - my first baby - was born at home, in a birthing pool, as we had hoped and planned for. The plan almost went awry when low blood platelet levels at the end of my pregnancy led to the midwives being unsure about the safety of the homebirth. Liz was amazing at making some helpful suggestions and, in the end, I came to an agreement with the midwives that I would go to hospital for a full blood count at the onset of labour and that I would be allowed to return home to give birth, assuming the platelet levels hadn't dropped further.
I went into what I thought was labour at 9pm in the evening and rang the hospital at 2am. They told me to come in for the blood test, which I duly did, and I was back home at about 5am. I got into the birth pool in our kitchen shortly after and Marty was born just before 11am. I didn't use any pain relief apart from a TENS machine. I kept 'saving' the gas and air for when the labour got 'worse' - but Marty was born before I got to that point.
Although my birth wasn't the 'silent', 'discomfort-free' experience I've seen on some hypnobirthing videos (it hurt!!!), I was incredibly relaxed between surges and managed to practise my positive visualisations and breathing techniques in the pauses in between. At no point did I feel either frightened or overwhelmed and, although I think I screamed the house down(!), I didn't feel panicked at any point and I believe this is why my labour progressed really smoothly and really quickly - with no pauses or 'backward' steps. My waters didn't break until five minutes before Marty made his appearance.
I attribute all of this to my hypnobirthing training with Liz and the daily practice which I did after the course had finished. My partner, Stephen, was also amazing throughout the whole experience - calm, reassuring, solid. Although I noticed him getting paler and paler with each surge, he was confident in his 'role' and did everything that we had planned together, without me having to ask or prompt. He was fantastic! Again, the hypnobirthing course and light touch massage, which we had practised every night before bed, really helped both of us cope with the birth and work together as a team.
I am so, so proud of what we did on that day. Scooping Marty out of the water in my home was the most euphoric moment of my life. Thank you to Liz and The Calm Birth School for laying the way for this brilliant experience.
I'm Liz Dew, founder of SheffieldHypnobirthing.com and I love a good chat about birth. This blog is where I explore some of the things that I find amazing, frustrating, or fascinating about birth and birth culture. Grab a cuppa and dive in.