Camomile Café Hypnobirthing
Hypnobirthing gives the birthing partner a positive, supporting role leaving mum to concentrate fully on birthing their baby.
Robin’s Birth: March 2017
Have you ever wondered how much choice we have about the way we bring a baby into the world? When we were expecting our second child I did a mind map of all the things that I would like for his birth. This included:
· He is born happily in water.
· He is serene and alert.
· Our midwives our kind.
· He is head first.
· We use nothing or just gas and air.
· It is peaceful and easy.
· The light is dim.
· It is swift and gentle.
· He chooses when to come, (so no inducing). Hopefully he will choose somewhere between 38 and 40 weeks!
· He is born in the RUH.
· I am “allowed” to push when I want to (this didn’t happen for our first child, Rowan).
· He is very healthy, scoring 9s and 10s for his APGAR.
· He sleeps well.
· Rowan, is happy at home while we are in hospital.
Rowan’s birth had taught us that not all of a birthing experience is down to chance and that practising hypnobirthing with a skilled teacher can radically influence what happens.
As a result we had avoided the induced birth that we were pressurised to have and our first son was born naturally on the date of his choosing: 6 days after latent labour had begun. This birth was wonderful, miraculous and very easy compared to many experiences we heard about, however, it did not tick all the things that I hoped for our second child.
We contacted Frances who had guided us so skilfully the first time, and we repeated some of her Hypnobirthing Classes. We also had many helpful conversations with Frances (and some delicious biscuits). In the classes we recalled what a hypnobirthing experience could be like and the things that we could do to make a calm birth more likely. This time around we seemed able to focus on how serene a hypnobirthing experience could be, whereas first time we were focussed on all the interventions we wanted to avoid. We were able to picture just how we wanted our child to arrive in the world.
To make this picture a reality we prepared for the upcoming birth. I listened to the meditations that Frances gave us and read the booklet that accompanies her course. I placed the image we were given of a baby in optimum position for birth on our mirror (much to the disapproval of Rowan!). I wrote out positive birth affirmations from the booklet in coloured pens. Whenever anything came into my mind that was a worry about the birth, I wrote it in my notebook as a positive statement. It played on my mind that we would go to the hospital too early and be sent home, or too late and he would be born in the car! I wrote down “we know exactly when to go the hospital”.
I went to Frances’ Pregnancy Relaxation Classes’ where we did gentle breathing and movement exercises, and were guided through positive visualisations by Frances. I really looked forward to these classes and hadn’t meant to miss the last class I was booked onto.
The day before the class, in the early hours of Sunday morning I felt the twinges that I had been feeling each night get progressively stronger. I was 40 weeks and 2 hours! After a while I realised the surges were becoming true labour and I went downstairs to be alone. It was very peaceful in our living room while everyone else was sleeping upstairs. The sky outside was dark. I listened to the ‘Colour and Calmness’ visualisation and must have dozed for a while in spite of the strong and frequent surges. When I awoke it was a grey dawn and the surges were every 3 minutes or so; it was still very peaceful and I visualised the upward images I had been practising. I contacted the RUH and they said to come to the hospital when the surges were more frequent.
Around 8am my son and partner emerged and I said it would be helpful to get everything ready to take to the hospital. Fortuitously my parents were staying and were there to look after Rowan. We had celebrated my Dad’s 70th birthday the day before (the actual due date). Around 9am there was very little gap between surges and they were intense. We set off to the hospital about 9.45am.
The next hour and a half were the most difficult. A car journey in labour is very uncomfortable (as I vividly recalled from Rowan’s birth). We arrived at the hospital about 10.15am and I was sick in the carpark (I guess I hadn’t written glamour onto my mindmap!). We arrived in the ward and it took an hour or so for us to be ‘checked in’. We think perhaps they were delaying us as they did not perceive I was very far into labour. I allowed 1 examination so that we could go to the birthing room. The midwife sounded extremely surprised to find how far into labour I was. We gave her our birth plan which politely asked for privacy, minimal intervention and no more examinations. This was honoured beautifully by our midwife.
We were guided to an excellent birthing suite with 2 rooms. One with a couch and a range of things to aid good birthing positions and the other with a birthing pool. We also had our own private toilet. Everything was very clean, and as homely as could be expected from a hospital setting.
Within minutes of being in the room my waters broke and I had a real urge to ‘push’. Our midwife was speedily filling the pool. The surges were very intense and I had some gas and air.
When I climbed into the warm water the relief was immense. The water supported the weight of the pregnancy and the warmth soothed the intensity of the surges. I told our midwife that I wanted to push, and in huge contrast to last time, she simply reminded me to go with what my body wanted to do, and I did.
For less than an hour I leaned on the edge of the birthing pool and could feel our son pushing down and down and down. I neither tried to push, nor tried not to. There was one moment where I felt suddenly frightened and that I couldn’t do this. Then I heard Frances’ voice in my head explaining the feeling of fear at the moment of transition. Reassured, I continued.
As the surges became stronger I could hear Frances voice from our relaxation classes saying calmly, “well done, you’ve just breathed through another surge”.
This reminded me that a surge only lasts as long as the breaths we had practised in her class. It was such a reassuring and calming feeling to have this steady voice guiding me inside my head.
Then suddenly I felt our baby’s head emerge. I was so surprised I called out “he’s here, quick call our midwife, he’s here, he’s here”. This was more comic and panicky than I had hoped! Fortunately he would have heard nothing beneath the water! Our midwife calmly returned and unphased she said he would be out on the next surge. And he was. The midwife told be to “catch him” from the water, and after fumbling in the water less serenely than I would have liked, I held our son. He was born at 12.29 pm; just over 2 hours after we had arrived at the hospital and about 10 hours since the surges told me he was coming.
I sat back against the side of the pool and held him. Now with his head out of the water the first words he would hear were much better “hello my love, we’ve been waiting for you, we’ve been waiting for you, we’ve been waiting for you”. And there was Robin, so beautiful, so perfect, so like a little person already with a full head of soft dark hair.
I stayed holding Robin in the pool for over an hour. He fed very easily in that hour and has done so ever since. We were desperate to take him home as soon as possible.
That evening, it was a wonderful moment introducing him to Rowan and my parents. I don’t think Rowan really grasped what Robin was until a few days later when he was gazing at Robin saying “he’s got a tummy”, “he’s got legs”, “he’s got arms”, “he’s got a face”….. (Now 7 months on, they are
rascals together and we seem outnumbered by the 2 of them! If Robin is upset, Rowan holds his hand and says “Robin my love, Robin my love”.)
I have looked back at my mind map about my ideal birth for Robin, and I can say yes to all of the things on there, except one: like Rowan, Robin is not one for sleeping well! Like Rowan he is smiley and brilliant.
People ask about Robin’s birth and we say it was great; we went to the hospital after breakfast and we were home in time for dinner, they look surprised and say we were lucky. Yes, lucky to have found Frances and her hypnobirthing classes; lucky to have known how to practice for a positive birth. And yes, lucky to know it is possible to make choices about how your baby comes into the world.
We are of course, so very grateful to Frances.
“The Hypnobirthing gave me the power to not panic but know exactly what was happening to me and to my baby.”
“It gave my partner our sons voice before he was born to say what was best for both myself and him.”
I am a qualified infant massage and baby yoga instructor. I deliver infant/baby massage courses and baby yoga sessions to parents and babies within various individual and group settings in Camomile Cafe, Corsham.