I was really disorganized throughout most of my pregnancy! Our little girl was planned, but as with all major events in life, she decided to come into existence when our lives were very busy. I think my mum was so worried that we weren’t preparing for our little arrival that she almost moved in and decorated the nursery herself at one point.
My lack of preparation extended to being too late to attend any of the NHS classes. At 37 weeks I booked two sessions with a local, private midwife from a personal recommendation. She was absolutely fantastic and my first introduction to hypno-birthing. She lent me a CD to listen to and explained that rather than getting too stressed about the finer points of the ‘technique’, the core idea was to relax and let your body do what it has been naturally designed to do.
The principle of going through labour as naturally as possible really appealed to me as I really don’t seem to react well to any drug, even Paracetamol makes me feel strange! So, while being open to the fact that I may change my mind mid-labour and in the ‘throws’ of contractions, I decided to give the hypno-birthing a go.
I didn’t get on very well with the CD in the end, but downloaded the Andrew Johnson app for my ipod. All you had to do was listen to the audio every day. I felt a little skeptical about attempting to do labour naturally but realized I had nothing to lose by listening and giving it a go.
As the days went by I felt more and more relaxed and convinced that whatever labour faced me with I was going to be able to handle it, the audio seemed to give me an inner confidence in myself to deal with the unknown I was about to face and the pain that I was certain to face.
Anyway, this all happened over the short space of one week. I woke early one morning with (what I thought) was awful Braxton Hicks. These continued all day and seemed to be getting worse. They started getting more regular and more painful, which is when I rang the hospital. Being 38 weeks and still with fairly spaced contractions they told me to hold off coming in and give them another call in a couple of hours. By 6pm I was sure I needed to go and get checked, which is what we did, but was still not entirely convinced I was in labour.
The nurse examined me, confirmed I was definitely in labour and tried to get me to guess how dilated I was. I reckoned only a couple of centimetres…she laughed and said 8cm!
The birthing pool was prepared, I got in and within 3 hours our little one joined us.
I had gas and air in the pool, which definitely help take the edge off. But what truly amazed me throughout the entire process of labour, was that all of the little phrases I had listened to in the hypno-birthing audio were strongly repeating themselves to me in my mind.
Every time I felt a state of panic at the pain, or started feeling scared at what was happening to me, or out of control – the thought that the more I relaxed, the more quickly my body would be able to get on with the labour. I literally felt like I’d gone into a zone of relaxation that my mind was in full control of.
Previously sceptical that ‘hypno-birthing’ was just nonsense, I now really truly believe that everyone should give it a go. It helped me more than I ever thought possible. I felt in control of my pain rather than letting it take over and as a result I was more relaxed and labour happened quickly and smoothly.
Onika was born weighing a perfect 8oz 5lb