Here is a great birth story from a mum who didn’t feel she had the best birth with her first baby. She wanted to feel more in control and have more techniques to use for her second birth. She certainly got this from my classes.
Sometimes I get clients worried they are not going to have or didn’t have a ‘textbook’ hypnobirth.
My response is to say:
“Birth is not about following a textbook (even the Hypnobirthing Australia one), it is about writing your own unique story.”
I also go on to say that the Hypnobirthing Australia Programme is all about giving couples the “Ultimate Toolkit” for labour and birth (and beyond) and it is up to each individual couple to use the tools that are right for them.
I love this story because it really shows how the Hypnobirthing Australia Programme is about so much more than hypnosis.
Although hypnosis is an important component (and really did help Fabienne overcome her fears from her first birth (which allowed her to have a calm, positive pregnancy and to birth well), Fabienne and Jas drew on other aspects of the course when it came to actually birthing their gorgeous girl.
Fabienne wrote that the Hypnobirthing Australia classes had:
“lots of practical stuff in the course and I didn’t need to be a ‘hippy’ to benefit from it!! “
Fabienne’s Birth Story
Initially, I was unsure of how I wanted to give birth to my second daughter Astrid.
I had unpleasant memories from my first labour which made me apprehensive about the whole process.
I knew that if I was going to have a natural birth with Astrid, I needed to be better prepared for any unplanned changes to my birth plan, and better prepared for the discomfort of surges.
Planning my Birth
My sister recommended a hypnobirthing course as she had calmly and confidently hypnobirthed her daughter without an epidural.
Following this advice, I enrolled in Pips Wynn Owen’s hypnobirthing course.
At the end of the course, my partner Jas and I had planned some strategies to help me remain calm and manage the pain of surges naturally during labour.
This planning helped a great deal because it meant Jas and I were on the same page and could immediately activate these strategies when labour began.
At 10:30 pm on the night before Astrid was born I started getting my usual strong Braxton Hicks contractions, only instead of them disappearing, they became stronger and regular.
At this point I didn’t find the surges to be painful however, they were somewhat uncomfortable and stopped me sleeping.
I had hired a TENS machine for pain management and found it really took the edge off my surges so I kept it on all night long.
With the help of the TENS I was able to nap in between my half hourly surges, and these little naps gave me the rest I needed to face the birthing marathon that lay ahead.
From around 7 am the next morning my surges became stronger and even more regular. They also started to become more painful, like strong cramps which I could feel in my lower back, pelvis and upper thighs.
I started to practice some hypnobirthing techniques such as listening to the recorded hypnobirthing affirmations and focusing on my breathing in between and during surges.
I kept the TENS machine on my back throughout this period, and Jas regularly warmed a heat pack for my stomach and upper thighs.
When the surges became even stronger I started to try different things to manage.
I found being home during this stage beneficial because I could do whatever I wanted in my own environment.
Jas started to apply some robust shoulder and leg massages learnt in Pip’s class. I also tried walking, standing, and stomp my feet during surges. If I was standing through a surge, Jas applied strong massage to my hips. All of these strategies really helped, and at this point, I felt confident I could get through without needing chemical pain relief.
By 9 am my surges occurred every few minutes and were getting stronger, this meant it was time to go to the birth centre.
I had bad memories of the journey to the hospital from my first labour as we had travelled through heavy traffic, so I was relieved to avoid peak hour this time round.
To manage the discomfort while confined to a car seat I started to make loud humming noises through each surge. Somehow this really reduced the pain for me.
As soon as I arrived at the birth centre my midwife filled the birthing pool for me.
I asked for a VE because I was curious how dilated I had become after labouring at home for 11 hours.
I was so happy to learn I was already 8 cm! As planned, I had already done most of the work at home.
Jas and I jumped into the birthing pool together.
The most comfortable position for me was leaning forward over the side of the birth pool and resting my head on my crossed arms with Jas massaging my lower back from behind.
The warm water changed the sensation of surges, they actually felt more powerful, but shorter in duration. The comfortable sensation of being immersed in warm water really took the edge of each surge.
I started to become accustomed to the strong surges and when I felt one coming I would say to Jas “here it comes” and he would quickly start to apply strong massage to my lower back. These massages helped more than any other pain management tool throughout the labour.
As the intensity of each surge increased I started to take very deep breaths, counting through each breath out loud.
I was no longer listening to the hypnobirthing affirmations but instead needed more physical methods to counter the pain, such as making noise, breathing, counting out loud, and getting massaged.
People say during this stage of labour women go into a kind of trance and lose awareness of their surroundings as they are focusing on their surges. For me this was true to an extent, my full concentration was on my surges however, I still had full awareness of my surroundings and can remember everything that happened during my labour.
My Midwife quietly told me that she thinks the baby will be coming “very soon”. I wondered how she would know this without doing a VE. I also wondered how long “soon” was.
She was right, I was only in the birthing pool for around 1.5 hours before Astrid came out.
The final stage came very quickly, one surge and my waters broke, a few surges later and Astrid was crowning and I felt an extreme urge to push.
The urge to push was so strong, and I allowed my body to push with all its might, but then my Midwife quickly said “not too hard!” so I resisted for a few seconds. I did not find the sensations of stretching on my perineum very painful at all.
Suddenly Astrid’s head popped out, and a couple surges later her body slipped out into the pool.
The feeling of pushing Astrid out is something I will remember for the rest of my life. It was nowhere near as painful as I thought it would be in fact, it felt almost satisfying, almost like the pain of sore muscles after exercise.
My Midwife handed Astrid to me and I experienced that first moment of overwhelming emotion as I looked down at that little face and I realised I had given birth to her completely without any pain relief or intervention – this is exactly what I had hoped for.
It almost felt as though the past 14 hours had flown by, the memory of pain already starting to disappear from my mind. Even as I write this I struggle to recall exactly how painful the surges actually were.
After the Birth
We were lucky enough to have several hours of skin to skin with Astrid following her birth.
I held her close as I climbed out of the birth pool and walked to my birth centre room and bed. I was able to breastfeed and hold her during most of the procedural checks. I felt like jumping for joy when My Midwife told me I’d sustained no perineal tearing.
Overall my birthing experience was entirely positive and very different from the labour with my first daughter.
Going through the birth centre gave me an amount of freedom to choose how I wanted to birth Astrid using only natural pain relief strategies, and I don’t think I would have had this freedom if I birthed her elsewhere.
I am so proud that I did it! But I couldn’t have done it without the help of my partner Jas, and all the preparation and techniques I learnt in hypnobirthing classes which kept me feeling calm and confident throughout.