I’ve wanted to write this blog post for a while, and I thought now would be the perfect time. I’m past the halfway point in my pregnancy, and D Day seems to be fast approaching, I can’t quite believe it as it only feels like two minutes since I saw those fateful two lines on the pregnancy test I took.
My first labour and birth was pretty straightforward. My waters went in bed at around 4am, contractions started fairly soon afterwards. We made our way to the hospital, and my son was born at 12:06pm, just over 8 hours after my waters breaking. However, during the labour, I felt out of control. The pain seemed unmanageable, and although I only used gas and air, I was tense, stressed out, and felt like it was never going to end. Flailing around the delivery room, having no idea what to do with myself. I ended up giving birth on my back, on the hospital bed. Pushing for an hour left me bruised and battered.
How I discovered Hypnobirthing
When I was pregnant with number two, I knew I wanted things to be different with my next birth, although I wasn’t sure if it was possible. The images and stories of childbirth I’d heard were all pretty horrifying, and made birth seem, quite frankly, something to be scared of.
Despite this, I kept remembering one of the early OBEM episodes, where a lady birthed in a pool, without pain relief, making hardly any sounds whatsoever. At the time I’d thought it was a load of nonsense, but once I started researching hypnobirthing, things really started to click. This wasn’t some strange mind-altering trance like state that helped you labour, it was biological facts that made sense. Put very simply, if you could relax and go along with your body, rather than tensing up, and going against your body trying to do its job, you could really have a much more enjoyable birth!
I knew this was something I wanted to learn more about. This is where I hit my first hurdle. I looked into local hypnobirthing courses, and quite quickly realised, this was something that would no way fit into our budget. We had just bought our first house, and any money we had was being put into decorating it.
£200-£300 for a course on something I’d only just discovered seemed more than a little excessive at the time. Obviously, if it’s something you feel you can afford, then go for it! I’m sure there are lots of benefits to completing a course, however, I’m writing this post as I found, personally, I didn’t need the course, and a little research really helped me manage to hypnobirth successfully.
Firstly, I bought myself a book. Now there are a fair few hypnobirthing books out there, and it can be hard to work out which is best for you. After some research, I settled on the book ‘The Hypnobirthing Book’ by Katharine Graves. These are the reasons I chose it:
- It’s quite a practical book. No offence to anyone, but I’m not really a ‘hippy’ type mum. I’m just me. Yes I breastfed, I baby wear, but I like facts, and to be told things in a logical way. This book explains the hypnobirthing techniques in an way that is easily understood. It’s written with the UK health system in mind, which made it very relate-able.
- It’s not a really long book – it’s actually quite short compared to some of the other hypnobirthing books I saw. I unfortunately just don’t have the time to sit and pore over a long book. I needed the information to be succinct, and explained well. This book does this so well.
Once I started reading the book, I realised my birth could be a positive experience. The book just made sense. It explains the biology of birth, and explains the breathing techniques and visualisations that can make birth something not to be feared. I quickly realised I’d like some mp3’s to listen to. Affirmations, breathing exercises etc. I fortunately spotted a post on a hypnobirthing facebook group I was on, where a lovely fellow mummy to be was offering to make the mp3’s she had, available on her dropbox for anyone to access. Obviously I appreciate not everyone will have friends available to send you mp3’s, so the mp3’s can be purchased here. If you have dropbox, feel free to message me and I can let you download the ones I have if you want!
My first Hypnobirthing experience
After reading the book, and listening to the mp3’s most nights, I actually felt excited to give birth (something I’d never thought I would say!). After a long 11 days of being overdue, I finally went into labour with baby E. I’ve written my birth story here, but I’ll give you the abridged version if you’d rather! My first contraction woke me around 6:30am. By 7am, I knew things were moving pretty rapidly. However, I was still managing to keep calm, and remembered the breathing I’d learnt through hypnobirthing. We made our way to hospital around 8am. After getting into the birthing pool at 8:45, little E floated up to us at 09:29, 3 hours after my first contraction. It was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I felt in control every step of the way, and I was able to trust that my body knew exactly what it was doing.
What I plan to do this time
Fast forward 2 years to now! 23 weeks pregnant with number 3. I’m not exactly sure when I discovered the ‘Positive Birth Mama’ on instagram, but I think it was pretty soon after E was born. In the last few months, Siobhan (the lovely lady behind the positive birth company) has released some amazing free videos on her YouTube channel. These are brilliant and well worth a watch. Siobhan is so easy to watch, and she makes everything she explains really straightforward and easy to remember.
After watching all of Siobhan’s YouTube videos, I spotted she had a flash sale on her digital course. I snapped it up for £25 instead of the normal £35. I’ve only just started it, but so far it’s amazing! You get 43 videos, 4 mp3’s, a course notes booklet, a birth choice template, and access to her private facebook group for those doing the course. Compared to the £200-£300 lots of courses charge, I feel this is well worth the money.
I’m really hoping for another amazing birth experience this time around, and I’m certain that whatever happens, hypnobirthing means I’m able to stay in control and keep calm.