How my birth experience started my hypnobirthing journey.Feb 06, 2024
My birth story
I'm going to talk about my own birth experience. My first birth was pretty tough, I was 30 years old, I'm quite positive person, So I was like, yeah, I'm geared up for this, I'm going to be fine. But I had bleeding throughout my pregnancy, and I was told to rest. So, I gave up things I liked to do like tennis and going to the gym.
I was then diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and told my baby was in the breech position. I ended up having a Caesarean section at 37 weeks because my blood pressure was too high, and I was quite poorly.
I ended up having my first baby on Christmas day, by Caesarean section. I had a salad for lunch because kitchens were closed. I was also assaulted by one of the midwives afterwards. My breasts became encouraged with milk, but I was struggled to breast feed. They ripped up sheets and bound my breasts with them. It was a pretty horrendous experience, and I struggled with post-natal depression and anxiety in the months that followed.
A year later, I got pregnant with my second child much quicker than I had expected. I was a bit lost; I didn't know what to do. And then I stumbled across hypnobirthing, this is two decades ago now, and it wasn’t as well known about as it is now. There was a book, and a few CDs on hypnosis for birth produced by hypnotherapists. That was really it. I was pretty desperate; I would have tried anything to have a better experience of birth.
Hypnosis is not something I would have thought about doing before. It seemed really kind of out there. But I gave it a try and listened to my tracks every night. And I loved my tracks, I found them so relaxing. I couldn't find course though as there weren’t any practitioners near where I lived. So, I read the book, and I listened to the tracks and it's that was it really. I slept, pretty well during pregnancy very unlike my previous experience. That was the first change. I was also a lot more chilled out.
I had a very high-pressure job at the time, and I liked to be busy and active both physically and mentally. I was the sort of person who was constantly on the go.
As I listened to the hypnobirthing tracks, I started to change. I became a lot calmer. My waters broke at 32 weeks, it was 1 o'clock in the morning, and I just was really relaxed about it, I could still feel my baby moving so I just thought I would just let my husband sleep because it was going to be a pretty full-on day. At about 5.30 in the morning, I woke my husband and told him things were happening and he was like, ‘What, what do you mean you didn't want to wake me. We have to go to hospital now’.
I remained calm. When I got to hospital, my waters were pooling, and my contractions started not long after that. I remember the midwife asked me to describe my contractions.
I said, well, you know when you have a really long day at work, and when you come home you have glass of wine, or a gin and tonic, and your legs have that lovely letting go feeling, it's like that. She looked at me like I was completely mad, but that’s how it felt to me, I was just very relaxed.
I was very sure that I wanted a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), I did not want another Caesarean if I didn't have to have one. Unfortunately, I had meconium on my waters, which for a baby's pre-term baby can be a warning sign so I agreed to have a induction drip to start with. If I had to have a Caesarean, then I'd reconcile myself with that.
I was put on a drip, and I had a monitor on everything, and I had my hypnobirthing tracks, on my CD player. It was the days before rechargeable electronics so my poor husband in the was running around the hospital trying to stock up on batteries on a bank holiday in case we ran out
When I had my headphones in, I was in hypnosis and managing beautifully. But every time it stopped, and headphones can came out, I found it harder. And you must remember that this is before Id learned anything about hypnosis, all I had were the tracks, I hadn't done a class, I hadn't done all the other stuff, I didn't have all the knowledge about my brain and what was, going on with my body and everything, so I just stuck to these tracks.
I managed really will with the absolute basics, and I was just so proud. This is why I went on to train in hypnotherapy and hypnobirthing. I remember, and I get quite emotional when I talk about this, after settling my baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), I went to see my eldest, and I just remember walking down the corridor and this little child running towards me (only 18 months old), and I was able to pick him up and spin him around. I had that energy both mentally and physically, which I didn't have with my first birth at all
So despite the early labour and the induction, I still felt like that it was such a powerful, amazing experience. The other thing that it really did for me was it really prepared me for parenthood, I found the first time really tough, And so the second time was just so much easier. I had these tools I could fall back on.
I started training as a hypnotherapist when my youngest was maybe just eight months and it all just blew my mind. I was just like, ‘how do we not know these things?’, ‘Why is this therapy not mainstream?’ So I completed my hypnotherapy training, I went on and did lots of different types of hypnosis for birth training, I did mindfulness work, which I've integrated into all of the courses and the courses and the books that I've written.
If you are interested in starting your hypnobirthing journey, I am hosting a free one hour online Mindful Hypnobirthing class on 27 February 7-8 PM (UTC).
If you are interested in the audio tracks check them out here
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