After a fairly traumatic first birth, where I started with aromatherapy in the pool and, 36 hours later, ended up flat on my back in a brightly lit room with a load of midwives screaming at me to push, and then a very unwell baby, I turned to your hypnobirthing course in the hope it would help me feel a bit more in control for my second birth.
Baby Honor arrived at 01:48am. It definitely wasn’t the birth I'd planned - I was induced at 38 weeks as I had Obstetric Cholestatis. I’d been itching for a few days and got a call at lunchtime that I had to go in and deliver the baby. I burst into tears on the phone and felt really overwhelmed. After a fair amount of flapping (I think I packed every sugary thing in my cupboards because apparently there aren't any shops in Fulham), I got in the zone in the taxi to the hospital using the breathing techniques. Walking into the Labour Ward, I felt calm and in control. I think the midwives were fairly shocked I was so level, considering I'd be in such a state on the phone!
The hypnobirthing really, really helped. Using it, I was able to have the gel, get my waters broken and dilate to 7 cm without any pain relief in about 4 hours. I felt really quite high at some points. Obviously it still ached (a bit like being boa constricted, I imagine) but I found imagining walking along the sand very helpful for staying calm and not being too frightened or tense. I was definitely in another world for most of it and got quite grumpy if anyone tried to touch or move my ball from its perfect location near the bed.
The consultant arrived at about midnight and the contractions were coming every 40 seconds, which was very intense. I struggled with the hypnobirthing here as they were so fast and I was having to communicate with the staff between them (which, thinking about it, was probably a mistake), so I didn’t get a break.
I think the most amazing thing was the clarity I felt, despite the pain. The doctors had been recommending an epidural since the very beginning so were quite pleased when I decided it was time. Initially, I felt a bit guilty but I ended up having a Kiwi cup delivery (baby's heart rate dropped) and an episiotomy which would not have been pleasant without pain relief. Obviously, none of this was in my plan but because I'd really thought about what I wanted, the epidural allowed me to get back on track. Using the downward breathing, and having my husband talk to the doctors about what sort of environment I wanted, little Honor came into the world in a quiet, dimly lit room. I'm fairly sure there were other people there, but it felt like it was just me, my husband and the consultant. Within minutes, she was delivered onto my chest, we did delayed cord clamping and she started breastfeeding like a champ. I finally got that overwhelming feeling of perfect awe and love that you read about, which I'd missed out on first time round simply because I was so overwhelmed and scared.
Looking back on it, it was absolutely perfect, even though it looked different to how I imagined. I highly recommend Melanie's course and wouldn't have felt anywhere near as capable of adapting to changes without it. I wanted to have a birth that left me feeling empowered and full of endorphins and because of her, I absolutely did!