Hypnobirthing techniques helped me think with more clarity
I was 39 weeks + 5 days and had felt a little under the weather all day. For some reason I was so sure I wouldn't give birth for another week so just tried to relax and not do much. I had been doing a Hypnobirthing teacher training course that week so attended the online session as usual.
That evening I watched a comedy series, and at around 11.30pm I started to have surges. I thought they might be Braxton Hicks but started using a contraction tracking app and as they started to become stronger I went downstairs alone to lie down. After just 30 minutes they were definitely stronger and more frequent - I listened to a relaxation online and as each surge happened I did the up breathing I’d been practicing for the past few weeks. As the surges continued and became more powerful I woke my husband up and started to prepare for the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at 1:45am. I’d called the hospital on the way to tell them I was coming in. I was able to hold a conversation quite calmly and was concerned they may send me home so I was really keen for them to check how far I was dilated. On arrival I felt quite controlled and fairly calm, but when we got to the maternity triage they told me that the midwife was on a break and would take 10-15 mins to see me. I was very aware I was moving far along at this point but I think my calmness made them take me less seriously?
Due to Covid-19 restrictions my husband wasn’t allowed to wait in triage with me so the receptionist said if I wanted to stay with him I could go for a walk in the corridor. Choosing to stay with him, I went outside where there were no chairs or people and walked along holding a window ledge. The pain was coming thick and fast now and I admittedly began to lose my calm as I was frustrated to be sent outside and really wanted to be seen. After 9 minutes we went back in to ask if the midwife was ready, and was told by the receptionist that she was back but was now discharging another patient so I had to wait. So I went back outside. Again on the corridor I think I started to panic a little due to being outside, but I used the hypnobirthing breathing techniques to stay calm and focused.
I continued my up breathing visualisations and told myself to keep calm and began making noises to help through each surge - I began to hum loudly through them but at times I couldn't help some fear creeping in as I was worried I'd be left outside longer - I didn't want to give birth on the corridor! It was very quiet as it was the middle of the night, but now and then a random person would walk past and I was aware that any oxytocin I might have had would decrease! As the surges continued to get more frequent I went back to triage to go to the bathroom there - once inside and behind the locked door my surges got even stronger.
I started making A LOT of noise and someone knocked on the door - I was relieved to see a midwife when I unlocked it and she asked if I was okay. I told her no and begged her to help me!
She took me away quickly and led me to a birth suite. My husband was still not allowed inside at this point but said he could hear me!
I was so relieved to be inside a room and answered questions about my pregnancy as I got on the bed. The midwives hadn't seen my notes and didn't know anything about me! At this point I really feel the Hypnobirthing techniques helped me think with more clarity and also develop a feeling of acceptance of the situation - I used some positive affirmations and I remembered to sit up to allow gravity to help. I didn’t mean to but the image of Crystal’s calm birth video entered my head and I began to calm down a little, compared to when I entered the room in a flurry with the midwife. I had planned to have a water birth and at first was asking to get in the pool (they'd started running the taps) but something took over on the bed and I knew and accepted we wouldn’t make it there in time.
My daughter was born within around 8 minutes of me arriving in the birthing suite, on the bed so not as I had planned but smoothly and very swiftly. We arrived at the hospital at 01:45 and she was born at 02:45! I had planned not to have any interventions but even if I'd wanted to there was no time.
Looking back on the whole experience now, I truly feel like Hypnobirthing helped me through the early labour and certainly during my time at home. Things seemed to unravel a little when I got to the hospital and I think maybe my calmness was actually detrimental to being taken seriously as a woman in labour. I would advise anyone doing Hypnobirthing to tell the receptionist / midwives on arrival so there are no misconceptions about a mother's calmness and ability to speak!
I think the way we were dealt with on arrival affected my mood, my coping skills and any oxytocin release but potentially helped the labour progress as I was alone on a corridor with my partner and standing upright for the most part.
The birth felt dramatic at times but I definitely had an internal strength that I believe Hypnobirthing contributed to. I used the KGH techniques successfully during my first birth as well, so now I've completed the teacher training course, I hope to pass these on to other mothers and help them feel in control of their experience.