The emotions I felt were so overwhelming, but amazing!
I first heard about hypnobirthing from a friend a few years ago when she had her first baby and as soon as she told me what it was all about, my worries and the things I was scared about that we all naturally associate with childbirth were greatly reduced and I knew it was going to be the right choice for me when the time came.
We started the online course around May/June when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. KGHypnobirthing was recommended to me by my sister, who’s actually a midwife herself, and one of her colleagues is a trained KGH teacher. We wanted to start early to give us as much time as possible to ensure we could practise lots. We really enjoyed taking our time working through the modules at our own pace and around work schedules and other commitments, and I gradually made my way through the book alongside it. We practised the relaxations regularly, most nights where we could unless my partner was at work, in which case I would listen to Colour and Calmness more, or practised extra breathing techniques.
In August, by this point we had finished the online course, we had a four hour one- to-one session with one of your KGH teachers, Stella Williams, who actually knows my mum through work at the hospital which made it feel a lot more of a personal experience. She was so lovely and it was really useful for us to have a session face- to- face to ensure we were doing things correctly and to help us implement and get the techniques 100% ready for birth. So, so beneficial! Once I started maternity leave I also re-read the book, a few chapters a day whilst bouncing on my ball!
My water broke and I went into labour at 9.30am on the 10th October, two days after my due date. I wasn't expecting for that to happen that soon, but I’m putting it down to how calm and relaxed I was thanks to hypnobirthing techniques! I had planned to have a water birth at our local birth centre and had also toyed with the idea of a home birth but it made me feel a little nervous so, as I wasn’t 100%, I felt it the best option was the birth centre. It was so lovely there and all I could think about was getting into the pool. I was only 2cm on arrival at around 2pm, and they considered sending me home, but then changed their minds and said I could stay. This was good because I actually didn’t feel comfortable going home again!
Once in the pool I felt quite relaxed, and implemented the breathing techniques and visualisations during surges, listened to River Dawn, with the use of gas and air when needed. I was in the pool for a while - can’t say how long as I really lost all concept of time, then I was advised to get out for a while to ‘give my skin a bit of a break’ which was fine as I was starting to look like a prune! I also hasn’t drunk much so I think that was a slight concern. I then spent a long time bouncing on the birthing ball, using gas and air and breathing/visualisations. Again, I found this very beneficial and almost enjoyable!
After around 12+ hours of labour I was still only 4cm and we were told the baby was in ‘a bit of a naughty position and it would be a good idea to go to the labour ward for closer monitoring.’ We agreed to this and off we went. This is where it stated to go hugely downhill for me. I first had to get out of my own clothes that I was comfortable in and into a gown, then into a wheelchair. When we got to the labour ward the room wasn’t ready so we spent a good ten minutes sitting in the corridor with the hustle and bustle around us, while at the same time trying to deal with the surges. My partner also got upset at this point as he knew that I was not going to do well there. The moment I was wheeled into that room and I opened my eyes I could just feel all of our hypnobirthing practice go completely out of the window. My focus was gone, I was incredibly tired, and I felt mentally and physically unable to carry on. Surges were a lot more painful and I didn’t enjoy being on a bed. I definitely did not cope with the surges well at all and pretty quickly I asked for a caesarean. Something I never thought I would do pre-labour! I just wanted my baby out.
They suggested I try an epidural first to see how I got on, which I did.They then had to attach a monitor to the baby’s head as they couldn’t get accurate readings using the external monitor, and I think there were some concerns that the baby was in distress. I also had a catheter put in because I wasn’t passing urine, and when I felt I needed to, it wouldn’t come. I think this was because I wasn’t able to relax- and being on the bed didn’t help, as I was urinating fine when I was upright and bouncing on the ball in the birth centre.
I continued on the epidural and gas and air for a while but I was still in pain, uncomfortable, tired, and basically broken. I could not carry on. I continued to ask for a caesarean over the next few hours and it got to the point where my partner had to get quite stern, and even tearful, he put his foot down and said enough is enough, she can’t carry on. We then had a bit more of a wait because there was another lady and baby in a worse situation than me and quite rightly took priority.
Eventually around noon, over 24 hours since my labour started, they began getting me sorted for theatre. Before they began they did one last vaginal exam and I was 9cm! The surgeon asked if I wanted to continue with the section or try to get the baby out vaginally. As much as I would have liked to have done this, I was mentally prepared for the section and if I delivered vaginally there would have been other interventions like forceps, which I really didn’t want, as I’d already been given the spinal block.
We went ahead with the section and at 13:19 on the 11th October, our daughter was born weighing a healthy 8lb 11oz. I was so incredibly relieved to know she was born and the emotions I felt were so overwhelming but amazing. Two weeks on, to the day, I’m recovering well and our Daisy is great, so relaxed and calm, another thing I put down to hypnobirthing!
We love her so much and are settling well into family life. I still use the breathing and visualisations to relax, especially when breastfeeding which also helps Daisy to relax, and we often put on the River Dawn music to help us all settle to sleep! I will 100% be using hypnobirthing again if we have another baby, and recommending it to my friends who are expecting too. It really is a fantastic course and I can’t thank you enough for helping me through my labour. I was so proud of myself for going so long just on gas and air and I put that down to KGHypnobirthing! Thank you!
From Amy, Dan and Daisy xxx