We Felt in Control of our Labour
Firstly, apologies that this email has taken seven and a half months to get round to writing!
My partner Anthony and I did your hypnobirthing course last New Year, and our wonderful son was born on 1st March. He was born at home in a birthing pool after a calm, steady, *drug free* labour. We can't thank you enough for equipping us with the tools to achieve exactly the kind of birth we had hoped for.
We had originally intended to have our baby at the hospital birthing centre but decided to opt for a home birth after the first day of your course. It was such a good decision. We felt in control of our labour so much more than if we'd been at the hospital. My labour was relatively long - 18 hours of established labour - but I always felt calm and relaxed and positive. I had your colour and calmness CD playing on repeat for at least 10 hours (!) and it felt so reassuring to hear your voice, especially as we had practiced every night for the six weeks leading up to the birth, so it felt very familiar.
Anthony in particular found it very helpful that your course explained exactly what was happening at each stage of labour (cervix thinning and pulling up, hormones being released etc) and we never panicked because we understood the journey and how important it was to keep the adrenaline at bay. I refused all sweeps and examinations, much to the frustration of the midwives, but caved in after 12 hours of labour and agreed to have one. This is the only part of the labour I regret (and the only part I didn't feel in control of). I was only 3cm dilated, which set me back mentally. However, on the plus side, the midwife commented on how thin my cervix was, which gave me confidence that my breathing techniques were having the desired effect! Next time around I will refuse any examinations as it really didn't help. Similarly I went 11 days over my due date and thanks to you and your course had the confidence to refuse the midwives' encouragement to have a sweep and would have refused an induction had we reached 14 days over our due date. I was booked in for an amniotic fluid / placenta assessment on the morning I actually went into labour, which again goes to show that the baby will come when it's ready, just as you said.
The midwives commented afterwards that they had found it incredibly difficult to determine what stage of labour I was in because "we can usually judge it by how much the woman is screaming" (!) The fact that I was just breathing slowly and steadily throughout each surge confounded them. They were almost irritated that we didn't need their help and that we wanted to be left alone. Anthony was fantastic at 'guarding our space' as I could feel labour slowing down when they entered the bedroom and began fussing around (exactly as you explained it could). Being armed with this kind of knowledge was invaluable in helping us ensure that our birth was exactly how we wanted it to be, rather than how the midwives thought it should be.
My baby was born in the small hours of the morning on 1st March (narrowly missing the leap year - again your prophesy proved correct in that I really didn't want to have a leap year baby and had a mental block about it. Despite going into labour at midnight on 29th February I didn't give birth until 4am on 1st March...when I felt ready!). It was an indescribably joyful moment to meet our son for the first time, made even more magical by the fact that we were in our own home.
Ever since he was born, countless people have commented on how calm and alert he is. He rarely cries and is incredibly watchful and 'switched on'. Again, we are sure that this is testament to hypnobirthing and the calm environment he experienced both in the womb and during his birth.
We honestly can't thank you enough and have recommended you to several friends. We are evangelical about the powers of hypnobirthing and definitely intend to follow it again when we have another baby.
THANK YOU KATHARINE!!