I did the all the HypnoBirthing tracks religiously leading up to the birthing day, practised my breathing, practised light touch massage, experimented with different birth postures, did the releases, did the visualisations and read the book twice. On the actual birthing day, I re-read the relevant portions of the book in between surges and used my breath and visualisations to get me through them. All was going very well at home and I even had the clary sage oil burning in the background. I don’t think that I would have remained as calm had I not done the HypnoBirthing course.
Additionally, as I re-read the book on the day, I was reminded that it said that I will know when to switch to birth breathing and armed with that I gave myself permission to switch to birth breathing when my body told me to. As the surges got more intense, it did feel better to vocalise, and it did feel good to be in the shower as the surges got more frequent as well. Then, I got to the stage when I wanted to give up, to die, or whatever (Bree’s Note – otherwise known as Transition or the final stage before the birth). I was at the end of my rope and said to my husband take me to the Birth Centre regardless of what the midwife says. I had reached a point where I didn’t care what happened to me, I just wanted the baby out. It wasn’t long after I reached the Birth Centre that I knew the baby was making her way out. The tub was not yet ready and since I knew and had visualised myself giving birth in the tub, I “held on” until it was ready.
At home I did feel myself not being able to totally let go because I knew that I didn’t want to give birth at home. I guess this is Ina May Gaskin’s “Sphincter Theory” at play. Once in the tub, I gave myself permission to completely let go and it felt good.
Everything was going well in my mind, until the midwife starting prompting me to push and to push harder and saying things like “it’s meant to hurt” and (what I took to be instructing me) into different birth positions. Even though in my mind I knew I wanted to breathe my baby out and my husband was gently reminding me of this I thought for her to say ‘push’ there must have been a medical reason, so I took her prompts as instruction and unfortunately against all instincts, I pushed and pushed as hard as I possibly could.
The midwife later told me that it was the next push that resulted in my baby being only a few centimetres out to head fully out and it took her by complete surprise and she even told me to “stop” at that point, but it was too late. I honestly believe that that is why I sustained my third-degree tear.
All in all we felt the HypnoBirthing course to have been definitely worthwhile and I feel that I would not have been able to stay at home as long as I did without it. I was so far along by the time I reached the Birth Centre that the midwife didn’t even have to do an internal exam before I went into the tub; she could already see head. I found that there were times when I wanted my husband to massage me and talk to me and other times when I didn’t want a bar of him; he was absolutely wonderful in responding to these fluctuations and I count myself as being incredibly lucky to have him as a partner.
Heat packs and sacral pressure were good and though the birth ball was excellent for me during pregnancy, I didn’t seem to want it during labour. Sleep breathing, the concept of visualisation and “The Secret” principles have all assisted me post-birth, when baby challenges arise and to help me to relax and sleep during the precious moments to do so between feeds at night and so on.
My learnings from this experience is that I have more of an idea of what to expect next time, the intensity of things and importantly to trust my instincts more and to really focus on relaxing and slowing down the final stage to actually breathe rather than to push my baby out.
We would like to thank you for all your help from the bottom of our hearts; I love reading your Facebook posts and links and we will continue to spread the word about HypnoBirthing and you!
– Jennifer & Zoltan