I hadn’t had a lot of exposure to low risk, routine births because I have a medical background, and really, the only births I have seen have seen have been when something has been going wrong. When we found out I was pregnant (our first), I decided I wanted ALL the drugs and ALL the doctors helping us, so that my birth wouldn’t be like them. Just to make sure. As pregnancy progressed, we did a bit more reading and we realised that this isn’t always the best way to think, and it can make labour harder to have all the bright lights, different faces, and unfamiliar sights and smells of a hospital ward. My partner and I enjoy yoga and meditation, so we thought hypnobirthing might be for us when we wanted guidance to distance us from the mindset we had gotten into… We were considering a home birth by this point but were scared of managing our own emotions in the strength of the moment.
The hypnobirthing course itself was valuable time that Luke and I spent enjoying closeness and sharing confidence about our birth. When the day came, I can honestly say that when my surges started, I felt genuine excitement unfettered by even the smallest amount of fear. I used upbreathing technique, recalled all my ‘open’ visualisations and spoke aloud our positive affirmations. The sensations built and became really strong, but I still felt in control with help from my amazing husband, reminding me of all we had practiced, our experienced and calm doula (Alice) and both our mums. Our midwives (we had 2, for the home birth factor) were respectful of our hypnobirthing techniques and I had very minimal interventions from them – only one examination when I was fully dilated because I wanted the reassurance to know it was ok to start my downbreathing to work with our daughter on moving her safely through the birth canal. Our hypnobirthing teacher was previously a midwife and gave us brilliant understanding of how she would move and rotate, and what positions were the best for this. I came out of the pool, tried various positions and at the pivitol suggestion of Alice, squatted with support from her, both mums, and Luke. Daisy passed easily and beautifully into the world and I completed the thing in life I am, and will forever be most proud of.