Nicola & John’s birth story

Hypnobirthing with a medicalised birth

Nicola’s email to me

Hi Alice,

Hope you’re well. I’ve put my birth story below. Sorry it’s taken me so long to write this, it’s taken me a while to process everything that happened. Also, I appreciate that this probably isn’t the type of positive birth story you would hope for and want to promote. If that’s the case please feel free not to share it. I won’t be insulted! I do believe hypnobirthing helped us, and I hope I’ve gotten that across. Just in different ways than having a euphoric birth itself. That will always be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I truly think if labour had progressed naturally rather than medically induced it would have been a different story

I decided to do hypnobirthing after hearing so many positive reviews from those that had done it before. Being pregnant with my first, I had no idea what to expect and wanted to use anything to help both of us prepare. Going to the classes really helped both of us to feel confident and calm in the lead up to the birth. 

Nicola’s induction birth

The morning after my due date what I thought were my waters had finally gone. We visited the hospital and they confirmed it was and offered an induction there and then. Out of all the birth scenarios I had pictured, it’s not one I had considered. I really wanted labour to be brought on naturally, and by doing hypnobirthing we were taught we always have a choice, and they agreed to let me go home for 24 hours to see if labour progressed. We tried some of the relaxation techniques, a bath, a film,and the one which worked the best, sleep, when contractions would come thick & fast only to slow down once I got up again.

However the next day back in hospital they were not coming regular enough and an induction was once again proposed. I questioned this using the techniques we had been taught, requesting to see a doctor to discuss the options, having a sweep first, going for another walk, however the risk of infection started to outweigh the benefits and together we decided to go ahead with the induction. One which I feel was ultimately our choice thanks to hypnobirthing. I thought I would hate being in a hospital delivery suite rather than a birthing centre like I originally planned, however I actually found this hugely reassuring, knowing that I was in the right place for me and the knowledge and expertise of the midwives was never far away (I really can’t praise them enough, especially our amazing midwife Lisa). 

However once the drip was attached my contractions ramped up very quickly, and I found that despite my practice, my mind was distracted by everything that had happened over the past 24 hours and unfortunately my anxious brain took over. I was disappointed I couldn’t use the pool for pain relief due to the monitors I was attached to, and the drip made everything very intense. During labour I think I was the stereotypical woman you see on One Born Every Minute; I was tired, I requested drugs, a caesarean and screamed I couldn’t do it. However I’m very proud that despite this and using only gas and air, our beautiful baby girl was born 9 hours later, 41 hours after my waters first went. 

How I felt after

Afterwards I thought hypnobirthing hadn’t worked. My experience wasn’t the calm water birth I’d seen (although they obviously do happen). However now I’ve had the time to process the experience, hypnobirthing came into it much more than I realised. I find coping with things much better if I’m armed with knowledge, and hypnobirthing gave me this in abundance. I was fascinated by the science of it all and understood throughout labour what was happening and why.

Secondly it taught me how important it was to relax, something I wasn’t very good at and I used the breathing techniques I’d practiced without thinking.  It also gave my partner a key role and made him feel much more part of the process, knowing what to say to calm me, suggesting different positions, knowing how to massage me, making decisions together and understanding my birth preferences so he could speak for me when I couldn’t. And lastly it also made me realise I had choice, and querying induction to start with whilst ultimately listening to medical advice made me feel empowered.

I would definitely recommend hypnobirthing. Every birth is different and the techniques you learn you can apply no matter which situation you find yourself in.

Nicola x