The 5 week course was perfectly suited to us! We started our hypnobirthing course at around 22 weeks pregnant so we had plenty of time to prepare and utilise course activities / materials and strategies. We listened to the Rainbow Relaxation track and Birthing Affirmations for many, many weeks often more than once! Right from the start I fell asleep listening to the relaxation track! In fact if I awoke sleepless during the night I would play the track and quickly return to sleep.
It definately prepared us well for Harvey's birth, in particular I felt very confident, focused and informed leading towards and during the birth. It also enabled us to have a drug free birth which was amazing!! We really liked the emphasis on our partner as birth companions as my husband felt a part of the process, knowing what he could do to help me! In fact, following attending Carrie's course we actually didn't bother with the regular hospital antenatal course as we felt ready.
Our little munchkin Harvey arrived 10 days post-mature. However, I wasn't worried or stressed and knew he just needed a little extra cooking time. Hypnobirthing helped me feel confident that he would arrive when he was ready and so even though an induction date was given my husband and I enjoyed extra time together before his birth (The midwife was happy to wait until 42 weeks and was very supportive with my decision to wait and not receive any invasive procedures such as a membrane sweep). However, I did book in a cranio-sacral therapy with acupuncture session just to ensure my body was ready. Harvey arrived 3 days later!
I awoke early Sunday morning needing to visit the toilet several times with my bowels clearing each time. I noticed that these trips occurred about every 10 minutes which made me suspect something might be starting. However, I went back to sleep each time feeling relaxed. By 2 am I was awake and out of bed with definite surges although I have no memory of how they felt (manageable) and trying to use a contraction timer app to check as they felt pretty frequent. To our surprise my surges were already under 4 mins apart lasting up to 45 seconds. During this time I also felt nauseous for a period which was another sure sign our baby was coming. My fitness ball was of no use this time as I was not comfortable sitting instead swaying my hips whilst holding or leaning on the bench was a fave position for the short amount of time we were at home.
We had only been out of bed for 2 hours before making a 4 am trip to hospital! I had been sleeping well up until this point so was obviously relaxed enough not too notice prior surges during my sleep. We were both surprised with how quickly I had progressed as had imagined spending many hours labouring at home.
After arriving at hospital we were advised a birthing pool was available so thought we would try for a water birth. Funnily enough i had not imagined a water birth as knew the hospital couldn't guarantee one being available and in the end I only laboured in the pool due to a temperature spike. However, to use the birthing pool the midwife had to check how dilated I was and to our surprise we were already 5 cm after only being up and out of bed for 2 hours! My husband prepared the birth suite with our candles and played the rainbow relaxation track for me (which ended up on repeat all day)! The midwives were super helpful and respectful of our birth plan quietly moving around the room and speaking to Aaron.
Through this whole time I felt focused and confident but also totally aware of what was happening around me (I could hear and process what people were saying but I remained within my body and mind trusting my partner to handle things). With each surge I told myself i only needed 3-4 cycles of surge breaths. This really helped me as it reminded me that the surges would subside. I also thought lots about relaxing my jaw and visualising the opening flower. This all helped as I had breathed our baby down the birth canal with his head in view within a few hours. However, despite the midwife reporting he would be crowning within a few surges before lunch time this was not to be. We tried several positions (side lying, hands and knees, squatting etc.) over a few hours with our babies head peeking out but to no avail. So we had a prolonged second stage of labour resulting in the advice to have an episiotomy to help our baby out! Despite completing perineal massage during pregnancy and visualising the opening rose during labour my perineum wasn't going to give! Following the snip Harvey's head emerged on my next surge! Throughout labour Harvey's heart rate remained steady and strong.
I was also able to calmly speak to the midwives between surges which they didn't expect. The midwife commented that I must have a high pain threshold! Nope it was the hypnobirthing!! Our little Harvey was born looking alert, eyes open and strong!!
xx Aaron, Lisa and Harvey