Nancy's birthing story's...Freja
I decided to try hypnobirthing as I was petrified of giving birth naturally, having been under the impression from a young age that I would have to have a C section as my mother had done.
Having trained over a weekend and practised for a few weeks my waters broke spontaneously at 36 weeks at around 10pm. I called the hospital as to whether I should come in and they said yes as I they would like to check me over, but it was probably a false alarm as it was so early.
My husband came home from Aikido and I told him not to rush but we had to go to the hospital. In the time it took him to have a shower, and me to pack a quick 'just in case' hospital bag my surges started in earnest.
By the time we got into the car to go to the hospital my surges were very close together and very regular, so my husband started with our practiced scripts and I have no recollection of the journey (which was about 20 minutes/half an hour).
When we got to the hospital we were led to a room and left to our own devices. I concentrated on my up breathing and Stuart kept repeating our scripts and we were happily progressing through our labour. At some point someone came into the room and stated that we could not be in labour as I was far too calm. We explained that we were using hypnobirthing and that it was our wish to have a natural calm birth. They tried to tell us that as we were only at 36 weeks and we were first time parents we didn't know what to expect and we should go home and wait for 'proper' labour. Stuart was fantastic at this time and managed to field all the questions allowing me to concentrate on the breathing and labour without being disturbed. They gave us an ultimatum at this time, we could either go home and wait, or I could ask for some pain relief and they would see how I was progressing.
As first time parents we were unaware that we had choices at this point so I agreed to try some gas and air if it meant that they would check me over and see that I was in labour. At this time things were taken out of our hands to a certain extent. When they did the assessment to see whether I was in labour they discovered that I was 8cms dilated! Then, because I was 36 weeks, they insisted that I lie on my back and be strapped up to be monitored.
Freja was born shortly after this, at a healthy 5lbs 8oz and needed no assistance. We had skin to skin immediately and she was as calm as a baby can be. She managed to find my breast herself and fed straight away. Although the birth wasn't completely as we hoped it would be we knew the hypnobirthing worked and it helped to keep us calm.
Freja was a fantastically 'chilled out' baby and we are sure that a huge part of that was due to the calm way in which she entered the world. The whole experience was fantastically positive and it made us very determined to practise more for the next birthing.
Nancy's birthing story's... Erin
Our second experience with hypnobirthing could have come straight out of a manual. We started practicing our scripts early in the pregnancy and practiced most evenings, most of the time with Stuart, my husband, but with CDs when he was away.
My waters broke spontaneously at 38 weeks, which was a huge relief as we had planned a homebirth, and knew it was recommended that we get past the 37 weeks mark. We had been preparing a Sunday roast when my surges started. We started preparing the living room and I started my up breathing while sitting on my birthing ball.
We called the midwife to let her know that we had started labour and she said she would pop in when she could. Between surges I carried on with everyday things, such as caring for my 18 month old daughter and pottering around the house.
During the early surges I sat on my ball and concentrated on my up breathing. As the surges became more intense Stuart started using the scripts that we had practiced and I was totally and utterly relaxed and oblivious to most of what was going on around me.
At some point the midwife arrived, and we were so lucky to have one who completely respected our wishes. Stuart and the midwife communicated and any monitoring that was necessary was conducted between surges when I was completely lucid. After two and a half hours I suddenly got the feeling that my up breathing was no longer working. I was a little worried that the hypnobirthing was no longer working and that it had been a fluke first time around. The midwife asked that while I was 'having a break' if she could see how I was progressing. So I took my trousers off and the midwife explained that the reason that it was no longer working was that the baby was crowning! I had come to transition without realising it, as it had happened far faster than I expected. I immediately switched to down breathing and felt a huge wave of relief as the intensity dropped away.
I gave birth to my second beautiful daughter 4 minutes later. The midwife was amazed that second stage labour happened so fast and smoothly. The second midwife literally made it through the front door as Erin was born. Again we had skin to skin contact immediately and Erin found her way to my breast on her own. Erin was a calm and happy baby, and I'm sure that some of that was due to the relaxed, calm way she came into the world.
Nancy's birthing story's...Torren
Being my third baby I thought I knew what to expect... wrong! As I often tell couples, every baby is different and every birth is different. Funny how you forget these things when you're in the thick of it.
I had been practising my breathing and listening to the Colour and Calmness CD each evening from about six months and was very excited about the coming birth. People think I'm crazy as I actually really look forward to the birth, and was hoping to have a longer labour this time so I could enjoy the moment for longer.
The birthing pool was ready and waiting, we had done a 'dry' run (or a wet run as it turned out), my relaxation music was primed and ready to go (no plinky plonky music for me, I had been listening to the Game of Thrones soundtrack each night), the list of who to call and when was on the notice board, the only thing missing was the labour. Both girls had arrived before their estimated due date and so I was convinced that babies that I produced would all be early and small... So as my due date came closer and closer I felt that I was overdue.
My first sign that labour was beginning with both girls had been a definite 'show', so again I was convinced that that was how this labour would begin... I was wrong again! This labour had no apparent 'show' and no early signs at all. My first inkling that things were starting was my waters breaking, on the morning of my estimated due date. My 'mummy-sense' must have kicked in, because at 4.30am I suddenly sat bolt upright in bed, thought 'What woke me?' and 'pop' my waters broke... everywhere.
I informed Stu, wrapped myself up in a towel, and proceeded to go back to sleep, thinking that I should conserve energy while I could.
Stu decided that he should probably stay home from school that day as my first two labours had been pretty quick and he didn't want to miss it. Freja and Erin went to school on the understanding that if things started happening then we would pick them up so they could be there for the birth. We had done a lot of preparation with the girls and given them the option of being present for the birth. We called my mum, as she lives at least 4 hours away, and let her know that my waters had broken, but nothing much was happening.
My midwife had told me that it was her day off but that she wanted to attend as she wanted to see a KGHypnobirthing birth for herself, so I gave her a call around 11am. She informed me that she had her last upholstery class before Christmas that afternoon, and jokingly said that if we could hold on until after 4 she would be very grateful. At 3.30pm my surges started. I think my body may have been waiting until the whole family was safely gathered in so that there were no other distractions, whatever the reason, my surges started gradually just after the children had come home from school, my mum had arrived and Stu's parents had settled down with a cuppa.
My surges started gradually and were over with in a breath or two. Between surges I busied myself with setting up the pool and making little videos with Freja and Erin. As my surges became more regular and longer I would stop and relax, concentrating on my 'up' breathing. I was much more self sufficient during this stage of labour than I had been with the girls, so Stu and his dad set up the video cameras and everyone carried on, as normal, around me.
As the surges became regular and around five minutes apart we called our midwife. Although I was happy for her to wait a while she said she would come and assess me. She arrived and I decided that I would like to get into the pool. The water was lovely! The weightless sensation was particularly enjoyable and soothing.
My surges were coming thick and fast at this point and I had gone completely into myself. Stu started talking to me in his soothing tones and I was surprised to find that I actually liked him stroking my arms this time. It is amazing how some of your senses become very heightened as others dull: I was hardly aware of what my body was doing, but very aware of the smell of the birthing pool plastic... it was a very comforting smell.
Very quickly I realised that I had gone into second stage labour. It was a very strange sensation, as this time I had a very powerful urge to bear down. I also found myself being much more vocal, I sounded like a lowing cow! I heard Freja getting anxious that I was in distress, so as one surge finished I reassured her that it was simply the sound my body was telling me to make and that I was perfectly happy and comfortable. I then retreated back into my birthing body for the next surge.
Between surges I reached down and I could feel the top of my baby’s head. It was a lovely feeling, knowing my baby was soon going to be with me. I was so excited. I breathed down with each surge and soon the head was born. There was a short pause, which felt like a long time in my mind, and I was impatient for the next surge to start so that I would finally be able to hold my baby. The next surge arrived and my little boy was born, witnessed by my two daughters, my husband, my mother, mother-in-law and father-in –law! It was a very surreal moment, as he was greeted with a round of applause.
It was a wonderful birth. Torren was born at 6.53pm with a birth weight of seven pounds five and a half ounces. He came into the world in a calm, peaceful manner and has continued in the same vein ever since.
I have been very fortunate to have three very different but equally amazing experiences.