A Note From Lindsay:
Katy contacted me when she was around 30 weeks pregnant with her 2nd baby. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I offered to do private HypnoBirthing classes with them by Zoom. Thank goodness for technology!
Katy wants to encourage as many people as possible toward the HypnoBirthing journey. As Katy says in her own words "We had such a positive experience with HypnoBirthing and if others can benefit from hearing about it then that's great!"
Here is her story.
The Birth Of Imogen
We decided to do HypnoBirthing following encouragement from a friend who had had a positive experience with doing it. Our first child was induced at 40 weeks and following on from that, my husband and I reflected that we would have liked to have been more informed at the time about the need for it and the associated risks. There was no indication from my body prior to my son being induced that I was anywhere close to being ready for childbirth.
The interventions used to ripen my cervix didn't make a difference but because things had been 'started,' we were told there was no going back and my waters were broken anyway the next morning. I was put on a drip within 20 minutes of my waters being broken, as no contractions started. I hyper-responded to the artificial hormones which meant I then contracted constantly for the next 12 hours.
Being our first pregnancy and childbirth experience, we followed advice we were given at the time without really asking questions or understanding why we had to do things that way. The birth itself was difficult and quite medicalised, with one intervention seeming to lead to the need for further interventions. Everything was alright in the end; but our child had been born unresponsive, I suffered a significant tear, and I felt that our baby needed more from me to help him recover from the trauma of his birth in those early weeks.
This time around, we completed HypnoBirthing classes with Lindsay, who was kind enough to offer them to us via video link during the COVID-19 pandemic, where attending face-to-face classes wasn't possible for us. I was able to talk with her about my reflections from my first childbirth experience so that she could focus on meeting our individual needs for the class. She provided us with lots of information based on research evidence to allow us to make our own, informed choices with confidence. We learned the strategies of HypnoBirthing and enjoyed the regular practice of the relaxation techniques.
By week 41 I was under pressure by some staff at the hospital to induce her right away. I felt my body was making some preparations for birth but neither Imogen or I were yet ready for the big event. I felt confident to stick to my plans to see through at least 10 days past my due date and we ended up booking an induction for 11 days past. I’ll admit, as people around us got very anxious for us and Imogen, it did shake our confidence a little bit. The obstetricians were concerned that she would be too big for me to birth if we didn’t induce, however, some were more concerned about this than others.
I sent a text to Lindsay about the situation and she made time to talk with me on the phone. It was so helpful to talk through my thoughts and concerns, to weigh up the potential risks and benefits according to evidence-based, accurate information, and ultimately, to know that the decision we were making was the right one for us - which was to give Imogen a little longer. I kept thinking of the affirmation “My baby will be the right size for my body,” and it really helped me relax and feel confident. We had daily scans to make sure she was ok and with each reassuring kick, I felt I was doing the right thing for her in letting her stay inside.
Our induction was scheduled for Monday morning. I wouldn’t need cervical ripening because my cervix was already soft, thinning and dilated 3cm by Friday. The weekend came and went. I was a little disappointed that no spontaneous labour started however I was hopeful for as little intervention as possible on the Monday. Sunday night, I actually had a few mild surges.
We checked into the hospital early Monday morning. I felt a bit deflated but calm nonetheless. A cannula was inserted in my hand and my waters were broken at 8am. I reflected on the affirmation “I am prepared to meet whatever turn my birthing takes” to help me refocus on getting things moving and let go of negativity. Leigh and I laughed, relaxed, ate and I bounced on a birthing ball. My surges started about an hour later and took off fast! I tried to relax into each one and breathe through. I focused on letting my body do the birthing and on feeling Imogen gently transitioning deeper down. I thought of the affirmation “each surge brings my baby closer to me.” I asked Leigh to play the affirmation track twice through and it helped me relax and focus. I used relaxation to help give my body the space to do what it needed to do; particularly the face relaxation deepening techniques. Leigh provided light touch massage whilst I was labouring and this really helped to make me more comfortable during some intense moments.
Suddenly I was getting urges to push. I thought, this can’t be it, I’m not in enough pain yet?! But sure enough, a particularly intense surge had me asking for the gas and no sooner had I taken one suck on it, the midwife was asking me to move from the floor back onto the bed (in case of another shoulder dystocia) because she thought Imogen was coming.
I got on all fours on the bed and Leigh asked if I wanted him to call my sister. I nodded yes and looked up to see her on video call on the bedside table. We even managed an excited wave to each other! Then my body was pushing Imogen out and she arrived within 15 minutes! Her little hand came out first, up beside her face, which for a moment had the midwives worried she’d get stuck.
The obstetrician had been called but just as she walked in, the midwife was able to move the arm a little and out came Immy. I felt her move through and out of my body. I sat up and picked her up through my legs. Leigh and I looked into her little face and it was the happiest, most wonderful moment.
We were so in love with her, that I barely noticed the effects of having lost a bit too much blood and having had a second-degree tear again. I relaxed my body and accepted the care offered. Immy nursed easily while I was being tended and I enjoyed holding her and taking in all her beautiful features. I’m recovering so well, much faster than I did last time.
Overall, the speed of her birth and her insistence to wave hello before she came out added some challenges to my birth experience! However I feel so lucky to have been so present for this birth experience and I know that even though she got a little nudge along, Imogen and my body were ready to birth when the time came. She is so content and relaxed and I think that’s a by product of her having been allowed the time she needed in my womb.
She was 3996g at birth. A good size, slightly smaller than anyone predicted, the right size for my body!
Thank you Lindsay for all of your advice and support. People commented on how calm and confident and comfortable I seemed leading up to birthing. I think having the right information and practising the relaxation and affirmations made all the difference.
I’ll definitely be encouraging others toward the hypnobirthing journey.
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