Today I’ve got a story to share with you, with the kind permission of Rebecca, whose son Otis was born on the 25th of November this year. 18 months ago Rebecca was terrified of giving birth and so when she became pregnant she knew she needed help. The hypnobirthing class Rebecca did changed that, and although her birth didn’t go to plan it was a very positive experience.
I always say to people that hypnobirthing is about the experience more than the outcome. A mother who has a positive experience, is well set up for parenthood emotionally and physically. The preparation a mother undertakes during pregnancy also benefits the baby. We know now that stress can have an impact on baby’s development – hypnobirthing practice reduces that stress and it’s not uncommon for women who have birthed after preparing with mindfulness or hypnosis, to say that their baby seems very calm and settled. Perhaps also a reflection of their mother’s state of mind.
Caesarean births happen, and there should be no recriminations or sense of failure. Instead you can allow yourself to celebrate the truth that you nurtured, loved and grew your baby for 9 months, you prepared to welcome your baby with love and you opened your arms with joy for your baby when they were passed into your arms for the first time. Rebecca did not feel bullied, coerced, or pressurised into that decision – she made it from a place of intuition, and a place of acceptance and love.
Thank you for sharing your story Rebecca, and welcome to world baby Otis. x
End of the plan….not the end of the world.
I attended a Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing workshop in Nottingham when I was about 32 pregnant. Prior to the workshop I had read the book and had been listening to the hypnobirthing track every day from about 24 weeks. I was also doing active birthing classes and tried to remain relatively healthy during my pregnancy and was still at the gym 3-4 times a week up to 40 weeks in the hope that this would help make labour a bit easier.
One of my birth preferences was that I would do as much as the labour as I could at home and then go to the tranquility of the Sanctuary Midwife Led Unit at QMC, Nottingham, where I would have a drug free (well maybe a bit of gas and air) water birth and intervention would be kept to a minimum.
I soon found out that baby Slater had other ideas. Week 40 came and went as did week 41. I was listening to my hypnosis tracks, using my birthing ball, side stepping up hills and stairs, walking and reciting my affirmations, you name it I was doing it. Whilst on the one hand I was feeling extremely calm, relaxed and even excited about giving birth I was also aware that time was ticking before talk of induction would be raised.
I had been booked for induction on Sunday 22nd at term +12 and must admit I wasn’t massively keen on the idea. I already knew that I didn’t have to accept induction and when the 22nd arrived the hospital were happy for me to just pop in and be monitored. I was told that baby seemed happy and went home praying that he would make his arrival overnight. This didn’t happen, so on the Monday after much discussion between myself, my husband and the hospital we decided to go ahead with starting the induction process.
On the morning they gave me a 24 hour pessary. My husband and I did lots of walking around the hospital grounds and I started getting tightenings. They seemed quite intense and were coming every three of four minutes for about 5 hours. I stayed overnight at the hospital and used a TENS machine and listened to my hypnobirthing tracks to help me relax enough to get some sleep. When monitoring me and baby the midwives kept commenting on how well I was handling the discomfort and the fact that even through the tightenings baby was remaining extremely calm.
On the Tuesday they checked and although my cervix had softened it wasn’t open, so they inserted a six hour tablet with the view that this would open my cervix and enable them to break my waters. The tightenings intensified on Tuesday so I continued to breathe through them, repeated my affirmations, took a bath and my husband was brilliant talking me through my breathing and reading through the relaxations for me.
I was sent down to delivery but come Wednesday morning when they examined me my cervix still wasn’t showing any signs of opening so they were unable to break my waters. They said that they could try again or I could have a C-section. After some discussion with my husband and using BRAINS I decided that I would have the section. Although this had been the last thing I thought I wanted Mindful Mamma ensured I had the knowledge and confidence to ask the questions I needed answered and enabled me to make an informed choice that I felt was right for me and my baby.
As baby was still showing as very happy on the monitor and I had managed to remain calm and positive throughout I decided that I didn’t wish to continue trying as I didn’t believe that the next phase of induction would work. I decided that I would rather get baby out whilst we were both calm, rather than risk trying again and ending up with the baby in the distress and needing an emergency section.
I remained focused and calm throughout the surgery. The theatre team even commented on this, as I chatted away. Otis Vincent Slater made his very chilled arrival into the world on Wednesday 25th November at 4:22pm weighing 7lb 14oz. One week on and the main comments we get from visitors is how content and calm he seems. I think Mindful Mamma (as well as his daddy’s genes) has played a part in this as it helped me relax and stay calm not only during the birth but also throughout the pregnancy and I think that has affected Otis.
I must also say that a number of midwives I encountered commented on how impressed they were with my birth preferences, attending Mindful Mamma made it possible for me to put together a set of preferences that covered everything I wanted in a simple, yet effective manner.
I don’t think I would have handled the circumstances I found myself in anywhere near as well if I hadn’t completed Mindful Mamma and I have already been recommending the workshop to friends.
Whilst the section wasn’t what I planned and the discomfort and recovery time are frustrating I am taking the positives from the situation. I’m somebody who is usually running around and busy, busy, I think the section has made me slow down and just enjoy this precious time with Otis in a way that I may not have done if I had had the birth I planned, so every cloud has a silver lining.