I am starting to reach that stage where I can hardly believe that I’m about to have a baby. I mean, I know it’s not that imminent (or I hope!), but I am getting closer and closer now and time feels like it’s turned into a snowball and it’s racing down the hill, and gaining size and momentum all the time. A bit like this belly of mine.
After having a relatively positive birth experience with Bill (you can read his birth story here if you like), I have been quite obsessed about it happening again. I know lots of women who want their second birth to be better than their first, but I just want it to be similar.
My labour with Bill was induced, and fast. And a lot of people have said how lucky I am that that was the case. But, with speed came moments of feeling out of control, and I didn’t have much say in how I laboured with him. I was very active up until the point of needing to push and then I felt confined to a bed. This was, I felt, due to the rush of it all, and maybe due to my age too. I didn’t feel like my midwives, though lovely, completely trusted me to know what I was doing.
Also – with induction, you only know that one way to have a baby. I know how my body reacts to the prostaglandin gel, and I know what it feels like to have my waters manually broken (a knitting needle has never seemed so scary). But I don’t know what it feels like to, one day, wake up and be in a puddle of water, or have contractions start when I’m in Tesco.
And I know that the unknown exists for everyone, but I’m actually quite on edge about what might happen this time. I don’t really know what to do if that makes sense?
I have spoken to my midwives and they have said that I’m likely to labour more effectively and quickly this time, in theory, though that all depends on whether I go naturally, or I’m induced again. They said, if I’m induced, I’m likely to have a very similar experience. And if naturally, well, who knows?
I gave birth last time, with no pain relief. I progressed too quickly to have an epidural, something I felt I wanted. And I didn’t like the sound of other methods, aside from gas and air. Unfortunately gas and air made me extremely sick, and I hated it. So, I went it alone. And it was extremely painful. And I was extremely unaware of the progress I was making.
So now I’ve shared my background, you can probably understand why hypnobirthing is something I’ve been ‘studying’.
I’d already been testing the waters by reading a few hypnobirthing birth stories, just to see if it sounded like something I could do.
And it’s one of those things that you start to read about and you become addicted very quickly. Because every experience I have read has been positive. While not perfect births by any means, hypnobirthing has lent itself well to natural births, epidurals, c-sections. The lot. And the more I read, the more I felt convinced to try it.
The way I see this, is actually quite similar to the way my RE teacher once described believing in God. If you believe, when you die, and there’s nothing there waiting for you, and it’s just the end, then you haven’t lost out. But, if you die and you didn’t believe, and you find the gates of heaven are locked for you, then you have lost.
And that’s a really morbid thing to put in a post about hypnobirthing, I admit, but the principle seems to apply – you give it a go, and if it works, brilliant, and if not, then you’re only back where you started.
So, where am I at so far?
I’d say I’ve been trying the techniques over the past month or so now. Not obsessively by any means. As I don’t always have the time to find a quiet moment for myself. But I’ve been practising the techniques and reading as much as I can. And I feel…good?
I feel better. I feel more in control. Not just because I’ve mastered the art of breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. But I’ve realised that a lot of what I’m reading makes sense. And, ultimately, I’ve done this before and I’ve survived, and I’ve survived enough to want to do it again.
Sure, there are elements that make me cringe a bit. I’m never going to be the sort of person who wants to chant affirmations – but I can certainly think them, and certainly ask Mark to keep encouraging me when it all gets too much.
I’ve learnt about ‘the transitional phase’ – the phase just before giving birth where most women will panic or give-up. I remember it well with Bill and I had no idea that I was so close to meeting my son. So this time, I’ve asked Mark to really be aware of my reactions and keep telling me I can do this.
That’s the thing – it’s actually a brilliant experience to do together. It’s made Mark curious – he’s into things like yoga and meditation anyway, much more so than I am. And he’s really keen to offer support in that way. Because it definitely beats feeling lost and helpless.
He’s going to read the book I’ve got after me, and he’s even tried some of the techniques too. So, by the time she arrives, I’m hoping we’ll both be prepared.
Aside from feeling more positive, and relaxed, and learning coping mechanisms, I’ve loved the science of it all too. There’s a great section in the book I’m reading that goes into why contractions normally hurt, and looks at the muscles we use, and how we can actually make things worse for ourselves. Sure, I’m yet to see this in action, but I’m looking forward to trying.
I’ll leave all of the links to the tracks I’m using and the book I’m using down below, if you are curious!
The tools I’m using
If you have any questions for me, let me know. I’ll do another update nearer the time hopefully, and maybe a recap once I’ve given birth. Scary thought!