So, I initially wrote this post when I was expecting Daisy. I am now at that same stage now in my third pregnancy, with this baby boy, and I wanted to update it and refresh it, in case it helps you too!
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 Bill’s birth story here if you like), I decided I wanted to ensure that his sister arrived in much the same way. Except, this time, with a little more control, and less fear.
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 knew how my body reacts to the prostaglandin gel, and I knew what it felt like to have my waters manually broken (a knitting needle has never seemed so scary). But I didn’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, for example.
So, when it came to Daisy, I decided I would try hypnobirthing. I couldn’t afford the classes at the time, as we were saving up for my maternity leave, and every, single penny counted. So I decided I would teach myself. I would read the books and listen to the tracks. And it worked!
Her birth was incredible. So beautiful. And I really enjoyed the experience. You can read more about Daisy’s birth here, or watch my birth story here if you’d like, but to cut a long story short – it was a swift, and drug-free birth. I laboured for the most-part, in a birthing pool, and had her on a bed at the end. I didn’t tear, I didn’t lose control and it was my dream labour. The only shame was that she had my syndrome and spent the following six weeks in special care.
So now I’ve shared my background, you can probably understand why hypnobirthing is something I’ve been ‘studying’ again this time around.
With Daisy, I had already been testing the waters by reading a few hypnobirthing birth stories, just to see if it sounded like something I could do. I have listed a few at the end of this post for those of you who would like a read!
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. And now I get to remember my own experience as well, when it comes to my third labour and delivery.
So, where am I at so far?
I’d say I’ve been trying the techniques again over the past week or so now – I am now 30 weeks pregnant. 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…? I feel good. I feel calm. I feel almost excited. I have been re-reading my favourite book (which you find listed below), and re-learning the science of labour and what happens has been such a great tool for me.
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 once more. 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, but with Daisy I knew. So this time, I’ve asked Mark to really be aware of my reactions and keep telling me I can do this if I wobble at all.
That’s the thing – it’s actually a brilliant experience to do together. It made Mark curious last time around – 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. And I love that.
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. And it completely changed the process of labour and birth for me!
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! Good luck!
Hypnobirthing Books & Tracks
Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing Shop
Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing on Apple Music
My birth story with Daisy – blog
My birth story with Daisy – video
Emily’s birth story with Jackson – video
Fritha’s hypnobirth with Mabli
Adele’s hypnobirth experience
Clemmie’s hypnobirth with Ottilie and Delilah
TalkMum Hypnobirthing Article
Mindful Mamma hypnobirth stories