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Hypnobirthing - have you tried it?

Friday, 16 June 2017  | 

 

The birth of Elijah didn’t exactly go to plan. It left me very vulnerable and traumatised and I knew this time round I wanted to have a positive birth experience. I was still very scarred from what happened nearly three years ago, and in some ways, I was hoping this birth would be my closure. I would look back upon the birth and even if things didn’t quite go as I expected I would be happy and tell everyone with relish about my birth story rather than reliving the trauma via the flashbacks.

Being a high-risk pregnancy, and with Elijah’s medical history of being diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Disease, a home birth or a Midwife Led Birthing Unit birth was out of the question. It was a knock to my confidence of what I had envisioned as a calm, peaceful, relaxing water birth that I wanted but it would be for the best. We found this out very early on so I have had time to accept this and adapt it into my birth preparation. I had to accept that after the complications of last time (post partem haemorrhage) that it is extremely likely that I would need medical assistance. This time round, there is a weapon we do have on our side that we did not before, and that is knowledge. The knowledge of roughly what to expect, what may be needed and how they will do this on the delivery suite.

After initially being told that we would have to give birth on the delivery suite, my confidence was knocked, but I knew it was up to me to change that. Via the wonderful world of Instagram and my obsessive stalking of Tom and Gi Fletcher on social media I came across hypnobirthing. Ordering a book off Amazon I began to read up and thought this is something I want to implement. The two birth partners were briefed with Greg giving me some very raised eyebrows. I had won some positive birth affirmation cards from the brilliant The Yes Mum and began using these too, with the mindful hypnobirthing tracks. With most things, life with a half potty trained toddler got in the way and I admit I am still only half way through the book, and my cards remain in their lovely little box on the kitchen windowsill.

I considered hypnobirthing classes/ courses and they all came with a hefty price tag. However, low and behold I came across a condensed 4 hours birth basic class that would cover the main techniques you would need for a very reasonable price and not too far from home either! I booked it up, after convincing Greg this is what we must do and we are both so glad we did. I had spoken to the course leader beforehand and she explained she too, had a traumatic birth and started practising whilst pregnant with her second and she then had a very positive birth after putting into practices the techniques, breathing and massage she had learnt. She could still view this birth as a positive one when things did not go to plan and ended up in an emergency C Section. I needed to learn everything she knew!

This class also opened my eyes to how negatively I view my first birth and how ingrained this is in me. One of the first exercises we had to do was to use one word to describe what we wanted this birth to be. Mine was uncomplicated, I was already fearing the worst, and not thinking positively. I know this is a mindset I do need to get out of or it will hold me back and potentially taint this birth too. We learnt what to do to stay calm in the various stages of labour how to set the scene if you will, and how I can make that delivery suite birth my own.

Greg learnt a lot, how he can support me, keep me calm with breathing and massage and after the 4 hours we came out feeling like we were ready to give birth! We also learnt how important it was to be mindful of the words we use, things like replacing contractions with surges, and birth plan to birth preparation, birth partner to birth advocate. It all helps reinforce the positive birth experience that I am aiming for. I would recommend to anyone who has doubts, fears or who has had traumatic birth to try this out as it will completely change your idea of giving birth.

Being a NICU mum, I will always worry, I will always fear the risk of something going wrong but the one thing that dulled the fear slightly? The fact birth is simple. We have been doing this for years and years, and although it is normally for the best it is in recent years the introduction of medical risk assessment which has made birth more complicated and something to be feared. I also have the confidence to ask for what I want, to try and have an active birth and if things do not go to plan (we still have a transverse baby at 36 weeks people!) I will hopefully be able to adapt aspects of hypnobirthing into the birth.

Overall, we are hypnobirthing our way to baby number two and I feel calmer, more positive and whatever it may bring I am ready to own my birth.

Just hopefully not on my best friend’s wedding day in 2 weeks’ time.

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