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My birth stories
I feel that i've been very fortunate to experience two very different births, a c-section and a vaginal birth. Forest and Daisy’s births just prove that HypnoBirthing can help you through any type of birth: homebirth, hospital, c-section….the skills I have learned have carried on through life after birth, even using breathing and relaxation during dentist appointments, and during some tough days of being a parent to toddlers! HypnoBirthing has changed my life. Read about my own two births here, and also in more detail in my blog:
Forest's birth (born in the UK in October 2012)
Nik (my husband) and I were so excited when we found out we were expecting our first baby! That little blue line gave me a mixture of feelings. Wow, we're actually bringing a little human into the world!
But once we shared our exciting news, I became really surprised and shocked by how many well-meant comments I received from people: “are you scared?” “will you have the epidural?” “oh it’s the worst pain in the world”.
Right from the beginning I wanted a homebirth, as I had never been a patient in hospital before, and I knew I would be more relaxed at home. And so when Nik and I spoke to our midwife, we were told that “the epidural” wouldn’t be available if I birthed at home. In my heart I knew that birthing is the most natural thing in the world: look at how animals give birth in the wild, so calm and peaceful. I started to wonder if a relaxed birth was possible for humans, without the need for pain relief. Did it really need to be so medical? So I looked into alternative to the epidural, and investigated natural pain relief and discovered HypnoBirthing.
I remember sending an email to Nik while we were at work, sending him a link to a HypnoBirthing course close to our home. He replied saying he thought it sounded really 'hippy' and 'airy fairy' and not really what he imagined us doing (he's a scientist afterall!). But he said that if it helped me with my comfort, and helped our baby to come into the world more calmly, then let's go for it.
We booked a private course in our own home with our lovely HypnoBirthing educator, Gilly. I could see Nik physically relax when we turned up to our house for the first session. Gilly wasn't what he expected at all.
Over the next couple of months Nik and I learned so much about birth from Gilly, information I really felt should be taught in school! We spent time most evenings practising our techniques, and preparing for our homebirth.
HypnoBirthing helped me feel so positive during my pregnancy and really excited about my birth.
As we neared our estimated due date, and then the days rolled on, I started to feel a little worried about the thought of having an induction. There was some pressure from our midwife to book in an induction (even from 39 weeks!), but we were able to hold her off. Around 41 weeks, birth started on it's own, after a hot spicy curry for dinner, and some massage.
I was so calm and relaxed during birth, the midwives were amazed. Nik had a big part to play, and he kept me in deep relaxation by using deepening scripts, massage, changing the relaxing music, and keeping the midwives fully refreshed with cups of tea. He wasn’t just standing by not knowing what to do. He was my partner and we were welcoming our baby into the world together, as a team. We both felt in control and at ease. Unfortunately our baby son was eventually born via Emergency C-Section due to his positioning. But HypnoBirthing helped us through not just the labour leading up to the C-Section (I was so comfortable), but also kept us calm and confident throughout the operation. Read more about Forest's birth in my blog HERE
After Forest's birth, I found myself feeling upset when I heard people giving pregnant women “advice” on how to handle the “pain” during their labour. I wanted to shout out “stay positive, stay calm, and your body will work as nature intended”. That’s when I looked into becoming a Marie Mongan HypnoBirthing Practitioner. I wanted to spread the word! If I could help just one woman have an enjoyable (yes, enjoyable!) birth, then that is what I’ll do.
Daisy's birth (born in Singapore in March 2015)
Daisy's birth was my dream birth. A happy HypnoBirthing VBAC!
Maternity care in Singapore can be very medical, so Nik and I researched and chose a pro-natural doctor. Our baby daughter, Daisy, was born in a hospital using the HypnoBirthing techniques.
My surges (contractions!) started at home in the middle of the night, around 2am, with little cramps which I wasn't sure were surges. I thought maybe I just had a bad tummy. I drifted back off to sleep and woke again as the surges were getting stronger. This was when I realised that they were real surges! I didn't wake Nik. I decided to get on my hands and knees on the bed, and just breathe through each surge, doing my surge breathing. I started rocking backwards and forwards which felt so comforting. The rhythm felt so relaxing. Nik woke up and started whispering encouraging things to me. He started timing the surges and then decided to call the midwife. I felt really comfortable and wanted to stay right there and give birth on the bed! My surges came in waves and peaked with a tightening around my tummy.
Unfortunately the doctor and hospitals don’t generally support homebirths in Singapore so we made our way to the hospital by taxi, as soon as our babysitter arrived to look after Forest (he was still blissfully unaware, fast asleep in his bed next door). I remember walking down the stairs and into the taxi, stopping here and there to breathe through surges. I plugged my Rainbow Relaxation into my earphones, and listened to it during the taxi journey.
Once we got to hospital, I remember a midwife looking at me, and saying "let's just get you to the birthing room". She asked if we would like a room with a bath, and said that it was an extra $100 for that, which at the time, really irritated me! We said yes, and got comfy in our new room. The lights were dimmed. The midwife gave me a vaginal exam and confirmed that my cervix was thinned and open at 7cm. I was elated! During each surge, Nik was right by my side, using the HypnoBirthing techniques to keep me calm. The surge breathing was so effective. Filling my tummy with a big slow breath. I was imagining being in the ocean. Nik gave me lots of light touch massage. I remember telling at one point not to stop! I could just feel the endorphins releasing. I got into the bath. It wasn't very comfy. The midwife left the room. In fact she was out of the room most of the time.
I remember Nik kept feeding me with dried apricots and water!
I started to feel that my surges were changing. I felt a really pushing down feeling, a bearing down, at the end of each surge. This was my cue to start my birth breathing. It was around this time that I felt like giving up. I suddenly felt really negative, and said to Nik "I can't do this". He just replied gently "Miranda, you ARE doing it". That gave me a huge boost. He reminded me that this was probably the transition stage.
I got out of the bath, and sat on the edge of the bed. Nik was cuddling me and kissing me. I breathed through my surges, using the wonderful birth breathing. I really felt like it was nudging my baby down. I got on my hands and knees on the bed, and the midwife came into the room and I mentioned to her that I had started to breathe the baby down. She placed a mirror under me, so I could see if the baby's head was coming.
The midwife was great. She pretty much left us to it. She could see that we were relaxed and working together. She listened to our baby's heart a few times, trying to attach the fetal monitor around my tummy, which kept coming lose.
I felt really relaxed and calm. Nik whispered lots of encouraging things to me, light touch massage, shoulder anchors, keywords, deepening....I felt like he was attached to me, working with my body and baby.
I was laying on my side when I felt something come out of my vagina. I asked Nik to check if it was our baby's head. He looked and said he didn't know what it was! So we called the midwife into the room, and she said it was the membranes (my waters hadn't released). She called the obstetrician who came into the room. His sudden presence made me feel a bit stressed, and it was harder work to stay calm. My waters suddenly released and there was meconium present. The obstetrician asked me to start pushing. Nik whispered in my ear "just keep birth breathing Miranda, you're doing so well". Our baby's head was right there! I pushed with my body, sometimes with force, sometimes with gentle breathing down.
Our darling daughter was welcomed into the world! Daisy was placed on my chest (after a little wipe as she was covered in meconium). She was crying and I was crying and Nik was crying!! I turned to Nik and said “I want to do that again!”. I still do! I felt soooooo empowered!! What an incredible feeling!
I couldn't believe that we did it! Nik and I worked as a team together. I felt like Nik and I were the closest we'd ever been. What an experience!
Read more about Daisy's birth HERE!
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