Our Journey to parenthood was not easy one and after five years and a round of IVF, we were thrilled to finally be expecting our first baby. My thoughts then turned to the birth. I was petrified- I have a really low pain threshold, even a papercut makes me feel queasy. I really wanted to be brave and have a natural, drug free birth, just like my mum and sister, but I was worried I might not cope and start crying for pain relief.
Due to having a blood disorder in the family, I was told I would not be able to have an epidural. That meant if I needed a caesarean, I would have to be put under general anaesthetic and would miss the birth of our longed for son. This meant I had to find a way to change my mind set and stop panicking about the labour.
I went to a local Positive Birthing meeting and met other people who spoke about their positive experiences of labour and childbirth- a totally different concept to anything you see on TV or hear about- and why do people always tell you their horror birth stories as soon as you are pregnant?
I met Erika and found out about hypnobirthing classes. I had heard about hypnobirthing from a few friends. I am a keen yoga enthusiast and so deep breathing and relaxation was not an unusual concept, but could I really go through labour just using breathe?
Erika came to our house over a 3 month period in the lead up to my due date and went through the hypnobirthing course. It was great as we were in our own environment and we could both take the time to think about and prepare for the birth together. I listened to the Kathryn Graves nearly every night and always fell asleep to the deep relaxation scripts before they finished. I found this so great- I actually started looking forward to the birth and the start of labour.
The morning that I woke up in labour, my surges were already 5 minutes apart so I slept through the start of it all. I listened to my cd and did all my breathing techniques learned on the course and felt really calm for the duration of the labour. We used lots of the tips Erika gave us for an active labour and getting the oxytocin levels up. I had hoped for a water birth but it wasn’t possible this time. I was able to labour using just gas and air for the surges. As they became very intense when I neared full dilation, Owen really helped me to stay focussed using the imagery we had discussed on the course and using really encouraging statements.
I could not have got to the end without him. I didn’t use the gas and air when pushing for the last part and the midwife guided me through the final stages. Our beautiful son arrived at
11.59pm, eyes wide open, and our world was filled with joy and love.
SJ & O Thomas