Louise’s hypnobirthing experience

'I just kept breathing and focused on anything I could find, which ended up being a clean flannel!'

A photo of a woman leaning against a hospital bed and a man's hand is stroking her back while she labours

Pregnancy story by Louise, 07/03/2018

My first labour was really tough. It ended in forceps and a bad tear. I remember the midwife at the time telling me to relax and thinking, “How on earth am I meant to do that?”

When I got pregnant for the second time I’d heard about hypnobirthing through an acquaintance and thought I’d give it a go. It was £35 for a two day course, and there were four or five other couples in the class. It was amazing, I loved it!

The thing that really helped me were the videos they showed us. There was one in particular that just made the whole thing make sense. It was a clip of a couple trying to conceive a baby in hospital conditions (they were actors, don’t worry). The lights were blaring, there were doctors asking questions, taking their temperature and blood pressure. It made something that should be completely natural seem frightening and impossible. Comparing this to giving birth really helped me understand my first labour, and my husband was able to relate to the whole thing too.

Despite this, I remember thinking that there was no way hypnobirthing was going to work for me. I’m a total stress-head and I overthink everything. I just couldn’t imagine being able to switch off because I kept laughing when doing the techniques.

Then, at 1am on 7th December I started to get “twinges” that I thought they were just Braxton Hicks contractions. They started to get stronger and by 3am they were five minutes apart. Even then, I honestly thought they were just Braxton Hicks because they were more uncomfortable than they were painful.

I didn’t put the relaxation CD on, I just did the breathing techniques and could only remember one of the visualisations, so I just kept that in my head and kept breathing as deeply as I could.

By 6.30am I thought it was a good time to wake my husband, and at 7.30am I rang my midwife. She suggested I have a bath and see how I get on. Whilst in the bath my show started to come away, and that’s when I realised I was definitely in labour!

I just kept breathing and focused on anything I could find, which ended up being a clean flannel!

I was concentrating on how nice the washing powder smelt, anything to distract from the contractions. I have a toddler too so he was running about and I watched him as a distraction for a while.

Eventually, I went in to the hospital. I was GBS positive so had to go in. I had five contractions on the walk to the delivery ward, I just kept breathing as deep as I could and used my husband as concentration point.

People asked me if I was alright on the walk over, but I just smiled and ignored them.

When the midwife examined me I was 9cm!!! I was amazed; it really didn’t feel that bad. After a further 20 minutes of breathing my waters broke. I refused to lie on the bed, so I was stood up leaning over the bed just breathing. They gave me gas and air but I actually found it a complete distraction so I didn’t use it.

Incredibly, my little baby was here 9 minutes later (at 10.45am). It was all over, he was born. It was such an amazing experience, I wish I had done it with my first and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

More about hypnobirthing

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