Camilla and Babies Harvey and Stefan
Although I’ve never formally practised hypnobirthing with an instructor, a friend of mine lent me a book on hypnobithing when I was pregnant with my first son. Without a doubt, the principles of hypnobirthing and the philosophy of empowered, natural childbirth it supports has informed my choices throughout pregnancy and labour and I think has supported me to be fortunate enough to have two natural, uncomplicated births.
The key things that I focused on were practising the breathing techniques (up breath and down breath) and visualisations (my preference is to visualise a rose opening... maybe because it reminds me slightly of the female anatomy?!). I found this focus on the breath and visualisation helped me to remain calm and in control, especially in the first stage of labour when you are opening up the cervix. I read in my hypnobirthing book that the use of pharmaceutical pain relief can slow down labour so I decided I wouldn’t bother with any of that if I could help it.
With my first son I had a water birth in a midwife led unit and he was born in the water - since his birth I have read that being in the water can actually also slow down labour slightly but I’d still highly recommend it as I didn’t feel like it slowed my labour but kept it at a manageable pace that my mind could keep up with as well as offered me a sense of weightlessness when rushes were strong. With my second son I went 15 days overdue and so in the end i opted for an induction. I was very fortunate in that all they had to do was break my waters and then labour got going on it’s own without any drugs and he was born within 3.5 hours of having my water broken. Again the breathing and visualisations helped me to remain calm and block out my surroundings (which were a less than desirable room on a busy labour ward).
With both births I did not suffer any tearing or medical intervention to get baby out (such as ventose or forceps). I am currently pregnant with my third baby, and I have made a commitment to myself to feel no fear as I truly trust that my body can do it and all I have to do is let go. I am really interested to see how this labour will differ from the other two with support from Jade to practice hypnobirthing more committedly.