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The idea of hypnobirthing has always appealed to me so I was really pleased to find the course Zoe runs in Hereford. I really enjoyed the 2 hour sessions each week and tried to practice the relaxation techniques regularly, and focused on this particularly once I'd started my maternity leave.
It was four days before my due date and I'd been for a reflexology session on the Thursday afternoon, which had strengthened the braxton hicks tightenings that I'd been having for the last week. That evening, I started to feel some mild discomfort with each tightening, and wondered if it was starting... overnight, I had the show and throughout Friday I continued to have tightenings irregularly throughout the day. I spent time bouncing on my birthing ball, had a quick walk around town and lunch, but I had a strong feeling that I wanted to be at home so we spent the rest of the day relaxing on the sofa.
By the evening I was roughly having them every ten minutes, but I was not in any pain, and saw this as an opportunity to practice my breathing! That evening I had a bath with lavender and clary sage oil and asked my partner to massage my feet to encourage things along. As it was our first baby and I wasn't in pain, we thought it could be quite a while yet. I kept thinking of the affirmation 'I'm happy and relaxed that my baby is finally coming to me' and I was genuinely really happy that it had started, as I had always had a feeling that she would arrive before my due date!
I woke up at 4.30am on Saturday morning and my waters started to trickle when I went to the loo. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn't get comfortable in bed as I could feel quite a lot of pressure. The tightenings were a lot stronger after my waters went, but still bearable and my husband got up and started to time them. It took us a while to get the timing working as I could feel so much pressure that I was struggling to differentiate between that and the tightenings.
As they got stronger we timed a few and realised they were 2 and a half minutes apart so we decided to ring the hospital at 6.30am. I spoke to the midwife and they told me to come in, at this stage the contractions were feeling a lot more intense but I was able to get through them with breathing and also knowing they would only last for a minute. I was also feeling an uncontrollable urge to bear down at this stage, which I went with as it helped to get through the tightening. We got to the hospital at 7am and the midwifes were slower to examine me as I was really calm and relaxed. Therefore we were all quite surprised (and very happy!) when she said I was fully dilated and ready to go!
By 7.30 I was in a room and spent most of the next hour on the toilet as this was where I was most comfy! We had the birth affirmations on in the background and the tightenings were intense, but not painful and I was fine in between them and we were laughing and joking in between. The midwife commented that I was the calmest person she'd ever seen!
I tried to focus on the birth breathing but I was finding the urge to push uncontrollable, so combined the both to try and slowly push.
The time flew by and baby Holly arrived at 9.10am. She latched on straight away and we spent the rest of the day in the delivery suite with a few family visitors before taking her home that night.
Looking back, it was an amazing experience and hypnobirthing really helped me to prepare for a calm and confident birth. As someone who is a bit queasy and has never spent time in a hospital, it really helped me to get rid of any initial anxieties I'd had about birth and I truly believe that how relaxed I was contributed to me having a calm and relatively pain free birth, so much so that nobody even mentioned pain relief at any point. The course also helped my partner to understand how he could support me, so that he was calm and confident too.