Below is the birth story of the gorgeous baby Clara who is one of the few babies who actually arrived on her due date! Here is her hypnobirthing superstar mum Holly writing about Clara’s birth…
Hi Kerry! I just wanted to let you know about the birth of our daughter, Clara Ann on 8th February. She was born at 19.40 weighing 3.74kg (8lb 2oz for us Brits!) Andy and I are over the moon with her and it was an amazing surprise to find out we had a little girl at the end of it all.
Here’s my hypnobirthing story…
I knew a bit about hypnobirthing before I fell pregnant as I knew friends who’d used it and had amazing births. As soon as I saw that positive line on my test, I knew I would be getting in touch with Kerry to book into a course. The hypnobirthing classes and the material we went home with were invaluable in starting me off on a route to a positive, informed and empowered birth. The best thing about hypnobirthing for me was that it gave me the power to own my own body and realise what a natural process pregnancy, labour and birth are. I was able to thoroughly research everything armed with reliable research links sent to me through Hypnobirthing Australia. There wasn’t anything I didn’t feel I was unprepared to discuss at any of my hospital appointments.
I chose to have a hospital birth because this was my first baby and I wanted the safety and security of a hospital. What I will say is that during the 9 months I carried Clara, I found myself more and more wishing I’d had a home birth as I was so keen to test out all those natural hormones! I complimented my hypnobirthing with a shed load of herbal teas designed to help prepare your body for birth and followed some research I found on eating dates to help labour (although after 4/5 dates a day for 4 weeks I’m happy not to see another one for a while!)
Hypnobirthing was an amazing way for me to involve my husband with the pregnancy and the birth. He learnt alongside me. We avoided baby books and google and just went with all the vast array of sensible research you sent us. We’d practise light touch massage and in the weeks running up to my EDD we’d do the birth rehearsal. I put up affirmations in my kitchen onto personal photos I loved and felt represented each one. I read them daily and practiced my tracks as much as possible. All of this led to me feeling calm about the birth. I didn’t feel scared at all. Only in the last couple of weeks did I start to feel apprehensive but it was more fear of the unknown than fear of birth (besides, I don’t think I’d be normal if I didn’t have a few wobbles before the big day!!)
Unbelievably, Clara arrived bang on her due date. I think she felt as ready and prepared as I did! I put on my tracks at the start of early labour and tried to focus my breathing as much as possible. Everything went well at home although I found that a lot of my plans to lay and listen to my tracks went out the window as it took a lot of focus for me during my surges. I assumed early labour would be slow going and I’d have time to chill between surges but my body was having them every 5-10 minutes from the minute I woke up that morning. I tried to labour at home as long as possible but once my waters released we thought it was time to go!
Once I got to the hospital, things ramped up quickly. I was that women in a wheelchair in the lift with her waters flooding over the floor!!! I’d packed all my candles and got playlists on my phone ready for labour. I even took my laminated affirmations to have around me in the labour suite. We never got them up though as we were so focussed on the labour. The ‘Quiet please we’re hypnobirthing’ sign did make it onto the door and our amazing midwife, who knew nothing about hypnobirthing, took our birth preferences and info pack off for a read and came back a convert I think!
I arrived at the hospital at 1.30pm at 2cm dilated. I’d asked not to be checked but Clara had meconium in the waters so they were needing to check me and her heart rate. I felt a little twang of disappointment that I felt so far along yet wasn’t dilated. I managed to get in a bath surrounded by my candles and Melissa reading me the affirmations. By 4.30pm I was 10cm dilated and by the miracle of nature I felt my body change and experienced spontaneous pushing. Unfortunately, Clara took her time to get out and I pushed at full dilation for nearly three hours, although I had no idea it had taken so long as I was so exhausted and high on birthing hormones. All my hypnobirthing felt like it went out of the window and I thought I’d never do it. I heard myself say over and over “I can’t do this” and I was shaking and feeling totally overwhelmed. Looking back it was classic transition signs.
Time had no meaning for me and I look back and feel it was like I was in a daze. Only now can I see how all those birth hormones were working! My husband was simply amazing. I couldn’t have got through without him and his constant encouragement (even if he did say he wanted to throw the iPhone and Melissa and the tranquil chambers out the window since it got stuck in a loop that neither of us were in a position to change!)
When Clara arrived and they passed her into my arms I think I was in shock that I’d done it. I’d birthed my baby safely and naturally without any pain relief at all!
Afterwards, I looked back to analyse my birth and felt like I’d ‘failed at hypnobirthing’ because everything I thought I’d do I didn’t. I wasn’t that calm women laid in a bath from the course videos. I was a noisy shouting women finding that I could get through each surge so I could get through the next. I might not have been actively focusing on ‘every surge brings my baby closer to me’ but I’m pretty sure it was there in my subconscious! Things on my birth preferences kept not happening, such as I wanted a physiological third stage. They advised against it as I was bleeding heavily. However, I was already knowledgeable as to why this could happen and the risks involved so I didn’t need to ask what they were doing and was able to make conscious decisions to say yes to the drugs I needed to help me.
However, as the week has passed, I now look back and think to my myself what did hypnobirthing do for me? And the answer is it empowered me to feel like I owned my body. It taught me that my body is strong. My body is amazing. It gave me a positive view of pregnancy and birth and guided me away from all the negativity we hear about how awful labour is. It gave me strength to feel relaxed in my physical and mental preparation for birth. Above all hypnobirthing gave me the tools to calmly face whatever turn my birthing took.
As Melissa (Hypnobirthing Australia Director) says “I am a strong women”. We are all strong and we all deserve to experience a positive birth no matter what turn that birth takes. I for one cannot praise Hypnobirthing Australia enough and I will now go forwards as one more women to help share with others that birth is a natural process that we should all own.”