Catherine & Andy share the story of William’s birth using Natal Hypnotherapy
“I was apprehensive about being induced, even though I had agreed to it. Somehow it wasn’t what I had imagined my birth would be – and I managed to get myself into a bit of a state two weeks before D-Day. Luckily Cathy came to talk to my yoga class about Natal Hypnotherapy and the power the mind can have to create a positive birth experience. I was in a bit of a panic and so decided I should give it a go.
After a hugely positive weekend spent on Cathy’s course, my husband Andy and I felt ready for the labour – induced or not. I spent the last week before the induction at home, writing a mind map about the birth and practising all the breathing techniques and affirmations that Andy and I had written down in preparation for labour.
When the time came it was much slower and boring than I had imagined. I went in to Frimley Park on a Wednesday and was given a pessary which 24 hours later had done nothing, followed by a gel. After 6 hours they gave me more gel and within an hour my waters gently broke. Then the contractions started to come quite quickly. After 2 hours back on the antenatal ward my husband insisted that I be examined as I was failing to convince the midwives as to how much pain I could feel! I was managing to breathe through it, but was convinced that I was further along than anybody thought.
Andy was right. I was cautiously assessed to be 5-6cm dilated and a bed was quickly made ready on the delivery ward. It was 5pm on the Thursday afternoon. There followed 12 hours of gas and air and breathing techniques. Every contraction follow a similar pattern: initial pain, the remembrance that I had the equipment to deal with that pain, and then putting that pain to one side with the aid of breathing techniques. Andy found me unable to cope with some of the things we planned for example, I couldn’t stand to be touched except to hold his fingers when the contractions came. However it really helped to hear his long, slow breaths louder than my own, pacing my own breath and keeping me calm. I kept telling myself that when the baby arrived in the morning it would be ‘Friday’s child is loving and giving’ – reciting the rhyme over and over in my head helped me focus on the baby and not the pain.
I can’t say it was a straightforward labour: we had constant monitoring, drips for fluid, drips for sugar, bladder emptying procedures, and at the last moment being fully dilated with contractions that seemed to have stopped, a syntocinon drip to speed things up again. But with each contraction I turned further inward, relying on my breathing techniques and telling myself I could withstand anything I was sent to deal with. It seemed far too late to ask for pethidine or epidurals as I believed we would get through on gas and air alone.
Eventually our lovely midwife Jess told me that I was fully dilated and could now start to push. It felt very strange as I told myself to leave the cocoon of breathing and internal talking I had perfected through the long night, to concentrate on what was happening around me. I had to concentrate to get myself ‘present’. With several pushes, Jess told me that the head had appeared – I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Andy was asked if he wanted to see it, but we both agreed it was better if he stayed up my end. I remember asking if the worst was over or whether shoulders are wide than heads! But before I could think much more, I could feel my body pushing the baby out and suddenly Jess was holding him up in front of me telling me we had a son. The overwhelming joy, surprise, elation, shock and awe of what had happened, and what now stood ahead of us, hit me in a single second. Through our tears of happiness we realised we had everything we needed in that one room and that our lives would never be the same from that moment on.
Natal Hypnotherapy got me through the labour – I knew I would need to keep breathing through the pain as it built up. I found I had all the resources to deal with it – and when I wavered Andy was there as my gate-keeper, to remind me what to do. I would recommend it to anyone. Whatever your birth experience it will give you the tools to get through and more importantly still, it will enable you to look back on your birth experience with positivity. The ultimate testament to this is that I can look forward to future births – albeit I need a few months off first!
Thank you Cathy and thank you Maggie Howell for this hugely positive approach to labour” May 2012