There is a common belief that Hypnobirthing is for first-time mums, but I didn’t learn about hypnobirthing until I was pregnant with my third daughter, and it completely changed the way a see birth forever.
Originally from Argentina where the caesarean rate scales to 70%, to me pregnancy and birth were medical events.
I was lucky enough not to have an unnecessary C-section when I had my first daughter back in 1994. Still, I had the usual “normal birth”: Laying down with my legs in stirrups in a theatre bed, with an epidural, followed by the no-brainer episiotomy and with my baby taken away as soon she came out to get “groomed”, not to mention the welcome slap on her butt.
At that moment I thought I had a pretty good birth, but actually, all my rights were violated, and my autonomy ignored.
20 years after I got pregnant with my 2nd daughter, this time in the UK where I have lived since 2010.
First, I want to highlight how lucky we are of having a maternity system like the NHS, with its lovely midwives.
I must confess that coming from such a different system when I learnt that my pregnancy was going to be followed by midwives only, I was a bit concerned (Back in my country you see an obstetrician every month of pregnancy, and you have at least 3 specialists in the room with you at the time of the birth)
After exhaustive research I realized that midwives hold a 3-year degree and are fully trained to assist with normal births, it was then that I started to understand that birth is not an illness, therefore you don’t need a doctor unless something veers from the norm.
My 2nd daughter, Sofia, was born in London, I wasn’t prepared at all, apart from reading a few books and signing up for my local NCT group to make friends all, I wasn’t aware of what I was going to have to face, and I was full of uncertainties and fears.
The day of the birth:
I started labour the night of 2014 June 24th
I was a bit uncomfortable in bed, having some irregular contractions, so I decided to go to the living room to rock on my birthing ball and watch tv. After 2 hours the contractions stopped, and I went back to sleep.
On the 25th, Just before lunchtime, the contractions started again, I knew I had time, so I had a light lunch and a bath, and things started to escalate so my hubby and I went to the hospital.
I wasn’t admitted straight away as I was 3 cm dilated (and they say you need to be 4), so we went to the park nearby for a walk, after half an hour I wasn’t able to walk anymore, and contractions were very strong and close.
We headed back to the hospital, and I was sent to the triage, I couldn’t sit, and I couldn’t stand either, so I went in all 4s on the floor.
When they saw me like that through the CCTV camera, they urgently rushed me to a room, sadly the midwife on shift was grumpy and bossy, she told me to lay down in bed and strapped a monitor around my bump and told me not to move… my wishes for active labour were abruptly sabotaged (because by then, I didn’t know I could have refused to lay down)
I was “only 4 cm dilated” when I was thrown on that bed, after labouring for hours in agonizing pain (labouring on your back/ immobile is not the most comfortable) shouting for an epidural that never came, suddenly out of haven (or maybe just a shift’s change) a new midwife came into the room, I was begging for an epidural by then, she checked my dilatation, and I was 9 cm, then she said: “there’s no time for an epidural, you’ll be meeting your baby soon”
This sweet woman whose name I can’t remember, helped me to change to an upright position, looked into my desperate eyes and told me: “focus, your baby is coming” after 3 pushes we met Sofia.
Sofia’s birth was a traumatic and painful experience, the lack of control I had over my experience left me with a very bitter taste and frightened about birth, however, my baby entered the world drug-free, and we left the hospital the day after with a healthy baby and me.
Following that experience, I was having nightmares about the birth and I convinced myself that next time I was going to go for an epidural straight away.
And I got pregnant again
I remember very well my thoughts the day I found out that I was pregnant with my 3rd, a balanced mix of happiness and worry… thought: “now, she needs to come out” I wondered around my thoughts for the first three months, I researched the effects of the epidural (I’m a former scientist, I always look for evidence and facts) and the consequences for my baby and me, it was then when I realized that an epidural was not the easy way out.
I wanted to give my baby the chance to enter this world in the same way that her sister did, naturally, and without drugs, but I didn’t want to suffer again.
So carried on researching natural ways of pain relief, and watched tons of positive birth videos, but no matter how calm and gentle these births were, I busted into tears every time, knowing that I have had to go through that again, so I switched to mammal’s births instead, I didn’t find them that touching, and they made that click in me, realized that birth shouldn’t be a painful and traumatic, but a natural and calm.
Digging deeper I came across Hypnobirthing and finally everything made sense, I took a course, dragging my husband with me, he was quite sceptical at first. I have to say that he is now a big fan of hypnobirthing and recommends it to everyone.
After finalizing the course, we practice lots and progressively my fear changed to confidence and one day I found myself looking forward to the birthing of my baby.
My 3rd baby finally arrived at 41+5 weeks in a super speedy, enjoyable birth.
It was the evening of the 2nd of June when I succumbed to the pressure that the medical system and agreed to a sweep after refusing it for 2 weeks, the sweep took place at 3 pm, and I went home and had a nap.
Later that day I was preparing dinner while my husband was putting our little girl to bed at 7 pm, we sat for dinner and my water released at 7:15 pm (It felt like everything was perfectly timed) tried to carry on having dinner because I knew that, from the waters release to the birth can be several hours or even days, but few minutes after I started with very strong contractions, a shivering sensation took over my body, I knew my baby was coming, rushed with my husband to the hospital, he drove while giving me words of support, and I was doing everything that I learnt, breathing, visualizing and relaxing.
Miranda was born 20′ after arriving in the hospital, in a natural, calm, empowering way, I literally breathed her out while visualizing each bit of her body going down the birth canal. I felt a mystical connection with her, our bodies worked together in a harmonious, gentle, loving way, it was the most amazing experience of my life, and I enjoyed it so much that I wish I could do it all over again.
Arrived at the Hospital and I didn’t even go to triage or have an examination, I refused, I knew my baby was coming, I could feel her, and I was in absolute control, this time the experience was mine!
Hypnobirthing helped me to heal my previous experiences and replaced my nightmares with positive lifelong memories.
When I look back, I feel that each one of my birth experiences was part of a learning path, each one was better than the previous one, I learnt the hard way, but you don’t have to, that is the reason why I teach hypnobirthing to people like you.