I just want to say a massive thank you to Stacey for sharing her story with me, Stacey and her partner were the first couple that I ever taught and the transformation that she went through by doing hypnobirthing is absolutely incredible. Hypnobirthing can change lives, through understanding how the body works and the importance of your environment – you can dramatically change how birth tends to work. Hormones are a vital element – that’s right – hypnobirthing is pretty much all science.
Thank you again Stacey for your story, to say how proud I am of you is an understatement.
When I found out I was pregnant for the second time I was absolutely terrified. My first labour hadn’t gone exactly to plan (although saying that, I’m not even sure that I had an actual plan). I was a full five days of contracting at least every ten minutes, a week in hospital, a failed epidural, two (yes two) failed spinals, and I eventually birthed a 9lb 4oz baby in theatre with the aid of forceps and a hell of a lot of morphine. It took an hour to stitch me and I needed a blood transfusion (I actually have tears in my eyes thinking about it now, and my little boy is three and a half!).
So, skip forward a couple of years and we receive the news that our little family is to become four. I was so excited, but I knew it had to be different this time. There is no way I could go through what I had done before. My initial panicked thoughts were to ask my midwife about having a caesarean, which now seems like a crazy thing to want to do. Then I got talking to a friend who had done hypnobirthing, and not only did she rave about how much it helped with her own birth, she was so hyped about it that she left her job and (quite conveniently for me) became a hypnobirthing teacher!
Now, I have to admit that I was a little sceptical given how my first birth had gone. I couldn’t see how it could have gone differently. But I cannot tell you enough how much the hypnobirthing course changed my way of thinking. My partner did the course with me and it highlighted for both of us what had led us down the path of intervention and how we actually had more choices than we realised. My first birth could have been very different.
So, I did my breathing, I practiced the hypnobirthing techniques and I learned about how my body could birth naturally. It made sense to me that labour wasn’t a medical procedure and my body would produce the natural hormones it needed to birth my baby. I was sold. And so, at my next midwife visit I announced that I wanted to have a home birth (I was more shocked than anyone)! I was quite surprised at how enthusiastic my midwife was at this news, I thought that everybody would think I was a crazy lady. But it turns out that our lovely NHS is much more encouraging about homebirth than I realised.
I went into labour naturally at 40+3, after a couple of evenings of stop start contractions. We had a birthing pool at home which we had hired (for a surprisingly small about of money), so that was filled in our living room and the candles were lit ready for me to breath my baby out. I would love to tell you that I did just that, but there were tears and the birthing music I had chosen when out the window. I found that when it actually came to it, the music was making me focus too much on what was happening to me, and I needed a distraction from that… so I made my partner turn on the TV and I gave birth to old episodes of Seinfeld. It was what I needed at the time and it helped. I was around 23 hours from my first real contractions to giving birth, and I was a full 3 hours pushing (I say pushing… I did not force a single push; I allowed my body to take over and push itself. It amazed me how my body just knew what to do). It was long and tough, but I would not change it for a minute. I, the biggest wimp that I know, gave birth at home to a 9lb 10oz baby boy. I couldn’t believe it either!
The contrast between my two births couldn’t be more pronounced, but in a heartbeat, I would choose my second birth every time. I want to shout from the roof tops how amazing it is to birth in your own home and be surrounded by the things and people you love (and be able to watch Seinfeld if you want to). I was in control and everything was my choice. The homebirth midwives were amazing and fully respected my wished. And I cannot even describe the absolute incredible feeling of getting into your own bed (both during labour and with your little bundle of joy once it’s all over).
I am so proud of myself and the way I brought my little boy into the world… in our family home. If you’re pregnant, be it your first or your fifth, don’t rule out a home birth, it is the best choice I ever made.
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