When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was determined to be a hypnobirthing mum.
I wasn’t hugely nervous about giving birth - no more so than anyone is - but I did a bit of reading and thought it sounded really interesting. I loved the idea of welcoming our first child into the world with minimum fuss and intervention. After all, labour and birth is nothing new and the techniques made me feel in control and my body feel powerful and ready to do what it was built to do.
My husband and I attended a six week course of classes and, in between, I bounced on my birthing ball, and practiced breathing and visualisation techniques. I had a birth plan and wanted to stay at home as long as I could during early labour.
It all began with very mild contractions one Wednesday morning. They were tight but didn’t hurt at all, so I just got on with my day. By 10pm, they were starting to pinch a little, but were still completely irregular. By about 4am, the pain of the contractions - again, nothing really to write home about yet - was enough to wake me up, so I decided to get up and have a little bounce on my birthing ball, to see if I could get them to intensify - I wasn’t even convinced this was early labour yet - maybe -pre-early labour??
I was bouncing on the ball, watching an episode of Frasier on my iPad, when my waters burst at exactly 4.07am. I woke my husband and he excitedly called the maternity ward, who said to come on in. ‘No rush,’ they said, ‘take your time.’
By the time we got in the car 15 minutes later, the contractions were coming pretty regularly and were hurting a hell of a lot more. My calming mental images of waterfalls and warm sunny beaches evaporated when, five minutes from the hospital, I realised I could feel the top of a head between my legs. We threw the car into a space by the hospital’s front door and literally ran to the maternity ward, me contracting all the way. There was no time for focus or calming breathing techniques. I fell in the door of the labour suite, onto the nearest bed, and my daughter flew into the world two minutes later, at 4.55am.
Months of practice felt a bit wasted, I didn’t manage even one visualisation or cleansing breath, that I can remember. Yes I had a natural birth, but mainly due to the fact there wasn’t really time for anything else, so all-in-all I’m not sure I’d consider it a successful hypnobirthing experience. Next time, I’ll head to the hospital much sooner to see if I can manage a nice swim around in that birthing pool and some lovely visualisations before the action begins.
* Feature: Lucy turnd positive births into a business