Hypnobirthing wasn’t something I’d practised for my first birth with Atari. I actually hadn’t heard about it until this pregnancy. I wish I had.
The birth of my daughter and first time in labour was almost 11 hours from start to finish. Okay, so not that long compared to some women I know but i’ll be honest with you, I spent the whole time fearing (what? I don’t know, probably pain) and was in no control of what was happening to my body. In fact i’d lost all control due to my fears and my body ended up being fuelled my adrenalin (too much stress), rather than oxytocin (not enough of those wonderful love hormones!). With all this fear and stress, and none of the love and calm, I ended up having to succumb to an epidural to cope with the pain and to bring my daughter into this world. I was so tense and “closed” that the epidural was the only thing to help me relax and for my body to let go. Overall it was a great birth but I was disappointed. I hadn’t fulfilled my desire to have a natural birth and the fear was something that stayed with me afterwards leading into my second pregnancy.
Halfway through my second pregnancy I discovered Hypnobirthing. I read so many amazing birth stories and heard so many positive experiences, it was a no-brainer to give it a go!
It really gave me a new found sense of control and a completely different mindset leading up to the birth of my son and second baby. Fear, is after all, all in the mind!
The surges (hypnobirthing speak for contractions…much nicer don’t you think!) started at 4am Tuesday morning around 20 minutes apart, although I actually believed them to be minor pre-labour cramps that would probably subside in a few hours leaving me with another few days of waiting. I was 40 weeks + 6 days. My husband Tom went off to his studio at 9am, taking Atari (our daughter) to nursery on route. I pottered around all morning doing housework, and eating! I felt so unusually hungry. My body obviously knew what was coming!
By 11.30am the surges were a little more intense and coming on every 5 minutes. It was then that my waters broke. For some reason I still believed I had plenty of time to kill and told my hubby not to bother coming home yet when he asked. Thank heavens he didn’t listen to me because by the time he arrived back (around midday), the surges moved to 2 minutes apart literally as soon as he walked in the door. Controlling my breath (hypnobirthing) was all I could do to try to stay in control of what was happening to my body. By 12.30 I finally agreed we would go to hospital and it was all systems go. Our baby boy WAS coming!
My friend flew round to grab Atari’s stuff and helped with some back rubs (thanks Emma ). Tom called my Doula Cyd to assist us on the journey to hospital. Next thing I know I’m in the Camino outside our house on all fours! Then I’m in the car and WOW my body is trying to push this baby out all on its own. I never experienced it for my first birth, most likely because of the epidural and being somewhat “numb”, but my body was doing it’s own downward reflex – like the reflex you get when you vomit, but downwards! Breathe, breathe, breathe I told myself…I honestly thought I was going to birth him in the car! It was intense to say the least!
We arrived at the hospital, hubby slamming the car right up to the Urgencias doors! Nurses came running out with a wheelchair, which I could only grab hold of by the arms and wheel myself in through the entrance hunched over and sweating! I don’t think the hospital staff realised how close I was, or took us very seriously with what stage we said I was at.
I ended up having our little boy in the emergency room 15 minutes later. And no drugs! Hurrah! Even though he was “back to back” and they had to turn him on entry to the world, it certainly wasn’t a slow labour like what they told me it might had been because of his positioning! My midwife Jose (yes a man!) was amazing and as soon as I knew it was him looking after me I felt even more in control. He’d looked after me many times throughout my pregnancy (the Doctors like to check on your every 1-2 weeks here in Spain!).
Whilst I sit and write this story, it could have been just yesterday! feel so empowered by the whole experience that if I could go back and do it all again today, I would! If for anything, just to feel the sheer power that I felt and how amazing the experience was. I knew everything going on and felt everything happening to my body. It was seriously intense but truly mind-blowing! Only now can I fully appreciate how powerful it was! And still is!
I owe all of this to hypnobirthing. Plus having my husband and my doula there (who I can’t thank enough) to reinforce what I had learned, especially during those fleeting moments when I felt I may lose control.
At the moment when Ruben was around 5 minutes away, my husband put an earphone in my ear with his recording of one of our hypnobirthing relaxation scripts. The power of his voice and having rehearsed the whole relaxation process helped me to get through the last phase of labour. What a star you are Tom Staar!
Last but by no means least, I want to thank Luci Stewart for helping me to learn and master the art of hypnobirthing.
Ruben Kai was born at 13.53 on 09.01.18 in the private hospital in Ibiza, weighing 3.42kg (the same weight as my daughter when she was born).
Keep up to date with my post-partum journey via my Instagram. Once I get into the swing of things (being a Mama of 2 certainly is going to be busy!), I’ll be making a start with my post-partum rehab, to re-build and re-strengthen my body, to set me up for getting back into my love of working out. But one step at a time! I’m not in a rush and i’m going to enjoy these special moments with my son and daughter as much as I can. Once I can establish some sort of routine, I’ll be drawing on everything I learned last time, using my Strongmama Post-Pregnancy Bible, as well as new knowledge I have learned since to help me get back to feeling fit and strong!