The skills I learned in hypnobirthing helped me throughout Félix’s entire birth, especially in the active stages of labour. I view his birth as happening in two stages. The first stage started with my water breaking on May 27th at 1:30 a.m. I felt calm and reassured my husband that everything was fine, but that we needed to get to the hospital (after having talked to my midwife) because we needed to see how Félix was doing. As he was doing well, we were able to go home. I started to feel some stronger surges at about 4:00 a.m. and felt the need to start paying attention to my breathing. I had been told that Félix was head down, but that his back was against mine and I was feeling a lot of pressure and pain in my lower back. My surges got more and more intense as the day progressed and although they weren’t consistently close together, we decided to have our midwife come over to assess me at 5:30 p.m. as I was starting to feel quite tired. She informed us that I was only 2 cm dilated. I continued to labour at home until 9:30 p.m. when I felt like I had no energy left and I was starting to feel like I couldn’t keep on like I had been. I called my midwife again and she asked me to meet her at the hospital. I was assessed and hadn’t made much progress, so she gave me the option to take a shot of morphine to help me get some rest or to be induced. I felt very torn as using pain medication and induction certainly were not part of my birth plan, but I ended up taking the morphine and going home.
I was able to sleep for a few hours and when I woke up the next day, I felt reenergized and in a better mindset. This is when I feel the second stage of labour started for me. The morphine had slowed down my surges, but they started to pick back up again around 10 a.m.. I had an ultrasound at the hospital at 2:30 p.m., so I decided that my goal was to just do what I could to turn the baby and stay as relaxed as possible until then. When I went in for the ultrasound, baby was doing fine but I was getting very uncomfortable. My surges still weren’t super close together, but I didn’t think I could handle another car trip back home, so I asked if I could go up to labour and birth to be assessed. It turned out I was 5 cm dilated! The nurse asked us to go eat and come back in an hour when my midwife would be able to join us. I lasted about 45 minutes in the Robin’s Donuts, but found it hard to concentrate on my breathing in cafeteria full of people. We decided to head back upstairs where a nurse and a room were ready for us. The nurse asked if I would like to get into the bath while we waited for my midwife to arrive and I eagerly jumped in. I felt immediate relief from the pain in my back and at some point, the baby flipped. I looked up at my husband, who was pouring water over my belly, and I said, “I know I can do this!”. I kept my eyes closed and really focused on my breathing during and between surges for the rest of my labour. I kept imagining the diagram from the hypnobirthing duotang that showed what my muscles were doing during surges and I pictured blue satin ribbons. Apart from the breathing and visualizations, when a stronger surge came on and I started to feel like I was coming out of what I can only describe as my “in-the-moment-ness”, I remembered Marie saying that the cervix mimics what the mouth is doing. This helped me to stay relaxed and focused at a time when I may have lost my concentration. My husband also helped by doing the breathing with me and performing light touch massage on my scalp and back. I went from 5 cm to fully dilated in 3 hours and we had our precious boy in our hands at 8:23 p.m. on May 28th. I had minimal tearing and was up and dressed as soon as I could be.
A month later as I write this out, I can say that although the first part of my labour wasn’t as I had planned, I am very happy with how everything turned out. I would also stress the importance of having discussed a birth plan with a midwife or doctor. We modified the checklist in the hypnobirthing book to reflect our birth preferences and I went into my labour feeling confident and free of fear because I know that my midwife and I were on the same page. I told a friend who is thinking about taking a hypnobirthing course that I would let her know if I thought it was helpful or worth the time and money. I can now say that I am very glad to have taken the course!
Written by Danielle B., June 2013
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