You’d have thought a certified HypnoBirthing Instructor would have the perfect, calm gentle birth… Well, the birth of my second child, was fantastically quick, but I have to confess I yelled ‘F*@K!’ as Daisy shot into the world…
Can I justify this with all the teaching of HypnoBirthing and personal practice I’ve done? Absolutely. While it was no meditative miracle of quiet calmness, it it was a great birth in it’s own right! Less than 3 hours from start to finish, and at no point did I even think of pain relieving medication. The midwife offered me gas and air at one point, and I remember thinking, with genuine puzzlement, ‘ why would I need that?’ And I had that amazing, euphoric hyperawareness in between surges that gives me goosebumps to think of even now… So here’s the story of my second child’s birth: Daisy!
This time I decided to give birth in England. While I had a great experience giving birth to my son here in Jamaica at Andrews Memorial Hospital back in 2012, there were a few things I wanted to do differently – and this time I wanted the chance to be better able to put my HypnoBirthing techniques into better practice. With a bit of research I discovered that the hosptial closest to my parents, St. Richards, actually had a state of the art birthing centre as part of its maternity unit.
So, I flew home to the UK the day before I turned 37 weeks pregnant (the cut off date for British Airways). That was some trip… 10 hours with an 18 month old bouncing on my hugely pregnant tummy! He did sleep some of the way at least.
We were staying with my parents and, around 8 days after my guess date, I was beginning to feel the pressure. Not least because my husband had flown back from Jamaica for the birth, and could only stay a week! Plus his family were all arriving from Ireland to visit us and see the baby, and she hadn’t actually be born yet!
We’d been out for a huge fish and chips. Maybe it was my fullness that finally got the baby moving. I went to the loo around 1.30am, and went back to bed. At 2.30am I found myself on the loo again, thinking maybe something was starting, but again went back to bed. At 3.45am, I woke again, decided today was the day, felt high with excitement and snuck out of bed to go and read in the spare room so as not to wake my husband. By 5am, I had crept back into him, as excited as a kid at Christmas and made him stay in bed, while I organised a few things and crept about. At 6.30am I heard my toddler wake up, and even though my surges were already only about 5 minutes apart, managed to give him a bottle of milk in the dark and settle him back to sleep! I felt very emotional sitting in the darkness there with him on my lap, telling him quietly how it was finally happening, how he had to be good for Granny, and that today he was going to be gettting a new brother or sister.
Until this point, I felt very cool and calm and in control, breathing my way through the surges and feeling excited and happy… But suddenly, at 7am, as we were heading to the car to go hospital, the surges increased hugely, and I leapt out of the front seat as some lights, I just couldn’t stay sitting anymore, I had to kneel on the back seat, holding onto the head rest as my husband sped us into the hospital! I really thought I might have the baby in the car!
When we arrived at hospital, I was 9cm dilated. There was no time for me to go the birthing centre, no time for the dreamy water birth I’d been hoping for.. I just about managed to get into the labour ward, or I would have had the baby at reception!
I can only describe the next half an hour, as the surges coming though me like a steam train, but I did feel very much like I could stay on top of the waves, rather than getting pulled under like I did last time. I stayed up on my feet, swaying my hips in between surges, and during them, jumping up onto the bed, kneeling and holding on to the back of the bed. Within 45 minutes of arriving in the hospital, my daughter literally shot into the world!
My husband did a brilliant job as a calm birthing partner, reciting affirmations and helping me slow down my racing breathing. What I found really brilliant was the light touch massage we learnt in class. He kept doing it, running his fingers up my neck and back, the whole time I was up kneeling on the bed, and no matter how strong the surges got, I still can remember the tingling distraction of goose bumps lighting up my skin…
To square it all up with the HypnoBirthing philosphy; I feel like I had a fantastic, raw, elemental, euphoric birth. I made plenty of noise; actually yelling F**K as my daughter was born! It wasn’t pain-free, but then at no point did I feel panic, or like I needed drugs or help of any kind. In fact, even while she was crowning, I was laughing with my husband; maybe a mad sort of laughter, but definitely a happy kind!
Of course, as HypnoBirthing teacher, I had kind of set myself high expectations, but I am delighted with the way my daughter came, and perhaps, on reflection, I am not built to do it any other way! Which doesn’t mean I won’t go on to teach that calm, peaceful births are possible… A ‘good birth’ is experienced differently but different people, and certainly HypnoBirthing should help you feel proud of your birth, whichever way it goes. There is no ‘right’ way.
Straight after my daughter was born, and feeding happily at my breast, I was hyper, healthy and ready to go home. But then I had some bad news. The midwife told me my placenta had not come yet, and we’d have to wait until it did. Even after a shot of Pitocin there was no sign. Then I had a whole lot of hideous pushing and pulling but still it didn’t come. So, two hours later, I found myself being wheeled into theatre for a full spinal block and a procedure called a ‘manual removal of the placenta’ – everything I didn’t want!! A whole room full of gowned medics, my body numbed with drugs and tears flowing down my face.
But it was soon over! And after spending one night in the hospital, chatting with a lovely new Polish mum and her baby, I got to bring my baby girl home. And now managing her with a toddler back in Jamaica is a whole other story!!
I think the huge benefit of HypnoBirthing is the sense of courage and empowerment you take going into your births, the trust and belief you have in your bodies and in the birthing process, and the bravery to accept whatever way your birthing turns out.