Engaging with the Hypnobirthing tools in the lead up to delivery was a deeply bonding experience between my husband, myself and our unborn baby. My husband was given opportunities to be involved in this preparation, and would hide laminated affirmation cards in my lunch box, underwear drawer and under my pillow. Most nights he would read a meditation out loud to me and I’d lie in bed, let my body fall limp, letting the words sink in.
Heading into summer I’d run a cool bath and float away while I listened to a hypnosis track, particularly Surge of the Sea, where I could visualise and relax to the sensation of the rising and falling ocean waves. Christmas Day arrived and feeling hot and uncomfortable, a swim in the baths, a brisk walk up a hill and a good laugh with my family around the dinner table ensured that by evening time, I was in the early stages of labour. I didn’t tell my husband as I hoped that he be able to have a few hours of sleep!
In the early hours of Boxing Day, I paced the hallway, unsure of whether to wake him. Surges continued to sweep over my body and I felt a mixture of excitement and focus. Karen arrived and as the hours went by, she and my husband quietly watched and guided as I experienced more regular surges. I spent much of this time on my hands and knees focusing on visualisations and breathing through each surge. My peripheral vision softened, time became unimportant, and I willingly let my body do what it needed to do.
As things continued to progress, we headed to the hospital. My surges continued to build, and I remember describing them as intense rather than painful. I felt completely in my own world, yet was comforted to know that I was surrounded by people looking after me.
Without warning I began to experience intense lower back pain. Karen helped me through this stage with a variety of strategies, always providing comfort through her quiet presence. As my surges continued to intensify, I began to fatigue and doubt myself. I could hear myself saying that I couldn’t continue much longer. When I experienced this ‘crisis of confidence’ the rallying of support around me was overwhelmingly positive and allowed me to submit to the sensations
I quite like a physical challenge, and as renewed determination set in, my inner voice telling me that I had to carry on became much louder than my real voice.
Someone held a mirror so I could watch baby’s progress, and despite everything, this was realest and most tangible motivation I have ever known!
When our little girl was born and lifted to my chest, it was as if for my whole life I had been looking at the world in black and white. Suddenly I saw everything in colour and it was truly the most magnificent moment.
I am so grateful for the experience of labour. It was the most challenging and rewarding thing that I have ever done, and I am incredibly proud of myself and of the journey of pregnancy and labour that my husband and I travelled together.
Many, many thanks to Karen who prepared and excited us for labour and contributed in bringing our little Florence safely into the world. Karen’s expertise, care and compassion enabled us to have a truly empowered and positive birthing experience.