The Most Incredible Moment. Hypnobirthing in Manchester: One woman’s story.

When Lucy and Irwin arrived at my group Easibirthing ® course in Didsbury in Autumn 2012, I instantly sensed their positivity towards birth. They had already decided on a water birth in the comfort of their own home and in addition had done a lot of research into what makes a good birth. Lucy also continued to use the gym well into her last trimester. Lucy had planned to use hypnobirthing as an essential part of her birth preparation and together with having an open-minded and thoroughly supportive partner, it was a recipe for success.

Easibirthing ® hypnosis for birth enabled Lucy and Irwin to learn how to deeply relax, eliminate their fears and to visualise a great birth. In addition they learned pain-relief methods. But the most important message that is put across on my course is to trust your body: it knows what to do. Although trusting the birth professionals around you is important, trust in your own body and its sensations is essential and Lucy and Irwin were taught to assert their own wishes to midwives: after all, it was their birth experience and once it was done they could never get it back. Here is Lucy’s story.

*names of midwives have been kept private

Aurelia’s birth story 8th December 2012

My due date arrived and I sat at home thinking will this be the day? Midnight arrives, no sign of baby so I decided to try and carry on as ‘normal’. We decided to take the plunge and go ahead with a house move we had been thinking about for a while. Another week goes by still no signs; I start to get fed up with people asking ‘have you not had that baby yet like it’s a choice!

On day 41+5 (Friday 7th December) we are offered an appointment at the hospital to monitor the baby and ensure everything is ok. After 30 minutes hooked up to the machine all appears well and I was offered a ‘sweep’. We take some time to discuss our options and agree to accept the offer, only to be told by the midwife that she is unable to complete the process as she can’t reach my cervix? We are offered a visit from the community midwives over the weekend to carry out a sweep and told we can return on Monday to be monitored again and offered an appointment with the consultant on Wednesday to discuss our options.

So we go home and ‘carry on’, later on that day I notice a few trickles of water and some sensations I can only liken to ‘period pains’ so I wonder if these are contractions and start monitoring them with my ‘contraction app’. By 10pm they seem quite frequent so I decide to go to bed and get some rest. I awake a few times in the night for a wee and notice some discomfort but it’s been fairly uncomfortable for the past few weeks so it’s nothing unusual. I wake up about 5.30 and try to doze but it’s no good so I get up at 6am and come down stairs to listen to my Easibirthing CD, which usually sends me back to sleep.

I head out early that morning with Liv. We left the house about 8.30am, on the way to Tarleton I notice that I’m still experiencing a few sensations but I’ve almost given up any hope of spontaneous labour so I put it to the back of my mind. The sensations continue and start to distract me so after an hour I head home. The sensations continue and start to increase in both intensity and frequency so I decide to call Irwin and ask him to get the birthing pool ready, I also head over to drop Olivia off at Caroline’s house.. By the time I reach Caroline’s I am finding it difficult to move, I leave Olivia with Caroline and head home thinking this is it!

By now it’s 1pm, I get home and the intensity of the contractions increase so I make a brew and head upstairs to try and prepare and focus on what is ahead. I can hear Irwin downstairs struggling with the birth pool preparations which increases my anxiety levels. There’s a knock on the door and Hilary* the community midwife appears as if by magic! Well coincidence really, she’s arrived to conduct the sweep, which is clearly no longer required! Hilary* takes over and she conducts an examination and advises that I’m already 2-3cms dilated and in established labour. After a few phone calls Hilary* advised that another midwife called Gita* would be attending for the birth, my heart sinks, after my previous encounter with Gita*, where I had experienced her as being rather abrupt and blunt I had told myself she was the last midwife I would want at my birth experience! Hilary* left and I went downstairs to get into the birth pool only to find we had run out of hot water, by this point I feel like crying, I probably did, but I got in anyway and attempted to submerge my body into the water, whilst Irwin continues filling the pool with saucepans and kettles full of hot water.

Gita* arrived and ‘told me’ I needed to get out of the pool so that she could examine me, fortunately at this point Irwin intervened and asked Gita* to go into the kitchen so that he could explain our birth plan. Fortunately, after this Gita* appeared more respectful of our wishes and agreed to carry out any monitoring in the pool. As my contractions increased in intensity I decided to ask for some gas and air and used this at the height of each contraction. I could feel the pressure building and this felt very intense and overwhelming at points, Gita* suggested I try to empty my bladder as this could help release some of the pressure and may encourage my waters to break. Well the ascent to the toilet worked and a few minutes later my waters broke and I quickly progressed to the transitional stage. I could feel the head starting to work its way down the birth canal, I began to feel the urge to push so I started to pant and avoided pushing when I knew my body was not ready. We quickly moved back downstairs and into the pool.

I managed the 2nd stage really well, I used the gas and air to manage the height of the sensations and refrained from pushing, which felt incredibly natural and strain free, there was no screaming or grunting and we delivered Aurelia as we hoped into a peaceful and calm environment. Irwin was in the pool and gently lifted Aurelia out of the water and placed her on my chest, Aurelia lay there peacefully and just took a few moments to adjust to her new surroundings, the lights were dim, we had the Hypnobirthing music playing in the background and we both just sat there cuddling Aurelia, it was the most incredible, surreal moment of my life, I felt so alert and aware of what was happening. I offered Aurelia my breast and we sat there in the pool, cuddled up for ten minutes undisturbed and asked the midwife to take some pictures. We decided against the vitamin K injection and asked for this to be administered orally the following day as we wanted Aurelia to remain undisturbed and peaceful after the birth experience. The midwife asked me to come out of the pool to deliver the placenta so we moved upstairs to the bedroom where I comfortably and naturally completed the 3rd stage and cut the cord after it had finished pulsating.

Aureilia giving Mum and Dad the Thumbs Up
Aureilia giving Mum and Dad the Thumbs Up

After an hour of skin to skin contact the midwife carried out her checks and weighed Aureilia. I remained in bed to relax with Aureilia and Irwin went downstairs to move the birthing pool, after an hour or so I began to feel hungry so whilst continuing skin to skin contact I moved downstairs and we had some tea together and settled down to watch the X-Factor final, it all felt very surreal. I text Caroline to let her know the news, she kindly offered to keep Olivia overnight we allowed us some time to adjust and get some rest.  The following day Olivia came home to discover that she had a new sister and was very excited! Olivia and Aurelia exchanged presents, Olivia gave Aurelia a teddy with a blanket and Aurelia gave Olivia a Hello Kitty Hat with Mittens, both were very happy.

Normal life resumed fairly quickly, Irwin got on with his ironing, I popped down to Tesco to grab a few bits then we snuggled up and watched the film ‘Elf’.  The first few nights were challenging but we worked together taking it in turns and made a real effort to be considerate towards each other.

Well it’s Sunday, a week on and I feel amazing! I’d be lying if I said I’m not tired but I’ve probably had more sleep than most people and I’m feeling so happy at the moment with life that I really don’t care about the lack of sleep.

Five weeks on, all is well, we moved house a week ago, so we’re just settling into our new apartment. Aurelia comes to work with me every day in the sling and sleeps most of the time; she’s very content snuggled up close to mum. I feed on demand so other than her letting me know she needs a feed or changing, she very rarely cries. We have decided to co-sleep and so far so good, Aurelia feeds on the breast for a few hours in the evening then sleeps through till about 5/6am, I feed her in bed and then she sleeps again for another few hours which means I get plenty of sleep, probably more than I got when I was pregnant!

Most people say that we are Lucky that Aurelia is so content and sleeps so well, I don’t call it luck I call it preparation. I can’t say that there is one specific thing I can put it down to; However I believe the months of research and individual choices that we made for our birth plan, which include Hypnobirthing, viewing birth as a positive experience and closing our minds to negative birth stories certainly contributed.

Hypnobirthing in Manchester uses the easibirthing ® method of hypnosis for childbirth. A long-established proven method, easibirthing ® eliminates your fear of childbirth and increases your chances of a natural birth in which you remain relaxed, calm and able to manage any sensations. Plus, your baby will be calmer and your chances of efficient lactation will increase.

If you are thinking of investing in ensuring that your childbirth is the best it can be, contact me for more information or to arrange your free consultation so we can talk through your worries and make a plan that best suits you.

 Dr.Gouri Laher is a fully qualified hypnotherapist and Reiki Master offering combination hypnotherapy and Reiki sessions in Manchester for a variety of issues such as stress and anxiety, weight loss, stopping smoking and pregnancy and childbirth.  My practice is based in Didsbury, South Manchester, M20 and is within easy reach of Withington, Chorlton, Stockport, Cheadle and central Manchester.  If you are interested in hypnotherapy and Reiki in Manchester or simply want to get in touch and book a free initial consultation, telephone me on 07837380665 or e-mail me, in confidence, at hypreiki@aol.co.uk

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