The Curious impact of Hypnobirthing Preparation on a VBAC.
I’ve just received this birth story two and half years after it happened.
At the time of birth Natalie didn’t really know the impact her hypnobirthing had on her birth, however through the lens of time – she realized the impact was huge.
I hear this frequently, “Cindy I’m not really sure It was a hypnobirth. Birth just happened. “. What does a true hypnobirth look like anyway ?
Here’s the thing too – Hypnobirthing is a program of conditioning which means during pregnancy we work with the unconscious mind to reprogram unhelpful or fearful programming that may sabotage our birth. We optimize our minds with beliefs and ideas about our bodies and of birth. We practice techniques repetitively so that on the day, our nervous system aligns with calm and connection, releasing and letting go of feelings that may cause overwhelm and stop our hormonal releases from occurring.
On the day our birthing bodies, have capacity to do what it is designed to do- birth. All the preparation is really done over pregnancy and sometimes yes, it can feel like it just happens.
Curious isn’t it? How powerful our minds can impact on our physiology for birth.
Thank you so much Nat for writing your story years after … every woman deserves to feel like you did and many will be inspired by your story!!!! Birth literally changes our lives!
I did my Hypnobirthing Australia course with Cindy when I was about 4-5 months pregnant.
I had chosen a hospital birth with a private obstetrician, but engaged a private midwife as I planned to spend most of my time in labour at home.
I’d had a c-section with my first son and really wanted to experience a natural birth more than anything.
I woke up Thursday morning having mild contractions, by 7am they were coming every 10 minutes like clockwork, each lasting a minute.
I had 2 appointments that day (one with my obstetrician and one for acupuncture) so when they were still every 10 mins 2 hours later I rang my Martina (my midwife) and we agreed I’d still go to the appointments.
By the time I got back, they were more intense and coming every 5-7 mins so I retreated to my safe space in our bedroom. I had set up the room with my fitball, Hypnobirthing affirmations, and my bed with a large piece of fabric in my chosen colour. The time was around 3pm.
I continued to have contractions all afternoon and into the night. There would be periods they would come every 3 mins for a minute, but then they’d go back to every 5 mins.
I tried to sleep but they were getting far too intense to sleep through by that stage. I spent a few hours pacing around the house, then trying to rest, then pacing etc. I listened to a mixture of my meditations, affirmations and my own music.
By 3:30am (now Friday) they were steadily 2-3 mins apart, getting very intense and I was starting to bleed quite a bit so I called Martina. I had also organised for my acupuncturist, Karen, to be on call to come in if needed. Luckily, she was available and also came to the house.
Contractions continued to come and intensify then ease off a bit, then come back with a vengeance. Luckily, I had absolutely no idea of the time (I had purposefully hidden clocks) and no idea how far I was dilated. I had specifically asked for no examinations and if one needed to be done, for me not to be told how many cms I was.
Looking back, I think because I knew my eldest son was asleep a couple of doors down and I didn’t want to wake him up I was holding back and not letting go the way I should have.
I asked mum to take my son out of the house and that’s when I really let loose, and began making those primal noises everyone talks about! I was welcoming the long, intense transactions, because I knew they were the ones that were doing the best work at getting my body to dilate.
I think this is where my hypnobirthing work really came into play. I was not scared of the ‘pain’. I was urging it to come, and to be more intense, because I knew that meant my baby was getting closer. I was not afraid of them. I knew I was in complete control and that what was happening to my body was normal and expected.
When I reached the transition stage around 11am, Martina said there may be a stage where the contractions are further apart and I would get a chance to rest in between. I remembered Cindy calling this the ‘Rest and Be Thankful Stage’.
They were both right.
Contractions went to about every 15 mins for awhile, and in between I had a couple of short naps and then the next contraction would wake me up, then I’d power nap again.
My body was getting ready for the pushing stage.
Martina then asked if it was ok to examine me and I said yes.
We were all surprised to find I was 9cm dilated and it was time to get in the car – immediately!!!
It was about 1pm.
As soon as I got up my contractions were harder and faster. I knew I’d never be able to sit down in the car, so the funniest moment of the day was me getting into the boot of our car (luckily an SUV) on all fours.
Arriving at the hospital was also amusing. My husband dropped Martina and I at the door, the boot opens and there I am on all fours contracting away to an audience.
I arrived at the birthing suite to find my obstetrician waiting for me with all the things I had requested.
Curtains drawn, lights dim, no noise, one midwife, no monitoring, no examinations.
I was able to get straight back into the zone.
By 3:30pm contractions were huge, but waters still hadn’t broken and I was feeling a lot of pressure down there.
It was at this point someone wheeled in a cot with a hospital blanket identical to the one Nathan had had and it dawned on me that they had bought the cot in because they knew I’d have the baby in that room.
The emotion I felt when I realised that every single person in the room was convinced I was going to get my VBAC was unlike anything I have felt before. They had faith in me. I had faith in me. I was going to do this 💪🏼
With all the extra pressure down there. I decided to go and sit on the toilet. I had 2 huge contractions and felt the urge to push and as a did heard a massive splash and my waters were gone!
Martina asked to look between my legs and she said ‘Nat this is it I can see the head’.
I made my way back over to the bed and decided to go on all fours as I was having the strongest contractions in that position.
The next contraction came and it felt amazing to be able to push at the same time.
I think I had about 8 contractions before his head came out but I just breathed slowly through each and he edged further and further out on his own. It took a lot of self-control to not just push as hard as I could but I knew he would make his own way out.
And then, his head was born! Over a period of a few minutes he made his way into the world on his own.
I reached down between my legs and pulled him up onto my chest on my own. My beautiful baby boy Noah was born just after 5pm.
I have to admit, at the time I didn’t connect the calmness I felt through my labour with Hypnobirthing. But now that I have had the time to think about it and reflect, I realise it impacted me at every stage.
I have the tendency to overthink, and also to catastrophise scenarios in my mind. During my first pregnancy I was constantly worried that something would happen to my baby or me. I made a lot of decisions out of fear (like my c-section), instead of listening to my intuition and trusting in the power of my body.
Hypnobirthing changed all of that.
I stayed completely calm throughout the whole process.
I was never afraid. I had the knowledge, and in this case, knowledge really is power. I knew what my body was doing at every stage. I knew that I had the right to accept or decline intervention. I trusted myself and most of all, trusted my baby that he knew what to do, and that he didn’t need to be rushed into the world.
There was even a moment in the hospital where I had agreed to intermittent monitoring with a doppler, and the hospital midwife couldn’t find the babies heartbeat.
Prior to hypnobirthing that would have sent me into complete and utter panic mode.
But I just knew everything was ok and it was just that I was on an awkward angle.
I cannot thank Cindy and the Hypnobirthing program enough.
I had a beautiful birth full of love, calmness, peace, strength and power, instead of one filled with fear.
Nat did Hypnobirthing Australia™’s The Positive Birth Program™ with Cindy Fenn.
Cindy is a certified Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner.
Nat had continuous Independent Midwifery Care during Pregnancy, Birth and during her post partum time by Ten Moons Personal Midwifery Care. She birthed in a hospital with a private Obsterician.
Cindy teaches at This is Life Wellness Emporium in Elwood, Melbourne.
She would like every woman to feel how amazing it feels to birth your baby in your power.