Six years ago, when I had my first baby, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when giving birth. I was induced at 40 weeks for high blood pressure and when the contractions came quickly and furiously, I felt as though I had no time to adjust.
While looking looking at a dilation chart when I was barely 2 centimetres, I remember thinking, “I’m only here and I have to get there?” I was positive I would never make it out alive if I ever got to 10 centimetres.
Well, I got there. But to be honest, I don’t remember much of the four hours it took to give birth. It was a blur of painand emotions I had never experienced before. I clearly remember saying to my husband, “There is no way I am EVER doing this again”.
Twenty five months down the road, I was four days overdue with baby number three. I was done. We tried every natural induction trick in the book, but to no avail.
It wasn’t until I lay down for a nap one afternoon that my water broke. The contractions began, with only five minutes in between. We rushed out the door and an hour after arriving at the hospital, our third son was born. The only way I can describe C’s birth was to compare it with getting hit by a freight train: zero to 500 in 96 minutes.
When we found out we were expecting our fourth baby, I knew right away that I wanted a different experience from the others. I had heard so many women describe their birth experiences as empowering, beautiful,and graceful, but there was NO WAY anything I’d been through thus far could be described like that. I felt like labor was something I was forced to endure, instead of something that I was in control of.
I was 30 weeks pregnant with Everleigh when I found an ad for a HypnoBabies class in Red Deer. I knew it was something I wanted, and needed, to do. This was my last baby and I wanted to make it a new experience, not only for myself, but for my husband and our baby, too.
My husband, well, he wasn’t convinced. He was concerned
that hypnosis would a) simply not work or b) make me unable to remember the birth. He didn’t understand, but he agreed to let me try it.
The six weeks of classes were beyond anything we had hoped for. We learned so much about how my body was preparing and nourishing this small soul, about the natural birthing process, about avoiding unnecessary interventions and about full-body relaxation techniques. I learned to completely relax so that every muscle in my
body, every nerve and every inch of me was like jello. I found my safe place.
The kicker for my husband was the pinch test. In deep relaxation, I was asked to state whether I felt pressure or pain with my husband’s touch. I could feel my six-foot-one, 200-pound husband’s arm shaking with the exertion he was using in pinching my forearm, but all I felt was light pressure. It was as though he was pressing his finger into my forearm. He was floored and that finally convinced him that this would work.
On our baby’s due date, my contractions began just after I’d gone to bed for the night. Judging by the intensity of the initial contractions, I knew that my labor was going to be fast, but I immediately flipped my “switch” off. I leisurely put on my makeup and hair, packed the last few things I needed into my hospital bag and then, decided to wake my husband. He called our doula, and we were off to the hospital.
When we arrived in the assessment room, the triage nurses couldn’t believe how calm and focused I was, despite the intensity and duration of my contractions. They had only seen one other hypno-type birth before and they were intrigued by my ability to relax through my contractions, without making a sound.
I was admitted to a labor room right away and I spent the next two hours walking, relaxing and progressing quickly. I felt as though I was in very early labor the entire time, despite the fact that my contractions were nearly right on top of one another. I could eat, talk and even felt like sleeping in between contractions right until the end.
My husband and our doula only knew a contraction was starting by my head dropping to my chest as I relaxed into my “pressure wave”. I allowed my body to work, instead of fighting it. A far cry from the excruciating pain I had felt at the same stage with my previous labors.
I easily gave birth to my baby in peace, comfort, and joy. Not once, did the thought cross my mind that I needed something for the pain, because there was no pain. I knew I could do what my body was designed to do. I was in control, and I was able to enjoy every minute of my baby’s birth.
Our baby girl’s birth was by far the most exciting, empowering and amazing things I have ever experienced. She came into the world calm, alert and perfect. I couldn’t have asked for more.
And my husband’s thoughts afterwards? “This was incredible…unbelievable. I’m telling everyone I know about this”. And he has. It seems too good to be true, but it is entirely possible to have a comfortable birth.