Finn's Birth - CSection
My initial birth plan was to have a nice relaxing water birth in a midwife led unit but complications with my baby meant it was unclear whether I would be able to give birth naturally or need a c-section. Whatever happened I knew I would need to be on a hospital ward without a birthing pool and if I gave birth naturally I would need to look at another form of pain relief.
I was introduced to Hypnobirthing with Natal Hypnotherapy when I was about 6 months pregnant. I'll be honest, my initial thoughts were this is a bit airy fairy for me, but my husband and I thought we would give it a try. It couldn't do any harm, and if it does help, all the better for me....
The workshops helped me to understand what my body is doing during pregnancy and how I can help it birth my baby by not letting fear get in the way. My husband enjoyed the relaxation time and seemed to really fall deep in the hypnotherapy - surely it should have been me that needed it more!
For the next 3 months I listened to the Relaxation music and Natal Hypnotherapy CD every week and increased it the nearer my due date came. I couldn't be sure if it was actually working but I did enjoy the time out to relax that it gave me. My husband worked away during the week so at weekends we would practice the techniques together for him to be able to calm me down if I were to get anxious during the birth. He was really getting into it which became evident when I had a little fall hurting my knee and foot and his immediate reaction was to '3, 2, 1... relax' me! I laughed so much I forgot my pain!!!
Anyway as my pregnancy progressed I was still unsure as to how I would be giving birth but my preference would be to give birth naturally if I could, with gas and air. I ideally wouldn't need any other pain relief but if I felt I needed it, my husband would first try the techniques to calm and re-focus me, and then make sure it's really what I wanted.
My friend gave me some 'bump buds' to play music to my baby in the womb which I thought was a nice idea. I never really knew what music to play but once I started the natal hypnotherapy, I started playing the relaxation music when I was in bed. As my baby would need an operation as soon as he was born I thought if he was used to the sound of the music, it may calm him and aid his recovery. So this became part of my 'me and bump' time every night.
At almost 40 weeks I was in for a scan and my consultant decided she was happy for me to have a natural birth but didn't want me going too long so booked me in for an induction a week later. Then after taking my blood pressure she wanted me back in in 2 days to monitor it as it was a little high.
At home, my husband and I talked about being induced and read all the leaflets they gave us. I hadn't really considered being induced so I talked to friends who had been induced and it all seemed to be coming back that there is a high chance the labour and birth could be quite painful, stressful and end up in an emergency c-section. With my baby having his own complications, I wasn't sure I wanted to put any more stress onto him, especially if I had the option to make it easier for him. I decided to ask a midwife to do a sweep and see if I was anywhere near going into natural labour soon.
Two days later I went back in and my blood pressure was still on the high side. Usually they would send me home and check again but as I was booked in for induction they wanted to bring my induction forward! So I asked a midwife to check me for any signs I may go into labour soon but there were no signs of it starting in the next few days. This was decision time; do I go for induction and possibly have the natural birth I wanted to experience or should I go for a c-section to ease my son's entry into the world. We decided to go for the c-section and before I knew it we were being booked in for the following morning which was quite a surprise! I thought I might have a few days to prepare for it!!
Anyway we packed our bags and made sure we had our relaxation cds with us. I had planned to play the cds during my natural birth so I didn't see why I couldn't play it during my c-section. I wanted my baby to come out as relaxed as possible.
When we arrived we thought we were going to be last on the list for surgery that date so planned for a long wait, but ended up being first so there wasn't much hanging around. At this point I thought I'm not going to need any of my relaxation techniques as my pain relief would be taken care of for the surgery. When I got into surgery they were quite happy to play my music, even commenting how relaxing it was and nice to have some music to work to. They had me on the bed ready to inject the pain killer into my back and that's when I found the self hypnosis and relaxation techniques worked! I was able to go to my 'happy place' imagine myself somewhere else and keep myself calm as the doctor injected me. My husband was holding my hand and helping me through with some positive phrases. You may think it sounds a bit extreme, but after my surgery the doctor apologised for taking so long - he'd actually tried 4 times before getting it in the right place and I wasn't aware of it at all! Thank good ness for Natal Hypnotherapy! I could feel he was doing something back there and it was uncomfortable but I wasn't aware of too much pain.
My c-section went to plan and my son was born without too much stress. He made a little cry when he was born and then he settled down just taking in the world around him. I recovered quite quickly from the surgery. I had worried that I would be very limited for ages and not be able to see my son, but I was able to get out of bed and into wheelchair that very night.
We played the relaxation music throughout my son's recovery after his operation and I really do think it helped him. We have a very chilled out son who only really cries if there's something really wrong, but to this day if we play the music he stops his playing or demolition of my house and listens and almost relaxes himself. Whether or not this has to do with this specific music we will never know, but I think he recognises it, and it has had some positive impact on him.