I knew I needed to try Natal Hypnotherapy once I found out I was pregnant as I hate needles / medical situations and don't consider myself to have a high pain threshold at all. I knew I would panic and freak out in labour if I didn't take steps to overcome my fears. Through practicing Natal Hypnotherapy (x2 birth preparation workshops, reading the Effective Birth Preparation book and listening to Maggie Howell's CD's - which always sent me to sleep!) and also attending Claire's weekly relaxation classes from 11 weeks to full term, I hoped I could change my mind-set and not fear giving birth.
Leading up to the birth I did wonder if all of my preparation would actually work. I hoped it would but part of me thought that I still wouldn't be able to cope when it came down to it. But I was wrong. I was so surprised at how well I handled it all and I can safely say that I did enjoy the experience.
At my first contraction just before midnight I got excited and focused on the feelings which were like a wave. After 2 hours I needed to put my TENS machine on. Over a few hours my contractions were coming every 4 minutes but it still felt too easy to go to hospital. I sat on my birthing ball for a while and when I stood up from it at 7am I heard a 'pop' and my waters broke all over the floor! We made our way to hospital and found I was 4cm dilated. I then also used gas and air (which my husband held for me the whole time as well as offering me drinks and not asking me questions!) and meptid as other forms of pain relief which helped take the edge off for me.
I can honestly say that my contractions were not excruciating at all though and I didn't see it as 'pain' but very strong sensations like a cramp. I was in upright positions throughout my labour and was fully dilated at 5.20pm.
Unfortunately when it came to pushing my contractions slowed down and we found that the baby was in an awkward position. I was advised that I would need to be put on a drip to bring contractions back on so the baby could try and turn itself. I was really disappointed to hear this but remained calm and accepted it and moved to high dependency for the drip, at which point I also had an epidural as I had reached my pain threshold and was extremely tired since not having any sleep.
It wasn't in my birth plan but the epidural was the right decision in the end because after a few hours there was still no change to the situation and the baby's heartbeat was dipping. It was decided it needed to be a forceps delivery.
It was very scary being wheeled into theatre and still being at risk of needing a section if it didn't work but I just kept calm and breathed deeply and kept my eyes closed (as I had throughout all of my labour) and tried to focus on the end result.
At 12.22am (over 24 hours from my first contraction) our baby boy Gabriel Isaac Lavender was born weighing a healthy 8lbs 14oz.
Thank you Claire and Natal Hypnotherapy for helping me to have such a positive birth experience that I am proud to look back on :-)" - Michelle & Michael