I was more nervous about giving birth the second time than the first. I was worried that, with less than two years between my daughter and my second, I would be blasé about the whole thing; thinking I knew more than I did about birth.
More importantly I was terrified of having another Caesarean. Not because of the Caesarean itself, my daughter was born by emergency Caesarean after labouring for 13hrs, I remember very little about the actual operation and my recovery was very straight forward and easy. But my daughter didn’t walk until 21 months (there are 22 months between my kids), and I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to pick her up.
I already had the mummy guilt of how bringing a sibling into her life would impact on her and the thought of not being able to carry her made me feel sick.
So I did my research, read a lot and realised that if I could avoid any kind of intervention then my chances of having another section were the same as a first time mum’s. However, they greatly increased, (due to my previous section), if I had any intervention.
I’d done a bit of self taught hypnobirthing for my first birth but decided this time to do the course and I am so pleased I did!
My waters broke very early in the morning at 37+2. Due to baby being breech the week before, & my previous section, I was asked to go into hospital. Once I was there they wanted to keep me in. I was not actually in labour yet but was more than happy to stay. The next morning, about 10 hrs after my waters had gone, I was discussing my options with the consultant. Hospital policy was to induce me 24hrs after my waters had gone if there was no sign of labour. I said no.
I told the consultant that if there were no signs of labour then I wanted to have a Caesarean straight away to avoid an ’emergency’ one if the induction didn’t work. From what I knew, planned Caesareans are very different and more calm, compared to the fraught atmosphere I had experienced the last time. The consultant agreed, and later that day I signed all the papers ready for a Caesarean the next morning. As there were still no signs of labour, I went to bed mentally ready for the operation and feeling in control of my decisions.
However, I woke early in the morning having quite intense surges although I chose not to tell the midwife at that point. Instead I sat on the ball and went through my hypnobirthing breathing and visualisations. I felt calm and excited and still in control. After about an hour the surges had increased in intensity and we got a midwife then. They examined me and we were all more than shocked when they said, ‘You’re 9cm we need to get you to the ward now!’
Once I was in my own room I immediately felt the need to breathe my baby down. I was told there was no time for any pain relief, and with 3 big breathes later, I was holding my baby boy. Throughout the whole experience I focused on my breathing, visualisations and meeting my new baby. My husband, who had practised the breathing with me, knew exactly how to support me. Compared to my previous labour, we were both incredibly surprised with how calm the experience was.
In all honesty I was initially a bit dubious about hypnobirthing but willing to try anything to have a natural birth. I am now a huge convert- I know it was the breathing, visualisations and confidence and belief in my own body that hypnobirthing gave me that enabled me to achieve the birth I wanted. At the end of the day, a healthy baby and a healthy mummy are the most important things but I will always be grateful and relieved that when introducing her to her baby brother, I was able to pick up my daughter and cuddle her.