1st baby, labour ward (physiological birth)
We did Gemma’s hypnobirthing course via Skype in March 2020 and I went on to have one follow up one-to-one session afterwards. We both found the course really interesting and well delivered. My science-minded husband had been a bit sceptical about hypnobirthing but he really enjoyed the theory behind it, and it was an eye opener for him to realise how much of a role he had to play at the birth! My fears about labour were hugely reduced, and the practical advice was so valuable as well as the hypnosis techniques.
‘My science-minded husband had been a bit sceptical … and it was an eye opener for him to realise how much of a role he had to play at the birth!’
When the time came we had a really positive (and quick!) labour – from my waters breaking and contractions starting I was holding our beautiful baby boy 8 hours later. My contractions were strong and frequent from the get go, and after 3 hours at home my instincts told me it was time to go to hospital. When I arrived at the birth centre I was 5cm dilated and progressing quickly. My husband wasn’t able to come with me while I was being assessed due to the coronavirus restrictions but I was so focussed on breathing that I managed fine! Unfortunately I didn’t get the birth centre water birth I’d hoped for as baby’s heartrate was dipping (and the pools were out of order anyway!) so I was transferred to the labour ward where my husband joined me. As baby needed continuous monitoring I wasn’t as mobile during labour as I would’ve liked but again I was so in the zone that this didn’t matter. When the self-doubt stage kicked in I asked for an epidural, but with the preparation we’d done with Gemma I was able to recognise the doubt as being a normal part of labour and I trusted my instincts that my baby would be there soon and I could manage without pain relief. I’m so grateful I did as very shortly afterwards I was fully dilated, and it was manageable with only breathing and occasional breaths of gas and air! The pushing stage was really long and tough, and we were on the brink of needing an assisted delivery but at the last minute I found the energy to give the final pushes and our lovely boy was ready to join us. I focussed on affirmations I’d used as part of our birth preparation and I’m sure this helped. Even though the birth didn’t unfold in the exact way we would’ve hoped I was calm and focussed throughout and my husband supported me amazingly. Despite having really worried about the pain and my ability to cope with it before doing the course I was left feeling so proud that I’d been able to birth our 8lb 7oz baby with only some gas and air. We’re both absolutely convinced it would not have gone so smoothly if we had not worked with Gemma, even more so as we had the extra element of giving birth during lockdown! I cannot recommend Gemma’s hypnobirthing work highly enough to all pregnant women, and we will always be grateful for the role it played in our baby’s birth.