Let me start off by saying in no uncertain terms that I credit Jenn (Jenn King Lasek who teaches Hypnobabies Classes in Vancouver, BC) and the Hypnobabies program with the beauty and peace I experienced during the birth of my second child, Farrah Rosalynd. Her birth is singularly the most awe-inspiring feat of my body and mind that I have ever accomplished.
Farrah was born three days before her due date on September 1st, 2011 at 2:57am in our bedroom in our home. The anticipation of her arrival was overwhelming. My first daughter, Ella, was born three weeks early and I assumed that Farrah’s gestation would be of similar length. The long hot August days stretched for miles.
I had been having practice pressure waves since the first week of August and had thought on a few occasions that my birthing time had begun only to have the pressure waves trail off. On August 31st, I attended my scheduled 39 week appointment with my midwife group. When my midwife offered to check me, my curiosity won out and she informed me with a slight look of shock that she was unsure just how I had not yet gone into labour. My cervix was dilated an encouraging 5cm. My practice birthing waves were handily put into perspective and I was immediately glad for their easy lead-up.
Confident that Farrah’s arrival was imminent, I strolled down to our local park to meet my husband and eldest daughter after my appointment, hardly able to contain my exciting dilation news. There was new bounce in my heavily pregnant waddle that afternoon and while at the park my pressure waves began again. They continued through dinner and past Ella’s bedtime. The pressure waves were mild and of medium duration. By the time I finally got into bed myself that night, I knew my birthing time had come. It was 10pm. Slightly hesitant from the many practice birthing waves of the previous few weeks, I said very little to my husband, encouraging him to go to sleep and get some rest. After about an hour of laying awake in bed and listening to the Hypnobabies ‘deepening’ track, my pressure waves were of significant enough strength for me to assume my favorite position that I used during my practice of the Hypnobabies techniques. We have a lovely big reading chair in our bedroom and I sat there, cross-legged and fully supported by pillows, while listening again to my ‘deepening’ track. I turned myself ‘off’ and felt flush with peace and purpose. I was so excited, not only for the arrival of my beautiful baby girl, but also for the chance to use the skills I had acquired during my diligent practice of the Hypnobabies techniques.
At 11:45pm, I switched myself to ‘centre’ and woke up my husband. My pressure waves had increased in strength and duration and I knew it was time to rally the troupes. My husband switched quickly into ‘birth partner’ mode, calling our midwives and support people, and completed a few last minute tasks of preparation. While he did this, I sat quietly in my reading chair in ‘off’ and listened to my ‘birthing time’ track. With each pressure wave, my confidence in my ability to achieve my goal of a Hypnobabies birth grew exponentially. Each wave spread like a warm hug across my belly and filled me with strength and intention.
The birth of my first daughter was a much different affair. Allow me to slip into non-Hypnobabies language for a moment. Throughout my entire pregnancy I had heard not even a whisper of hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies. My preparation has consisted of yoga classes, prenatal education at the hospital, and many, many books. My water broke at 10am on April 2nd, 2008 and the contractions had come on hard and fast. My husband rushed home from work and by 1pm I was admitted to the hospital and 5cm dilated. I laboured until 8cm at which time I grabbed my nurse by the arm and my husband by the collar and insisted that they both get me an epidural immediately. The pain had not increased substantially in that moment but mentally, I had reached my limit. At 5pm, my gorgeous daughter Ella came into the world at 7lbs 6oz. She was incredible and perfect but my experience during her birth left something to be desired.
And then, three and a half years later, there I was: perfectly relaxed, controlled, and confident in my ability as a women to give birth naturally and comfortably. By 12:45am, my midwife had arrived and as she set up her equipment, my mum and two best friends arrived as well. My birthing team had been assembled, candles were lit, and in between pressure waves I switched to ‘centre’ and chatted and joked with the people I love the most in the world. Our bedroom was buzzing with a silent energy of love and anticipation. Ella slept soundly in her bedroom down the hall.
My midwife was having trouble gauging my “outward signs of labour progression” as she put it, and I wasn’t much help to her. This birthing time was nothing like what I had experienced with Ella and so, after a pressure wave had subsided, she checked my progress to see if it was time to call in the second midwife. Our second midwife showed up about fifteen minutes later.
Soon, the pressure waves increased to a strength which demanded my complete concentration and I remained ‘off’ in between waves. I moved onto my birthing ball and my husband massaged my lower back. Everyone in the room quieted in response to my intensified focus. It took effort and energy to remain as relaxed as I was and I found that my breathing was louder and much more intentional than it had been during my many practice session. It felt right and it deepened my relaxation and comfort....