Jessica’s pregnancy and birth
I heard about East Yorkshire Hypnobirthing through a couple of colleagues at work who had both done Sandra’s course and recommended it. Having never heard of hypnobirthing I did some research online and decided it was something worth learning more about so I contacted Sandra and she invited us to a free taster session, where I learnt just how factual the course would be. I had contacted other antenatal course providers in the area but found that they were all focused on yoga and breathing techniques and only catered for the mother to be, which I didn’t think was very good given the importance of having a supportive birthing partner. So my husband and I decided to book onto Sandra’s course to start just over half way through my pregnancy.
In terms of course structure I felt the pace, number of sessions and content of information was spot on, and with Sandra providing additional reading material for outside of the sessions it was great for anyone who’s a first time mum or feeling nervous and wanting to be as well informed as possible. The course booklet and Katharine Graves book given at the end of the course were also great for building confidence and practicing relaxation and breathing techniques before the birth.
In terms of practicing, I’ll admit I didn’t do as much as I told myself I would! But my pregnancy was really ‘text book’ and without complications, so I was quietly confident by the time I had finished Sandra’s course and read the additional materials. I did listen to the relaxation music most nights as I went to sleep in the last couple of months of my pregnancy though, and naturally practiced the breathing techniques whilst listening to this. I also wrote a birth plan based on the examples Sandra provided and added several things to my hospital bag based on tips from the course booklet.
In terms of my birth, I could not have felt calmer or more empowered! It was so much better than I imagined it could be. My waters broke at 2:30am and initially I wasn’t sure if I had wet myself (as baby was dancing on my bladder and I feared this would start happening soon!) but when more came a couple of hours later I knew it was definitely my waters. My husband recited his version of a relaxation script to calm me down and get me back to sleep, as excitement and nerves had kicked in, but by 7:30am we were both up and showing the stereotypical nesting signs, cleaning everything in sight. At 9:30am I felt my first surge (contraction) which was very mild and within a couple of hours they had ramped up so I rang the hospital to inform them but told them I was calm at home and intent on staying there for as long as possible. By 12:30pm I couldn’t hold a conversation as surges were so close together so we went to the hospital. Upon arrival, Chris gave the midwife our birth plan and I made myself comfortable on a bed while the birthing pool was filled with water. Unfortunately after about 20mins in the water I was hot and feeling faint, and my baby’s heart rate was elevated so I drank some water and when that didn’t help I got out of the pool and onto all-fours on a bed where I had a heart rate monitor strapped on to my stomach (not invasive at all). Within 15mins of being on the bed I had delivered my baby girl Lydia, with no pain relief and no crying or screaming – from me or Lydia!
My labour time from waters breaking to having skin-to-skin contact with my baby was 12 hours exactly. I really do believe that Sandra’s course educated me on what was happening in my body so I could remain calm and not feel scared/ surprised at any stage of my labour. I did lose a lot of blood and required some internal stitches, but otherwise I had no issues at all. As my labour was very quick I didn’t get the opportunity to use relaxation music or scripts but I did find the breathing techniques invaluable and by using them I found that I didn’t need to push, other than to birth the baby’s head. I also play the relaxation music now when my baby is distressed or not settling down to sleep at night, it really seems to calm her as it calmed me during pregnancy.
I would recommend this course to anyone having a baby and am looking forward to seeing Sandra again soon when we meet up with the other parents from our course and their babies.
Thanks so much Sandra, from Jessica x
Additional comments from the husband, Chris – the one who did the hard work…
Sandra makes a great hot chocolate and I had one every session, along with a great selection of biscuits! The comfort of her sofa is much better than the plastic chairs at the NHS antenatal course. If you need to know more about the course just go to a taster session, Sandra isn’t one to hard-sell so you can go to that and make your own mind up. We found it a great source of information and it was the only place during the pregnancy where my role as a father and birth partner was recognised. I think it helped enormously in Jessica’s labour, so much so that she’s agreed we can have another go for baby number two