I figured the best way for me to introduce you to HypnoBirthing was to share my own experience. I wrote this not long after giving birth, before becoming a HypnoBirthing educator myself. This is a very honest story; I'm not trying to tone down anything here. Bliss means complete happiness, and I am sure many mothers had a blissful experience in birthing. I had mine thanks to HypnoBirthing.
I got pregnant easily and quickly at 37 years old. So, I hadn't really prepared myself, but one thing for sure, childbirth terrified me. I felt like I was going to die giving birth. I would never have imagined I could give birth without an epidural nor in the water. Over the weeks of pregnancy, I started get anxious about the D-day. I knew that our obstetrician was going to ask us about our birth plan, but I had no idea what I wanted for my childbirth (except surviving it).
I started looking for relaxation techniques and I came across HypnoBirthing. I read Marie Mongan's book and was really interested in it but thought I needed the support of an educator to fully understand the method. My husband went along with it, and we took the HypnoBirthing classes online. So, here is the story of the birth of my child.
I woke up around 3:30 am, feeling a small leak between my thighs. And a bit like the rest of the birth, I didn't tell myself right away that it was it. I wasn't very sure. In fact, throughout the delivery, I was often in doubt whether I had the right sensations or not. At that time my biggest fear was that the membranes had loosened but labor hadn't started and that if I went to the clinic, they would compel me to induce (even though we had agreed to wait as long as possible). So, when I felt this bit of liquid dripping between my legs in the middle of the night, I wasn't sure what it was, I got up, walked down the hall, and I felt a little more liquid leaking. But I really didn't want to rush because no other sensation was coming. First, I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn't, I was starting to be excited. At some point, I realized I was probably in labor and finally decided to wake up my husband.
I took a shower, did some ironing, had a snack and the whole time I felt almost nothing but slight tugs but it didn't feel like waves as I had imagined them (I hadn't had any warm-up waves before, it was totally uncharted territory). We sat in front of a movie that I didn't watch at all and there I started to feel more intense waves and closer together, so I soaked myself in a bath and then it became way too intense. At that time, it was 7:30 am and we decided to go to the clinic on the advice of our doula.
We arrived at the clinic at around 8 am and they measured an opening of about 3-4 cm. When I lied on the bed, I started to panic and told my husband "I want the epidural" and he answered calmly "Wait a minute, they are filling the pool, you'll be fine once you're in the water." Indeed, when I got into the pool, I started to calm down, use the wave breathings, fall into a deep relaxation. I think my husband read hypnosis scripts although this part is really hazy. The opening was done quite easily and quickly. Two hours later (which felt like half an hour), according to the Doctor I was opened to 10 cm. The whole time I was completely self-centered, using visualizations, wave breathing. I don't think I opened my eyes much during those two hours!
But I was completely exhausted, I had no more strength, and the doula quickly took over me, over us, since she coached me as we would not have wanted her to. She asked me of course but with neither physical nor mental strength, I said ok. I started following what she was telling me, and therefore getting into a reclined position (I had been kneeling in the pool almost the whole time before) as she asked to push. I had no idea what I was doing, I was trying to do the birth breathings at the same time but not in the right position for me, not with the right energy and with a doula asking me to hold my breath and push.
Spoiler: that didn't work well. I was doing totally ineffective pushes, with a baby going down, and up, down and up… and it was going very very very slowly (at least in my mind). I was more and more tired since I thought I was pushing for nothing, I had the feeling my baby didn't descend much and it lasted like that for two hours. You would say two hours is nothing but for me, it seemed like an eternity. I was so exhausted that it really felt like a day had passed. My husband was trying to get me to go back to what we had learned; he was really great all along. He did the light touch massages, he read the hypnosis scripts, kept me hydrated, he tried to make me eat but I couldn't chew on anything, I didn't have the energy. I was also unable to object to what the doula was asking me to do.
I told myself that it was impossible, that I would not succeed and that I was going to have a cesarean because I would not be able to help my baby to come out. I had the impression that it was imminent and when the doula suggested that I touch the baby’s head to feel the progress, each time the head was further than I thought and I just felt more and more discouraged.
But towards the end, maybe the last fifteen minutes, I told myself that there would be no cesarean, that I could do it. I managed to reclaim my body and my mind, and I got back into a position that I thought was more comfortable. I stopped pushing and started to use the birth breathings. And then my baby was born in just a few breaths.
The birth phase lasted about 2 hours, which is far from the eternity that it felt like for me. But it took me several days to realize that the doula didn't frankly help me but on the contrary that her coaching slowed down the birth.
I was angry for a while about it. It was hard to trust myself at that time, in a state of fatigue that I didn't think was possible. But then I realized it was actually a fairly quick and smooth birth and even if at the time I did not feel comfortable throughout the birth phase and I fought against myself rather than worked with myself, it was a great birth experience. The water helped me a lot, HypnoBirthing too of course. But mostly my husband who managed to guide me during this beautiful birth.
This is just a testimony, the story of a birth in a million. It was in the end a wonderful experience. I want to add for all the doulas reading this and all the moms who are thinking about having a doula with them in childbirth, don't get misunderstood, I think doulas do a wonderful job. She just wasn't the right doula for me.
Your friends', relatives' experiences, this story will be different from yours. And that's why knowing yourself, trusting your instincts is so important. I know how hard it is, from experience, especially for a first birth or if you had a bad experience before. I also know that I would never had a physiological waterbirth without HypnoBirthing. It was the most blissful experience for me, as I hope it will be for you.