This is a great example of how HypnoBirthing really does help in all birthing situations and being calm, confident and informed makes for the most positive of experiences.

Catherine and Damian had this to say in mid October about how they felt having just done the HypnoBirthing course with me:

“Damian and I are really so glad that we decide to take your hypno birth course.  It’s fair to say we both had some reservations before starting -not wanting to put pressure on ourselves to be the perfect natural parents.  I think one of the things that resonates the most with both of us is the reassurance that birth, as life can’t always be predicted, but hypnobirthing is a tool we can use regardless.  It is an attitude and perspective we both believe in that can help us to calmly work with the birth we are meant to have.  
Feeling informed, and confident about the reasons for our preferences, we have been able to have sensible conversations with the medical team at Homerton.  Our midwives and consultant have treated me as ‘high risk’ due to previous medical history and abdominal surgery.  The consultant was very respectful of our decision to hypnobirth and as a result has agreed to sign me off for a natural birth at the birth centre.  The variation of daily practice Damian and I can do together and individually as we go about our day, makes the lead up to the birth of our baby relaxing and actually quite exciting rather than filled with unspoken dread.  

Thank you so much for all of the information and for how you approach it.”

And in the middle of November…

Lila Elizabeth Howkins arrived on 19/11 weighing a healthy 8lb 4.

Damian and I wanted to share with you our birth story as I found reading them on your blog so helpful in the lead up to Lila’s arrival.

I had been having on off surges since a few days prior to guess date, increasing in strength and regularity. For my sanity I had been having regular reflexology, acupressure massage, aromatherapy oils and acupuncture, all promoted more surges.

At 12 days past guess date, we made the difficult decision to be induced. We discussed the risks at the hospital and decided that based on my medical history of major abdominal surgery, it was safer to begin the process incase there was a reason why she wasn’t coming.

I had the gel induction and it had an immediate effect. Surges became more regular but were manageable without drugs with Damian and I enjoying using our hypnobirth techniques and excitedly loving the onset of labour. I was quickly 3cm. The staff left us on peace with our lavender spray, music and massage to progress. 20 hours later despite regular strong surges my cervix was unchanged so we were moved to delivery suit and my waters were broken. It was made clear to me that the decision was ours, but I was strongly urged to take the advice to advance the labour. The midwife that took is through to the delivery suit was lovely. She explained everything really well and was at the same time really interested in hypnobirthing. Her background was in acupuncture so she was very welcoming to our methods, dimming lights, understanding preferred wording and waiting for me to request pain relief.  The consultant in charge that day had said to our midwife that if we could progress my labour by breaking my waters, then I could have a water birth in the delivery suit. The whole team was very aware that I had wanted to give birth naturally on the birth centre and we’re being as understanding as possible. I knew that braking the waters would have a strong effect. Almost immediately, my contractions were measuring 10 on the monitor and were 5 in 10 minutes. Two hours later, I was checked and still no further opening of the cervix. Very quickly, the surges had become unbearable, they were coming too quickly for me to focus and hypnobirth my way through them. I was also violently vomiting so was offered anti sickness drugs and a saline drip. The medical team explained that a hormone induction drip was strongly recommended, I knew by this point it would not be manageable without pain relief so I requested an epidural. I had a feeling that things weren’t quite right and that Lila would not be arriving quickly.

My labour was now set firmly on a path of medical intervention. I accepted that in my case it was needed.  I was aware that this was likely to be a long haul situation and my strength would be needed for later. I had decided in advance that I would request an epidural if the birth was induced by drip and too painful for me to be able to realistically cope in a long drawn out synthetic labour. This took away an element of turmoil I may have felt otherwise. To me the most important thing was to be healthy and well enough to enjoy receiving my baby in the first few days of her life.

The head consultant of the dept came to see me as I have a more complex medical history. She talked to us about cesarean and if that was required, she would perform it. She had spoken with my previous surgeon who was also on call should it be required. We felt calm and informed and well looked after.

The epidural and drip were immediate relief and I was able to have a few hours if much needed sleep.  After hours of drip induction and consistently strong surges on the monitor, there was still no further dialation.

After 40 hours of labour only still at 3cm, the decision was made that a c-section was the only safe way to proceed.

Everything was calm and at no moment did we feel panicked or out of control. All of the hospital were respectful of our hypno birth wishes but also took all precautions to keep me and my baby safe, she was monitored and stayed stress free throughout.

Very quickly Lila arrived! Nothing else mattered.

The team checked and passed her to Damian. I was given skin to skin in theatre and helped to latch her on to breast feed by an amazing midwife and nurse in recovery.

The consultant let me know at the end of the operation that it would have been impossible for me to give birth naturally, they had found that scar tissue from my previous op and my bladder (which had slipped to the wrong place) were both obstructing my uterus. Although the contractions had been working hard, there wasn’t space for the uterus to open any more than it already had.

I’m really glad with every informed choice we made along the way and incredibly grateful to the team at Homerton who delivered Lila to us safely.

Lila is adorable, she’s well, feeds well and is strong.

Our birth story was not a picture perfect hypnobirth, but also, it was not a traumatic experience. Studying hypnobirthing gave us the reassurance to stay calm, the rounded education to be confident in knowing our decisions were right for us.

36 hours later we were discharged from hospital, Lila and I both in good health. I think this was because we didn’t get distressed through the process so could begin to recover quickly.

We are now really just enjoying Lila and being at home as a family.

I’m normally the type to shy away from sharing personal stories so openly, but I really found reading the birth stories on your blog helpful in the lead up to birth. I hope reading this reinforces that you can’t control what will happen in your own birth story but you can control how you deal with it. Positive, calm, informed choices will help you to feel relaxed and prepared for the challenges ahead.

Catherine, Damian and Lila
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