VBAC with induction: a great hypnobirthing experience
I listened to birth hypnosis tracks throughout both pregnancies, quite often falling asleep after the first few minutes of breathing exercises! I did mean to do lots of yoga and swimming but with a lively 1-year-old it just never happened. I had heard that just listening to hypnobirthing tracks before bed could really help it sink in, and for me it did.
I was in early labour for weeks, with several hours of strong contractions then nothing for a few hours. Although frustrating, it ended up being great for practicing what worked and what didn’t. I did actually give my (fantastic) husband feedback! I decided that I would use a countdown technique and then my husband would take me through a visualisation. In the early stages I mostly rested and listened to the hypnobirthing tracks.
Three days before I gave birth, things ramped up and throughout every single contraction, my husband counted me in with a relaxing trigger phrase.
I spent some time beforehand thinking about the things that relax me and coming up with a few ideas of what my husband could say or do. The one which ended up being the most effective was imagining walking along a pebbly beach, hearing the waves and feeling the pebbles on my feet.
Between hypnobirthing and using my TENS, I was feeling pretty calm and like labour could actually be doable! At the hospital I felt completely calm, even when I decided along with my consultant to have the [synthetic oxytocin] drip to help my contractions become more frequent. I knew this would be a potentially stressful moment, as I was very cautious about any undue stress to my previous c-section scar.
It worked really well, and even when the contractions became very intense and I requested a walking (low dose) epidural, I was able to deal with the uncertainty in the hours until the anaesthetist arrived, just before I reached transition.
After the epidural I could feel about 75% of the intensity so it was still a lot to deal with, and I had a bit of a wobble as I expected to be a lot more numb! I had to dial back in to the flow of the breathing and visualisations again as I reached the pushing stage.
The midwives told us themselves that they were in awe of us working together so well - they had been standing back and letting us get in with it. The student midwife was pleased she had seen a ‘hypnobirthing’ birth as she had heard so much about it!
I was really pleased to have had a successful VBAC with induction, and believe that hypnobirthing skills helped me throughout to tune into what I needed, especially when dealing with unexpected events. I saw hypnobirthing as the main tool that I could bring with me, and then was open to what the hospital could offer as I needed it.