My friend Kate, and her partner Rich, did not have a great birth experience the first time round in 2015. When Kate told me last year that she was pregnant again, I knew I wanted to help her achieve her dream of a hypnobirth VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I offered to teach her, and was so pleased that she agreed! This is Kate’s story, the birth of her second baby, Seth.
My first birth, and why I wanted a hypnobirth VBAC
My partner and I had heard about hypnobirthing during my first pregnancy in 2015. Initially thinking it all sounded very hippy, we didn’t consider doing a course. However, my first labour wasn’t exactly the vaginal, waterbirth we had planned. I was ten days ‘overdue’ and so had an induction as an out patient. I started getting contractions, but these slowed down when I got to hospital. In the end, I had all forms of induction, resulting in an epidural and ultimately a C-section. Afterwards, our son was rushed off to be checked and dressed. With no initial skin to skin and it was at least 45 minutes until I got to hold him properly.
I can’t fault the midwives, they were brilliant. However, after this experience I was determined for my next birth to be a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). When we found out I was pregnant again, I knew I wanted to do a hypnobirthing course. I had met Colleen during pregnancy yoga in 2015 when we were pregnant with our boys. We have remained friends ever since, and she offered to teach me. I did think it might be strange doing a hypnobirthing course with a friend. But it turned out it was not only a brilliant course, but really showed me her passion and understanding for the subject.
Preparing for a hypnobirth VBAC
During my pregnancy, I felt I really had to fight for my right to have a hypnobirth VBAC. Not from the midwives, but from the obstetricians. Due to my previous cesarean, they wanted me on delivery suite from the start, with continual monitoring. This is definitely not what I wanted. In the hypnobirthing course, we’d gone over how to question and really think about the reasons behind these interventions. I booked an appointment with the head midwife of the birthing suite and, together, we came up with a birth plan. A vaginal waterbirth in the birthing suite. My dream hypnobirth VBAC!
My community midwife was really supportive and also very positive about attempting a hypnobirth VBAC. I practiced the breathing with my partner, put up birth affirmations and listened to the playlist Colleen had suggested. I found it all very relaxing. I’m not sure I ever managed to listen to a whole script without falling asleep! I was very excited about the birth.
My hypnobirth VBAC
The day before I went into labour, I expressed colostrum, went for a long walk and even jumped on a small trampoline! My contractions started about 3am at 41+1 weeks. I was able to sleep through them until they were every half an hour or so, by about 6.30am. I stayed in my bedroom with the curtains shut and the hypnobirthing playlist on. My 3 year old son came in to rub my back for me and it was all very relaxing. I ended up watching a funny film (Superbad!) to help keep me relaxed and this really helped.
On the way to the hospital, I kept my music on and didn’t even open my eyes. My partner guided me through the hospital so I wouldn’t lose my contraction bubble. I stayed in a room on the birthing suite for about 8 hours, having very regular contractions. They were one every 1-2 mins lasting 1-2 minutes; this required some pethidine to help with the pain.
The midwives were so amazing, they didn’t disturb me, and I had my music on throughout in the dark room. When they did finally come and examine me, I had lost some blood. For my baby’s and my safety, we were moved to the delivery ward. I was completely happy with this choice as there was a medical reason for it. The midwives darkened the room for me again, gave me gas and air and I wasn’t even concerned to not be in the pool like I’d wanted. I was in my bubble again. After pushing for just under an hour, our baby boy, was born at 12.54am by a vaginal birth, about 22 hours from first contraction. It was a very emotional moment.
We got our delayed cord clamping and had two glorious hours of skin to skin where he fed like a champ. We had such a fantastic birth. Even though it wasn’t on the birthing suite in the water, I felt like we were always in control and that all the midwives supported us in hypnobirthing. I couldn’t believe I was up, showered with tea and toast after a few hours! When the midwives and Health Visitors came to see us after, they always congratulated me on the hypnobirth VBAC. I feel like it was such an achievement.
I am so thankful to Colleen that she gave us so much support. Not just on the course, but afterwards too. When I was having wobbles about inductions, she was really reassuring and provided information for our situation. It all helped me to have a fantastic hypnobirth VBAC.
Want to know more about how hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is a brilliant tool for all types of birth, including VBACs. (If you are considering a VBAC, there is some great information here.) So whether you are on your first, or subsequent pregnancy, I can help you to feel prepared and in control. I have group courses which you can book here. Or if you would prefer a one to one class contact me here.