I didn’t have any fear when approaching my first labour experience. If anything I was really looking forward to it, and was so excited when I went in to labour.
I found the labour itself a very positive experience. I found it painful, I’m not going to lie, but I managed the pain. I hadn’t read up on birthing techniques, other than the odd bit about active birth, and had just decided to go with the flow. It all worked out great. I was in labour 12 hours from feeling the first contraction in the middle of the night to giving birth to Ella. I managed most of it at home, and was only in hospital 1.5 hours before Ella was born. I had gas and air in the final stages, but otherwise went pain relief free, which was my objective, so I’m really glad it worked out.
It was only after birth that the experience turned more negative, with Ella inhaling meconium in delivery and having to go straight to special care. There was no skin-to-skin. I didn’t see her for 6 hours after her birth and didn’t get chance to feed her until the next day. That was definitely the hard bit.
I have no fear about childbirth this time either. In fact, I’m looking forward to it. I visualise that moment when the baby is lifted on to me and we get immediate skin-to-skin and it starts routing straight away. That’s what I’m focusing on.
I’d heard of hypnobirthing, but kind of discounted it. I definitely had misconceptions that it would be about self-hypnosis, which wouldn’t work for me. I wanted to be present for the labour, not in some hypnotised state. So, when I was invited to try out The Calm Birth School home study program, I decided it was definitely worth considering, so I could really understand what it was and how it would work for me. If anything, I thought there would at least be techniques I could try out that would help the labour go as positively as possible.
The Calm Birth School was founded by Suzy Ashworth and Hollie De Cruz. The course is delivered over 4 weeks online, with videos of Suzy and Hollie talking you through all the aspects of a positive birth experience. I’ve now completed 3 weeks of the course, and am going to complete the final week this week!
I’ve found it SO interesting! It was completely not what I expected, and so much of it is about preparing for a positive labour rather than how to hypnotise yourself! So far, the videos I’ve watched have covered the physiology of birth and understanding what is happening in your body, your mindset and getting rid of the fear, setting the right birth environment, working with your caregivers, the poo issue (!!), how your birth partner can help make the birth a positive experience, and the breathing techniques to help you manage your labour. Plus lots more!!
There are also MP3s to download, including birth affirmations, fear release, birth rehearsal, relaxation and creating your own powerball. I’ve mainly been listening to these in the middle of the night, when my pregnancy insomnia hits! I’ve kept headphones next to the bed, and put them on as soon as I wake! I usually find myself waking up much later with the headphones in and feeling so calm and relaxed! I finish work this week, so hoping to listen to them daily during the day too.
There is a downloadable handbook to accompany the course, which I’ve been reading back over after watching the videos. Sean has also had a read of it, which is great for getting him onside, as he’ll be experiencing and playing a big part in the birth too.
The great thing about the course is that it is all online, so you can work through it in your own time and don’t have to leave the house! The downside of this is lack of interaction with the trainers for questions, etc. and the other people on the course. But Suzy and Hollie have this covered!!! There is a private Facebook group for all those taking the course. I love reading the birth stories of those who have taken the course who have had a wonderfully positive birth experience. Since I’ve joined the group, it seems everyone who has since given birth has had a really amazing labour. And there have been a few people on the group who have had things not turn out as they had hoped, such as the need for early induction. Hollie and Suzy give them advice on how to still have a positive birth experience.
I’m so glad I was introduced to this course! I can’t wait to finish the course and I truly am looking forward to giving birth again. Not long now…!!! Look out for the birth story and how I put what I learnt in to action!
Thank you to The Calm Birth School for inviting me to take this course for the purpose of this and future reviews. All opinions are my own.