Monday, January 26th, 2015
In my own little world – Gwyn’s birth

My waters broke at 2am Wednesday morning after a busy day on Tuesday running errands and going out for dinner with friends. Unfortunately we weren’t able to be at the Birth Centre as we went over their 18 hour limit after my waters broke, and I still wasn’t in established labour. So we were referred to the hospital and booked in for induction at 10.30am on Thursday.

Induction had been one of the things I had been very apprehensive about, but when it came to it it felt like the right thing to do, and I could understand and accept the reasons for it – everything was now about protecting Gwyn. Wednesday was filled with last minute baby preparations, putting the Christmas tree up, bouncing on a ball, eating as much as possible and listening to the birth preparation CD a few times. By midnight things had started to be intense enough to stop me sleeping, and require my full attention. I started listening to the Labour Companion CD at this point, which really helped me to re-focus and get me though the longer, stronger contractions. I started off visualising waves rolling into shore, crashing powerfully on rocks at the bottoms of a cliff face and retreating again, but as things progressed I started imagining I was climbing the steep side of an active volcano. At the top I would walk round the edge of the crater feeling the intense, powerful heat and looking at the beautiful dangerous churning bubbling lava, but feeling safe above it, before descending the mountain again.

We left for the hospital about 4.30am, after having been told to stay home when calling at about 2.30. They were quite surprised I was 6cm dilated already, and moved us straight through to a labour room with a pool – which was so blissfully relaxing I had to get out as I was falling asleep! Things slowed down a bit from there – though at least that meant I got quite a bit of rest – and they put me on the induction drip and strapped the monitors to my belly about 10am. The room filled up with people at this point, with lots of information and doctors saying I shouldn’t try to be a hero, and they’d be back to give me an epidural whenever I wanted. This prompted a fleeting doubt that I wouldn’t be able to do it without additional pain relief, but it passed very quickly and from this point forward I was confident I would manage. I had a little smile to myself, and re-entered comforting deep hypnosis as the next contraction started. I remember one of the doctors commenting on how I had totally entered my own little world and looked very peaceful.

To be honest, the intensity of the contractions whilst on the drip was a shock – especially the first one where my uterus started to push Gwyn down (partly possibly because I was fast asleep at that point, so it was a bit of a rude awakening!) But steadying my breathing, prompted by Evan saying 3,2,1 relax, and some gas and air brought everything back under control. Between each contraction, pretty much right up to the end, I was able to either talk to Evan and the midwife, or go into such a relaxed state it felt like I was fast asleep, whichever I needed to do. So even at the end of the 36 hours I felt like I had energy left – and was commenting about how it was no where near as difficult as I expected it to be – and right after Gwyn was born I said that I’d happily do it all again!

It is funny how all the things that I had worried so much about before the birth really didn’t matter once we were in the moment. And not just the birth itself, but also our concerns about visitors descending before we were ready….which is lucky as by complete coincidence our mothers arrived at the hospital at the moment he was born – they somehow managed to talk themselves through to the delivery ward and were in the room to meet him when he was only 10 minutes old!

Many people have asked how the birth went, and have been very surprised at the positive response I give and really impressed that hypnotherapy worked so well. It is really sad that there is the expectation that my answer would be a “horror story” of pain and drugs; if only more women knew what a positive experience birth could be.

I’m enjoying the postnatal recovery CD still, which has been really useful to help me relax. Even Welly (the dog) has taken really well to Gwyn – though luckily he no longer howls every time Gwyn cries!

Friday, December 12th, 2014
We can’t thank you and Natal Hypnotherapy enough!

We are so happy to let you know that our daughter Brooke Parker was born on her due date, 17th November, weighing a very healthy 9lbs 2oz.

The total labour was 2 hours 30 minutes with only 15 minutes of pushing. I was able to stay with just the gas and air which was enough to dull the pain but kept me alert enough to listen to the midwives.

We had a very calm start which begun with my waters breaking at 6:30pm on the 16th of November. Contractions started at 7:30pm and started to come every 10 minutes but only lasted 20 seconds. We went in to hospital to be checked at 8:45pm, the midwife however didn’t want to do an internal examination as I didn’t look like I was in “proper labour” so guessed I was about 3cm dilated. They suggested that we go home, which was a little disheartening, but we had the impression that they were busy on the ward also they didn’t think I was in enough pain!

We were home for 2 hours when the contractions hit the 3 minute mark lasting 1 minute, I knew at that point we had to go back, for those 2 hours I listened to the Natal Hypnotherapy Birth Preparation CD.

We got to hospital at 1:00am and I was 6cm dilated, I had the CD playing constantly which really helped me zone out and as the pain was getting quite intense I asked for gas and air which really took the edge off. The midwife also read through the Natal Hypnotherapy booklet so she could help us achieve what we had been planning for the birth, she turned down the lights, kept the environment really calm and directed conversation towards David. I felt she really made an effort to help us follow the hypnotherapy which was so reassuring.

Just before 3:00am I turned to David with my most sincere face (which I had been planing for about 5 minutes so he would hopefully take me seriously and get me it) and asked him to get me an epidural – I had hit the doubt phase! He proceeded to ask the midwife to get me pain relief but didn’t push it with her as he knew it wasn’t what I really wanted and also realised we had hit that doubt phase. The midwife reassured me she would get the trolley with what I needed… There was no trolley David later told me. Also at that point I really felt my body needed to push, the midwife checked me and to her surprise I was fully dilated! I think I caught her by surprise so she quickly got her colleague in the room and they rushed to prepare for the birth.

I was able to listen to the midwives instructions when I pushed and felt very confident that my body was giving me all the correct signs, I was very much in control, and even though there was pain and discomfort i felt I had the strength to overcome it and not give in to it. 15 minutes later Brooke was born and placed on my chest, she was so alert but didn’t cry, instead she crawled to my chest and fed straight away, the placenta was delivered very quickly too. I did have stitches but they were done by the midwife very quickly and efficiently and have healed well.

The management skills we learnt were so adaptable and we came away feeling so content and happy with the overall birth experience. We can’t thank you and Natal Hypnotherapy enough!

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
A wonderful experience…

I have to thank you Cathy as the birth was a wonderful experience. I realised I was definitely in labour at about 5.30am Wednesday morning and started timing contractions just after 6am. They were occurring every three minutes but not lasting longer than 20 seconds. I had a nice bath while Mark got Sophie ready for nursery and rang my mum to ask her to collect Sophie to drop her off at nursery. As I wanted to stay out of Sophie’s way, I ran a bath and tried to relax.

About 7.30am I really wanted to go to the hospital (especially as I knew our builders would turn up about 8am!). We got out the door at about 8am and got stuck in the rush hour traffic. Throughout this process, contractions stayed 3 minutes apart but got longer till they lasted about a minute each. I kept in mind the advice you had given us – that the contractions will peak but then they will die off and you will have a break. Each time I had a contraction and the pain got bad, I said to myself, “that means it will now start to fade”. It really helped me stay positive and focused. I focused on my breathing and felt really in control. I also used some visualisation techniques and thought about the baby moving down and rotating and my cervix relaxing. It really helped to focus on the end goal.

When I got to hospital I asked to use the birthing pool but they told me there would be no time. The midwife examined me and I was fully dilated and so I started pushing. It only took about four pushes and her head was out. I was amazed by the feeling of pushing as I hadn’t experienced that last time – it was a really odd sort of pain but really exciting to feel her coming out.

I was so delighted to have a natural birth and a gorgeous baby girl was delivered onto my chest at 9.17 am. It was a fantastic fast labour and I completely enjoyed the process. We have called our daughter Emily Rose and she is just perfect. She weighed 7lb 5oz and was gorgeous and pink. I had a couple of stitches but felt amazing after the birth. By 12pm I had showered and Sophie had come to the hospital to meet her baby sister.

I really do believe that the refresher classes helped me through the labour and kept me calm and relaxed. I think I am quite lucky that it was so quick and am so pleased to have such a positive birth experience!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Life is Amazing – a Dad’s birth story

As I think with a lot of men the reality of having a baby doesn’t hit until the very last moment when it all suddenly becomes `real`. I was in the office as usual, with my boss telling me how he couldn’t believe how relaxed I had been considering my wife had been taken into hospital that morning to be induced. When I had that call `I’m being induced in 10 minutes` it all very soon changed to mild panic; a higher pitched faster voice telling my boss `erm I think I’ll be off for the rest of the week`, darting around doing not much very quickly, trying to remember what I need to take with me even though I do it every day.

We had planned a home birth. It was all arranged with the midwives; they brought over the gas and air (but without the mouthpieces, boo!) and explained the process. We even hired a birthing pool which I blew up and practiced making sure I had the right hose and connections and it reached from the kitchen tap to where we wanted the pool. Cate was a few days overdue and with her high blood pressure not subsiding we decided to change to an induction following health professionals advice. Having our plans changed at such a late time was disappointing. I think Cate took it quite hard. We had to have an induction with our first child with Cate being in the hospital for 2 days before anything happened so she was not looking forward to the same again, especially after preparing to be at home with all of your creature comforts and the notion that the birth would go more smoothly as you are more relaxed at home etc.

By the time I had got home, sorted myself out, read my birthing notes and got to the hospital Cate was sitting in bedroom happily bouncing on the big ball reading a book. All was very calm! I guess I expected that after the last time but now it was real I was alert and ready to go into action as learnt in the NH workshop. When Cate suggested I go home and wait for a call I was very happy to get one last sleep in!

The call came at 5.30am the following morning. `I’m in labour you …hold on another contraction (pause & heavy breathing!)…you need to come NOW!`. I got there not long after 6am. The hospital was quiet and dark and there were lots of parking spaces (a rare thing at Frimley). I found Cate right in the middle of strong contractions very close together. With the last birth I felt involved quite a lot; breath matching and `3-2-1` relax being the main things Cate liked. This time Cate had already mastered the breathing so my main task that was welcomed this time was cold flannels on the back of her neck.

The midwife and Cate had already spoken about Natal Hypnotherapy and the hospital were well aware (and supportive) of it. Before I arrived the midwife had said Cate was at 2cm. Not long after I had arrived the midwife immediately suggested we should go to the labour ward as she had been trained in Natal Hypnotherapy and could see the signs, even though Cate seemed relatively calm. Cate was doing a great job of breathing deeply and, in her own words, `surfing on the top of a big wave` (not that she remembered saying that afterwards!). The place that she had practiced taking herself away to was not the wave surfing but she found this to be the one that worked at the time.

When we got to the labour ward they immediately said she was fully dilated and to push whenever she had a contraction. I had my crib sheet with me and was ready to try any of the techniques learnt such as 3-2-1 relax, shaking apples, breath matching. But Cate was doing such a great job on handling the contractions with her breathing I concentrated on verbal affirmations instead such as `that is one step closer to our baby, that contraction will never happen again, let the body do it’s natural work` etc, as well as the cold flannels on neck and forehead.

We had a 5 hour labour which was this time very straight forward.

Any tips?
Any little things, no matter how `little` you think you are helping, make a big difference to your partner.
Try all of the things you have been taught, both physical and verbal. Both of you will not know what will work for you until the time.
Don’t be too strict with the midwives. `all decisions must come through me` for example doesn’t liken them to you (as our midwife mentioned when we were talking afterwards). If they are familiar with Natal Hypnotherapy then to just mention you have practiced it goes a long way.
When it becomes real (when you get `the call`) panic does set in, like it or not, so prepare everything you can before hand. Baby seat sorted, hospital bag etc etc.

For the first birth Cate had many hours of gas and air. It helped with the pain but did make her a bit spaced out and not remember the birth as much. She wanted to remember this birth so my help this time was to persuade her not have so much. She only had it right at the end which was a big success in her remembering the birth. She did say that when she stopped with the gas earlier that it didn’t make much of a difference.
If all is well after the birth and you find yourself alone – reward yourself with a few puffs on the gas and air!

My wife didn’t believe in hypnosis before childbirth. It wasn’t until her desperation at the reality of having a baby made her listen to me and `give anything a try`. She has now had 2 children and knows she would not have dealt with it so admirably without Natal Hypnotherapy. She is now a full convert having given talks at hospitals to midwives.

Cate was inspirational during the birth and so can you all be with the techniques you learn. Women in a coma can have babies. My wife can have a Chinese wrist burn and not flinch. I can bring up children even though that seemed impossible before any came. Life is amazing.

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Undiagnosed breech – calm caesarean birth

My husband and I attended Cathy’s Natal Hypnotherapy workshop in our 31st week of pregnancy because as our baby’s due date drew nearer the more concerned I was getting about labour and the lack of sleep I was getting due to baby movement and trips to the bathroom.

During the course I learnt ways to relax with Natal Hypnotherapy CDs which I played when ever I was tired and they helped me relax and awake full of energy which is great when you are heavily pregnant.

During the course we also covered the different stages of labour and how to cope with these. My husband and I did a mind map which we stuck up on the bedroom wall.

As my due date came and went I used the relaxation techniques 3 times a day to help with relaxation.

Finally the day arrived, I started having contractions and consulted the mind map. As phase 1 started we went out for lunch with family ,staying calm. When we got home I had a bath and put the CD on. As I relaxed the next stage of labour started. I tried a lot of the tips on my mind map and found the one that helped with the contractions. At 9pm we decided to go to the hospital as my waters had broken I remember laughing as I tried to waddle to the car during the contractions that came every 2 minutes.

When we got to hospital I found out baby was breech and I need an emergency caesarean. This was not the birth plan I had in my mind. Initially it was very manic as I was prepped and rushed down to surgery. As I lay there I thought I am not in control and started to worry. I asked the theatre team to stop, I turned to my husband and we used breathing techniques and visualisation to calm the situation. After a few moment I was calm and felt in control. I told them to continue and I was ready to meet my daughter.

Emilie Rose was born weighing 6lb 4oz.

With the techniques I learnt I felt very calm in the lead up to labour. Even when my labour plan had to be changed I managed to retain control.

I would recommend the course to all expectant mums as you cannot overstate the calming benefits involved.