I always believed when I gave birth I would need to be induced. My mum had been induced with me and my two siblings and my sister was induced with her three children so I believed it was almost definite that this was the route I would be taking too. However I was very fearful of having an induction as I had heard that being induced results in the contractions coming on very quickly and the pain being more intense than when labour has started naturally.
My friend mentioned that she was going to use hypnobirthing and I was intrigued. People who had already had children laughed when I talked about this technique but I was willing to try anything to avoid the experiences other women had spoken about. I bought a book on hypnobirthing and immediately felt at ease after reading it. It explained how our bodies are perfectly designed to give birth and how medical intervention is not needed in such a natural process. I realised that my view of giving birth was based on what I had read in the media, watching too many episodes of ‘One Born Every Minute’ and fear stories from friend and relatives. Once I realised it didn’t need to be that way and changed the way I was thinking I wasn’t fearful of birth anymore.
I researched pain relief and decided to buy a tens machine which would release natural endorphins during the birth. The book also mentioned that it was my choice whether to have a stretch and sweep. I always believed that this was a routine process and had never heard of anyone refusing one so I decided to research it further. I found out that having a stretch and sweep is classed as an intervention and can lead to further interventions whilst giving birth. Therefore when I was offered a stretch and sweep (surprisingly even before my actual due date) I decided against having it in order to try and avoid further interventions.
At my 40 week appointment my midwife stated I would need to book an induction at my next appointment (41 weeks) due to the hospital often being fully booked. I was also made aware that if I ended up having a full induction I would be unable to give birth in the midwife led unit I had my heart set on but would need to be in hospital. I had not been told this before so this appointment made me very worried about being medically induced. Once I reached 40 weeks I researched natural induction techniques. After sifting through a wide range of techniques (eating pineapple/spicy food and/or drinking raspberry leaf tea!!! etc etc) the one that stood out to be and made most sense was going for a long walk each day (well as long as I could manage at 40 weeks!). This technique works because the movement of the babies head against the cervix as you walk releases oxytocin and rising levels of oxytocin cause contractions to start. Unlike the synthetic oxytocin used in a medical induction as your body produces this oxytocin naturally it leads to a more natural labour.
I was feeling relaxed about giving birth. But I was also still a bit apprehensive as this was my first child. So I listened to a hypnobirthing track designed to reduce the fear of birth twice daily, meditated and also used visualisations designed for when you are overdue.
This reinforced my trust in my body and I knew that my baby would come when he was ready. At 41 weeks and 1 day I went into labour naturally and my son was born after 12 hours of labour in a midwife led unit. As planned I only used tens for pain relief and had my hypnobirthing tracks playing constantly. At one point during the final stages of the birth one of my headphones fell out of my ear, this was the point I absolutely knew hypnobirthing was working as I felt my heart rate rise however as soon as my earphone was back in I felt an immediate sense of relief.