Hailing from New Zealand, I had never met Pip in person, but she was referred to the Relax Into Birth Hypnobirthing course by a dear South African friend of hers, who had also completed the course a few years earlier. She was so excited to share her story with me after she had given birth, because the techniques had been so helpful. Here is her letter to me after her birth.
I just wanted to give you an update on how I have been doing and let you know our little baby girl “Niamh” arrived safely with us in hospital at 10.07am on the 8th May 2020 at 6 Ib 15 oz and we are all doing great! I am sorry I haven’t been in contact sooner – I just wanted to sit down when I had some time to fill you in properly. I have emailed you because if I sent you a voice over on whats app I would be in tears!
Just to give you some background on myself, I had extreme anxiety about labour for as long as I can remember and this soon got worse when I became pregnant. To give you an example I had previously passed out from getting cervical smears done and I am just not good with that kind of stuff! – ironic really considering I am a horse vet!
You couldn’t have come at a better time for me as the anxiety was getting the better of me as time progressed. I remember around 26 weeks in tears at my midwife appointment feeling completely overwhelmed and not knowing what to expect. I spoke to my dear friend Felicity Meek who put me in touch with you. As soon as I started listening to your affirmations and then doing your course from around 33 weeks my mind set started to change and I began to relax ! Your course allowed me to understand the process but in a way that wasn’t scary but beautiful, something to look forward and that my body was going to do it! I had no idea how powerful hypnobirthing could be but it was the best thing I could have done to prepare myself ! I can not thank you enough Charlene – you are incredible and what an amazing birthing experience you and your course have given me.
Now for the gorey details………… well there aren’t any! Haha! I went into latent labour on the 4th May ( my due date) with mild contractions every 10-20 mins for about 20 seconds in length on / off through to the 7th May when the contractions gradually got stronger and longer. I had a “Show” over this time too which I admit did freak me out a bit but I had your voice saying “Show time!” in my head which helped to ground me and stop me panicking.
I laboured at home for as long as possible and made a wonderful area in my sitting room with candles, diffuser with lavender oil, exercise ball, cushions, fairy lights etc …. with my husband, 2 dogs and my favourite movies on.
It was really beautiful and my husband was absolutely amazing using some of your massage techniques on my lower back and making sure I was eating/drinking. I used a water colour painting of a lotus flower to remember your affirmations and a colour card to look at to help me focus on the rainbow breathing technique. During contractions I would also think about your lovely knitted uterus which helped me visualise and understand what mine was doing!
By the 7th May from 6pm the contractions got stronger and lasted longer until I was getting contractions every 3-4 minutes lasting a minute by midnight – I was in/out of the bath at this point which helped a lot.
We made our way to the hospital at this point and got screened at the entrance for COVID-19. We entered the maternity ward and the corridors were lined with pastel balloons and fairy lights which was wonderful! I was examined (I was apprehensive about the examination) and found to be 8 cm dilated. My waters broke at this point – I was delighted thinking ” not long to go now!”
I went into a bath and my husband and midwife set up some led candles and my affirmation cards. I stayed in the bath from about 2 am to 6 am . I was examined a few times and found to be 10 cm by 4 am but my contractions started to get weaker and further apart. I got out of the bath and tried sitting on a squatting stool but that didn’t really bring things on.
Up to this point everything was 100 % perfect but I started to feel anxious and willing for more intense contractions! I was examined by an Obstetrician at 6.30 am – he was astounded that I had no pain relief and I remember the midwife saying proudly “she’s using hypnobirthing!” The obstetrician confirmed with the midwife that all was well with baby and there was no reason why she shouldn’t come through my pelvis.
It was discussed with me to go on a Pitocin drip to get contractions going. My platelets were low so it was not recommended to have an epidural, but I remember feeling so exhausted and the thought of pain relief sounded good! Your affirmations grounded me through this process and helped me focus and I just continued to breath, eyes closed and I just went into myself. Once the drip was in and monitor put on baby head I was allowed go on 4’s on the bed. The contractions came – I took gas as I found them heaps stronger than my own ones but I could tell we were making great progress. I remember feeling my baby head turn and pop through my cervix. An incredibly visceral and alive feeling I had – I think I shouted out “Fecking hell!!!” and “How close are we now?”
Then I felt the wee burn feeling and I remember thinking “We are nearly there!” My midwife got me on my back at this point, one of my legs was wrapped around her neck. I couldn’t believe how much pushing I had to do along with the contractions. She got me to really push with my breath. At this point I remember taps going on and her telling me try not to push at the moment. She was putting hot flannels on me. Then the last contraction came and she warned me she may give me an episiotomy (I didn’t care at that point !) but she didn’t have to in the end and Niamh’s head came out followed shortly by the rest of her and up she went onto my chest – total magic!!!
My husband Josh cut the cord and she stayed on my chest for an hour. I got a small superficial tear that was stitched (about an inch or so long), but that was it. I passed the afterbirth and I remember the umbilical cord some how slid up between my bum cheeks and I said “Guys – the cord is giving me a wedgey!” , then I proceeded to wiggle around on the bed trying to pull it out.
I walked out of the delivery room an hour later feeling completely elated and so proud of myself. I had a beautiful and empowering birth experience and when one of my fears of having interventions occurred I was able to process and deal with it thanks to you and your course.
So Charlene, I can not thank you enough. Every first time mum should be doing this as it has honestly helped me beyond belief. I really think it should be offered to all expectant mums at their first midwife/doctors appointment. A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Love from Pip.
Want to find out more about Relax Into Birth Hypnobirthing? Enjoy a more comfortable, empowered birth and click below to enroll and find out more. Relax Into Birth is an Online Birth Preparation Course, of international standard, teaching women and their partners Hypnobirthing techniques and deep relaxation methods for a more comfortable and manageable birth experience at home or at hospital, for natural or caeasarean birth.