Just like every other birth story, I want to share mine with you hoping to inspire you and be excited about BIRTH! Yes, giving birth should not be something to be scared off. When I found out I was pregnant of course I was petrified and worried how am I going to get a baby out down there!! I knew I had some serious work to do on my mental health and prepare my body for these upcoming big changes. My midwife provided some guidance and was there if I had questions and supportive throughout my whole pregnancy. Living in the UK & having the NHS is truly a blessing. Their job is so rewarding and I salute the key workers in our country. However, there are some important things you are not told about. Such as how your core muscles will literally support and after birth you may have diastasis recti and what to do to bring them back together, how you will bleed for two weeks, your period might not come for a year, your pelvic floor and how you need to exercise to keep everything tucked in and start the healing process from inside (pelvic floor) etc. (I will be posting all about this in the future)
Hypnobirthing just made sense and it took away all my fears about birth. It shouldn’t be something we are afraid of. Nurses would tell me “your body is meant for this” “you can do it, millions of women have done it before you”. As grateful as I am to live in a country where we have free healthcare, the NHS is underfunded and the staff don’t have the time to baby spoon feed us all the information unless we ask. But I didn’t know what type of questions to ask! I just wanted to have general knowledge about pregnancy and birth. Doing all the research was so interesting to me. I was entering a new world and loving it at the same time.
My daughter was born during a pandemic and almost 5 months of my pregnancy was during COVID. I wasn’t really worried or scared about the situation. I just focused on looking after my health and doing the best I can to be understanding of the situation. What I mean by that is I wouldn’t get annoyed at anything or anyone because of COVID, I had less appointments, no chance of me attending natal workshops etc. I couldn’t see my midwife, some check ups were done over the phone. Actually, if it wasn’t for COVID I would have never considered a home birth. Funny eh? When I found out that birth at the hospital only allows one person in with you when your close to giving birth, I was like nah I need my family and husband with me from when my water breaks till the last push.
As you know, there is so much information out there and it can be overwhelming. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with information I didn’t need to process or thinking I need to know every information out there. At the beginning, this is what I started doing and it started giving me anxiety and I felt overwhelmed. In the end, I stuck to two main sources where I got most of my information from and practiced my breathing during my last trimester. I trusted these guys who I talk about below because I was practicing their method and it was working. I was super chilled and felt like I was prepared.
I had followed pregnancy related instagram accounts thinking that one day I will find this useful (anyone else do that?). I knew about hypnobirthing but not in detail. I looked more and more into it, purchased one book and the only book I read was “Hypnobirthing: Practical ways to make your birth better” by Siobhan Miller. The positive birth company have a youtube channel and ig that I followed and watched their workshops on breathing exercises, meditation, breastfeeding, and so on. I really wanted to give birth in water. The hospital closest to my house only had 2 or 3 & it’s you and your luck on having one available for you. So I started looking into hiring a birth pool to install at home. I found one online (this was so difficult because of COVID, a lot of women were giving birth at home lol) but I got lucky and someone cancelled their order and I was next on the waiting list. It was meant to be😊. It was a super easy process and once you’re done with it and you have deflated it back in the box you ring them for pick up!
Here are some of the reasons why I wanted to give birth in water;
– Water birth speeds up your birth (I was in the water for 45 mins only and within that 45 mins my daughter was born).
– It is a major pain relief so you won’t need an epidural (gas and air is good enough).
– When you’re in the water you are able to move and not lay on your back, this helps with the baby descend down the birth canal.
– The warm water helps your vaginal muscle relax, lowering the chances of severe vaginal tears.
Gravity will help you so much. Do not lay on your back. Think about it, you see animals on their all fours using gravity to help them deliver their babies, why should we lay on our back when it makes sense to be forward and upright?
Positive affirmations works!! Don’t doubt that… hype yourself up. Wire your brain to be positive and that no matter what happens you are still a superwoman for allowing your body to grow another human and delivering him safely into this world. You’ve done all the prep you can do and prepared yourself for your reality that anything could happen. Its about having balanced thoughts that your birth might go according to your plan but it also might not, your baby might breech, your way over due and you need to be induced (not a bad thing), and so on.
What Hypnobirthing did for me?
It taught me how to be calm about my pregnancy and to be calm during the birth of my baby.
It installed only positive thoughts around my baby and the birth experience to come.
It taught me breathing techniques when I’m in labour and how my breath will work with my muscles to get the baby out (no pushing required). If you think about it all you need to do is breath because your muscles are contracting and what they need is oxygen and blood supply. The flow of the breath is essential here. Breath IN for 4 OUT for 6.
It provided SO MUCH general knowledge about pregnancy, not just hypnobirthing. All about C-section (your abdominal muscles are not sliced through), different types of pain relief, side affects, recover time. Every scenario, method, and technique is in this book. Which is why I love it, i don’t have to look anywhere else for more information, it is all there. With positive affirmations, positive birth stories, detailed chapters about all the different types of birth.
It gives you hope and confidence that you can have THE most amazing birthing experience no matter what the outcome is (natural birth, c section, vaginal birth, scheduled c section, scheduled induction).
It prepared me mentally and physically for what was about to happen to my body. Everything you need to know is in this book. I highly recommend it!
There is also lots of helpful information about your 4th Trimester!
THE POSITIVE BIRTH COMPANY (book linked here)
This book I read had everything I needed to know and I just worked from that information. I loved that in the book there was written positive birth stories of other women and that opened my mind that there are positive birthing experience out there and not the way it usually is painted in movies or in my family for that matter where a women is screaming her head off and that giving birth is a very scary thing. Let me tell you something, I gave birth to my first baby, and after getting all cleaned up and crying because of the intensity of emotions. I looked at my husband and I said “I wanna do that again. JUST LIKE THAT!” Don’t get me wrong, it was SO painful, at one point for like 30 secs I thought I was going to die but only because I lost control of my breath that was keeping me calm, I was making weird noises and the whole 45 mins (the second stage) was so intense and difficult but I took back control with my hubby pushing me through holding me, motivating me, telling me all the positive things I needed to hear in that moment. It was just insanely awesome. I felt really empowered and positive about my whole pregnancy and the birth which is something you don’t hear often. When I spoke about this feeling I almost felt guilty that I had a positive birth. But we shouldn’t feel guilty for this, and this should be what we hear more of. I believe hypnobirthing provides you with the right tools to use during labour for a smooth delivery. Can you believe that I didn’t scream?!! My two last contractions I didn’t push. I just breathed her out, literally!!
I had my partner be that person for me to bring me back and let me know I got this! But you can have anyone be there for you, a friend, a family member, your midwife.
I did ask my mum for guidance about her birth experience but she had 3 caesareans and that wasn’t an option for me. I was trying my best for a natural vaginal delivery. Manifesting my thoughts and picturing myself in the water having a fun time lol. She thought I was crazy and she told me she was ‘too posh to push’ I feel like that should be a slogan on a t-shirt lol. Back home and especially in the middle east, doctors push women to have c section since its more money for them. This is one of the reasons why I decided to share my story hoping that women and especially arab women feel confident enough to go through a vaginal birth if willing and able.
Because of COVID limiting everything; YouTube was a great platform I used to find helpful information about pregnancy, pre/post natal exercises, breastfeed, expressing your milk and videos such as that. I would look up an easy yoga flow for pregnant women on YouTube to help with breathing, baby positioning, pelvic flooring exercises (very important to do this when your pregnant and after). There was one midwife (doula, cause she’s from America SF) who has lots of videos on literally everything you need to know, from how to induce labour naturally, breastfeeding tips, what labour feels like (a big poo lol I know but it actually does) & a very important video to watch on how your partner can help ease your pain during labour and demonstrations on what he can do. Check her channel out here Bridget Taylor: Doula. Get your partners involved or someone you trust.
I should mention that obviously sometimes your birth doesn’t go to plan and complications arise from nowhere and you have to do what you have to do to get your baby out safely and not put the baby or you in danger. No matter what way the baby comes out, it is still an amazing achievement to be proud of. It should be an experience that you aren’t traumatised from. Women who give birth naturally are not better or should receive an Oscar award. NO! Women surviving 9 months of growing another human then going into labour for hours and days whether it was caesarean, natural or not. They are still amazing super heroes who are going to heaven! For some it is the only option because of complications or health related issues but what hypnobirthing teaches you is that no matter what; you can and should have a positive mindset and attitude towards birth. Thats what I love about it. It prepares you mentally that no matter what happens, it will be okay and your experience should be empowering and the rebirth of you as well as birthing a new lil tiny cute baby.
My personal advice for you is to prepare for every possible scenario that could happen during your birth. As well as educating yourself on all the terminology, what type of pain relief you would like, what the effects of it is, how you want to set the scene of your delivery room, what each method is – c-section, being induced, natural, epidural, having a sweep and so on. Obviously, it is good to have your birth plan and sticking to it and praying that it will all go to your plan but also be prepared it might not. AND that it is okay if it doesn’t go to plan, once you’ve prepared yourself mentally that changes may happen you will be able to deal with it all in a calmer way.
The narrative needs to change about birth and the positives needs to be discussed more. The negativity surrounding the topic of birth is NOT based on data either. So that is something to keep in mind. Despite the pain, it shouldn’t feel wrong to have enjoyed the physicality of birth. It is an amazing thing to go through and probably the most empowering for a woman, so let’s talk about that more.