The Ideal Birth
When it comes to Hypnobirthing, I naively held the notion that the ideal birth is a water birth at home with no pain relief. And this is what we had with our first born, Imogen. So I walked around with that badge of pride that my wife and I had “succeeded” when it comes to having babies. High fives all round.
It wasn’t until I heard the words “Your baby is transverse” at our 40 week scan (during our second pregnancy) that my previous notions were truly challenged. It became clear that Debs was probably going to have to have a c-section…major surgery.
I didn’t show it at the time but I was scared. I was scared for my wife and for our unborn son. I was scared that everything I had learnt through the Wise Hippo hypnobirthing would be useless and that I would feel utterly helpless.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
A Waiting Game
We were consulted about our options and I used the BRAINS questioning technique. I asked every question I could think of. As the birth partner I took charge and made sure we had all of the info. We opted for an elective c-section. It seemed like the most obvious option for us that would ensure that Debs and I could have as close to the birth we wanted as possible.
So we waited for our slot.
It was in this period of waiting that I realised I could still be of use. I used the birth partner script to keep Debs calm and prevent any bouts of stress and worry. I took her to her relaxing place when the cannula was being put in, and out, and in again (luckily not in quick succession). I used the soothing strokes to allow Debs to feel calm and relaxed and to get as comfortable as she could be.
I felt like I was helping, and it seemed to be working. This Wise Hippo hypnobirthing stuff is great!
The Time Had Come
After 48 hours of waiting for a slot to arrive we were informed that we were to go and be prepped for surgery. A flood of relief came to us both as we knew that we were going to meet our little man (Noah) by the end of the day. Which is something that we had both been surprised at – how nice it is to know when your baby is going to arrive! We knew that we’d be holding the newest love of our lives within the hour. Quite magical really.
So I was given some scrubs (selfie time) and Debs was given her backless gown (no jokes please) and we sat and waited for the theatre to become free. I took this time to put our skills to good use and ‘hypnobirthed’ her to the max; relaxing place, soothing strokes, count downs etc.
The midwife then informed us, “Ok guys here we go”.
Here’s Where the Magic Happens
When I think back to Debs’ c-section I have nothing but sheer admiration, love and respect for her and I’m sure any loving husband who has been in the same situation would agree – it is some pretty major surgery and all these amazing women (Debs included) make it look like a walk in the park.
In the operating theatre Debs and I actually had a great time, I was cracking jokes left right and centre and was actually told to stop because of Debs laughing they couldn’t do the spinal easily. My bad, I rely on humour when I am nervous.
We had our vision board up (photos of debs relaxing place and affirmations) and had our relaxing music playing. I was as close to Debs as I could be, constantly talking to her, reassuring her, telling her how amazing she was, telling her I loved her – all the while Debs was practicing her breathing techniques.
It seemed like only moments went by between entering the theatre and my son appearing from behind the sheets and being taken to the ‘clean up area’. I quickly rushed over to see him and burst into tears. Tears of love, happiness and great relief. Noah was brought over to Debs so she could have skin to skin and I continued helping her remain calm and relaxed whilst they stitched her back up.
The operation went really well thanks to the amazing team we had at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Now having had some time to reflect on both the “ideal” birth of our daughter and the “not so ideal” birth (in circumstance alone) of our son I can honestly say that the hypnobirthing techniques I learnt really came into their own during the c-section and were more helpful to me in the more stressful environment of hospital and theatre.
Not only did we feel completely in control the whole time but I felt a part of the birth of our son and felt like I was integral to Debs giving birth in as calm and relaxed way as possible.
Yes, I was wrong to think that anything other than a drug-free, home birth wasn’t ideal. What I know now is that the tools I learnt through the Wise Hippo taught me to deal with any birthing situation and taught me that every birth is an amazing and wonderful thing to be celebrated by all, C-section or no.
Hypnobirthing has enabled my wife and I to have two completely different births and in both we felt completely in control, and that we were able to have the right birth on the day.
Did we feel in control? Yes.
Did we remain calm? Yes.
Did I use the tools I learnt in hypnobirthing classes? You bet I did.
What would I say to Dads feeling a little unsure of doing these classes:
If you want to help your wife through the entire labour and birth, if you want to feel a big part of it all, if you want to feel in control of any given situation and feel confident and relaxed knowing that you have made the right decision on the day then hypnobirthing is for you.