I was raised by parents who have strong beliefs in Reiki, Feng Shui, Meditation and the power of the universe; so when Linzi, a family friend, mentioned that she knew someone who was looking for a couple to take a hypnobirthing course, I mentioned it to Charlotte, not expecting that she’d go for it. To my surprise, she had been doing some research into hypnobirthing, and so we jumped at the opportunity and booked in with Jo and Becca.
Almost instantly, I recognised a lot in hypnobirthing; techniques and tools that my parents had always instilled in me. But alongside this, I learned so much more; about how the human body works (the balloon analogy video blew my mind!) and how our birth was our choice. I had always assumed, like I’m sure is the case for many people, that the doctor’s word is final, and you must follow a series of laid out steps – do everything by the book.
Turns out, that couldn’t be further from the truth, and that book? Out the window.
The classes gave us so much confidence. Charlotte, in particular, gained so much knowledge and power from them. Over the next few weeks and months, Charlotte began believing in herself and her body so much more. It wasn’t just the pregnancy, though. She seemed generally calmer, and more serene – her general wellbeing seemed to sky rocket, and I honestly believe it’s as a result of these classes. Charlotte has a tendency to worry – a symptom of her anxiety disorder – but after hypnobirthing, there was a clear shift in her mindset.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the picturesque home water birth we hoped for; the kind we saw in some of the videos. But our birth experience is testament to the quality of our classes. The skills we both learned enabled us to stand up for our birth experience – which proved essential, as we were tested time and time again.
We were told Charlotte ‘had’ to be under consultant care before we began these classes. All of these appointments felt sterile, and unnecessary; during the third one, when the consultant once again said ‘I’m not sure if we’ve met’, we made the right decision for us, and politely declined the care.
Then, one night, shortly before our EDD, Charlotte gave me the nod… “Oscar, I think something is happening!’ I was so excited. Charlotte managed to have some time in the birth pool we had set up at home, which was great for her; she is a water baby through and through and it helped her to feel calm.
Rufus had other plans though; six days of community midwives coming out to the house, trips back and forth from hospital, misdiagnosed dilation, difficult decisions… but ultimately, the safe arrival of our beautiful son.
Without practicing hypnobirthing, I truly believe we wouldn’t have been able to make the difficult decisions we had to, in the best way for us and our baby. I witnessed Charlotte overcome and push back against what was dictated to us. She followed her own body and her own intuition and it proved to be right. I found the confidence to stand up to consultants when they made decisions for Charlotte without asking her and told us bare-faced lies (like ‘Oh you’ll still be able to move about if you have an epidural…)
We were supported in our hypnobirthing wishes by the amazing midwifes, in the community and hospital. They backed our choices, informed us throughout and helped bat away forceful consultants. They were so caring and it really felt like they were there for us.
On the morning that Rufus was born, we were faced with the hardest decision we’ve had to make – induction and a further 4-6 hour waiting game, or emergency caesarean. We decided to have an EMCS. While it wasn’t the birth either of us had imagined, it was our choice. We asked our questions (using BRAIN), we made sure we were both happy and we considered what was right for us. We decided that, as Rufus was safe and calm and happy at that point (definitely down to the hypnobirthing!) we decided that 6 days was enough and we were ready to help him along his way.
Witnessing everything Charlotte went through, I believe I did my part and stayed strong in all the decisions and trusted in her understanding of her own body. Often, birth can be an isolating experience both for the mother and the birth partner – but hypnobirthing brought us both together. I felt my role was important, rather than being a spare part – I knew I had to champion Charlotte throughout, keeping her in the right zone, without distraction or stress and helping her to make the right choices. We have ended up with the kindest, happiest little giggler imaginable, so I know we did everything right, and I can only thank Jo and Becca for giving us the tools we needed to achieve it.