The empowering birth of Abhisheka using self-hypnosis. This story also illustrates the importance of feeling in control of your surroundings and being able to give your complete attention to the birth.
ABHISHEKA born 13 July 2001
It was three weeks before the due date for the arrival of my second baby. At the end of the self-hypnosis class, when Gowri made a comment about being as ‘relaxed and ready for the birth as Uma’, I was a little surprised, because I was about to start maternity leave and felt I needed another three weeks to chill out before the baby arrived, and I didn’t really feel too relaxed at all, because our household had been through a stressful period of conflict between myself and my mother in law.
But in fact Gowri was right about being ‘ready for the baby’ because I immediately felt rather weird on the journey back to Brixton, and the first contractions I pottered about, packing up the recycling and breathing low into my belly – just as we’d been doing in that evening’s class. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was still in the trance state that I had been in during the class, because as the contractions grew stronger I simply felt more relaxed and easeful. Everything was perfectly fine, and I was easily slipping into a quiet trance state with every contraction for a couple more hours.
At about 1 am my husband called our midwives, just to let them know things had been ticking along nicely since nine that evening, but that I was still relaxed enough to chat to them on the phone. They were soon round, and by about half past two it seemed as if the baby was ready to be born. But just at that time, our older son woke up with teething pain and cried out for his mummy – on reflection I think we should simply have brought him down, but at the time that’s not what we had planned, and so first of all his uncle went into comfort him, and then my husband went up to be with him for about two hours – and downstairs the whole labouring process magically seemed to slow right down. Until four am the contractions continued, but here was no sign of the baby arriving.
By the time my husband came back down and my brother had finally settled our older son, I was feeling tired and a bit bemused about what was going on. Our wonderful Brierly midwives (a team from King’s College Hospital who specialise in home births) were as bemused as we were about how things had slowed up completely. In retrospect, it seems clear that my concerns for my older son, and the residual stress and anxiety over the conflicts with my mother in law were hindering the progress of labour. In fact, although I didn’t speak at all through the labour, and just kept on with quiet yoga breathing and self-hypnosis, the only words I used at all were a single sentence expressing my vehement feelings about my husband’s mother!
I continued to use the self-hypnosis techniques throughout, and rested well between the contractions, always feeling peaceful and quiet. By six am it was clear that we needed a little more rest, and so we settled down quietly – relaxing with the self hypnosis through the contractions, which were still coming regularly.
After a couple of hour’s rest in this way, the midwives felt that labour had slowed so much that it probably was wise for them to leave, but whilst we still discussing this, my brother took my older son out to the park. The sound of the front door closing, together with the sight of the midwives with their jackets on, ready to leave seemed to re-start the labour immediately. I stood up to say goodbye to the midwives, my waters broke quite explosively and gushed out. So the midwives took their jackets off, sat down and I knelt forwards, holding onto my husband. From that point onwards there were only a few contractions as the baby moved down and out.
The birthing stage was rapid – Abhi’s head was born after only a couple of big contractions, and then his body followed straight out ten seconds later. He weighed eight pounds and four ounces and was in fine health. No tears or grazes – I felt completely comfortable afterwards, and still calm and focused as I had been throughout the labour.
So thank you Gowri for the self-hypnosis – the birthing experience was really empowering – a magical time of quiet and and gentle focus.