Whether you’re a mum-to-be who is looking forward to a natural, drug free birth or an anaesthesised hospital delivery, one thing’s for sure: you know that you can never fully predict what labour and delivery will be like.
One mum shares how the surprising and unexpected way she gave birth turned out to be the birth story she never knew she always wanted.
“As a hypnobirthing practitioner, I was prepared for no matter what my path my birth journey took. I had no fear surrounding the process. I was well educated about the birth process as physiological event and this gave me the confidence to trust birth,” Melissa Ayling recounts to theAsianparent in an interview.
Hypnobirthing is a childbirth method that makes use of self-hypnosis as well as other techniques – music, visualisation, positive thinking – to relax and prepare a mum-to-be physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is done to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain during the birthing process.
Even though her training as a hypnobirthing practitioner prepared her, Melissa admits that she also had some anxiety.
“I was worried that I would have someone that would not honour my birth preferences and that I would always have to be sticking up for myself instead of being able to go inwards and birth my baby,” she shares, though this was quickly replaced by a calm and sense of trust that she could handle a drug free birth.
How her beautiful drug free birth began
On the morning when she was 39 weeks along, she had early signs of labour. Knowing it was the day she was going to give birth, she listened to birth affirmations and did “little rituals” to ease her anxiety. Though giving birth in a hospital wasn’t her first choice, she ultimately wanted a happy and peaceful birth environment.
She and her husband Sam even headed to the beach, which eased her into labour. With each ocean wave, her contractions began to ebb and flow. Sam went for a quick surf and she recalled being wholly present in the beautiful moment.
When they went back home to eat and alleviate the discomfort of her contractions, she tried to visualise her baby rotating, as she had been told the baby was in a posterior position.
photo courtesy of Melissa Ayling
Using her wisdom as a hypnobirthing practitioner, she braced herself for a drug free birth as labour intensified
“I used my hypnobirthing tools and my own intuition to comfort myself and stay calm,” she recalls. “I was overall able to believe in myself and my innate wisdom and strengths as a woman.”
After her husband took a nap and read to her a little bit, she realised they could not delay any longer.
“Then it happened. The strongest and longest surge I had had so far. It ended up being the most intense one of my entire labour and birth,” she writes in a heartfelt blog entry, adding how she believes this intense surge helped her baby turn into a better birthing position.
Calm and the overwhelming urge to ‘bear down’ took over
The contractions intensified as her fear of being in labour for days grew.
When panic set in, she tried to think of a warm bath, which induced positive thoughts. This technique is one way hypnobirthing works.
Melissa’s husband then called the hospital and loaded all their stuff in the car.
After he lined the seat with a garbage bag, Melissa felt the intense need to “bear down.” She knew the baby was coming at any minute.
As she bent over the reclined passenger seat, her water broke and continued to gush as her husband drove.
The hospital was twenty minutes away, but she feared they wouldn’t make it.
Photo courtesy of Melissa Ayling, just minutes after she gave birth!
On the way to the hospital, she gave birth to their second child in the passenger seat
As they were on the way to the hospital, Melissa asked her husband to stop the car along a quiet road nearby. She knew that it was time. As her drug free birth progressed, she recalls telling her husband that he was going to have to catch their baby.
Soon, a calm washed over her as her baby crowned. She felt calm and connected to herself.
“The intensity of the surges had decreased. My baby was nearly fully crowned and I was completely relaxed. I didn’t move except when my intuition told me to nudge a little here or bend my knees a little,” she writes in the blog, marvelling at how amazing the experience was. She credits the powerful wisdom of her body.
“Intuition is real. Trust it, love it and enjoy the experience,” she urges fellow mums. As her baby was leaving her womb, she felt him stop briefly. Her baby let out his first cry and wiggled out of her. “Amazingly birthing himself!” says Melissa, who then let gravity do the rest.
“(My husband) just held his hands out and received the baby. That’s all he did!” she tells theAsianparent, crediting him for being a great father. “He was just as prepared for my car birth then me as he had done my hypnobirthing classes and I cover this exact scenario.”
photo courtesy of Melissa Ayling
Thanks to birth videos and hypnobirthing classes, her husband Sam remained cool and collected throughout the drug free birth process. “He always puts his family first. He also is very supportive of my career. A real hands on dad. Literally,” she says, laughing.
A bystander, who was a mum of five, offered to help catch the little one while Sam called out to a little girl nearby to ask her mum to call an ambulance.
How hypnobirthing helped her bring both her children out into the world
photo courtesy of Melissa Ayling
“It was rushed when I first got to the hospital. I think they had prepared themselves for someone to be traumatised after my car birth. It took them a while to actually realise I was quite calm and excited about how my birth went,” she tells us.
“Once the doctor had read my preferences I felt everyone back away and ‘allowed’ me to be the boss. I owned my birth.” When she gave birth to their first child Jarvis, who is now four years old, hypnobirthing also helped her through labour. In fact, it set her on her present career path.
“His birth is what inspired me to then become a hypnobirthing practitioner. I believe that birth is one of the heights of human experience,” marvels the mum of two.
“Nature wants us to meet our babies full of oxytocin and love. Not adrenaline and fear,” she emphasises in closing. “I now help other women believe in themselves and feel heard, supported and informed. Birth is transformational. Us women are made up of the strong stuff. I want to remind women of this and help them find it.”
Sources: Hypnobirthing Geraldton, Mayo Clinic
READ THIS ALSO: Hypnobirthing – pain free delivery for Singapore mums