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  • Terri B-R

 

One of the most raw, honest, and powerful birth stories you will ever read! Hannah goes in to some amazing detail with regard to all aspects of her journey - from antenatal fears, hypnobirthing and being sceptical, through to having to dig deeper than ever before to calmly and confidently bringing her baby in to the world.. What you are about to read is all Hannah's own words, but before you begin I would like like to say a huge thank you to Hannah and Patrick for allowing me to share their experience to inspire and empower others. Enjoy!!

 

 

“So this is what I call a gloves off testimonial - it may not be all rosy but is the truth.

Before Birth in February 2019 I fell pregnant with my daughter Malani Belle, me and Patrick had planned this pregnancy, so I was pretty in tune with everything that was going on. After announcing I was pregnant at 12 weeks suddenly, I had this huge worry and panic that I was going to have to deliver my baby sounds ridiculous how else did I think this would happen?! But the fear that set in was unbearable every day felt like every minute I was worrying and panicking about birth, making up scenarios in my head of bad things happening, pain that's unbearable and so on and so on. I didn't tell anyone about this not even really Patrick I would say I am scared but not how scared I was. I couldn't bear the thought of this anymore so I did some research, I am a person who needs to be organised and have everything planned, Yes, you can't plan for a birth BUT you can be prepared. All we see on social media and TV is how bad Birthing is I couldn't deal with it.

 

I found out about Hypnobirthing and honestly at first I was thinking this isn't for me I hate meditation or anything like that hate is a strong word maybe dislike I have such an overactive mind I don't like sitting there and being “calm” so reading about breathing your baby down and visualisation etc I was thinking you are having a laugh! Anyway, there was something I was drawn to, so I ordered a book called “Your Birth Your Baby” I started reading this and instantly I knew I had found something for me. Immediately me and Patrick read this book together and started talking about how we wanted to do Hypnobirthing to help me and him deliver our baby. Whilst we started reading this book, I researched local Hypnobirthing and came across Cornwall Hypnobirthing, I got in touch with Terri and booked a private Hypnobirthing course for me and Patrick. I want to add here that we also went to free antenatal classes but no disrespect to our health care they do an amazing job, but these classes were shocking! I left wanting to cry as they joked about you will NEED pain relief and YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP. I sat through a 3 hour class and was hoping to feel educated but I left feeling disheartened and worried. I just knew we just had to do this ourselves.

 

When we met Terri and also started reading the “Hypnobirthing book” which she recommended as this is the original Hypnobirthing book. I started to feel in control and not as scared anymore. Hypnobirthing really taught us both how to stay calm, control my breathing and use certain techniques to help during the lead up to birth and birth itself. Terri is an amazing person and really helped me start to understand the process of birth. Again I am a person who needs to know everything step by step and this may sound ridiculous again but I had no idea how the uterus worked and how the oxytocin hormone really worked in labour. I honestly had no idea how amazing the body was and how we were made to do this. We don't get taught this EVER! Understanding how the body worked and how I can control certain elements at birth made me feel like I can do this.

 

What Terri also introduced for us was that it wasn't just me anymore Patrick had a huge roll to play and he pretty much would be in control on the day. At first I was thinking yeah right I am a control freak that won't be happening, but the more I learned, the more I understood that Patrick had a real role to play it made sense, understanding that he was there to make sure I was okay and all I had to do was focus on me was amazing. It really made us bond more than ever before it's such a special thing to have your partner part of the pregnancy and birth, I couldn't believe the relief I felt that he understood the whole process and that he would be there and calm knowing what to do at each step I felt empowered.

 

So, in summary doing our homework and doing the hypnobirthing course with Terri and really understanding the body and what happens in birth I started to be a lot more calmer. What we were also taught is what happens medically in hospital if certain things do or don't happen in birth which again made me feel more at ease as I now knew what each process was from having medical intervention to none and knowing what rights I have as a mother, the fact you don't need to go on the same steam train into the medical route again. This route may be the best way for you and is absolutely right, but me personally I don't do well in medical environments.

 

Me and Patrick decided that we wanted a water birth and to not have any drugs (all being well), again people asked me about this and would smirk and say “oh yeah just you wait”, which quite frankly really pissed me off - what happened for one person doesn't mean it will happen to me! But this made me doubt everything I was learning and scared me even more. I am grateful for certain friends and family who gave me honest experiences and were so supportive of this way. I would stay quiet when people used to share horror stories with me. As a mother I would never do that to someone - we need to be supportive with words.

 

So in the lead up to birth I had no complications, I was training and feeling great, we carried on practising our hypnobirthing techniques to help me get as prepared as I can - I will add here I still had doubts in my mind and I still had fear present but underneath from what Terri taught us I knew it would be ok. I have a massive thankyou to Terri she is a super kind and caring person who really did make my pregnancy and birth so much better than I ever expected it to be coming across her and really being taught with care was the whole part of this amazing experience. Terri’s knowledge is incredible I just wanted to wrap her up and keep her in my pocket. I can not express how valuable this course with her is. No matter what route you want to choose medical or non medical this course will help all mothers, fathers or birth partners.

 

The Birth - learning from our Hypnobirthing course to write a birthing plan we wrote 2 plans, the first plan was how I wanted to birth Malani in the birth pool etc no drugs. The second plan was what I wanted to happen if we had to have medical intervention. In a nutshell we had planned a water birth at Treliske where we had made a playlist for us to have a calm, relaxing music on, we had got some aromatherapy oils to have in a diffuser. We had all these little things to help make the birth a calm relaxing environment and birth plan at the ready, we felt ready. As my due date approached again I had self-doubt whether I could do this etc, but this is where Patrick really helped and started to go through our Hypnobirthing techniques which consisted of a light touch massage- this was like a soft tickle but honestly it worked wonders used to calm me down and I would relax and fall asleep.

 

D-Day Monday 1st December around 3am - I woke up with what can only be described as intense period pains in my back, I got up and walked around and got back into bed. Patrick was up at 5am for work and I stayed in bed. Shortly after I got up as the pain had not subsided. Around 8am what can only be described as waves started to happen which were like period pains but a little more intense but only in my back and lower tummy. They started to come more regularly and last around 30 secs at this point I started to time them and they were around 8 mins apart I knew I was having contractions, I called the midwife to check if I was having them as I still didn't know if I was or not. She said it sounded like they had started. By this time it's around 10am and Patrick was due back from work. Throughout the day we recorded the contractions and they were getting closer and longer. Around 5pm they were 4 mins apart and quite intense so we called the midwife who said we could go down to the birth centre so off we went bags packed in the car, for the next 30 mins what I can describe in the car wasn't the best but I knew once we were there I could relax. My contractions we really intense at this point - but manageable.

 

We got there and was waiting to be accessed, we were asked if I wanted an internal exam, which I did, so we could see what stage I was, by this time I was feeling a bit stressed and my contractions were every 3 mins. I was assessed and the dreaded words you don't want to hear was you are not dilated - not even 1 cm you need to go home!!! I was like ‘whaaat how can that be I am having contractions every 3 mins and they are intense. God please don't make me do that drive again!!!’ So off we left to come back home “until they got a little more intense,” she said, this gave Patrick chance to eat too.

 

It got to around 7:30pm and I was feeling a bit agitated and my contractions were feeling quite intense. So off we went back to the birth centre. That drive again! But we made it, contractions every 2 - 3 mins now we got into the birth centre and I was like ‘finally I am here, let’s get comfortable!’ I was asked if I wanted to have an internal exam and I said yes so I could know in my head where I was in the process. I had an exam and I was 0cm, yes a big fat 0cm dilated are you F-ing kidding me??!! The midwife that was on the night shift could see I was not wanting to leave again so she let us go into one of the birthing rooms and get comfortable. The rooms at Treliske are absolutely amazing nice and spacious low dim lighting, own bathroom, bean bags and beds such a lovely space. Ok so now been in latent labour for 17 hours and not dilated so as you can imagine I was tired and a little bit cranky. The most frustrating thing for me is that I didn't understand how I can be having these contractions that we pretty intense now every 3 mins for 60-70 secs, anyway I tried to focus the best I could on breathing through my contractions and managing each contraction.

 

It got into the early hours of Tuesday morning and I was still having contractions every 3 minutes by this point I had doubt slip into my mind, I was panicking I wouldn't be able to do it - each stage I had Patrick reassuring me and helping me but I just felt exhausted, the midwife could see I was struggling a little bit and could see I needed to sleep and need a little bit of relief - which I 100% did - so was offered pethidine to help me sleep and relax a bit more, (at this point I was deviating from my plan and I felt a huge guilt over me) but I just needed to get my energy up. I accepted the pethidine and it did the job it made my contractions less intense and I was able to drift in and out of sleep for a few hours this was around 2am in the morning. Through this whole time Patrick was on hand every step speaking to the midwife out of the room so I wasn't being bombarded and he was on hand with fluids and energy gels - to my dislike as they tasted rank but did the job I definitely recommend these.

 

I have now been in latent phase of labour for 24 hours long hard graft, so I am feeling a bit more energized now and thinking right let's get ready for the next step, the time is now around 7am and the morning midwife's switch over. A new midwife came in and asked me how I was getting on etc and I was still having contractions every 3 minutes, she asked me if I wanted to be examined. The midwives are so good, they know that it's invasive and try not to do this, but as I had been in labour for 26 hours it was best to see my progress, had the examination and yeah you guessed it I was 0 cm dilated!!! No way I was at this point thinking what the hell is going on! How can this be, is this really how it is?! A million things going in my head.

 

Because I had been in labour for so long I had to now be moved down to the antenatal ward (which in no disrespect is not a very pleasant place) It’s noisy and busy with lots of different people, with all kinds of issues from labour to emergencies. I was upset by this point and I didn’t know what was up, Patrick again was helping me through my breathing, doing light touch massage and rubbing my back to help me through. I was placed on a ward and told a doctor would be with me shortly. At this point my contractions had slowed right down, but when they came wow they were intense. The doctor came and spoke to both me and Patrick and we started to hear the dreaded words of inducing, breaking waters. I started to get really upset as I didn't want to go down this route I didn't want to not be in control. Me and Patrick spoke about each moment and each path and how that would affect me and more importantly Malani, my ultimate goal of why we learnt about hypnobirthing and the birth and chose all the options we did is to have a calm birth for me and her having her come earth side feeling calm not stressed. We spoke about maybe having my waters broken (but I needed to be at least 1cm for this to happen) the other option was to have a synthetic hormone to help my cervix dilate. I started to accept the fact that my plans were now going to change.

 

I was given a tens machine to help with my contractions and the doctor said she was going to leave me another couple of hours, by this time it's now past lunchtime so total time in labour 33 hours. I had also had some codeine at this point which, to be honest, didn’t really do anything. Patrick is helping me stay fuelled with energy gels too and water, I still wanted to try and stick this out and avoid the medical route, so at this point we really dialled in everything we learnt in hypnobirthing. I had the tens machine on my back which had a boost button which every time I felt a contraction coming Patrick hit the boost button and it made it less intense. Patrick at this point sat behind me and was doing light touch massage on my back which really helped me, he also started to help me do some visualization techniques, which really took my mind off everything that was going on (honestly I was so sceptical about this but it 100% works.) We had a really good routine going and it was the first time in the 30+ hours I felt in control.

 

Times up - the doctor came round at 4pm and said we need to make a decision about what we were going to do and she wanted to do an internal exam, whilst she got ready to do this I was saying in my head I am dilated 4cm I could just tell. I needed to be 4cm to be in active labour and be able to go back to the birth centre. I had my internal examination and I was 4cm!!!! Thank God!!! I was also told at this point that Malani’s head wasn't pushing down on my cervix because she was back to back! So now, finally it made sense. There was no pressure on my cervix to help this process so this is why it took so long. At this point I wanted to celebrate, honestly, I had never felt so happy in the 37 hours. Immediately I asked to go back to the birthing centre, and they were pretty shocked I asked to do so but said yes as I was in active labour.

 

Its time - It's now 5pm and we head back to the birth centre I get checked into a room and we start and make it comfortable put on our music on, our smellies on and got comfortable. Contractions wise were coming every 3 -4 mins. The pool was being filled up, but I wasn't allowed in this just yet as it could cause me to relax. We used gas and air which massively helped my breathing, Patrick at this point constantly making sure I had water and was rubbing my back and doing light touch massage. Things were progressing really well.

 

After 2 hours, I got into the pool and immediately had more relief and felt more confident through each contraction, Patrick not leaving my side and working through each contraction with me. The change over of the midwifes happened for the evening and I was being looked after by a lovely midwife called Kirsty, who already looked after me the previous night, so again I started to feel even better about everything and started to feel more relaxed, around 7pm Kirsty asked to check me to see where I was so I had an examination and I was 6cm so progressing. They say you will dilate 1 cm every 2 hours so if that was the case, I had another 8 hours to go. In my head I said no way she's coming before 12am!

 

40 hours into labour now. Things began getting more intense but me and Patrick carried on doing what we were doing. My Mum was also here along with my Dad (who was not in the room) My mum was there but didn't interfere with what we were doing but was nice to know she was there. I didn't take note of anything really apart for what Patrick was saying or telling me. Around 9pm I felt the need to push - I panicked a little as I thought her head came out, Kirsty was not in the room and I was telling Patrick to get her. She came in really calm and asked what's the matter, I said I could feel her head, she checked to see what was going on. This wasn't her head - this was her amniotic sack, my waters had not broken but the water sack had come away and came out like a water balloon (weird I know) but the best way to describe it.

 

Ok so fast forward 2 hours and I now was getting my contractions along with the need to bear down and push, I am still in the water at this point no gas and air as I was focusing too much on what I needed to do. Every contraction I could feel her moving down I knew that I just needed to dig in and I would get to meet her, Patrick was with me every step telling me what to do and caring for me at each point. 1 hour later at 12:15am my beautiful daughter was born in the water. She was passed to me and I could not believe it. We had done it, the way I wanted to, and she was healthy and calm. It was the best experience I have had.

 

We did delayed cord clamping and kept my placenta for encapsulation. Malani was born and I was ok - no tears or need for medical intervention. We spent time bonding with our new daughter and relaxing; it was great. 2 hours later we got ready to come home, by 3:30am I was home our little family all together.

 

Without Patrick learning and being so calm and loving through all the hard times in the latent phase to the birthing (he was incredible) I don't know how I would've done it. I am always grateful to him and love him more than ever! I honestly thought I had lost control at one point and if it wasn't for everything we learnt and Patrick persevering and helping me through, I know the outcome would have been very different. Our whole experience really was great, I had a tough time in the latent phase but now knowing she was back to back I understand why.

If you're reading all of this, it’s my opinion and experience, but hypnobirthing 100% helped me have a calm birth in the end. Not every route plans out but if you stay in control and have the support you can do it. I am looking forward to my next baby knowing everything I do now. My 1st time wasn't perfect and I had some challenges, but it panned out to be the perfect ending. Total of 45 hours labour, but out of the 45 eight of them were the active part and that was the easiest bit.

 

Malani Belle Devaney born 4th December 12:15am 6.9lb.”

  • Terri B-R

 

 

 

I recently posted an article on my Facebook written by the Standard Newspaper interviewing Megan Rossiter from Positively Birthing. It's on the back of this article I have been inspired to write my own blog on the Advantages of HypnoBirthing. If you haven't read the article head over to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cornwallhypnobirthing) and check it out. It's a really positive media article where Megan talks about the evidence based research and says that “Current research shows that women who prepare for labour through the practice of hypnobirthing experience overall shorter labours with less intervention and reach for less pharmacological methods of pain relief, That’s not to say the hypnobirthing can’t still be incredibly effective for women who choose to use epidurals or accept medical intervention. Hypnobirthing tools enable women to feel calm, confident and in control and is suitable for every kind of birth- whether that’s a water birth in your living room, an induction with an epidural or a C-section."

 

The many benefits are widely spoken about by a large number of parents who have participated in a face to face taught Hypnobirthing course - just check out my Testimonials page on my Website to see some wonderful examples! Below I have summarised what I believe to be the common and main advantages of Hypnobirthing:

 

Empowerment – The feeling of confidence and empowerment from taking control of your birth is priceless. Learning to trust in your body and your ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to gives you added confidence that stays with you for a lifetime.

 

Less pain – Learning how to reduce or eliminate the cause of pain, HypnoBirthing mothers are much more comfortable during childbirth. Many do not require any pain relief and some experience entirely pain-free births.

 

Shorter labour - Working with your body, rather than resisting, you can significantly shorten your labour, leaving you refreshed and ready to raise the beautiful baby you have just given birth to.

 

Teamwork – One sometimes unexpected side-effect of HypnoBirthing is the additional closeness you feel with your partner. Fathers (or other birth partners) play a major role in HypnoBirthing, both leading up to, and during the birth. Working together to bring your baby into the world in the most gentle and calm way possible is the ultimate in teamwork, and sets the stage well for the ultimate team challenge – raising a child.

 

Drug-free baby – You have spent nine months avoiding any substances that could harm your child, why change that during the birth? Using HypnoBirthing during labour helps mums avoid exposing their babies to any pain medications, giving them the best possible start in life.

 

Life skills - You will gain understanding of the power of your thoughts to create both positive and negative change in your life. This knowledge, along with the instant relaxation and deepening techniques taught in the course, are invaluable tool for relieving stress in everyday life.

 

Drug-free mother – The female body is perfectly designed to create life, nurture the unborn child, and give birth. Natural labour sets in motion a chain of events and chemical responses in the body that promotes easy labour, quick recovery, hassle-free breastfeeding and deep, instant bonding with your baby. By eliminating unnecessary pain, mothers can avoid using pain relief medications that can interrupt these finely tuned processes.

 

Confidence to avoid unnecessary interventions - By choosing the right care provider and asking the right questions at the right time, HypnoBirthing families are able to avoid any interventions that are not in the best interest of their child. In the event that intervention is necessary, these families are confident in the knowledge that they explored the alternatives, and are often more satisfied with their birth experience as a result.

 

Calm baby - Your unborn child is picking up cues about the world well before they are born. Practising self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques during your pregnancy can reduce the amount of stress hormones your baby is exposed to, leading to a calmer baby.

 

If you're currently pregnant and reading this thinking you'd be crazy not to sign up for a Hypnobirthing course now, then send me a message and lets get something in the diary! My next group Hypnobirthing course is at Penrice Birth Centre in September. All the details can be found on my website under the 'The Course ' tab.

If you're looking for a private course in the comfort of your own home then I have availability from September (some limited space in August). I will always try to work with someone's personal circumstances. I understand that plans change, life gets in the way! I always aim to be flexible, understanding and approachable. If you need flexible sessions at different days and times, or if you need a payment plan to spread the cost - just ask. I will do my very best to accommodate any requests.. I don't want anything to stand in the way of your Hypnobirthing journey with me as I know what a wonderful experience it will be.

 

If you are reading this and have already done a Hypnobirthing course with me or another practitioner in the past, what do you feel were the main advantages of the course for you?

  • Terri B-R

 

 

I could not be more excited to announce that I am now qualified Traumatic Birth Recovery (TBR) 3 Step Rewind Technique Practitioner! As a qualified Hypnotherapist I already use rewind technique in my ‘tool kit’ of therapies, however I was really keen to learn and train with a birth trauma specialist to make sure I was giving the very best care and therapy to the clients I work with. The sad fact that 30% of all parents would describe their birth as traumatic tells me there is a definite need for such therapies to be available and easily accessible.

 

I recently attended TBR 3 Step Rewind training with the wonderful Alex Health – owner and founder of TBR 3 Step Rewind Technique. I already followed Alex’s business page on Facebook and Instagram and was aware how her technique was the original in the UK and considered the best by many professionals, and it had amazing results. I was sure she was the practitioner I wanted to work with (not to mention her method has the same initials as my name – it was a sign!) No sooner had I made the decision to invest in this training, it popped up on my Facebook that Alex was coming to Exeter. A rarity to get local (ish) training here the South-West, so I signed up straight away. Having now completed by case study have been signed off as a registered practitioner.

 

So what is TBR 3 Step Rewind?

TBR 3 Step Rewind is a fast, gentle and (in most cases) effective process that works on trauma symptoms stemming from a traumatic birth experience. It can be used to make powerful, instant and lasting change. The trauma event doesn’t have to be the actual ‘birth’ – it can be effective with any event that holds trauma for example breastfeeding, poor postnatal care, miscarriage, fertility treatment and still birth.

 

To understand how this works its useful to understand the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from a neurological perspective. “The symptoms experienced by someone who has gone through a traumatic event can be distressing day to day. Constant replaying, or avoiding the memory, hyper vigilance, anxiety and anger can all wear away at a person’s confidence and resilience after a while.

The fight or flight response is one of our most primitive survival systems and is designed for to allow us to act in the face of life-threatening danger. The highly aroused emotions of fear and helplessness present during the trauma become inextricably, biologically linked to the memory of the event.

A person suffering from PTSD symptoms is triggering their fight or flight response unnecessarily when there is no present danger, constantly reliving what happened and igniting the feelings all over again each time. From a neurological point of view these symptoms can be compared to a faulty burglar alarm that is triggered and goes off for no reason.

The rational, thinking part of our brain (pre frontal cortex) can be thought of as the policeman in this scenario. He tries to reassure the owner (the traumatised person) that nothing is wrong but he can’t be heard over the alarm. This is why sometimes well intentioned advice to ‘move on’ or ‘get over’ what happened is pointless because the connection has been made and so it is extremely difficult to rationalise or to wilfully stop the thoughts or feelings.” Alex Heath (www.traumaticbirthrecovery.co.uk)

 

The 3 Step Rewind treatment involves 3 stages:

* The treatment would start by hearing your birth story (if you are happy to tell it) and then understanding the changes you would like to feel and experiences if your trauma symptoms were lifted.

* The next stage of the treatment involves a deep relaxation, similar to hypnosis or meditation. I will guide you into a relaxed state. Whilst in this state you will be guided through remembering the event in a specific way, all the while feeling safe and secure.

* The third stage is imagining the future, free from the trauma symptoms; coping, feeling and responding differently.

 

So to outline - the TBR 3 Step Rewind is a form of therapy - it is a brief intervention that seeks relief of PTSD symptoms. In the majority of cases people report a significant diminishing or complete eradication of symptoms and heavy feelings, but on a rare occasion the treatment needs to be repeated. The great thing about this technique is if talking about your traumatic experience makes you feel uncomfortable there is no need the share what happened to you. You will need to remember it yourself, but you can do this without re-telling it out loud.

It is never too late to recover! Don't think that just because your trauma experience happened a long time ago that it is not relevant. This treatment is equally effective 3 months after the event as it is 3 years or even longer after the event. If PTSD symptoms or heavy feelings are still evident then the treatment is useful in eliminating them. It might be that you recognise that some of the unhelpful responses that you have day to day are as a result of what happened. If this is the case then this treatment can help.

 

I will now be offering this therapy as part of my range of services. If you’ve read through this blog and thought that this is something that you could benefit from or you are curious to talk through in more detail please contact me via email (info@cornwallhypno.co.uk) or give me call on 07900805116 to arrange a free 30 minute consultation.