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...By Kathryn (and baby Rafe!)

"Our birthing experience began on Monday 12 November 2018 when I was 39+1 weeks. I went for my weekly midwife appointment and low and behold my blood pressure was high…this had become a regular occurrence in the latter stages of my pregnancy. I was sent to the antenatal unit for monitoring however after two hours of monitoring my blood pressure failed to return to a normal level as it had on previous occasions. After further tests I was visited by the doctor and told that I was suffering with pre-eclampsia.

This was obviously far from ideal and not at all the path that I had hoped my birthing experience would take. We had hoped for a home birth and had the birthing pool at home ready and waiting. Both Jan and May are practicing midwives and are knowledgeable about medical procedures as well as up to date evidence. Having completed the hypnobirthing course, both me and my husband were well equipped with knowledge regarding potential medical interventions and we were able to confidently discuss the benefits, risks and alternatives of inducing labour. The course had also highlighted the fact that no one can plan a birth and this allowed us to quickly put the home birth that we had originally hoped for behind us and focus on the present.

I used the breathing techniques I had learnt on the course during the sweep I was given on the Monday, the insertion of the pessary for induction the following day and the early labour which ensued. The breathing techniques are most definitely a handy tool to have and I have even used them since giving birth for other medical procedures. The course was therefore a worthwhile investment.

Our baby boy was born quickly following the breaking of my waters at 4cm and although this active stage of labour was very swift and intense, I strongly believe that being educated about the different stages of labour, in particular the transition phase, allowed both me and my husband to understand what was happening to my body and enabled me to give birth without the need for an epidural.

The biggest takeaways from the course for me have most definitely been the breathing techniques and the ability to question and confidently discuss medical procedures. We even used the acronyms learnt more recently when our baby, now 8 weeks, was hospitalised and intubated with bronchiolitis. This allowed us to feel well informed about the procedures taking place and gave us confidence in the medical care being given.

Although my birth experience was far from perfect it was most definitely a positive experience that I would do again in a heartbeat and it just goes to show that the techniques that I learnt can be applied to every type of birth, including inductions."

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