Congratulations Chiara in Brussels! Welcome to beautiful Mattia...
"Giving birth was a healing process for me. My pregnancy turned out to be very different from how I had imagined it and I dealt with severe anxiety. I knew that hypnosis worked for me as in the past I had had positive experiences with it, so it didn't sound too exotic to me. I started listening to the tracks when I was around 35 weeks pregnant and liked them and how they made me feel. I downloaded them on both my computer and my phone and I did briefly listen to the birth affirmations during my labour, but the most important part was probably the preparation and the confidence hypnobirthing gave me.
On March 1st at 3 pm I lost my mucous plug, and immediately after my water broke in a spectacular, film-like fashion. We walked to the hospital to get the contractions going, then kept walking through my entire labour. Because apparently every pregnant lady in Brussels had decided to give birth that day the staff was a bit overwhelmed and my husband and I were basically left on our own, which allowed us to have all the space and intimacy that we needed. We laboured alone for about four hours. I had had regular contractions every two minutes since my water had broken, but they became gradually stronger and stronger, more and more painful. I practiced breathing and visualisation and at some point I listened to the affirmations. 'Relax, release and let go of everything you just don't need' is probably the one which had the most impact on me: it triggered an immediate physical reaction and really got me to release the tension in my body. I imagined myself breathing in golden light, which made me feel so strong and positive.
At around 8-9 pm my contractions got so strong I started to consider my options, then remembered that the self-doubt phase was normal and that it was probably indicative of my going into the transition phase. At that point a midwife came in and asked me if I wanted to get checked. I said yes because I needed to know how far along I was, but I was confident and positive that my contractions were effective. And they were! I was already 6 cm dilated. The midwife was very surprised! For a first birth everything was progressing very quickly. I zeroed in and stayed focused, even when they moved us to the delivery room. I was so much in my bubble that I didn't realise that things were progressing so quickly, and I soon found myself wanting to push. Once again, the midwives were surprised. I started pushing and after half an hour our beautiful, perfect baby boy was in my arms. Our son Mattia was born at 11.50 pm, less than 9 hours since my labour started.
I was - and still am, two weeks on - incredulous, so immensely proud, and sore. We weren't offered any pain relief and I didn't even think of asking for it. My confidence level was high going into labour and even higher after it. Giving birth was such a powerful, empowering experience that made me feel so close to the animal world and so connected with all the women in the world.
I wish every mum a powerful, meaningful birth experience. Thank you for helping women create a positive space for themselves."
(Words and photos posted with written permission)