When I found out that Janna was pregnant with her second child in 2020 and living in London, I offered to take her and Will through the HypnoBirthing Course via Zoom. I knew it was going to be a challenging experience for them as the pandemic was raging around the world and everyone was in lockdown.
Here's some more of Janna's story in her own words:
When I found out that I was pregnant again, we were understandably elated but the prospect of birth, after a previous planned homebirth that didn’t go to plan and ended up with induction and significant medical intervention, did leave me anxious. We had always envisioned my mum being here this time around to help with our son Fred. But again for birth 2, we were so isolated in the UK - away from my family support in New Zealand - due to the covid-19 pandemic. Dom’s passion, knowledge, breathing exercises and fear releases provided more emotional, practical and ultimately physical support during my birth than we ever could have imagined.
Janna's care providers were concerned about the size of her baby and didn't want to risk another traumatic birth, so they were told by the hospital obstetricians that induction at 38 weeks was recommended. At the time the NHS was restricting all visitors to the hospital and birth partners were only allowed to attend for limited periods of time. This is hardly conducive to a comforting, private, oxytocin-inducing environment; so birthing in a hospital environment was going to be harder than usual.
I encouraged Janna and Will to remember that they could still envisage the sort of birth they dreamed of as well as prepare for any turn their birth took. Including positive turns! Janna's growth scan at 34 weeks showed the baby wasn't too big and the obstetricians were happy not to recommend induction. So she planned for a homebirth instead!
We loved that Dom went the extra mile to make us feel comfortable and ascertain what our hopes and intentions were for each session, as opposed to just parroting off a scripted routine - it felt truly bespoke. She took the time to know how each midwife appointment or scan went. And would also follow up each session with really helpful extra readings and relevant videos related to the type of birth we aspired to as well as help with the breathing techniques. We both felt so much more confident in ourselves to trust our decision to have a homebirth as a result. This confidence was especially vital when I went a couple of weeks over my due date and was starting to get stressed about the prospect of another late induction, which I didn’t want again!
And she got it - Janna ended up birthing her beautiful baby boy at home at 41 .4 weeks! The day before she went into labour she'd started feeling a bit "funny" and mentioned it to the midwife when she went in to have an ultrasound to check on how the baby was doing. Knowing how important it was to Janna that she have a homebirth, the midwife didn't say anything despite noticing that she was already starting to experience some pre-labour opening and thinning and mild surges. [NOTE: HypnoBirthing mothers often don't realise they've gone into labour!]
When Janna's labour intensified, Will got the birth pool ready and notified the midwives and Janna was able to finish putting their toddler, Fred, to bed and read him a story. As things progressed they used their techniques to relax and find comfort during the surges. When the homebirth midwives arrived it turned out they were the same ones who attended Janna in her first birth! What brilliant serendipity!!
Janna's labour progressed smoothly and baby Raffy was born in the early hours of the morning - calmly, safely and peacefully at home. And when Fred woke up that morning he was very happy to meet his new little brother!
We loved that doing HypnoBirthing meant we could commit to a set time to really bond with each other and our new baby before they arrived. This was especially difficult with a wild excitable toddler around all the time too! I sincerely don’t feel that we would have had the confidence to plan a homebirth (which we both wanted so badly) had Dom not been involved - she's priceless!