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Preparing for labour with Sophrology

I had my last Sophrology session this morning with Brigitte and we focused on visualising the birth itself. In 30 minutes, she took me on a journey from the very start of labour, the first spaced-out contractions to the few minutes after Babou’s arrival into the world. A very moving and empowering experience.

I hadn’t felt that relaxed and confident in a long time. I am still buzzing! I cannot wait to listen to the recording of the session again.

Before we started, we talked about contractions and how to approach them. These bad boys are going to happen. Fact. Now, I can choose to embrace them and relax into them or I can choose to tense up and let them overwhelm me. I’ll go with the first option (or try to stick to it as much as possible). I want to make the whole experience as comfortable as possible for myself.

Contractions are here for a reason…and a very good one: they enable my baby to move down the birth canal and come into the world. If anything, I should thank them for the great job they’re tasked with. Yes, they certainly will be painful or uncomfortable but they won’t last. They come and go… like a wave. And in between these intense surges, there is a minute or two of calm, an opportunity to rest and recharge my batteries before getting ready for the next wave/contraction.

When the next wave starts building up, I take a deep breath in and as I exhale, I dive into it, relaxing my body quickly from head to toes. By observing the contraction, not engaging with it and relaxing onto it, I make my labour easier. If I resisted, held my breath and tensed up my body, I’d make it harder for my body to do the work. Each contraction is useful and takes me a step closer to holding my baby in my arms. Contractions are necessary and I choose to love them rather than fight them.

With that in mind, we started the session. As usual. I relaxed my body from my head down to my feet, releasing any tension, fear, discomfort, negativity on each out-breath. I took a moment to focus on my reproductive system to stimulate the good functioning of all organs who will be involved in birthing my baby in a few weeks. After taking some time to connect with Babou and send him some love and affection, I embarked on the visualisation of the Big Day.

Brigitte asked me to visualise birth as I see it in my mind, respecting my choices and preferences but keeping in mind that things may happen differently on the day. If that was the case, I would have the necessary resources within myself to adapt and stay calm and confident.

natural birth

I pictured myself at home with Matt. It was about 10 in the morning and I started to feel contractions. As the minutes and hours passed, I made myself comfortable to get through this first stage. I had a bath, listened to some relaxing music, did a few breathing exercises, bounced on my birthing ball… As the contractions got more and more regular, I finished off packing my hospital bag and baby’s bag, not forgetting the husband’s snacks to keep him going!

We rang the hospital and it was time to make our way there. We opted for a taxi in which I remained centered and breathed calmly and deeply. Matthew’s presence was reassuring and comforting. He wasn’t panicked so I wasn’t either. As we got to the hospital, the midwife examined me and confirmed I could use the birthing unit if I wanted to. We made our way there and we settled into the beautiful room with dimmed lights, essential oils and relaxing music paying in the background. Having visited the unit a few weeks ago, I knew what to expect and I felt safe the minute I walked into the room.

The contractions got more regular and more intense. I kept my focus on my breathing and there, I entered a different space, I felt my body drop into an even deeper level of relaxation. The waves of contractions came and went and I remained calm. The midwife examined me and encouraged me to get into the birthing pool as we were approaching the end of labour. The sensation of water was very soothing and being able to move my body in whatever posture I felt comfortable in was liberating and empowering. I could feel the pressure of baby’s head pushing down on my pelvis and the contractions getting stronger and stronger. I knew I’d get overwhelmed with it all the minute I’d let my focus go. I kept the image of the wave in my mind and dived into it with deep breathing and relaxation. The midwife and Matthew were beside me, staying calm and supporting me through each contraction.

Giving birth in a pool

Baby’s head popped out followed by his shoulders then the rest of his body. I collected my baby, purple and sticky, and put him on my chest. The sense of achievement and pure joy and love flowed through me. I could feel Babou’s warm body against mine. I could hear his cry. I couldn’t believe I’d done it. I felt very emotional. The delivery of the placenta followed and went smoothly. The midwife was fantastic, helping us with breastfeeding and our first caring duties as parents. Matthew bathed Babou, changed his nappy, I could see him so proud and happy cuddling him. The whole experienced happened as I imagined it, calm, beautiful and most importantly, respectful of my birth preferences. I felt a deep sense of harmony, happiness and confidence wash over me.

I was so peaceful and happy that I struggled to let the visualisation go and come back to the room. I took a little time to write down my feelings as a way to anchor them a bit deeper within myself.

In a couple of weeks, I will have my 36 week scan and will find out whether my placenta has moved up or not. I keep my fingers crossed and a positive mind that it will have so I can still ‘plan’ a natural birth. I do know that labour rarely go exactly as planned so I’m adopting a flexible approach.

Whatever will be will be but I am determined to stay calm, serene and confident throughout all stages.

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