So you've taken your hypnobirthing course, you've put in your practice, you've printed your birth plan out and you're finally, finally at your due date. But baby is in the ‘wrong’ position and doesn't seem to want to put in an appearance any time soon. What now?
Well, first of all don't panic. Panic will stop your body working as it should. Remember the nervous system responses we learnt about? Try not to fall into a continuous adrenaline fuelled fight or flight. Nothing will make a baby stay firmly where it is like a good dose of cortisol.
Second of all, know that babies and pregnant womens’ bodies are capable of amazing feats. Previously free floating, happy go lucky babies can engage and get ready to go within hours; breech babies can flip the night before they're born (true story - my little sister did this).
I know staying calm is easier said than done and that mean voice that you ruminate on is hard to stop but here's a few practical tips to help you stay positive when it feels like everything is going wrong.
Get your happy hormones flowing
This is so important. Stress will release cortisol which in turn blocks the body's ability to receive any feel good oxytocin. Do something nice for yourself to break the cycle - get a massage, have a bath, do some gentle yoga, snuggle up to someone you love to cuddle. If your baby feels safe and loved (remember you share all your hormones at this point), they will find their way when the time is right.
Challenge your first impressions
Although a c-section may not have been in your plans originally, might it now be the right thing? Given that you're so close to meeting your baby, might those prostaglandin gels start to look like more of a good idea? If you can reframe your choices and consider them through the lens of what's best for baby as well as this new, very pregnant you, you may find they start to look a bit friendlier.
Stick with hypnobirthing
You can use what you learnt even more now. Make sure you double up on your positive thoughts and affirmations. Use your Power and Confidence script. Check that you're ready to set up whatever birth space you have to be as calm, quiet and dark as possible. Talk with your caregivers to make sure they know how to help you have the gentlest versions of any induction or delivery methods you end up needing.
Know your facts from your fictions
This means staying off mumsnet and google. Just don't go there. Get in touch with your hypnobirthing teacher or an online support group to help you pick your way through your options before you next see your midwives. So many birth stories end up embellished and even then, no two births ever happen the same way, not even with siblings, so what one mum says will probably be nothing like what happens to you.
Hypnobirthing is just as valid and useful for an induction or a c-section birth, perhaps even more so. There's no judgement - a successful birth is any one where baby is happy, you're healthy and can make peace with the path it took.
You still have the amazing body designed perfectly to deliver your baby; it will work for you if you let it. You might just need to work a little harder to get your mind out of the way. You can do it mama.
This post was written for and first appeared on The Natural Parent Magazine.