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Amber, mother to Finn and Harper

When I entered the second trimester of my second pregnancy I casually mentioned to my husband that I would like to attend a Calmbirth course. A perplexed look came over his face, one that said "Hey wait a minute, we did that course for our last pregnancy didn’t we?"  It’s true, we did. We attended our first Calmbirth course in our first pregnancy as a way to address the strong fears I had regarding pain. Quite simply this course was the catalyst for my husband and I seeing birth as a natural process, one to prepare for and look towards with excitement and confidence, rather than fear or denial. We went on to have a positive and empowering 8 hour labour which I attribute to the knowledge and skills we gained in the Calmbirth course.

 

I could understand my husband’s confusion, we got the great first birth experience, so why did I want to attend the same course again? Hadn’t we learnt everything we needed to know to enter labour the second time around? Even though I knew the content would be roughly the same as our initial course I felt that I could gain more from approaching this material again. I learnt a lot about myself and my body in my first labour and in preparation for our second baby’s birth day I believed that I could go deeper this time around. I had a strong sense that Finn’s birth was just the beginning of my journey towards knowing my birthing body and while it was a wonderful birth I felt that if I dedicated time and energy to my birth preparations I could be calmer, more focused and more in tune with my body and my baby.

Calmbirth as a first timer allowed me to imagine what normal labour would look like, sound like and feel like. The sensations of labour were no longer an unknown when I attended the course for the second time. I no longer wondered "Will I cope when I am in labour?", I knew I could. This meant that I was able to look at the approaches and the information presented with new eyes. I spent the course and the remainder of my pregnancy fine tuning the strategies that helped me in my first labour along with learning more about a wider range of coping methods that I hoped to employ in my next labour.

Being pregnant and looking after a toddler I was also eager to attend the Calmbirth course as a way to connect with my new baby and re-connect with my husband. I felt guilty that I hadn’t devoted as much time as I did with my first pregnancy to birth preparations and the Calmbirth course gave us an opportunity to slow down and take time to focus on our pregnancy and discuss our hopes for our second birthing experience.

 

Just before I gave birth to our second child I reflected on our participation in a second Calmbirth course and the effort I had put into visualising our perfect birth, and thought Maybe I have over done it? Then I read a quote that reminded me why I will always give my all in preparation for my children’s births: "Although it might be your second time giving birth, it is the only chance your baby has to be born." I will always be thankful that I followed my instinct to refresh my Calmbirth skills. While didn’t have much time to run through my long list of coping strategies when I gave birth to our second baby in just over two hours, I do believe that taking time to revise Calmbirth teachings and strategies helped me to stay centred, calm and most of all to just "surrender".