I can finally attribute getting pregnant to Joan’s wonderful reflexology treatments, which always left me feeing pampering, relaxed, happy and more and more confident that I WOULD get pregnant, and I finally did, after one missed miscarriage at 12 weeks and 9 months later, getting another positive pregnancy test, which resulted in the birth of our daughter on 11 March 2013.
I decided to attend Joan’s hypnobirthing course, as I knew that since I had benefitted so much from her reflexology, I could only benefit from learning hypnobirthing techniques, and that it would relax me about giving birth. Although I had had a easy pregnany for the first 2 trimesters, I started to get very bad pelvic pain wich got worse and worse weekly for the whole of my last trimester….I could hardly walk for the last 2 months and was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I controlled this with a strict diet and took metformin tablets twice a day, but was told I could give birth in the midwife led unit and I had alread decided that I would used the birthing pool if I could too.
My birthing experience was amazing and everything I could have wished for. I was one week late, had already had a sweep at 40 weeks and was still waiting. Then on Sunday 10th March, at about 7.30pm, all of a sudden, whilst on my ball and on skype to my sister, I finally felt what I can only now describe as a surge. Joan had said that I would know when I did get one. I had 4 surges in one hour, and then suddenly felt a pressure down below and realised that my sanitary pad was filling up fast with a pale pink liquid. When the 2nd pad filled up as well, I called the midwife at the Lister Hospital and explained that I was not sure what was happening. I was told to get to hospital with my sanitary pads to show them and my hospital bags. So my husband and I finished packing calmly, not forgetting the frozen muffins, hobnobs etc…and in the car, I listened to my affirmations with my headphones on, and started to time the surges which were by 9pm about 3 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds.
At the hospital, after one vaginal examination, I was told that I was 1cm dilated and that I could choose to go home or stay in hospital, but would not be considered in established labour till much later. I had always intended to spend most of my labour at home, but as I was having surges every 3 minutes, I did not think I would cope with a journey in the car home and back to the hospital, and had a feeling things would progress fast. The Lister hospital birthing rooms were lovely anyway, newly decorate, and I felt comfortable.
We stayed in one of the birthing rooms at first, but it did not have a birthing pool, although we were told that the room with the birthing pool was available but in case someone else needed it before me, it was best I was stayed where I was for a while longer. I sat on the ball, but each time I felt a surge, I needed to stand up as I felt a lot of pressure. I declined any pain relief, as did not want anything to enter my placenta but started to use the tens machine that I had brought along. I do not think it made any difference as the pressure I felt was very low down, but I carried on with my breathing techniques and visualisations, experimenting with different positions on the bed, leaning on the wall, on the ball, my husband doing some light touch massage…and time flew by I think. The midwife suggested I tried lying in the bath in the bathroom, and the warm water did seem to help the pressure low down. She examined me again…I do not know what time it was, and was told I was 3cm dilated and could move to the hypnobirthing room if I wanted to.
The birthing pool was great. I used gas and air to help with breathing as it helped me focus. I remember needing to do about 3 to 4 breaths with each surge and sometimes wriggling like a worm when the surge reached its peak, but I remained calm, in my own world, aware of what was going on around me and just listening to my body. At one point, I rushed out of the water, ran to the bathrooom, thinking that I needed to go to the toilet…nothing…so went back to the pool, told the midwife that I felt as if I need to push….was examined and told I was 10cm dilated and that I could start to push if I wanted to. This was about 2 hours after getting into the birthing pool. My body took over and I felt myselft doing J breaths quite naturally. I had been practicing them at home on the toilet for weeks beforehand, and the J breath felt totally natural.
My husband got into the pool, and watched in awe as nature took its course in front of him. He was encouraging me, I knew he was there, and I felt the head of my baby come out. It felt quite comfortable, unlike what I had been described as what could feel like a ring of fire Maybe this is due to having done some perineal massage at home or being relaxed in the water. The midwife told me that she really needed me to push. I did…3 times…J breathing…all of a sudden another midwife appeared…I learned later that my baby was turning purple as she was stuck, so one of the midwife helped me stand up a bit, she used 2 fingers to help my baby along, and all of a sudden, Jessie popped out, she was helped with her legs in the water first, as her head had already been out of the water, I collapsed back in the water, and our baby girl, Jessica was on us, skin on skin, being kept warm in the water. She had arrived into this world, happy, calm, beautiful at 7.26am on 11 March, weighing 8 pounds, 7.5 oz (3.86 kg), 12 hours after my first surge at home, but according to the hospital, in 5.5 hours from establishe labour.
It was surreal. I was smiling, my husband cut the cord after it stopped pulsating, we were on a high. I could have done it straight away again. It was the birth I had hoped for, and thanks to Joan, I will always remember giving birth to our daughter, with a smile, joy and and peace.
I delivered my placenta out of the water naturally too, and had it encapsulated. I also only needed to small stitches, which healed very fast.
Jessica is a beautiful, calm baby, very alert, and smiling at 5 weeks…
Toby’s birth story
We’d named our bump ‘Limey’ due to the fact that when we told his grandpa about his existence, he was the size of a lime. It turned out that Limey was very comfortable where he was and left up to him would happily have stayed where he was for a while longer. No amount of reflexology, homeopathy, acupuncture, long walks or curry was going to get him out. Sadly the doctors had other ideas and so to my disappointment Limey was to be induced at 41 weeks and 5 days.
I tried to keep Marie’s birth affirmation of staying calm whatever my birth would hold for me in mind as we checked into the lister hospital in Stevenage. The first pessary at about 3pm had little effect, despite a lot of sideways stairs climbing. So at 10pm a second pessary was inserted. This time, the surges started in half an hour, and went from nothing to every 2 minutes almost instantly. It was a pretty intense night, partly because the surges lasted about a minute each and frequently seemed to roll into each other meaning that I didn’t even get time to have a sip I water between them, and partly because the only place I could get comfortable was on the birthing ball. Josh, despite not technically being allowed to stay, helped by putting dressing gown on and off me as I got hot and cold with the surges and he kept trying to get me to eat and drink to keep my energy levels up.
Because we were on a ward, we had to remain silent, which was tricky, and we couldn’t play all the relaxing music that we’d planned. Also, due to the fact that the surges were so frequent, there was little time to do any of the relaxation we’d practised, which was a real shame. I succumbed to a paracetamol to try to help me at one point, but there was little point!
I felt as if I must be nearly there, but kept feeling hugely disappointed when examinations suggested I was only 3 or 4 cm dilated. The nurses kept saying something needed to change, like my waters breaking, but when they did, at about 5am, still I wasn’t allowed to go the midwife led unit. In retrospect, I guess they were particularly busy, but I was desperate to get off the cold ward.
At some point in the morning i was offered gas and air and then when i needed to push i was finally whisked downstairs in a wheel chair to the midwife led unit. Our lovely doula Joan was then able to join us and as soon as we got to a quiet, bright, clean and calm room, everything began to slow down and get a lot more manageable. Joan made the room as calming as possible with music and oils, and helped both josh and me to relax a bit. My surges became less frequent and we all became happier! And I didn’t need the c-section I requested on entering the unit; thankfully the midwives just laughed at this request and told me I couldn’t just ask for a c-section.
Luckily, josh spotted a room with a pool and we were allowed to go in as it had just been freed up. Being a lover of baths I felt sure that a birthing pool would help me, but I hadn’t wanted to pin my hopes on one just in case there wasn’t one available.
Because labours often slow down too much when the mothers to be get into the water, our midwife wanted me to wait a little longer before getting in. I, however, didn’t feel like waiting as I was keen to get whatever natural relief I could. Our midwife ended up making a deal with me, that I could get in if I agreed to get out every hour or two to walk around and go to the toilet. I agreed without even thinking.
To my relief, as soon as I got into the water, I felt more comfortable and the surges felt far less intense. I knew I was meant to stay as upright as possible to let gravity help with the labour, but unfortunately for josh, the only position I felt happy in was as if I was lying in a bath. This was unfortunate for josh because I couldn’t keep my body in that position, and so my lovely husband spent the next 5 hours or so holding me up, whilst he perched behind on a birthing ball.
The following hours progressed in a bit of a haze of time. All I know is that I was so thankful to Joan and josh for their kind, supportive and encouraging words. Josh ensured I kept drinking water, lucozade and Joan’s innocent smoothies, whilst Joan concentrated on reminding me of all the hypnobirthing that I’d practised so hard for the months leading up to the birth. It really was great having her with us to remind us both of what we were aiming for.
Before too long the midwife declared that she could see the head and that Limey’s birth wouldn’t be too far away. I was finally allowed to push. I have to admit to feeling disappointed that the gains made by my pushing seemed to be fairly short lived/ I could actually feel the baby progress out and then retreat back up the birthing canal. However, I suppose he moved a little more each time and eventually we got to the stage where the midwife said “one last push and we’ll see the head”. After this, she tried to encourage me to pick my baby out of the water after the next push, but no matter how idyllic the idea of being the first person to touch my baby was, I felt as if I had done everything else in this birth and that i had nothing left, so i kindly suggested that she picked it up instead!
And then our little boy was born. I say little, one of my first memories of this baby creature on my chest was the thought that he was so heavy (or I was so weak) that I was going to drop him. It was probably a bit of both, as when he was weighed a few hours later, our ‘little’ man weighed in at 10lb 5.5oz. I was doubly glad of the water birth when our midwife also pointed out that Limey had come out with his little fist on the side of his head…
We were then able to spend the next few hours getting to know each other in a room together and by about 8pm we were allowed to go home.
Limey, or Toby’s birth (as he became) was the most amazing day of both of our lives. It wasn’t easy, but the love, pride and joy we felt, and have felt for our little boy every day since are just indescribable. We feel like the luckiest people alive to have such a healthy, happy and beautiful boy.
We have a little boy! He was born this afternoon at 5.30pm and at 11pm we are now all home and tucked up in bed! I am utterly over the moon!
We got to hospital at 4.30. My waters went spontaneously at 4.40, and I was checked at 6cm dilated. By 5.20 I was uncontrollable needing to push and he popped out 10 minutes later. For the last couple of contractions I didn’t do anything – my body just took over and pushed him out.
I had gas and air and must admit that I was rather loud in the end instead of cool and calm! But it was completely amazing and I am sure you are to thank for it! We had wonderful skin to skin and he is feeding like a pro.
I feel completely healed after my first birth experience and am so grateful to have had such a wonderful VBAC.
We should have a name by morning!
Thank you so so much!
Debbie (First baby) Dec 2012
We stayed at home comfortable and relaxed for most of the labour, and even though the journey to the hospital was long due to traffic, and taking a wrong turn… I managed to stay calm using my breathing techniques , after arriving at the hospital baby Sophia was born just 90 minutes later in a water pool. It was the most amazing moment of my life. HypnoBirthing really helped me and my baby – she is a calm and content baby we call her a ‘hypnobaby’
Thanks again Joan for your help and support,I will tell everyone I know about this amazing way to give birth
After having a lot of trouble getting pregnant with my first daughter, I was surprised when
I fell pregnant very easily when she was just 11 months old. Running around after a one year old, I had very little time to think about being pregnant. The pregnancy had been very straightforward until 32 weeks. I awoke at 2am bleeding and dashed to the hospital. The discovery that I had placenta previa immediately put us on high alert. I had achieved a natural hypnobirth (with syntocin) with my first daughter and assumed I would have another hypnobirth, even hoping that this time I could have a water birth. I had prepared well: listening to the hypnobirthing CD’s from 20 weeks. Until now I felt very relaxed about my second pregnancy. I was ill-prepared for the shock discovery of this complication. I started to accept that a natural birth might not be possible and that it was very likely I would be giving birth at the consultant led unit rather than the brand new midwife lead facility at the Lister Hospital.
I had already built a routine of listening to the rainbow relaxation and affirmations CD while my daughter napped everyday. I added a lot of positive thinking that the placenta is moving up. I shifted my aspirations from a water birth to a natural birth with minimal intervention. Regular reflexology sessions with Joan helped keep me focused on my objective and generally relaxed. Joan integrated hypnobirthing into the sessions and they became a really lovely place to have some positive ‘baby and me-time’.
My 36 weeks scan showed the placenta had moved up, I was considered low risk! My birth was to be at the midwife unit and a water birth was possible.
My due date came around fast. I woke up at 12.15am and discovered my ‘show’. The hospital confirmed that my labour had begun and sent us home until I was ready. The hypnobirthing plan kicked in and in my relaxed state I managed to sleep through the mild surges. As the day progressed my surges gradually strengthened, but I felt very calm and in control. By early evening they had become quite strong, but I made sure I ate something in preparation for the night ahead. I was quite tired and had seen a video of women sleeping through their contractions, I knew that would be beneficial. I really focused on my breathing, played the rainbow relaxation music and slept for an hour. When I woke. I had progressed a little further than I had envisaged – I knew I needed to get to hospital. Our doula had been in touch all day, came over, saw one contraction and agreed we should immediately leave for the hospital.
My Mother-in-law was staying to look after our daughter. A mother of four herself, she rang my father-in-law and told him we were going to the hospital but she assumed we were going to be a while, as the way I was reacting to the contractions, from her experience, did not look like I was remotely close to giving birth!
Even on the way to the hospital, I felt as if I was having to hold back. At the hospital I knew I did not have long. The midwife seemed to take ages prepping before she examined me to confirm what I was already sure of – I was fully dilated! She started to fill the water birth pool but I was not able to wait any longer. Just 23 hours after my labour began, I got up, gave a couple of J-breath pushes and Evie literally fell out into the arms of my husband. She was beautifully strong and calm. She fed and slept while I dealt with the third stage. She weighed 8 lbs. 9 oz. but despite this I had no tears. My birth felt amazing, it felt like such an achievement and one that Evie and I had done together.
Now I look back on my birth and I still feel a high from it. I feel very privileged to have had this experience. There is no doubt that hypnobirthing and reflexology gave me the resources to achieve this. My Mother-in-law was overwhelmed to discover that I had given birth within an hour of leaving home, she still talks of her amazement at how calm I was, so far into my labour and is now an advocate of the hypnobirthing method herself.
Evie is a beautiful, vibrant and calm child, in fact both my girls are. I am sure that the beautifully calm way they came into the world played a part in this.
My ‘official’ due date was 24 May (although I believed it to be 29th) and so I was booked in for induction on 5 June. I was told by the registrar (and she wrote it on my notes) that I should arrive at the hospital at 6pm so it was a bit of a surprise when I received a phone call at 11.45am from a midwife on Ward 31 saying they had been expecting me at 7am and please could I hurry up. Not exactly a stress-free start to the process!
By the time Granny had arrived to take over childcare duties and we were organised we got to the Luton & Dunstable hospital about 1pm and after the relevant preliminary assessments I got the prostin gel at 2.25pm. After the required 1hr bed rest I started to move about and felt contractions starting up quite quickly. So much so that having sent Gordon home I called him to tell him to turn the car around and come back. However, the contractions calmed down almost as quickly as they had started and continued regularly but almost pain-free for the rest of the day. I was left uncertain as to whether labour was actually starting or not. The decision was taken about 8pm that they should try to break my waters to get things to progress further and faster, however, they couldn’t get me a room on the Delivery Suite (apparently there was a free room and a free midwife but no cleaner to clean it!!). We waited until midnight and then decided to call it a day so Gordon went home again and I went up to Ward 32 to try to get some sleep.
I woke up at 2.45am feeling tummy cramps and I decided to get out of bed and move around to see if anything changed. I felt damp and a midwife confirmed that it was a very bloody show (but perfectly normal) so I got back into bed hoping to get more rest but just a few minutes later I felt a pop and on standing up this time it was obvious that my waters had broken. I was put on the monitor which confirmed that the baby was perfectly happy and contractions were starting to come strongly and frequently. It was about 4am by this stage and, while they arranged for my transfer down to Delivery Suite, I called Gordon to tell him to come in.
Everything then progressed rapidly and despite not feeling particularly in control or relaxed I managed to stick to just the Entinox and Finlay was born at 5.54am. Unfortunately I lost 1.5 litres of blood (I had had similar post partum haemorrages after both my daughters) which added complications to my post natal care but we survived a stint back on the Ward and were free to go home the following evening.
I’m not sure that I had much time to utilise the benefits of hypnobirthing techniques but despite the ordeal I stayed relatively calm and Finlay is proving to be a very chilled out baby so maybe the benefits during my pregnancy paid off after all.
My husband and I had HypnoBirthing lessons with Joan. We both really enjoyed the whole course and felt like it made us much more confident and excited about giving birth. I went on to have reflexology with Joan a few days before I went into Labour and we also asked Joan to be our Doula that she agreed to, which us even more confident about having a positive birth experience.
I had been having very light surges through the night for a few days, then on the Sunday night I had them every 7 minutes and went to bed with the the tens machine on. I did not get any sleep and by 6am the following day we called the hospital and they told us to come in. We did this and met Joan there, by now I was feeling excited and coping with the surges.
I was examined and was told that I was 3 cm dilated so we were left alone and we listened to music and I kept up and active on my feet. By lunchtime there was no change so we went to the canteen and ate, then I started to power-walk around the hospital and climb up and down the stairs to try and increase the surges. This did increase the surges but by 4 pm I was still not quite 4 cm so the midwife suggested I went home.
I was disappointed at this news and could not see how this would help and was certain I would not be able to sleep. However when we got home I managed to eat a bit of dinner and slept for an hour. I woke with stronger surges, that were by now up to every 2 minutes. Instead of feeling worse as they were getting stronger I felt really excited as I finally knew the labour had taken a big step forward.
We went back to hospital, arriving about 10pm and when I was examined I was now 5 cm dilated and told I should have the baby within 12 hours. This news gave me loads of energy. I kept on my feet and used the tens machine as well as having some light touch massage from both Joan and my husband throughout my surges.
I wanted a water birth so the midwife got the pool ready and at 1 am I suddenly felt the urge to push. I was not examined again, the midwife did not intervene at all, I was just pointed in the direction of the pool room. As soon as I was in the water I tried to birth breath with every surge but they were so strong and each one was very different, I did end up pushing as I could not control them and also could not wait to meet my baby. Fifty minutes later my daughter was born, in the water.
We felt so lucky we had experienced such a fantastic experience. I’m positive that the thorough preparation we put into our birth and also having Joan with us reading scrips, suggesting ways to pass the time and her massages all helped. The midwives were impressed with the birth and every time they took our daughters heart rate, even when she was half asleep,it did not change at all.
We now have a very happy, contented baby and we are sure that her calm and relaxing birth helped her to be this way.
I feel so lucky to have known about hypnobirthing as it meant I had such a positive experience giving birth.
I was confident and excited before I went into labour as Joan had taught me how to breath at every stage of labour and had explained what my body would be doing. I was also confident about going through labour as Joan had agreed to be our Doula.
I started having regular surges on Sunday night, I put my tens machine on at midnight and we stayed at home till 7am the next morning, I had not been able to sleep but felt awake and confident as we made our way to hospital. I found the tens machine and breathing through the surges kept me calm and focused. When I was examined I was nealy 4cm dilated, I was happy to hear that but unfortunately even though I had regular contractions I was still just under 4cm by 4pm that afternoon.
I had enjoyed the day in the hospital, we had our music on from our wedding day and I had been chatting to Joan and my husband in between surges. Joan had also given my some massages and read some scripts to me. I stayed on my feet and that also helped me stay focused and in control.
The midwife suggested we went home and came back when the surges were a lot stronger and every 2 minutes, so we did and I don’t know how but I managed to get a couple of hours sleep. By 9.30pm we were ready to go back in and when I was examined I was 5 cm so I was now in established labour. This news gave me loads of energy as I knew we should have our baby in the next 12 hours. We carried on as we had in the day, listening to our music and Joan and my husband gave me gentle touch massage. I had asked the midwife if I could birth my baby in the pool so she said she would get it ready for me and I was surprised and excited when only after being back in hospital a couple of hours she said the pool was ready for me, as I thought she must think that things were moving quickly. She was right, not long after she told me this I felt the urge to push so we all quickly moved next door, to where the pool was, I took off my tens machine that had been on for 26 hours and got in the pool. I had about 50 minutes of breathing my baby out and then she was here!
I had written a birth plan explaining how I had learnt hypnobirthing, I felt that really benefitted me as the midwifed followed it and left me to birth my baby naturally. They did not examine me again after the examination that showed I was 5 cm and they did not interfere in the birthing stage apart from checking the baby’s heart rate between surges. They were all impressed that the baby’s heart rate did not change throughout the labour and birth, even when it was half out, we put that down to hypnobirthing.
I can honestly say I had the labour and birth that I always hoped for and I put it all down to learning hypnobirthing and having Joan and my husband with me. I think writing a birh plan was very important too if you have a hospital birth and we believe we have a very contented baby because she had such a gentle and beautiful birth.
My husband and I discovered we were expecting our first child a month before we were due to start IVF. We had struggled for 5 years to conceive and had been through every round of tests possible. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries at the start of all of the testing however I was ovulating regularly and there were no other complications found. It seemed a mystery as to why two young and healthy people were unable to conceive what was so longed for. It took us a long time to get to the stage where IVF was a possibility for us and we felt excited by the fact that we finally had the chance to start our family.
That month was the first for a long time where I did not chart my ovulation or dread my period arriving. I felt positive about the treatment beginning. On my return from a weekend away, my husband asked if my period had arrived as we had to contact the hospital as soon as it had to inform them I would start the course of drugs that were waiting in the fridge. But my period hadn’t arrived and two days later I decided to do a test just to get it out the way! It was positive! We were over the moon and I just knew that the pregnancy was safe and that my little girl was going nowhere.
Once I had overcome the shock of becoming pregnant, my thoughts turned to the birth. I had always been viewed as a bit of a ‘wuss’ by friends and family and well wishers soon began filling my head with doubts about my abilities to labour naturally. Our cultural norm is that birth is a painful and difficult experience and I became pretty sure I’d be useless at it! Every TV programme you watch or personal experience you hear seems to be filled with horror, screaming and pain. I knew I had to change my ideas on birthing if it was going to be a positive experience for us as a couple, but more importantly the baby. I so wanted her entrance into this world to be as calm and intervention free as possible.
So at 28 weeks I visited Joan. We talked through my fears and for the first time I realised my perception of birthing, didn’t have to be the reality. There were things I could do to affect my birthing experience prior to reaching the hospital. I took the CD away as well as the hypnobirthing manual. Over the coming weeks I began to alter my ideas on what my birth experience could be like and learned how to use visualisation techniques to prepare myself, and the baby, for our first meeting. I found the CD incredibly helpful and also ensured I listened to it during my weekly reflexology sessions. Now when people grimaced at the thought of my giving birth and asked me how I felt about it, I realised I felt calmer and was starting to believe in my abilities. I realised that I had wanted for so long to become a mother and that I wanted to take control of the journey to meet my baby. I didn’t want to arrive at the hospital and allow the professionals to tell me how my birth would take place. I needed to be prepared.
By the time I reached 37 weeks, I felt I was ready and excited about the prospect of meeting my little girl. I had leaned to shut out the negative tales and thoughts of others and I was focussed on meeting my little one. However, she did not seem so excited! For weeks her head had not been engaged and she was flipping all over the place. The midwife eventually sent me to the hospital to have a scan and check her positioning. She told me she thought the baby was transverse and that I should prepare for a caesarean. I phoned my husband from the car park in tears and told him to come home. I panicked. This was not in my plan. I felt horrified at the thought of having a c section when I had come so far to feel positive about the birth I wanted. Suddenly the choices were being taken away from me.
The baby was discovered to be breech. I knew that she had been that way for a long time and I didn’t feel she was ready to put in an appearance any time soon! The consultants got involved – my hopes of an intervention free water birth were becoming highly unlikely. An ECV was discussed in the hope that the baby could be turned. The caesarean was booked as I was at such a late stage in the pregnancy and I was sent away feeling like I had failed before I had even tried. I was scared at the thought of the attempting turning and didn’t feel it would be a positive experience for the baby.
I contacted Joan and arranged to go and see her as soon as possible. In the mean time the hospital managed to mess up 3 appointments to attempt to turn the baby. My session with Joan was incredibly relaxing. Whilst using reflexology, we discussed any fears I still had about the birth. I talked about the fact that I was harbouring worries about being a good Mum, did I have it in me to be the Mother I wanted to be? We talked and I relaxed. Joan then performed a visualisation exercise in order to encourage the baby to move and for me to let go of my worries and allow the baby to move into the right position to birth easily. I left feeling remarkably relaxed and hopeful that the caesarean would not happen.
A few days later we set off for the hospital for the ‘elective’ caesarean. I had starved myself and taken the drugs that morning. I was feeling excited about the prospect of meeting my little girl but still bitterly disappointed that all my hard work was not being put to use. The doctor arrived to perform a final scan before heading to theatre. To everyone’s surprise the baby had turned and her head was engaged for the first time in the pregnancy. We were sent home and told to wait for things to happen naturally. It had happened so gently and naturally that I had not even felt it – there was no pain or pressure involved. I was elated and I knew that the possibility of a natural water birth on the midwife led unit was back on the cards.
A week later, at 9 days overdue, baby decided it was time. Initially the pain surprised me and I began to panic and doubt myself. Maybe everyone was right and I couldn’t do this? We got to the hospital far too early and I seemed to have forgotten all about my breathing and visualisation techniques. I stayed over night and asked for a bath the following morning. Whilst soaking I gathered myself. I reminded myself of my capabilities and recalled the hypnobirthing techniques I had learned. I calmed myself down and reminded myself of the journey I had been on to reach this point.
Once in the pool I found the water incredibly soothing. The midwives, as well as my mum and my husband kept telling me how well I was doing. I felt calm and in control. The discomfort was manageable and each surge seemed to be bringing my baby closer to me. I felt I had my own space in the pool and I was in control. The intervention was minimal. At no point did I feel I couldn’t cope, I felt I allowed my body to work naturally to get baby out. I knew what my body was doing and I knew that my baby would arrive safely.
Mia arrived after three pushes. At no point was I told to push or did anyone need to touch me or interfere in the process. There was no huge pain as she arrived into the water. She was placed in my chest and was calm and alert. We lay in the water together and gazed at each other.
Mia fed well right from the start and (8 weeks on!) is a calm and happy baby. People comment on how alert she is and how peaceful. I know that the way she came into this world has had a resounding effect on the kind of baby she is. There was no trauma for her and I was relaxed. Throughout my birthing experience I kept thinking how pleased I was with myself for doing such a good job. One of the best things was seeing how proud my husband was of me, how grateful he was that I was delivering his child in this way.
Now when people ask me how it was, I feel it is my duty to spread the message that birth doesn’t have to be a traumatic and medicalised experience. It can be incredibly empowering. It wouldn’t have been this way without Joan and without the hypnobirthing techniques I learned. I am so incredibly grateful that my first birth experience was so positive. When can I do it again?!
We found out we were pregnant with our second baby in February 2011 and, after the initial excitement, my thoughts quickly moved to the birth. Our first child, Toby, was born by emergency c-section as my waters broke at 37 weeks and he was in a breech position, so I had not experienced labour at all. This time around my initial thought was to have a planned c-section as it seemed like the easiest option and avoided the ‘dreaded labour’. With my decision made the pregnancy progressed well. I was under consultant care at the L&D, due to my previous c-section, and at the first appointment we discussed birth options. I told him that I wanted a planned c-section and he presented the VBAC options to me but it was very statistically focussed around the risks of scar rupture. He suggested I book in to see a senior midwife, Heidi, who would be able to talk to me about what a VBAC would actually be like on the day in the delivery ward. Despite still being sure I wanted a c-section I decided to talk to Heidi to ensure I had considered all options. The meeting with Heidi was fantastic. She spent an hour with me talking through lots of different scenarios and how the hospital would deal with them. At this point my fear of labour wasn’t the pain but the risks to our baby. Heidi made me feel very comfortable that there were steps in place to mitigate all of the risks and made me realise that a VBAC was a very real option for us, and the success rate stats around a VBAC are actually higher than the stats for a natural birth for a first time mum, which really surprised me. I came away from the appointment excited about the prospect of a VBAC… not at all what I was expecting! One of Heidi’s recommendations was not to be induced as this increases the risk of rupture and to actually get labour going you typically need to try quite a few things and this is not a good idea for VBAC, so I booked myself in for a c-section 10 days after due date, just in case, but didn’t think this would be needed as I was convinced this baby would be early like Toby.
With my new decision made I started to focus on the birth itself and began discussing experiences with friends. A common theme ran through a lot of people’s stories that had had a good birth…a lot of them had taken a hypnobirthing course, or had followed the principles. I decided that if we were going to give VBAC a shot then I should take this course, as anything that could help me control my nerves would be beneficial. I was very sceptical at how, and if, hypnobirthing would work but I contacted Joan, our local hypnobirthing teacher. Prior to the course starting I read through the hypnobirthing book, that accompanies the course, and realised that the concepts behind the course make total sense. Up until that point all of my labour and birth ideas were based off what I had seen on television (one born every minute!) and from friends, who had all had very mixed experiences. The ideas around if you are able to relax and let your body take control, as it knows what to do, make sense. My challenge was going to be how to relax myself enough, as this is not something that comes easily to me at the best of times!!
At the first session with Joan we practised a few relaxation and breathing techniques. I think it is fair to say that I really struggled, and I started to panic that I was never going to be able to relax. I found myself thinking too much about the words and not letting go and actually relaxing. This was a common theme for me for quite a while and I wondered if I would ever get it. I think I was waiting for something magical to happen and suddenly I would transform into a relaxed person that would be able to drift off into a trance at the click of Chris’ fingers and suddenly not be able to feel any pain. Whilst this may be the case for some people I have since realised that hypnobirthing for me has not taught me to go into a trance like state, but through practice it has helped me zone out from everything that is stressing me out and has given me a set of tools and techniques to relax. I managed to achieve this mainly through the breathing techniques combined with listening to either the rainbow CD or some relaxing background music to keep me relaxed. I found the affirmations CD really useful and at first listened to this to and from work every day, and later in pregnancy during the day around the house and when I was having daytime sleeps. Joan also helped me realise that all of the practice that we had been doing was all going into my subconscious mind and that when I came to draw on it during birth we would be able to use the techniques.
As we got nearer to the birth day I was excited and intrigued about using all of my new techniques to get me through labour but the birth day came and went, much to our surprise. Each day after the due date I expected my waters to break or my surges to start, but nothing happened at all. My focus for so long was on the birth and labour but suddenly I found myself wondering if we were actually going to get to use everything we had been practising, as we were getting closer and closer to the c-section date. 5 days before the c-section date I went for some reflexology with Joan to try to get things moving and I came away excited that perhaps that night things would start. I think I even began to imagine things were starting but nothing happened and I was so disappointed. I had to give myself a talking to as, although it was looking like we wouldn’t get the birth we had hoped for, we were going to be meeting our little baby in a few days. The evening my before c-section date arrived and I went for a final reflexology session with Joan, as a last attempt to get things moving. I took the tablets for my operation and went to bed quite excited that we would meet our baby the next day, but a bit nervous about the operation.
At 2am I woke to go to the toilet and I felt a pop, just like I had felt when my waters broke with Toby. In the back of my mind I was so excited but didn’t really think anything had happened as this would have been too good to be true! I went back to bed but didn’t wake up Chris as I didn’t want to give him false hope. However, I was far too excited to sleep. At 2.30am I had my first surge and I was SO excited. I decided to wait for another one before waking Chris, just in case I had imagined it, and sure enough another one came 30 minutes later. Another 30 minutes after that I had another and at 4am they started coming every 10 minutes!! I woke up Chris and we were both in disbelief, but very very excited. At 6am we decided to call the hospital to check what we should do as we were due in the hospital at 7.30am for the c-section. They said to come in as soon as possible. We got ourselves ready and told Toby that we were off to pick up the baby from hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital we went to the delivery ward and met our midwife. She checked whether my waters had broken and whether I was dilated but couldn’t confirm the waters breaking and said I wasn’t dilated. A consultant and registrar arrived and began to talk to us about what would likely happen that day. They said that we had 24 hours after my waters broke before they would need to intervene, either with a c-section or by induction, but that they would let the labour progress for the day to see how we got on. At that point I was quite thrown as I had assumed that because everything had started of it’s own accord that we would be able to just get on with it, but they seemed to want to intervene at what seemed to me to be a bit premature. Our midwife left the room and came back with Heidi and another senior midwife. They were both quite cross at the doctors and told them that it was essentially a first labour and that things wont progress too quickly and to let me get on with it. They told me not to let them touch me or do anything to progress the labour that I didn’t want to. I felt very reassured, but we still felt quite confused still about the option of an induction that evening as we had ruled this out in our birth plan. We were told that by 5pm if we hadn’t progressed much that we would need to have an idea which way we wanted to go – c-section or induction.
We were sent upstairs to the postnatal ward where we were given a private room to progress through labour. That morning was actually very relaxing and enjoyable. I had a little rest, we listened to some music, played a bit of yahtzee (!) and went for a few walks around the hospital. At that point in time my surges were still very regular at 10 minutes apart but had started to become more intense and I had to focus on breathing through them, with help from Chris. I also used a tens machine, which I found fantastic.
At 2pm a midwife came and asked if everything was ok and if I had been feeling the baby move still. I hadn’t consciously been focussing on the movement of the baby so we decided to get ourselves monitored for 30 minutes to check the heartbeat. We noticed that at every surge the baby’s heartbeat dropped down, but came back up again after every surge. We were sent back down to the delivery ward to continue being monitored and to see the consultant about what could be causing the heartbeat to drop. The doctors and midwife thought that something may be pressing on the cord, but they were concerned that if the heartbeat was dropping when surges were 10 minutes apart then the baby may not be able to cope with surges as they became more regular through the use of syntocinon.
At 5pm I still wasn’t dilated at all. This was a real disappointment because we had spent all day labouring with seemingly no progress at all. We made the decision that we would have a c-section to deliver our baby as the thought that the baby may struggle through induced surges really worried us and we would rather have a c-section in relatively controlled conditions rather than in an emergency situation.
The consultant told us that we should wait until 7pm to see what happened over the next few hours but that they would start preparing me for the operation. I asked if I could move off the bed to a standing position as I was getting quite uncomfortable and at about 5.30pm my surges suddenly became very very intense! I ramped my tens machine up and Chris and I really focussed on breathing through the surges. The midwife suggested I try using gas and air, which I did, and I loved! It gave my something else to focus my breathing on. The next hour and a half is a bit of a blur and from what Chris says I didn’t really have a break between surges, they were coming so quickly and lasting so long! Chris was amazing and really focused on the counting up and down through the surges, and helped support me in lots of weird positions that I found I wanted to get into!
After about an hour I felt an incredible urge to go to the toilet but was unable to talk through the surges to communicate how I was feeling. I didn’t feel able to leave the room, as I wasn’t sure how I would cope without my gas and air and Chris. It felt like much more than just an urge to go to the toilet and I had a strong feeling that the baby was coming. I was on my tiptoes at every surge feeling like I was holding something in and shouting at Chris to get the midwife, who had popped out of the room. Chris asked what I needed her for and the only response I could find was ‘JUST GET HER!’ Chris explained to the midwife that he thought I wanted an epidural as I kept pointing to my back. I couldn’t talk so I just shook my head vigorously and pointed again at my back!!! The midwife seemed to humour me and said she would check if anything was happening as there are rare occasions when the baby could come that quickly, but she said it was highly unlikely. After checking me she said that she had good news and bad news… the bad news it was too late for an epidural, the good news was that I was fully dilated! I felt overjoyed, as I’m not sure how long I could have continued without any additional help through the surges and I was amazed that it had happened so quickly.
The midwife said that she would give us an hour for the baby to make its way down of its own accord and asked what position I wanted to be in to deliver the baby. When we had been on our hypnobirthing course we watched a DVD of a lady delivering her baby in a kneeling position on the bed. Ever since watching that DVD I had in my mind that that is the position that I wanted to be in. At this point I had a strange feeling of total calm, free of surges and just like my normal self, able to communicate easily with Chris and the midwife. It lasted for a few minutes that gave me time to focus on my breathing again and to remind myself not to push through this next stage. The surges started again and the midwife kept reminding me to focus on my breathing and not to push. After a few minutes she checked to see how the baby was getting on and she was surprised to say that she could see the baby and that he / she would likely be out during the next surge! She asked me to get back into lying down position, as she thought I may tear from kneeling up, but I didn’t want to so I decided to stay in the same position. The surge came, I focussed on the breathing again whilst consciously not pushing, and out dropped our little baby onto the bed!!!! Chris and I were both so shocked that it had all happened so quickly. We had put into our birth plan that we wanted Chris to announce the sex of the baby and we were delighted that we had a little girl. The midwife let Chris cut the cord and she gave our little girl to us to allow us to have immediate skin-to-skin family time and she latched onto me straight away. The midwife amazed me by telling me that I didn’t have any tears at all which, given the speed of the delivery, was quite surprising! I was thrilled, as this had been a bit of a fear of mine throughout the pregnancy and I really believe it was due to me not pushing during the delivery.
As the delivery was so straightforward, and as she had latched straight on to me, the midwife said that we would be able to be discharged very quickly, which I assumed would be the next morning. However, she began talking about us being discharged that evening straight from the delivery ward. Baby checks are required 6 hours after birth and she said that if a community midwife was able to do the checks at home the next day we would be able to leave in 3 hours!!!! As it turned out there wasn’t a community midwife able to do the checks so we stayed 6 hours. Still, this was a huge improvement on the 7 nights that I had to stay in for Toby. We spent the next 6 hours cooing over our new baby, that we named Chloe, and eating the most delicious toast we had ever eaten (strange but true!). Our midwife ended her shift and handed over to another midwife and she took huge pleasure in telling her how amazing the delivery had been and how easy we had made it look going from 0-10 cms in 2.5 hours and delivering the baby in just 10 minutes! We got home at 3am and were there to see Toby when he woke up that morning with his new little sister.
I would recommend hypnobirthing to every pregnant mum to be, as it not only helped me relax during my pregnancy and allowed us to have the most amazing birth, but we have the most chilled out little girl who is just a dream baby, although I need to be careful not to jinx it! Chloe didn’t cry when she was born, didn’t cry the whole time she was in hospital, and very rarely cries now at nearly 9 weeks old. The course also gave Chris something to focus on during the birth and made him VERY useful. I couldn’t have got through it as I did without Chris counting me through the breathing, pushing my shoulders down through each surge to relax me, and to support me in my weird positions that I adopted near the end! It has been a revelation to me that labour isn’t the terrifying experience that I had imagined it to be. I’m not going to say that the labour didn’t hurt, because it did, but it was very manageable and it was one of, if not the most, amazing experiences of my life. It is true that your body knows exactly what to do if you just let it. Chris and I are adamant that it all went as well as it did because of the hypnobirthing relaxation techniques that we learnt. It was the birth that we had dreamed of, but a birth that I really didn’t think would be possible as I had been such a sceptic at the start of the course
My Birth Story
I gave birth to my first son Oliver in 2007 and looking back now I realise I was incredibly unprepared and ignorant, deciding that sticking my head in the sand for the whole pregnancy was the best way to prepare. Sadly this only made me even more frightened when the time came. My waters broke at home which was very exciting but I became fueled by adrenaline and with each contraction tenser and tenser, I think in a way fighting the sensation, not willing them on. I am sure now that this is why when I arrived at the hospital after 10 hours- certain that I was about to give birth as my contractions were incredibly painful and 3 minutes apart- I was in fact still only 1cm dilated. It was incredibly disheartening and made me feel very nervous of what was to come and already I felt exhausted. I demanded an epidural on the spot, convinced I wouldn’t get one later if I waited, much to the midwifes disapproval. I then needed syntoconin and the spiral of intervention had begun. It all ended with an emergency caesarean due to a stressed baby and a ‘failure to progress’. I was told it was inevitable as Ollie was very big and got himself stuck in an awkward position but I feel very strongly that if my whole approach had been different it could have been avoided.
It was with a fierce determination for my next birth to be a better experience that I began to research different approaches. I had tried NCT with my first pregnancy but found that it only made me more nervous. I was asked by a friend of my sisters if I had thought about HypnoBirthing. I immediately conjured up images of ‘hypnotised’ women giving birth and thought the idea rather silly. She insisted and her description of how it improved her second birth from an incredibly traumatic first birth was enough to make me give it a go.
I found Joan Mills was in Harpenden and arranged a meeting. From our very first chat I felt instantly it was what I needed. It took me a little while to persuade my husband but eventually he agreed to give it a go- Joan had stressed how vital it was to both attend the sessions. The first thing we learnt during the subsequent session was to get rid of our misconception of hypnosis as being hocus pocus and think of it as simply being a process of teaching myself to deeply relax. Using breathing exercises to release tension and clear my mind of any negative and fear inducing thoughts. I looked forward to every session with my husband and incredibly quickly felt myself changing. I felt calm and focused and ready to embrace my baby’s arrival. The sessions also helped me to really connect with both my unborn baby and my husband. This was crucial to me during labour, feeling like a team with my husband was incredibly strengthening. Focusing on my baby and wanting to meet her and wanting her to be happy kept me calm and because my husband had been with me during the sessions he knew exactly to help me without us even needing to discuss it.
Leading up to the birth I also visited Joan for reflexology sessions which were wonderful in maintaining all the work we had done in the HypnoBirthing sessions.
My waters broke at 5am on Monday 13th June. I was elated, I was ready to meet my little girl. I trusted in all the work I had done to prepare. I focused on my breathing as I had been taught and used it to work with my body, encouraging myself to release and open. With every contraction- or ‘surge’ I was breathing with the sensation of my cervix opening, focusing on the image my baby easing herself down and trying to make it as easy as possible for her. My husbands gentle touch helped me to release tension and keep calm and happy. I can remember feeling an incredible sense that we were doing this together and it was wonderful.
We were asked to come straight into hospital because of my waters breaking and having has a previous cesarean- they like to keep a close eye on you! But I was very clear with them that I wanted to be left alone as much as possible and that I had been practicing HypnoBirthing. The hospital staff were very happy for us to keep ourselves to ourselves for which we were incredibly grateful. I was constantly complimented on how incredibly calm I seemed and this gave me even more confidence. I was absolutely focused on getting my baby out calmly and safely. We were put in a post natal ward as this was the only space available and I found myself surrounded by Mummys with their new babies! All of whom had had emergency cesareans. Seeing them made me even more determined that it wouldn’t happen to me this time. I know for sure that before HypnoBirthing all of this would have panicked me greatly! But I refused to let negative thoughts come in and knew it didn’t matter where I was or who was there as long as I kept my focus on my baby. In fact seeing the new little babies helped me remember what I was about to get, so I would steal sneaky peeks at them every now and then!
By lunchtime of the second day in hospital I was 3cm dilated, I was very pleased and felt that it was all going very well so by the time we moved down to the labour ward at 7pm that evening I was convinced I must be nearly fully dilated. You can imagine how disappointing it was to be told that I was still only 3cm. This was the first time I felt a sudden fear that it wasn’t going to be the way I wanted it to be, I suddenly felt exhausted and panicky about what was going to happen. The new midwife told me that I was going to have to be put on to syntoconin as it had been too long since my waters broke I pleaded with her to give me more time and she said we could give it another 2 hours. I was willing my body on but I think a combination of the move from the warm and friendly post natal ward down into the cold, hard labour ward and being told I was no more dilated made me so tense that my body shut down. Half an hour passed and I didn’t have a single contraction. I couldn’t believe it, everything had just stopped. I started to cry. This was exactly what I hadn’t wanted. The midwife told me that my baby was fine, her heartbeat was stable so the most sensible thing to do if I wanted to avoid a cesarean was too have the syntoconin and an epidural, get some rest and regain my strength so that I could breathe my baby out. I pulled myself together and agreed to the midwifes plan, if it meant I could still have my baby naturally it was the right thing to do. I felt very nervous having the epidural but I continued with my breathing exercises and my husband gave me the light touch massage that had been so effective early on in the labour. I felt my energy return and with it the calm and focus that I had had before. I felt in control again. The midwife was wonderful and had made me realise that after 40 hours of labour with no sleep an epidural was my best bet at having a natural birth, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have had the strength to get her out and it would most likely have resulted in forceps or cesarean. The syntoconin worked and 5 hours later I was fully dilated and ready to start breathing down. I had regained my strength and so the midwife eased off the epidural so that I could work effectively with my body, feeling when to bear down with every surge. Within an hour, 50 hours after my waters had broken my daughter, Avelina was born. Her heartbeat had never faltered.
I felt an overwhelming relief and complete and utter joy that she was here. Safely and happily. I have not once looked back at my birth with any regret and I feel proud of how it went. I believe that is 100% percent because of HypnoBirthing. It enabled me to deal with whatever came along and when things got difficult and hard to bear it helped me have the strength to know what was the right thing to do.
Avelina is a wonderfully happy, calm baby and I am so incredibly grateful for the experience that HypnoBirthing gave me.
Hi Joan the website is lovely!
You have been an amazing source of wisdom and encouragement, helping me prepare for birth and beyond during my three pregnancies. I initially came for a treatment during my first pregnancy because of my extreme morning sickness. The calm and positive space you created helped so much in those early months. Every time I visited I felt more positive about the prospect of labour. I felt so prepared for birth and I was able to use all the visualizations you taught me to cope with the surges. My first daughter was born after about 8 hours of labour and I was sure all the reflexology meant that my body knew what to do. The birth of my son who was 9lb 11oz was also really stress free and quick. I am sure all the preparation with you was the reason I did not tear despite his size! For my third pregnancy you were a qualified hypnoBirth teacher so this added knowledge was an incredible resource for me as I planned a home birth. The hypoBirth techniques and workshop I attended with my husband prepared us both to process any fears before the onset of labour. That was invaluable as I had a week of stop start labour! It was challenging and I was really overdue but you made time to see me to focus and calm me. Every time I came for a treatment it was a wonderful opportunity to connect with my unborn baby and begin that bonding process.
When my waters did break at home I was really excited that I was going to soon meet my baby. This was also my first water birth as although I had been in a birth pool I had not delivered in one. My daughters birth was totally amazing. It was so calm, peaceful and intimate. I am utterly convinced that because of the reflexology and hypnoBirth techniques you taught me I have been able to have 3 drug free labours with almost no intervention from midwives.
I can’t rave enough about HypnoBirthing®. My husband and I decided to do the course as I was interested in what it involved.
Don’t be sceptical until you have tried it.
We started off with the intention of having our baby in hospital but by the end of our course decided to try and have it at home and hired a birthing pool which was lovely.
As the labour progressed, Andy took me into relaxation which enabled me to relax and even sleep while in the birthing pool.
I did go into hospital as a precaution as I wasn’t dilating enough [and] on entry to the hospital they wanted to give me a c-section straight away, believe it or not. However, I had a fantastic midwife who new what we wanted to do for the birth of our baby and gave us a chance to continue with that as the baby wasn’t distressed.
Andy took me into deep relaxation at this point and I actually fell asleep for about 1/2 an hour in the peak of my surges…it was at this point I believe my body had rested and relaxed enough to allow my baby to move ready to be delivered.
I do genuinely believe that if I had not had the hypnobirth experience I would not have realised the potential of my own body and how it needs to be able to ‘get on with the job in hand’ without the addition of stress which fights it all the way.
When in relaxation I would describe it as that Sunday afternoon sleep that you contently drift in and out of. I could feel the surges and would describe them as the ache you get during your period.
Marie Cooksey, Steve Bowerman and son Fintan – click for full size picture
I gave birth to Fintan Joseph on Mon 10th May at 20.04. My surges started irregularly about 1pm, I then started timing them about 2pm.
Called Steve home from work at 3pm, because I wanted to relax more. Had a long deep bath, and they seemed to kick in fully then.
Midwife arrived at 7pm (when I was 7cm) and Fintan was born at 8.04pm. Pretty swift really. Oh and I had him at home as planned – which was lovely.
Midwives were well impressed at how calm and serene I looked.
I found that sleep breathing was excellent. It really did make the discomfort go away and is empowering as you know what your body is doing so you work with, instead of against it.
Steve was a fantastic birthing partner, calming me and talking me through my breathing – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. I played the CD constantly as well, and kept saying the affirmations in my head to make me focus on the job-in-hand.
As for the J breath, I loved it – it made the actual delivery easy-peasy.
I can’t rave about it enough. Plus one push and the placenta was out – who needs drugs?
Believe in the power that is HypnoBirthing® and you too will be talked about at midwife meetings.
Our community midwives actually said it was one of the easiest first time-mother births that they had seen in 20 years – now that is some recommendation!!
“My husband and I found the HypnoBirthing® sessions informative in explaining how the female body works during the birth and how to maximise the effectiveness of it. The positive nature of HypnoBirthing® helped me to look forward to the birth and to believe that a pain free birth is possible.
We both felt very relaxed leading up to the birth. Unlike others in my NHS antenatal class, I never complained of sleep problems. The relaxation techniques didn’t just benefit me; my husband, who frequently suffers from insomnia, experienced the best sleep of his life!
My waters broke at 5:30am. My husband and I prepared to go into hospital and were there for 7:30. What I now know to have been the beginnings of my surges started at about 7:00.
At 9:00, the hospital sent me home and told me to go ahead with my obstetrician’s appointment the next day. I should have been more assertive in insisting that I believed I would have my baby that day. My lack of pain appeared to lead the midwives to think that labour had not started.
While I relaxed in the bath, at home, my husband timed my surges – 60 seconds long and 2 minutes apart – so back to the hospital we went. On returning there, at 12:30, I was 5cm dilated.
I cannot explain very well what happened during the first stage of labour. I continued to practise the breathing with each surge whenever I felt a tightening. At some point, my body seemed to take over. My uterus seemed to convulse, pushing downwards. This was totally involuntary on my part! The midwife felt that my body was taking over and knew exactly what to do.
During this time, my husband took over all discussions with the midwives and I was able to use the self-hypnosis techniques to totally relax, shut out the outside world and focus on my surges.
The midwives and doctors were incredibly supportive of our wishes to use the HypnoBirthing® techniques. My husband and I both enjoyed the birthing experience.
We felt relaxed throughout and so did Amie as it appears to have transpired. The techniques taught to us certainly helped me to relax my body, which I believe enabled me to be pain free.
I had been anxious at times during the pregnancy because of my medical condition, which could have created problems during the birth. However, the HypnoBirthing® sessions gave me the confidence to take greater control of the birth while respecting the need, in my case, for considerable monitoring and potentially for medical intervention.
I would certainly use the techniques again, should we have more children, and would recommend it to anyone.”
As soon as we knew the signs that our baby was coming to us, we were very excited, we talked about what the baby would look like.
We were very positive and both extremely relaxed. We knew this was going to be a great day.
I was feeling only tightenings in my stomach, I visualized the muscles stretching up then pushing down to open the cervix. I felt very happy to have this feeling as I knew the baby was coming to me.
I was never uncomfortable and it was very peaceful as I listened to music and the colours of the rainbow tape. With each wave it was if my body went into a totally automatic relaxed but focused state. Between the waves I felt so relaxed, I felt sleepy.
Soon I felt the urge to push, Our little “Lucy Maree” was handed to us after 3 pushes of non interference labour.
The HypnoBirthing® programme and Peter had shown me how to enjoy my labour. With each surge I felt very happy and confident. Labour is a beautiful, beautiful thing and I wish everyone could experience the peace and calmness that I did whilst birthing our baby.
My recovery was very quick as I had not used my energy in fighting fear of my birth. The HypnoBirthing® technique has become a very special gift in my life. I feel totally privileged to have this knowledge to have given me the ultimate birth experience.
I remember at one session with Peter watching a video of this total in control mother giving birth and I thought, wow. But no I still don’t think I’ll be like that. …. Well from the first wave to the last I was like that lady, but I wasn’t even trying to be.
It’s exactly like I learned, “Turn your labour over to your body”. I was so proud of myself, and my husband couldn’t believe what I was like. Due to work commitments my husband was unable to come to all the classes, he was happy for me to do the programme.
The point I would like to make to all the mothers is, “It is possible to do this on your own”. Geoff my husband was extremely supportive throughout the pregnancy and the birth and was so proud of me. He is now so positive of the HypnoBirthing® Programme.
Thank you so much for helping me to enjoy birthing as it should be enjoyed, also enjoying life as it should be enjoyed.
We wanted to let you know how well my labour went and what a fantastic success the hypnobirthing technique was.
To start with, the Rainbow Relaxation & affirmations helped so much in the build-up to the birth – I had high blood pressure and was advised to finish work a little earlier than planned.
After 1 week of doing the Rainbow Relaxation twice a day my blood pressure was back to normal & I was able to continue working for an extra couple of weeks. This gave me a lot of confidence that the birth would be manageable at home for as long as I was able to stay there for – which turned out to be for the whole birth, much to Scott & my surprise!!
I woke at 02:30 on Thursday 24th Feb to an uncomfortable feeling that could not be dismissed as anything other than the start of labour, so I settled down & did some sleep breathing to relax myself – once the surges got a little stronger at around 4am I had a 4 hour bath, listened to the music CD & went well and truly into deep relaxation.
Scott played the CD’s for me & said that he tried to talk to me but I was so deeply relaxed that I just looked at him with a ‘tranced’ look on my face & continued to focus entirely on my breathing & rocking my hips back and forth – I stayed mobile throughout the entire birth experience.
When my waters broke at 11:30 I felt my breathing change quite naturally – I’d phoned the hospital & my midwife before my waters went & they both assured me I had ‘hours’ to go – so when the midwife phoned at 12:40 she told us to take a slow drive into hospital…….Nade was born 15 minutes later.
As soon as Scott got off the phone to the midwife I had a strong urge to push & breathe very deeply, I felt the head & got Scott to phone for an ambulance at that point. Poor Scott thought he was going to deliver his son on the bathroom floor & I’m not sure who was more relieved when we heard the ambulance coming down the street. Dave the paramedic was up the stairs & was just in time to catch Nade as he made his entrance.
We were taken into hospital for a check up but I was completely aware of everything, able to walk & not tired at all.
I had about 8 people come & see me specifically to ask about the hypnobirthing & I couldn’t endorse it enough – looking back I can see how well I handled the situation & my friends who’ve had babies can’t believe how well I coped (I think they were all very sceptical even though they didn’t say anything). The next one will definitely be a planned home birth though.
The CD’s are invaluable even after the birth, Nade sleeps well at night with the music playing in the background & I have been able to do some deep relaxation at the same time which has helped me cope no end with the major changes that have happened since his birth.
HypnoBirthing has given me one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.
Early in my pregnancy, I was convinced that I needed an epidural since all expectant mothers around me were doing that. I heard about HypnoBirthing and loved the idea of following a technique to lose fear and allow a natural painless birth, which is what the miraculous female body is destined to do naturally.
My husband and I took the course and were convinced how beautiful and peaceful the natural birth can be.
Since I was having a breech baby, our doula recommended a chiropractor to perform the Webster Technique to help me turn our baby. In addition, I practiced a relaxation CD for turning our baby in my daily practice.
Even though our baby did not turn at the end, our doula introduced us to a midwife that empowered us to switch to a doctor skilled at natural vaginal breech births since my doctor wanted to schedule me for a C-section. Our meeting with our doula and the midwife happened the night before my membranes released.
Because we followed our instinct and based on our knowledge gained from the HypnoBirthing classes, we felt confident to switch our doctor at the very last minute and, thankfully, he accepted us! Our doula was amazing during my birth and helped me go through the surges in a totally relaxed and empowered manner thanks to the relaxation practices I had been doing for a couple of months prior to that moment.
My mother and husband were also present and they were quickly believers when they witnessed a totally relaxed birth experience in spite of the complication of having a breech birth. As it turned out, my labor went unusually fast mainly due to the fact the doctor administered Pitocin, which I had no option out of under the circumstances, but mainly that I was very relaxed through the surges.
From the time they administered Pitocin to the time I gave birth, it had only been less than 3 hours, which even the doctor and attending nurses were surprised to see for a first birth. I remember feeling our baby wanting to come into the world and after that surge, one foot came out. Shortly after that, the other came out.
At that time, the doctor and nurses arrived and realized that I was fully dilated and it was time for our baby to be born. After two slight pushes to get the head out, Lili was born!
Our experience is special and one that I will never forget in my life. HypnoBirthing and our doula were very instrumental in helping and supporting me to believe it could be this way in spite of a breech presentation. The experience helped me realize and believe that you should trust yourself and your body and allow it to do what it is naturally meant to do.
I first went to see Joan when I was 41.5 weeks pregnant with my first child, Feeling like my pregnancy was going to last forever. I had read that reflexology could help trigger labour when the body is ready and even if it didn’t I was looking forward to some ‘me’ time. The session was wonderful, Joan is very knowledgeable about pregnancy and has a very holistic approach to pregnancy and labour. I left feeling very relaxed and contractions started soon after with baby making his appearance the next day. When I fell pregnant 18 months later I was pleased to have an excuse to see Joan again.
This time I saw her every 6 weeks or so and despite a difficult pregnancy, I left every session feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated. At 38 weeks I fell and broke my foot, I was devastated. I was worried about being immobile while in labour and not being able to have reflexology! I decided to see Joan again at 40.5 weeks for a massage to relax, she ended up doing some reflexology on my good foot, gentle reflexology and reiki on my broken foot and a mini shoulder/neck massage. I felt great afterwards and again contractions started almost immediately and only 9 hours later I was holding my daughter following an amazing labour and home birth. I cant recommend Joan highly enough!
“I can’t imagine how anyone gives birth without it! HypnoBirthing® kept me feeling calm and in control throughout labour. The contractions were no problem at all.
I knew what to do and what to think. It gave me a better understanding of the physical and psychological aspects of childbirth. It also gave me greater confidence in myself and in my partner to work as a team, as I knew that we had the tools to ensure a safe and calm birth.
This meant that I avoided the use of pain-killing chemicals. I believe in myself (mind and body) a lot more now, and feel that perhaps there’s even more I can achieve if I only put my mind to it.
I would advise every mother-to-be and her partner to try HypnoBirthing® even if they intend to use drugs.”
“Using the breathing and relaxation techniques we were taught, I was able to get through twelve hours of contractions with absolutely no pain at all. All I could feel was pressure.
The final part, where I was pushing Mia out, stung a little bit but that was all, and I didn’t need any pain relief – not even gas and air.
What’s more, my sister saw me soon afterwards and said I looked as if I’d just come back from a health farm, not just given birth!”
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