.. Louise’s Story ..
When I first received the “your baby, your birth” book from Faye, I instantly thought what’s this hippy crap she’s got me reading… after laying in the bath and losing myself in the first 30 odd pages my mind was blown and my opinion converted!
From that evening I downloaded the relaxation playlist and listened to it every evening before bed. It helped to create a sense of calm and although it never quite gave me a perfects nights sleep it definitely helped me to switch off and enjoy a deeper sleep!
Between then at when I went into labour I continued to practise breathing and trying at every opportunity to speak positively about birth and not listen to any negative stories. I didn’t want to live in fear of what would be the single most important moment of my life.
When I finally got to meet my baby, I wanted to be in the best mood and know that everything we had gone through had been in my control and the best thing for both of us
When I went into labour and my contractions started there was no panic. I had just woken from a nap and I sat down to eat dinner without even mentioning it. I knew we were about to go through this incredible journey but I wanted just a few moment longer to prepare.
Ash at the ready with his pen and paper to record the contractions it all began. Quietly and calmly I sat up in bed watching “My Family” and closing my eyes during contractions reminding myself each contraction must come to an end. Every couple of hours as the contractions got closer together Ash would ask me “are you ready to call the midwife”. We’d learnt through hypnobirthing that keeping control was the single most important thing. So we wanted to keep the midwives away as long as possible until it was needed. By 7am we were ready to open our home to the midwives but everything remained the same as a normal day (except I walked around the house in pretty much my bra). So they arrived and we pretty much hosted the most surreal tea party you can imagine. Cake and biscuits being passed around everyone chatting away like long lost friends and me, the centre piece calmly, openly breathing through contractions.
My happy place throughout my pregnancy and labour was in the bath. Lavender diffusers and candles everywhere! Even massaging a little into my temples and scalp really took the edge of. During pregnancy Ash and I used to use this time to build our labour playlist, which strangely didn’t get a look in during labour as I wanted gentle chitter chatter and then complete silence when each contraction came.
I popped in and it of the bath (my favourite place) as and when I wanted and before I knew it were at 5pm and it’s time to push.
After about 30 minutes of pushing I didn’t feel like I couldn’t go on but each contraction seemed more difficult than the last but no progress was being made. It was time to go to the hospital. Armed with our list of wishes Ash cleared the room and reassured me we would get through this and he’d be there to make the decisions for us. We both had a cry, me mostly because I knew we were so close. I was disappointed I wouldn’t get to have my baby at home.
.. but I knew the path we were on we still had plenty of control.
We arrived at the hospital and after a few hours of watching how the baby and I were getting on it was decided we would have a C-Section. Ash and I agreed it was too exhausting to carry on waiting and waiting. We wanted to meet our baby already! As I was pushed into surgery my hand gripped to Ash’s I was so happy our baby was minutes away.
I couldn’t help but laugh and chat away to the anaesthetist like I was in for a leg wax and pedicure!
She arrived at 2am a healthy 9lb screaming the roof off but the moment she laid on my chest calm was resumed and she’s been pretty laid back ever since!
At no point during the 40 odd hour process did I have time to be angry, upset. There was no fear because I truly believed we could get to the end of this and we both had the end goal in site.
The safest, calmest route for our delivery was taken and without Hypnobirthing I imagine it wouldn’t have been at all the way it was.
I now walk around telling people I hated being pregnant (which I did because I felt useless for most of it) but I would do labour for anyone who asked if I could because I loved it. Creating and controlling your own little bubble and getting something so fantastic at the end of it. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked but the most energised I’ve ever felt. Ash and I were so full of love and pride we didn’t sleep for about 2 days after!
We’re 5 months in and by far our favourite place for Halley and I is in the bath, listening to the pregnancy playlist and a lavender candle burning away.
Hollie’s Positive Hypnobirth
At that time I wasn’t frightened at all, I was fuelled on excitement, shopping for baby clothes (incredibly unpractical outfits but mega cute all the same) and let’s face it I was only half way into the wonderful world of pregnancy; meeting our boy seemed like light years away. After a few fleeting chats with some friends who had either not long given birth or were pregnant I decided that hypnobirthing sounded like a great idea. For those of you that know me, I’m a particularly positive person. I truly believe that our mind and thoughts are immeasurably powerful and that how we think and behave determines more than what we give credit to. Essentially I believe that what we are is what we attract; and one of the many secrets of hypnobirthing is positivity; so it was a no brainer.
In a very small nutshell, through breathing techniques, visualisations, relaxation methods, affirmations and scenario planning, this method offers the soon-to-be mother with a plethora of ways to navigate her way through labour and birth relying only on the strength of her mind and body to deliver her baby safely to her.
As soon as I understood that giving birth is a normal physiological process; much like breathing, I was able to lose sight of any fears that I may have had regarding child birth and began to feel at ease with the process. I very quickly learned to trust myself with the miraculous task of bringing our little human into the world, regardless of the turns that my labour and birth may take. Labour and Birth is so negatively portrayed through stories and the media, it really is no wonder that so many of us are frightened about it- with anxiety taking over the single most important and special days of our lives. Over the course of my pregnancy I prepared myself for not only a natural labour, but also any instances that I may need an intervention.
I think this is very important, to know your options and be accepting of a plan B. The feeling of being in control for this moment is of the upmost importance, and is only possible once you arm yourself with the information you need.
Saturday 27th April – surges rolling in every 5-6 minutes. With the worry of GBS in the back of my mind, we made our way to the Birth Centre.
Suitcases in hand (you guessed it, I overpacked) we were guided into our birthing suite, a double bed, birthing pool and a peaceful vibe radiating from the dim lilac lighting. I should add that as I was using hypnobirthing methods I opted to not have my dilation checked at any point. This is because it can slow down the labouring process or make a hypnobirthing mother lose focus if she isn’t as far as long she imagined. Labour can take many many hours, so if after the first 10 I had been told I was only 3 cm, I may have just gone home.
We sat back, got comfy and waited for the surges and my body to let us know it was happening. Although I was surging throughout the night, I wasn’t yet in active labour as my contractions weren’t close enough or consistent, so we used this time to rest in anticipation for the big moment and made our way home at 5am on the guidance of our midwife who said to come back when my surges were more regular.
With the strength of the surges increasing we gulped down the last bit of a mega tasty Dansak and made our way back to the birthing centre. The drive to Cambridge was at sunset and Karl and I couldn’t hold in the excitement of meeting our little boy sometime soon. With each passing car and as the sun swooped lower into the horizon we could feel that we were getting closer to meeting him.
Later that evening, after about the first 6 hours of labour, my surges became every two minutes or so and lasting over 100 seconds each. At this point I strapped up to the Tens Machine, (a magical contraption that sends electrical impulses down your spine to reduce the pain signals to the brain) and oh boy does it work. I also took two paracetamols. Along with the tens machine, through every surge I breathed in for 4 and out for 6. These were deep inward breaths with my eyes closed and during this time I would visualise my baby coming safely and calmly. I also imagined that every breath inflated a giant balloon and with every exhale a ribbon unwound around my womb, a visualisation of everything opening and releasing. In addition to this, I might add that I dropped the F bomb a fair few times too, that isn’t a hypnobirthing technique but it definitely works to some degree.
Karl was so incredible and made for the most amazing birthing partner; he ensured I was hydrated, communicated with the midwives and reminded me throughout that I can do this, and that soon we will be meeting our little human. It’s a really good thing to prep your birthing partner beforehand on a few things that they can do to help you during labour, that way while you are experiencing surges you won’t need to worry so much about asking for particular things and can save your energy too. It’s the little things that Karl did like stroking my back or finding things in my suitcase that really allowed me to keep my mind clear, he also did things to create a relaxing atmosphere; setting up a lavender diffuser and was the official labour DJ, playing my relaxation music and affirmations.
With every surge I found myself deep squatting through it or on my knees, resting my arms against something, with my head between my arms. The two positions I found myself in and out of for the next 8 or so hours. I also sipped down Lucosade Sports, sat on the birthing ball, and lay in bed to rest. Always focusing on relaxing, and breathing through it, keeping those positive vibes flowing and turning to Karl for love and support.
In just a nursing bra, I got into the birthing pool and went through the motions of surges for a further two hours. The wonderful Rosie; a trainee midwife, was such a magical part of my labour journey. It’s so crazy how things work because I had said in my birth plan that I wouldn’t like a trainee midwife to be present. My mind changed in a split second because Rosie had such a calming presence I just knew I wanted her there with me and on this journey. I couldn’t be happier with the decision for Rosie to be one of my baby catchers, and soon found out that she is a qualified hypnobirthing teacher (so meant to be). It just goes to show that birth plans are there as a guideline only and you should absolutely remain flexible!
As I was getting ever so close to meeting our son, and the surges came in stronger I asked for Gas and Air. I decided to use three breaths per contraction; I don’t love the feeling when you have too much and can feel a little spaced out so I kept it minimal, so just knowing it was there was a great aid.
And then there it was, my body had the most magnificent urge to push. I cant’ explain it, but I began bearing down, the quiet tranquility of my slow and calm breathing dissipated and was swapped instantly with much louder breathing and moans. I can’t quite put the feeling into a better description than “it feels like I am about to take the biggest poop of my life” and I did genuinely say this at the time too. Now, in addition to the surges was this added urge to push and in some way release my little boy. During this time I did “J” breathing, I breathed in deeply as I inflated and filled my tummy to make room for Archie, and breathed out with control and a rather loud “ahhh” sound, driving my stomach downwards. In Rosie’s own blog, she quite eloquently summed this part up “it wasn’t about being the most quiet birth, it was about her being in control and empowered”.
I did feel in control and with every breath and loud moan I felt my baby coming closer to me.
Finally my waters broke (see this doesn’t always happen like it does in the movies in the back of a taxi or as the first sign of labour).
In between moans, deep breaths and short rests I envisaged our little one making his way into the world. I imagined flowers opening up (because that’s easier to imagine than a vagina getting bigger) and soon enough Archie’s head was coming.
With a final huge breath, push and moan, and the most unexplainable feeling I felt Archie make his way into the water. Rosie pushed my little human through my legs and guided him towards me. I looked down to see him making his way through the water and finally in front of me. I pulled him up out of the water with help from Kiera and Rosie and put him onto my chest, in what can only be described as the most magical moment of my entire life.
Liz’s Positive Birth
I felt that the birthing pool was relaxing and at times, I was in my own little world.
I was due on the Saturday and the following Monday night, my partner and I had some awkward sex 😄 then literally straight after I had a very dull belly ache. I didn’t really think much of it so dozed off but then every now and again would wake up because of the period type pains. I didn’t wake my other half as I thought would be best for him to carry on sleeping and plus I didn’t know if this was actually it.
At about 8am the following morning they had got a little more intense but still bearable. I put the tens machine on and was most comfortable on my knees bent over the sofa. I tried to be as active as possible and went for a walk. Looking back, I think this was the best thing I could have done; to be active and upright.
There had been no real pattern with my surges but at about 6 o’clock that evening, I decided to phone the hospital. When we got there the midwife said that if I wasn’t in established labour then I would need to go home. She asked me if I consented for her to examine me; I wanted to know how much and if at all dilated I was. The midwife examined me and looking a bit confused she said that she thought I was either quite dilated, or that I hadn’t dilated at all and she couldn’t even feel my cervix!!?!? She asked if I would let a senior midwife examine me which I consented to. The senior midwife then told me I was 8cm! I was so happy that I cried a few happy tears it gave me the boost I needed! They immediately took me through to the room with the pool and starting filling it and I asked for some gas and air.
I had taken some LED tea lights to the hospital with me but the midwives already had some there and had put them on and dimmed the lights when I walked into the room ❤
I then laboured in the pool for about 4/5 hours. During this time my partner held his arm out the whole time whilst I floated/laid on it as this was most comfortable! (For me haha, although I’m pretty sure me laying on his arm was nothing compared to me birthing our baby)
I was doing the breathing techniques and at times I would forget and so my partner would just ask me if I was still concentrating which would remind me to breathe again.
My beautiful baby girl was born at 12:09 and placed straight onto me. Words cannot describe this feeling.
I chose to have a managed third stage and I birthed the placenta about 10 minutes later. We also had DCC and dad cut the cord.
We stayed in the room for some time after and enjoy our first few hours as a family of 3.
All in all my birth was so positive and I truly believe this was down to Hypnobirthing. The human body really is amazing!
Maisie’s Positive Birth Story ..
“..it’s nothing like the movies and nothing like people tell you”
It was a Thursday afternoon and i had just got back home after running around all morning looking at new kitchens. I sat in the front room with a cup of tea and did some light bounces on my ball which i had been using vreligiously from 34 weeks.
At 15:20pm i had a strong sensation in my lower abdomen, just like a mild period pain. It came again 5 minutes later. I was 41 weeks pregnant exactly and i just knew it was happening. My baby had decided he was ready to enter the world.
I didn’t tell anyone i just went and laid in bed to relax and stay calm & mostly preserve my energy as i knew my baby was coming and i might be up in the night. The surges were coming every 5 minutes and each one was lasting a minute. I did my breathing which each surge which helped me focus.
At 6pm they were still coming regularly so i texted my partner and he rushed home from work so excited. At 8pm they were still coming every 5 minutes but each surge felt more and more powerful. I was on all fours in my bedroom, concentrating on my breathing. At 10pm i sat on the toilet as this is where i felt most comfortable.
An hour later I rang the maternity ward and told them that I was having regular surges that were coming every five minutes and each one was lasting a minute. I was so calm on the phone that the midwife didn’t really know if I should come in.
At exactly 11:20 pm I got to the hospital. I could tell that she thought I’d came in way too early and she said to me that I should go for a walk for an hour and come back to see if anything had progressed. She didn’t examine me at any point.
An hour later I felt like I needed to go to the toilet so I went back into the birth centre and sat on the toilet. All of a sudden I felt my babies head drop lower into my pelvis and a trickle ran down my leg so i asked my mum to call the midwife. She told me to come back to the room and as i got there my body started to push I couldn’t control this feeling my body just took over. The midwife asked me to lay on the bed so she could see what was happening and the next thing she asked me if I wanted a water birth I replied yes so she started filling up the pool the second midwife came in and sat down and told me that I was fully dilated and my baby would be born soon.
I remember thinking whilst this was all happening labour isn’t that bad and at no point was I told to push. My body knew exactly what to do and with my breathing I breathed my baby out. He came into the world at 3:20 am and it was the best feeling ever I chose to do optical cord clamping and waited 40 minutes to birth my placenta naturally.