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Ralph’s Calm Hypnobirth

I’d spent the first few weeks of my maternity leave trying to induce labour naturally- acupressure, spicy food, sex- the usual, there was no way i was being medically induced. However on Wednesday 18th May I woke up and decided that all these remedies were in vain and the baby would come when it was ready. I decided to enjoy the free time I had left and let go of the fear of being induced, leaving it down to fate.
Fortunately fate was on my side and at 2am the following morning at 39 +5 I woke with period pains and decided to get up. After about half an hour I realised I was potentially in labour and started timing my contractions. At 6am after a lovely warm shower I woke my husband (he now admits he didn’t believe I was actually in labour, as performing a lower back rub seemed to soothed the discomfort).
Russ (my husband) ran me a bath, switched on the positive affirmations MP3’s and generally guided me through each surge with key words and phrases we’d discussed before hand.
At 7.30am Russ called the hospital, by now surges were 3 minutes apart but only lasting 20 seconds. I was advised to stay at home until they reached a minute long but I had concerns about the babies movements so we headed to the hospital for monitoring.  Once plugged up to the machines, my
Husband commented on how the machine spiked every time I experienced a surge- at this point he realised I really was in labour! The baby’s movements and heart beat were good and surges were consistent and regular.
I was admitted to the ward after an examination revealed I was 3cm dilated. I was given prearranged antibiotics to counteract the GBS I had tested positive for while pregnant.
The midwife looking after us had never experienced a hypnobirth before but read the birth preferences and followed every request perfectly. My husband dimmed the lights, put the MP3s on repeat and performed the light touch massage on me through each surge. At the next examination the midwife was surprised to find I was 6cm and an hour or so later my waters broke.
Baby and I were monitored throughout labour, we both had consistently good heart rates.
My surges soon changed and I lent over the back of the bed and started to concentrate on my birth breathing, while my husband encouraging me to bear down and breath through it. It was the part of birth process I felt I had the least control over. However even at this lowest point, pain relief did not even enter the equation. My mind raced but half way through, Liz’s words of calmness pierced my growing fear and I managed to take back control. Before I knew it I was back in the zone and the head was out. My husband exclaimed “it has your nose and my lips”. One push later and I was holding my baby in my arms.
Unfortunately Ralph was struggling to breathe at birth due to a chest infection and was rushed to the neonatal unit where he recovered well. I stayed calm and logical throughout the whole ordeal asking questions and finding out as much information as I could. The hospital staff were absolutely amazing and 36 hours later our boy was, where he belonged, next to me on the hospitals transitional ward.
We can’t even come to imagine what implications pain relief medication may have had on our already weakened baby boy. We cannot thank Liz or the hypnobirthing community for the wonderfully calm birth experience we were lucky enough to share.

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Shilpa’s Birth Story

I was one week overdue on the Saturday of the August bank holiday. I was convinced that the baby was not coming till after the Monday and was going to relax, put my feet up and enjoy a few last days off. Unfortunately due to a last minute school shoe drama I had to go into Birmingham with my older daughter on the Friday which involved quite a bit of walking, rushing around and the absolute chaos of Clarks a week before schools started.  That night was the usual uncomfortable night of a pregnant woman at full term but no other signs.

On the Saturday afternoon, around 2pm, I felt a sudden heaviness in my girdle area but put it down to getting up too quick, in an awkward position. A couple of hours later I felt the same sensation again, lasting for just a few seconds. Then at around 5pm I noticed that I was starting to feel this sensation more regularly about every 45 – 30 minutes. I still did not believe that it was the real thing and put it down to Braxton hicks as I was expecting the sensations to be more intense. I later found out that this feeling was due to my baby’s head moving down.

By 6pm I started to think that maybe the baby was coming but I was still reluctant to call the birthing centre in case it was Braxton hicks and I was sent home with my tail between my legs. The sensations became more frequent and it was clear that they were actual surges.

We arrived at the birthing centre at around 8.30pm when the surges were about 3-4minutes apart. It was lovely and calm there, in fact I was the only person there. I cannot rave about the midwives enough. They read my birth plan and were so so supportive of my wishes. They encouraged me where I needed it and seemed to anticipate what I needed.

I was able to get into the birth pool at around 10pm which felt wonderful. I would lie back and relax between surges and each time one came up I would turn and squat on my knees which felt like the most natural position for me (not for my pedicure though). The one affirmation that kept coming to mind was “each surge brings my baby closer to me”. At one point a tissue smelling of lavender appeared next to me which was lovely and comforting.  Whenever I would do my relaxation session I would wear an eye mask filled with lavender.

By 11pm I was well on my way. The midwives said that my baby would most likely be with us by midnight. However, due to my practicing on the toilet (great trick Liz) I was able to breathe my 8lbs 5oz baby out who was born at 11.27pm without any intervention. Sunil received the baby as planned who was placed in my arms, completely calm, staring up at me with her big eyes.

Now I’m not an over emotional person but to my surprise I acted just like many of those women we saw in the birth videos. I was half sobbing, half laughing as I kept repeating “it’s my baby, it’s my baby”.  As I mentioned, my little Mila did not come out screaming her head off but was in fact extremely calm and wide eyed.

I remained in the pool for some time cradling my little girl, coming out with god knows what gibberish. They did not cut the cord immediately as requested.

Whilst Sunil and Mila had skin to skin time the midwives examined me and decided that they would need to assist the delivery of the placenta instead of naturally letting it come away. None of this was decided without my consent. They explained everything to me and made sure I understood the choices. As it happened they were unable to do it and were about to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital when one of the midwives said she would try again but this time could I help. Using my HypnoBirthing techniques I was able to breathe the placenta out within seconds after which the bleeding slowed down, furthermore there wasn’t any need for stitches.

They then left me and Sunil to bond with our baby alone for a few hours only checking on us a couple of times. We left the birthing centre after a few hours and we were back in our own home and bed by 4.30am.

The following day I was surprised at how well I felt considering I had just had a baby. There was obvious tenderness but I was up and about , not lying in bed constantly.

To say I was happy with the experience would be an understatement. However I need to be honest, I did panic near the end. As my surges were pretty much one after the other I decided that I had had enough. With the panic I began to tense up and do all the things I had been working against doing. I even demanded gas and air from the midwife who was very reluctant to give it to me due to my wishes and how I had progressed up until that point. In the end I would only use the gas and air for one puff to slow my breathing so that I could concentrate on my surge breathing and filling the balloon.

Everything I practiced worked brilliantly. The only area I wish I had practiced more and I didn’t was my surge breathing which is where things veered off the intended path slightly. Lesson learned – practice, practice, practice!

My whole experience was so very different from my last due to hypnobirthing. I was aware and in control the whole time. I was able to enjoy my baby instantly. My recovery has been great.

Mila is less than 2 weeks old and my body has recovered dramatically. I saw the midwife today who was impressed that my uterus has completely gone back to its original pre-pregnancy position.

The day after Mila was born we had to return to the hospital to have her standard checks done and for the oral vitamin K. As we were leaving I was thanking the midwives and telling them how much I appreciated their understanding and support when one of them replied that it was down to people like us that made the job worth it and how impressed they were with the hypnobirthing.

So thank you Liz for all the support, you’ve really opened my eyes!

 

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Beccy’s Birth Story

Finley Cooper Rosenblatt, (due 7th Feb) born 8th February at 2.15am weighing 7lb 5ozs

Both Stuart, my boyfriend, and I experienced the most amazing birth with our newborn baby son Finley Cooper Rosenblatt. I wish I could re-live the time over and over again as it was such a truly fantastic occasion that we will never forget. I know that the hypnobirthing and also yoga classes I took, which really complemented each other, had a big part to play in ensuring I was fully prepared for Finley’s birth. I had no fear, felt completely in control and I was really looking forward to the moment when I would be birthing Finley.

The breathing techniques and relaxing skills Liz taught us, as well as the different birthing positions, really enabled me to keep calm and focussed and find a comfortable position throughout my labour and birth, so much so that I was fully dilated by the time we turned up at the hospital!

I’m not really sure when my surges started! I went out to lunch with Amy on Friday lunchtime and then we came back to mine for tea and cake in the afternoon (I started baking during my maternity leave) and looking back, I now realise I was having surges during this time but I wasn’t really aware of them. I spent a lot of time on my birth ball during the afternoon or on all fours as these positions were the most comfortable whilst I was breathing through the sensations.

My boyfriend Stuart phoned me on his way home from work about 4pm and I said I thought I was in the early stages of labour and he said to call my midwife for reassurance so I did. She said it definitely sounded like early labour so when Stuart arrived home about 5pm, and I was on all fours when he walked through the door, we decided to start timing the surges. The first one we recorded was at 17.49 and lasted 52 seconds and those that followed were about 8 mins apart but I was comfortable. Stuart cooked us a chilli for dinner which I managed to eat and enjoy and then I even remember portioning off the leftovers for the freezer as I thought if we end up in hospital tonight, I don’t want to come home to an untidy kitchen with food left out!

I then had a hot bath which eased the sensations and afterwards got myself comfortable lying on the bed using my pregnancy pillow for a short while. We called the hospital at 9pm when my surges were timing between 4 – 6 mins apart lasting approx 40 seconds. They said to stay at home until they were 3 mins apart lasting 1 mins each. After I spoke to the hospital, I found using the birth ball, kneeling and leaning over the bed or even sat on the toilet were the most comfortable positions for me, all of which I did whilst listening to relaxing music and the affirmations to provide a soothing environment for me. We called the hospital again at 11pm when they were 3 mins apart but not quiet lasting a minute each, they said I could stay at home a bit longer or come in. I managed to last another half hour at home whilst Stuart loaded up the car. Luckily it’s only a short drive to the hospital. We arrived at 11.50pm and I was having very regular surges so the walk into the reception area took a while and when we were met by the midwife to take us into our room in the birth centre, I was mid surge again and doubled over trying to breathe through it.

Within half an hour of arriving at the hospital, my waters broke whilst I was sat on the loo, very convenient! I was then examined by the midwife and she said, ‘good news Beccy, you’re fully dilated, let’s get the birth pool filled up’. I was so pleased that I had managed to stay in the comfort of my own home for the duration of my labour as planned. I had a quick go on the gas and air whilst waiting for the pool to fill just to try it but I didn’t use it again. I literally used the water as my only pain reliever. The room lighting was dimmed, the pool temperature was perfect, nicely warm, which I found really soothing and we had relaxing music playing on our Ipad so I was really calm and in the zone. Stuart was beside me the whole time reassuring me and providing light touch massages. I was only in the birth pool for one hour when Finley arrived at 2.15am. His head appeared and literally seconds later, his body was out! The midwives said he had one of his arms straight out superman style! He seems to like this position even now! I lifted him out of the pool and on to me which was amazing, he was very slippery! He had a short cord so he didn’t reach my upper body so I kept his little body under the water to keep warm for some skin to skin. Finley was very content and alert from the moment he was born. It was a truely mesmerising experience. I would definitely recommend a water birth to everyone. Stuart then took over with the cuddle time whilst the midwives looked after me. I was very lucky as I didn’t tear and no stitches were required, I was just slightly grazed.

The midwives were very impressed with how calm my birth was.

My whole pregnancy, labour and birth have been an amazing experience from start to finish and I have loved every minute of all of it. I would re-live Finley’s birth over and over again as I found the whole experience so enjoyable! I really believe the techniques I learnt through Liz’s hypnobirthing classes, as well as the yoga classes, played a big part as I was able to remain calm, relaxed and in control throughout and this has been transferred to Finley who is a very happy, content and calm baby, apart from nappy changes!

I’d just like to pass on my sincere thanks to Liz for sharing her hypnobirthing knowledge with Stuart and I. I would thoroughly recommend the hypnobirthing experience to everyone and have been spreading the word already! Liz is a fantastic and informative teacher and she’s passionate about hypnobirthing which really enabled me to understand why it was the right approach to take. It makes complete sense to me that hypnobirthing is the only way to approach labour and birth. Liz provided a very comfortable and relaxed environment for the classes, and I often fell asleep as I was so relaxed!

Thanks again Liz, you’re a super star!!

 

 

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To the midwife who belittled my clients choice to prepare for the birth of her baby with Hypnobirthing

Dear Midwife

I know your job is a labour of love to you. I know you chose this path because you are a supporter, a nurturer and you care deeply about women, their babies and their birth experiences.

I know you do all you can to ensure that all the women under your care have healthy pregnancies, healthy babies and positive experiences.

I know you take pride in increasing women’s confidence in their bodies and ensuring that they are informed about the birthing process.

I know you share with each woman the options they have during their pregnancy and help them decide how to birth whether low risk or high risk.

I understand all this and I thank you for it.

At least, this is what I want you to do for women.

Today you dented the confidence of someone who, 2 months ago had very little belief in her body and her ability to calmly birth her baby.

Today you knocked the faith of someone who, 2 months ago didn’t think she could give birth without drugs and intervention.

Today you made a grown woman, with a responsible job, husband, home, car feel inadequate and naive.

Today, with one comment you opened up an old wound which she had worked very hard to close.

This woman, who has a heart, a soul, a mind was treated like a child with no regard for the repercussions of your words.

Your choice of tone and words left her doubting HER choices.

Please understand the position of responsibility you have. Each word you say leaves an imprint on her.

Please understand that there are some things that you do not have adequate knowledge of to dismiss or dumb down.

The next woman who excitedly reveals to you her plans for labour, reveals how happy, calm and motivated she is to really experience childbirth, tells you how much time and effort she has put into preparing for the best possible experience for her and her baby… Please think before you respond. Think before you tell her she is wrong to feel that way.

From someone who has enjoyed childbirth, felt the elation of birth without drugs, felt the awesomeness of my body doing what nature intended, I can tell you that you are wrong.

Wrong to dismiss our method of birth.
Wrong to criticise our preparation.
And further more wrong to even comment on something so negatively that you quite obviously know nothing about.

So, I will help my client close that wound you have opened, I will help her build her confidence back up. She will once again become confident, empowered and positive.

And she will one day soon know that you were wrong and she was right.

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My own experience with Hypnobirthing

On the 31st January 2015 (my due date!), my family and I decided to have a lazy day at home however, in the afternoon we ventured out to a local Garden Centre called Melbicks. After wondering around and taking part in a wildlife hunt…My waters released (embarrassing!!) and we all rushed home so I could get some dry clothes. My daughter was super excited, and my little boy was very confused and more concerned about his balloon which had floated away in the excitement!
Once at home I relaxed with my family and the surges started over the next few hours. I had painstakingly been planning a HomeBirth with a birthing pool. My birthing room had positive affirmations, poems from my blessingway and pictures drawn by my children adorning it. I created a relaxing environment with candles and my aromatherapy oils (Do’Terra are amazing!), sat on my birthing ball and just enjoyed how things were unfolding. The midwife popped in to see me and then left me to it. My son and daughter were my oxytocin and endorphins, they were so funny and sweet. I was laughing through lots of surges because of them! My mum came round and the kids went to bed and were very well behaved.
The surges started to get closer together, longer and stronger so my husband, Mike, got the pool ready. Little did I know that there was a problem with our hot water and he ended up boiling water in every pot and pan in the house whilst my Mum and I relaxed and breathed through the surges upstairs but then…things started to go backwards! My surges were getting further apart and not lasting as long…And stayed like that! The pool was getting colder so at this point we decided to call the midwife. She came and examined me and I was 3cm dilated. At that point I knew I wasn’t progressing so it wasn’t a surprise and I knew I could continue for as long as needed with my HypnoBirthing techniques.
The midwife told me I had a temperature which was a concern because my waters had been gone for quite a while and the longer my labour carried on for the more likely infection became. The midwife went and left us to it for a couple of hours. She came back a few times and my temperature hadn’t gone down. On the 3rd occasion she came to see me with a supervisor of midwives and I was advised to transfer to hospital. My temperature was now accompanied by chills and fever, so I knew that the risk of infection was greater. I knew it was my decision and I was still in control so I agreed to the transfer..it felt like the right thing. After some tears and a 15 minute wobble because it wasn’t what I had planned or wanted, we set off to the hospital. I knew there was a high possibility that I would have to have continuous monitoring of baby, intravenous anti-biotics for me and possibly speeding up of labour with a syntocinon drip. All of which would restrict my movement and make my labour more challenging.
I decided in the car that I was going to get in the right frame of mind. I practiced self hypnosis all the way and visualised my temperature decreasing, over and over again. Having taught HypnoBirthing for over 3 years now, I know the power of the mind so I focused all my attention on visualising my temperature reducing because that was the thing causing all my problems.
I arrived at the nearest hospital that would cater for my now high risk birth and as soon as I stepped out into the car park I experienced a strong surge and had to lean on Mike while I breathed through it. When we were shown into our room, Mike straight away tried to make me feel more comfortable by putting out a picture of our children and making the room seem more familiar. Our midwife came and introduced herself and at first I was worried she would be quite dictatorial, due to my new circumstances but she was excellent. When she examined me she discovered, low and behold, that my temperature had gone right down! All of that visualisation had worked!! There was no need for anti-biotics! I had experienced several more strong surges by this point and upon a vaginal examination she informed me I was now 8cm dilated! The self-hypnosis had worked a treat! So, my labour was moving much much quicker meaning there was no need for intervention or a syntocinon drip. She made a real effort to read my birthing preferences and to help me to incorporate as much of it as she could into the new situation. My baby had to be continuously monitored for the rest of my labour but I told the midwife, there was no way I was lying on the bed the whole time! I sat on a chair for awhile, stood holding onto Mike and eventually got on my hands and knees on the bed. It meant she had to hold the monitors in place most of the time but I zoned out of what she was doing and looking back, I am so grateful that she did this for me. Mike and my Mum were with me all the way and were fantastic birthing companions. During each surge Mike reminded me to relax my shoulders, my jaw and to breathe. He used an anchor we had practised which worked brilliantly! Mum kept a cool cloth on my forehead and kept telling me to lean into it while I breathed my baby down. No forced pushing just instinctual breathing and quite a lot of moo-ing!! The sensations were intense and I needed my Hypnobirthing techniques to support me but never once did I think “this is painful” and I didn’t even consider asking for drugs. Before I knew it, and honestly to my surprise, I felt my baby’s heads just pop out! No burning, no ring of fire. After the head was out I felt stunned and waited for the next surge so I could meet my baby. When he was fully born, Mike declared “it’s a boy!!” Which was a shock because we had both been convinced we were having a girl!!
As per my birth preferences we waited until the cord stopped pulsating and I birthed my placenta naturally. I had about 2 hours of lovely skin to skin with our baby boy and gave him time to instinctively crawl to the breast.
After a shower, I reflected on the fact that despite the challenges that had arisen, I had given birth to our gorgeous boy, Jamie, drug free, intervention free and within 2 hrs of arriving at hospital. All thanks to HypnoBirthing! I transferred to the Ward and was greeted by my lovely children who got to cuddle their baby brother. I had to stay in overnight for monitoring but we were both absolutely fine. The kids love Jamie and I am in awe of him!
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A Interview with one of my Mum’s, Fiona, about her experience of Hypnobirthing

Fiona

Hi Fiona! Introduce yourself and tell everyone a bit about you…

I’m Fi, I am 35 and work in Human Resources. I enjoy keeping fit (I go to the gym regularly) and love reading, I have to confess I love the Twilight books and films, hence my choice of of baby name!! My husband and I have been trying for a baby for some time and we were thrilled when I gave birth to Edward on 25th August 2013, he is my first baby but I have 9 nieces and nephews so I have been around children a lot and was at the birth of one of my nieces so had first hand so experience of labour and birth.

How did you discover Hypnobirthing and why did you decide to do it?

A friend of mine had done hypnobirthing for the births of her two children and had told me about what a wonderful experience the births had been. To be honest, I didn’t really believe her, I mean, giving birth is painful, right? However, when I found out I was pregnant I asked her again about hypnobirthing so she lent me the Mongan method book to make up my own mind. The book just made so much sense my husband and I decided to speak to a hypnobirthing practitioner. I found Liz Standford’s details in the prenatal unit at the hospital so dropped her an email. Liz came back to me straight away and we arranged to meet the week after for a pre consultation. On meeting Liz, we felt really comfortable with her (she is really normal) so decided that we wanted to give hypnobirthing a go and agreed to have one to one classes that would fit in with our busy schedules.

How did you feel about birth before the classes and how did you feel about it after the classes?

Before the classes I still believed that birth would hurt….’a lot’ and kept referring to ‘pain’ all the time. The classes gave me some great tools to help with my pregnancy and the confidence that I could control any discomfort, I know it may sound strange, after the classes I was really looking forward to the whole experience of labour as I knew at the end of it I would have a wonderful little baby.

What were other people’s reactions to your doing Hypnobirthing and how did you deal with that?

The majority of people I spoke to were very sceptical and told me that it would hurt no matter what (they thought I had turned into a hippy). My sister, who has had 3 children, thought it was a load of rubbish and labour would be awful. I actually stopped telling people in the end as they all liked to give me their own horror stories. Shortly before the birth, I spoke to my cousin whose friend is a midwife who said that the best births she had assisted with were hypnobirthing. That filled me with confidence that I was doing the right thing and ultimately I didn’t worry about the views of others.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

My husband and I developed an excellent rapport with Liz and we had lots of fun and laughs whilst learning some important hypnobirthng techniques. Liz was very attentive and patient in answering all the random questions I tended to ask. If she didn’t know the answer, she would always find out the answer and come back to me the following day. The classes were really enjoyable and worth every penny.

What did you find the most challenging thing about the course?

I think the most challenging thing I found about the course was being disciplined enough to listen to the affirmations and rainbow relaxation every day. I tended to listen them when I went to bed and I would be asleep within minutes and wake up at the end!

When the time came for you to give birth, how do you feel that Hypnobirthing helped?

I don’t know if I can put into words how much hypnobirthing helped when I went into labour. I was calm, kept relaxed throughout, verging on sleep at the end stages! My husband knew what to do and was great at talking me through each stage and keeping me relaxed. My very sceptical sister happened to be staying at my house the night I went into labour and whilst my husband tried to get some rest (my waters broke at 12am!) she helped time my contractions. She couldn’t believe how quiet and in control I was and has completely changed her opinion on hypnobirthing telling everyone she couldn’t believe how calm I was and that I wasn’t screaming during the contractions!

Other than using Hypnobirthing for giving Birth, were there any other benefits to doing the course?

I am able to apply the techniques learned in hypnobirthing to many stressful situations and I think it helped me keep calm at work during my pregancy in general. I think it has been a major factor in having such a calm, happy and contented baby from the moment he was born.

Finally, what would you say to Mums reading this, who are thinking about doing Hypnobirthing but are worried that it might not be for them?

Do it! Just give it a go and you will be pleasantly surprised, you will not regret it. Just make sure if you do, you give it 100%.

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