The birth of Lennon

So after a great hypnobirthing course with Reena and a fairly straightforward pregnancy I was very positive about giving birth to my first baby boy. 

At 37 weeks pregnant I went to my appointment with the midwife for the usual checks only to be told that my bump hadn’t increased in the last 3 weeks. 

Although alarming I wasn’t worried as I had been told this in the previous appointment and after being sent for an ultrasound it was nothing to be worried about and was probably down to inaccurate measurements taken. I had 4 different midwifes in my checks so this didn’t help. 

I was booked in for this ultrasound that evening and I even said to my partner not to bother coming as it was probably the same thing again with inaccurate measurements. Once the sonographer scanned me she said that she too had seen a drop in the measurements of my baby and was worried that the placenta may not be working properly. She quickly said that I would need to be induced possibly tomorrow if they’re not busy. 

Panic set in immediately and I called my partner to get to the hospital so we could both speak to a doctor. I thought about all the questions Reena had spoke about in hypnobirthing and prepared them, induction was the last thing I wanted and my perfect water birth seemed to be slipping away.

The doctor seemed surprised when I said I didn’t want an induction, she said ‘why wouldn’t you’. I quickly realised that dealing with the nhs was going to be annoying. I asked what was the alternative, was it absolutely necessary to be induced. We agreed on monitoring scans every 2 days and they wanted me to see a consultant the following week. 

So at 38 weeks we went to see the consultant expecting another annoying conversation and questioning on why we didn’t want to go for that option. It was a really hard decision but we weren’t seeing any warning signs on the scans so we were comfortable with waiting. The consultant was actually really nice and said she understood our decision but she could do a check of my cervix to see what stage I was at. On first look she said actually you’re already 2cm dilated! She then offered me a sweep and I thought at the time that’s a better option than a full induction. 

Within about 5 minutes I felt strange, I said to my partner I bet I’m going to have the baby tonight. We went home in a taxi and was stuck in after work traffic for about 45 mins and I started to feel cramps. I didn’t think it could possibly work that fast but after initially freaking out when we got home, I listened to some motivational music (Beyoncé) and bounced on my ball and felt loads better. 

The waves came every 30 minutes by this point so we had time to eat, watch a film and rest. Once it reached about 10 pm my partner suggested having a lie down in bed to get some rest. As soon as I got in bed the waves started coming every 10 minutes. My partner was secretly timing them to not distract me and suggested we call the hospital to see what they think. 

They were positive but said I didn’t really need to come in unless they were every 3 mins. That soon came and I called the hospital to say I was coming in, I really wanted to get checked because everything seemed to be happening quite fast. 

Once at the hospital I was taken into triage and checked, apparently I was ‘only’ 2cm. I was shocked because it felt like the waves were quite intense and every couple of minutes. She said she wanted to monitor the baby for 20 minutes and then left us. I was on an incredibly uncomfortable bed with quite intense waves so I got up to stand. She appeared later and said oh the monitor has moved we’re going to have to do another 20 minutes. 

Another midwife then came in and said she was sending me home and if I didn’t want to go home I would have to go on the ward. I was getting very angry at this point and felt like I wasn’t getting listened to. 

The hypnobirthing helped me to focus and not to let the anger come out but I was fuming. Within 5 minutes of being on the ward I was checked and I was 7cm dilated. Unbelievably I’d gone from 2cm to 7cm in 40 minutes, so back downstairs I went but this time to the delivery suite. Finally I felt a sense of relief and I could calm down. 

With a wonderful midwife, my partner rubbing my lower back and giving me great support and with the aid of some gas and air, the surges came thick and fast and I was soon pushing. Lennon came into the world at 5:15am and it was the most incredible experience of my life.

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Rachel’s confident and rewarding 2nd birth experience

‘After an amazing hypnobirth at Solihull MLU for my first daughter, I was adamant that I wanted to have my second daughter there too! I wanted everything to be the same! But this pregnancy was not going to run as smoothly….
At my 20 week scan, I was advised that there was a brightening showing on the babies bowel known as an echogenic bowel. They referred me to a consultant to have it checked further. The sonographer explained the baby may have just swallowed some blood but of course when I got home I googled ‘echogenic bowel’ and was diagnosing all sorts! I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to give birth at Solihull anymore but after a quick conversation with Liz, I felt a bit calmer.
When the consultant scanned me, he had no concerns over the brightening and reassured me I could still give birth at Solihull. I was over the moon. I continued to be monitored through my community midwife.
Then during a conversation with my midwife at around 36weeks about where I would give birth, she advised I wouldn’t be able to go to Solihull as the baby was tracking on the 90th percentile so they wouldn’t accept me. I was so upset as I was not aware of this. As I had a scan booked in at 37 weeks to check the placenta positioning, my midwife changed it to a growth scan. Liz was really helpful here again to help me put things into perspective and discuss my options. Following the scan I was plotting just under 90th percentile so once again was allowed to be referred to Solihull! As I was 37 weeks at this point, Solihull we’re suppose to take over my care but then received a call from my midwife to advise that I couldn’t give birth at Solihull as there was an alert on my records due to the echogenic bowel. I was so upset and angry by this point as I was not clear why this hadn’t been cleared up. I spoke a someone reference the alert and was advised that my baby would need a scan on the bowel before it’s first feed and this would need to be at heartlands. My baby would always comes first and I understood if this was required but as far as I was aware, there was no concern anymore!! Liz helped me to contact the head of midwifery to escalate my concerns as not going to Solihull was no longer my concern, it was why my baby needed a scan before it’s first feed! The consultant was looking into this for me.
Then the day before my due date, I woke up at 2am as my waters released. I called Heartland MLU to see what I needed to do as I had no surges. They advised to come in for a quick check up. I had to call my parents as my 3 year old was asleep. They came around 3:30am and we got to heartlands around 4am. They checked my waters and the babies heartbeat and all was ok. I declined an examination as I had no surges at this point. They checked up about the scan the baby may need and found out it wasn’t required! At this point I was happy and calm to give birth at Heartlands. I got home about 6am and I decided to go for a lie down on my bed. I started to get some tightenings but were quite mild at this point. They gradually became more frequent so used the breathing techniques Liz had taught me as I walked around my room. I felt really relaxed with my home comforts and felt very in control of my breathing. My husband took our daughter to nursery around 9am when I felt the surges getting stronger and closer together. I called Heartlands and said I was coming in. When my husband arrived home at 9:30 we were back on the road again towards Heartlands with my mum in the back! We arrived at 10am and I asked for some gas and air whilst they filled the pool (delighted that the pool on the willow suite was free!) They advised that they don’t like to give it too early on in labour but I advised that I may seem calm but I think the baby was coming soon. They examined me and I was 8cm! I got into to the pool and continued with my breathing. My husband was key at this point in reminding me of which breathing I should be doing and keeping me focused. Margot Mae Whelton arrived at 10:54am weighing 7lb 7 (34th percentile!!!) The student midwife advised it was only her second ever birth and she couldn’t believe how calm I was and how quickly she arrived!
Overall, hypnobirthing helped me to keep calm in those situations where things weren’t going ‘to plan.’ As this was my second hypnobirth I decided to do a refresher with Liz but Liz wasn’t just there for me for that session – she was there throughout the pregnancy keeping me in check!! She reminded me that I didn’t need to give birth in Solihull to have a positive experience, I had everything I needed to create a positive experience anywhere I went! Thank you Liz xxxx’
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Reena’s Birth Story

Anya Chandarana born on Tuesday 13th February at 6:05 am

“At 7:00 am on Monday morning I had my show. Although I knew that it could be days before I went into labour I couldn’t help but feel excited and hopeful that it wouldn’t take that long. I phoned the Women’s hospital to let them know and to ask for their advice as I had Group B Strep and I needed antibiotics as soon as I was in established labour. They reassured me that I could carry on as normal and I need not come in until I thought I was in established labour or if my waters had released.

So I carried on with my chores at home, picked Sienna up from preschool and took her to weekly pre tennis milkshake at Morrisons. After Sienna’s tennis lesson, we went home, I gave her dinner, cleared up and started getting her ready for bed. Just as I finished reading her bedtime story I felt a “pop”. I looked at Amit and mouthed that my waters had popped. I tucked Sienna in and said goodnight to her as normal and then I phoned the Women’s who advised that as waters had released (although it was just a trickle) I should come in so that I could take the antibiotics in time. I phoned my brother and asked him to come and stay with Sienna until my in laws were back home and Amit and I headed to the hospital.
We arrived at the birth centre at 8pm and were assigned a midwife who was quick to tell me that I wasn’t in labour and upon checking me advised that my waters hadn’t released.
When she checked again a little later she changed her mind and said that she could feel the baby’s head, that my waters hadn’t fully released and then came the words “Oh you’re 3cm dilated”. When Amit got excited and said “I told you you were in labour”, she was quick to correct him and said “she’s not actually in labour as she’s not contracting and is only 3cm”. She then said that she believed I would need to be induced to prevent the risk of the Group B Strep being passed to baby. Up until that point I was so focused on having a calm, natural birth like I had previously but the midwife had completely thrown me off. It hadn’t even entered my mind that I may need an induction, purely because I had told myself that this wasn’t an option. In Liz’s classes my brain blocked out the section on induction and now I was in a mild panic that I wasn’t prepared as I hadn’t listened. Amit reassured me that he had been listening and told me not to worry or lose focus. He asked the midwife if it was possible to carry on as we were naturally for a couple of hours but the midwife was adamant that the doctors would want to begin induction by syntocinin drip.

When the midwife left the room, Amit went out to speak to her again away from me. Amit tried to persuade the midwife to let us continue as we were for a couple of hours as he believed I had been having surges even though I had said I hadn’t felt any. The midwife told Amit that we would either have to go home (as I wasn’t in established labour) or start the induction process.

Thankfully the midwife was called away to another labour and a new midwife was assigned.

Amit explained again that we had been doing Hypnobirthing and that he thought I had been having contractions and asked if we could have a few more hours to see if things started naturally as I was already 3cm dilated. The new midwife was much more understanding and agreed that as it had not been long since my waters had released, there was no reason why we could not review in 2 hours to see if things had progressed naturally.

Whilst all this was happening, my surges had indeed started and Amit was happy to discover this when he came into the room to tell me the good news.

I continued to labour naturally through the night. At points I felt very tired and had to rest, after resting I found that my surges had slowed down and reduced in intensity. At some points I began to doubt that I could do it, Amit would tell me that I could and remind me to breathe correctly as I lost focus with it and forgot about the breathing techniques. Once I started breathing correctly again I felt I could manage the surges. Amit also gave me sacral massage which really helped.

At about 03:00 we moved into the pool room, by around 3:30 I went in to the pool. Moving to the pool helped ease the pressure and was quite soothing. At this point I was feeling exhausted, which again was affecting my focus and I was falling asleep. When the surges would start I would be half asleep and so wouldnt be breathing correctly. Amit would encourage me and remind me to breathe as well as breathing with me to bring me back on track.
At 5:20 I felt like I couldn’t continue, the midwife who had been with us for a few hours and had been observing and gently encouraging me following Amit’s lead, recognised that I was in transition and requested a mirror to check me.
After checking me she told me that I would be holding my baby soon.

Shortly afterwards I felt the urge to push, and I began breathing the baby down.

The midwife said that she could see the baby was still in the amniotic sac (it hadn’t fully ruptured when my waters released!)

At 06:05 Anya was born. I was overcome with emotions and asked if it was a boy or a girl and the midwife reminded me 2 or 3 times that I had to have a look to see for myself!

Thank you again Liz for your amazing support and helping us prepare for the arrival of our second little princess. We couldn’t have done it without you!”

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Mel’s Hypnobirthing Story

“Dylan Spencer Allan decided to make an early appearance on a recent Monday morning, 3 weeks early! He eventually passed his blood sugars so we are now home.

So, as I expected, it was all a little bit quick… Surges began at 1:15am. I initially thought it was baby doing his usual head butting my pubic bone/pelvis and then started timing them…40-60seconds every 2.5 minutes! So I thought it best to wake Jonny, who good as gold, calmly rang my mum and the hospital.

We got to hospital and met the midwife at 2:12am….and Dylan arrived at 3:53am! So hypnobirthing… Understanding the process of labour, what options I had for positioning, the affirmations, breathing, massage and background music were all utilised – in my own unique way!

I did use gas and air but intermittently, mostly using my take on breathing – I struggled mostly to breathe in rather than out, which had been the case when I’d been practicing!! I did also ask for pethidine but then I changed my mind (as it affected me badly last time) – my inner hypnobirthing voice must have known better.

I bossed Jonny about a bit… He would say “breathe” and I’d say “no! Count!” as that was more helpful to me! He massaged my back but again I could only tolerate the heel of his hand and not his fingers or palm as he made me too hot!

At one stage I felt like I couldn’t do it and I said I was scared, but Jonny and my midwife were super encouraging and kept reassuring me. Also (I don’t remember) Jonny said I was also telling myself I could do it – must have been my inner hypnobirthing voice again.

I wasn’t a picture of serenity like the videos but I was able to zone in from time to time on the music and the spaces in between, which must have helped. Jonny really says hypnobirthing helped me. He thinks I was a star.

Thanks Liz. So very glad to have done the hypnobirthing course. It made this experience so much better!!”

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Rachel’s healing second birth experience

“After spending the last few months preparing for and visualising my baby’s birth I can’t believe the time has come to write my birth story down. On the 2nd February we welcomed our second child, baby Lucy into the world, experiencing a birth that a few months ago I didn’t think was possible. My labour with my firstborn was long and traumatic and left me with feelings of failure, anxiety and guilt and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder almost 4 years later.

From the beginning of this pregnancy my midwife was fantastic and immediately referred me for counselling when I expressed my fears over giving birth again. I was also determined that this time would be different and after hearing a little about hypnobirthing from others I contacted Liz Stanford from the Enhance Your Birth on a recommendation and booked myself and my husband onto a taster session. Fast forward to a few months later, a one to one hypnobirthing course with Liz and a lot of TCBS techniques practice I was 39+5 weeks pregnant and feeling very ready to meet my baby!

At around 12.30am on Friday 2nd February I was woken up by the first gentle surges. After a while I started timing them to see if there was a pattern emerging and they were coming every 8 minutes or so. Suzy’s words from TCBS book were ringing in my ears; that if you are labouring at a time you would usually be asleep to try and rest as much as possible. With this in mind I breathed through the surges and stayed in bed resting and dozing in between each one until around 6am. This also allowed my husband to sleep so that he could be on full alert for the big day ahead!

By around 7.30am my mum came over to take our 3 year old son to hers and we waved him off with his little overnight bag packed. That Friday was a beautiful winter day, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining so me and my husband went for a walk to try to keep things moving along. Once we were home I rested for a while, still breathing through each surge, embracing each one and staying relaxed and calm. My husband made sure I ate and drank as normal during the day to keep my energy levels up. We watched a feel good film and listened to music and my affirmations. By 4pm the surges were becoming quite intense and around every 4-5 minutes. I rang the hospital who advised I maybe stay at home a while longer and see how things go. An hour later the surges were becoming incredibly powerful and were now only 2 minutes apart. The app we were timing them on started telling us to ring an ambulance so we gathered the bags together and headed to the hospital at this point!

After a 40 minute rush hour journey (instead of the usual 15 minutes) we arrived at the hospital around 6pm. Between the carpark and the labour ward I had about 8 intense surges which stopped me in my tracks and my waters released as I walked through the doors of the hospital. When I arrived at the reception desk a midwife took us straight through to a delivery room and I was able to immediately have gas and air. She examined me and said that I was 5cm dilated but that she didn’t think it would be very long at all.

My midwife was absolutely amazing, she read my birth plan and completely embraced my hypnobirthing wishes and made me feel completely in control. Within 45 minutes I was fully dilated and I felt the intense urge to bear down. My whole body completely took over and I trusted it to do what it needed to do. At this point I stopped using the gas and air to focus on pushing. I certainly didn’t stay silent and serene like some of the women I’ve seen from hypnobirthing videos but I did feel incredibly empowered and strong. Less than an hour of pushing later, our beautiful baby girl was born naturally with no intervention, and the feeling of euphoria was amazing.

In the end there was no time for the water birth I had envisioned or the fairy lights, music and affirmations that I had planned but it turned out I didn’t need any of that. The change that had happened within me was all I needed; the self-belief in my body, the ability to let go, relax and breathe and the knowledge that a positive birth was very much possible. I am so grateful to Liz and to TCBS for enabling me to have such a life changing positive experience that not only will I never forget but that has healed so much of the negativity I felt the first time around”.

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Jane’s Homebirth Experience

I thought I’d share my birth story as it’s not quite what we planned – but that was absolutely fine and we ended up with an absolutely perfect baby!

I was due on the Tuesday so the home birth midwife popped round to give me a sweep in the morning. I’d had a couple with Alice and didn’t really find they did anything but was willing to give it another go. Midwife had said I was 3cm but no contractions so a bit pointless on it’s own! She also said as I was full of cold and Alice ‘a bit’ (more later!) under the weather, that’d be on my mind so things were favourable but not all systems go!

So my poorly girl stayed at home whilst I went for a cream tea ‘due date’ treat with my mum and nan. Alice was sleepy, snotty but nothing overly concerning. We had a lovely cream tea and put the crampy feeling down to the sweep. Just period aches, nothing bad at all.

Driving home we hit a major traffic jam. The M42 was not moving…but my labour was! I suddenly twigged that I was possibly having mild surges so asked my nan to count them. I was trying to remain bright and breezy as I could see my nan eyeing up the stationary traffic all around and getting a tad stressed!

Although they seemed to be every 5mins, every other one didn’t seem quite as uncomfortable so I was reassuring everyone there was definitely more like 10mins between them. No panic there at all! Having dropped my nan home I did admit to my mum I should probably call Sam and ask him to come and drive me back from hers rather than carry on behind the wheel.

However, as I was phoning Sam, he was phoning me. Turns out Alice had actually had a seizure as her temperature had gotten too high so the ambulance was at ours. The traffic was horrendous driving back from my nans – it was crawling. All the while I’m trying not to think about the fact I could be in labour!
When we got back, Sam and I went off in the ambulance leaving my mum at ours. I was still surging regularly, but not too strong or long and I must have said several times over, ‘oh there’s no way this will carry on. The adrenalin will completely cancel out my oxytocin!’

We arrived at the hospital and the paramedic suggested timing the contractions as I didn’t want to be having a baby in the children’s hospital A&E. They were now every 2 1/2 mins but as they were only about 20secs I was still pretty insistent it would die off any minute and it’s nothing a bit of circling my hips couldn’t help.

They very kindly put us in a side room as we waited and I rang the midwife.

She asked if I wanted her to come and see me at home so it was decided Sam would stay with Alice and I’d get a taxi back. This was about 6.30pm and based on my labour with Alice I suspected we had a while.
I got home about 7pm, having rang my mum to come back (she’d left her phone in my bag so had ended up knocking from door to door to find a neighbour who was in. A very kind man actually took her home! Only to come back about an hour later!).

Anyway, by about 7pm midwife and mum were there and I was beginning to realise things might not be quite as I’d planned. The birthing pool wasn’t set up and that was Sam’s job! My music was on Sam’s phone. Sam had been practicing the massages, he was my birthing partner!

As it turns out my labour was a tad faster than first time round. Surges were pretty constant from arriving home and suddenly ramped up in intensity. The midwives (3 at this point) set about sorting the pool and I stayed in a dimly lit room listening to the affirmations. My mum had never heard them so I had to talk her through the ones I liked as my plan had been for Sam to keep reinforcing these to me.
Anyway she was fab at telling me how once it had passed, I was one step closer and kept telling me how calm I was. I stayed on my feet as I didn’t want anything to slow things down. For each surge I found the only thing that offered relief was leaning up against a wall so just kept doing that, then pacing.

I don’t mean to make it sound simple, but by 9.26pm she was out. I tried the birth breathing but found I’m a tad more vocal at that point, but still felt completely calm and in control. I was able to easily stop and pant when the midwife told me to, and consequently Lillian came out without tearing me. No time to get in the water and this time I know I pooed (sorry, it’s what all pregnant woman think about) but I just let it happen as I knew my body needed to do that to get that baby out!

Sam got home within the hour and was able to cut the cord.

So not as planned, but Liz, thank you so much because in my own way I took so so much from our sessions and what could have been a really traumatic time was completely manageable.
Alice is getting better and I have my beautiful baby after the quickest labour ever.

Sam might have missed the grand finale but I had my mum and I DID IT!! XX”

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Aubrey’s Calm Hypnobirth

“I first realized that Aubrey was on her way at about 2am on the Saturday morning. I had a feeling that she might be coming over the weekend as I knew my husband, Peter, would be home and this made me relax more and I knew this was conducive to labour starting.
I was feeling incredibly confident about Aubrey’s birth, as I had just finished reading the last chapters of the Calm Birth School book, knew my affirmations inside out from religiously listening to them daily, and would lull off to sleep each evening listening to the Birth Rehearsal MP3.
Liz’s support as my hypnobirthing tutor, meant that not only was I kept on track on the importance of my preparations for birth, but also that all my birthing fears had been replaced with a readiness for giving birth and excitement at Aubrey’s impending arrival. I had gone from someone who had managed to avoid anything to do with pregnancy and birth (because it freaked me out), to actually looking forward to what it all meant! Reading the positive birth stories of other hypnobirthing ladies made me believe that there was no reason why I too couldn’t have an incredible birth experience.
So, I woke up at about 2am on the Saturday morning with what felt like dull period pains. I tried to get back to sleep but couldn’t, probably as much out of excitement as anything else, but I found that getting up and walking around was much more comfortable than lying down. I’m not sure I can call them surges at this stage, as they were very mild but I also felt they were very frequent, so at 4am I called the hospital to ask them whether this was really the start of labour, and it was normal for them to be frequent, but inconsistent in intensity.
I was advised to call back when they were more frequent and more intense, and was advised to take Paracetamol and a warm bath to make me more comfortable. As we didn’t have any Paracetamol, I opted for just a bath and continued to let my husband sleep, as I’d read that it could be a long ride for him too during labour, and he was to play an important roll as my birthing partner.
The surges continued and must have increased in intensity, consistency and frequency, although I can’t tell you that I noticed as they were developing. During this time, I managed to watch 2 episodes of Game of Thrones (my addiction for the last weeks of pregnancy) and FaceTime my folks!
This took us to about 7.30am, when I was becoming much more focused on the intensity of the surges and advised my husband that we needed to start preparing our dog Freddie dog for his stay with our neighbour. Peter suggested that he would walk Freddie and go to the store at this stage (ha ha!), but I asked him to remain with me. I took this as his complete confidence that I was handling everything really well and that we both felt very relaxed and calm. At this point the surges felt very frequent so we started timing them.
The surges were coming in at 45-50 seconds per surge, every 2.5 minutes so I called the hospital again and this time they asked me to come on in. At this point I definitely felt ready to head to the hospital but had been dreading the 25 minute journey as I was worried it would halt or slow down labour. But, I got in the car and closed my eyes – and from that moment onwards I withdrew into my own little world and focused entirely on relaxation and breathing through the surges. We drove in silence, and my focus on relaxation techniques meant that the journey was much better than I had actually felt while at home, and I am sure this is because I was engaging my brain at home, rather than focusing on my hypnobirthing.
We had stopped timing the surges at this point and on arriving at the hospital at 9.30am, I had 4/5 surges between the car park and labour ward, and on examination I was advised that I was 8cm! Whoohoo… so the midwives went off to start filling the pool for my requested waterbirth.
Surges were pretty uncomfortable at this stage and I was led down the corridor to the birthing pool room, where on entry into the room, my waters broke. This gave a release of pressure, and so I had a little break from the intensity of the surges. Throughout this time, from getting into the car, my eyes remained closed most of the time and Peter did nearly all the communication with the midwives as I remained focused on my body and breathing. I couldn’t even tell you what any of the midwives looked like or what the rooms were like! Peter had given the midwives our hypnobirthing preferences to aid in their support of our plans.
I was offered a kneeling position on a pillow on the floor, resting over a low bed, and this felt ideal as I went straight into active labour. I was offered gas and air, (as the midwives knew we didn’t want to be offered pain relief), and Peter kept me on track with my hypnobirthing breathing as I used this. I was keen to get into the pool and when I asked if it was ready, I later found out that there was a little fibbing going on with Peter and the midwives who kept reassuring me that it was nearly full, when in fact it was barely an inch deep! I stayed like this, with Peter coaching me on my breathing, and keeping me on track with all our practicing, until I was advised that Aubrey’s head was starting to show and I had the choice of staying where I was or getting into the pool. It felt like everyone was very relaxed and calm and this allowed me to focus on what my body and baby were doing.
I chose the pool as this was what I had planned for Aubrey’s birth, and on entering the water it felt heavenly – perfectly relaxing and preparing me for the last part of her birth. The water was incredibly soothing, and still kneeling, it felt amazing as we worked calmly together for what felt like a moment (I think only 3-4 more surges), before she was underneath me and I could sit back and scoop her up in my arms. A truly incredible moment, so happy and exciting, as I saw for the first time how beautiful my little girl is!
I honestly believe that hypnobirthing is responsible for such an enjoyable pregnancy, such a wonderful birthing experience, and such a relaxed, calm and happy mum and baby, and this has meant that we have been able to enjoy every moment together, to its fullest, from the moment little Aubrey joined us!”

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Tara’s Birth Story

I decided to go to hypnobirthing as a few friends had recommended it and as I was, like most, petrified of giving birth. I thought anything was worth a shot, but I’m a real cynic  and deep down thought it would be an expensive waste of time (sorry Liz!).

When I started hypnobirthing, I was suffering from severe morning sickness and feeling thoroughly depressed and struggling to bond with bump. But I threw myself into it and listened to my affirmations, did all I could to maintain a positive attitude and a belief that my body was made for this and I practiced the breathing techniques regularly. I also spent a hell of a long time on my gym ball, eating dates and drinking raspberry leaf tea! Despite the continual vomiting and nausea, this all really helped me to build and maintain a positive attitude in relation to the pregnancy and birth which, I believe, had a massive impact on my birth experience.

On D-Day, minus one week, my waters broke around 1pm. I surprisingly stayed calm, then calmed my mum down (who was starting to flap and pack HER bag!). I waited for labour to kick-start, but nothing happened, so in the evening I was called down to the birth centre for some monitoring and a sweep. Around 10pm, with still nothing happening and only 1 cm dilated, my husband and I left the hospital to drive home. Annoyingly, the motorway junction was closed and the journey took an hour in standstill traffic. I still wasn’t having what I thought were contractions, but felt an uncomfortable pressure.

As soon as I walked through the door, contractions started thick and fast and within 20 minutes they were lasting a minute every 3 minutes. Back to the hospital we went and within ten minutes of arriving at the birth centre, I was 6cm dilated and was being helped into the water bath. On dry land the contractions were getting too much for me, the only way I could get through them was standing up and I became woozy and tired pretty fast. The bath was a life saver, it helped me to let go and let the contractions take over. It sounds strange but it helped  to be able to squirm in the water, push off the sides when needed and lean back between contractions and when it got too much and I was spaced out.

Within around 3 hours, I had given birth to a baby boy, 8lb2, with no stitches needed. I didn’t have any pain relief or gas and air. I would like to say I was a warrior and resisted it. But as soon as I got into the bath, I was in the zone, just trying to just get through each contraction and I didn’t think to ask for any. My routine during contractions, when it was starting to get too much, was to breathe deeply and plead with myself that three breaths and this one will be over! The midwife couldn’t believe how ‘relaxed’ and quiet I’d been and laughed out loud when I told her calmly it was starting to burn a bit when he was crowning!

I had as good a birth experience as I think I could have had (I’ve even described it as amazing!) and I think keeping positive and maintaining calm breathing was a major factor in that. Obviously, it still wasn’t pleasant and I was so lucky that my baby was in a good position and everything went smoothly. But my labour was very intense (with no noticeable early labour at all) and I really believe that hypnobirthing helped me to not panic and to go with it to let nature take its course.

Thanks Liz, after a horrendous, depressing pregnancy of constant vomiting, my birth experience has given me something positive to look back on (and I might, just might, be convinced to go through it again)!

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Seonaid’s Positive Back to Back Birth Experience

I started having mild surges on Monday at 4 am, I sent Ollie off to work as they were only twinges and I stayed at home and made some scones!!

They started to hot up at 11pm on Monday and were getting slightly stronger through the night and the day on Tuesday. By Tuesday night the surges were coming faster and I had a show. I just kept doing the breathing though the surges and called Netherbrook to just check in and say that we thought things were progressing.

The surges got stronger but were manageable with a bath a bit more hypnobirthing and the birthing ball, until at 4 am the midwife said to go to hospital.

I got to hospital and the first check showed I was 3cm dialated. The midwife said that she’d like to keep me there as at 4cm I’d be in established labour. When they checked me at 9am I was 5 cm dialated and the surges were getting stronger.

The midwife said that she would suggest filling the pool in about 40mins or so but with breathing etc I lasted about another 2 hours then got into the pool at about 11 am ish on Wednesday.

After a bit of a long labour….over 5 1/2 hours in the pool, and over an hour of trying to birth Charlie’s head the midwife suggested a move onto dry land as Charlie was a little stuck. I had very little gas and air in the pool but didn’t find it really worked with my breathing so discarded it really (used it only when getting ‘repaired’ later on!!!).

He was back to back with his head in an awkward position. The mid wives gave me ample opportunity to birth the head but I opted, with advice, for an episiotomy and within seconds Charlie’s head and whole body appeared!!

He was holding his cord and had managed to wriggle so much in my tummy that the cord was also wrapped around his arms legs and body!! Ha ha! His heart rate remained steady for the whole time and he had a little tiny cry for seconds when they passed Charlie to me but then he was so calm and just looking around!

The midwives said that 9 out of 10 women would have had a c section long before he was born due to his position and size and that they were really impressed with me. I have no doubt that hypnobirthing played a massive part in this and although the last bit was not quite as serene as the births we saw (there was a bit of groaning/ screeching at the very end!!) I don’t think I would have ended up with a vaginal birth at Netherbrook without hypnobirthing!

Really very proud of myself given what the midwives said! He slept with all arms and legs stretched out from the first night and everyone comments about how chilled out he is and we are! I have been using the breathing from hypnobirthing when things get a bit overwhelming since he has arrived too! We can’t thank you enough!!

We registered the birth a few days ago and officially he is Charles Oliver James Ward and we think he’s just perfect!! X x x

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Theo’s Homebirth

This is the long version of my birth story . .. its so nice to write 🙂

On Thursday night to Friday I suddenly had the most acute sciatica, from my SI joint to my big toe. I called the Netherbrook unit as I thought I could do with some stronger pain relief. They recommended I went to heartlands, they assessed me and I was having surges (though not painful ones) they assessed me, I was dilated but because I was in so much sciatic pain they did a sweep (they thought he may be pressing on my nerve). Cocodamol worked a treat and aloud me to stretch out my piriformas (with yoga stretches) and the pain settled (though I still have a numb foot!)

That night (Friday) I began to feel surges every 3-20 mins, not consistent but enough to stop me sleeping 😥. We got excited but they stopped completely sat am…. which did give us time to sort our lives out a bit! We did a dry run with the rented home birth pool… I had no more Surges until Sunday night (as I hadn’t had any surges for 24 hours we decided to go ahead and go on the spa break my mum had bought us) obviously as soon as we got there I started having surges again… we had a lovely dinner (during which I went to the toilet and had the show) so came back home.

The Surges  didn’t really become regular until Monday afternoon. I thought I was leaking some waters so my local midwife came and assessed me, I was 2cm and she said the membrane had gone and that my 24 hours had started and if I hadn’t delivered/or was close to delivering by 6pm Tuesday I’d have to go in to heartlands 😐…24 hours sounds like a long time but I laboured for 48 with Alice so I found that really hard to hear (I’d set my heart on a home pool birth… although I’d tried to keep an open mind!)

I bounced away on my gym ball all evening, surges were every 3-10 mins depending on my position. Things hotted up at about 2am, Paula, the midwife, came again and stayed for an hour. .. things slowed down… so frustrating! She assessed me and I was still 2cm ….. (I was 1.5cm with Alice for a life time!) I tried to stay relaxed. .. did lots of hypno breathing and listened to my mp3s…. really really helpful to stay focused and in control.

Nothing changed until around 3pm, surges became overwhelming and I could feel a pressure on my cervix. Paula came with gas and air and assessed me (at 3.45pm) and I was 10cm! Hooray! Same pattern as last time. .. just really slow to progress then sudden!

It was such a relief to hear and after she had assessed I started feeling the ‘moo’ urge! They had bought gas and air which really helped as a distraction more than anything. I could feel him coming lower but I was still lying in the bed upstairs where I’d been assessed.

Jason had filled the pool but the midwives thought I wouldn’t make it. I was focused though. They made me carry a towel between my legs as a sling in case he came out on the way down the stairs; ) It was mind over matter though… I didn’t have a surge until I was in the pool. I think walking down the stairs had improved his position a bit and after one surge and a bit of a ‘moo’ I could feel the top of his head. I was so so careful not to tear (having had a 2nd degree last time) so thought of you and did a lot of ha ha ha breathing until I could feel it was stretched right round, then it took just one more ‘moo’ to deliver his head and then he just wiggled out into my arms.

It was beautiful 😊.

He and I were fine. .. no tears! Whoop!

We stayed in the pool skin to skin for about 10 mins, Jason cut the cord. I delivered the placenta naturally about 20 mins later… Then they put us in bed, the midwives (I had Paula and her colleague Debbie for the final bit) stayed for a while to write notes and help my mum and Jason clear up. I just fed Theo in bed.

He’s very settled compared to Alice, feeding well. I have had stronger contractions when feeding him than I remember with Alice so taking reg pain relief but generally feel much more happy with the way it went this time and less sore 😊. And how lucky to have the same midwife for both pregnancies and deliveries!
Thank you so much for your classes they have been invaluable…  🙂

Lots of love xx

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