Liz Stanford’s 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 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!