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”.