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Birth Story: An unplanned homebirth for baby Daisy

Kate has kindly shared her story with us and unlike many of the birth stories we receive Kate didn’t take one of our classes. She did however listen to the audio book of ‘Mindful Hypnobirthing’.

Here is her story….

Photograph courtesy of Rachel Jane Photography

“My hypnobirthing story! I’m not sure if I’d recommend hypnobirthing or not 😂 mainly because I was so calm I had an unplanned home birth!

I was monitored more in my second pregnancy due to high blood pressure during my 1st labour where I was given lots of medication, had a very stressful labour and suffered with PND for months after. I knew my raised blood pressure was white coat syndrome and panic not pre-eclampsia but doctors would not agree.

I decided to use Sophie’s hypnobirthing audio book so I could listen to it before and during hospital appointments and labour, it worked so well got signed off to give birth in the birthing centre and was delighted as I could try a water birth and less intervention.

My baby had still not arrived at 41weeks and a induction date was looming, I kept calm listening to the book and making a visualisation board and phrases, I was so calm I agreed to my husband having a work night out an hour away!

I went to my mums house so I wasn’t alone just incase and my 3yr old could stay the night. I started getting a little uncomfortable about 7pm and had a bath, sat on my birth in ball and listened to the book, by 9pm I was calm and talking to my parents but asked my husband to come home and get me on the way. We arrived home at 11pm and I had a shower, contractions started and we decided to time them! 5mins apart 1min long. So we called the birthing centre who suggested having a bath as my waters hadn’t broken.

In the bath my contractions became intense and continuous so I got out and dressed to go in. By the time I got downstairs I needed to push! Yes really 😂 called my husband down as he was getting the hospital bags. Laid on the sofa we could feel her head and sac still intact so he called an ambulance which arrived 7 minutes later and my 6lb 12oz baby girl was born in her waters 6mins after they arrived!

I felt calm, in control and concentrated on my breathing and visualisations so managed without any pain relief in a rather quick and unplanned home birth 😍. Baby Daisy is now 5 months old and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it this time. Even now when I hear Sophie’s voice I feel a sense of calm 😍

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Birth Story: Katie shares the story of her Neo’s birth

Katie attended a class in Loughborough with Fernanda Salfity, here she share’s the story of her son’s birth.

“I would really like to share my birth story with other expectant mothers please as I feel that hypnobirthing allowed me to have the birth I never thought would be possible.”

“This time 3 weeks ago I was  searching for positive hypnobirthing induction birth stories trying to keep a positive frame of mind about my upcoming labour. I had agreed to be induced at 41+5. I am so pleased to now be able to share my own positive birth story!

In the build up to my induction date I tried to kick start my labour as naturally as possible with the usual attempts of eating spicy food, pineapple, clary Sage oil baths and massage, bouncing on my birthing ball, long walks, hypnotherapy, acupressure points- the list goes on. With no success I tried 2 sweeps over week 41 but again, no success.

I had initially started learning hypnobirthing techniques to reduce my fear and anxiety around birth, due to a spinal condition I had been told I was unable to have an epidural and that c-section may be the best method of delivery for me. My partner and I attended Fernanda’s mindful mama course in Loughborough and immediately felt the benefits of viewing pregnancy and birth in a more positive way. My partner and I both felt that Fernanda had a very calming influence on us and so, following the course I asked Fernanda to be my Doula during labour.

I went into hospital on Saturday night and had the first hormone pessary, I ended up having 2 of these over the next 24 hours because they kept on falling out. My body did respond to the hormones and surges built up and slowed back down repeatedly over 2-3 days. This was not the labour I had envisioned or planned. At one stage while being monitored my baby’s heart rate had increased and the midwives needed to find a clear baseline to establish whether or not he was distressed. Using the Mindful hypnobirthing MP3 I managed to calm the baby’s heart rate back to normal. This for me was clear evidence of how a calm mother can help to create a calm baby.

The hypnobirthing techniques I had learned helped me to stay relaxed and maintain an open mind throughout my birthing journey. Fernanda’s knowledge and experience helped us feel in control; she empowered us to make informed decisions during my time in hospital.

At 4pm on the Monday I was taken to the delivery suite and started on the hormone drip, things got intense pretty quickly. I used pregnancy and birth affirmations through headphones, a cooling eye mask to help block out my surroundings and any distractions. I also used a tens machine and gas and air to help manage the discomfort of surges. I listened to the Contraction Wave MP3 when surges became more intense. At 5.17am baby Neo made his arrival weighing 9lb 12oz, I had a natural delivery and extended skin-to-skin contact before my partner cut the cord and Neo was checked over and weighed. He is now 3 weeks old and people regularly comment on what an alert and chilled out baby he is.

As a family we cannot thank Fernanda enough for all her help and support, we now highly recommend hypnobirthing and having a Doula to anyone we know expecting a baby!”

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Birth Truly is Beautiful

This is the story of the birth of Huxley who was born in June to Mum Sophie who took our class earlier this year. The title of this post is from Sophie’s own words and something that we strongly believe at Mindful Mamma.

sophie-and-huxleyHuxley’s Birth Story by Sophie Addison

 

On Wednesday I spent the day feeling more and more uncomfortable and went to bed feeling increasingly so.
At 12.30 ish I dreamt that my waters had gone (this was not a dream) when I woke I jumped out of bed and my waters went in a very movie style way!!

My hypnobirthing played a very important role here as adrenaline could of taken over.
I decided to take a shower and listen to some hypnobirthing tracks with the plan of going back to bed however by the time I was out my contractions were 5mins apart and the white horse birthing centre recommend I went in to be checked.
The hypnobirthing music had me in a very calm and centred place before leaving home I felt totally relaxed and serene.

On route to hospital we played the affirmations and by the time we arrived I was in a very calm mindful place.

Sophie in the second stage of labour
Sophie in the second stage of labour

We arrived and were shown to the most amazing birthing room complete with pool, swing ,birthing balls and lots of space.
I was now contracting every 3 mins with increasing intensity however I remained at this stage for the next 16hours !! (My baby was back to back, which I did not know until he was delivered as I had made it very clear if anything like this was to happen do not tell me.)
I used my hypnobirthing music & affirmations to stay focused through out.
In fact when the track ended I would only speak to say to my husband to say “play the lady.” Now a joke between us.
The hypnobirthing tracks played for the full 20hrs and I am totally convinced I would of ended up with intervention if it wasn’t for my calm hypnotic state all thanks to the techniques we learnt on the course.

Eventually (16hrs) in I felt I was nearing the pushing phase and got into the pool where I delivered my healthy baby boy at 19.36 on the 23rd June.

Although it was a long labour I wouldn’t change it for anything. For me birthing my baby albeit intense at times was the most incredible experience of my life.

The skills learnt on the course and listening to the tracks throughout my pregnancy certainly got me through some tough moments. For this I can’t thank you enough.

And I never thought I would say this I can’t wait to do it again!

Birth truly is beautiful. If only all women could believe it. Sophie Addison

 

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How I fell in love with homebirth.

HomebirthHow I fell in love with homebirth.

By Sophie Fletcher

Homebirth wasn’t even on my radar when I had my two boys. It wasn’t given as an option, neither my midwife or my friends had mentioned it; it wasn’t something my mother or any of my 5 aunts had done. I just had no thoughts about it, bad or good.

Predictably I had both my children in hospital, and it wasn’t until my path took an unexpected turn that I found myself at a homebirth. At that time I was still training as a doula and it was only the second birth I’d attended.

Stepping into a home where a baby is to be born is a wonder and the first home birth I attended was an awakening of sorts. Here is how it was, on that night.

When I arrive at their home, at 10pm, it is dark. I am struck by the normality of this quiet cul-de-sac in a small town, where everyone is preparing to go to bed, as they do every day, while in the home in front of me I know a baby is coming.  A pocket of something extraordinary amongst all the ordinariness. I feel as if I’ve been let in on a miraculous secret.

I am welcomed in – it feels like stepping into my grandfather’s home when I was a child, on Christmas Eve, when everyone was full of joy. When, us children would be upstairs, quietly listening out for the magic in the air, knowing that someone long awaited would soon arrive.

The mother is upstairs in a dim room, candles lit, just quietly swaying. A smile, a hand squeeze, whispers, a hug. Then a flurry as the pool is put up, the midwife on her way, a father and mother to be – without disturbance – together in their home. Their faces shine in the dim light, a sense of purpose behind the father’s movements as he makes sure everything is ready.

The midwife arrives, the kettle is on, the cake the mother baked earlier in anticipation is shared out. Baby is quietly checked, the steady pattern of the baby’s heart punctuating the stillness, whispering  “I am here, I am here”. The mother gets in the pool, she moves, sways and moans quietly.  No one tells her what to do, no one examines her.  They listen and wait as her contractions rise and fall in her body. The room, her home, her partner, her energy holds her.

She moves out of time – journeys to the stars and back – and collects her baby, embraced by the universe, and returns. Her little girl small, perfect, quietly curled against her body in the dim soft candlelight.

The placenta is born, baby is on her breast, she is snuggled up with her partner in the comfort of her own bed, cup of tea nearby in her favourite mug, radiantly bathed in a birth afterglow. A takeaway has been ordered. Everything has been cleared up, the washing machine is on.  Home life momentarily eclipsed by something extraordinary.

Three years later she will tell her little girl about her birth, and will say,” that is where you where you were born”.  And every time she looks in that room she is reminded that there is magic in the everyday, and that in a home like hers, right now, there is another woman having her baby.”

This is why I love home birth and the wonderful homebirth group I attend. Every time I go I am reminded of women, of what they can do, how they can support each other, lovingly. As time rolls on, babies are born, women move on, but the energy of the room where we hold the group still contains all their experiences and emotions. The group holds us all – whether we have a homebirth or not, we are reminded of what we are capable of, and how we are held with love.

Warm, dark, hushed, timeless, loving, graceful, powerful, comfort, family, home.  These are the words that mean birth to me.

 

 

 

 

 

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The birth of Amelia Grace

Hannah attended one of our classes in early 2016 and here she shares the story of her daughter’s birth in March and how the mindful hypnobirthing techniques she learnt in class along with the mp3s helped her throughout her labour…

Hannah’s Story – the birth of Amelia Grace

image1I just want to say that I was told about hypno birthing by my sister in law who practised it for both of her children and they are both really good sleepers and so I thought if that could be the route to a peaceful nights sleep then I was willing to give it a go!

My husband and I attended the course probably just under half way through my pregnancy and I then tried to listen to the downloads about three or four times a week and more towards the end of the pregnancy as this really helped me to relax.

My labour started on Monday 14th March which was a week past my due date. My surges were coming on a regular basis for about five hours and I was listening to the tracks in the hospital room and really in my birth zone but then they slowed right down until we got to a point where they suggested I either went home or onto a ward. I didn’t want  to be sat on a ward when I could go back home and relax in my own surroundings, so this is what we chose to do.

My surges then started on a more regular basis about 10pm and we called the hospital about midnight, only to find that not only was the hospital that I was meant to going back to was closed but so too was the other main hospital in the city which meant we had to go to a hospital that was 30 minute drive away! Whilst speaking to one of the coordinators she said that from speaking to me on the phone I seemed quite calm and she just didn’t think I was dealing with the pain very well and thought from speaking to me that I was only about 3cm dilated. My husband then spoke to her and said that I had been practising hypno birthing and that I was saying that I was ready to push so he would like to get me to a hospital all the same!

My husband put the tracks on in the car – much to me telling him not to but this really helped keep me in my zone and really calm and relaxed.

We were welcomed into the most calm and relaxing atmosphere and I was able to use their one and only pool room. They did ask to inspect me and I said at this stage I was happy for them to do so and I was fully dilated!

The midwife we had was amazing and knew all about hypno birthing and completely left my husband and I to it and literally sat at the back of the room and just checked on the babies heartbeat every now and again which I was happy for them to do. She had a junior doctor with her and she informed him of what the NICE guidelines were but what they were going to do differently because of us practising hypno birthing. Amelia Grace was born at 5.30am with me only having had 4 paracetamol and 2 codeine, a tens machine for when I was out of the water for my surges and then the water for the majority of the labour.

image2The hypno birthing practise that I did meant that I was fully in control of the birth that I wanted to have and made it a very calm and dare I say it, pleasant experience!

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to use this amazing technique to bring the best out in me and to have safely brought our daughter into the world- and best of all- so far, she is a great sleeper!!

Thanks again Sophie.

Hannah, Matt and Amelia. X

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Welcome to the world Ira!

A big congratulations to Kirti, who has kindly sent me her story to share with you. Kirti put a lot of practice in, and made use of hypnobirthing techniques when she went beyond her dates and felt impatient. Her story shows how connected she was with her body and her baby. Beautiful picture too. Thank you for sharing Kirti.

IMG-20160404-WA0007“I wanted to thank you again for your help. I couldn’t have birthed my baby without your book and your mp3s.

I read your book at least 4-5 times through my pregnancy and listened to the 3 downloads that come with it. I also loved practising my breathing to the background track. It was so relaxing! As I got to 40 weeks I started doing the Apple tree visualisation I found on your Facebook page and it really really helped me stay calm about going over my estimated due date.

And just when I started getting impatient, I got your gentle induction set. Within 3 days of that I’d had my baby! I really felt like it helped me let go and trust my body to start labour.

The day I went into labour (April 1st), I can honestly say it didn’t feel anything like labour. I didn’t feel any strong contractions just a lot of pressure. So I just kind of ignored it and went out for a movie! Once I got back I lost my mucus plug and the pressure became intense. So I put my son to sleep while on my hands and knees, listening to the induction track!!!

The pressure tapered off though so I had dinner, watched TV and went to bed while listening to my affirmations. I woke up again around midnight to the same sort of pressure whenever I peed. I stayed calm and tried to rest. I remember reading in Mindful Hypnobirthing that I would know the perfect time to go to the hospital. So I waited.

At 1.45am I started timing my pressure waves. They were 2.5-3 mins apart! So after timing them a bit I got ready, got in the car and left for the hospital. I had planned a water birth and I was very excited to get in the water to relieve the pressure. I reached the hospital at 2.50am and to my shock I was fully dilated! I pushed my baby out at 3.30 am, with no drugs and no pool. It was all me! What helped was remembering that even at the peak of the pressure I had breaks in which the intensity and pain washed away. Even when the head was out I was able to take a few breaths, calm down and push again. Although I have to mention that I did scream through it like a mad woman! They could hear my outside the hospital!!!

So there’s my story – I have you to thank for my quick and easy birthing experience. I couldn’t have done it without Mindful Hypnobirthing and the Mindful Mamma downloads.

Thanks, thanks and more thanks!”

Kirti

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Hazel’s birth story

Today we would like to share with the story of Hazel’s birth with the permission of Madeline her mum. Madeline lives in Australia and used the Mindful Hypnobirthing book and accompanying mp3 tracks to prepare for her daughters birth. She contacted us recently to share her story, which she has written to her daughter…

Thank you for sharing your story Madeline and welcome to the world Hazel.

 

Hazel’s Birth Story

 

20151116_003953The due dates I had been told (31st Oct, 3rd Nov, 7th Nov – each care provider I saw used a different method!) had come and gone. Family and friends were starting to get impatient, but I wasn’t. I knew you would come when you were ready. I felt very mentally prepared for the labour. At the suggestion of Martha, one of our midwives, I had gotten into hypnobirthing, using a book called Mindful Hypno birthing and some accompanying audio tracks over the past 4 months. I had been getting minor twinges throughout the week, but on Fri 13th (spooky!) in the evening I got my first proper contraction, and knew that my labour was about to start. Mum, Dad and Marigold were all staying and waiting for you, and I left them at the dinner table to go have a shower. Your dad came in to check on me about 20 minutes later and I whispered to him “I think I just had a contraction!”. However we decided not to mention it to anyone else as it could still could be ages before you were born. That night the contractions were coming every 10 – 15 minutes or so, but I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks which relaxed me and the contractions were mild enough that I could fall asleep.

On the Saturday the family went out, and Eamon and I hung around at home relaxing. I was still getting regular contractions but they were easy enough to deal with using some basic breathing exercises. In the afternoon we decided to go see the new James Bond movie and so drove into New Farm. About ¾ of the way through the film I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Sitting still made the contractions harder, and the film was very abrasive. I was now needing to focus and breathe through the contractions and concentrating on this was difficult while people were getting shot at. We drove home and when we got there Mum, Dad, Marigold and Briar were in the lounge. I quietly mentioned to Mum and Dad that I was feeling in labour and they were very supportive and reassuring. We had dinner and went to bed, but about midnight I woke up and knew I probably wasn’t going to get to sleep again as the contractions were getting more intense. I was using my breathing and hypnobirthing tapes to keep focused and calm, but at 3am decided to get in the shower for some heat relief, and to let Eamon sleep. This helped a lot, but meant I had to be standing or sitting on the stool which was getting tiring. An hour later I went back to bed, and dozed on and off till morning.

Sunday morning we started timing the contractions. They were ranging from 8 to 12 minutes apart, and generally lasting a minute. Some were milder than others but overall getting stronger as the day progressed. The day passed quite vaguely, but I remember Mum and Eamon taking turns to sit with me, and time the contractions. I spent much of the morning out on the deck, holding on to the railing and swaying when the contraction was occurring, then sitting down to rest in the interim, and then got in the shower for a while, but this had caused the contractions to slow, so was not in there for long. Later in the day we moved to the bedroom while Eamon was timing and then into the spare room while Mum was with me. Mum built a giant pillow throne on the bed so I could rest easily between the contractions, as I was quite tired from being up most of the Saturday night. When the contraction built I would stand up and lean on the dresser swaying and breathing to keep focused and then when it was done would flop down into the pillows again.

At about 3pm that day I decided to get back in the shower. The contractions were about 8 minutes apart at this point and I was needed to vocalise and move my legs to cope with the more powerful surges. The heat of the shower was great, and your dad stayed in the bathroom with me timing them and encouraging me. We had purchased a little stool a few months prior so I could sit in the shower, and this was wonderful. I sat between contractions and then when they came, stood up and hung onto the shower frame, looking through the glass at your dad, or the birth affirmations I had taped the outside of the glass the month earlier. The hypnobirthing strategies were so useful in this time, as every time I reminded myself to relax into the contraction, rather than resisting or tightening against it, the pain would ease and I could feel my body respond.

After 2 or so hours in the shower the contractions had passed the midwife test (1 contraction every 5 minutes for over an hour), and your dad called the hospital (at 5:23). A few minutes after getting the page our midwife Annie called us back. She spoke to your dad and then (briefly) to me, and then said she would meet us at the hospital. She had just finished grocery shopping and lived in Alexandra Hills so suggested as it would take her about 40 minutes to get to RBWH we could wait at home until she would be there, however I was having none of that. I was very ready to be at the hospital now. Once we had talked to Annie it was all systems go. I stayed in the shower while everyone packed the car. We went in the Getz as the grey car had your carseat already installed and I wanted your dad in the backseat with me. My dad (your grandpa) drove us there very quickly (I had to remind him of the speed limit once) and the contractions in the car were not the best, as I couldn’t move through them.

When we arrived at the hospital we hugged Dad goodbye, and then he walked us into the foyer, as he couldn’t leave us straight away, which was very sweet. We went up to the Birth Centre and one of the on duty midwives met us there and look us to room 4. She checked your heart rate and my pulse and blood pressure while I contracted and your dad unpacked the bags and put up the wall chart I had made with the visualisation dial and my birth affirmations. By this point the contractions were getting stronger and I was moving through them and the visualisation technique of turning down the intensity with a mental dial. A few minutes after that – about 6pm – Annie arrived. She had a delightful energy and I felt very safe with her. The other midwife was fine, but she wasn’t one of the Birth Centre team, and called my vocalisations during contractions yodelling, which while it might have been accurate I thought wasn’t the most supportive.

20151118_142403After doing some more tests and feeling where you were sitting Annie suggested I might like to know how dilated I was. I wasn’t sure about this (what if I was only 1 or 2 cms and had ages to go?) but Eamon thought it would help. I let some time pass while I got used to labouring at the hospital and then about 7pm I had a VE, and was 5 -6 cm dilated! This was great. At this point I had achat to Annie and asked if I could take a couple of Panadol for the residual ache I was experiencing between contractions. The Panadol helped relieve this while I spent some more time in the shower, using the 2 shower heads to ease through some more contractions. I was very keen on the idea of a water birth as from all I had read they were a really lovely way to give birth, and did reduce the likelihood of tearing so when we arrived had asked that the bath be filled. At about 7:45 the bath was full and I decided to get in.

However when I got in the bath I couldn’t work out a comfortable position to sit in. While it was the size of a small spa it was round and my legs were too long to sit with them out, and shortly after I started to feel chilled. Shivering with cold I quickly got back under the shower heads, and stayed there leaning against your dad. After labouring here for a while at about 8:30 my waters broke with what felt like a pop and a big splash. It was about this time that I think I went into transition, and for the first time during my labour said fuck, a fact I a rather proud of (that it took so long – not that I swore!).

As the labour progressed I lent more and more on Eamon, until I was bent over with him holding me up by the elbows. While I was still very calm, I was using the nitros gas by this point to work through the contractions and my legs were very weak from tiredness. Annie suggested that we move out from the bathroom and kneel leaning against the beanbag, as she could see that both Eamon and I were getting exhausted. We moved over and Eamon sat on the floor in front of me holding my hands and encouraging me through the powerful surges. We stayed in this position for a while and I started to get the urge to push. Annie encouraged me in this, but after a few more contractions gently suggested that the birth would go faster if I stopped using the gas, as it was dampening my urgency and efforts. I understood this instinctively, but while I stopped using the gas I refused to let go of the mouthpiece, crushing your poor dad’s fingers against it every time a contraction came on. Apparently this is a family trait, as my mum did a similar thing when I was born.
The contractions at this point were an incredible feeling, hard to describe. The pain was there, but muted by the pressure, and the incredible need for release. I was quite beyond words by this point, mostly communicating with grunts to Annie who was seated behind me, and hand gestures to Eamon (such as thumbs up) who could see them. Between every contraction Annie would check your heart rate to make sure you were coping ok, which you were. You did so well, darling. Every contraction was now building on the previous one, and I was so desperate to get your head out. 20151115_235527There were a few when I felt like “this is it”, but then you would ease back up the birth canal. However your head eventually made its way out, and then your body the contraction after. You were born at 10:21pm with your hand up by your head. I was so exhausted when you came out I just leant there like a stunned mullet, and the midwife prompted me to reach down and pick up my baby. I asked them what sex you were, but neither of them had checked, so we had to unwrap you from the towel they had caught you in (which you were unhappy about) to find out we had a daughter.

Sidenote – talking to your dad about this recently, apparently the midwives did tell us this, twice, but I didn’t take it in so they suggested I look for myself. Ha!

20151117_204856You were so amazing to us. Somehow I moved round so I was seated and held you on my chest as your dad sat next to us, and we both marveled at you. Eamon got teary at this point looking at you. We spent the next half an hour loving you while Annie waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing so she could clamp and cut it. When she felt it was time she moved me to a small birthing stool so I could push out the placenta. While I knew it had to be done I really couldn’t be bothered or interested and had to be encouraged to do this. Once it was out Annie checked it over while we moved to the bed and just snuggled you. You were so perfect. We were instantly in love.
Remarkably our birth preferences all came to fruition, as I required very little pain medication and you came into the world without intervention, which I am very grateful for. Looking back on the experience I was so glad I did the Hypnobirth preparation. It made me feel very mentally prepared and confident in myself. The thing I was most concerned about was feeling overwhelmed and that during the labour I would decide I couldn’t give birth to you. However throughout the whole experience I never thought that, which I put down to the audio tracks.

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Welcome Sophie Evelyn!

The beautiful story of the birth of Sophie Evelyn, as told by her Mum,Gemma who attended the Mindful Mamma class in December 2014.

 

Gemma said: “I attended a class with Sophie in nottingham in December and had a baby girl at the end of Feb – I’ve had my birth story written for a while but just haven’t got round to sending it so here it is below. Please feel free to use it if you think it’s any good. I know i found it really helpful to read these sorts of stories before I gave birth to give me confidence so maybe my story will help someone else.”

Sophie’s Birth Story

Sophie
Sophie Evelyn

“Before I start my birth story a bit of background on why I chose to have a hypnobirth. I had my son 3 1/2 years ago and would definitely describe it as a difficult birth – sheer exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed with pain lead to a series of interventions resulting in a forceps delivery. The memory of my son’s birth put me off contemplating a sibling for him for quite some time and when I did get pregnant again alongside absolute elation was an underlying fear of giving birth. My first reaction when thinking about labour was to opt for an epidural as quickly as it could be administered and preferably knock me out and wake me up when it was all over. However, I still had a feeling that I had somehow not dealt with my first labour as well as I could and that I wanted the 2nd time to be more positive. Giving birth is something our bodies are designed to do and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it on my own.

I’m not sure how I came across hypnobirthing, I recall a colleague using the techniques to birth her baby some years ago. I came across the mindful mamma website and so much of what was on there made sense to me. I loved the biological aspect to it, this made scientific sense not just fluffy ideals. With that I downloaded the hypnosis tracks and booked onto the course. I also sought out positive birth stories and videos on YouTube and stopped watching programmes like One Born Every Minute which sensationalise birth.

The course itself was a real turning point for me and my husband. My husband was very supportive of my decision to use mindful hypnobirthing techniques but if he was being honest I think he’d say that he wasn’t totally convinced by it. However after spending a day listening to Sophie Fletcher I was 100% convinced and he came away a real advocate. The biggest change for us on the day was that we decided to opt for a home birth. I hadn’t appreciated the extent to which the thought of going to hospital was contributing to my anxiousness about giving birth.

So with that we came away feeling positive and relaxed about the impending birth of our daughter and put plans into place to have her at home.

The main event…late one monday evening I had some early signs that things were starting to happen. After a quick telephone chat with a midwife I felt the best thing to do was to go to bed and get some rest before as I was sure to be having a busy day the following day. I recall my contractions starting at about 1am but I decided not to wake my husband up but simply breathe through them a get some more sleep. At about 3.30am they started getting more noticeable so thought I ought to wake my husband up. We were both really calm and sat in bed having a cup of tea and listening to the mindful mamma birth affirmations. I decided to go into the bath at 5am for a change of scenery. I put lavender oil in the bath and continued to listen to relaxation music. By this point my contractions were coming about every 5 minutes and weren’t especially strong but because we live a little out of the way I rang the midwife and (confession time) exaggerated the timing of my contractions as I knew it would take them a while to find us.

The midwife arrived at about 7am and I was still only having contractions every 5-7 minutes so I was quite surprised that I was 6cm dilated and in active labour when she checked me. As it turns out my contractions never became more frequent even when I was fully dilated. I stayed in the bath until 9am, feeling totally relaxed and breathing through every contraction. With each contraction I used 321 relax relax relax which worked really well for me and I could feel everything softening and expanding. The midwife commented that she was struggling to gauge how I was progressing as I wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of labour because I was so relaxed and in control.

After getting out of the bath I spent some time walking around my bedroom and using the birthing ball to lean over. At 10am my waters broke (luckily on the toilet) and I seem to recall spending a while just sitting on the loo letting gravity work its magic.

I had hoped that by standing up gravity would help my baby out and I would be able to breathe my baby down and out. In reality this didn’t really work and my midwife suggested that I try doing some small pushes to get things moving. This was the trickiest part for me – I’d coped so well getting to this point and not really felt any pain and I knew that to birth my baby I was going to have to experience the hardest part and I honestly didn’t want to. On reflection I can now see that I was in transition and the feelings of doubt that I could do it were a sign that I was getting close to giving birth.

Gemma and Sophie
Gemma and Sophie

Using my husband as a physical support I pushed our baby out. I’m told that I was only pushing for about 20-30mins but I honestly didn’t have any sense of time. The. Midwives were great coached me through the pushing to minimise tearing. At 11.52 my beautiful 9lb 12oz baby, Sophie Evelyn was born with no pain relief using only the mindful hypnobirthing techniques I had practised. I had a couple of stitches but this was only caused by the sheer size of our not so little Miss.

I can honestly say this is one of the proudest achievements of my life and love to see the look on people’s faces when I say that I had an almost 10lb baby at home with no pain relief. For anyone who is unsure about the power of hypnobirthing I am testament to the fact that it can work if you put your mind to it and believe you can do it.”

 

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Welcome Lucas!

Hypnobirthing StoryA big congratulations and welcome to the world Lucas!  A lovely Mindful Mamma birth story today that we have permission to share. The word that jumped out at me was practise, this is something we always reinforce, practise conditions your physical and emotional responses so you don’t even have to think about it, your body and mind do it automatically, the way they should.

 

 

“Hi Louise,

Just wanted to give you an insight into our birthing experience following our class with yourself.
Prior to the class I was terrified of childbirth and was frightened of the effects drugs would have on my baby (I also had a fear that I couldn’t cope with the “pain” of childbirth and that I would need said drugs).
After attending the class, I felt empowered and confident about delivering my baby. My partner also felt he gained a greater insight to the role he was to play and felt confident he would be able to assist me in any difficulties or challenges I was to face.
I left the class and practiced my hypnobirthing techniques regularly with my due date being approx 4 weeks away, I was practising (almost) daily.  My due date came and went. 3 days after this I felt tightenings in my stomach with absolutely no discomfort whatsoever, so wasn’t even convinced I was in labour! The following day these tightenings of my stomach were combined with some discomfort and I knew I was in labour. Myself and my partner attended the hospital that evening to be examined and told nothing was happening, my cervix was completely shut and to just wait the surges out and so we went home.
I went straight up to bed and played by hypnobirthing tracks which helped me to remain focused, calm and confident about this process I was going through in order to deliver my baby. I was having surges every 5 minutes but the triage staff at hospital felt I was too “calm” to warrant being called into hospital for. I stayed home, ran a bath and my partner sat with me. We did lots and lots of counting backwards and he always brought me back to hypnobirthing techniques whenever my mind was trailing off. We phoned triage again, to be told someone would come out to examine us again because I was sounding too calm, however, by the time this call ended I needed to push and nearly had my little boy on our bathroom floor!
Luckily my partner raced me to the hospital, where I was 10cmdilated and ready to push, and I’d done all this on paracetamol! Not bad for someone who was once petrified of childbirth!40 minutes of pushing later and my little boy, Lucas Henry Wagstaff was born, weighing 5lb 5oz.On reflection, both myself and my partner believe the “calm” nature the midwives were referring to when we called triage was down to the techniques learned at hypnobirthing. I went through the “transition” stage at home with my partner, who worked relentlessly to keep me focused and without him having learnt those techniques I’m not sure I would’ve been able to stay as calm as I did.
We have a beautifully happy little boy and we definitely think his birth was so straightforward because of your class and the techniques we learnt.
Thank you!”

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Mila’s Birth

This is the story of Mila’s hypnobirth, the birth was short, the story a long and beautiful one that shows just how those bumps in the road can be got around.  It shows how things shift and change, and reminds me why mindfulness and hypnosis are so good at teaching us that nothing is permanent, and everything is manageable. Thank you to the wonderful Kym and Pete for sharing Mila’s hypnobirthing story. I remember your journey starting and was so privileged to be a part of it. I hope you, the reader, enjoy it!

 

Hypnobirthing StoryMila Francesca’s Birth Story

My first child, Oliver, was born by ventouse after a 36 hour labour, I suffered a double episiotomy and had a post partum haemorrhage which required a blood transfusion. I later went on to develop a uterine infection which required a course of strong antibiotics which put an end to our fledgling nursing relationship. With my second child I was determined that I would do everything that I could to make things different for us both.

Eleven years had passed between my pregnancies and while many of my friends had very similar birth stories to my first, I had also begun to hear different stories, of home births, hypnobirths, drug free births, and I knew before my second child was conceived that if I was to have another child I would need to find out how some people could have these ‘easy’ births and others, like me, had such a difficult time. My first baby was 8b1.5 oz, so while he was a sizeable baby for me at 5ft0’’, he was certainly no giant, and I knew many women of small stature birthing much larger babies without difficulty, so I felt sure this wasn’t the reason.

As a counsellor with a special interest in the mind/body connection I decided that the only way to really understand the success that my friends and sisters had experienced with hypnobirthing was to train as a teacher, I had heard of Mindful Mamma via friends, and as someone who already practised mindfulness I was drawn to the unique approach of incorporating mindfulness with hypnosis. The training was a real eye opener and I remember by the end of the first day getting back to my hotel room and crying for what seemed like hours as the trauma of my first birth was released and I recognised deep in my body and soul that what had happened during my first birth had been unnecessary, my buried feelings of fear and failure about giving birth lifted and I felt a sense of trust in my body as a woman, designed to grow and birth babies, returning.

Some months later Pete and I decided that the time was right for us to try for a baby, and within a few short weeks we were blessed.

Almost as soon as I found out that I was pregnant I began using the Mindful Mamma meditations on a daily basis, to relax and connect with the baby growing inside me. Pete and I would listen together before falling asleep at night, and I would often use them when resting during the day too. I developed an insatiable appetite for you tube videos of natural, hypno, home and water births. Conditioning my mind to see birth as natural, relaxed, easy and without the need for any medical intervention.

When we went for our booking in appointment at 8 weeks we explained to the midwife that we would like to have a home birth, she was supportive but told us that as I had a previous pph (post part haemorrhage) I would need to see a consultant to have this signed off as they would usually suggest a hospital birth rather than birthing at home or even the midwife led unit.

The appointment with the consultant was scheduled for when I was 30 weeks pregnant, and couldn’t come quick enough for me, I was desperate to have him agree to our home birth and knew that I would need to do a lot of work on my mindset if he refused and I had to give birth in hospital – which wasn’t what I wanted. When the appointment finally arrived we discussed the risks and options with the consultant and while he said that due to the risk of a second pph, he ‘would recommend’ a hospital delivery, he wouldn’t stand in our way of having a home birth and supported our decision. It was clear in my mind that my previous pph had been caused by the cascade of medical interventions that had happened during my first birth and I felt sure that if I could labour and birth differently this time a pph wouldn’t occur.

I felt elated at this news, and felt I could finally start planning our home birth…until… at our 34 week appointment the midwife told us that our baby was lying in a breech position, our daughters head was under my ribs, bottom and legs down, she explained that this could affect our desired home birth and that if the baby didn’t turn by 37 weeks we would be again looking at a hospital birth, or even a cesarean section.

Determined again that this wouldn’t be the case I spent the next two weeks doing inversions, scrubbing our floors, and Pete, who was now half way through training to be a hypnotherapist himself used a script for turning breech babies, after he used this I knew our baby was moving differently and I secretly felt he had been successful in getting her to turn around.

At our next appointment I was nervous as the midwife palpated my tummy, and relieved when she told us we had indeed managed to turn our little one around, she was head down and it was full steam ahead for our home birth!

On the 26th of February, at 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant, we decided to go for a walk up the White Horse, I had wanted to be fit enough throughout my pregnancy to walk the loop around it which ended with a steep incline. As I stood at the top of the hill I felt like I was standing on top of the world, empowered, and ready for the birth of our baby.

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We went to bed as usual that evening, and as had become usual I awoke at around 3am needing to go to the toilet. As I sat there for what seemed an eternity I realised that I wasn’t having the longest wee in the history of man, my waters had broken! I woke Pete up and told him, and we phoned the midwives, although they initially asked us to come in to be checked over they agreed to come out to us instead. Two midwives arrived around 3.30am with our home birth box, they checked and agreed that my waters had gone, they could feel that I was having contractions but I couldn’t feel anything other than gentle irregular tightening. One midwife wanted to put a canular into me and started asking about my shoe size having seen how tall Pete is(6ft4) in comparison to me, I knew she was trying to ascertain whether she thought I would have difficulty delivering a potentially large baby, and she questioned what I expected would happen if I was to have another bleed while delivering at home. I felt unruffled by this and calm as I told her that we would deal with it if it happened. She then said that as my waters had broken I would be given 24 hours to go into established labour at home, and that after that I would have to go into hospital because of the risk of infection. I felt the pressure of the medical model but also determined to just stay within myself and believe in myself and my baby. After they had gone I decided to get back in to bed with Pete and listen to my mindful mamma music, I dozed on and off, feeling relaxed and excited knowing that whatever happened our baby would be here soon.

At 8am we asked our friend to come and pick up Oliver, as this was our plan for when I was in labour and I continued to relax in bed. Around 10.30am we decided to watch a film together, I struggled to get comfortable – (which wasn’t unusual at this stage of pregnancy! ) and decided that I’d rather be up and moving around instead. Pete went downstairs and prepared our living room which is where I had decided that I wanted to give birth. He closed the curtains, turned on twinkly lights and blew up the birthing pool ‘just incase’, but we didn’t feel that we needed to fill it with water yet. I stayed upstairs bouncing on my birth ball, the curtains were still drawn and it felt right to me to stay in one small area of our bedroom. Pete popped up and down checking in on me.

At around 12 o clock I could feel that the tightenings that I had started to notice were getting stronger and that I was naturally using my lengthening breath in rhythm with them. Pete came in and sat on my birth ball while I leant on him and we chatted, he decided that he wanted to fill the birthing pool, always one to be prepared for any eventuality! While he went downstairs to fill the pool I decided to start timing my contractions or ‘surges’, as they felt like they were becoming quite regular. To my surprise they were coming around every 3-5 minutes and lasting around 50 seconds, as I watched and timed over the next ten minutes or so they increased in frequency and length to every 2-3 minutes and over a minute in length. I decided that I needed to come out of my bedroom and started to pace in the hallway, recognising from my first birth a desire to stay on my feet. Pete was still downstairs and I sent him message at 12.20pm saying ‘I seem to have started to make a noise like a coffee percolator!’ I was in good spirits, aware that my breathing wasn’t staying as I’d practiced and that I wanted to hum or make other noises as I breathed out.

Pete came and helped me downstairs, I wanted to see what the room looked like and thought maybe it would be a good time start doing some of the activities I had planned for early labour – like reading blessing cards from the women at my blessing way, and making a ‘twiddler’ out of the special beads I had chosen. When I got downstairs I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the room looked, the pool was almost filled and had a cover on to keep the water warm.

The surges started to feel really strong quite soon after I was downstairs, and I asked Pete to call the midwife, just to let them know. They asked to speak to me and while I was on the phone to them I had a contraction which made it impossible for me to speak. They said that they would send a midwife out straight away.

I continued to pace around, and opened one of the blessing cards, although I found it difficult to concentrate as all of my attention was being drawn in to my body and managing my breathing. I felt as though I wasn’t getting much rest between one surge and the next.

At 1pm a midwife called Louise that we hadn’t met before turned up in ‘normal’ clothes rather than in uniform, ‘I am a midwife’ she explained cheerfully, ‘I didn’t expect to be going out of the office today so I didn’t have chance to put my uniform on’. I couldn’t have been more glad to see anyone ‘not in uniform’. Louise immediately felt like she could have been an aunt or other close female relative or friend, and I think not being in uniform really helped with this. We had a chat about what had happened so far and how I was doing, and Louise suggested that she examined me, I wasn’t looking forward to this as I knew it would mean laying down when I wanted to be upright. I felt that my surges were quite strong, although I was coping with them well and joked, ‘If you tell me I’m only 1cm I’ll be really upset!’

At 1.30pm Louise examined me and broke the news to me that I was indeed, only 1cm and that my cervix was still posterior. I remember feeling a little scared at this point as I really felt that my surges were coming quite strongly. Louise tried to do some breathing with me as try as hard as I could to use the lengthening breath, I just wanted to make noise on the out breath, I felt like I was making a ‘mooing’ noise. As I wasn’t considered to be in established labour Louise said that she would go home, as her shift was almost finished and that she would get someone to check on me again later. ‘Do you have to go?!’ I said, half laughing, but actually meaning it, I knew that I didn’t want her to go and that my body was working quicker than it looked.

Louise suggested that I get in the pool as that might help me to relax. As I got in I instantly felt the relief provided by the warm water, and not being on my feet allowed me to get into a more comfortable position leaning over the edge of the pool. As I did this I had the biggest surge yet and could feel that I had an urge to push. I held on to Pete and said to him and to Louise, ‘I can’t do many more like that!!’, they reassured me that I could and to just relax, I felt an imperceptible exchange of knowing between myself and Louise, as we looked at each other and she tried to get me to breathe rather than make noise through the next surge, which was another big one. Pete talked to me, reassured me and boosted my confidence as the next few surges came; they all felt really intense, I felt very powerful during them, I knew I needed to follow what my body wanted me to do, rather than try to do anything a particular way, for me this meant making much more noise than any of the women I’d seen on youtube! Making noise, literally roaring, helped me to cope and to feel strong, it was a primal urge and I couldn’t have been quiet if I’d tried! Louise asked if I felt I needed to push and I said that I did.

At this point I think Louise knew that I was in transition and attempted to call the office to send the second midwife, as it was she had trouble getting through, and when she did I was making so much noise that they couldn’t hear her!

Louise asked if she could examine me again to check what was happening. I had to turn on to my back in the water to be examined, which I didn’t like, but I will never forget my feeling of joy as she looked into my eyes less and said, ‘you’re going to have this baby now, you’re fully dilated!’

Once I knew I could push my body took over in a totally different way, it felt like I was doing something, rather than just managing what was happening to me. I felt our baby moving down bit by bit. As she crowned there was a stinging sensation, and then quickly her head was out, I looked down to see her, and shifted position so that Louise had her hand underneath her as I breathed the rest of her out and she was born into the water, into my hands, where I then lifted her out of the water, she cried immediately and I was overcome with amazement, she was perfect, ‘We did it!’ I exclaimed to Pete. At 2.04pm, 34 minutes after the first examination, our daughter, Mila Francesca, was born.

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Pete put a towel around me to keep me warm as we had been told that this helped to prevent haemorrhaging.

When Mila’s cord was clear of blood and had stopped pulsating, Louise clamped the cord and Pete cut it. I handed Mila to Pete so that I could deliver the placenta. I opted for a managed third stage to help prevent haemorrhage, Louise gave me a shot of syntocin in my thigh and I quickly delivered the placenta, no haemmorhaging, blood loss normal. The second midwife arrived a few minutes later