kg hypnobirthing


Emma, Matt & Rupert's Hypnobirth Story

rupertA fantastically quick and easy birth at St Richards, Chichester - another big baby, 9lb 13oz - no problemo! Emma's 1st baby.

Rupert James Palmer born at Chichester Hospital on Sunday 10th July at 9:10pm weighing in at a whopping 9lb13!

The story goes as follows... 40+5

Ever since the estimated date I had started to use natural remedies to try and bring on labour - raspberry tea, curry, hypnobirthing techniques, affirmations and of course, sex! I was not concerned about being heavily pregnant. I never felt I 'wanted it out of me' like some women experience, I just didn't particularly want to be induced. The night before the big day I took the most relaxing bath, with music and hypnobirthing affirmations. It was blissful and I was totally relaxed and felt ready to meet little one if it happened.

We were invited to dinner at my brother in law's Sunday eve, and I said I was happy to make a pudding and bring it along. So I went about planning a cream cheese and raspberry brownie desert! I went to Waitrose in the morning and happily went about getting ingredients, with no signs at all. I started making brownie pud at about 2pm, and started to feel a very slight ache that would come and go - but could easily have been stomach ache and not obviously anything like surges. It wasn't at all painful, just noticeable. I was so focused on following the recipe I didn't think anything of it! My husband Matt spent the afternoon clearing the garden and helping a friend with numerous trips to the tip (highly glamorous), and on his last trip I asked him to be quite quick coming home.

By 5pm it was clearer that I was indeed having surges, as they were coming and going with more clarity. I asked Matt to start timing them on the contraction App he had downloaded. From then I was watching TV and starting my breathing, yoga and swiss ball moves- although it was impossible to find a position that alleviated the sensations. The hypnobirth and yoga breathing techniques were amazing and gave me a real focus during this period.

By 7pm I thought it was time to call the hospital. I spoke to the nurse who asked a series of questions (I found it quite strange to be answering questions, when I knew she was trying to assess my state by listening to me have a surge!) Due to hypnobirthing techniques, it is possible to appear calmer than anticipated and she suggested that I stay home and take paracetamol. I wasn't convinced this was right and said we were coming over anyway, which they were happy with too. So Matt loaded the car and we were on our way. I closed my eyes for the whole journey and went inward to focus on my breathing (4 and 8 and deep slow counting to 10, in and out, through surges) and hypnobirthing visualisations, which kept me calm and positive through surges.

On arrival at the hospital we found that sadly the Birthing Centre was full, although someone was due to leave and I might be able to get in after. They put me in the labour ward where I waited for a midwife. I had a lovely midwife arrive to explain shifts were just at change over and she said it would be best to wait for the next one, as she didn't want inconsistency. I was standing up and holding Matts arms while breathing deeply at this stage - I bearly had time for one breath between surges and then the midwife said she would just check my dilation before handing over, considering how quickly they were occurring. I was 7cm! I was so pleased, mainly that they wouldn't send me home at this stage!

Due to how far I had gone, the birth centre was not an option and instead they arranged the pool in the labour ward for me to use, as desired in my birth plan. I remember the pool was ready really quickly, and following a few breaths of gas and air, I was able to get into the pool! It was heaven. The temp was perfect and I moved around to the handle end and stretched out! I was probably in the pool for an hour before Rupert was born. Jane, the midwife, was amazing. She encouraged me and facilitated a calm and easy birth from here - in addition to Rupert who never showed signs of distress and did a text book job! When he emerged, the cord was wrapped around his head, but was not tight and it was unravelled quickly. We enjoyed immediate skin to skin and I remember thinking how beautiful and smooth his skin was! Although a little blue (which I was prepared for), I could feel his warmth and heart beat, so it is not so concerning. I was allowed to stay in the pool for a while just holding him before needing to come out. Matt then got a chance to cuddle our new little boy skin to skin and I received 6 little stitches.

We took advantage of the private room option at Chichester hospital, and spent our first night as a family together, which was fantastic. I requested to stay in for another day to ensure the breastfeeding was working (I would recommend anyone do this, I would never have achieved this without their help). On Tuesday morning we left the hospital and are delighted with our little bruiser!

Thank you Naomi for all your great hypno sessions, and the detail you go into when explaining labour processes. The breathing techniques really are the key ladies! I feel Hypnobirthing was truly valuable mental preparation for labour and coping with such a significant life event. I would encourage all future mums to look up hypnobirths on You tube. Top tip - It is a good idea to try neck pillows in hospital birth pools - We were miraculously organised enough to get one, which turned out to be a God send and highly commended by the midwife.

Good luck to all the mummies on their births!!


Sarah, Dave & Frankie's Hypnobirth Story

frankieThey arrive at Worthing Hospital.... Just in time! 

My birth story 

In the beginning...

I'll be honest, I hated being pregnant. From the moment I found out, my life changed completely. Being a self-confessed party girl and lover of alcohol, I soon discovered how much my life revolved around drinking, and how much now hated drunk people. Coping with the tiredness and hangover feeling whilst trying to get my head around the enormity of what was happening was overwhelming. Whilst on yet another sober night out, I got chatting to Naomi who was telling me all about hypnobirthing – her new found passion. "Great," I thought, "someone else with yet more advice for me", but I looked into it, and being petrified at the thought of childbirth, I decided it was worth a go.

The course...

I decided to go for the private classes, as the idea about sharing my thoughts and discussing childbirth with a group of strangers didn't appeal to me. Initially Dave and I said I would do the course on my own as he was working 7 days, and after all it was me giving birth. As it turned out he didn't have to work on the day of the first class and we went together. We both really enjoyed the first class, although watching a birth was still daunting. Naomi made us both feel comfortable and was so enthusiastic about pregnancy and birth, we both left the class on a high, excited about the prospect of our birthing day. I listened to the rainbow relaxation every day, practised the breathing and downloaded other relaxation scripts. By the end of the course I was finally enjoying being pregnant, and feeling positive and confident about the birth.

D day....

So like many other women, my due date came and went without the arrival of our baby. However I didn't mind too much as I knew it wouldn't be long and that baby would start his journey when ready, plus I'd been having backache and diarrhoea so was convinced baby was imminent (although I only told Dave about these signs as I didn't want people to get over excited, and was fed up with well wishers anyway). On the evening of my due date Dave and I went out for dinner, and I chose aubergine parmigganno, as I knew this was the recipe hypnobirthing says can start labour, and this was much better than making it myself. Dave and I really enjoyed our evening and forgot all about the exciting days ahead.

The birth...

At 1am the following day (Friday the 13th no less), I woke up with some strange goings on in my tummy. I wasn't sure if "this was it" or whether it was Braxton hicks (I hadn't had any so far, so wasn't sure). I tried staying in bed and listening to the rainbow relaxation, but I couldn't find a good position to get the breathing going, and I was worried I would wake Dave, so I headed downstairs. I put on the hollyoaks omnibus I had recorded, and every time I felt, what I can only describe as a stretching feeling, I practised the surge breathing and visualised my baby moving down and out of the rose! I slept and watched TV and continued to relax and visualise. Dave came down at 6.30 to go to work, and although I wasn't sure whether this was it, as I wasn't in any pain, I said that maybe he shouldn't go to work.

By 8.30 the waves were coming every 5minutes, but I could only feel it at the base of my tummy, so I didn't know if I should go to hospital. I phoned up, as I thought I would quite like to go in, just to get checked out, but when I phoned, and was able to talk through my contraction, I was told it wasn't time and to continue on at home. I was fine with this as I didn't want to be in the hospital too long, and I definitely didn't want to get sent back if I went in too early. An hour later at 9.30, everything had changed, and with each wave I was feeling an enormous pressure and running to the loo each time as I thought I needed a poo! I got Dave to phone the hospital this time, as I knew it was time to go in, able to speak or not. The midwife told him it was unlikely I was ready, but to come in if I really couldn't cope any more. He was also told to leave our bags in the car as it was likely we would be sent home.

I had rainbow relaxation on my ipod on a loop in the car, interrupted only by the need to give directions to Dave as he had gone a different route from planned! When we got to the hospital I decided to walk to delivery suite, in case the midwife was right, as I thought walking would help get things moving. I was really feeling the urge to push, but thought I was probably over-reacting, and this was reiterated by the look on the midwives faces as they showed me to the delivery room, I got the impression they thought I was a drama queen. I went straight to the toilet, where I thought I had explosive diarrhoea, which I later discovered were my waters breaking!! I threw the ipod across the room as I thought the hypnobirthing wasn't working – this was a big error on my part. The midwife helped me onto the bed, and was shocked to discover I was fully dilated. I had asked for a water birth, but there was no time for that. At this point I switched from hypnobirthing to listening to the midwife, and pushed my baby out. I was using J breathing as well, but my impatience and inexperience got the better of me. Dave was amazing throughout, making me laugh, offering me encouragement, and generally keeping me going. Frankie arrived at 11.46, an hour and 45 after we arrived at the hospital.

The next part of my birth story was by far the most traumatic, I spent the next half an hour being stitched up, the tears I put down to me ditching the hypnobirthing. Dave and Frankie were outside the room, and it was just awful us being parted so soon after the birth, but there was no way I wanted my boys to see me in this state.

So... regrets? Not really, it was quick and pain free until the end. There are things I would do differently next time, I would opt for a home birth and hire a pool to ensure I get the delivery I want. I would also consider having a hypnobirthing practitioner present so she can intervene with the midwife if things go off plan. As I arrived at the hospital so late I don't think anyone read our birth plan, which is quite frustrating now, but I couldn't have cared less at the time. Everyone I share my experience with say how lucky I am to have such an easy delivery, and I simply reply "it's not luck it's hypnobirthing, and a lot of practice and preparation."


Rebecca, Steven & Dillan's Hypnobirth Story

dillan's hypnobirth worthing storyHypnobirthing helped deal with special circumstances and a positive c-section story!

There was controversy over our estimated date of arrival from the time of our first scan back in January. For the last ten years I have been a strong advocate of natural family planning methods and in the past have used a persona machine as well as the more old school method of morning basal temperature taking to chart ovulation and my menstrual cycles. Therefore I was pretty confident that my LMP (last menstrual period) date was correct, knowing that I always ovulate on day 14-15 of my very regular cycle.

Stephen and I discovered that we were pregnant in November 2010 and our first scan was delayed slightly because of the Christmas and New Year's holiday, meaning we didn't actually have the first scan until the 13th week of pregnancy. However, when we actually went for the scan they dated me as 14 weeks pregnant and moved my EDA back from the 25thJuly 2011 (based on my LMP) to the 18th July 2011. Because there was a whole week's difference between my date and the scan date the medical profession insist on going with the scan date because of the supposed potential irregularity of a woman's cycle, time of ovulation, time of conception etc. This whole week discrepancy proved to be quite significant as our official guess date loomed...and then predictably came and went.

I had a midwife appointment booked for the morning of the 18th July and was disappointed that my regular midwife was off sick, as we had already discussed our birth plan and she had been reassuringly supportive and had even reminded me at my last appointment that first babies are routinely 10-12 days late. This particular midwife wasn't on the same wavelength at all and the appointment was quite disheartening. To her disbelief I refused a sweep and was promptly booked an appointment to discuss my options at the hospital for Wednesday 20th July. I felt quite belittled as she made it clear that she thought I needed to make sure I had a plan and shouldn't just be prepared to go on indefinitely – even though I had only JUST reached my guess date.

The appointment on the Wednesday at the hospital was fine and although I refused any intervention I was happy to book in for daily monitoring where they checked my blood pressure, the baby's heartbeat and whether I was having any surges. Happy that everything was still fine I continued with these daily check-ups until I was booked in to see an obstetrician on July 29th. I was completely unprepared for the conversation that followed with the consultant. He was very keen to push induction on me and happily drew out a line with his finger indicating the increase in death rate as baby's go over their due date. I didn't really have my answers ready as to why I wanted to hold out on induction and came back with a silly answer of "Because it's not very nice," luckily Steve was there to save me and explained that we were trying to keep everything as natural as possible. After the consultation I had agreed to have a scan done to check the function of the placenta. I asked the radiographer a couple of questions about the size of the baby and she said the machine didn't go past 41 weeks so she had to look up the size of the baby in her hard copy manual and confessed that "we rarely see people this late on in pregnancy," which made me feel even more like I was the only woman to have ever gone past her due date!

Saturday the 30th July I booked in for some acupuncture. I tried reflexology, I tried sex, I tried going for a curry, I tried loooonnnnnnggggggg walks, I tried listening to audio birth rehearsals designed to get your oxytocin levels flowing but the baby was completely on its own utero-time and still showed no sign of being anywhere near ready to be born. In the end I decided that this 'extra' time I had been given was a gift and I began to relax and was very content to enjoy my last few days of pre-mummydom.

I was booked in for another consultation with the obstetrician on Monday 1st August. This consultation was a million miles away from my previous one the week before with the scare mongering Dr who had made me feel quite belittled for not wanting to be induced. I was seen by a Dr Buddha (with a name like that how could I not like her!) and through discussing my case she sensitively discovered that I had had a bad experience with a painful smear test in the past, which is another reason why I was reluctant to have a cervical sweep. However, with her completely different approach, her reassurance that she had "the smallest hands in the department" and Steve's support I decided to give consent for a membrane sweep. It wasn't as bad as I was anticipating and I was hopeful that this would be enough to get things going.

Finally, on Thursday 4th August I felt my first surge at about 11am. They continued regularly at about 3-4 per hour for most of the afternoon. By about 6'o'clock in the evening I decided that it was definitely happening as the surges were coming more regularly. Steve and I started to rally round and get the house ready. We checked that the hot water was switched on and then that's when I realised we had a problem...the heater was on BUT there was no hot water coming out through the taps. I made a panicked call to my friend and second birthing partner Jade who's Dad is a retired plumber and lives up the top of my street. He came round within half an hour and confirmed that the immersion heater had gone and that he could fix it but it would be a 2-3 hour job and at 7'o'clock at night it might not be so easy to get the parts.

Steve and I sat down and discussed our options for a couple of hours as I procrastinated over the decision. Should we see if we could relocate – take the pool to my Mum's or maybe to Jade's, should we stay put and attempt to fill the pool with kettles and saucepans of boiling water, should we ask the neighbouring flat whether we could run a hosepipe from their tap or should we go into hospital? We had had a home, water, hypno-birth planned from the beginning of the pregnancy and I had never had any doubt about our decision but finally Steve and I decided that both of our gut instincts were telling us to go to Worthing hospital and I was hopeful that we would also stand a good chance of getting to use the pool there. I didn't even have a hospital bag packed so at about 9.30pm we abandoned our home birth plan. I ran round and gathered up everything I needed, called Jade to tell her the decision and asked her to stop off at the supermarket en-route to pick up some snacks. As the surges intensified we called the hospital a couple of times and finally headed in when they were regularly 2-3 minutes apart, which Jade was religiously keeping time of on her i-phone (I knew I'd asked such a pragmatic yet empathetic person to be my second birthing partner for a reason!)

We arrived at the hospital and I was examined at midnight and told that I was 4cm dilated and therefore in established labour and allowed to stay at the hospital rather than being sent home. I felt quite chuffed and was convinced that I was going to be with babe in arms just a few short hours from this point. My mum had already told me that she'd had really uncomplicated, quick and easy labours with both me and one of my brothers. I had eaten well all through the pregnancy, I'd stayed fit and active and had prepared for the birth as much as I could with HypnoBirthing, yoga and positive affirmations. I felt ready, unafraid and actually looking forward to the experience.

We were shown into a private room and I continued to experience regular surges. I moved around the room, used the birthing ball and found all fours and kneeling up against the bed frame the most comfortable positions. Once the surges began to intensify I found myself naturally taking deep breaths in and releasing the breath through my mouth with a resounding AUM. And this continued for each and every surge. I hadn't particularly planned to use sound but instinctively this tool felt very right for me and I quickly got over any embarrassment of being so vocal and continued to move inward, finding myself in quite an introspective and meditative state.

From the moment I was shown into the room I asked about the birthing pool and in my naivety thought that I would be given the pool more or less straight away. Because of the fact that I was now 40weeks+18days according to the scan date, the protocol required me to have continual foetal monitoring. I declined this because I knew movement was going to be really important for me but struck a compromise of being hooked up to the machine every 2 hours for 20 minutes of monitoring. There was doubt over whether I would be allowed the pool at all because of how 'late' I was but after yet another request to be allowed in the pool my midwife said that it was being filled for me and I would be allowed to go in it soon. I was over the moon and couldn't wait for the soothing properties of the water. I was offered gas and air and although I didn't really feel the need just yet I was curious more than anything so decided to try some to see the effect it had on the surges. And then it happened – I turned into one of the women from 'One born every minute'! I went from being completely in control of the surges and my breath to an addict of the mouthpiece. Retrospectively, I wish I had held out longer for the gas and air as it made me feel quite spaced out and I felt that it made me loose some of the control I had over my own birthing techniques.

My midwife went off on a break and she explained we would be looked after by another midwife who would be between two rooms. During this hour break things really started to hot up and I began to feel an intense pressure in my back passage. I was convinced the baby was minutes away from being born and this was my quick and easy birth coming into fruition. I frantically asked Jade to help me off with my clothes as Steve pushed the panic button. Unluckily for us the second midwife was half way through birthing a baby in the room next door so didn't come to our rescue. Steve pushed the button again and a nurse rushed in from triage and to my shock and horror inspected me and left again – didn't she know the baby was about to be born?! After this false alarm our midwife came back to the room, hooked me up to the machine again for monitoring and finally, finally at 7.30am I was allowed to go into the pool room. The midwives swapped shift and 9 hours after arriving at the hospital I clambered into the pool with a HUGE sigh of relief. After 9 hours of active labour the water was heaven and although I couldn't describe the surges at any point being painful they were definitely intense! The water really helped me to relax and I carried on with my glugs of gas and air on the in breath and my OM-ing on the out breath. Occasionally, if the surges intensified the perfectly formed sound of A-U-M would morph into more of an AAARRRRHHHHHHH sound but still I found the release of sound through an open mouth incredibly therapeutic.

At some point during my time in the pool again I had an intense feeling of pressure in the back passage and was again convinced I was minutes away from holding my baby but it was another false alarm and 2 hours in the pool came and went. At 10am I got out of the pool for my monitoring and was strapped up to the machine once again. As the midwife listened to the sound of the baby's heartbeat I started to realise that there was a problem. When I was experiencing strong surges the baby's heartbeat was dropping. Steve's eyes were glued to the monitor and although I couldn't see the screen his face told me a thousand words. I asked Steve and Jade whether everything was OK and even though they were reassuring me I started to get anxious (Steve confessed after the birth that the baby's heart rate was dipping from a health 150-165 down to as low as 86 at some points. This was the point when I agreed to another internal examination, even though my birthing plan had specifically said I didn't want these.

I was examined and told that I was 6cm dilated. I spent a couple of stunned seconds absorbing and translating what that meant before bursting into tears as the realisation of the situation hit me. 10 hours after being examined upon arrival, 11 hours of established labour and I had only dilated by 2 cm, the baby's heart rate was dipping and I was exhausted. This was the only point in the whole birthing process that I lost myself for a few minutes. I allowed all the fear, apprehension, disappointment and frustration to leave my body in huge heaving sobs before deciding that by me being upset I wasn't helping the little being inside me and I pulled myself back together. There and then I decided that the most important thing was to get my baby out, healthy and with the least amount of trauma possible and I let my aspirations for a natural birth go.

I consented to my waters being broken and as suspected very fresh meconium was found. I had already resigned myself to the fact that a C-section was probable and by this point I had had a 180 degree turn around in opinion as I actually wanted one immediately as I felt it the safest option. I was left for a further 2 hours to see whether I would naturally dilate anymore or whether labour would take its own natural course. I spent the 2 hours listening to the HypnoBirthing positive affirmations and some deeply relaxing chanting and music. I tried to completely rest in this time and allow my body and mind to recover. 2 hours later I was examined again and told I was 6.5cm. Taking everything into consideration as I had known 2 hours ago, a C-section was deemed the safest option.

From here on in everything ran like clock-work. I met the anaesthetist and the surgeons and had the process explained to me. We didn't know the sex of the baby and opted to be shown rather than told when the baby was delivered. Steve was allowed into the room and Jade waited in the recovery area. The surgery itself was quick, painless and a very positive experience. With at least 10-12 caring professionals in the room, the familiar face of our amazing midwife Jo and Steve by my side I felt so well looked after and an enormous relief that I would soon get to meet the little one I had been carrying for all this time. 20 minutes later our beautiful baby boy was delivered safely into the world weighing in at 8lbs 8 and a 1/2oz. He was perched on my chest and shoulder and we savoured that first meeting with joy. I have never felt such overwhelming love, happiness and gratitude. Finally, 18 days past my scan due date and 11 days past my LMP due date our little bundle of joy had arrived and he was worth the wait. He was born at 2.15pm on 5th August, which held particularly special significance as it was also my birthday and the best birthday present I could have wished for.

Although my birthing experience completely defied all the careful preparation and detailed plans that I had made it was still a profound, amazing and overall surprisingly calm experience. Before giving birth I had heard horror stories from women who had ended up with emergency C-sections. One friend whose story isn't a million miles from mine was so badly traumatised that she talked her partner into having a vasectomy after their first child as she NEVER wanted to go through the experience again. I couldn't feel more different and although I would have obviously preferred to have birthed Dillan naturally it wasn't to be and I really feel that my yoga practice and HypnoBirthing preparation allowed me to remain open minded, calm and able to go with the flow of the situation even though it wasn't how I envisaged it would be. Particularly, by practicing HypnoBirthing prior to the birth I managed to clear any negative feelings or fear leaving me feeling confident, calm and actually looking forward to the birth, which was invaluable. Yoga, sound, meditation, breathing techniques and audio relaxation and affirmations kept me present and connected during the birth and provided me with fantastic tools to keep relaxed even when things got tough.

My recovery from the surgery has been good and my scar has healed fantastically well. I'm loving being a mummy and Dillan is such a well behaved baby. He's calm and sleeps well at night usually just waking twice for a feed. He took to breastfeeding amazingly well and is a little piggy so he's growing fast. I don't feel as though I'm harbouring any negativity about my birthing experience even though it couldn't have been further from my envisaged experience and would it do it all again in a heartbeat. A couple of years previously I had undergone a small laser procedure on my cervix to remove a few abnormal cells. This could have possibly been the reason behind why I was slower to dilate but it doesn't really matter either way as the most important thing is our baby is here safe and sound. I'm actually really looking forward to doing it all over again in the not too distant future as we would love a little brother or sister for Dillan and I hope that I will be able to have a natural birth next time. But if not I'll be eternally grateful once again to the medical profession for assisting me to deliver a perfect and healthy baby and will still use all the amazing techniques that allowed me such a positive birth the first time round.

Good luck to all of you who are eagerly awaiting the birth of your babies. I hope you enjoy your delicious waiting time and experience a positive, happy and memorable birth in whichever form that may manifest itself!


Claire, Stuart & Millie's Hypnobirth Story

Millie's hypnobirth worthing birth storyBaby no 2 arrives in time for lunch at home in less than 3 hrs!

We had planned to have a home birth with our 1st daughter, Alice (now 2 ½ years), but had gone into hospital after an exhausting 20 hour 1st stage of labour. Alice was born at 38 weeks weighing a petite 5lb 2oz, and had to stay in SCUBU for a week due to a few problems associated with her (unexpectedly) low birth weight. So when we fell pregnant again, Stuart and I felt a hospital birth was the sensible choice. However I was keen to find something to help me cope with the first stage. So Stuart and I signed up for a hypnobirthing course with Naomi Newland.

The four week course taught us the importance of deep relaxation, which lets the body labour much more efficiently and comfortably. It all made so much sense, and the idea of a chilled home birth kept popping into my head. To make sure we had a more accurate idea of the baby's weight I had 2 extra growth scans this time. We were thrilled to learn that the scans showed that our baby was doing well and of average size, so I spoke to Stuart about the idea of trying for a home birth again. He'd been thinking the same thing, and after a chat to our supportive midwife the home birth was booked, and birth pool bought!

One concern I did have regarding a home birth was that I only had 1 birth partner, my husband Stuart. How could Stuart be by my side in the birth pool while doing the practical stuff such as warming up the baby's towels etc? By chance when I was 38 weeks we were introduced to Nicola, a birth Doula. I'd heard of Doulas before, and Nicola explained how she provides practical, physical and emotional support to labouring women and their families. Stuart and I were reassured by her kind and calm nature, and felt that having her presence at the birth would be a welcome support.

As our 1st baby was born at 38 weeks, and we have a family trend of having our babies 'early' I told everybody how I expected this baby to arrive any time after 37 weeks – Ha! I'd jinx myself, and as my EDD (guess date) arrived and I was still pregnant, my thoughts turned to the 'what if' scenario of having to be induced. Although we were trying to concentrate on what we wanted (ie. our home hypno water birth) and not on what we didn't want (ie. an induced hospital birth), I felt myself becoming more stressed as the days went by and still no signs of baby arriving. Luckily I received great support and advice from my midwife Kayleigh, Doula Nicola and Hypnobirthing teacher Naomi. My EDD came and went, and we went into over drive with methods to encourage baby to make an appearance – raspberry leaf tincture, acupressure, acupuncture, long walks, horizontal exercise ; ), curries, pineapple, bouncing on the birth ball, reflexology.... We tried it all. Every evening I'd get period type cramps, and kept thinking that night would be the night, but baby had other ideas and stayed put!

At 41 weeks +2 Kayleigh (our midwife) came to do a home visit. Nicola also came over for support, and Stuart was working from home. We'd decided that to try to avoid chemical/ hospital based induction we'd try a membrane sweep first, so after doing the routine antenatal bits Kayleigh did the sweep. I'd been listening to my hypnobirthing cd earlier that morning and felt very relaxed during the sweep as I practiced my relaxed breathing and let my body go limp. Kayleigh felt very positive that the sweep had gone well, as I was already 2-3cm dilated and she could feel the baby's head. I can honestly say there was no discomfort at all, which I put down to being so relaxed. I was feeling much more optimistic that things were going to happen, and as an extra encouragement to baby an hour after the sweep I had a blissful reflexology session.

Although Kayleigh had been really supportive of us trying to avoid induction, she did explain that procedure meant I had to go and have a chat about our options with a Consultant. I was expecting this as from what I'd heard/ read from other birth stories, and I actually already had a follow up appointment booked that afternoon with the Consultant who I'd been under for the growth scans.

A few hours later, still floating on my cloud after the reflexology, Stuart, Nicola and I went to Worthing hospital for the appointment. We chatted through with Nicola how we were feeling about the appointment, and what we were going to ask for. I was determined not to be induced if there wasn't a medical reason for it, and so was expecting a bit of a battle with the Consultant to get monitoring and scans booked, not an induction! We were called through to the Registrar who I hadn't met before, flanked on both sides by Stuart and Nicola I felt very supported, and joked to the Doctor that I'd bought my bodyguards. The appointment went really well, as the Doctor asked in his very calm manner what we would like him to do, and when I said about not being induced, but being monitored up to 43 weeks, he said 'no problem'! He did explain that it was his job to inform us of all the risks of going past 42 weeks, but he didn't exaggerate or put any pressure on us. With a week of monitoring booked for 5 days time we all left smiling.

That evening I was feeling very positive that tonight was the night. Since leaving the hospital I'd been having the period type aches again, so Stuart made us a green curry for dinner while I bounced on the birth ball.

We went to bed expecting not to get a full nights sleep.....

I woke the next morning at 9am after the best nights sleep I'd had for months, but without so much as I twinge! Stuart had already gone to work, so he obviously felt that things weren't happening. I felt strangely relaxed though, and after a quick bathroom trip I snuck back into bed next to little Alice who had (as usual) got into Mummy and Daddy's bed. Alice woke up and gave me a gorgeous cuddle, and just as I was thinking that maybe we should get up for breakfast I felt a pop and my waters gushed out! The waterproof mattress protector meant that I was sitting in a puddle. I giggled and felt a rush of excitement, but very calm at the same time. Pointing to the puddle, Alice asked 'whats that?' , and I explained that my waters had broken and the baby was coming out. Avoiding the puddle she lifted the end of my nightie up and called 'baby come out girlie bits' hee hee!

I then realised that gentle surges (contractions) had started, and so thought I'd better call Stuart straight away. He'd only been in work about 10 minutes and was in the middle of a meeting. He answered his phone but left it on the table, so for the next 5 mins I sat in my warm puddle listening to his boss speaking. When he eventually picked up the phone he couldn't believe that my waters had gone and that surges had already started, and for a minute he forgot what he needed to be doing, ie. coming home! Stuart said he'd call his sister (Alison) to come and help me get out of bed (I was worried about getting the carpet wet!). While I waited for Alison to arrive I called Nicola, who said she'd be straight over (even though she was in the middle of painting her lounge as I learnt the next day), and my Mum. Alison arrived and helped get us sorted so I could get into the shower, and get an amazingly dry Alice up. The surges were already feeling stronger and seemed to be coming more regularly. As I stood in the shower my weeks of practicing my hypnobirthing breathing and relaxation techniques seemed to fall into place. Outside the bathroom I could hear Nicola, then Stuart arrive, and Alice go into excitement overdrive. Stuart came into the bathroom and checked that I was ok, and staying relaxed (which I was). I asked him to call delivery suite and let them know what was going on. My waters had been clear, but the surges seemed to be coming thick and fast.

I gave Alice a goodbye hug as she was going home with her Auntie Alison. Nicola stayed with me, helping me get comfortable, making me toast and setting up my TENS. Stuart started blowing up the birth pool and getting the labour and baby bags down. Staying chilled I laid on the sofa with my ipod on, listening to my hypnobirth affirmations. I must have lost track of time as before I knew it the pool was being filled and as I opened my eyes after a surge, Jane, the community midwife that had done my initial booking, was sat in front of me smiling. It all felt a little surreal and so calm! She had arrived and Stuart had gone through our birth preferences with her without me realising. Jane reassured me that she was totally supportive of our choices although she hadn't attended a hypnobirth before. Jane did an internal examination, telling Stuart, not myself the result as we had asked for in our birth preferences (although Stuart did let on that we were over half way there when I pressed him!). I was happy to be given the green light to be able to get into the pool. It seemed that things were moving forward so quickly, and I welcomed the warm water as the surges were becoming more intense. I remember looking into the kitchen and seeing the clock reading 11.45. Stuart got into the pool with me, and helped me find a comfortable position. He helped me get back and stay in my relaxed zone, as Nicola stroked my hand and kept a cold flannel on my forehead (even though I kept dropping it into the warm water – sorry Nicola!). We had our ipod birth playlist on in the room, and I was vaguely aware of another midwife arriving (who's name I can't remember – sorry), and Jane chatting to her in the next room. The surges were getting pretty strong and so I asked for some gas and air, which helped me relax into my breathing again.

A while later I felt like I needed to push. In our hypnobirthing classes we were taught to breathe the baby down. I had been doing this but now I felt subconscious need to bear down. I was forward kneeling up against the side of the pool resting my head on the side when a breathed/ pushed the baby's head out. The 2nd Midwife had been checking baby's heartbeat in between surges, and suddenly I was aware that it had slowed down and wasn't coming back up. With a sense of urgency but still quite calm Jane told us that the baby needed to be out with the next push. Auto pilot kicked in, and before my brain had caught up I was on my feet and Millie had been born. She was completely tangled up in the umbilical cord (across her shoulder and hooking the opposite leg up). Stuart quickly cut the cord, and within a minute our fantastic midwifes handed us back our gorgeous baby girl. I had only been up for 3 ½ hours, and our baby had been born in time for lunch!

Nicola and Stuart looked after Millie while Jane helped me with a natural 3rd stage, then Millie settled into her 1st breastfeed which lasted nearly an hour!

By 3pm Stuart and I were settled on the sofa watching daytime tv while Millie snoozed on my chest.

We both feel hugely grateful to Naomi Newland ( our hypnobirthing Practioner), Jane Milner and the other community midwifes, and Nicola Rumsey (our birth support Doula) for helping us achieve the birth that we both had hoped for. Before, during and after the birth I felt totally supported by these wonderful ladies that help women have informed, calm and empowering births – thank-you!

Claire and Stuart Hart



For Hypnobirthing Classes in Worthing West Sussex & Beyond contact Naomi Newland

☎ 07717 842448

Free HypnoBirthing® Information Nights