Beautiful Birth Stories

Through reading birth stories we can gain a tremendous amount of insight from other parents’ experiences. We are each on our own journey of discovery and drip-feeding your sub-conscious mind with positive birth stories whilst pregnant is a great start to your Hypnobirthing journey. We can learn so much about the power of women and birth through listening and reading about the experiences of others.  So make a cup of tea, put your feet up and have a read of these beautiful inspiring births. 

No matter how you choose to birth, or where you choose to birth, birth stories can provide you with inspiration and motivation to achieve the birth you want.

A High Risk Medicalised Hypnobirth. Jo and Justin's first birth story

We found out Evie had heart defects at our 20 week scan. As a fully qualified Hypnotherapist, I already knew that I wanted to take hypnobirthing classes, so with this news, we now knew it was needed more than ever!

We looked at a few different Hypnobirthing classes, and when I chatted to Jacque, I knew she was the teacher for us. She was clearly the most experienced and knowledgable teacher we spoke to and I felt confident in her hands. Some of the other classes we looked at seemed to miss out a number of critical elements as far as we were concerned…and we didn’t want to miss anything! 

With our baby’s heart condition, we needed to have a planned birth at St Thomas’s, which meant we needed an Induction, as the specialists didn’t want us going into labour when we were 2 hours away from the hospital. 
We arrived at St Thomas’s for the induction April 2nd. They put us on a small ward first as they won’t move you to your own room until established labour starts.
I had to have all three stages of induction as our little miss was very happy where she was. Stage one did nothing, stage two brought on very mild surges which felt like a slight tightening of the tummy muscles. Stage three got things moving…. Her heart stayed perfectly calm throughout the whole process! I believe because I remained calm and relaxed, my baby did too.
I could hear other women and it sometimes sounded like someone was being tortured so I plugged myself into my Hypnobirthing mp3’s, including one Jacque had sent me for labour day, and worked on relaxing and snacking. The induction took 48 hours to get going and the only discomfort I felt was from examinations & applying the first two stages (a pessary & a gel). Surges felt fine to me since I had more of an understanding of what it might feel like. Just a downward pressure, I was able to remain relaxed and since it went on for three days I often snored between surges! My partner was very supportive and gave me lots of light touch massage, kept me fed, watered (both very important) and kept me cool as I did get extremely hot towards the final stages.
I spent most of my time on all fours or walking around as I got strapped up to the Wi-Fi heart monitoring so had freedom to move. At no point did I feel the need for drugs or even gas & air, I was determined to stay clear headed, relaxed and clam, as I wanted the best start for our little heart baby.
I think I became quite tired towards the end and she seemed to be moving up and down the birth canal, so as she was crowning I moved onto my back, the docs started to take over a bit for the last 20 mins as they were concerned about the heart rate so I had to push a bit harder and they did end up using forceps.  But again, I focussed on staying relaxed and calm, and so although there was a little discomfort, it was nothing I couldn’t handle & nothing that I would describe as painful. Then out she came.
Since Evie was a heart baby, intensive care were on standby to take her straight down to the unit. Turns out I had about 20 odd docs & nurses in the room when I gave birth, many of whom were there purely because they were amazed that someone was hypnobirthing and not using any pain relief on the medicalised ward. I didn’t even notice because I was so relaxed and in the zone.
I’m certain the hypnobirthing made my birth more manageable and also gave me the energy to keep going as resting between surges conserved it so well.
I’m also certain it helped my partner to deal with the situation better and know what to do. He wouldn’t have had a clue if he didn’t do the course and he also understood what the body needed to do & was my second in command for decision making.
It also helped us to deal with the fact we were having a heart baby and made us much stronger as a couple.
Evie has a complex heart condition, she has a large hole, the main arteries are wrong way round and she has a stenosis of the pulmonary artery.
She has had one open heart surgery and will need a couple more in the future.

Each time our little Evie has had to go back to hospital for tests and operations, Justin and I have used our hypnobirthing techniques to help us stay calm and relaxed. 

Our Evie is a little fighter! I could tell when she use to lovingly boot me all the time in my tummy.
We are both so glad we used this process and I would love to raise awareness to other parents with similar issues.
I’m certain the baby is tuned into how we react and feel and we have been able to stay strong and calm for her and as a result she is a strong & calm baby.
We both highly recommended hypnobirthing!! In fact, I was so impressed with the classes that in 2018 I trained with Jacque to become a Hypnobirthing Teacher myself!

Thank you Jacque xx

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Rowena & Charlie's C-section birth story

Harvey Thomas Cardwell arrived safe and sound at 5:37 on the 25th July. We tried to see through the spontaneous labour but used the power of positive birthing to make a decision that c section was in fact the safest option for us in the end. Along with a highly supportive midwife and with what we learned at hypnobirthing – we managed to direct things a bit more our way to make it through 8 hours waiting with active labour setting in before we got our slot.

I’d like to add that whilst the decision to have a c section was not easy it was the right on for us. I also found the surgery somewhat spiritual and magical, something most would never say. For us we waited a whole day to get our place, that alone needed will power, distraction methods, lots of breathing and use of hypno birthing to get through. We were upbeat and as Charlie and I walked hand in hand to the delivery suite we knew we were in good hands and strong enough to enjoy the operation. 

I always surprised all the way by the fact that the needles even to the spine, didn’t hurt me. I felt them but it was much less of a pain and brought a welcomed relief. The team at Ashford talked to me all the way through, explaining each step and working with me for comfort. As I was given the spinal tap, I learnt that it was like stepping a foot into snow and as the tensions of surges disappeared and welcome with curiosity the things medicine can do. I even joked with the   Anaesthetist. Once the veil came up for business to begin, Charlie and I enjoyed a light hearted chat to distract our selves and some deep breathing. Within 5 or 6 minutes with our music playing a short cry was heard and Charlie and gasped in delight and cried to hear him. Whilst not a lovely birth for my baby it was one that he was brave and certainly strong enough for. He had time given on his umbilical cord and left wrapped with his vernix after a quick aspiration with three giggling nurses and midwifes as he wee weed on them all in one go! I was handed him whilst he was crying but when I spoke to him he stopped in and instant and calmed. I also got a dose of wee wee and the biggest flutter in my heart that il ever ever experience. I enjoyed skin to skin with my lovely baby with Charlie cuddling behind for over 30 minutes whilst the procedure completed – the perfect distraction! And daddy and baby left for their skin to skin time before we were whisked to our ward. Charlie and I were left feeling that we did not miss out on the home birth we hoped for, we had an equally magical experience which is now forever our baby’s story of coming into the world. I was able to take the decisions I did, and control certain aspects that made things that extra special and easier on my Harvey. Harvey was wide eyed within 15 minutes and gazing around confidently. He fed immediately with a confident latch which appeared only a mature bubba can achieve to easily. Harvey was 25 days over due (technically) but he was covered in vernix, he had lungo hairs on parts of his body and no wrinkling – he was a good size and clearly very alert and ready to face the world but he did have a chance to come on his time, spontaneous labour for 5 days was not easy but it gave him the chance. 

The only reason we stopped was the exhaustion of days with speedy contractions. There was a position issue which may have contributed to the delays but we were able to make the final decision decisively with what we learnt and felt we had done our all. In the end we still had a magical moment that I would not describe as traumatic – I do appreciate I’ve got recovery to do but for me it was as good a op as I could have had. Minimal blood loss, I felt all the love hormones and even managed another night no sleep on the hottest day of the year with more gusto and energy because I had my beautiful boy. We shared the most magical 2 hours in the middle of the night chest to chest – bed sharing and I woke to see him there in my arms and it made everything worth it. 

I believe those who have to change the plan should feel they can do so and be empowered by their choices. We were. Thank you for your help pls share with Jo and Becca and actually anyone you like.

Rowena & Charlie x

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Our 3 Amazing birth stories, Helene and Eirik

Hi Jacqueline!

At last I manage to sit down and write to you properly! We had a great birth, and I can’t thank you enough for your support in making it so. 

On Monday morning (12/12/11) about 2am I started having surges coming every 10 minutes. I tried to get some rest throughout the night, but the surges kept me awake most of the night. From Monday afternoon the surges got closer, about 3-5 minutes apart. I used the techniques learnt from the course, and found the affirmation recordings particularly helpful. I had several baths throughout the day. We rang Ashford Birthing Centre on several occasions, just to make sure we were doing the right thing staying at home. In the evening we had some bad news from the birthing centre: they were closing down for the next day or two, due to lack of staff on the labour ward upstairs!! I was in pieces, as a water birth was what I had set in my mind. Eirik managed to calm me down, and we also had the hospital ringing us back to check that I was ok. As a consequence, the surges seemed to go right back to every 10 minutes. On Tuesday, my surges picked up again, and very suddenly I had five surges every 10 minutes! We rang the labour ward (as the birthing centre was still closed), and they told us to come over. I listened to the affirmation recordings all the way to hospital. We arrived at the hospital about 11am. I was 4 cm dilated. We were lucky to have a student midwife who had only us as patients all day. I think she was fascinated by the hypnobirthing, which was a first for her. I kept walking around on the ward with my headphones on, still listening to the calming affirmation recordings. Every now and then a midwife would stop me and ask if I was ok, probably as I looked a bit like a zombie in my own world. I didn’t communicate with anyone, just gave them a thumbs up every time. Eirik was a great help throughout the birth. He talked to all the people around us, made sure I ate, drank, he handed out the birth plan etc. I think it was helpful for him too, that he could be of some use!

Things started speeding up, and at 2pm I was fully dilated. Like I mentioned before, the midwife totally respected our birth plan. Our room had dimmed lights, and by the time Eva was born at 4pm (on the dot!), the midwife had used a torch to examine me for the previous hour.

I was standing throughout the whole birth; I found it impossible to lay down for a single minute. When the placenta was due to be delivered shortly after Eva had arrived, I had to jump out of the bed again. It came out in a splash, and decorated the whole room, and the midwife had to take a shower and change clothes. It looked like a murder scene, but we all had a laugh.

I am very happy with the birth. The midwife told me it was a perfect delivery. Very controlled (by me), and no stitches, medication or complications. Sleep deprivation was the only issue, but thankfully I had enough stamina to stand on my legs till the very end.

Have to run now, Eva is calling!! Would be lovely to meet you, and also the girls from your coffee morning, soon. 

Take care, and have a lovely weekend. And again, thank you so much for making our birth experience so special.

Helene x

Our amazing 2nd birth story

Friday mid-morning, 26/7/13, I arrived at K&C Hospital for a sweep. A friend had three unsuccessful sweeps recently, so I wasn’t particularly hopeful this one would work. Although I was a bit excited of course

At about 3pm I started feeling something that could be surges, but because they were so mild, and only every 10 minutes or so, I decided to drive over to Whitstable to see a friend with my 19 month old daughter Eva for a play as arranged. Eva had fallen asleep in the car, so we decided to go for a drive before getting my friend’s daughter in nursery. We ended up in Drive Through Mc Donald’s (of all places…!) for an ice cream. I kept having these mild surges where I just ‘timed out’ calmly, now being every 5 minutes or so. By the time we got back to my friend’s house, she wanted her husband to get Eirik, in case it was ‘real surges’. Eirik arrived, and the children had their dinner before we drove home and put Eva to bed at about 7.15pm.

We had dinner (decided not to order the planned Indian take away), and rang the hospital to explain the situation. I was worried about going all the way to Ashford from Canterbury, only to be told the labour hadn’t started. But we decided to get our friend over to be with Eva in case we wouldn’t be sent home. When we got to the hospital we were not sent back home…. I was 8 cm dilated, and before the birthing pool had been filled up, our son Olav was born! 55 minutes after arriving, and before the paperwork had been completed Thankfully we didn’t wait for the take away before going to hospital!!

I still can’t believe that was the birth we got in the end. In fact it was better planned and easier than my actual planned birth story!

Thank you for the amazing two births you have helped us with!

Lots of love from Eirik, Helene, Eva and Olav x

And now in 2015 our 3rd birth story……….

I went to bed on Wednesday 5 August, 2 days overdue. I had a strange gut feeling, but couldn’t really put my finger on it. I kept going to the toilet, thinking ‘I’m either going down with a stomach bug, or I’m in labour!’ With the other pregnancies I was 8 and 10 days overdue, so I thought it would be the same this time. Hence, I was a bit too relaxed… No clean clothes ready for myself to bring to hospital, baby bag not packed etc. I even held a dinner party on my due date now I’ve come to think about it! 🙂 So before going to bed on the Wednesday, I started a load of washing just in case. Around midnight I started feeling some butterflies in my belly. Suddenly it hit me that I may be in labour! I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, I was just laying awake waiting to feel something again. On a couple of occasions I felt disappointed because I thought the labour had stopped, and was convinced I wasn’t in labour after all. But each time I looked at the clock and realised it was only 5 minutes since the last ’surge’. Around 5am I decided to put some clothes in the tumble dryer ready for the morning, now convinced I was in early labour. I rang the hospital and explained the situation. I told them my previous delivery was fast (50 minutes after arriving at hospital). They told me not to rush but to start thinking of going to hospital. I rang my friend around 5.30am, who was on call to look after Eva and Olav. I told her not to rush, but that I was in some stage of labour. She rushed over anyway. Like I said, I had no clean clothes, so had to put on a smart maternity party dress that I’d never worn before…. By the time my friend knocked on the door I realised I was resting/holding on to the bannister, not able to walk. My body felt relaxed but I was unable to move around much because surges came frequently. I told Eirik to throw some baby clothes into a suitcase together with my wet newly washed clothes (I later realised in hospital that he’d even packed a couple of baby dresses size 1 year! :-)). On the way out to the car I noticed Eirik bringing a couple of blankets. ‘Just in case!’, he said. I still didn’t think anything would happen for hours, but by the time we arrived at Singleton unit, William Harvey, I found it difficult to get out of the car because the surges came all the time. We rang the door bell and a nice midwife asked me to go straight over to a room down the corridor. Apparently I looked like a zombie, unable to move, not talking, just shaking my head to the instructions of where to go. Suddenly there was a 20 second or so pause from surges, and off I marched into the delivery room. The next thing I remember was two midwifes taking my knickers and shoes off, and out came Rachel! From arriving at hospital it took 4 minutes. Thankfully there was no traffic on the road at that time of the day 😉

Lovely memories of this special day. Rachel is such a lovely baby!! Would love to meet up with you one day soon!

Helene x

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Lucy, Danny & Bertie's home birth

I was having the odd tightening over the weekend but thought it was just my body gearing up or that I needed the toilet so didn’t think anything of it.
Then Monday night it was waking me up a few times. Not painful at all but a slight feeling like mild period cramps.  I started timing them when I got up Tuesday morning, Dan went to work and I carried on as normal. I walked Isaac to nursery then came home and got on with house jobs. Surges were happening randomly through the day. Not stopping me doing anything.

Walked up to collect Isaac at 2pm and by about 3 they were happening more frequently but still not at painful I just noticed them more. I called Dan to come home early and he took Isaac to sleep at my mum’s house. We didn’t tell him at that point that the baby was coming as I was sure nothing would happen until the next day and everything was so mild and calm I thought it was a false alarm to be honest. Dan thought it was good to get Isaac to mum’s just in case (he was right). We had some dinner and by about 8pm the surges were coming every 5 min and I was leaning over, standing up, leaning on Dan’s arms and using the breathing techniques. They were uncomfortable but again I would not describe it as pain.

We were both very calm and chatting and laughing between surges. Dan did some soothing strokes for me and we had the music on in the background. It was a lovely atmosphere.  I then decided to give the midwife the heads up so called Canterbury. There was no answer! I phoned back to back calls for about 20 minutes. I started to get anxious as nobody was answering and the line is supposed to be 24 hours and divert to another line if no answer. My surges then stopped! I then called Ashford and they answered. As my surges had stopped the midwife advised me to call back when I felt I needed a midwife to come. As I was so calm and not complaining of pain I think she thought I had plenty of time as I did also.  Dan put the pool up and I got in about 10pm.

I can only remember the times as I messaged my friend a picture of the pool joking that I’m going for a swim! I got into the pool and the warm water was lovely. I had a surge in the water with Dan kneeling next to me. He got up to go to the loo before I had another but I straight away had another and felt my water release. That was a big of a shock and I felt a popping sensation. They were clear in colour so that set my mind at ease. They then started coming every 2 min so Dan called for a midwife. It now became more uncomfortable and I was quite vocal. Not screaming but moaning with each surge as there didn’t seem much break between them now and I had the urge to push. I wanted to wait for a midwife and I think I wasn’t as relaxed as I could have been at this point as I was thinking too much. Dan was excellent and kept me calm by repeating calm and relaxed and loose and limp. He held onto me and stroked my head or arms.

For some reason I kept saying “open” as I was having a surge and this helped me focus energy into that rather than shouting or pushing. The midwife called for some directions and heard me in the background, she advised to call paramedic s as she might not make it in time which Danny did.

The 999 woman was very annoying as she kept asking the same things, getting information wrong so Dan had to keep repeating. Then she wanted him to get me out the pool, he said no so she told him to drain the pool with me in it! Again he said no to this. I was comfortable, warm and safe, I wasn’t going anywhere. He told her he was going to put the phone to one side to be with me. The doorbell went and a midwife and 3 paramedic s came in.

I only heard the midwife as I wasn’t facing the door and was on all fours in the water. I told her I wanted to push. She had a look with a mirror and told me to go with what I wanted to do. I asked for some gas and had about 3 puffs but didn’t feel anything from it. It was nice to have something to bite on though. I didn’t feel any stinging just an intense widening and pressure within to bear down. I remember this part being so quiet.  I pushed the head down and felt every inch if his face, it was amazing and I can honestly say it felt great! Midwife talked to Dan about where to have his hands to catch the baby once the head was out. As the shoulders and rest was born Dan caught him and lifted him up to me and told me it was a boy. It was beautiful. Bertie was so calm and chilled. It was 11.03pm and I think the actual pushing part only took a few mins or so it felt like.

We sat together in the water while we waited for the placenta. It didn’t take long from what I can remember. The paramedics were really interested in the hypnobirthing so we chatted about that while waiting for the cord to stop and Dan cut it.  Then the midwife told the paramedics they could go and I got out the pool, sat on the sofa with Bertie. He head butted about until he found the nipple and latched on well to both breasts on his own. Still hadn’t cried. She checked over the placenta and wrote stuff in the notes. Dan made a cup of tea and got some biscuits out. After a while I jumped in the shower and she weighed Bertie, then he cried for the first time.  After that Dan had some skin to skin cuddles.

When I came back I took Bertie back and Dan started to empty the pool. Once the midwife left we all got into bed, Bertie in just a nappy on our chests and we took it in turns holding him all night.
It really was the best birth I could have asked for.

Thank you so much Jacque for everything you did to help us achieve it. X

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Zoe's VBAC Success Story

Our baby girl finally arrived!  Here is the story of how she came into the world… My first birth was an emergency C-section after a failed induction.  This time I had planned a home water birth (HWBAC) with an independent midwife.  My partner and I also had HypnoBirthing classes during this pregnancy (I used the self-hypnosis CDs in my first pregnancy which didn’t help me at all).

It was about 2am and my 3-year-old woke up, needing to be tucked back into bed, and I realised I was having contractions about 10-15 minutes apart.  They just felt like my belly was going hard and tight and I practised my hypnobirthing breathing with each one.  I tried to go back to sleep but I was too excited so I came downstairs and started listening to my hypnobirthing CD so that I was at least resting.  About 4.30 in the morning I went to the loo and felt a pop as my waters released.  After that the contractions started coming every 4-5 minutes, but they were still easily manageable.  I woke my husband up so that he could help me time the contractions and because I was hoping things would move along quickly!  About 5.30am he decided we should call the midwife but she said that I was too happy and chatty and that she would phone back later.

Our daughter woke up at around 6.30am as usual and came downstairs.  My husband got her dressed and made her breakfast.  I was still quite happy breathing through the contractions at this point and we explained that the baby was coming today!  She was very excited to hear this!  Over the next few hours things gradually got more intense and I started making quite a lot of noise with each contraction (apologies to the neighbours!)  We had explained previously that mummy might make some funny noises and we laughed about how I sounded like a dinosaur.  The midwife came over at around 10.30am and examined me but said that it was still early (later I found out I was still only 1cm!) and that she would be back later that afternoon.  I was quite disappointed as I felt like I’d already been going for ages!

As things progressed I was finding it more difficult to focus, I was getting noisier and couldn’t find any comfortable position, even between contractions.  At about 1pm we decided to send my daughter to a friend’s house, thinking it would only be a few more hours, as I felt I needed more support from my husband, and she was beginning to get a bit upset by the noise.  We also phoned Jacqueline, my hypnobirthing teacher and asked her to come over.  When she arrived she helped me focus on getting into a rhythm with each contraction, and we all ended up chanting ’5, 4, 3, 2, 1, relax’ together which helped me immensely.  She also made me repeat over and over ‘I can do it, I will do it, I am doing it’ which really helped me to find some more strength from somewhere.  We also tried a few different things to help speed things along and try to ensure baby was in a good position and to get me more comfortable, like walking up and down the stairs.  I also got in the pool for a while but I was surprised to find that it didn’t help at all!

Then my midwife arrived (timings are a bit hazy by this point!) and said she would stay this time.  I checked myself and realised that I could feel the head coming down!  I also started having a massive urge to push with each contraction.  It was like nothing I had ever imagined it was like my whole body just decided it was time to PUSH!!!!! And there was nothing I could do about it.  So instead of breathing the baby down I just tried to let go and not resist the pushing, and let my body get on with it.  I was determined to get the baby out before my daughter’s bedtime so that she could come home.   I kept expecting the midwife to say she could see the head at any moment but nothing happened.  After about 2 hours I checked myself again and realised that the head hadn’t moved at all.  Not one tiny bit! I was devastated!  My midwife examined me to confirm and we tried a few different things to try and help baby move down, but she wasn’t budging.  After another half an hour I realised we were getting nowhere fast and asked to go to hospital.  My midwife agreed that we had tried everything and hadn’t made any progress, and that we did need medical intervention.

My midwife called an ambulance and we transferred to hospital.  When we arrived I started using gas and air because I was exhausted from all the pushing and I really wanted to stop.  A doctor came and said that they would try ventouse, otherwise it would be a C-section.  I was scared at the prospect of another C-section (I have a *huge* phobia of hospitals and surgery) but thanks to the hypnobirthing I was able to stay calm and relaxed, I also realised that there really wasn’t much choice at this point.  

However we had a massive delay because there was one emergency after another, and only one theatre, and so we ended up waiting a further 4 HOURS before it was my turn to go into theatre, all the while pushing and trying not to!  So in total I was pushing for 7 hours – luckily it didn’t feel like that long, and I stayed calm the whole time, which is down to hypnobirthing again.

Once I got into theatre I had a spinal block which was blessed relief after all that pushing.  I was relieved that things were finally coming to an end and was even able to laugh and joke with the hospital staff.  They did an episiotomy and used the ventouse, and with 2 massive pushes/pulls the baby was out.  I couldn’t believe it! I had done it!  

It wasn’t quite the lovely peaceful home water birth I had imagined but I was still over the moon!  I felt like the strongest woman in the world, like I could do anything now.  When they put my baby on my chest I was so happy, it was the best feeling in the whole world.  It was amazing.  In fact I’d say I’m still on a high now, 4 weeks later.

I am so thankful to my husband for being there and supporting me, my hypnobirthing teacher Jacqueline for going over and above the call of duty and helping me out on the day, and my fantastic midwife for being completely respectful and making me feel like every decision was my decision.  Between the three of them I felt calm and relaxed throughout the whole experience, even when we transferred to hospital, and although things didn’t quite go to plan it was still a really positive experience which has helped to heal a lot of the hurt from my first birth.

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Charlotte and Ray’s First Homebirth

I gave birth to my first child at home in November 2010, using HypnoBirthing techniques. It was an amazing experience, and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am so proud of myself and my partner for having delivered our son in such a calm and relaxed way.

I’ve always been apprehensive about giving birth, partly because my Mother was quite open about how traumatic her experience of giving birth to me in the 70s had been, but also because I’m extremely uncomfortable around doctors and feel I have a low pain threshold. I had always thought about birth as an ordeal that I would have to get through – that it would be agonising, dramatic and that I would feel out of control. I was genuinely scared about it.

Initially I was attracted to HypnoBirthing as a bit of a cheat! A non-medical, non-interventionist way to manage the pain of birth. However, during the course of our sessions with Jacqueline my whole approach to birthing subtly changed. I became completely confident in my ability to deliver our son. Although I had started the pregnancy planning to deliver at our local hospital, by the time I was 7 months pregnant a home birth began to just feel right. I was lucky enough to have a really supportive midwifery practice, who were completely supportive of us.

HypnoBirthing helped me to stay really calm and relaxed through my pregnancy. The practise we did at home ensured we allocated time to thinking positively about the birth, and that there was time every day for me to relax and prepare (as our NHS midwife agrees, labour requires as much mental as physical preparation). It also shifted our expectations. The difference in our approach was really apparent when we went to an NHS birth preparation morning – all the other mothers there were really nervous about labour and birth (some were actually white knuckled and wringing their hands when they talked about it). We were talking about a home birth, at least 4 weeks sooner than the other couples, and yet were quite calm, relaxed and positive about it.

Unbelievably, I ended up being really excited about giving birth – which I think is extraordinary when I remember how scared I had been before we started the course. By the time I went into labour I felt confident and in control. I wasn’t scared of the surges, and I felt I was well equipped to deal with whatever happened. I think the decision to have him at home contributed to that, as we controlled our surroundings and who was present. I was left almost entirely to my own devices throughout, our brilliant midwives examined me only a few times, and I used entonox only for the last couple of hours.

The birth was just as I’d hoped. My sister joined us, as well as the midwife I had seen throughout my pregnancy. We listened to music, I spent lots of time in the bath, they all had lots of tea and toast and tried to persuade me to eat more jelly babies! Looking back on it I find it hard to remember particular bits because I felt utterly ‘in the zone’ and focused on birthing my baby – I just have an overall sense that it was lovely. Even our midwife enjoyed it – she said afterwards that it reaffirmed her faith in homebirth and that she felt re-energised in her job!

Before I experienced labour the terms I associated with it were related to pain and discomfort. I wanted HypnoBirthing to remove that and make birth pain free. In fact, what I achieved through the course was a shift in expectation about what birth could be like and what my role in the process could be. In the end I would describe our sons birth as having been extremely intense, quite primal, something I did completely on my own but as part of a team, and the thing I’m most proud of.

Now that our son is 4 months old, I’m still really proud of the way he was born. But I do feel I have to be careful about how I talk about it to other new mothers, because so many of them feel negatively about their births. My experience is so unusual I’m not sure they believe me – and I understand why, because before I did it I wasn’t really sure that HypnoBirthing would make birth pain-free. Actually, though, that misses the point. It’s not about being pain-free. It’s about acknowledging birth as a natural part of life, and not being scared of it. And it’s true – birth can be an empowering, positive experience.

Update from Jacque: Charlotte has now had 3 beautiful home hypnobirths and is now a teacher of this great programme, as well as an experienced birth doula.  If you are in the Sevenoaks area, check out Charlotte at The Good Birth Practice.

www.thegoodbirthpractice.co.uk

 

 

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Emily and Tony’s 3rd Hypnobirth

Sooo here’s my birth story: I woke up at 11.30pm to go to the loo but couldn’t get back to sleep as I had stomach cramps.

I listened to your relaxation MP3 and realised my ‘cramps’ were coming and going and that in fact I was in labour. I woke up Tony and went downstairs. We set up the birth pool and I phoned the midwife at 12.30am. I thought I better phone early this time as during Edie’s birth I was too complacent and nearly had an unassisted birth!

I was quite comfortable breathing through my contractions, walking about and talking. The midwife arrived at 1.15am. She later told me that she had spoken to my community midwife who had advised to attend as quickly as she could after I phoned in as I was likely to have a quick labour!

The midwife was brilliant. Very calm, read my birth plan and fully listened to it. She didn’t ask to examine me and remained quietly in the background with minimal intervention. I was really grateful for her involvement.

I got into the birth pool about 2am and immediately felt the urge to push. Towards the end the midwife reminded me to breathe my baby out.

Thea was born at 2.20am weighing 8lbs 13oz. I used no pain relief during my labour as I didn’t feel that I needed any. Unfortunately Thea was born compound, with her hand up around her head and I had a nasty tear, but I wasn’t aware of this until I was examined later on.

We cuddled in the pool with delayed cord clamping and I delivered the placenta naturally.

The second midwife arrived after Thea had been born and I had got out of the pool. On examination the midwives were concerned about the tear and felt that I may need surgery, so unfortunately, despite having a lovely home birth, I was then sent to hospital in an ambulance!

This meant that Tony stayed at home with Orla and Edie (who slept through the whole thing) and my mum met me and Thea at the hospital. Fortunately I didn’t need to go to theatre for my stitches as the tear wasn’t as severe as they had first thought.

The midwives thought that I would be discharged within a few hours, but for numerous reasons (including waiting for the blood test results which determined that I did need the anti D injection, and delays in the paediatrician carrying out a check on Thea), we weren’t discharged until 3pm.

This was such a shame as I had such a lovely home birth experience, but then wasn’t at home in the early hours for Orla and Edie to meet their new baby sister. Overall it was a really positive experience, but it’s a shame that there were so many delays at the hospital, as this meant not having time as a family.

On the plus side, I was able to get more rest than if I had been at home and I avoided having to attend hospital today for my anti D injection (every cloud!).

Thanks again Jacque as always for your support and encouragement. That’s three lovely hypno water births and three beautiful girls. But will there be a fourth?!! X

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Becca and Jamie's 'Big Baby' birth story

The Thursday before I went into labour (10 days before my due date) I’d been sent for an urgent growth scan. Following on from this I had to see the consultant, who was insistent I should be induced because baby was “measuring huge” and “I would never deliver him naturally”. This was everything I didn’t want, I was adamant I didn’t want an induction, so finally escaping the scare tactics at the hospital, I went home leaving them to believe I’d call tomorrow to discuss further. After some reassurance from Jamie & Jacque I was confident in our decision to refuse induction and decided not to go back to the hospital the following day to discuss further with the consultant. I have a friend who is a midwife and she popped to see me on Saturday and again confirmed our decision to refuse induction, she did give me some advice and tips to help encourage baby on his way naturally; eating lots of pineapple, side stepping up and down the stairs, yoga poses and circles on the birthing ball. We were a week away from my due date now so I decided to give all of this a go, to help avoid further pressure from the hospital. So Saturday evening and Sunday I cracked on with the side stepping, while eating copious amounts of pineapple! I took a bath Sunday evening and put some clary sage oil in it and then went to bed with some of the oil on a tissue under my pillow.

I woke up at around 1am with a very upset tummy. Eventually heading back to the bedroom I decided Jamie hadn’t cooked the chicken we had for lunch properly, and I was going to wake him up to tell him! (Rational pregnant lady right there!) After much reassurance from Jamie that he definitely did cook the chicken properly, and a few more trips to the bathroom, it began to dawn on me that the ‘tummy pains’ were in fact surges and the ‘food poisoning’ my lovely husband had given me, was in fact the start of labour!

It was now around 3am and the surges were about every 6-7 minutes, lasting for around 30 seconds I guess. All very manageable with my breathing exercises. I decided to get in the bath and listen to my relaxation tracks, whilst Jamie phoned the MLU. They advised us to stay at home as long as possible and for me to try and eat something. I would have guessed I was in the bath for about 40 minutes but Jamie says it was closer to 2 hours (which actually definitely fits with the timings better), I just obviously wasn’t very aware of the time.

By about 6am the surges were becoming more intense, not unbearable at all, but I could tell things were progressing. I found myself naturally swaying my hips and wanting to lean on the end of the bed for comfort. We played all of our favourite songs and between surges danced and chatted.

At around 7.30am Jamie suggested we should think about making our way to the hospital – he was getting conscious of the Monday morning traffic and was keen not to be stuck in the car in a traffic jam with me in labour. I remember getting very tearful as we left the house, not through fear or panic, I just very overwhelmed with emotion.

After arrival at the MLU I was examined and told that I was only about 2cm dilated. I remember feeling disheartened by this but quickly told myself to get my head back to my safe place, stay calm and just focus on my breathing.

I got into the pool and we put our relaxation music on. The surges were getting more intense but I was coping fine with just my breathing. Again I found myself feeling the need to sway my hips, so spent some of the time standing up out of the water. My waters eventually broke whilst in the pool.

Our midwife was aware we were practicing hypnobirthing and was so respectful of this, she said she could tell I just wanted to be left alone and I could hardly tell she was in the room.

At around 11am things definitely started to intensify, and whilst I didn’t at any point actively ‘push’ I’m sure this is when I transitioned to active labour. I do remember standing up out of the pool and telling Jamie I couldn’t do it. He was brilliant and reassured me that I was doing great and reminded me of my breathing. With Jamie’s encouragement it didn’t take long for me to focus again.

By now my surges were coming about every minute and were very intense. I can’t say that I was quiet and serene like some of the videos we had watched! I wasn’t in any way panicked or overcome with pain but I was very vocal! I wasn’t screaming, but almost roaring – I don’t think I could make the noise again now if I tried, it felt very primal, but was really quite loud! (Luckily I was the only one in the MLU that day!)

As I said above, I didn’t at any point consciously push, my body was doing everything it needed to and I was just going with it.

I eventually delivered Joshua’s head, and remember thinking my surges had been so close that it must so nearly be time to properly meet him – that last surge however took ages in comparison. He was eventually born into the water with me catching him and putting him straight to my chest. Nothing will ever compare to that moment – it makes me emotional still now just typing that!

I had hoped to stay in the pool doing skin to skin whilst waiting to deliver the placenta, however Joshua had done a poo in the final stages of labour (it must have been late on as my waters were clear when they went), as such the pool wasn’t very pleasant and we were both getting cold. Jamie took Joshua and had some skin to skin time with him, and with in about 5 minutes I delivered the placenta.

So, that baby that was so big he would not be delivered naturally, arrived 5 days early, with a drug free, unassisted labour weighing in at 8lb 10.5 oz!

Because of the meconium we did have to stay in overnight for observations, this meant we saw a couple of different shift changes and different midwifes – all of them commented that they had been told we’d had “a beautiful birth” – I hope one of them passed the message onto our induction favouring consultant! 😉

I honestly couldn’t be more positive about our hypnobirthing experience. Before we started the course I was genuinely terrified by the thought of giving birth, but by the time we had finished I was genuinely excited about it. I look back at my labour and Joshua’s birth and see it as a truly magical, empowering experience

Thank you Jacque for all your knowledge, support and encouragement!

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Sarah and Martin's unassisted homebirth following birth trauma

Hi Jacque,

So last night, as I think Martin has told you, our baby boy made a speedy entrance into the world.

It was amazing and empowering and very primal.

At probably less than 2 hours from start to finish, it was perhaps a little faster than I had in mind, but all worked out perfectly.

After concerns over potential back-to-back positioning, we had started using some of the techniques from spinning babies- inversions and some robozo work, 2 days prior, which I’m convinced really did the trick and was largely responsible for the smooth, swift delivery.

Shortly after surges began, I noticed that they were coming pretty fast and I wanted to make sure my elder son Dexter was safety and happily away at his grandparents, who luckily live just around the corner. We managed this just in time, but I’m so glad we did. I was in two minds about whether he might be at the birth, it would have been lovely for him to be a part of it had it had a bit more of a slower build up, but as it was I had an inclin things where happening quite rapidly.

Shortly after Dexter left, while Martin tried to get the birthing pool up, my waters went during a surge. As I went upstairs to change another stronger surge came on and I called for Martin to ring triage for a midwife.

I managed to get in the shower as I really wanted the comfort of water and hoped they might slow things down slightly, so I could have a little time in between surges to regroup.

I quickly accepted the pace my body had chosen to take and allowed it to take over. Hypnobirthing was invaluable for allowing me to achieve this, as I felt confident that if I could remain calm, all would be well and happen as it should. I trusted my body, which is pretty amazing after my first labouring experience!

While on the phone to triage, the midwife could hear from the primal noises I was involuntarily uttering in the background that things really were quite far along and that my body was bearing down. They advised that Martin call an ambulance as the midwife would not make it in time.

The ambulance arrived moments before baby, but I had told Martin that I didn’t want a paramedic to come up. He was assertive and calmly told them that we were fine and to wait outside. Amazingly, he protected the birthing environment even though it must have been at least a little daunting for him.

After a few surges in which I could feel baby’s head coming down and then back up, a stronger, longer surge arrived, which delivered the head- the relief and calmness I felt at that point was surreal! A short while later, another surge came and baby entered the world and into his daddy’s arms as I hovered in a crouch over the bath. He passed him up between my legs and all was perfect.

Baby was so calm, alert and with a sort of knowing look on his face.

We filled the bath and settled down for a cuddle and waited for the midwifes and later my placenta to arrive.

From here all was fairly straightforward, we had a lovely midwife attend who was respectful and confident and happy to stay back and let things continue exactly as we wanted and at our own pace.

We have now enjoyed a wonderful day, hanging out with our new little man, Martin went to bring Dexter back home this afternoon and it was such an incredible moment when they met. Dexter was just so happy and excited and emotional at his brothers presence (he had only been told that we had a surprise for him), it couldn’t have been more perfect!

So there we are, I feel we owe so much to you and to Hypnobirthing. We were able to approach the adventure of childbirth both feeling confident and calm, whatever direction the journey took us. I think we had just the birth we both needed to heal us after the trauma of Dexter ‘s birth and restore our trust in the wonder of what the body can do.

Thank you so much for the wonderful work that you do! We are beyond grateful. Xxx

Footnote:  Sarah and Martin have since had another super speedy unassisted homebirth…but this time it was a my home! 

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Natalie and Matt with Stellan’s home birth

Here are some pictures of Stellan and Dharma that my mum forwarded me that you might like to see. Dharma is loving having Stellan around and is being so patient and caring and helpful, and a little hyperactive! We are all feeling a little tired but on cloud nine at the same time!

I have to keep reminding myself that he was born less than five days ago as we feel so used to having him around and things are feeling more and more settled.

I woke on Thursday morning feeling like it was going to happen that day. We had lunch at my mum’s and whilst there I noticed surges that were easy to manage but definitely getting stronger. We spent the afternoon and evening at home, playing with Dharma and trying to get her quickly to bed as I knew things were progressing. Through dinner and whilst bathing Dharma and doing stories etc., I was able to calmly breath through surges and once she was settled at 19:30 we took the shower curtain, old duvet and towels downstairs and got the Stephen Halpern music going. This play list was absolutely brilliant in helping me zone out.

At around eight Matt called the community midwives to advise I was progressing, surges about 3 to 5 minutes apart but I was fine and didn’t need anyone. I was anxious not to call people out too early. I didn’t feel like I wanted anyone else there at all. At about 20:30 I noticed I was swaying and rocking whilst standing and breathing through surges and Matt called the midwives again and told them things were progressing, surges about 2 to 3 minutes apart. I still wasn’t sure if we were nearly there or not and was still worried that it might be a day later or practice surges.

Once Matt had made the call however it all stepped up a notch again. I wanted Matt to rub my lower back continuously through surges and needed him to stick close to me all the time. I now knelt on the floor and lent over a huge pile of cushions on the sofa (to make it the right height for me!) through each surge and breathed and released and relaxed. By 9pm I was totally in myself and could feel the baby moving down towards my behind. I had to concentrate hard now and really began to use the J-breathing. The midwife turned up at about 9:15pm and rushed straight back out to call the second midwife!

At around 9:20pm I think (all estimations as I clearly was not watching the clock!) I felt my body start to push the baby down and I went with it, growling in the process and becoming slightly aware of not waking Dharma (which I didn’t!). Two or three surges later his little head emerged, quickly followed by the rest of him! I think the midwife and Matt were both surprised that he came as quickly as he did.

It was very hard work and intense but incredible and I stayed clear minded and in the moment the whole time, consciously reminding myself to relax, using the visualisations of safe and relaxing places and reminding myself of the affirmations. I felt every moment of it all and it was amazing. And so lovely to be at home and have a cup of tea afterwards and be in my own bed and Matt was there the whole way through supporting me and feeling useful! The midwives didn’t have to do anything until afterwards when they were very helpful and non-intrusive so a very good experience all round.

Very long-winded email sorry- but wanted you to know. Thank you so much for everything recently but also the entire journey that we’ve been on with you, starting four years ago when the seeds were all sewn for this wonderful birth. Stellan weighed 8lb 10 at birth and is absolutely beautiful, healthy and calm, feeding well and getting through the nappies! We will pop over at some point soon to see you.

XXXX

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Nina and Dean’s C-Section HypnoBirthing Story, followed by their HypnoFertility Story and 2 VBACs!

Now then, a little something about my pregnancy with Coby, I’m afraid I can’t remember dates, but I’m sure that’s OK.
 
I absolutely loved my pregnancy with Coby & dreamed of having a beautiful natural delivery. Being an Osteopath & working with babies, I know how a natural delivery is important for babies. What was so strange was I had 2 dreams before my 2nd scan that I would have to have a C-section, then at my 2nd scan I was told I had a low lying placenta, placenta previa & if it didn’t move, it would be unsafe for me & the baby to have a natural birth. I was told I would need another scan nearer to full term to determine if it had moved & what the plan of action was.
 
When I was told this, I spoke to Jacque & she helped with some visualisations to help the placenta move, I put pictures up of the ideal position for my baby & placenta and spoke to my homeopath, who also recommended some homeopathic remedies. Unfortunately at my last scan the placenta had not moved & I was told I definitely had to have a C-section & a date was scheduled in. I was devastated, I truly felt I had let my unborn baby down & I was not giving him the best start. After a talking to from my Mum, she pointed out that I hadn’t let myself or my baby down, it’s my job to bring this baby into the world safely and I had to put my baby & my safety 1st. If that meant a C-section then that’s what it takes. My mum helped me to feel better, but I still wasn’t happy that the joy of a natural delivery had been taken from me.
 
I always knew my emotions & feelings would be picked up by my baby, but I never appreciated the true extent of that. A few days later, it suddenly dawned on me, that I hadn’t felt my baby move since that last scan. I realised I needed to reconnect with my baby & I had to make sure he knew he was loved and it didn’t matter how he came into the world, as long as he was safe. I read ‘a Mother’s conversation to her unborn baby’ & BOOM, Coby gave me the biggest kick ever, it was like he was having a party in there & saying to me ‘Hi Mummy, I’m still here & I’ll see you soon!’ It brought tears to my eyes, I was so happy.
 
So the date was set, but Coby wasn’t going to be dictated to, he was going to come into the world when he wanted to. A week later, I had a show, went into hospital & was scheduled for a caesarean the next day. In the early hours of Sunday, I kept waking regularly to change position, thinking hospital beds are incredibly uncomfortable! It was only when they strapped me up to monitors, that I realised it wasn’t the bed making me uncomfortable, but tightenings. The midwife asked if I wanted some pain control & I answered ‘no, I was fine.’ I may not have had a natural delivery this time, but I had a glimpse of something I will get to experience in the future.
 

We all aspire to do the right thing for our children & that starts from the moment we know they are growing in our bellies. Sometimes we are so focused on that, we forget sometimes we need to allow someone else to help. People have asked if I thought HypnoBirthing was worth it as I didn’t get to use it. But I tell them definitely, I may not have been able to use it for the birth of Coby, but Coby has been a chilled out, happy baby right from the start, and I believe HypnoBirthing has helped in that. I’ll definitely use HypnoBirthing for my next pregnancy!



Unfortunately, Nina didn’t conceive quite so easily with baby number 2. So I was to see her several more times; Nina picks up the story:

“I went to Jacque for Hypnobirthing when I was pregnant with my son. The classes were so relaxing and enjoyable, and although we didn’t quite have the birth we planned, my son was such a calm & chilled out baby! A little while passed and my husband & I decided we would like another baby. Things seemed to be taking its time, and I sadly miscarried. Due to other symptoms, I needed an investigation. I was told I would not be able to get pregnant naturally again due to scar tissue and blocked fallopian tubes, and IVF was my best chance. As I already had a son, we would have to pay for this privately.

I was devastated; I had always wanted at least 2 children. I then found out that Jacque was now doing Hypnofertility and decided to go and see her. I prefer the natural approach and found the idea of IVF too invasive and too medicalised; I had strong feelings that I wanted a baby created out of an act of love rather than in a test tube, even though I was well aware that my husband & I would be creating a baby in a loving relationship.

Jacque was fantastic! She listened when I wanted to speak, was non-judgmental & we went through many guided hypnotherapy sessions, that all helped relax me, heal from the emotional and physical scars. Soon I stopped feeling that each period was a failure, but that with each period I was getting closer to my baby. Soon I had the wonderful news we had been wanting, I was pregnant again! And 9 months later we had a beautiful baby girl!

And here is Nina’s 2nd birth story

Hi Jacque,

I hope you are doing well!

We’re all doing very well! Can you believe Layla is now a year old?! The time has flown by, I think because she’s the baby of the family & because she is petite, it doesn’t seem possible that she is now a toddler!

As you can imagine, on her birthday I became very reflective about what I was doing a year ago & it occurred to me, what with learning to look after 2 children, the move, heading back to work etc., I didn’t do my birth story for Layla…

On the run up to Layla’s birth, Dean & I went out walking lots every day, we went to the woods, Gravesend prom, Bluewater, anywhere we could walk. Then on the Sunday, I decided to just listen to my hypnobirthing CDs, refresh myself with the hypnobirthing book and take it easy. Even when it was dinner time, I normally help to dish, but I had an overwhelming feeling of, no I just need to sit & relax. In hindsight, I realise it was my body telling me to conserve my energy.

We went to bed listening to the birth affirmations, and then at about 2 or 3am, I went to the loo and noticed I had a show. Then I started to feel tightenings, but as I had quite a bit of practice tightenings, I thought this was the same and went back to sleep. A short while later I woke again with another tightening. This became the pattern, falling asleep between tightenings but as I was fast asleep, I would wake with bit of shock. At about 4.45ish I woke up Dean as I needed a bit of help staying calm when I woke up. Dean was discretely timing the surges for me, and at 8am called the hospital to say we would be coming in. We got to hospital a little after 9, I remember walking up the stairs to the delivery suite & having to stop a few times for another surge and a women looking very confused & shocked at us, until Dean said, ‘my wife is fine, we’re having a baby’. We were taken into a small room as the midwife took the obs she said, ‘as this is a VBAC, your body hasn’t been through labour, so we don’t expect this to be quick. You probably haven’t dilated much, but to save you going back & forth, you should stay in.’ The midwife then progressed to assess me & was extremely shocked saying I was 5cm dilated. Then she just kept saying ‘how are you doing this? How are you staying so calm?!’ I explained I was using hypnobirthing and that was why I kept going quiet & within myself.

Once we were settled in our room, our midwife came in. We explained we wanted a hypnobirth and the midwife said that’s fine and just set up her station. She was lovely, she left us on our own a while, but as this was a VBAC, she had to insist that I go to the bed & put on the monitoring straps. I have to admit, that once I was on the bed, I was comfortable & stayed there in a semi-reclined position. I just remember being extremely relaxed, but with each surge I did have to focus my breathing. Dean was amazing, he would help me to relax, talking about holidays we’ve taken in the past & holidays we plan to take with our new family. The midwife was very respectful, staying out the way & I have a vague recollection of her coming and readjusting the monitors. Then right at the end, she called the senior nurse as the heartbeat appeared to be getting fainter, but when the senior nurse came in, she pointed out that our baby had descended and was ready to be born. I was asked to give about 3 big pushes, this was a strange sensation! It felt physically hard! Not difficult or painful but like I was pushing a hard ball out. Unfortunately the midwife did feel that our baby was starting to get stressed and so would not let me breathe our baby out. Our beautiful baby Layla was born at 12.05, 3 hours after getting to hospital.

Layla gave a little cry but as soon as she was placed onto my belly she was calm again. As I had a short placental cord, she could not be put on my chest. The midwife waited until the cord had stopped pulsating, checking with Dean several times that he was happy for it to be clamped & cut. I then gave Layla the time and space to make the birth crawl up to feed. This was amazing to watch!!

With Deans constant loving words, help and support, we were able to birth our baby-girl into this world completely naturally.

Hypnobirthing has been an amazing experience, and I often rave about it to others. I have always loved being pregnant, but this time, I was more nervous, but hypnobirthing helped me to relax throughout my pregnancy.  I was able to enjoy my labour and for me to give Layla the best start in life, without the use of pain relief!

And the good news doesn’t stop there! I’m pregnant again with my 3rd baby! And this little one has come as bit of a surprise!”

We are over the moon! So happy! And suddenly a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders!

Thank you so much for all your help! You’ve helped so much, it’s unbelievable! We are so grateful for all your help and in helping us create the family we want!

Thank you again for all your help! I’m sure I’ll be popping along for a bit of relaxation!

Love Nina & family xxx

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Paula and Edward's Birth Story following birth trauma.

Sorry to keep you all waiting for news, but it’s been go go go here! Little (well large) Edward Leyden arrived finally 9 days after his ‘due date’ (exactly like Isabella) on Saturday morning weighing in at a whopping 10lb. exactly!! 

You’ll be pleased to know Jacque – you have another VERY satisfied customer and someone else to spread the HypnoBirthing word!!

I’d started feeling surges on Thursday morning and told my midwife at my normal appointment, who told me to keep moving, keep busy and take it easy. I was convinced I was in labour and waited all day, but nothing really happened, then all day Friday and still nothing! However, I woke up Saturday morning at 4.30am realising I really was in labour! I did my breathing exercises and listened to the rainbow relaxation and some of the Steven Halpern tracks and managed to stay in bed for another hour breathing through everything. By this time surges were about 8 – 10 minutes apart. By 5.30am I was up walking around as this was more comfortable than lying down and breathing through the surges standing still, still plugged into rainbow relaxation! I finally woke Niall up at 6am and called the hospital – they suggested I take some paracetamol and keep doing what I was doing and stay at home a bit longer. I skipped the paracetamol and had a bath instead! By 7.30am surges were about 5 mins apart and I called the hospital – they said I should come in. We got there about finally at 9am ish by which time they were coming about 2 – 3 mins apart and Niall was rushing me along the corridors in a calm but efficient manner! By the time I was booked in and checked over it was about 9.45am and I was amazingly 9 1/2 cm dilated!!!!! I had a great midwife (Marnie Greenwood) who had studied HypnoBirthing as part of her dissertation so was well aware of what I wanted and how it all works.

Anyway, they ran the water for the birthing pool, popped me in it, I carried on listening to Steven Halpern – with Niall telling me to breath. Only at one point did the midwife override Niall and tell me to push – when they realised Edward’s arm was stuck in a ‘superman’ fashion and I needed to push hard to get it out! Anyway, after a mere 45 mins in the water, Edward was born at 11.12am – both midwives were mighty impressed with the speed and calm fashion of the birth and to have done it with the size of our not so little one!!

It all worked out really well and I’ve really impressed myself, as well as everyone I know who have had children (I detect a slight note of jealousy – I know how they feel having had a very different experience with Isabella!) by having such a positive birthing experience.

Edward is a calm, hungry baby, who is now desperate for a boob, so I have to go!!

Hope you are all well – Sasha – hope your first few weeks have been a success, Emilie – good luck, keep patient and keep practicing and Jacque – thank you so very very much and we’ll plan a visit soon,
Lots of love
Paula, Niall and Edward xx

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Annie and Caleb's Birth Story

Just thought I’d let you know how Caleb’s birth went! It started very gently about 5 or 6 in the morning and I called Mal home in the afternoon. I felt very comfortable and relaxed and as I breathed through each surge birthing affirmations came into my mind.

We arrived at the birthing centre in the early evening and things progressed up a gear quite quickly, I sat on the birthing ball and moved around. Mal started reading from the cue card and stroked my arm. He did this continuously for 6 hours through my surges and it really helped.

The midwife and student midwife were so gentle, calm and supportive I felt very lucky to have them. I asked to be examined to see how far I was as I was thinking of having some gas and air. I was at least 6cm so I started using the gas and air but I did so sparingly!

I tried other positions and still felt calm and in control. For the last couple of hours I went into the birthing pool as things had got more intense. Mal started reading the birthing affirmations to me. About 30 minutes before Caleb was born I was scared and asked for an epidural, even though deep down I knew it was too late!

The second stage was 28 minutes and the midwives took over talking to me as I felt I needed their support. They were incredible and kept talking so positively to me. Breathing the baby down was the most primal experience. I did not consciously do anything, my body and Caleb did it all! It was intense but when Caleb was actually moving down it wasn’t painful. The height of the surges beforehand were extremely powerful though….

Caleb was happy throughout, his heart beat didn’t rise and the membranes only released at the point of birth. He didn’t cry as soon as he was born, he was alert and fed immediately!

Listening to relaxing music was also really helpful throughout the whole birth. My breathing came so naturally after practising for so long and the midwife was impressed with it and they were interested in the HypnoBirthing preparation that I had done.

I am so happy with how the birth went and know it was due to HypnoBirthing. Thank you Jacque once again for all your help!

See you soon

Annie x

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Christa, Karl and Felix

When I found out I was pregnant with Felix I was determined to practice hypnobirthing again.

At 39 weeks I had a scan as there was some concern about the growth of Felix. Everything was fine but when I left at 1pm the sonographer also said ‘your cervix is totally closed and 2.5cm long so baby is not coming just yet…

At 3pm I visited a friend who just had a baby and as soon as I held her I got some tightenings. I had to stop a few times on my way home so I called Karl to leave work. At 5pm he was going to drop Alex off at a friend’s house and I was staying home as the surges were kind of irregular and with the calm breathing didn’t feel too intense. I actually wasn’t sure if I was in labour. We went to the hospital at 6pm and the midwife asked me if she should examine me. I declined politely as I feared she would tell me that I wasn’t dilated at all having the sonographer’s voice in my head. She was a fantastic midwife, just sitting in a corner quietly observing what was going on. I said to her I have this urge to push and she just said breath and let your body do the work as I can see a head…Felix was born at 7pm without any kind of intervention to a very happy mum and dad who couldn’t believe how great this birth experience was.

Again no water-birth as everything happened so quickly but everything else I wanted, like leaving the cord pulsating, delivering the placenta naturally, no pain relief etc.

Needless to say that Felix is a very content baby and with regards to a water birth…I might just have to have another baby!

Thank you Jacqui for all your advice and knowledge you shared with us.

Lots of love from Australia

Karl, Christa, Alex & Felix

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Emma and Poppy 2 home births

I had never heard of hypnobirthing, but when I discovered I was pregnant a friend who had been to see Jacque during their pregnancy booked my husband and I in for a course, and I am so pleased that she did. I had always wanted a home birth, why would I want to be anywhere else than the comfort of my own home, and hypnobirthing cemented the idea even further.

I was convinced that my baby would arrive early, I was wrong. My due date the 17th of December came and went, Christmas came and went and New year was fast approaching and so was the possibility of induction. Having spoken to my midwife I had agreed to postpone induction until the 1st of January.

On the 27th December I had my first sweep, it was uncomfortable but totally ok, the midwife told me that I was actually already 4cms, yippee I thought and hurried home to await things to start moving, I half filled the pool and made sure that everything was ready. I waited and waited and waited but nothing happened. I rang up the maternity unit as instructed to book in for another sweep the next morning, which revealed I was still 4cms. The midwife told me that this one was going to be successful! I went home and took the dog for a long walk, I was definitely starting to feel something happen.

I woke up at 1am feeling definite contractions, nothing painful but definite pressure. I didn’t stay in bed I got up as didn’t want to disturb Nick and felt that I needed to be moving about. By 4am the contractions were about 8 minutes apart and lasting at least 1 minute. Nick woke up at this point.

By 9am the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and the pressure was starting to build in my back, we decided to call Jacque and my mum who both popped round. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur, the contractions stayed 3minutes apart lasting a minute from that point on, the midwives examined me regularly but things were progressing pretty slowly. I used the pool and easily breathed through the contractions, the only pain I had was my back, which was pretty constant and intense. Jacque and Nick counted down with me at every contraction, I used the pool and the ball but by 3pm I was staring to get fed up, I was still only 6cms! I wanted to move and walk about hoping to help get things going but the pain in my back made this really uncomfortable. At some point, about 5pm, there was meconium, the labor had just been too long, the baby’s heart rate was fine and I wasn’t stressed but it was important to get her out pretty quickly, we decided to call an ambulance.

I jumped on the sofa and concentrated on pushing with all my might at every contraction, unfortunately she still wasn’t here when the paramedics arrived so we took a trip down to Margate.

Emma June Barnett arrived into the world at 5.30pm in Margate hospital. We did it! She arrived within 10 minutes of us arriving at the hospital with a lot of pushing but absolutely no interventions or pain relief.

I can honestly say that without the teachings of hypnobirthing I would not have been able to birth my baby on my own. Emma had got caught on my cervix which is why the labor had been unable to progress and also the reason I had so much pain in my back. It also turned out that my bladder had two liters of urine in it, which had also inhibited the labor progressing properly. Thanks to Jacque we stayed at home for 95% of the labor, we had no interventions, I stayed calm and relaxed and as a result so did my baby. A birth that could have been very traumatic and would definitely ended in a C section, ended up being the proudest most beautiful and happiest day of my life.

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Sasha and James
2 Birth Stories

The birth was interesting! I already have rose tinted glasses of it & find it v special but I know I found some phases hard…I can’t say I was able to follow all HB but it certainly helped in places, and more importantly changed my whole outlook on it all so it’s not bad if it wasn’t used at all times 🙂

So, 5am on Tues 25th I know I have my first surge feeling very much like period pains…they then came & went very irregularly & I didn’t bother timing them knowing they were irregular & I tried to rest (although I didn’t really sleep, just rested)…the whole Tuesday was great, had a bath, washed hair, we ordered pizza, and I spent a lot of time leaning on ball & sitting on ball, I felt happiest bobbing & singing in my head to a happy songs playlist I made previously…I didn’t feel like relaxing in the day, the happy songs really helped. Each surge had me breathing in & out deeply as we learnt, sometimes I’d sing in my head other times I’d count…they got more intense later on, very bearable (but I’m afraid some pain, hope it’s ok I say that!?) by late Tuesday they were 6 mins apart, though James was trying to help not let me time watch…more intense again so as Tuesday night wore away, I started getting frustrated that I wasn’t advancing….I text you around this point but I was finding it hard to focus on being positive etc…I also simply could not get deeply relaxed, I listened to the files you sent & tried but the surges felt bigger than that, but I still was breathing…I also tried a tens machine as I realised I wasn’t able to relax it away as such..tried a few hours but really it did nothing, just felt like I was being electrocuted and also felt the pains…so I stopped…

 The hospitals said I couldn’t come in as would be sent home. Finally we got to call a community midwife to visit to see where we were at…Karen came around 9ish on wed morning & did an examination & was surprised to feel I was 5cm..this totally cheered me up 🙂 Karen however heard a slight deceleration in baby’s heartbeat so decided to call an ambulance. This didn’t worry me as it was only a brief deceleration & was just cautionary & to be honest I was sooo pleased to be going to hospital! So in I popped, James followed and soon later I was wheeled in (!) to a delivery room..the birthing pool was being filled downstairs..they monitored baby for a good while & were happy with him BUT v weirdly my blood pressure was up to high so they then said I couldn’t have a water birth & I’d have to stay in the delivery room…I thought I’d be sadder but really it had gone on so long it didn’t bother me… I had 1 midwife throughout whole thing called Meika who was really lovely, plus I allowed a student Dr to watch, she had seen the last 2 hours of one the day before but could be with me from much earlier, no problem! She was very nice..

 4 hours after first examination, I could have another one & surges were more intense, apart from when I was being monitored…or was it when we realised I was still 5cm at this point…again very disheartening…Meika had read my birth plan & was very much sticking to it! She didn’t discuss relief or even intervention…she discussed breaking waters but wasn’t suggesting it…after a few more hours & more intense surges, and no progression, James & I decided we wanted the waters broken (sorry!!! Thus is the main non HB thing we did, I was just soooo tired, fed up etc…)so finally around 4-5pm she did, and bam the surges came thick & fast immediately! V intense, almost unbearable yet I could bear them, all I could do was breathe…I decided I wanted to try gas & air (again, I’m sorry!) as I was finding it somewhat tough & had no idea how long it would continue after 34-34 hours so far…Meika actually had advised me not to as she says it works well when it helps people breathe properly but as I was already breathing so well I didn’t need it (you’d love her!!) I tried 2 puffs, did nothing, shoved it back & that was it, no more options..nothing else was discussed & it didn’t even occur to me..James kept saying I was coping so well on my own…I didn’t find any position better than others weirdly, so sometimes if be on my back as it felt the same…(early labour it was far better not on my back but by this point there was no difference!) I was standing when I got the first need to push, unbelievable, completely uncontrollable, very strong, so much so that I thought if I pooed standing up then & there I didn’t care!! The push feeling took over so we never did an examination for 10cm, I then made deep animal noises I had zero control over & I’ve no idea how I would have not pushed but breathed, although the animal noises helped it be without holding the breath, crazy feeling…

 I don’t feel it went on long but Ashley came out in one go with his hands over his face X factor styley 😉 with a whole lot of crap with him! He was put on me with a towel on him to keep him warm, I asked to pull top up for skin to skin…no crying from me, think I was amazed it was over! After a bit James had skin to skin too…Ashley was not fussed about feeding at that point! I had a small tear, a graze & 2 stitches…

 Although I am still a bit sore, I’m still so proud of myself & delighted that I did it naturally & pushed him out myself…I think it’s amazing! I didn’t love the whole experience but certainly am grateful for it & feel v positive about it all which is great! The HB made such a difference to everything, yes I felt pain & yes it didn’t go quite as I’d planned but I went with it & still feel v happy with my experience 🙂 I hope you are??

 On the ward Ashley was the most alert by far, to the point of horror as he would cry lots & need to be held unlike the other 3 babies silently sleeping in their bedside cribs… But the mums all had something so I was chuffed Ashley was not drugged (but wow he is LOUD!!!)

 I absolutely adore my little boy, I think he’s so lovely! He is a light sleeper, and often falls asleep feeding so gets more hungry & tired!! So that’s a bit silly billy but he’s scrummy..feeding is going well though he can’t get enough! James is doing well too..

Alyssa Jade Caitlin Hatton-Browne

Born Monday 7thJuly 2014 at 23:45 in water at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, Kent.

Alyssa was due on Friday 4thof July and I truly believed she would arrive earlier, with a massive bump and a brother who was a day early, and a quick birth.  I had been listening to my hypnobirthing affirmations and relaxation MP3s for weeks. I had practice labour pains on Wednesday 25thJune for a couple of hours so I really thought that could be it. Friday 27thJune I felt extremely emotional and teary. Then on Saturday and Sunday I felt full of energy, and seeing these were signs labour could be imminent I was convinced it would happen soon. Then Monday came and nothing happened, nor Tuesday and so on. My mum would be here until Friday 4thto help with Ashley if I went into labour, with Vanessa coming Saturday 5th. The odd niggle happened but nothing. On Friday 4thmum left, Vanessa hoped to find out when it would happen, I had a midwife appointment and I asked if I should be examined but she said no, but booked me in for a sweep the following week. I also had my last lovely session with Jacqueline, a very moving session to bond with my baby, had us both in tears and I felt quite magical and like I had connected with my little girl for a special birth.

Sunday afternoon I had 2 more hours of practice labour pains, which was very confusing as it went away again. However, after a week and a half of thinking this could be it, I finally felt real contractions on Monday at 1.30am. Using the handy iPhone app iBirth, I timed the gap between each contraction as I felt they were close already. They were completely manageable with long deep breaths, so I felt they weren’t as strong as I knew they were at the end of Ashley’s birth, but I thought maybe they would go from okay to super intense very quickly as I had heard of so many fast second births so after a few hours of contractions every 4 or so minutes apart, so around 4am we decided to go in to hospital. We were met by young and very sweet Bryony on reception and Nicky, the main midwife. We went straight to the MLU, already a lovely change from Ashley’s birth when I arrived by ambulance (as a precaution) into the labour ward, and due to high blood pressure, I stayed there. Nicky checked my blood pressure and it was up, but after having explained how it was up last time yet never before of afterwards, she waited about 20 minutes and checked again and it was low enough for me to stay in the MLU, I was so happy! However, they wanted to monitor me just to check so I sat upstairs on a monitor for about 30 minutes, still just breathing through the contractions. All was fine and I was 3 cm dilated.

Downstairs I had a lovely ensuite room with a remotely movable bed and comfy chair, massive space where I was given a mat, a peanut shaped labour ball and a normal ball. I had my happy music playing and breathed through every contraction, bouncing on the ball, dancing, standing, walking etc. with visualisations of the magical forest I had seen in my last hypnobirthing session, plus other ones I liked to keep me focussed and positive. Around 8am the midwives changed. I was introduced to a new midwife, a rather severe older lady who had a student midwife with her. But before she managed to scare me, I was then given a different midwife, a lovely young woman whose name I sadly can’t remember anymore. She had a student paramedic, a man, who was to observe the whole thing. He looked more nervous than I could have felt about it, but I felt confident this birth could be a positive one to observe so I was happy (ish) for him to stay. At this time I was examined again, yet was still only 3 cm dilated. She asked if I would like a sweep at that time, and after I said yes she said she could stretch the cervix to 4cm but it may not stay there. She suggested that I think about going home to relax. I said that with a toddler being looked after the in-laws, I would be able to relax far better in hospital, so she kindly said I could stay as long as I wanted. I was feeling a bit disappointed to be honest as the contractions had been more intense, and time was ticking on. So James and I went for a walk around the hospital grounds. I remember us laughing at times as I tried to avoid walking through smelly steamy air vents. When back in our room, I decided to listen to my MP3s knowing how easily they got me to relax at home. I fell asleep and got through the whole 1-2 hours of wonderfully positive and relaxing MP3s, I was accepting contractions but not noting them, but once I awoke after the MP3s had stopped, I realised that I had only had 3 contractions in that whole time. I was pretty gutted to be honest, as I couldn’t understand why, being at my most relaxed, my labour was stalling. After some tears, and a frank discussion with James and our midwife, we decided not to bother doing the next examination around 12.30pm and that I should go home. I felt I had failed, and that I had done everything I could do to encourage a positive, relaxed and mobile labour.

 

I avoided everyone in the house and went to my room. My sister said to remember that if my body is stopping labour, it could be to get rest before I need energy to birth my baby, so I thought I’d embrace this, and went to sleep, contractions were on average every 6 minutes, with the odd 4 minute or 8 minute gap. They were pretty intense at this point, which surprised me as they were very intense with Ashley after waters had broken and his arrival was only 3 or so hours away. Around 7pm the contractions had slowed once again after all my relaxing, and I was starting to panic and get upset that I would need intervention as I couldn’t understand why what I was doing wasn’t helping. I hadn’t felt like walking but decided it was one of my last options, so James and I took a very slow walk around the park behind our house around 8pm. The contractions were very intense at this point, to the point where the first 30 seconds of each one were utterly overwhelming and I had to focus on breathing but couldn’t do any long visualisations, so chose to blow a feather away, or just count to 20 very fast numerous times, and I admit to the occasional swearing, but apart from feeling very emotional I did remain quite calm, I just hoped it would pick up. And luckily they did. Quickly. The contractions starting coming every 4 minutes, then every 2 minutes and finally at 8.50pm we decided we should head to the hospital again. We both remember contractions then happening in the care at 9om, 9:04pm, 9:08pm and so on.

When we arrived, we had the lovely Bryony and Nicky again. After just a little observation, Nicky did state that I really seemed to be having contractions of the right intensity now as she had thought the earlier ones perhaps weren’t, though in true respect of my birth plan she hadn’t said anything. After an examination around 9.45pm I was 5cm. Once again I felt a little deflated but they were so incredibly positive saying that 5cm was amazing, that it could go really quickly from here. I didn’t really believe them, although I should have listened! Nicky asked if I wanted the birth pool filled up soon, so I said yes, not really knowing if I would want it now or not. After an hour of breathing through the contractions, walking around, just getting through the intense contractions (with a little quiet swearing every now and then) it was time to go to the pool room. Previously I had chosen a special bra to wear that opens at the front, ready for skin to skin once the baby was born, plus borrowed a lovely birthing skirt from Jacque. However, at 11pm when I had the lovely deep pool in front of me, I just wanted to take everything off, except for my pants, and get in the water. The warm water immediately took the pressure off my bump, which was lovely, but it felt like the contractions became even more intense. We played my iPod with happy music though I really spent most of my time floating, gripping onto the side and trying to focus my way through each contraction at a point where they were very strong that I actually squirmed a little with each one, but I also knew, deep down, that I could do it and that there was no way I wanted to have any drugs – I couldn’t let myself down and just took each moment as it came, but I did find it very hard and wanted it to be over. The contractions were still every 3 minutes, so I thought I would have hours left. However, at 11.35pm my waters suddenly broke with a massive gush in the pool, absolutely no mistaking it at all with such a release of pressure and forcefulness of the water. Immediately I felt the urge to push completely take over me, as it had done with Ashley’s birth, though this time I was more aware of these unbelievable urges to push stopping with the contractions stopping, and starting again. Nicky had popped out and came swiftly back in hearing my pushing groans, and asked James ‘is she pushing??’ With a yes she said very quickly that they must get my pants off. Although I knew this was true, I remember thinking they were going to have to cut the bloody things off as no way was I moving from my position of being on all fours and gripping the side of the pool with all my might! An image of James using the buoyancy of the water to rather glamorously lift my leg right up to allow her to yank the pants off now makes me chuckle, with the fists gripping the side. With Ashley I remember saying ow as he was coming down, yet this time it wasn’t her head coming out that hurt but where it was rubbing the parts at the top, I even tried pushing her head away, but to no avail. I could then feel her head soon coming out although it did stop when it was right in the middle of coming out and I really wanted the next urge to push to come soon so her head would get out quickly but after only 8 minutes of pushing, she came out and was caught by Nicky at 23:45. Amazing. Ashley took 45 minutes, which still had felt quick but I was on my back on a bed. Here, on all fours in water, I literally felt like I had 4 cycles of pushing and that was it, pretty easy really. No tearing, no grazes. It was a bit fiddly to turn me over and pass her through my legs but she came straight on me, skin to skin, and we had a lovely warm cuddle. Once again, no tears from me at all despite me crying at everything I watch to do with babies, but I was so relieved she was finally here, that she was actually a she, and that we were all together. The cord was very short so it was clamped relatively soon, with my permission, and James cut the cord. She took to feeding straight away, slept rather well (unlike myself who woke at any single movement or sound) and we were happy to go home the next morning, though had to wait until the afternoon to be released by the paediatrician. She is still now a lovely, smiley, and calm baby, Don’t get me wrong, she has a real set of lungs on her when she is having to wait for a feed or really tired, especially as I have to put her brother’s needs often before hers, but then we make strong willed babies, but she certainly is a lot calmer than Ashley was.

I am, once again, so incredibly grateful for being able to see such positivity in childbirth, in pregnancy, in labour. I find the feeling to push, although not exactly enjoyable, utterly formidable and amazing as it completely takes over everything you are doing, my body was getting that baby, and previously Ashley, out right then. Although I didn’t like the later intense contractions at all, as they lasted a long time, I also feel incredibly blessed to have had such a natural experience, allowing my body to do what it needed to do with no help and no drugs, just belief in myself, support from James, and all the tools given to me in Hypnobirthing.

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Sarah and Henry's unassisted first home birth

We had a wonderful non medicalised, home birth which was entirely down to coming to see you! It really was a text book hypnobirth. 

I didn’t once think about dilation, or medical alternatives and concentrated entirely on relaxing my body and breathing through the surges, which worked a treat!

We went to sleep on Monday evening about 10pm, having spent the day getting the room where she was going to be born ready. You can imagine our surprise having both finished work for the summer/ mat leave on Friday, that my waters began to break in Monday morning! I slept very soundly between surges from 10pm until around 1am when they became a bit more intense. At 2 am I woke Henry up as I really wanted to get into the pool at this point. We had half-filled it before we went to bed so he brought it up to temperature whilst I was on the loo having a classic pre-birth “evacuation”!

He helped me to the pool at about 2:30 which triggered the overwhelming urge to push! (so much for relaxing in the water!). At this point I still had no idea she would be arriving quite so soon as I was still finding it all manageable with breathing etc. However, 3 pushes more and Phoebe came into the world! Because he had seen all the videos and read the hypo birthing book he knew exactly what to do and passed her through my legs and we lifted her together onto my chest. It was amazing!

The midwife arrived about 20 mins later and Phoebe was declared a healthy happy baby!

Thanks for everything Jacquie, without you I truly believe it would have played out quite differently. Without question, we shall see you for the next one! 😉

Lots of love Sarah, Henry and Phoebe xxx  

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Tracy and Arthur's first home birth at 43 weeks

We are all doing well and getting over the initial whirlwind of having a new little one in the house. He is totally gorgeous and we are completely smitten. Also over the moon to have had him at home, I am convinced that the hypnosis session you did with us on the Wednesday played a good part in convincing him to come out too, so we are super grateful to you too. The birth was amazing; we loved every part of it (well apart from the throwing up in the early labour). Arthur Albert Mapp Laing was born in the pool in our front room at 5:45pm on 14/07/16 7lb4oz – Yay!

I never really thought I would go past 42 weeks, so had been very clear that I hadn’t wanted any intervention at all before then. As 42 weeks approached, we agreed that we would go for monitoring and review things on the day of 42 weeks. The monitoring was fine, although unfortunately we were at the hospital for around 4 hours (mainly waiting around to see the consultant). Although we still knew our plan was going to be to leave things for a few days given that everything was fine with the monitoring and his movements, we still encountered a lot of pressure from both midwives and the consultant at the hospital to set a date to induce and lots of unhelpful comments. They recommended go and be monitored every day, however we decided that for us, so long as his movements were good, going to be monitored every day would just cause more stress and pressure so we agreed to go back 3 days later for monitoring if he hadn’t arrived by then, (never thinking we would actually get to that date). In the meantime, we would see the community midwife for a check at home.

Throughout, the community midwives were amazing and put no pressure on us to do anything we didn’t want to, they discussed options with us, but were fully supportive of us waiting things out. Around this time I finally considered having a sweep, thinking that might just help things along and could be the difference between a home birth as planned and ending up in hospital, but again, I was reluctant, thinking he would come in his own time. At 42 + 2, I had a sweep and was told everything was very favourable with him being fully engaged. Unfortunately nothing happened, and we got to 42 + 3 so went for monitoring again – all was fine, so again we waited.

We had an appointment with a different consultant booked for 42 + 6, one we had seen earlier in the pregnancy due to me having low PAPP A, but again, I never really thought we would get to that point. At 42 + 5, with still nothing happening, I agreed to another sweep (ever hopeful) but again nothing (however I was more dilated then). Instead we went along to our consultant appointment at 42 + 6. Following a long discussion and a further scan (which showed the blood flow from the placenta was fine), we agreed to induce the following day. I think we got to the stage where at 43 weeks we felt that the pressure from medical side of things and our wanting to make sure he would arrive safely just tipped the balance of us waiting it out. Furthermore, the consultant we knew (and trusted) was going to be on shift the following day which provided some reassurance for us. Plus, he said I would be able to use the pool on the labour ward. The suggestion was that as I had already been having lots of irregular contractions, was fully engaged and at my last sweep was 2-3cm dilated and 80% effaced they would break my waters to induce labour. The consultant knew that we wanted to avoid a medicated induction and felt that breaking my waters would be enough to make me to go into labour.

We had already arranged to see Jacque that afternoon and met up with her to talk through and help prepare ourselves for a different type of birth to that we had planned. Jacque was fantastic and gave loads of really good suggestions for preparing and owning the hospital room and making it as homely as possible. Our session with Jacque ended a hypnosis session with us and Jacque talking to our little man. This was really powerful I am certain contributed to us ending up with the birth we wanted. We then spent that evening packing everything up ready to go to the hospital even planning on dropping the hired birth pool to Ricky’s parents to return on our way in. I also had one final acupuncture session and a calm evening before bed.

Then – completely unexpectedly around 2am my waters broke – not in Hollywood type fashion at all, in fact I didn’t actually realize at first they had gone as there was such as small amount, I changed underwear and nothing more. However contractions definitely did start – YAY! I was able to sleep though the first few hours and around 5am, got up to walk around a bit. Ricky then came in (he had been in the spare room) and I told him what had happened.

We were tentatively excited and discussed what to do. Over the next hour or so, the contractions increased and at around 7am, we decided to call the midwife out rather than call the hospital to arrange to go in.

A community midwife came out around 8:30am and gave me an exam, which is when she told me she couldn’t feel his sack and I realised that my waters must have gone. He was so far engaged, he was acting as a plug stopping any more coming out! The midwife said I was 3cm and basically recommended that we still go to hospital. However, at that point there was no way I was going in unless I absolutely had to. They had recommended breaking my waters to start labour and now this had happened naturally and I was in labour I was staying at home. We said we wanted to see how things went for a few hours and agreed another midwife would call us and come out later.

Contractions at this point were still really manageable, getting stronger but my breathing and ‘54321 relax’ helped loads. The only problem was when I went to eat something…. I vomited everywhere, everything even water, for hours. This was the only real hard part for me, and for Ricky as he worried about me getting too dehydrated. At around 11am another midwife called to arrange to come and see us, followed immediately by the consultant on the phone urging us to come into hospital. He was adamant we should come in and relayed that I would definitely be able to use the pool if I came in. Again, I was adamant I was staying at home. Ricky also wanted us to stay at home however was really worried about the amount of vomiting I was doing and feared we might have to go in if I got too weak from throwing up.

I spent most of this time labouring upstairs in the bedroom, trying to rest when I could in the bath and on the loo – The bathroom became my comfort, safe place where I wanted to be most of the time. Around 12:30pm another midwife came out. She did the usual blood pressure / heart rate checks which were all fine, however I declined an internal exam as my waters had gone and I didn’t want to further risk infection. This midwife again spoke to me about going to hospital, but in a much more supportive unpressured manner. Again I said that I wanted to stay at home, and really felt at that point I wouldn’t be able to handle the journey in to hospital because of the sickness. Ricky then suggested that we get the midwife to go away for an hour or so, in which time he would get the pool up and see how I got on in there. The midwife agreed this would be a good option and left us to it.

Ricky then got the pool up while I got back into the bath. The midwife returned around 2:30pm, while I was still in the bath. My contractions continued to get stronger, and more frequent, but again still very manageable with my breathing. Ricky finished getting the pool filled and I came downstairs to get in around 3pm. He also put on the music from our hypnobirthing class which was immediately relaxing. As I came downstairs, I felt really weak and tired from not having eaten or been able to keep any fluids down but was focused on staying at home. Everything then changed the moment I got into the pool. I remember saying “This feels Amazing!” the second I got in, and just loving being in there. I was then finally able to keep some fluids down and Ricky did a grand job of regularly offering me sips of fizzy elderflower cordial and a bowl of raisins which I intermittently was able to eat.

My time in the pool seemed to pass so quickly. Things really progressed and I soon felt a ‘pushing’ urge in my lower back. Our midwife was also amazing. Although I had only just met her, she had read our birth plan thoroughly and was fully supportive of everything we had on there. She spoke quietly and calmly and stayed out of the way just as we wanted, leaving Ricky and me to work though the labour. She didn’t use any language referring to pain or discomfort and gave plenty of encouraging words in a calm positive way. She told me to trust my body and go with what I felt.

What felt like very quickly after getting in the pool I started having real urges to push and soon after that I could feel his head just a couple of centimetres inside. I remember telling Ricky this and saying “but how is he going to get round the corner?” The midwife reassured me that he would get round just fine and to keep going. In between contractions, I felt pretty euphoric, on some occasions I went to my ‘safe, special place’ other times I just enjoyed being where I was, I remember smiling lots. The whole time I was aware of things going on in the background, movements of Ricky and the midwife, but was in no way disturbed by them. In fact towards the end of the labour, as I didn’t want to kneel up out of the water for the midwife to be able to reach in and do the heart rate checks, she gave me the device and I held it to myself – I felt really with it and in control throughout. I remember not long after Ricky telling me another midwife was arriving and telling him I didn’t want anyone else there, as everything felt so good; I didn’t want the atmosphere to change. Ricky relayed this to the first midwife who arranged for the second midwife to go straight into the kitchen with the door shut and stay out of the way. I later found out that there had been a frantic rush to get someone else there as I had progressed so quickly. 10 minutes after the second midwife arrived, so did little Arthur at 5:45pm, I had just 2h45m in the pool and around 15 raisins eaten all day!

I had already felt his head come out slightly then back in a bit then all of a sudden, he completely came out. I had had my eyes shut throughout the surges and so after feeling him come out, just heard the midwife say “you can pick him up”. I looked down and to my amazement there he was all pinky-purply! I remember scooping him to my chest and saying “hello boy” again and again, smiling with such bliss. It turns out he came out OP (back to back), which I had no idea about until afterwards (he wasn’t back to back when we started!) We stayed in the pool a while just smiling and cuddling with Arthur at my breast. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating which was confirmed by Ricky (who said it was like taking a pulse as he does for Acupuncture treatments) who then cut the cord and tied our hypnobirthing tie on.

The water was cooling down a bit then so Ricky took Arthur for some skin to skin while I got out the pool, then the three of us cuddled on the sofa with more skin to skin and Arthur latched on. The only part of our plan that we then had to change was the third stage. After 2 hours of skin to skin and trying everything else, (breastfeeding, going to the loo, nipple stimulation, acupuncture needles) the placenta was not moving, so I agreed to the injection, rather than risk having to go to hospital. 3 minutes later this popped out and we were all done  I had a small graze and a small internal tear (they think from his elbow!) but no stitches needed.

Only after we were all done did the midwife tell me how hard she had found it to stay so quiet as she was so impressed with the birth she had been so excited and wanted to say more throughout. She commented that this was one of the most amazing births she had seen in 16 years. When talking about it afterwards, I genuinely can’t think of any point that I actually felt in pain or that I would have asked for any pain relief. The only thing that would have helped would have to not have been so sick in the morning, but as soon as I got in the pool, all memories of my sickness vanished. After they had cleared up and left, we spent the most amazing evening, just the three of us, cuddled up in bed staring at our boy! Perfect!

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Jessica's Birth story, following previous birth trauma

Hi Jacque

I’ve been meaning to call. The birth was amazing and we couldn’t have planned it any better. It’s amazing how a great birth has a positive effect on everyone. I’m still on a high and have not had any sad or emotional days (maybe because of my placenta pills).

My waters went at 6.50pm on Sunday; Rory was fantastic and helped to get my hospital notes and phone as I stood in the shower. Jason was at work so Jason’s mum came straight away. I started to get surges on the way to the hospital and by the time we got there at 8pm they were every 3/4 min. At this point I had a slight panic about where I would feel most safe. I was convinced to go to the Singleton unit and I’m so pleased I did. Hayley arrived and my surges really stepped up and I did ask for an epidural. Hayley suggested trying the pool and I agreed. By the time the pool was ready I had started to make different noises. They checked the good old purple line and I was fully dilated. From then on I was confident; in between surges I thought about meeting my baby and I knew my little girl knew what she was doing. I breathed her down and felt her turn. She was born at 9.24 that night. We delayed cord clamping and had skin to skin for a few hours before doing any checks. Hayley cut the cord and Jason arrived from work just as I delivered the placenta. Jason has a bond with her already which is lovely as it took a good few years for that to develop with Rory.

The student midwife thanked me for letting her watch and she said it was the calmest most controlled birth she had seen. They were all stunned that I breathed her out. Although I was not convinced that hypnobirthing would work for me I am so so pleased I gave it a go. I now have the memory of Rory’s birth, priceless! I was calm and well informed during my pregnancy. I did have odd moments of panic but I think without your help the whole pregnancy and labour would have all been a panic. I’m in a great place, able to cope with our new little bundle as well as juggle our mad family life. Because I’m fine I think it’s also made such a difference to Jason. Rory has been fantastic, he even asked his nanny if she wanted to have skin to skin with his little sister. He could not wait to get his top off when he first met her.

Thank you so so much. You have made such a difference to my life and my family’s. I wish you all the best with your studies and I will see you soon x x x

And then on New Year’s Eve, Jessica sent me this message:

“Happy new year Jacqueline! Thank you so much for being such a big part of my life in 2016, you will probably never realise what a difference you have made. You’ve helped me experience two wonderful births this year. I’m not out celebrating tonight but I’m exactly where I want to be, at home in my happy place.”

Lots of love x

Note from Jacque: I’m a fully qualified hypnotherapist, so was able to do some one-to-one work with Jessica to undo the previous birth trauma and rewrite the memory. When previous trauma is involved, a standard Hypnobirthing class may not be enough on its own.  Whatever your conception, pregnancy and birth issues, I’m here to help.  

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Katie, Dan & Seb's VBAC story

Hi Jacque,

We’re very proud to say Seb (Sebastian) arrived on the 3rd April, weighing in at a huge 10lb 3oz!!!

Hypnobirthing works, that’s all I can say. Thank you so much! I haven’t been in touch yet because we went back in with jaundice but other than that Seb’s doing very well.

My labour started during the Royal Wedding, albeit the very early stages. His head wasn’t in exactly the right place so I kept having tightenings every 10 minutes and then once an hour etc…over the entire bank holiday weekend. This also meant that I didn’t sleep at all on the Friday night and he was finally delivered at 10.53pm on Tuesday. Needless to say without Hypnobirthing to focus me throughout this time I’m not sure what I would have done! Dan was an absolute rock and he was able to use the relaxation techniques and deepening technique which really helped.

We left for the hospital on Tuesday morning at about 5.30am and I listened to the affirmations in the car and I listened to the music on loop for a long time once at the hospital (I stayed at 3-4 and then 4-5 cms until 5.30pm when they broke my waters). Once my waters had broken I went from 4-5 to fully dilated by 7.30pm, during which time I listened to the rainbow relaxation on loop and Dan said after when the midwife handed over during this time she told the new midwife that I was doing really well and had gone completely inside myself!

By 7.30 I felt the strongest desire to push – it was ultimately an animalistic desire to push – my midwife said after that perhaps it was because he’s such a big baby. This went on for 2 hours by which time they realised he was stuck – shoulder dystopia, so I went to theatre and was very close to having another C-section, but the consultant was absolutely brilliant and delivered him by forceps – hence the jaundice from the bruising.

I feel a huge sense of achievement and although I had an episiotomy my recovery is a million times better than with Stella because it was drug free and I can see the difference in Seb.

I had no idea if it would really work on the day but it does. It required a huge amount of focus from both me and Dan to maintain it, particularly once my waters had broken and the surges came thick and fast, but it really does work : )

Thank you so much again!!

Lots of love,

Katie x

Background from Hypnobirthing Practitioner Jacqueline: Katie had a previous Caesarean section with the birth of her daughter. She called me at almost 38 weeks when pregnant for the 2nd time as she so desperately wanted to avoid another C-Section. With little time to spare, we booked in a full day and covered as much of the Hypnobirthing techniques as possible and Katie promised to spend every spare minute practicing.

Whilst there were special circumstances, it’s clear from Katie’s birth story that Hypnobirthing certainly helped her avoid a repeat C-Section and the whole experience was very much more positive.

 

 

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Natalie's VBAC story

My first daughter was delivered by c-section in October 2011. We had completed a hypnobirthing course with Jacque and were looking forward to a homebirth. But, towards the end of the pregnancy, our baby was diagnosed breech and I was told I would need to have a c-section. I went in to labour at 37 weeks but no one believed me until I was 10cm and she was on her way (apparently I was far too happy to be in labour!). I had been warned the likelihood of finding someone happy and confident in delivering a breech baby was pretty slim so I signed the dotted line. The c-section went really well, even recovery was very quick but I struggled with breastfeeding and remember feeling ‘broken’. I also felt guilty. Why did I sign the dotted line, why didn’t I refuse the c-section, what had I done to prevent my baby from getting into position? Everyone told me the most important thing is a healthy baby. Of course it is, but it doesn’t help that little niggling feeling that you could have done something differently. So, I was determined for next time…

Monday evening, I started to feel faint surges and woke to a trickle of waters. The surges eased off to nothing throughout the morning so we just went along to our routine midwife appointment that afternoon. Our midwife assured me it wasn’t labour I was feeling; it was ‘pains’ from a bladder infection. (No-one believed I was in labour with my first daughter so this was to be expected!) The surges emerged again Tuesday evening but only slight so I wasn’t in a hurry to rush off anywhere. Following advice, I went to the doctors on the Wednesday, only to be told I did not have a bladder infection – shocking! I was sent up to Canterbury hospital to see the midwives. I had the delights of being strapped to a monitor for a while and experienced the joys of an examination, only to be told I did not have a bladder infection; I was not in labour but… I had thrush! I left the hospital a little baffled!

Thursday morning (after another night of light surges), I went to work. While I was teaching, I realised these surges / contractions / bladder infection ‘pains’ / thrush ‘pains’, were coming quite regularly. 10.42, 10.52, 11.02… at this point I packed up my things and told my class I was off to have a baby! I interrupted my Head teacher’s meeting to request a lift. On the way to Margate hospital, the surges started coming every 4 minutes. (He took me straight to hospital as I was only 36 weeks.) When we arrived, I was told… “we think you might have a bladder infection” They were going to try and fit me in for a scan at some point that day but decided they would do an internal too, just in case. Finally, I was believed – it took a doctor exclaiming she could see a head! I think I remember them saying I was 7cm, at which point I had an overwhelming need to be at home. I sobbed and protested, stating I had to be at home. The staff were incredibly kind and patient when explaining it was a little late to be heading home!

I entered the labour ward really upset. Due to my previous C-section, I had endured many disappointing discussions with my midwives; I was told they would want to do continuous monitoring which would restrict my movement, I would need a cannula (just in case!) and I would have time restrictions put on me. My midwife had asked me to put it in writing that I didn’t want these things, and had prepared me for a battle. We had started to plan a homebirth because of these impending pressures, so a labour ward was the last place I wanted to be. I felt like a hospital birth would eventually lead to a c-section, after all, natural births were for home, right?!

I was taken to my room and introduced to my midwife. She was clearly very happy at the prospect of helping with a natural delivery. I told her my worries about being in hospital and she replied by telling me she understood how important it was for mums to not feel any fear, and how it has a negative impact on labour. This was what I had learnt on my hypnobirthing course, my midwife had learnt this from helping her cat prepare for kittens We were all prepared with our natural birth boxing gloves, and there was no need. Our midwife was happy to not monitor me continuously, she just asked if she could use the doppler occasionally and there was no mention of the cannula. She was amazing! She had such faith in my body and my baby, and her faith was contagious.

By now it was around midday (I think) and surges were coming roughly every 2 minutes. This continued for the afternoon and I felt fine. I breathed through each contraction, holding onto my husband so I could hear his heartbeat, and breathe deeply in time with him. As the afternoon progressed, I began pacing and didn’t want anyone near me. Each surge needed to be walked as well as breathed through. The midwife sensed the change so moved all the furniture to the side of the room.

By early evening, I was pretty exhausted and it was making surges harder to breathe through. I climbed onto the bed and curled up for a little siesta! I remember snoring away one moment then waking as the surges begun to build, to then return to my own world again. I heard my husband ask the midwife if it was ‘normal’ to be snoring during labour, which made me realise I needed to get a move on and stop lazing around! I remembered I hadn’t been to the loo for a while and hoped this would get the ball rolling, it worked! I returned to the room ready to deliver my baby.

At this point, my midwife had started to hint towards the need to speed things up so I agreed to be on the monitor, but only if I could still move around. The cupboard handles become my place of refuge as I could burrow my face into my hands whilst holding on. Despite knowing my baby was happy where she was, I knew I needed to help her get a wriggle on. A consultant was called in but she soon left again. She looked at the strength of my surges, gasped when the midwife said I had no pain relief and told me to carry on! The midwife suggested I would need an internal at 7pm to see what was going on, something I did not want. So, I had a target, I was going to deliver my baby before 7pm.

My waters went and I begun to ‘push’. The midwife persuaded me to get onto the bed (apparently crouching on the floor, makes it a little difficult for them to help!). My husband kept a cool flannel on my neck, while offering reassuring words and back rubs (I was on all fours). I kept trying to push but it didn’t feel right. Pushing hurt and I knew it shouldn’t. So I lied; as each surge came, I hid and begun to breathe my baby down – rather than pushing. Pushing was too uncomfortable for my liking. The midwife told me to push and not to waste the ‘contractions’, to which I replied, I wasn’t having any contractions anymore, I was having a rest. She pretended to believe me (I later found out), and moved away, leaving me to it.

With each surge, I felt my baby slowly move down with my ‘J breaths’. Despite feeling really calm and relatively pain free, I remember hearing myself making quiet groaning / roaring noises. I also remember hearing the radio playing Katy Perry, the song ‘Roar’ – what a great motivator! Then, with a strong surge, my baby’s head was out. The midwife rushed over, with no time to put gloves on and caught her on the next surge.

I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!!

That’s all I kept saying as she was passed through to me and I held on to her little warm body. WOW!!! If only that feeling, at that moment could be bottled.

The midwife (and other staff who I didn’t realise had joined us) helped me turn around and sit down, still holding onto my daughter. They helped me deliver the placenta, gave me a quick check and left us alone. My husband, my daughter and one euphoric mummy!

As I held my baby she started to snuffle, looking for a feed. She latched on and the three of us cuddled to our hearts content The midwife popped by occasionally to check how we were but we were given as much time as we needed. 3 hours later, I finally agreed to hand over my little girl while I had a shower (and stitches), but was clean and back in bed for cuddles soon after. I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt, both physically and emotionally. After feeling like I had failed my first daughter by having a C-section, I suddenly felt healed, I could do it! I did it! And I had a beautiful baby girl, welcome to the world Hazel Mary Clarke, 6lb2oz, born at 6.56pm on the 19th December 2013.

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