Birth stories from Mums who have used Natal Hypnotherapy
I purchased the CD at the Baby show. My baby was actually due on that date. I believe in alternate therapies (in fact I contribute this pregnancy to reflexology) and enjoyed pilates, yoga and reflexology throughout my pregnancy. My first child was induced 12 days late. I had the fully monty with him - pessary, syntocin, epidural, ventouse and forceps and finally manual removal of my placenta. Ray was born with the cord tightly wrapped around his neck and his one minute Apgar was 6. He quickly recovered, as did I, but I had really hoped to do things differently this time around.
I listened to the cd daily, carving out some time for myself. It was really helpful although I did find it difficult to stay awake. I was disappointed to have to schedule another induction. On the night, I left with the cd packed on the top of my overnight case. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I was actually in labour and would hopefully not need any intervention.
After we were assured that the labour and delivery ward was far to busy to take us that night, my husband went home to get one last night's sleep before returning early the next morning. So, I settled in my bed with my personal cd player and the relaxation cd. I dawned on me to start timing contractions and so every five minutes or so I would crack and eye to check the time. As I was nodding off with the cd, I felt a hand on my leg. A bed had opened up and they decided to break my waters.
I very quickly called my husband who had just about arrived home (and sent the babysitter on her way). By the time he was able to have her return and get back to the hospital, my waters had been broken. Labour progressed extremely quickly. So quickly in fact that my midwife, who had gone on her dinner break so as not to miss my delivery later, had to rush back, but my baby was delivered by her colleague.
In all my labour was 1 hour 40 minutes with 14 pushing - not too bad for a 9 pound plus baby. The midwife later told me that in her opinion I was not in established labour for the first hour and had really had a 40 minute labour.
I was very pleased with my experience this time. It was everything my last delivery was not. I definitely credit reflexology, yoga and pilates along with the relaxation cd with helping to create such a great experience. I wish I had bought the cd earlier in my pregnancy. I have already lent the cd to a friend who was very stressed with her first pregnancy. Hopefully she will be able to enjoy the full benefits of the program.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your fantastic hypnotherapy. I finally gave birth to Sophie Jade Smith at 3.50am on Saturday. She was 10 days late and a big baby at 9lbs, but I have just had the most amazing experience of my life! Your CD was perfect, just what I had dreamed my ideal birth to be, and I listened to it every day, twice a day for the last 2 weeks. I was facing the possibility of having to be induced but my midwife Dorothy was so supportive of my determination to have a home birth and she visited me daily for a membrane sweep to try and get things going.
I eventually started in early labour on Friday afternoon and Dorothy gave up her day off and stayed with me from 8pm through to after the birth. Stephen went off to bed at 7pm with no trouble, Neil and his Mum were in the lounge and I was in the kitchen with Dorothy, in the birthing pool. She kept commenting that she'd never seen anyone so relaxed! I felt so in control, totally able to breathe through the contractions, I even managed to doze between them when I was feeling tired!
The whole event was just as you described on your CD. The most amazing part was the birth itself, it went exactly as I had dreamed and hoped it would, just breathing the baby through the birth canal, then 1 push for the head, 1 for the body. Poor Neil missed the actual birth as everybody thought I had a few hours of labour left as I was so quiet and relaxed! He came and checked on me just as the baby was brought to the surface! Then to top it all Stephen woke up and came downstairs and was waving at us all through the kitchen door! It was lovely.
I really appreciate all your help, to experience such a wonderful birth after such a terrible one last time, was just fantastic. I've found it so easy to adjust and recover and Sophie is a quiet sleepy baby. My life at this point feels just perfect. Thank you so much for teaching me your amazing skills, I'd recommend you to anyone!
With much love
Just to let you know that Oscar arrived on 28th July and he's just wonderful.
You'll be pleased to hear we did it all naturally. TENS, water, some gas and air, some very focused breathing and the most extraordinary noises on my behalf ~ I couldn't replicate them if I tried.
We had your recording playing pretty much the whole way through the last 8 hours and although other people were aware it was in the background I was really focused on it and each time it got close to concluding apparently I asked Ja to restart it no matter what stage of contraction I was in. So it really was a great help for me and thank-you so much for all your input.
I really would recommend that EPI-No gadget I told you about, I ended up taking 12 minutes to push Oscar out and had only the smallest tear which did not need any stitches and I'm sure that was down to the Epi-No and all the massage I did ahead of time.
You were so right about the experience of giving birth. I know I was lucky to have had the birth I did as its so easy for little things to escalate, but I'd do it again tomorrow.
All the best with your own pregnancy and hypnotherapy, and I hope it will not be too long until I start the process again.
I've been meaning to send you a thank-you note for a long time now! Paul and I really enjoyed your course and found it very helpful.
Anika was born on 30 March 2004 and weighed a healthy 3.6kg. We had a
natural birth and apart from gas and air, I had no other pain relief. The only negative thing was that I was so calm when we arrived at the hospital that the midwife initially said I wasn't in labour (although i was already 3cm dilated at that stage!) Because of this, my contractions actually went away for a while! I will seriously consider having a home birth next time!
Anyway, thank you again for all your help. I have recommended you to all my friends!
Amrusta & Paul
A quick note to let you know that Hypnotherapy really helped me to have a natural birth I wanted and I believe it benefited my baby and me in many other ways too. Sophia is my second child and after experiencing a long and difficult labour with my son I really wanted to try something different.
After working with Maggie in the later stages of my pregnancy I listened to my CD for every morning from 32 weeks. Sophia seemed to enjoy these times too and kicked vigorously for the whole time.
I believe deep relaxation not only relaxes the uterus giving the baby more room but also improves their oxygen supply. The techniques Maggie taught me really helped me to relax during labour, which definitely helped me cope with the contractions, and even though I had a posterior labour lasting over 14 hours I managed without pain relief - much to the surprise of the midwife. Sophia is now 3 months old and has been a really calm and happy baby - an added bonus of hypnotherapy.
Tabitha was born weighing 8lb 6oz on Sunday (in the end, Archie didn't seem to suit her as a name!!). Born at home, contractions started at 2am (along with a show) and we called the midwife at 6am. Things progressed quite slowly which was a little demoralising (especially for poor John). Used TENS machine until transition and then Carol encouraged me to use gas and air - I had tried one breath of it earlier and decided I didn't like it (made me sick). Worked this time and suddenly turned into 'wit of the month' which again came as a bit of a surprise! At least her slow arrival meant no stitches for me!
Thank you to all those who helped in so many ways, particularly Maggie
Howell, Sue Saxey and Sarah Roberts.
Love Claire, John and Tabitha xxx.
Good evening, I have been meaning to write for a while and now as my beautiful boy Luka Blue sleeps, I am stealing a moment, even though I should be in bed too. I want to write you the story of things that passed for me and my/our birth and I feel the poetry and heart I wish to convey it all will not quite happen now, simply cos I am tired, so know I will send these words onto you when the bubble shows up that allows me to step into stopped time and write it.
But wanted to thank you for the weekend and the one thing you shared which got me through my posterior labour contractions for 19 hours, and that was the image of the dial. It worked, with Tim's amazing continuous committed warrior support, by 7 I was in less pain and by zero I was practically asleep. The labour went in a flowing place I did not expect and after all we could do, baba had still not fully turned and got stuck and at full dilation and no drugs and at home until then, Spirit and the babe took us to the hospital, where I had to have a c section birth to get our very big boy out... it was all amazing and even though there has been sadness at not having a vaginal birth, the journey has taught me so much, and I feel very proud of how I coped throughout, it was amazing and awesome and I loved labour with its volcanic force moving through me.
So love to you and hope you are well, for now, love and in touch, yours
Alisons Birth story
My contact with Maggie started when I spoke to her about wanting to become a mum and my anxieties that went with this, past worries and emotions, lack of self-belief and confidence. After attending some one to one sessions with Maggie, apart from feeling on top of the world, we also conceived.
I then went on to look at what other ways Maggie would be able to help us towards a more relaxed pregnancy and birth. I have never been known for my relaxed attitude and really wanted to ensure that our baby had a relaxed mum to bring them into the world, and to be confident in my ability as a mum.
Maggie again gave me confidence, now as Mum-to-be, that I needed to believe in myself. I used Maggie’s ‘Birth Preparation’ CD, at night and every time I listened to it I had such a wonderful deep and relaxing sleep and woke up the next morning feeling ready for anything! Closer to the end of my pregnancy, if I felt myself getting tired or anxious I would take myself away and put the CD on and relax – it worked marvels!
Maggie was running a 2 day Birth Preparation course which both myself and my husband attended. Never has 2 day’s been better spent! The weekend started off discussing the totally natural event of birthing, and how fear can play a big part in increased pain and complications. The 2 days takes you through some relaxation and visualisation methods. We also found it very helpful as a couple join together to enjoy the experience and share one another’s feelings and fears. It was particularly useful for my husband as he was a little uneasy as to how he would be able to play a part and be of use during the birth. Maggie helped him realise that he could and would play a pivotal role and be able to join in the whole experience far more than he expected, but wished for.
We had been attending the NHS antenatal classes that in themselves were very helpful, but the 2 days we spent with Maggie were full of helpful hints and tips and information that we were not aware of, in particular the various phases that labour and birth send you through. Being a first time mum you do not know what to expect; most of the time you are told of 38 hour labours, traumas, excruciating pain etc, all of which scared me to the point that I wondered what I had done! However, Maggie describing phases such as the ‘self doubt’ phase really helped me and when it came to the labour and birth I knew what to expect and how to cope with it.
At the end of the course we drafted our own birthing plan; what we would do, our visualisation tactics, what we would take etc to enjoy the whole experience. We went away feeling so excited and waiting for the special day instead of dreading it! I felt I would never survive childbirth (a common fear I now understand), but after the 2 days I felt empowered and completely able.
Our due date was 22nd December and all along I had said I didn’t want a 25th or 26th birthdate, however…! Christmas Day morning at home I had my show. I was very relaxed and not at all panicked which I had expected. So, we got the Christmas dinner on, determined to enjoy a good meal before going to hospital. After my show, I felt no real discomfort just some twinges. Later on, around 8pm my contractions started, slight at first then becoming more uncomfortable. I found walking around the house very helpful and swaying seemed to ease the pain.
We had our visualisation worked through, we were walking up a particular hill from a past holiday and coming back down the other side as the contraction subsided. The contractions were lasting 10 seconds, 5 of which were going up the hill, the other 5 coming down. My husband would be behind me during this time counting with me and talking to me.
We carried on with this for a while, managing to grab Christmas ‘tele’ along the way! I wanted to stay at home for as long as we felt comfortable, however, by 2am my contractions were coming much faster (every 2 minutes) so we felt it was time. The contractions were still only lasting 10 seconds. On the way to the hospital, we continued with our hill climbing!
It was a strange experience entering the hospital. Prior to talking with Maggie, I couldn’t wait to get to the hospital and be among those who knew, but after I felt confident that we could manage this ourselves and these people were only interfering with our time. However, they were very good and once they realised that we had our own ideas of how we wanted to experience the birth they were very understanding. We took music in with us; the music from Maggie, and some of my favorite tracks put onto CD.
We were left to our own devices, being checked pretty much every 4 hours. We were very relaxed, walking around, walking the hill, chatting and listening to our music. As the labour developed I did find myself becoming increasingly tired so I eventually lay on the bed, on my side, which I found very comfortable. I did use some gas and air towards the end but felt that this didn’t overly help, merely seemed to shorten my contractions from 10 to 7 seconds. In between contractions I would calm myself and count each one as a positive step towards meeting our baby instead of dreading the pain. I found myself falling into a deep sleep between each contraction, it felt like I was asleep for hours but by now it was only a couple of minutes.
When we had arrived at the hospital I was 5cm dilated, however, after 4 hours I was only 6cm. This was because our baby had moved slightly and was now at the wrong angle. There was then discussion about preparing me for a C Section, something that I really did not want. However, with the new knowledge and confidence that my husband had, he became my ‘gatekeeper’ and asked whether ‘either myself or the baby was in any immediate danger’. The answer was ‘no’ so he suggested that we could wait 15 minutes before making the decision… something I will not forget. In those 15 minutes we were given, our little angel moved to the correct position and started crowning! From crowning to birth it was 30 minutes and what an unforgettable, totally amazing, emotional 30 minutes that was! I had been through my self doubt phase, knew what it was and dealt with it, came out the other side and gave birth to our beautiful daughter naturally and in a completely relaxed state!
She came out relaxed and chuckling, no crying, scoring a 9 and then 10’s on the apgar scale! I had her against me immediately after my husband cut the cord, it was such a magical experience, no drug could match that feeling of high! The midwives left us for a while just to enjoy our new baby and the whole experience.
My labour was just 12 hours, relatively pain free and so very relaxed! Something I felt I could never achieve. Our midwives were great and very open to our own methods. They enjoyed the whole experience too! They had never had such a relaxed birth and couldn’t believe how relaxed baby was too. We were welcomed with a card from them when we got home, thanking us for ‘an amazing birth’.
We strongly believe our completely amazing experience was down to Maggie guiding us through our fears and lack of confidence to make us know that we could do it and we would be good at it! We now are enjoying our beautiful, relaxed daughter in a completely different way than we expected!
This is an experience I would not hesitate to go through again, using the methods we used!
"Ohhh, my labour was 52 hours of sheer agony", "All my good intentions went out the window - I begged for an epidural", "I could not take any more so opted for a caesarean"," You will never feel pain like it". These were some of the experiences other womenheard when I proudly and excitedly announced I was pregnant. The more I listened to them and the more I read about similar birth stories in the pregnancy magazines, the more I was resolved not to have a similar story to tell. I had always believed that birth was entirely natural, with our bodies specifically designed for it and not a medical process in which intervention has become the norm.
To back this I up, I had always had 2 strong beliefs about birth. The first came from my own childhood in Kenya when I had often heard the classic stories of women giving birth in bushes and then carrying on with their work. The second came from witnessing animals give birth. The proportion in size of their young to their birth canal is similar to humans and yet they are able to give birth with very little fuss and without the apparent pain that women often appear to have or drugs and intervention to deal with this. We know that animals can feel pain (the yelp from a dog when you tread on their tail) so somehow animals are able to control their pain far better than humans during labour
My thoughts about hypnosis and "mind over matter" really began when a good friend gave birth in a small barn next to her house. It was her first baby and was technically a difficult birth (4 hours for stage 2!). What really struck me was that she had not felt the need for any pain killers as with each contraction her partner would describe somewhere or something they had done together. Effectively her mind was focusing on something other than the "pain". It was my husband who suggested going on a self Hypnosis course as he in the past he had used of Hypnosis to help with a variety of things. I was a little sceptical in the beginning but decided that it could only help as I was determined to have a natural home birth.
I went on a 2 day course when I was 6 months pregnant. I was the only pregnant woman on the course - the others were there for a whole variety of reasons from fear of presenting to giving up smoking to stress relief. Prior to the course my only real experience of Hypnosis was watching a stage Hypnotist make people act like chickens and eat raw onions. I therefore assumed that there was something mystical about it and that I would close my eyes and would be put in a semi-conscious state in which my problems would be solved. After the first few times I doubted I had been Hypnotised as I just felt very relaxed and was fully aware of my surroundings. As I found out that is exactly what hypnosis is. There is nothing magical about it. It is simply being in a day dream rather than in a conscious state. It is the same as driving a car when you realise that you even though you have been driving carefully, you can't actually remember most of the journey or reading a passage of a book and finding you can't remember the story and have to re-read it. That is exactly the same as Hypnosis - you are having a chat with you sub conscious while you conscious is fully aware of what you are doing.
My doubts were blown out of the water when we put the Hypnosis to the test. I went into my 'daydream' and told my mind that my left arm would be completely free of pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling and soreness for the next 24 hours. We repeated this several times and then came out of my daydream. The trainer then quickly, easily and PAINLESSLY stuck a large nappy pin through my arm! My amazement was even greater when, after taking photos and oohhing and arhhing at each others arms, he took the pin out of my arm and there was not even a drop of blood! (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME - you need to be taught how to safely go into and come out of Hypnosis). I felt amazed and the power of what I had just done slowly began to dawn on me. If I could anaesthetise my arm then surely I could have a comfortable birth without the need for pain killers.
Over the next few weeks I wrote my self Hypnosis script or "programme" for my ideal birth. It included loads of triggers for relaxation such as every time I had a contraction I would feel more and more relaxed, every time my husband held my hand I would feel more and more comfortable etc. I envisaged every last detail including my cervix opening, my baby feeling comfortable and safe, my muscles expanding, holding my baby in my arms etc Once I was happy with the programme I recorded it onto tape with some soothing music in the background. During the last 6 weeks I took myself into Hypnosis every day and listened to the programme I had recorded on my tape recorder. The visualisation was so strong that I would often come out of Hypnosis in tears as if I had actually been through the experience of holding my precious baby. As the day came closer, I got more and more excited and was really looking forward to the birth. I was so keen to find out if the Hypnosis would work and in a way to show others who had doubted what I was doing, that I really could have a wonderful birth.
My first contraction finally came a few days after my due date at 10pm whilst eating dinner in a French restaurant. I had planned for a home water birth and so we excitedly returned home. Since the initial contractions were mild we caught some rest and then at 2.30am things started to happen. We got everything ready for the birth by - we lit a huge fire, the candles, made a nutritious milkshake, made pots of raspberry leaf and nettle tea, put on the soft music as we began what turned out to be a very long labour. I felt so calm and in control and was so sure that the Hypnosis was going to work. Unfortunately my midwife who had been really supportive of my Hypnosis was unable to attend the birth and so another midwife, a complete stranger, turned up to take care of me. She had never been with anyone who had used Hypnosis and was obviously a bit sceptical so insisted that she had gas and air if I needed it. However in my notes, which I read afterwards, she kept commenting on how relaxed, in control and calm I was.
I can truly say that until the last quarter of an hour I had absolutely no need for any pain killers and that my breathing and dreamlike state kept me completely in control. My second midwife arrived after about 6 hours and did not actually hear me speak for 3 hours even though my contractions were 3 minutes apart. My husband would occasionally ask where I was to which I apparently replied "away with the fairies" or "on a beach" - these were images I had used in my Hypnosis. Another amazing "feature" of hypnosis is called time distortion. This is when you tell your mind that things take far longer or shorter than they do in reality (like being in the cinema and it seems like you have been there for several hours rather than just 2). I therefore felt that the time between each contraction was more like 15 minutes rather than 3 and so felt more able to relax and prepare for the next one.
When I was finally fully dilated my midwife checked the babies heartbeat just before I started to push. Very calmly she told us that his heartbeat had dropped substantially and I would need to deliver out of the water. She knew we had to deliver the baby really quickly and suggested that I have an episiotomy. As there was no time for a local anesthetic we did not even question her advice. This was the first time I felt real pain. I feel that there were 2 main reasons for it - one was that I had not built this into my Hypnosis programme and secondly that I needed the adrenaline from the pain to push my baby out in the shortest possible time. The power and energy I felt was quite remarkable so I believe that the pain really helped me to ensure my son was born safely. Unbelievably Joseph was born just 4 minutes later. He was absolutely fine and within a minute took his first breath, coughed slightly and then looked up at me with calm blue eyes. He did not cry out or seem distressed in any way. We massaged him gently and put him straight on my breast. He latched on immediately for his first drink (and has not really stopped since!). All those who came in contact with him commented on how calm and alert he was. I am sure this was partly due to my constant communication with him in utero and my continual reassurance during the birth that he was safe and soon to have a wonderful cuddle with his parents.
In discussions later with my midwife, she reiterated how amazed she had been at the apparent power of the Hypnosis. She was particularly astonished at my ability to push him out so quickly especially as I had been vomiting throughout the labour and my energy levels were extremely low. At the time I really felt that nothing extraordinary was happening - it was only in hindsight that I realised just how well the Hypnosis had worked.
On Thursday, 11 days before my due date, I was told I couldn’t go to the birth centre where I had booked due to a small anomaly in a late scan. Luckily, the following day (Friday), I discovered my local hospital had a temporary birthing unit on the top floor. On Saturday night we went to view it. It was disappointing compared with the original birth centre (no water birth or pools, not at all homely) but at least it was midwife run and natural birth focused, so we signed up.
Just as well, because the next morning I awoke with a show…
That afternoon (Sunday) my waters broke and contractions began around 9 in the evening. They were reasonably strong and regular but never progressed beyond 20 minutes apart, so I went into the birth centre to check things out on Monday evening. The midwife found me to be 2 cm dilated and stripped my membranes to hopefully speed things up. At 11 pm on Monday we went home.
That seemed to work and a few hours later, around 3 am on Tuesday, we were back in the birth centre, the contractions having speeded up to every 5 minutes.
We settled into our room, and I was offered an internal examination to check for dilation but I asked if it could wait till I felt I was fully dilated and needed to push, and that was agreed.
After that we were left undisturbed. We dimmed the lights and got into a nice routine. As a contraction began I would quickly turn on my walkman which was playing a hypnosis tape, go into hypnosis, and relax in a high backed chair.
Between contractions I would stand up and sway my hips to keep the momentum going, looking out of the window. It was just an urban, concrete hospital, but somehow, in the dark, with the streetlights shining, a clear night sky, alone in our quiet room, it all seemed rather poetic.
Anyway, we continued like this for a while. Talking a little between contractions and relaxing during them. After couple of hours, things became a bit more intense and I moved to a side-lying position on the bed, still listening to my tape, going in and out of hypnosis and feeling very mellow. Tony and I timed a few contractions and they were regular at 90 seconds duration every 3 minutes. I felt completely relaxed and confident that everything was going beautifully.
The contractions then became even more intense. I started to feel a bit cold which I recognised as a good sign that the process was moving along nicely. The contractions were now coming almost without a break. I was lying on the bed completely still and anyone glancing in would probably have thought that I was asleep, but I was actually extremely focused. I listened to my tape and went into hypnosis during contractions, opening my eyes between them so that Tony knew when he could speak to me. Things were so intense that I stopped attempting to flood myself with anesthesia (I was using a ‘glove of anesthesia’ technique) and just sort of relaxed into the sensations and accepted them. That also felt great. I felt very peaceful and actually found myself smiling several times as I thought that I would soon meet my baby (this was one of the suggestions in my programme). The down time between contractions was very short but I somehow felt myself almost falling asleep at those times. I remembered reading somewhere that this was normal and I felt relaxed and reassured. This intense phase probably lasted around half an hour.
As we hadn’t seen any staff since just after we had arrived I told Tony that things were moving along quickly and could he try to get hold of someone. He went out, but was told that we’d have to wait as there were only 2 midwives on duty and one woman was at the pushing stage and another had just given birth and was being sutured.
This was around 7 am. And suddenly things changed completely. The contractions disappeared and I could sit up, relaxed, for quite a while (around 10 minutes). I was very happy because I recognised this as the ‘rest and be thankful period’ that sometimes happens at full dilation and I was confident that soon I would have ‘pushing contractions’ and meet my baby.
At this point a midwife turned up. I explained to her that I was fairly close to giving birth, but she just laughed. Although we had told her that I was using self-hypnosis, she had probably never seen anyone use it before and because she hadn’t heard from me all night and I was now so relaxed she assumed that I wasn’t even in established labour yet.
She checked my dilation and her hand was obviously feeling what her mind already believed, because she said I was only at 4 cm. She added that I was now at what they would consider to the beginning of labour and should expect to progress about 1 cm per hour from then on. Then, as I clearly had around 6 hours to go, she left.
What I had experienced and what she had measured didn’t tally and if I were to believe her reading (which unfortunately I did), there must be something seriously wrong anatomically. Two people I know had previously undetected scar tissue on their cervix and it simply didn’t dilate properly and I wondered if this might be what had happened. They had needed c-sections. I got pretty scared. The midwives were free now, but they still left us on our own. They wouldn’t listen to my concerns. We finally got hold of her again and requested a transfer to the hospital downstairs. It took them a while to arrange this (thankfully, as it turned out, or I might have had my baby in the elevator!). Finally, at 7.40 am they said we could transfer at 8 am.
Anyway, after my ‘rest and be thankful’ period there was about half an hour where I was in a lot of pain, purely because I wasn’t concentrating on the birth or my body at all, but worrying that I would need a c-section, and wondering if they’d transfer me in time. I had stopped using hypnosis or relaxing, or believing I was having a baby any time soon.
But then I found myself involuntarily pushing, and found that pushing made the intense sensations so much more comfortable. I did this sort of half hearted pushing for only 2 contractions when I had the unmistakable feeling of a baby’s head crowning. And finally it dawned on me that I had been right all along! The midwife couldn’t argue with this fact and suddenly everything was OK again. Someone shouted out ‘delivery!’(lol) and a wonderfully good midwife who had just arrived on duty dashed in and took over. I immediately re-focused and in a further 2 contractions of pushing my son was born – completely painlessly. It was 8 am.
He was passed to me straight away and it was love at first sight. I just hugged and kissed him over and over. They left us together as long as we needed – no suctioning, washing, weighing or other procedures. The cord was left to finish pulsating. My baby was perfectly healthy and beautiful. I had only a superficial tear that didn’t need any sutures.
The time from the start of real labour to the birth was around six hours. For some reason my notes say “3 hrs 30 mins” – maybe “45 mins” would have looked a bit odd!
Moral of the story: trust your body, and don’t listen to medical staff. I thought in a so-called natural child birth centre I was safe, but I was wrong….
Anyway, apart from half an hour it was the perfect hypnobirthing experience. All my suggestions and triggers kicked in just as they were supposed to and the whole time I was using hypnosis and/or in tune with my body it was completely pain-free.
Lila's Birth story
Sally listened to the birth preparation CD for 6 weeks prior to giving birth.
Sally wanted to prepare for the birth by visualising what would happen through listening to the Birth preparation CD, but the NHS set-up made this virtually impossible. The chances are that we would not have even met the midwives caring for Sally, use of the birthing pool looked like a remote possibility and the other rooms seemed to be designed for clinical convenience not for the comfort or wishes of the mother-to-be. So it was that with less than four weeks to go to the due date, we decided that a home water birth was what we wanted.
On Thursday 14th the pool arrived – four days early – in kit form, contained in two enormous boxes. A rented TENS machine and her personalised birth preparation CD also arrived that day – ahead of schedule – and Sally commented that we now had everything we needed.
Early the next day Sally had a ‘show’ and some niggling back pains. A phone call to Rosie, our independent midwife was greeted with mild interest but a view that “it could be up to a week or two yet”. Sally proceeded to continue painting the nursery with her Mum (and a tin of yellow paint). When I rang Sally at lunchtime, the back pains were still there and I decided I’d better come home from work and get the pool assembled!
Sally duly finished the painting in the afternoon and I started sorting out the chosen birthing room. We broke for an evening meal and then Sally’s waters broke too. Another phone call to Rosie elicited a little more interest and a request to keep her informed.
Sally was now starting to get definite contractions and tried out the TENS. The pool was finished and filling slowly with water. Sally was coping well with the contractions but when they started coming every three minutes or so, I called Rosie again and she set off in the car to join us. Rosie arrived just after midnight, seemed happy that Sally was fine and agreed that getting in the pool was a good thing to do.
The pool was a great success. It stayed warm with minimal topping up and Sally revelled in being able to change positions easily without having to lug the weight of the bump about. Rosie maintained a “hands-off” approach. The only regular measurements she took were of the baby’s heart rate which was fine throughout. She judged progress largely by how well Sally was coping with the contractions. Based on this measure she warned us that she thought we were still at the relatively early stages. As time ticked on into the wee small hours, we thought we ought to listen to the self hypnosis CD. It was highly effective as within ten minutes, both Rosie and I were fast asleep! Sally was slightly indignant to be left coping with her contractions on her own!
As six in the morning approached, Sally said that she was feeling the urge to push, but wasn’t sure whether she was ready or not. Sally surfaced (!) to enable Rosie to do her one and only internal examination of the proceedings. Rosie could feel the baby’s head and told Sally that it was fine to start pushing – warning that for a first birth, this stage could often last one to two hours. As it turned out, Sally and baby Lila had other ideas and in a mere twenty minutes Lila appeared and swam towards the bottom of the pool only to be caught by Rosie and brought to the surface. It was a wonderful moment as Sally sat in the pool and cradled our bewildered and bedraggled daughter.
The birth experience was all that Sally and I had hoped for. Sally had no tearing at all and since getting in the pool, had used no pain relief other than the warm water and the techniques learned on the CD. The placenta however, was not keen to part from Sally after nine months together. While I cradled Lila, Sally and Rosie waited for nature to take its course. Homeopathic treatments were tried along with a few other tricks of the trade. After four hours, we all reluctantly agreed that an injection of syntometrine and determined pulling was the right course of action and the placenta was duly delivered.
Sophia was exactly 14 days late so they wanted to induce
me but she arrived before they could. I went into labour around tea time on
the Thursday. I listened to my cd and got changed etc and then chatted to
Ken and Jack and friends on the phone as planned. Jack went to stay with a
friend about 9 and the contractions got more substantial (every 3 minutes
lasting about 45 seconds). Ken and I went for a walk around the village (in
the rain) at about midnight and then at 1.30 we went to hospital. I was 3-4
cms dilated by then and used relaxation for the next few hours much to the
interest of the midwife who couldn't quite understand why I didn't want pain
relief and why I seemed very calm seemed very calm. She kept saying to Ken
'They're not all like this' and that I had a very high pain threshold which
obviously pleased me. Strangely though after wanting a very active labour
the most comfortable position was lying on my back (loads of back pain) and
I just closed my eyes each time I had a contraction and tried to relax my
body as much as possible.
They broke my waters at about 5.30 when I was 6 cms dilated and things
happened really fast then and pain was very intense. Had gas and air (which
was great - although had no effect on the pain). Pushed for half an hour
(thought it was more like 2 hrs) and Sophia was born at 7.33. The midwife
insisted I had the injection and then of course the placenta got stuck
inside me and then she snapped the cord as she tried to pull it out (Ken got
sprayed with loads of blood which was very funny and he looked like he'd
been involved in a chain saw massacre). Anyway they said I would have to go
to theatre but I thought bugger that and pushed with all my might and
eventually pushed the placenta out so my 3rd stage took an hour! I tore
along my episiotomy line but didn't feel it and the stitching was fine.
Anyway did it all without pain relief apart from gas and air!!
Very strange feeling when she came out but glad I experienced it. Felt very
shell shocked for a few hours but was home by 1.30 sitting drinking tea with
Ken's parents. Ken collected Jack from school early and brought him to the
hospital to meet Sophia and bring her home which was really nice.
Hypnotherapy definitely had a number of very positive effects - helped me
relaxed in pregnancy and I'm sure the hour of relaxation I did every morning
when listening to the cd had a really positive effect on Sophia as she was
always really active and I presume got more oxygen etc. Helped me cope with
labour - very painful for the last 3 hours but up till then it was fine -
considering it was a posterior labour and I did have loads of back pain as
well as abdominal pain. Last 3 hours were overwhelming but I did do it so I
think hypnotherapy helped there too. I also feel hypnotherapy has helped me
since Sophia was born and as I say I'm sure she is very calm because I was
really relaxed in pregnancy and labour. Maybe there's a study in there