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"My dream is that every woman everywhere will know the joy of a truly safe, comfortable
 and satisfying birthing for herself and her baby....." - Marie F. Mongan, HypnoBirthing® founder

Birth Stories
(Clickable list)

Read Dad's side of the story as well as Mum's
Thomas First  ‘HypnoBabe’ in Edinburgh
  Nigel Induced birth
  Mary First   Water-birth ‘HypnoBabe’ in Edinburgh
  Gwen First   Home birth ‘HypnoBabe’ in Edinburgh
  Megan Home birth ‘HypnoBabe’
  Martha First VBAC ‘HypnoBabe’
  Finlay 16 days ‘late’
  Stephen Hospital didn’t think Mum was in labour!
  Cara Third baby after two miscarriages
  Chiron Home birth ‘HypnoBabe’
  Zoe Best ever Christmas present!
  Abby Unplanned home birth!
  Daniel Mum says, ‘It was a doddle.’
  Naomi Home birth – 4 hour labour
  Evie Rose First baby - Home Waterbirth in 6 hours
  Grace Imogen By Caesarean Section


Birth of Thomas  First 'HypnoBabe' in Edinburgh.

Thomas decided to make his entrance into the world without the help of an induction, which was a super big blessing.

The evening before I started my birthing time I went into hospital to be monitored (I was avoiding induction like the plague and this was one way to keep the midwives happy). I counted myself down and enjoyed being in my special safe place while the monitoring was happening. My husband started watching the monitoring information and apparently I was having surges every 10 minutes or so and about 60 seconds long. I was only feeling these as a nice tightening sensation and didn't even realise that I was in the early stages. They sent me home and I had no clue that I would be giving birth to my son in just over 24 hours.

We had a chinese takeaway that night and figured he would stay put another day. Luckily I started having surges every 7 min. apart at 1:00 in the morning. I put my Rainbow Relaxation CD on the ipod and went back to sleep and slept through most of these surges. By 5:00 they were every 4 min.apart and stronger. I went to the loo and noticed that my plug was starting to go. This made me excited--I knew that today was "the day"!

I turned "off" during each surge and went to my special place and in between surges I turned my valve to "centre" where I was aware and could move my arms, legs, etc. but couldn't feel anything from my shoulders to my hips. As the day progressed, I had to work to relax and practice my breathing during each surge. My husband kept making sure I drank water and ate a bit of pasta. The surges kept at this pace for a good couple of hours and I started to get the shakes so we decided it was time to go to hospital.

I was only at 1 cm, but not too disappointed because I was using my hypnosis to cope well with the surges and when the hospital sent us home I was fine as I preferred to be at home anyway. The roughest part was that it was difficult to find a position that was comfortable as I was feeling a lot of pressure in my back with each surge. I got into the shower at home and visualised each drop of water as being anaesthesia on my back. This helped a lot. The surges continued at this intensity and a bit closer together until 2:00, so we decided to go back to hospital. I was at 3 cm and they admitted me. He was in a slightly posterior position and that's why I wasn't dilating as quickly as I should have been. I remember my husband putting his hand on my shoulder and saying, "release", "relax" and "peace" to help keep me in hypnosis and in my special place during each surge. I used the tub (which was great) and various positions (alternating between loo and birth ball) to keep comfy, but there was a lot of pressure in my back, so we decided to do some aroma therapy/back massage. That was the best massage my DH has ever given me!!! Finally, after much deliberation, we decided to try to rupture the membranes to get his head more engaged (I was still stalled at 3 cm and it was 7:30 by now). I used my hypnosis to completely relax during the internal and I can honestly say, I didn't even feel it and the AROM worked! I went to 5 cm almost instantly. The midwife who had been helping was due to go off shift at 8:00 and by this time I was really intent on getting him out (she had been so supportive and followed our birth plan really well). I think it was at this point that I really "let myself go" and let my birthing body take over because I don't really have much sense of time or space or anything after this point. I can honestly say that it wasn't painful at all, but very primal and intense.

I alternated between squatting positions and leaning over the bed with each surge and just let my body do what it needed to do. I remember moaning and saying "ahh" with each surge and "yes" to remind myself that I wanted to go with what my body needed. After pushing for a while (I lost all track of time), the midwife encouraged me to see if I could "have a wee" to relieve some pressure.

I went to the toilet and never looked back. There were bars on each side and I was able to do a supported squat and knew that the head was beginning to come down and crown. Anne asked me if I wanted to feel his head, so I put my hand down and felt the top of his head before he came out--a strange and incredible experience. After a couple more pushes (totally mother directed), Thomas was born at 9:05pm (over the toilet), so I went from 5 cm to complete and pushed him out in a little over an hour. When he was ready, he was ready!!

I was super thankful for a hospital that was so natural childbirth friendly. It was a huge blessing. He is such a calm baby--no fuss from our wee little man. I felt great afterward and didn't need any drugs during labour or afterward. To be honest it didn't even occur to me to ask for them during my birthing time. I feel so blessed to have been able to enjoy the complete experience of birthing my child naturally and drug free!

Birth of Nigel 
Induced birth.

My memories of the whole event are amazingly blurry, but here goes:  At 3.30 in the morning my waters broke. I got up (souping all over the place), and got very excited thinking ‘this is it!’. I was really glad the waters were clear, as for some reason the idea of meconium in the water had nested inside my head, and I was worried about having to be induced right away. We had planned a homebirth, but the advice was to phone the hospital if my waters break, so I did that, and they asked me to come in for a check of the baby’s heartbeat. We went there about 4.30am, and I was put on a monitor for about 1/2 hour, and then they took a swab to check for infection, which came back clear. At this point I had very weak surges which showed up on the monitor but which I could hardly feel.

We spent the weekend waiting and hoping for labour to start properly, and tried everything in the book. The midwives were very nice and encouraging, and one midwife actually made a point of telling us we had 72 hours, and the right to refuse induction if we wanted to, before a consultant came to see us who then proceeded to encourage us to consider an early induction! To be fair, though, whilst all the consultants we saw were obviously keen to induce us, all of them also pointed out that they can’t force anything on us and that we had to decide. So, when a (different) consultant suggested on Sunday that we should come in that same evening to be induced (because technically my 72 hours were up at 3.30 on Monday morning), we declined and arranged to come in at 7.30am on Monday. That Sunday night we made one last desperate attempt to get labour started by climbing Arthur’s Seat. It produced a couple of slightly stronger surges, but nothing useful.

So, on Monday morning, off to the hospital we went. Once again we had to do a lot of waiting first, but at 10.00am I was given some Prostaglandin gel to soften my cervix. This brought on surges right away, which were much stronger than anything I’d had before. We had six hours before they would do anything else, and we spent them chatting and walking round the hospital for a bit and peeing every 5 minutes. The midwife said that sometimes the gel can start off labour, but most often it just does what it says on the tin, namely soften the cervix, and they didn’t expect much else to happen. So, we took the surges as a good sign, and after the six hours were up I was about 2cm dilated.

I was then put on the Syntocin drip, which strengthened the surges further. They start the drip off slow and gradually increase it, and pretty soon the midwife noticed that Nigel’s heartrate dipped with each surge. They explained to us that this can have a whole number of reasons, and is not initially a cause for concern, but as there wasn’t as much activity between the surges as they would have liked, they got a consultant to keep an eye on it. They slowed the drip down again a couple of times, as they were getting a bit worried about him.

The surges themselves at this point were strongish, and I used the slow breath a lot on them, which seemed to work fine.

Around 8.00pm, the shift changed and Susie took over. I was immediately impressed by how keen she was on supporting everything it said in our birth plan (first thing she did was dim the lights!). She did say right away that she wasn’t going to offer any pain relief to us unless we asked for it, and generally explained everything she did or asked us to do very clearly and non-pushy. To be fair, I have to say that the midwives who’d been looking after us before her were very interested in the Hypnobirthing idea as well, and were very supportive.

The next couple of hours are where it gets really fuzzy. According to Dave, it was only about an hour or so before Nigel was born that I started to use the gas and air, so until then I must have been doing alright. Dave just sat by the bed and stroked my forehead and poured water into me in between surges. Suddenly, Susie asked if I felt the urge to push yet, and then said she was going to have a look if she could see the head. Soon after, I started pushing/ breathing him out, but his heart rate dipped again and stayed low, so Susie asked if I could push as hard as I can, and then suddenly after a few pushes his head popped out! Dave received him and plonked him on my belly. I got this crazy rush of endorphins everyone goes on about and it was mad. I was completely doolaly, totally happy and amazed and kept thinking ‘That wasn’t that bad! Let’s do it again...’ I had a small but deep internal tear, but Susie was happy with the way it was sitting so when I said I didn’t want stitches she was fine with that. I gave him his first feed then, and was very pleased when he latched on pretty quickly.

On the whole I would say that although nothing went to plan, I had a pretty good time. I feel the Hypnobirthing course really helped me keep calm during labour, but, most importantly I felt very close to Dave and he was so calm and reassuring the whole time – I think that was the biggest help for me.

Birth of Mary 
Water-birth ‘HypnoBabe’

I woke up at midnight and felt as though my labour might be starting so I got up and went into the sitting room. To take my mind off it I started watching a film on television and then after that watched another one. I decided to start timing my surges and at first they were only every 6-7 mins apart. I just sat on my birthing ball, rocking and watching the films.

My husband awoke at 5am and wondered where I was; he found me just at the end of the second film and couldn’t believe I hadn’t woken him. I listened to the positive affirmations track on the Hypnobirthing CD and that helped to mentally prepare me for the time ahead and build my confidence that I could do this and had practiced for it.

I decided to have a bath to help relax and after this the surges had quite an erratic pattern sometimes 3 mins apart, sometimes 5 mins. We rang the hospital and they said to come in but not to rush. We arrived at 7am and they assessed me. I was only ~ 3cm dilated so they advised a walk round the hospital car park. It was a beautiful crisp morning so we went for a stroll. I had to stop each time a surge came and concentrated on breathing through it and leaned against my husband for support. At 8.30am I was checked again and told I could now go to the delivery room. We had requested an active birthing room on our birth plan and were delighted to find that one was free.

I stayed upright for quite a while, again rocking on the birthing ball or leaning against a wall during the surges and all the time I kept focusing on the balloon breathing. I took the Rainbow Relaxation CD and relaxation music with me to hospital and had this playing in the background. This really helped as a gentle reminder of all the preparation we had done and that I could relax if I allowed myself.

The midwifes were fantastic at the hospital and totally respected the type of birth we wanted (a water birth with no intervention/drugs). They checked on us every hour or so and asked if we were OK then left us to allow nature to take its’ course. At ~ 11am they checked me and I was only ~ 5cm dilated. I was disappointed as I felt it would be more. They said they would come back in an hour. For the next hour again I focused on getting through each surge with the balloon breathing. My back was extremely sore so I found the most comfortable position was lying on my side in the bed with the back elevated, this also meant I wasn’t getting too tired from moving around (I had been nodding off between surges whilst sitting on the birthing ball!). The combination of being given a time period until they came back and the balloon breathing really worked for me to help focus on what was happening.

At 1pm they came back again and said I had dilated enough (~ 8cm) and that I could go into the pool. That was music to my ears, I was so excited because it meant that not only might the warm water help ease the remainder of the delivery but that I was actually getting closer to the birth I wanted. I thought I was only in the pool for thirty minutes but it turned out it was two hours and thirty minutes! I started off on all fours, rocking in the water and continuing my breathing. The midwifes were so impressed they were asking where I had learnt the techniques from. My waters finally released about an hour before the baby was born. I turned to face the midwifes for the final delivery. They kept checking the baby’s heartbeat and it was fine.

I felt that the baby was coming down but the midwifes said no don’t push but then quickly changed their minds. I remembered not to push but to relax and whilst it took longer as the baby came down then back a little then down a little bit more it seemed to work and allowed my body the time it needed to adjust. Our daughter was born at 1522 and the proud father cut the cord. She was absolutely fine and had high scores on assessment. We had been advised by the midwifes that is would be easier for the third stage to take place out of the pool. I trusted their advice as they had been so fantastic throughout and it did go like a dream. I was holding my beautiful daughter whilst lying on the bed and they quickly delivered the placenta.

They asked me if I wanted to go home that day. I felt OK but said maybe I should stay one night. As I walked down the corridor to the room other midwifes were commenting that I wasn’t walking like someone who had just given birth. I felt very proud of myself.

We are now home; she has put on 10.5oz in the last week, feeds really well and sleeps for 3-4 hours at a time. She seems extremely content. I felt absolutely fine afterwards and even surprised myself. Within two weeks I have been told I can start swimming again!

I decided to try Hypnobirthing as I was terrified of childbirth. I was even in tears just thinking about it. I had heard all the stories of my friends experiences and absolutely dreaded it. One friend, however, recommended Hypnobirthing and I thought I have nothing to lose from trying this. I can’t thank her or Pauline enough as I believe if I hadn’t taken this course the outcomes could have been very different. I had the most wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone who feels uncertain about childbirth. It gave me the confidence that I could get through it and the techniques to keep in control.

I wished for a 7 hour labour, a water birth and no drugs – just counting the time in hospital I got what I wished for and would do it all over again.

Thanks again to Pauline and all the staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Birth of Finlay 
16 days ‘late’

I am happy for our story to be shared as I think it shows if you are determined, knowledgeable and know which battles to fight, you will accomplish your goals.

We were keen to have out baby at home in water. I had severe pubis symphasis dysfunction PSD and was using crutches and a wheel chair for my last 3 months. The only relief from pain I got during the day was when I took a bath. The water worked wonders. However, because our baby was 16 days over due, the community midwives were not comfortable with delivering him at home. We accepted their concerns and went under the hospital supervision. The birthing pool went back in the box and I was devastated. We booked an appointment to see the obstetrician at day 15 (they couldn’t do a sweep because there was no dilation) and he said I should be induced but he said he didn’t want to force me into a decision I didn’t want to make. I took his advice but asked that I go home after having prostaglandins. Even though this was against protocol, he allowed us to because the scan showed I had lots of amniotic fluid and therefore the placenta should be OK. He explained after week 41 your chance of still birth doubles to 3%. We thought it was worth taking the risk this far but not to take it any further.

After having the prostaglandins at 5pm I started surges at 9pm in the kitchen after I had cooked dinner. My show happened at 2am but because there was so much blood, I chose to go into hospital to be examined. On examination they said I was fine and asked if we wanted to stay in. We accepted and I had breakfast in the hospital canteen at 7am, anything to keep me busy. By then the surges had slowed down in time and intensity. I was really disappointed. At 8am the registrar gave me an examination and said I had only dilated 2cm so advised more prostaglandins then to break my waters. I explained that I didn’t want my waters broken because I didn’t want the IV syntocin. She agreed to give me another 24hours, instead of a few hours, after my waters were broken before they tried the IV. I agreed to this in principal but knew I didn’t want to go down this route.

After the second lot of prostaglandins, at 9am on day plus 16, I went into active labour very quickly. I felt uncomfortable and sick. I was quite shocked at how things changed from the night before. I had 3 surges every 10 minutes for most of the day. I hardly said a word to anyone, I was so focused on relaxing, like lucy lou, eyes closed, breathing through the surges. My partner kept saying he didn’t know when the surges were happening, so I developed a sign, thumbs up, when they occurred so he could lead my breathing.

At around 2pm I asked my partner to get the midwife for more paracetamol. She said to him I should wait another ½ hour as it was only 3.5 hours since my last one. She asked him if I wanted codeine and he said no. I remember listening to their conversation at the door and wanting to tell them to stuff their paracetamol and that I wanted an epidural NOW! I said nothing though and carried on in my trance over the ball. Needless to say soon after that I felt a pushing urge. My partner called her in and I asked her to examine me. I said I didn’t want the monitor on again. To our delight she told us I could resume my birth plan as the induction had ended, I was 5cm dilated. It was the best news I had had in months! I told her I wanted a pool and luckily there was one available.

As soon as I got into the birth pool everything changed. I smiled, I came out of my trance and really began getting into the surges. I still breathed through the urge to push, reserving my energy. The midwife examined me again at 6.15pm and said she now wanted me to push the baby out. I followed her advice and in less then 10 pushes Finlay’s head came out. My partner could see him blowing bubbles under the water looking surreal. I waited for the next surge and birthed him into the water and scooped him into my arms.

We cut the cord some time later and I got out the pool to deliver the placenta while they took his measurements. My midwife said my placenta was huge and she thought he was only 1 week late. She also said she had never known an induced labour be so quiet. She felt bad that she didn’t have to do anything. She explained that this was even more amazing as he was 9lb 7oz and my first baby. When I left the ward the other midwives were all asking me about Hypnobirthing because I hadn’t needed pain relief and I hadn’t screamed.

The great thing about my midwife was that she had read our birth plan and knew what we wanted and left us, as much as possible, to get on and do it. Once I got the pool, which is what I had planned for him to be born in, we knew we were home and dry.

Birth of Gwen  Home birth ‘HypnoBabe’

I had a lovely baby girl on 18th October. Her name is Gwen she was 7lb 2oz when born and is alert, feeding well and sleeping for 5-6 hours at night.

It was a bit of a long haul of a labour. I started surging on the Sunday night and got Julia out in the early hours as my surges were 4 minutes apart. They tailed off however and continued on and off until Tuesday when both Julia and Anne came out and things kicked it up a gear.

The long latent phase was pretty physically and emotionally demanding. I think the relaxation was really useful for the first 36 hours or so, but I must admit to not being prepared for the intensity of the surges coupled with the length of my labour. After not sleeping for about 40 hours I began to struggle emotionally with the surges and what seemed like a never ending cycle of intensity. By about the 48 hour mark I was in a bit of a panic and was asking to be transferred into hospital for an epidural as I just felt I couldn’t handle things any longer.

The girls decided to give me a small shot of morphine to allow me to sleep - I think sleep deprivation was, by this time, my biggest problem. Trevor managed to catch a few hours of sleep at this time as well. I lay on the couch resting between surges for 4 hours - the morphine helped me to regain my composure, relax into the surges, and by the time I got up I was ready to deal with the emotional and physical challenge of giving birth.

After marching up and down the stairs and spending quite some time in the birth pool I finally gave birth to our lovely little girl. I was on all fours and Julia guided her through my legs and she swam into my arms. It was the most incredible moment. She was, and remains, extremely alert and started feeding very quickly.

I think the perineal massage really helped as I remained completely intact with no tears at all. All in all it was a fantastic experience. The HypnoBirthing philosophy was great for the first 36 hours and the final 3 hours (not sure if anything could help combat sleep deprivation). We feel it was a great bonding "tool" for us all as well.

So, thank you very much for all your energy and assistance.

Birth of Megan 
Home birth ‘HypnoBabe’

My waters tentatively broke around 3am on the 29th October. The hospital advised us to come in for assessment but we returned home soon after as I’d hardly begun dilating.

At home my surges began to build in strength so we focused on a variety of the breathing techniques and listened to our HypnoBirthing CD’s. The pace and power of the surges were becoming very intense and I felt like I might need to push. We returned to the hospital at 4cms and were informed that the baby was in distress and were whisked off to the high risk unit where the baby had to endure many fetal blood samples as well as an internal heart monitor. My partner tried to help me stay calm by focusing on my breathing, which did help but I struggled to cope with the surges because unbeknown to us the baby had shifted to a back to back position and moved backwards! As such, we took the decision to use gas and air before moving onto having an epidural. The baby continued to be in distress and following yet more tests and a scan, the staff finally discovered the position of the baby and intervention became certain. Our daughter was delivered by forceps where on arrival she wasn’t breathing and needed resuscitation. Thankfully after everything she was brought back to me absolutely fine, surprisingly a very contented, calm baby.

I couldn’t have imagined that our baby’s birth would be so dramatic. I had hoped to avoid conventional pain relief and intervention but have no regrets about the choices we made. One of the most valuable things that we learnt during the HypnoBirthing course was that it’s crucial for parents to feel empowered and the safety of both mother and baby is paramount. Due the confidence and knowledge we’d gained I felt that we were in control of the decisions being made and that we did what was right for our baby. Throughout the whole experience I felt connected to my baby and body and confident that I could bring her safely into the world.

I would strongly recommend HypnoBirthing to all mum’s to be. I was a prime example of someone who feared birth but with the help of the course I feel proud of what my partner and I achieved… A happy healthy HypnoBabe!

Birth of Martha VBAC  ‘HypnoBabe’

At the last Hypnobirthing class my baby was lying in a transverse position and I was trying all kinds of things to encourage the baby to turn into a head down position. Well, the baby did turn, but didn't stop turning, and at my routine ante-natal appointment at 38 weeks I was admitted to hospital as my consultant felt the baby would be in serious danger of a cord prolapse if I went into labour at home.

I was offered an elective section at this point, but I opted to wait and stay in hospital to see if things sorted themselves out. I made it clear that I wanted to avoid a c-section if at all possible. My first birth had been an emergency c-section. My consultant was brilliant and let me wait till 10 days overdue (so I was stuck in hospital for 3 1/2 weeks!!) before taking action. It was agreed that if the baby was head down on the day they would break my waters and try and control the baby's descent (as the head stayed high even when baby was head down) and see if labour started, if not it would be a section as no other induction would be attempted given my previous section.

At 8 days overdue the baby was breech, but she must have known because by day 10 she had turned round and her head had engaged. My waters were broken at 10 in the morning on 30th October and our daughter Martha was born at 3 minutes to 4 that afternoon weighing 8lb 1/4oz. The birth was amazing and completely natural (except the waters being artificially broken) with no pain relief. I used the birthing ball, which was brilliant as I feel it really helped speed things up. I found the relaxation techniques very helpful they really allowed me to cope with the surges, which were very frequent throughout, right from the beginning of labour. The technique I used most effectively was to relax my facial muscles. I just completely relaxed my face and this really seemed to help relax the rest of my body. I have to admit that when it came to the second stage the birth breathing did go out of the window as the urge to push was completely powerful and overwhelming and I just couldn't not do it! It was amazing and overwhelming to see our daughter being born and to hold her and feed her straightaway. I feel so lucky to have experienced her birth in such a natural way, we will both always remember it clearly.

Martha will be 6 weeks old tomorrow and is doing really well, she is a very relaxed, laid back little girl and she sleeps a lot.

Thank-you so much for the classes, I believe they really were the reason I got the birth experience I wanted and I wish we'd known about Hypnobirthing before our first baby was born. We'll definitely be recommending Hypnobirthing to other couples!

Birth of Stephen  Midwife said that Mum was not in labour!

I woke up at 5am on the Sunday morning feeling a bit uncomfortable in my lower abdomen. I went to the toilet and had a show – this was the first indication of anything being about to happen. I went back to bed and tried to get back to sleep but found it difficult to get comfortable. I dozed until we got up at 8ish and then had a bath to see if the surges would go away. They didn’t completely, but they weren’t especially regular and it was easy to stay comfortable using the breathing techniques.

We went to my husband’s parents for lunch (it had been planned a while ago and I thought it was probably a good idea to get out of the house and do something to take my mind off things). It was really enjoyable and I ate more than I'd planned, although nothing like as much as I would have normally. Every so often I would get a surge and end up staring glassily at something while I concentrated on breathing with it.

We came home and Robin lit lavender candles and did the rainbow relaxation script with me which was lovely and I was quite relaxed and sleeping for fairly long stretches of time. I then did the recorded relaxation a couple of times myself, which was also good. I'm really glad we did this because it meant I got some sleep and wasn't exhausted later on. We'd timed the surges at around 4pm and they were coming at 5 minute intervals, but we decided to do nothing about it yet.

About 7.30ish the surges were coming around 3 minute intervals and were getting stronger. We phoned the hospital and asked if we should come in. Triage said that it was my first baby and to take a couple of paracetamol and have a bath and the surges would probably go away. When I asked when we should come in, she said we shouldn’t - I should phone back when the pain became unbearable because before that it wouldn't be "productive" labour!

Obediently I went and had a bath and took a couple of paracetamol. Towards the end of the bath, Robin came into the bathroom and we timed the surges - they were now about 90 seconds apart. When I got out of the bath we decided to phone triage again. Again they were quite discouraging and told me it was very unlikely that I was in productive labour, but if I really wanted I could come in and be assessed and they would probably send me home. We decided to go in and be assessed anyway, just to reassure ourselves since we were reasonably convinced I was properly in labour.

We arrived at the hospital around 10pm and waited in reception, after a while someone came and we were taken to an examination room and left there. I suddenly started getting quite uncomfortable pains in my back but there was no one around to tell. We were still chatting, when I wasn't complaining about my back, and that might explain why no one really believed I was in labour and they didn't come back for what seemed like ages. At about 10.45 a midwife came into the room and explained again that they didn't think I was in labour but they'd do the exam and if it showed I wasn't in productive labour they would send me home. She checked and found (to her surprise) that I was 5cm dilated. She said: "You must have a very high pain threshold."

As soon as they discovered that I really was in labour and not imagining things, everything happened very quickly and smoothly.

Labour proceeded quite quickly and very well. After a bit of a scutter finding batteries etc. we got The Fratellis playing from Robin's ipod through the CD player in the delivery room: we played the album on repeat all the way through - the poor midwife must have been completely sick of it by the end but I loved it and sang along.

My membranes released fairly late on and the surges got more intense.

The second stage of labour lasted just under 2 hours; Stephen was born just before 5am on the Monday morning. Everything had gone very smoothly and well and the midwives told us the birth was “text book”. We’re convinced that the hypnobirthing techniques allowed us to stay relaxed and calm which led to a very straight-forward and easy birth.

Birth of Cara  3rd baby after two miscarriages

This is the story of my third live child's birth. My first 2 children’s births were quite natural, I did not fear childbirth nor consider it painful. However, in attempting to add to our brood I suffered 2 miscarriages, the 2nd of which was when the baby was 16 weeks gestation. This meant I had to go through an induced labour and birth and deliver a baby which was dead. This was a very traumatic and painful experience. During both miscarriages I haemorrhaged, and needed blood transfusions. Following this I was filled with anxieties about birthing, thankfully a friend introduced me to Hypnobirthing and I embraced it wholeheartedly. It allowed me to let go of my fears, bond with my unborn child and relax and enjoy my pregnancy.

About 2 weeks prior to my EDD I went to bed as usual, I hadn't been feeling well a bit hot and cold and shivery but listened to the birth affirmations and rainbow relaxation, on my ipod. Afterwards I drifted off to sleep, for what could only have been a few minutes when I was awakened by a loud pop, my waters had broken! It was 10.30pm. I wasn't surprised as I had made up my mind I would go into labour early and the first thing that would happen was that my waters would break like my previous births, and had been affirming this scenario to myself. I shouted to my husband, Mark to bring me a towel, and to call my parents who would come and look after the children who were asleep upstairs. My surges started immediately 3 minutes apart and were very intense. We waited on my parents arriving and made our way to the Borders General hospital, which is less than 5 minutes away by car. After being wheeled up to the labour suite, by a paramedic I met at the door, who ran all the way, we got there about 11.15pm. I was very impressed and reassured by the midwife who was to be with us, she had read my birth plan and seemed to understand what we wanted, although to our knowledge they had never come across a Hypnobirth before. We discussed that I would like to use the pool but did not wish to be told how dilated I was when examined, we negotiated that the pool would be filled and she would let me know when it was ready and examine me and let me know if I was sufficiently dilated to use it but not mention numbers.

About midnight the midwife came to tell me the pool was ready and asked me to get up onto the bed so she could examine me. With the next surge I told her it was too late, as I knew my labour was in the next stage. She never got to examine me at all! I got up onto the bed and kneeled down facing the bed head which I leaned over. Then I concentrated on letting my body take over and do what it knew how to do, I knew from the classes and everything I had read and heard about HypnoBirthing all I had to do was relax and let my body do what it was designed to do, it would all happen naturally. The midwife did try to encourage me to push but was politely told NO! and then changed to prompting me to go with my body, which was much more helpful. Mark was brilliant whispering, relax and let go and other helpful Hypnobirthing prompts. I felt like I made quite a lot of noise, not because I was in pain but felt like this primeval noise that came from somewhere deep inside me, I couldn't help it. Time distorted, and rushed past and at 44 minutes past midnight Cara emerged with a cry. I needed no stitches, she scored 9 on the Apgar score, and breastfed almost immediately, as we enjoyed skin to skin contact for the first hour of her life. She was and continues to be a blessing, she is the most contented and easiest of my children, definitely a Hypnobabe.

Birth of Chiron Home birth 'HypnoBabe'

A little background information.

Before I was pregnant the thought of birth terrified me and I could not even watch births on TV or hear woman talking about them. A Home Birth was something I had always thought about due to my fear of hospitals and doctors but in reality I didn't think it would happen for me until I started attending the HypnoBirthing classes where I was given the confidence to make it a reality.

As I was given the due date the 23rd of August when I went to see my doctor 8 days after this I was offered a sweep which I refused and told that if I went over 14 days after my date then it would be unlikely I could have my home birth as there would not be cover for me. I have always believed a baby should be allowed to come at its own time but the talk of induction which I definitely did not want made me decide to try and help the baby come out so on the Saturday (overdue by 11 days) I went for as brisk a walk as I could around the park next to my flat, had a curry for dinner and drunk a small bottle of castor oil - tasty!

Something appeared to do the trick as when I was in the bath I noticed to my excitement that my plug had came away and pretty soon after that I was experiencing mild surges as my waters broke over the course of about 1 hour. By this time it was about 11 o'clock at night so I called the hospital and was told to inform my team of midwives that my waters had broke. Unfortunately for me the mid-wives who were covering me had just delivered another home birth so a mid-wife, Grace, I had not met called over to my house to check on me about 1 o'clock in the morning.(In the end she turned out to be wonderful but was still telling me I could change my mind and go to the hospital!)

I was examined and was only just over 1 cm dilated so told to take some paracetamol and try and go to sleep as it would be a while yet before anything started to happen. My surges were coming fairly regularly but were still pretty mild and although I felt far too excited to go back to sleep I listened to my HypnoBirthing CD and did manage to get a little sleep much to my amazement. My partner Chris fared a bit better sleeping through most of the night in order to be on good form for the big event. At around 7 in the morning the surges where feeling much stronger and closer together so I called my mother to tell her to get to my flat as I was in the early stages of labour and called Grace back out again. I was re-examined and to my slight disappointment I was only 3 centimetres dilated. Chris was due to run the Great Glasgow run that started at 9 that morning and Grace told him that he would be pretty safe to do it as there was little chance I would be giving birth any time soon. In fact she was talking as though I might have to go to hospital as that is what they recommend if the baby has not been born 24 hours after the waters break. In order to get things moving faster I went for a walk around my block with my mum who had arrived and Chris at around 8.30 in the morning. This really seemed to do the trick as the surges where getting a lot stronger. Back at the flat Grace was talking of leaving as she felt I had some time to go but although I had decided not to have any more examinations I felt that the baby would be coming pretty soon and asked her to stay which she did. At this point Chris filled up the birthing pool which I had been avoiding getting into for as long as possible as I heard it could slow down labour.

Getting in the pool was great. It really allowed me to move about, the water supporting my weight. At one point I remember feeling the baby move about so much that it was really uncomfortable and Grace told me that was him getting ready to make his way down!! Less than an hour before Chiron was born I got out of the pool as myself and Chris had decided that we would have the baby on land due to the mid-wives in Glasgow having no training on water births. As I say the whole thing was a bit of a blur but I honestly don't remember the actual labour being painful, extremely intense and overpowering would describe it better. I had my eyes closed and apparently didn't make a sound as I focused on breathing my baby out. Chris was wonderful. Really a pillar of support as I held onto him while Chiron was born a whopping 9lbs 2 and I am pretty small myself!!

Although I had a little tear the midwives (another one had arrived for the delivery) could not believe I needed no stitches and for Grace it was her first Hypno-Birth and she was really impressed.

I cannot thank Pauline enough for giving myself and Chris the gift of a wonderful, empowering, spiritual birth. I think these classes should be made available on the NHS so that every woman has the opportunity to experience a good birth whether it be at home or in a hospital.

I hear only negative stories from friends about the birth of their children and it seems to be accepted as the norm.

Everyone comments on how special Chiron is and what a wonderful temperament he has and although I shouldn't compare him to other babies I can't help it and it does seem to be true. He's a wee HypnoBabe.

If you are reading this you are going to have a Hypno-birth...Yeah!!!!

Birth of Zoe Home Water-birth 'HypnoBabe'

Baby Zoe was born at 00:33 on the 25th December - a little whopper weighing in at 4.31kg (9lbs 8 oz).

Zoe’s homebirth didn’t quite go to plan. My surges started at 1am on the 24th of December. As she is my first baby, I wasn’t really sure if labour had actually started or not. The surges were quite erratic, and felt quite mild really, my waters hadn’t broken- so I wasn’t sure if I was just experiencing Braxton Hicks.

We just had a pretty normal morning. Watched a few episodes of Still Game over lunch (as we were taught laughing was a good way of keeping the endorphins up and stress hormones down). The surges weren’t that much more regular but slightly more intense (very manageable though- balloon breathing worked a treat). I still wasn’t sure if this was it or not.

So we faced a bit of a predicament. Our baby was at this stage 10 days over term, and we had been booked in for a Day Assessment Unit (DAU) at Triage in the Simpsons at 4pm- for some monitoring to make sure the baby was ok, and if it was the midwives were happy to stay on call for our home birth.

I phoned the midwives after lunch and explained that I thought I was in labour, but the surges were still ½ hour apart (sometimes longer), and lasting 15 to 45 seconds, and I felt quite comfortable. The midwives discussed it before calling me back, they thought it was best to keep the appointment given that there would be less staff on at the hospital on Christmas Day for a DAU, should labour not progress any more. They said it was my decision- if I thought labour had definitely started I could just stay at home. Sander and I talked about it, and decided to keep the appointment.

So we went into Triage, and basically as soon as I was hooked up and they were measuring my surges I knew - yep this is it. Alas, we found ourselves in a stark room with horrible lighting, uncomfortable bed, but at least had a birth ball. The baby’s heartbeat was good and strong, so that was good to know. My blood pressure, which had been excellent for the whole pregnancy had gone up. So the docs wanted a blood sample to make sure I wasn’t entering pre-eclampsia. So a brief visit turned into a three hour stay in Triage, which was making me irritable. Sander dealt with it brilliantly - he kept on at the staff (in a friendly but assertive manner) to get our results so we could be on our way home if all was well, and kept talking to me to help me relax. In the end my bloods were good, and we headed home at 7pm.

Once home Sander had to frantically fill up the birth pool, while I used my breathing techniques to chill out. Because of the stay in Triage I hadn’t been able to do all of the visualization and rainbow relaxation I was planning on. But things were really speeding up now. Surges were really close together, less than 5 minutes, and lasting for a minute. Our midwife arrived at 8pm, and I was already in the birthpool. Getting into the birthpool was like stepping into a giant tub of relaxation - it really let me forget about the previous few hours and concentrate on the birth and use the balloon breathing.

Our midwife Alison thought I was progressing quite fast and called in the second midwife a couple of hours later. Both midwives read our birth plan and followed it to the letter. They were really encouraging and used the right sort of language and let me lead what was going on.

At 00:33 on Christmas morning our baby girl torpedoed into the world. It was a lot tougher getting her out than I thought it would be. I was breathing her down and really concentrating on it, but she just kept going back up. Sander was great- I was hanging onto his arms during surges, and he was so supportive. The surges were really close together, so I tried to bear down between them and then really work with my breath when the next surge came. That did the trick and out she came! Sander received her and brought her to me, and the nurses were surprised at how big she was. The three of us bonded, and after the chord stopped pulsing, Sander cut it.

She's so beautiful - the best Christmas present we could have asked for!

Although I didn’t use all of the techniques I was hoping too the HypnoBirthing helped so much. Our midwives were always commenting on how relaxed I was. At every stage of our day we made our own decisions, and believe we did the best thing possible given our circumstances (any other day of the year, I’d have probably stayed at home and not gone to the DAU).

Zoe is a really chilled out baby that can sleep through anything. If I were to do it all again, I would definitely go for another home birth, as it was so special to have her at home. The HypnoBirthing gave us so much confidence that everything would be fine, and it was, just like I knew it would be. I felt that I listened to my body, was in control the whole time, and gave our daughter the best start to life we could.

A big thank you for all your help Pauline! Zoe’s birth was the best day of my life!

Big hugs,
Julie, Sander and Zoe

Birth of Abby  Unplanned Home Birth

Mum - Caroline says:

My waters broke at 6:30 on Thursday evening. After phoning hospital was told that we should go in to be monitored. Went in at 8pm and was monitored for half an hour and all was well. Midwife then did an internal examination and said cervix was completely closed and I had probably only had a hind water leak. So I was sent home and told to phone in the next morning. Got home about 10pm and at this point was experiencing tightenings at fairly regular intervals. I thought they were braxton hicks. Went to bed at 11pm listening to rainbow relaxation music and using the breathing techniques. Surges had became closer together but no real regularity but by 2:30 am they were much stronger and about 5 mins apart and I felt the need to get into the bath. I continued with the music and breathing techniques and Dave poured water over my stomach during the surges and dimmed the lights which helped as well as keeping me focused on my breathing. At 3am called my parents to come and look after our 2 year old. Very quickly after this the surges were very frequent with very little break in between. I remained in the bath but was now up on my knees and I the felt the need to push from 3:15am. My husband phoned the hospital and when the midwife heard that I wanted to push she told him to phone an ambulance. At this point I did feel stressed and anxious as I thought that when I got to hospital I would only be 3 or 4 cm dilated and was also worried about the sensation to push as I felt that it was too early in labour. My previous labour had resulted in epidural and forceps so this was an entirely new feeling. My parents arrived and when I told my mum I needed to push she could see that the head was there so helped me through to my bed.

A couple of minutes later the ambulance crew arrived.

Two mores surges and Abby did literally birth herself, my mum and I both said that I didn't push at all. She arrived at 3:52 on Friday morning and her daddy cut the cord and her big sister was able to see her within a minute of being born.

I definitely think the relaxation and breathing techniques helped enormously during the entire labour and allowed me to have a very positive experience. I was very apprehensive about the labour before doing the hypnobirthing course but what I learned allowed us to have a really unique experience.

Dad - David says:

I felt that we were much more in control of how we wanted our birth to be. I was able to support Caroline throughout the labour by keeping her focused on her breathing techniques. I was empowered to ask for the cord not to be clamped until it had stopped pulsating. I was very proud of how Caroline handled the birthing. She was fantastic throughout and we have a beautiful baby girl.

Birth of Daniel  Mum says, "It was a doddle!"

The day I went into labour was perfect in every way. We weren’t expecting anything to happen as my due date wasn’t for a couple of weeks. We had a 3-course lunch, went to a photography exhibition and did some shopping. During the afternoon I had what I thought were practice surges but I didn’t think much of it. However they started feeling stronger than I’d felt before, and when we got home I told Ewan about them. Then I went to the loo and saw what I thought was the show, although I wasn’t sure.

We started timing the surges and discovered they were getting closer together, so we realised this may well be D-day! I spent the next few hours sitting or lying on the sofa, listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD and doing my balloon breathing whenever I had a surge. Suddenly during one surge, I felt a ‘pop’ and my waters broke – we were in no doubt the baby was coming now! I spoke to Triage at Simpson’s who advised just to stay at home as long as possible, which suited me.

However by the time the surges were 3 minutes apart I thought we had better go. By coincidence, the car journey to the Royal Infirmary lasted the same length of time as the rainbow relaxation script, so I just chilled out listening to it on my i-pod.

At the assessment room in Triage I ended up being strapped to the heart monitor – I found it most comfortable to stay sitting up, but this interfered with the readings of the baby’s heartbeat so I stayed attached to the monitor for longer than I would have liked. Eventually the midwife thought she would have a look to see what was going on. She was very surprised when she saw the baby’s head quite far down, and said I was at least 8 centimetres dilated! This was a big relief, as I didn’t want to find things hadn’t progressed as far as I thought.

I was then taken to a very comfortable delivery room, although the two rooms with birthing pools were taken. However I had use of a bathtub. Again they were slightly concerned about the baby’s heartbeat so I couldn’t get straight into the tub, and had to wait for a doctor to come and see if she thought everything was OK. It was, so at last I got into the bath – it was bliss, I just reclined back, listened to the hypnobirthing music and let Ewan pour hot water over me. I concentrated really hard on the balloon breathing whenever I had a surge – I aimed each time to count as high as I could. I don’t know how long this went on (around 2 hours, according to Ewan), but it didn’t seem long before the midwife was asking if I wanted to stay in the tub to deliver, or get out. I definitely wanted to stay in!

Soon the midwife said the baby’s heartbeat had slowed – however there wasn’t anything wrong, this was the baby coming out! I could feel the head coming down – Ewan had a look and felt it. The midwife said that during the next surge I should push hard. I don’t think I did push hard in the end, I think I just bore down using the birth breathing, and suddenly the baby was out and lying on my tummy. I heard Ewan announce ‘it’s a boy!’ and saw this wee thing with big dark eyes staring up at me – absolutely wonderful.

We made sure the midwife didn’t clamp the cord till it had stopped pulsating, and then Ewan cut the cord. I lay in the bath for some time with Daniel, and in the post-birth euphoria I announced ‘it was a doddle!!’ 

I got out of the bath to deliver the placenta naturally which happened quickly and easily. I was surprised to discover that I needed stitches – I hadn’t felt anything very sore. Ewan had skin-to-skin contact with Daniel while my stitches were done.

The midwife, Lorraine, was great – she really just left me to it  and didn’t interfere. She was very impressed with the birth and asked where I’d learned how to do it! The other staff I met at Simpson’s were all lovely too.

The whole experience was amazing. I am so proud of myself for having a completely natural birth, not even having any gas and air (I didn’t get anywhere near needing it). Afterwards one of the lines from the Father’s Script kept going round in my head – ‘I knew I could do it and I did!’

Birth of Naomi Home birth 'HypnoBabe'

We wanted a homebirth with a birthing pool and were really pleased to be able to manage that, and without any intervention. We were especially pleased since we had tried to have our first baby at home but were transferred to the hospital due to lack of progress (cervix was not dilating) and after a long labour of about 30 hours ended up having an epidural and forceps delivery.

This second birth was completely different. Following the Hypnobirthing course I had visualized a short labour of about 4 hours, and that turned out to be the length of the actual labour. I also had visualized giving birth in the evening after my older son was in bed, and my surges actually started at about 8:30pm and my son was sound asleep throughout the labour. Initially it was just a period like feeling and I felt very relaxed. I had a bath and then watched some television, then planned to go to bed to try to rest. However, we soon realized that the surges were getting stronger and it wasn’t possible for me to sit and watch television!

At about 9 or 9:30pm I lay down on my side on our bed and we used the relaxation techniques from the Hypnobirthing course, as well as the sleep and balloon breathing techniques. This approach worked for about an hour until 10/10:30 ish, but then the surges came very fast (about every 1 or 2 mins) and powerful that I found I was no longer able to maintain the deeply relaxed state. I found that I needed to stand and move around and I adopted a different breathing technique during the surges, not one I had previously practiced or considered, but it seemed to get me through. However, I did use the visualizations that I had read about in the Hypnobirthing book of seeing the baby moving down the birth canal with each surge and visualizing my cervix opening like a flower.

As the labour had progressed much quicker than expected we had been slow to fill the birthing pool. I tried to get into the pool about 11pm ish, but as it was not completely full I found it didn’t help and got out again. By 11:30pm the first midwife for the home birth had arrived and the pool was fuller, so I tried again and stayed in the pool this time. Soon after this I experienced a strong bearing down sensation and around this time the second midwife arrived. The pool helped me feel I could release. It seemed not long after this that the midwives said they could see the baby’s head, I found it hard to believe it was happening so quickly. There was a great feeling as her whole body came out into the water at 12:30am. It was wonderful lifting her out of the water to greet her. The midwives waited until the cord had stopped pulsating before they cut it and very shortly afterwards the placenta came out very easily.

For many months I had been listening to the father’s script and visualizing the moment immediately after the birth. The image I had visualized was exactly the one that happened in reality, with me sitting in the birthing pool in our lounge holding our baby with my husband crouching behind me with his arm round us. And this was captured - the first photo the midwife took!

We were delighted to have been successful in having a home birth the second time around and that it was a short labour with a water birth as we had hoped. Hypnobirthing is not all about what happens on the day. The significant preparation and practice leading up to the birth was really helpful in that we were very ready for the birth. Indeed it was the Hypnobirthing class and home practice that gave us the confidence to try again for a homebirth and to use a birthing pool. We had banished a number of demons from our first birth and were able to believe again that an intervention and drug-free birth was do-able.

Birth of Evie Rose 1st baby - Home Water-birth in 6hrs

I woke at about 1.20am and immediately knew something felt a bit different and perhaps this was it - at last - I was about a week overdue at this point. I woke Gavin told him I thought something was happening, Gavin got me a couple of paracetamol and we went back to sleep. I only managed to sleep until about 2.00am as the surges were getting stronger and closer together.

We put on a film and watched about half of it, by then I could not really concentrate on it and needed to start using some of the deeper relaxation techniques and balloon breathing. The surges were now coming about 5 mins apart but were not all that regular or long so Gavin and I were quite relaxed and planning for a longish labour as this was our first baby.

I had been on my ball and relaxing for a while when I decided I really wanted a bath, so Gavin ran me one. The bath was lovely and relaxing, but I suddenly felt quite sick and as though I needed the toilet so I got out and sat on the loo. I felt really sick so Gavin ran to get me a bowl, I was then violently sick and my waters broke at the same time!

Things then started moving on a pace. I was still in the bathroom and suddenly felt the urge to push. Gavin called the midwife and started to set up the pool. We had been far too relaxed and poor Gavin was now rushing to get the pool up in time. I was in the bathroom on my ball as Gavin hurtled about setting up and filling the pool - as well as looking out for the midwife.

The midwife arrived about 30mins after we called and checked me over I was fully dilated and baby was well on the way. She went off to call the 2nd midwife and help Gavin with the pool. I was still in the bathroom wondering if that is where baby was going to be born!

Once the pool was ready Gavin and the midwife helped me in, it was lovely, so relaxing with Gavin holding and stroking my arms as I leant on the side of the pool. The midwife kept checking baby to make sure she was doing ok (which she was) and not long after I got in the pool - perhaps half an hour or so - baby Evie Rose was born at 7.20am almost exactly 6hrs after I had first woken up and was 7lbs 4 oz. She swam into my arms and then promptly screamed the place down for a couple of minutes! She scored a cool 9 on the Agpar scoring and started feeding within about 5mins of being born. I had no stitches or tears and was delighted at having had her with no pain relief or other interventions.

The home midwifes were great - if a bit shocked at the pace of the birth I think - as were Gavin and I!

Evie was bright as a button when born and I felt great too, we had visitors only a few hours later and we all sat around the table for lunch which was lovely. Was so much nicer to have her at home than in the hospital.

All really could not have gone better and both Gavin and I think that we would have not been able to do it without Pauline and the Hypnobirthing course. We only found Hypnobirthing when I was about 35 weeks pregnant so did a real crash course and intense practicing. Before we started the course we were going to have the baby in the hospital but after our first week of Hypnobirthing we had booked a home birth and had a birthing pool on the way! So glad with the decisions we made, the birth of Evie was an amazing experience for both Gavin and I.

Birth of Grace Imogen  By Caesarian Section

We were both overjoyed when we found out that I was pregnant. Having been made redundant in November last year, it came as no surprise that I became pregnant only two weeks after finishing up at work – must have been the drastic reduction of stress!

A couple of our friends had been to Pauline for HypnoBirthing courses – both sang her praises and told us how indispensable the HypnoBirthing mindset was to them, throughout their pregnancies, during the birth, as well as after. I was sold on the idea from the start, having dabbled a bit in hypnosis already. Tim, although slightly skeptical, was extremely supportive and encouraged me to sign-up for Pauline’s 5-week course.

I had a really good pregnancy, keeping healthy and active right from the start. So much so, that we planned to have a home birth, buoyed by the confidence and sense of calm that we had developed through our HypnoBirthing course. However, I had had my suspicions from Week 20 that baby might have been topsy turvy, and this was confirmed by a scan at Week 35. Initially I felt really disappointed – almost like I had done something wrong. But then after talking to friends and family, I realized just how common it was, particularly at this stage of pregnancy.

So our mission became clear – let’s turn the baby round so that we can have a home birth! Well, we tried everything, from moxibustion sticks, crawling on all fours 3-4 times a day, hand stands in the swimming pool and reflexology. I also did a couple of fear release sessions with Pauline – one on my own and another with Tim. The first really made me realize how anxious I was (it was Week 36 now), but it was a tremendous relief to work my way through it. After the session I was so much more relaxed about baby’s position – if she turned she turned, if she didn’t, well that was meant to be. Suddenly the home birth of our baby didn’t seem to matter so much – what did, was that we had the most positive birth experience possible.

We had the option of going for ECV (external cephalic version) at the Edinburgh Royal. But another scan in Week 37 confirmed that baby was still breech, a good size and her bottom had already started to engage in the pelvis. With a success rate of 10-15% at this stage, we decided to let the little lady be, rather than tussling with an obstetrician! We were now referring to her fondly as Tina (Turner) or less fondly as Margaret (after Thatcher; “this lady’s not for turning!”)

Come Week 38, I had done another birth plan. This time we were looking at two options – an active breech birth at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, for which we had full support from our consultant; or a Caesarean section as our back-up plan. We were both happy and relaxed about either outcome and got ready to sit-back and wait until nature took its course.

On the Saturday afternoon of Week 38, we had another appointment with Pauline, this time for a baby massage course which Pauline runs prior to the birth so that parents can massage their babies from birth. We spent a great couple of hours with Pauline learning new techniques and playing with her dolls! But I was so uncomfortable on the floor – I couldn’t stop wriggling around and my back was getting very sore.

This continued on into the evening. So after Strictly Come Dancing, I sloped off up the stairs for a warm bath and an early night. By the time I got out of the bath, my back was incredibly sore and stiff and I had pains in my lower abdomen. This didn’t sound like labour to me, so we phoned triage at the ERI and they suggested that I come in for observation.

So, off we trundled at 10.30pm, bags chucked in the boot just in case.

By the time I arrived at triage I felt awful and was sick in the bin in reception! On examination by the midwife, she suggested I had a bladder infection – hence the sore back and the lower abdominal pain. Wow – what a relief! She then hooked me up to a monitor to see how baby was doing – and guess what? I was having surges, and hadn’t felt them at all. A quick ultrasound confirmed that baby was still breech and an internal, that I was 3 cm dilated! Gosh – so this was it! We weren’t going home that evening – we were going to have our baby instead. Surprise led to excitement.

It became clear pretty quickly that our two options were realistically now one – with the chance of a UTI and accompanying sore back, a breech birth was not feasible any more. So we quickly decided to go for a C-section and within an hour we were in theatre.

It was here that HypnoBirthing came to the fore for us. We asked for the HypnoBirthing CD to be played during the procedure. I also requested that my face be covered to make the room nice and dark (it was so bright under those lights). Very quickly, I got myself into hypnosis, so much so that I was unaware of the obstetricians or anaesthetists asking me any questions. The only voice I could hear and respond to was Tim’s. He spoke to me throughout the entire procedure, stroking my arm and keeping me calm. I had no idea how long the whole procedure took – it felt like a matter of minutes. In total, it was an hour, with baby Grace making an appearance 15 minutes after the first cut. She came out sleeping (and has done a lot of this since!) and was then whisked off to be assessed by the paediatricians – her Agpar score was 7 initially, going up to 9 five minutes later, which we understand now is excellent for a C-section. Tim kept on talking to me and stroking me while this happened.

When they brought her through she was bundled up in hospital issue blankets and a badly knitted yellow hat – she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I cried tears of joy and said “Hello my little Grace”. We then went to the recovery room, where she latched onto my breast instantly – again, this is meant to be quite unusual for C-section babies who are often a bit stunned by the whole procedure.

The rest, as they say, is history. I spent a few days in hospital to recover. During this time, I used a variety of HypnoBirthing techniques – affirmations, Rainbow Relaxation and Glove Anaesthesia.

Baby Grace quickly became a star feeder and sleeper, and still is since we brought her home. She is a true HypnoBabe – calm and relaxed and a joy to be around.

Tim and I would like to thank Pauline for the time and effort she put into helping us achieve the “best birth possible”. We truly believe that HypnoBirthing has given our wee girl a very special start in life. In fact, I’m such a convert, I’m thinking about doing the instructor training myself!

Birth of Quentin – 

Dad’s Story 

When we started the Hypnobirthing class I read the stories and watched the videos of all these mums who, using this technique, had wonderful, apparently “easy” births and thought “gosh, this is amazing… does it work!?”  It took me very little time to realise that Hypnobirthing was a technique that worked and worked well.  The combination of breathing technique, visualization, confidence in the fact that, yes, we could do it made all the difference.  We did our exercises virtually every evening for 3 months before the birth and very quickly Sophie would go in a deep state of relaxation but at the same time was completely in control which to me, was the key. 

On our way to the hospital Sophie was listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD and I could see that she was already in deep relaxation, in the “zone”, her own personal space where she was in control of the surges.  Once settled in the delivery suite she got into the tub and, again, still listening to the CDs, she did her breathing exercises.

Several times the midwife said “this is amazing, this is amazing, you look so relaxed”. It was only 10 minutes or so before Quentin was born that the midwife said to Sophie “do you feel that you need to push?” as until now, we thought that Sophie was only trying to relax, breathing slowly and deeply. In fact, she had been breathing Quentin down during the birthing phase for some time already!! This shows how relaxed and in control she was. Everyone was fooled! The result; no comfort measure were needed, not even one paracetamol.

I am grateful to Pauline for accompanying us through this journey using Hypnobirthing.  I would say to all of those who are thinking of doing the Hypnobirthing class, stop thinking and give it a go and if you do go for it then practise, practise, practise. What amazes me now is that, several months after we started the class, we can say: yes, it does work.  Our story is another one to be added to the stories of all these other couples who have seen and experienced firsthand the benefits of Hypnobirthing. 

Mum's Story 

Labour started around 10pm on the Tuesday night just when I was getting ready for bed.  I managed to sleep on and off between surges until they were more frequent and stronger - some time in the early morning.  I did not even bother telling my husband about it at that stage.  I remained in bed throughout that time, listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD, until I went down to the living room and spent time on the birthing ball using breathing techniques and the relaxation music CD. We then called a friend to come and pick up our son at around 9 am. 

We called the triage at the hospital twice and on the second occasion, as surges had been very regular (every 4-5 minutes) and had lasted for 1 minute each for the last hour if not more, we were asked to come to the hospital. 

By 10 am we were at the hospital and I was dilated to 4-5 cms.  I was transferred to a birthing room with a birthing pool as we had requested one in our birth plan.  Luckily one was available.  I spent the remaining time in the pool, in warm water, only using breathing techniques (slow breathing for a very short period of time and birthing breathing, almost from the moment I had stepped into the pool), with my husband’s encouragement and massages and the aid of the relaxation CD.   At 12:49 pm Quentin was born.  He weighed 3.740kgs and measured 53cms and found the breast very quickly! 

The move into the birthing phase was unnoticed from both my husband and the midwife as my husband kept indicating to me how to do the slow breathing when I was already into breathing out the baby.  But I did not mind and could not bring myself to come out of relaxation to tell him about it. 

I had wanted a 2 hour delivery and I did it in just under 3 and the perineum was intact, so I was delighted.  I highly recommend HypnoBirthing to any expecting mum as the techniques I learned  really helped me achieve my goal, which was to give birth to my son naturally and quickly.



Parents' comments on classes

"It was a great experience and it really gave us both the confidence to trust in ourselves.
I couldn't think of a better way of welcoming our child."
Carmen, Edinburgh.
(First baby)

"Our hypnosis sessions really helped me to believe that I can bring myself into a very relaxed, deep state.
I believe in hypnosis for childbirth and look forward to my birthing."
Jenny, Edinburgh.
(First baby)

"Pauline is very relaxed, warm and friendly natured and inspired a lot of confidence in us. The classes were a very positive experience which dramatically reduced my fears and helped me relax through my pregnancy."
Denise, Edinburgh.
(Third Baby)

"The classes changed my very negative birth views and experience to an empowered, healing, positive experience."
Shunyata, Edinburgh.
(Second baby)


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 © Pauline Taylor 2017