POSITIVE BIRTH STORIES

I am hugely grateful to all the Mums and Dads who have shared their experience of birth with me

and allowed me to share thier stories with you.

All these stories are from couples who have attended Hypnobirthing, Yoga & Birth Preparation classes with me

and demonstrate beautifully how they put the techniques they learnt into practice during labour.

Mama A - "Giving birth to our baby boy was the best thing I have ever done!! I have an even greater respect for women, our bodies are amazing!!"

For about a week I'd not been feeling well and I had this headache I just couldn't shift. I eventually decided to go into the assessment unit on Saturday 17th Feb to get checked out. My partner and I were there for hours, which we weren't expecting as we both thought I was being dramatic! I was monitored and had a few tests. The doctor came down from delivery suite to see us and told us that I had pre-eclampsia and that she wanted to induce me. My first reaction to this was to cry as I had this idea of a perfect natural birth in mind. We discussed options with the doctor including waiting and having extra monitoring but with the risks and the doctors and midwives advice we eventually and reluctantly agreed to be induced the next day.

We went home, it was a strange evening knowing we'd be going back into hospital the next day and wouldn't be returning as a threesome! We had a chilled out evening, preparing for what was ahead of us.

The next day (Sunday 18th) we went into the induction ward about 12 and were given a bed. The midwife visited and told us about the induction process and inserted a prostaglandin pessary. The midwife said on examining me that my cervix was so high she couldn't do a sweep. We waited 24 hours for something to happen - nothing! During this time I watched Netflix, my partner read a book about the history of Wales (lol, my partner loves Wales!) and we ate a lot of food - really enjoyed the hospital food at that time!

24 hours later (Monday 19th 1pm) a different midwife examined me and confirmed I had not dilated at all and so inserted the gel. She said they would leave the gel for 6 hours and if nothing happened they would give me another dose of gel. Within hours I was having the most intense contractions driven by the gel, it was too intense, too quick and made me a bit crazy!! The midwife kept coming to check l was okay and telling me to relax, I felt out of control. This lasted a few hours during which time I bounced on the ball and had a bath and then they slowed down.

I was SO hot, so me and my partner went for a walk outside to the concourse so he could get something for dinner - when we got back, we sat in the common room on the ward while my partner watched Take Me Out and I paced the room, at this point I didn't feel like I could sit down. As contractions came, my partner would help me through them. I went to the loo and I had my show.

I wanted to show the midwife (lol!) as I wasn't sure what it was - it was about 7/8pm now, my partner got the midwife for me. As I sat on the bed, I felt a gush of water, my waters broke. The midwife did a quick examination, I wasn't even one cm dilated at this point, although she was able do a sweep. The midwife decided not to give me any more gel because my waters broke. To be honest, I'd had enough! I asked the midwife if I could have an epidural. She said she would get me cocodamol and speak to the doctor about an epidural.

At this point My partner started to push Hypnobirthing on me (which had been out of the window until now) ... I don't think he wanted me to have an epidural really. The midwife returned with cocodamol and left us for 2 hours. I think in my head I thought I was having an epidural so it made me think I just need to wait it out. During those 2 hours, my partner sat next to the bed and stroked my hand (a Hypnobirthing technique which we practiced nearly every night for weeks!) and he used my calming trigger word (another technique) ‘relax’ as he stroked my hand. I was silent and concentrated on breathing and before I knew it, I was in this calm state, I felt in control again! After the 2 (or so) hours the midwife came back and examined me. She said "oh!" I thought oh god what now, "you're 8cm dilated, we'd better get you up to delivery suite". I continued in my trance-like state while the midwife pushed the bed up and my partner collected all of our things. We met our midwife who delivered our baby, Cara, who left us to it for about 20 mins while she read my birth preferences and did some paperwork. My partner and I continued our Hypnobirthing, as people came into the room and my partner did the talking for me as I was so ‘in the Hypnobirthing zone’. I didn't use gas an air until I pushed - I didn't feel like I needed it. After about half hour or so I told the midwife I needed to push, she did a quick examination and said to go with my body and left us to it again.

The midwife was amazing, she really understood what we wanted from reading our preferences, including dimming the lights! I pushed for about 20 minutes before she came to support at the bedside. I pushed for about a further 15 minutes, it was the most amazing feeling!! My partner held my hand and helped me breathe throughout telling me to relax.

Our baby arrived at 12.12 on the 20th and was put straight on my chest. My partner said "that was the most amazing thing I've ever done" lol. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and then the midwife helped me put our baby on my breast to feed. Our baby fed like this for about 15 minutes and then the midwife took the baby and wiped him/ weighed him etc. He was 9 lbs 2 ozs! I couldn't believe it! How did I produce something that big!! lol Anyway I waited half hour before giving up and having an injection to help deliver my placenta, which the midwife guided out.

Giving birth to our baby boy was the best thing I have ever done!! I have an even greater respect for women, our bodies are amazing!!

Mama D - "My partner and I worked through my surges, and our room became our heaven. I laboured without any pain relief (not even gas & air), and I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience – beautiful, powerful and utterly intuitive."

Hi Clare

On 5 December we finally had our little boy, who was a healthy 4kg (c. 9lb). Although I had a textbook pregnancy, my delivery was a bit more challenging. I still had a wholly positive birth experience, so here’s my story.

At 1 week overdue, I declined stretch & sweep. My midwife was happy for me to wait, but booked me in for a routine induction at 13 days overdue (I was intending to go beyond that). I tried everything – long walks, bouncing ball, yoga and squatting, hot curries – and finally on Monday I started to have light pink show. Great, I thought, it’s started! This continued throughout the day, so I phoned the MLU in the evening, but they advised me to wait for another day. Next day my bleeding got brighter and they suggested I go in to be checked out. I was examined and they decided they wanted me to stay in that evening, for monitoring. There I was clutching my perfectly crafted May-Gaskin inspired birth plan, but I soon realised it was going to be plan B. My heart sank a little when the doctor told me that the MLU wouldn’t take me now, but I remained cool and composed with a strong belief that everything was going to be ok.

Once they determined that both baby and I were fine, they suggested I wait and see if I would go into labour naturally over night. I became more relaxed about the mystery bleeding (they reassured me it wasn’t my placenta). I went for a walk, vigorously climbing any stairs I could find, but not a glimmer of a contraction; instead, my bleeding got worse and they decided to induce me that night (We later on I found out it was our little boy’s head pressing on my cervix, so nothing too serious). Although my intention was to decline the induction (you should have seen their faces when I asked for foley bulb induction!), at this point I realised that I needed to be pragmatic, so I agreed. Around 2 am I was given the prostaglandin pessary, and oh boy! This was the most intense part of my labour. I know it doesn’t always work, but within minutes I started dilating and entered what I can only describe as one continued contraction. The effect was so intense that I thought, I can’t do this. I told them that I was probably having an adverse reaction, but the midwife kept insisting that ‘we’ve now committed to the induction and have to see it through’. I knew I had to be firm because my body was clearly telling me something was not right: the effect of the pessary was just too aggressive and I insisted that it had to come out. Luckily, one of the consultants agreed with me, and they took it out. Phew… Still, after 20 min. with the pessary in I was 4 cm dilated, and they decided that I was in labour and ready for delivery. I was transferred to a room with ‘my midwife’, where I would labour the next 8 hours. She was so amazing, incredibly supportive, encouraging and just perfect – the MLU experience I’d hoped for. It is hard to recall the surges or how it all started, because they came on so quickly with the induction, but I remember the whole birthing process as incredibly empowering and beautiful. I even recall the sweet scent of my waters breaking. My partner and I worked through my surges, and our room became our heaven. I laboured without any pain relief (not even gas & air), and I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience – beautiful, powerful and utterly intuitive. And I roared! Because what started as soft whimpering gradually crescendo into a lioness roar!

After 8 hours, however, I started getting exhausted. I was dilated to 10 cm, pushing like mad, changing positions and moving around, but this baby was not coming out. Our little boy’s heart rate dropped a little, and my midwife said that his head was stuck and he probably wouldn’t come out. A consultant confirmed this, suggesting that I would not be able to push this baby out as it was, so we went to plan C: she would try and move his head manually, hoping I could have a forceps delivery, and if not, it would be a Cessarean. It’s strange, but at that moment both my partner and I acted spontaneously in harmony, and even though we were both keen for minimal intervention, we realised this baby needed to come out. My partner reassured me that I had done everything I could, that I had been so strong, but that now was the time to get help.

The next phase happened rather quickly. An amazing team of doctors and nurses wheeled me into the theatre and put me at ease with a perfect balance of professionalism, sensitivity and humour (they even provided music!). One of the anaesthetists talked to me about hypnobirthing, and who would’ve thought that THIS became the most important time to focus on breathing and visualisation!? These guys worked wonders: they managed to turn his head and with the help of ‘my midwife’ (who was there next to me the whole time), the amazing doctor and I delivered my beautiful, healthy and chunky baby boy. It may not have been the experience I had planned or prepared for, but it was still perfect, and as Claire would say, a completely positive birth story.

It’s strange to think about it now, but I don’t think I was really worried at any point. I can’t explain it, but I just knew that this baby was fine. I kept thinking of our hypnobirthing motto ‘baby knows best’, and this gave me incredible inner strength and calm to deal with anything that was thrown our way. So here’s my advice:

- Trust your body and be confident that it will tell you when something is wrong.

- Have convictions and don’t be afraid to say no, as I did with the induction.

- Be flexible, go with the flow and embrace your experience as wholly

positive, even if things have to be different to what you’d hoped for.

- Have faith in our doctors, midwives and breastfeeding support. They

provided an incredible level of care, and we’re all truly blessed to have these wonder workers as part of our NHS.

- Don’t stress about graphs and centiles. My baby was plotting large from early on, but in the end this proved beneficial. My milk was slow to come in and our little boy lost fair amount of weight (c. 12%), but he was actually fine thanks to his size and the fact that he was full term. So trust your baby, not centiles.

- Don’t be afraid of episiotomy and tears – they sound much worse than they are. I had both, and it’s incredible how soon you heal and forget that it ever happened.

Claire, thank you for all the hours of pregnancy yoga, positive birth stories and our hypnobirthing tools. We now have a beautiful baby boy who is gentle, content, curious and incredibly happy, and I’m sure my daily yoga and hypnobirthing practices played a big part in this.

Good luck ladies, and enjoy every moment!

Mama A - "Thank you Claire, for your amazing Yoga classes. Coming to Yoga every week, meeting all the other lovely ladies and getting all the valuable advice on pregnancy and birth and practising breathing helped me tremendously. Breathing techniques and confidence in my body helped me to undergo birth unmedicated and stay calm throughout."

Dear Claire,

As promised, here is my little unusual birth story. I hope it can give the other ladies some confidence in their bodies. Even an unassisted, unplanned home birth can be quite a good experience.

It all started at 1:30 am in the morning of the due date with my waters breaking in a big gush on my way to the toilet. I immediately got exited but there was no signs of contractions yet. The MLU advised me to come in for a check at 10am unless I had contractions every 5 min for 1 min each. I thus went back to bed but after a little while, contractions started coming in. They were only 3 min apart but less than a minute each leaving me confused about what to do. Breathing through them I stayed at home till about 9am, then deciding it was time to go in. At this point, I felt confident about giving birth and was excited about what was about to come.

At 10am a midwife assessed my progress and advised us that I was only 2 cm dilated and was coping ‘“too well”. She also doubted that my waters were actually gone and since the baby was back to back. She told us that labor would take ages and become way more painful before anything would happen. We were told we should go back home and come back if I wasn’t able to smile anymore! This assessment somehow knocked my confidence so when we arrived back home and things got a little harder I put that down to me being less sure of myself. At home I laboured in the bathroom in and out of the shower with the amazing support of my partne. He kept me hydrated and helped me breath though the contractions so that I gained back my confidence and managed to cope well.

At about 12:30 we decided to go back in to hospital, but on the way to the car I realised I wouldn't make it there as I felt the need to push and a felt a head between my legs. We just made it back into the house and within 5 min our little girl was born on the living room floor. My partner was on the phone with the emergency services who guided him through what to do. Just when he placed her on my chest, the paramedics came into help cut the cord. A little later the midwife turned up to helped with the delivery of the placenta.

Overall, the birth was quite scary for my partner but since I focused on breathing etc it wasn’t that bad for me. My body just knew what needed doing so everything else didn't matter. I didn't need stitches or anything so we stayed home straight away.

I wouldn't have planned it like that but actually I am quite happy how it all worked out and it was great to enjoy our new family at home. This unusual birth was quite empowering for me and my partner alike, we are very confident that we can now also master parenthood together.

I also wanted to thank you Claire, for your amazing Yoga classes. Coming to Yoga every week, meeting all the other lovely ladies and getting all the valuable advice on pregnancy and birth and practising breathing helped me tremendously. Breathing techniques and confidence in my body helped me to undergo birth unmedicated and stay calm throughout.

I am looking forward to meeting you in baby massage and yoga.

All the best to all the other lovely ladies

Mama R - "We are both so glad we joined Claire's Hypnobirthing Courseand spent the time practicing the relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques. We are sure this really helped make our birth experience so positive."

Hi Claire

How are you doing? Hope you’ve been enjoying the sunshine! Our lovely little bear was born 3 weeks ago on 16th April – here’s his birth story.
When I heard about hypnobirthing in early pregnancy I was immediately interested. I was already feeling anxious about the birth, I think partly because in my medical training I had only been exposed to births with complications – unfortunately doctors don’t get involved in straight-forward births – so I had a negatively-skewed view of what labour was like.

The philosophy behind hypnobirthing really made sense to me – the more anxious and scared you are, the more ‘fight or flight’ hormones you make, which are counter-productive to birthing your baby. So I persuaded my, admittedly skeptical, husband to sign up for your hypnobirthing course! We are both so glad we did, and spent the time practicing the relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques. We are sure this really helped make our birth experience so positive.

My waters broke at 1am on 16th April (39weeks +2 days) and surges then started within half an hour. They felt like period cramps, coming every 15 minutes and I practiced trying to relax my whole body during them. I stayed in bed to get some rest then woke my husband up a few hours later to tell him that ‘thunderbirds are go!’ and he wouldn’t have to go into work today! It was very exciting knowing we were going to meet our little boy soon. We had a big breakfast, went for a long walk, and danced around the kitchen. My surges definitely got more frequent and stronger when I was active, and I kept reminding myself that this was a good thing, and helping our baby’s safe arrival.  

The midwife told us to come in to be checked 12 hours after my waters had broken. At this point my surges were lasting about a minute, 5 minutes apart and they were manageable with concentrating on my Hypnobirthing breathing. My vital signs were normal, baby was looking happy on CTG monitoring, and I was 3cm dilated. But when they looked at my pads they were worried my waters were lightly stained with meconium, which could mean baby was distressed. They started talking about sending us upstairs to be induced, as I was not strictly-speaking in established labour yet (4cm and above). I was quite upset and disappointed, as I had felt that everything was going well. After a bit of discussion among the midwives, they agreed to give us 4 hours to see if things progressed naturally. We were thrilled and determined to get things going, so we went for a long walk around Heath Park and the hospital grounds. My surges got stronger, and I had to stop every couple of minutes and lean on my husband as he rubbed my back (think we got some curious looks from dog-walkers), and I repeated to myself that they were “strong, powerful sensations of warmth” helping to get my baby into the best position for birth. I decided to try the TENS machine which my friend had lent me and it was quite soothing.

I was re-examined at 6.30pm and was 7cm, and baby still seemed happy on the monitor, so they were happy for us to stay in the midwife led unit! The midwife said his head was lying a bit to one side; before practicing hypnobirthing I think this would have panicked me, but instead I reminded myself that “baby knows best” and he would get himself into the right position.

I got into the birthing pool and it was lovely to feel weightless and warm. My husband put on our ‘labour playlist’, and fed me jelly-babies and sports drinks between surges! The surges were strong but your body gives you time to recover between them. The midwives were great, really respecting our birth plan, being supportive in a non-intrusive way. About an hour after getting in the pool I felt the urge to push. It really helped focusing on breathing down to my baby, visualising the birth canal opening for him, and holding onto my husband’s hands. And I did a LOT of ‘mooing’, I couldn’t help myself! The midwives guided me in my pushing, as I had requested in my birth plan. It felt very strange once baby’s head had delivered and we were waiting for the next surge, because I could feel his head rotating, ready to deliver his shoulders. With the next push I felt him slide out of me, and I picked him up out of the water, which was surreal and amazing! Our lovely son was born at 8.30pm weighing 6lb 15oz.

I was very lucky and didn’t tear, I wonder if perineal massage and birthing in the water helped with this.

We feel very grateful for our birth experience. Hypnobirthing gave me the confidence to trust in my body and my baby. I also learnt a lot from hearing birth stories in yoga each week.

Thank you again Claire! Looking forward to seeing you soon at baby massage!

Mama D - "For me, my husband was key. Knowing that he was there and hearing his voice really encouraged me"

Hi Claire

Sorry it’s taken me this long to write you but its been non-stop since our little girl was born. I wanted to drop you a few lines about my labour day - you said if we could you would be interested to read it. I hope my experience serves others - :).

My journey started when we decided to have a baby. As a person who likes to have everything in place prior making a new step, the idea of a baby was challenging. But equally, I wanted to be a mum so we went for it. On the day I found out, I was very excited and I remember going to the kitchen waving the pee stick to my husband saying to him: We are doing it! After that moment, I bought all what I found on fit pregnancy and mindfulness during pregnancy - I am a regular gym goer and tennis player and I didn’t want to give up these.
My first appointments with the midwife were very vague and we started to feel that we weren't comfortable with our knowledge on birthing. Via my book of mindfulness I found out about hypnobirthing - and that’s how I met you :).
Hypnobirthing has helped us understand all the choices we had at the time of labour and after. Our relationship with our midwife changed completely once she saw we were the ones steering our pregnancy and not her. We were offered so much more support on all our choices. They were also giving us further information and appointments to clarify our birth plan and the choice of vitamin K
Now to the interesting bit - labour day.
Contractions started on the 26 March - my hubby’s birthday. They were the intensity of Braxton Hicks - but the feeling was different. I knew they were contractions. We were eating an Italian meal and I was telling him that they felt different. So, we finished the meal and we went home. We phoned the MLU (Midwife Led Unit) and they told me to monitor them and to take a warm bath. Contractions fade off after the bath… which today I think I probably stopped my labour with it.

On Thursday 29 March, in the morning the same feeling started. I phoned MLU around midday and they said to keep monitoring until they were regular. The intensity increased and by 3 pm my hubby had to start work. He asked me if I wanted him to stay and I said no…but I knew that wasn’t a good idea. Not sure how to explain it. I just knew it was the day.

My waters released at 15:30 - 16:00. (All this time I was simply breathing and walking and squatting - it helped me get the rhythm). Texted my hubby and he came home straight away. I phoned once again to the MLU saying my waters have released but the lady on the phone said I still could talk to her. Which by that point I asked her, when do you think I should phone again then? She said - you shouldn’t be able to talk to me while having a contraction. (For the readers: I was coping really well with the surges - but they couldn’t see that).

When my husband came home, he phoned the MLU, passed me the phone and I passed the phone back saying I couldn’t talk as I had to concentrate on my breathings. At that point, my husband said to the midwife, I am sorry but we are coming in. He was the one who made the decision as otherwise I most likely would have had our little one at home!
I can’t remember very well the journey from home to the hospital. But I remember my husband helping me with the breathings which was really comforting.
Once I arrived to the hospital, I wasn’t talking to anyone just breathing and walking through the suite. They did the first vaginal check straight away… I was 7 cm!!! They prepared the pool and 2 hours later our little girl was born.

It was a very physical experience. It was intense and I was very loud but the midwife coached me to use the energy to push, which did the trick. I was concentrating on what I was doing and really the sensations I had, despite being intense, I could manage them well. My husband poured water on my back which did help a lot. And I really admire the ladies who deliver babies without support. For me, my husband was key. Knowing that he was there and hearing his voice really encouraged me :).

Our little girl was born with me in a squat position - hugging my husband. The pool worked fine throughout the 2 hours but as I was getting tired they decided to make me squat. And it did the trick.

Pain relief – I had none. Our little girl was almost 10 lbs and I did have a tear. But I am fully recovered.

All the staff at Heath hospital was lovely. They respected our birthing plan and all what we wrote in it. We couldn’t be happier to be honest. Super positive experience and obviously we will repeat.

Big hug and many many thanks for all what you have done for us xxx .

Mama B - "I’m so thankful for the techniques learnt from doing hypnobirthing & yoga with you, as these meant I was able to have the VBAC in the MLU I’d really wanted."

Hi Claire,

Our second daughter made a slightly early appearance at 38 weeks on Monday 3rd September (the first day of my maternity leave!).
I’d been to the Heath on the Sunday for a trace as baby’s movements had slowed. All was fine & the midwife said I was actually having contractions so might not be long before baby arrived. But as I couldn’t feel anything I assumed they were just Braxton Hicks & I still had a while to go, especially as our first daughter was born 2 weeks after her estimated due date.
At 3:30am the following morning my waters broke & at around 5:30am I started feeling some mild surges but I stopped noticing them once my daughter was up & we started with our day as usual (playing, eating, walking, etc) & nothing further seemed to be happening.
I had to go to the MLU at the Heath at 3:30pm to be checked as my waters had broken 12 hours before & was told I was 2cm dilated. They also booked me in for an induction the following morning as they don’t like to leave you longer than 24 hours in case of infection, but said to come back if labour had started before the 24 hour cut-off.
Once we got home we had some food, watched some tv & I spoke to my parents to check my daughter was settled with them. We then went to bed listening to the Hypnobirthing scripts, doing my visualisations & I also cuddled into my daughter’s blanket as thought it might help generate some oxytocin. An hour later I was having regular mild surges & after another hour I woke my husband as the surges were coming every 2/3 minutes & lasting about 1 minute. He called the MLU & they said to come in, but I wasn’t overly keen to leave my ‘safe space’ as still didn’t feel I was in full active labour & didn’t want things to stop once I got to the hospital if labour wasn’t fully established. In the end, I gave in & we arrived at the Heath at 11pm where I was told I was fully dilated. 50mins later & with the help of some gas & air, my husband’s coaching of the down breathing & a lot of loud mooing(!), our daughter arrived :-) (I had to have a few stitches because of grazes from my daughter’s nails, but my perineum remains in tact so would definitely recommend the massage of that & plenty of pelvic floor!)
My first daughter was an undiagnosed breech which had resulted in an emergency c-section after an induced labour & I was determined to have a natural birth this time round.
I’m therefore so thankful for the techniques learnt from doing hypnobirthing & yoga with you, as these meant I was able to have the VBAC in the MLU I’d really wanted.
Thank you Claire!
We are looking forward to seeing you for Mum & Baby yoga soon.

Mama H - "Hypnobirthing really helped me to switch off my mind and allow my body to birth my baby. Our daughter was calm with a steady heartbeat throughout with no signs of distress at any point. I have practiced meditation and yoga in the past but Hypnobirthing had some new techniques. I believe it helped me to let go of my fear and anxiety around birth and allowed for a wonderful experience during which we were both safe."

Hi Claire
My daughter was born on 28 April a week early. My Waters broke at 3am but I had no contractions. I phoned the unit at the Hospital at 8am and they said come in later that morning to be reviewed. Through the morning, I had some very mild cramping - similar to what I had been having for a few days but no surges.  When I got to the hospital they checked the pad I was wearing but said there was no need to examine as it was clear my waters had partially ruptured. They arranged for me to come back at midnight if labour hadn't started naturally.
As I now knew that I would be having my baby in the next day or so I planned for a big lunch to keep up my energy!  We went to Tescos and I started feeling stronger cramps as I walked round. When I got home I ate a big carb-heavy lunch then had a shower and did some nipple stimulation to try and get the hormones flowing. The surges were coming more regularly now and I couldn't talk while I had them. I practised the breathing techniques we learned on your Hypnobirthing Course and I used a tens machine. Although I had only been having significant surges for about an hour, they were coming every 2 mins so I phoned the hospital.  They said that because they were so regular they would like me to come back in. However, when they examined me I was only 1-2cm dilated. I was worried they would tell me to go home again because I was barely dilated, but the midwife said to try going in the birthing pool for a few hours. After around 3 hours I said I was finding it really difficult to manage the surges. They suggested I get out and be re-examined and that if I was 4cm they could give me gas and air and if not I could come out of the pool and have a break with pethidine. Thankfully I was 6cm and got back in the pool with gas and air.
I felt very aware of my body and focused on my partner and my breathing. We had music playing and I think all of this helped me feel relaxed. The midwife gave suggestions on different positions I could try in the pool and helpful encouragement when I needed but wasn't intrusive at all and I forgot she was there most of the time. Once I felt the urge to push I really found the noisy exhalations helpful… and cathartic! Although I found the perineal massage difficult and a bit uncomfortable in practice, when I had the stretching sensation as my baby’s head descended I was able to relax because I had felt the sensation before. I had my baby in the pool about 8.5 hours after the first significant surge. Throughout the birth, with the help of my partner, I focused on my breathing.  It helped me stay centred and focused.
I found it tricky to write my birth story, not because anything went wrong - it was as natural and complication free as I could hope for - but because I don't have much concept of time and who was there! A home birth wasn’t for us because I wanted to be very close to medical intervention should either of us need it - but I felt like we could have been at home. It was just me and my partner with the relaxing music we enjoy and I was simply allowing the birth to happen to me. I think Hypnobirthing really helped me to switch off my mind and allow my body to birth my baby (I think that might actually be a line in one of the mantras!)  Our daughter was calm with a steady heartbeat throughout with no signs of distress at any point. The staff were so kind and supportive and I felt really safe and secure without being really aware I was in hospital. I would really recommend the Hypnobirthing to people considering it - I have practised meditation and yoga in the past but Hypnobirthing had some new techniques - and, I believe it helped me to let go of my fear and anxiety around birth and allowed for a wonderful experience during which we were both safe.
Thank you Claire for creating a supportive environment where both me and my partner could learn and accept the techniques which I think helped both of us during the birth of our daughter. 
Looking forward to seeing you at yoga! .

Mama A - "I think Hypnobirthing really helped me to face labour with less fear and accept that it can be an incredible experience. I tend to worry a lot, so for me this was a major change of perspective."

Dear Claire,

Happy new year! I hope you had a nice Christmas break. I had my baby and everything went fantastically. I wanted to write our baby’s birthing story for a while, but didn’t find the mental space until now. I really enjoyed hearing about other’s birthing stories so I hope they enjoy this one too.

I was due to have my baby on the 9th of October. I started my maternity leave the 8th so probably it was good that he came a bit later, although I have to say that from the weekend before I started putting in practice ‘natural’ induction methods: pineapple, sex, hot food, longer walks and the like. I felt I was more or less ready but I had an extra week in front of me, which was good to finish preparing things and have some mental space. I was a bit worried about having to have an induction, but my community midwife was very supportive and relaxed. She didn’t put any pressure on me to have a sweep and just told me to relax and give it some time, which was what I wanted to do. One of my best friends back in Spain is a midwife and recommended some postures for labour induction and also to create some space with my partner to say goodbye to this pregnancy and in my case, my pregnant body. On Sunday the 14th at night we sat together and thought about all the amazing things that had happened since I’ve got pregnant, how we decided to have a baby and the emotional and physical journey that we have walked together, that finally led us to be ready to welcome a little human, a mixture of the two of us to our lives. We also spoke about what we were looking forward to as parents and our fears.

It was a very emotional evening that same night I went into labour. At around 1:30am I started having regular contractions, every 6-7 minutes that lasted for around 30 seconds. We called the MLU and they said to wait until they were every 5 min and lasted for a minute. I took a paracetamol and lay in bed. The midwife recommended a bath, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted a bath at that time in the night and neither that I would be able to get in and out comfortably. The surges were quite uncomfortable and very regular, so after a couple of hours I decided to get the tens machine on. Not sure how much it actually helped, but it was nice to feel that I was doing something! We put on the Hypnobirthing CDs and lay in bed, which was relaxing. My partner went to sleep and I tried to but, a mixture of things happening and the excitement made it quite difficult!

We were around the house in the morning. Still my contractions were every 6 minutes, and I started to feel tired and wanted some more pain relief as well as to know what was going on. We called the MLU again and they told us we could go in but that we might be sent back home again if I wasn’t in established labour.

We arrived to Heath at around 11 am and were put in an enormous room with the pool, blocks, a birthing ball, a bed, everything! The midwives examined me and I was 3cm dilated. They said I could stay for a couple of hours to see how things were progressing. My partner went to park the car to park the car and I stayed in the room, thinking that things could just stop, even though the contractions were still regular. I was using the tens machine and after trying different positions and not getting much relief, I went into the pool. Oh my god! That was so amazing - it was so nice and warm and relieved so much the intensity of the contractions. We had by this point put on soft music and dim lights. I was also concentrating on my breathing quite a lot, using my Hypnobirthing visualisations and my partner was supporting me, telling me how well I was doing and how beautiful I looked and holding me when needed. The midwives were also very supportive and stayed out of the way, giving me a lot of space and being extremely respectful, following my birthing plan. After 4 hours they checked again my progress and i was 4-5 cm dilated, so for them labour had started. I was feeling very uncomfortable then, and was happy try the gas and air, but sadly it did not have any effect on me. I was then feeling exhausted after more than 12 hours with contractions every 5-6 min and started thinking that I wanted some more pain relief; basically an epidural.

My partner, was very encouraging, trying to keep me to my birth plan, and proposing to get back into the water with the gas. This time the water was not that helpful and I was increasingly worried about how much longer this was going to take. I asked the midwife how long it could take me to get to 10 cm and she said good progress was half centimetre per hour. That made me decide that I did want an epidural and asked for the transfer. While they were getting things ready I started feeling the urge to poo and push. My midwife friend had said to me that when you feel the need to poo, the baby is close, so I realised things were speeding up. Given my weird contraction/pushing movements the midwife asked if I wanted to be examined, and there you go, I was 9-10 cm dilated! So no time for the epidural.

[Birth Partner says: I suddenly had a moment of doubt here… I worried that I had I been too strongly encouraging my partner to keep to her birth plan and hold out on getting the epidural…? Fortunately she suddenly become super brave at this point and wasn’t in the mood for any regrets!]

I was laying in bed after the examination and decided to stay there. The midwives offered coaching for pushing if I wanted it, and despite me saying in my birth plan that I didn’t want it, I did want as much help as possible. That support was great, I felt accompanied and that they were taking amazing care of me, which I think helped me a lot to feel safe and not fearful. So there we were, two midwives that I was pushing against with my legs, my partner holding me and me pushing very hard. The amount of noises I made I think is completely indescribable but it was very powerful to put together the pushing with all those guttural sounds. It felt so different from the contractions, I was so concentrated and felt very empowered, we are going to do this! I cannot emphasize enough how much the support of the midwives and my partner talking me through what was happening and encouraging me helped me. They gave me the option of touching the baby’s head or seeing him in a mirror as he was coming out but I didn’t really feel like it. The waters broke while I was pushing.

I was getting tired but one of the midwives said that our baby would be out by 18:30 and she was right! During the last pushes I really felt I was giving away all the energy I had in me, and you always realise you have a bit more, and you push more the next time. Our baby came out and as he was put on my chest, there was no discomfort any more, not a single tiny bit anywhere. He was absolutely perfect and latched to my breast in 5 minutes. My legs were shaking with the adrenaline. I recall those moments as so natural and beautiful, seeing my partner holding our child and saying how incredible I had been and that he owes me forever. Our bodies and us are just amazing. As a couple and now a family we are loving each other more if that is even possible! The whole thing ended with a few stitches, a nice shower and moving to a lovely double bedroom. We even had some pizza delivered for dinner!

I am very grateful about how everything went. Thanks to my partner I didn’t give in to ask for an epidural earlier, he was so supportive and my rock. The care at the heath was absolutely amazing, the midwives were supportive and respectful and so encouraging. I just had a small tear and now I am 100% recovered thanks to a lot perineal massage and exercises while pregnant, as well as physio support offered by the NHS. And I am also very grateful to you Claire and all the mums there that share their stories. I think Hypnobirthing really helped me to face labour with less fear and accept that it can be an incredible experience. I tend to worry a lot, so for me this was a major change of perspective. I will see you soon in baby and mummy yoga, and girls, I wish you the best!

Mama L - "I was scared of having an anaesthetic, but the breathing techniques I had learnt from Hypnobirthing helped me to remain calm. The anaesthetist talked me through the whole process as it happened, explaining all the noises, while my partner held me close and we played our chosen music."

Hi Claire,

Hope all is well with you, and you’re enjoying the sunshine! Thought I would send you my birth story now I have a quiet moment. As you'll see, things were not as straight forward as I thought they would be!

As you know, I had been under consultant care throughout the pregnancy with regular growth scans and on my 40th week, I was due to have my last scan - if baby was a good size I could go to midwife led otherwise I’d stay under the consultant. Previous scans at 36 and 38 weeks showed baby was engaged and head down. However we all had a bit of a surprise at the 40 week scan to discover that not only had he turned himself breech but was also a footling breech. Apparently baby turning after 37 weeks is unusual! The Consultant told us we had three options - try to turn him, elective c-section, or try for a vaginal delivery. The consultant was wonderful and reassured us we would be supported with whatever decision we made and gave us all the information required to make an informed decision, including all the risks associated with each option. We decided to try and turn baby so the next day, another Dr tried to turn him, but unfortunately he would not budge. So we had another decision to make- try for a vaginal delivery or elective section. We were extremely fortunate that we had enough time to talk through and make the decision that was right for us. We were fully supported with our decision and encouraged to talk through and weigh up the benefits of both options. Ultimately, it was important to my partner and I that baby arrived safely and the last thing I wanted to was to end up having an emergency cesarean with baby in distress, so after much thought we opted for the elective c-section. I would be being dishonest if I said I wasn’t disappointed that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to labour and give birth myself. Having practiced hypnobirthing, I was looking forward to the process of giving birth (and the opportunity to moo!!). I never really expected to be in a position where I would need a section, but I also felt I was important to me to have my baby in a calm and controlled way, and that’s what the elective section gave me.

So on Saturday I was taken to theatre, and to be honest, I was scared of having an anaesthetic, but the breathing techniques I had learnt from Hypnobirthing helped me to remain calm. I had a truly amazing team of anaesthetists, midwife, surgeons and scrub/ theatre nurses who were unwavering with their support. The anaesthetist talked me through the whole process as it happened, explaining all the noises, while my partner held me close and we played our chosen music. At 12:09 our son was born 7lb 15oz, healthy and happy. After a night in hospital to regain the feeling in my legs, and a check over of us both, we were discharged the next day and are settling in to life as a family of 4. Our baby boy’s big sister is very proud of her little brother!

This is the second time I have given birth where things did not go as expected, but have been so fortunate that they have been positive experiences.

I hope this is helpful to the ladies in yoga! I wish them all the best for their birth journeys! And hopefully I will see you later in the summer/ autumn for baby massage class.

Mama R - "Our little girl was birthed from a squatting position - the yoga over the past 6 months has really helped - thank you so much!!! I really do advocate hypnobirthing too, it’s full of powerful tools to help you through the journey."

Hi Claire
I hope you’re well.
Just a quick note from the Heath. We welcomed our little girl peacefully into our family in the early hours of Saturday morning. Surges began Friday afternoon on her due date and we headed to the hospital in the evening when they became more frequent and intense. I was monitored and the midwife confirmed I was in established labour so we were admitted to the unit. Despite being in the consultant led unit, I was able to have the birth I had wished for. I was lucky in that the wireless monitoring was available along with the birth pool so we headed to that room where things progressed pretty quickly. We put on the hypnobirthing track (on repeat!!) and the playlist I had created, dimmed the lights, switched on the tea lights and dotted them around the pool. The environment was calm and warming. The midwife was incredibly supportive and respectful of my wishes. She commented how calm she was herself by the environment! I had minimal vaginal exams and she let me just progress in my own way and time.

I breathed through every surge and changed positions when I needed to. Birthing in the pool was a euphoric experience which I’m so thankful for. Our little girl was birthed from a squatting position - the yoga over the past 6 months has really helped - thank you so much!!! I really do advocate hypnobirthing too, it’s full of powerful tools to help you through the journey.

Heading home shortly for a nice warm shower :-)

Mama E - "I'm proud to say, no pain relief - just the all important breath and mindfulness"

Hi Claire,
Firstly, a big thank you for everything. It was a pleasure to attend yoga during my pregnancy and the breathing techniques as well as physical strength exercised in class certainly went a long way for me to enjoy a positive birth experience. So here it is...my birth story!
As you know, I had been feeling a little apprehensive in the final weeks of pregnancy, albeit my second labour. I also had quietly planned a home birth which only a few people were privy too. However, I was open minded that where a medical situation may arise, the hospital wasn’t far away. I spent most of my first week of maternity, as well as relaxing and nesting, psyching myself up! I’d printed some birth affirmations to display around the house and the one that kept repeating itself to me was “the baby will arrive when the time is right.” Every night I went to bed convincing myself “tonight will be the night” and I’m sure this began to irritate my husband. As a teacher, my first week off was nicely timed to be half term and my partner had taken annual leave to spend time together, before our family of three became a family of four. As the week came to an end I silently wished baby would arrive before my partner was due to go back to work. Saturday evening we ventured out for mountain air to watch the fireworks in Caerphilly. It seemed like a good idea but it was drizzly, crowded and our son insisted on climbing further up the hill to get a good view. I powered on, albeit frustrated I couldn’t even do my coat up in the rain. After 20 minutes, we’d had enough and returned to home comforts. Low and behold that evening I was feeling some tummy cramps. I woke at 2.30am to relieve my bladder (nothing out of the ordinary) but by 3am I woke my husband to say I think it’s happening. My waters appeared to trickle so I decided to take a bath for relaxation and lit my lavender calendar whilst my partner stirred and was put to action to get us birth ready. He lay out the birth pool for pumping and cleared space in the dining room. My surges seemed to ramp up a notch and by which time I was out of the bath and rocking on my birth ball and with each surge I called for my husband to hold my hand or rub my lower back whilst focusing on my breathing. At this point we called the hospital to inform them and decided it was best to get a midwife to the house to check how I was progressing. Little did I know, progression was pretty swift and as we’d put setting the birth pool on hold until the midwife arrived, my partner suggested I moved into the living room. Finally the midwife arrived and she was a calming presence, encouraging me to focus on my breath and listen to my body. At this point, my out breaths changed to primitive groans instinctively. I really felt like I needed a poo! I then overheard the midwife call the hospital for a second midwife to attend but commented that the baby would likely make an appearance before she would arrive. Shit! I’m really having this baby soon I thought, and with that I caught my breath and tried to recompose myself. Now, I’m pretty sure I entered transition at this point - the overwhelming feeling you can’t go on but you can and you must. At full dilation and a mighty push, the head felt present. Within a matter of moments and following the lead of my bodily surges, our baby slipped out with a fist covering her face, super girl style, just without the cloak! True to form and the mystic meg affirmation, her timing was perfect. I cradled my daughter between my arms, cord dangling between me. Exhausted. But it’s not over until it’s over. We enjoyed immediate skin to skin and as I sat on the sofa for her to nuzzle into my breast we waited patiently for the cord to stop pulsating. After around 45 minutes, my partner cut it. As I intended to keep my placenta for encapsulation we decided to have a physiological third stage and within an hour I delivered it. I’m proud to say - no pain relief just the all important powerful breath and mindfulness. The most beautiful thing was my son waking up a few hours later and coming down stairs to meet his baby sister which we captured on video.
And so it begins, a whirlwind, joyous and emotional time adjusting to newborn demands and growing as a family of four.
Myself and my little girl look forward to starting baby yoga with you soon!
Good luck fellow mummies to be and wishing you all safe, healthy and positive births! You got this :)

Mama R - "We both got so much out of your Hypnobirthing Course and I do think the prep we did helped me to have the most wonderful birth. Our daughter came out alert and blinking at 7lb 7oz. She had no signs of being over-baked and was born at 42 weeks plus 6 days. "

Bit of background: I had a difficult pregnancy, I was nauseated to some extent the whole 10 months, I had loads of growth scans because my bump wasn't big enough. I could rant about the utter idiocy of plotting an individual on a graph of an average population... I very much doubt it was a population of 31yr old, vegetarian powerlifters! Wish I'd had the guts to tell my very sweet community midwife where to stick her measuring tape.
We did your Hypnobirthing Course mainly so I could get my own way and have a home birth despite my partners initial horror at the idea. We both got so much out of your course and I do think the prep we did certainly helped me have the most wonderful birth on the CLU.
On the Tuesday I announced to the Pregnancy Yoga class “I'm 42 weeks!”. That week I was feeling good, I was still active and walking to the gym in town. And ignoring my very nice midwives pleas to book an induction or do a sweep. However, I did think maybe I need to start optimising things. So I got an aromatherapy acupressure and reflexology treatment, it was a lovely treat and did wonders for my fat ankles and tired back. Then that night (2am) my waters went in spectacular fashion! (I recommend a waterproof sheet, now doing fine work catching the odd lake of breast milk.) I rang the hospital and, after a brief discussion, we decided I didn't need to go in and the community midwife could pick up my case in the morning. We sort of went back to sleep with the help of a bit of Hypnobirthing visualisations. Next morning my mum arrived, we put up the birthing pool, wondered around Roath Park, read books and bounced on my ball. At this point I was sloshing clary sage, jasmine and lavender oils everywhere.
Still nothing the next day and my mood changed. I did not want another walk round the park. I just wanted a bath and a back rub.
Finally I agreed that I would go in to hospital for an assessment: 36 hours after my waters went I had a dull period pain type ache no discernible contractions. I was taking paracetamol at night and using the Hypnobirthing visualisations to relax. Suddenly I really liked the butterflies Hypnobirthing visualisation!
On administration was 3cm, I asked a midwife for her frank opinion she said if I wanted to avoid the Oxytocin drip to have the prostaglandin gel. She was right. I snuck home for a bath and a nap. 2 hours later my partner (who had been timing my surges) really wanted to go back to hospital. I thought he was being OTT. But had my focus elsewhere.
In fairness, I was now having difficulty walking as the surges came. The same midwife eyed me as I walked back and told me I was probably ready for upstairs. I thought she was very silly and this couldn't be labour; I was fine, just visualising the muscle fibres of my uterus and my baby getting ready for its big leap. Walking up to the consultant lead unit should have terrified me but I felt fine. Just as it was getting a bit overwhelming gas and air was presented to me. It was marvellous! I was stood up hugging a ball on the bed with my partner pressing on my back and I felt very powerful. The rocking motion with the surges was totally instinctive.
When the urge to push came it was such a relief, I had started to feel a little adrift. But the sensation grounded me. I'm not a fanciful person but even in white cold room I felt totally connected to my baby; I didn't moo, I roared! After 40 mins of pushing a little baby was placed on my chest. I was expecting to love her, but the happiness was a complete surprise. I had secret doubts about being a mum all through my pregnancy but when this small slimy being rooted for my nipple, I knew it was going to be wonderful.
Our daughter was born looped in her cord, wearing it like a feather bower. She came out alert and blinking at 7lb 7oz (a very respectable size). She had no signs of being over baked and was born 42+6.
On transfer out of the unit, I tried to thank my very brilliant midwife she said it was the most powerful birth she had seen and that it had all been me (she was awesome and I'm pretty sure she says that to all new mums). She was in the background for most of it, but stepped in with the gas and air and put pressure on my perineum. For all that I am so so grateful.

Mama K - "Not once did I feel any pain. At all times I felt in control and empowered. I felt like I was doing an incredible job....and I was! I bought my little boy into the world in a calming and beautiful atmospher. If I could go back and do it all again, I would"

Hi Claire,
I did it! I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy and it was the most amazing experience of my life. He has been with us just over a week now and I can’t imagine our life without him! We’re finally starting to settle into life with a newborn and as he sleeps soundly next to me, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my story with you.

On Wednesday 4th July (interestingly, my original prediction and 40+6 according to the dating scan) at 1:00am, I got up to go to the toilet when suddenly I felt a little gush down below. Originally, I thought it may be my waters but when I got to the toilet, I realised soon that it was in fact my “show”. I woke up my partner and explained that I thought this was it! Looking back now, I wish I tried a little harder to go back to sleep but I just couldn’t, I was too excited, especially when I realised I had started to feel the surges.

Anyway, I called my mum (her and my partner were my birth partners) and explained that I thought this was it and she decided to make her way to us. I was worried that it may be a false alarm, but mum was keen to make her way anyway. I went downstairs and put ‘Friends’ on as it never fails to make me smile and I wanted to get the oxytocin flowing! At this time, the surges were manageable just sat up right and getting on with things. They were definitely getting more intense though and I started timing them. They were a little irregular at this point. I kept losing my show throughout the whole of the labour. I didn’t even know this could happen. I always thought the show was a one-off occurrence but mine just kept coming and coming. I sat on my ball and swayed a little and felt instant relief so that was nice. The ball turned out to be a bit of a saviour really and I used it pretty much the whole way through.

On Wednesday evening, after my partner had been timing the surges, we decided it might be time to go to the hospital. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be far along but because it was my first time, I just didn’t know what to expect so decided to go in to get checked anyway. I’m not sure if you remember Claire but I had told you that I was really worried about have examinations (more so than the birth) because of bad experiences with smears in the past. However, the up breathing and pelvic floor exercises were invaluable because I was able to breathe through it and really concentrate on relaxing everything. The assessment confirmed what I thought and 24 hours after my labour started, I was told I was only 1cm and in the latent phase of labour. I had a decision to make, I could either get annoyed and frustrated or soldier on and at this point I was feeling in really good spirits and managing fine so just kept positive knowing that he was coming and didn’t matter how long he took.

We returned home and things really ramped up (we were told that the surges may get more intense after the examination and they sure as hell did). I felt in a really tricky position now though as I had absolutely no idea when to go back. I was worried about going back and being told I was 2cm but I just listened to my body. We spent the night just managing the surges, Mum and my partner were helping me with the Hypnobirthing up breathing (counting in for 4 and out for 8) and I listened to the positive affirmations to make sure I reminded myself that I CAN DO THIS and that I stayed positive and didn’t panic. The breathing was absolutely incredible for a number of reasons but mainly because I knew that all I needed to do was 4/5 breaths and the surge would be over, that REALLY got me through each surge and I was reminded one more surge was one less surge! I also kept reminding myself that they weren’t actually painful and were just powerful and this REALLY helped. Mum and my partner never asked about the “pain” but only ever about the “intensity”, “power” or “comfort” and this use of language was invaluable, it helped me stay in control and calm.

During the morning/day of Thursday (I’ll be honest, I completely lost track of time and have to ask my partner what happened and when for some bits but just because I was completely zoned out and concentrating on my breathing/getting through the surges), we watched some films to help keep the oxytocin flowing. My partner and mum were amazing, taking it in turns to be at my service and reminding me how amazing I was doing. They listened to me and supported me and I genuinely am not sure what I would have done without them. My partner was so clued up on the Hypnobirthing and for someone who wasn’t overly sure of it in the first place, he really stepped up and was a real rock to me throughout!! It really gave him a role in the whole process. I was absolutely shattered and decided to lie down and try and sleep but it wasn’t happening, the surges were too intense for me to sleep. In the end, I was managing the surges by leaning over a dining room chair, using my up breathing. Something in me said it was time to go to the hospital and although I was still worried I’d be turned away again, I needed to go just for peace of mind. So, on Thursday afternoon (36 hours after it had started) we headed to the hospital where I was examined again. It was at this point things took a route that I really wasn’t expecting. The midwife said she had good news but some not so good news. She explained I was 5cms which meant I could stay and didn’t need to go back home but she then explained that baby was measuring big and that she wouldn’t advise staying on the MLU. Now, this was something I had battled with throughout the later stages of pregnancy and I thought I had nipped this in the bud weeks ago and was not prepared to face this challenge again. I explained to the midwife that the consultant midwife had signed me off to be on the MLU but the midwife still explained she was following protocol and really thought I would benefit more from going upstairs to the labour ward. I wanted to make sure I was using my BRAIN and asked if the consultant midwife was around so I could speak to her. The same lady was there who saw me previously but this time she was also suggesting that baby had grown quite a lot since and it would be better for me to go to the labour ward. This was really disheartening for me. Don’t get me wrong, the midwives were lovely and just following the protocol but I felt so bombarded sitting there, not long away from delivering a baby and having to make a decision I thought I had already made. The consultant midwife explained that nothing needed to be different upstairs than it was in the MLU. She said I could still have everything on my birth preferences and the only difference would be that there would be a consultant nearby should I need one. I spoke to mum and my partner and we decided, based on what the consultant had said that going on the labour ward may not be a negative option for me, so we agreed and made our way upstairs. The room was absolutely fine, a little more medicalised than the rooms I had come from but mum and my partner set to work putting out my battery candles and playing my MP3s through the speaker. I was still swaying and breathing through the surges at this point. The two midwives came in (one student midwife) and I have to say, they were absolutely amazing. They complimented me throughout, were so so kind and helpful and really helped to ease my mind about having to change my birth preferences. We filled the pool and I got in, ABSOLUTE BLISS!!!! The best feeling ever. I was in the pool, leaning over the side for a while and managing the surges by breathing and with MP3s. it was such a surreal and magical feeling and I didn’t feel out of control, in pain or panicked at any time. I knew the midwives were due to go off shift at 7pm but we were all convinced I’d been done by then. I was told I couldn’t give birth in the water but that if it happened, it happened and they wouldn’t stop it which really gave me some hope. However, 7:00pm came and went and I saw a change of shift. The midwives ensured me they’d be replaced with someone who would completely understand what I was doing and my birth preferences which was really reassuring. The new midwife was equally as lovely and VERY supportive. She was super calm and just took things step by step. She asked if I minded getting out of the pool to be examined and after checking 100 times that I could get back in, I agreed haha! It was about 9/10pm (nearly 48 hours into labour) and I was 7cm which disheartened me because we were all sure I’d be done by 7pm but the midwife assured me that the progress was positive and she was really happy. I asked again about giving birth in the pool but the midwife explained that I couldn’t, that I’d need to get out so they could monitor me and the baby more. The next part is quite fuzzy for me partly because I was so tired but may have had something to do with the introduction of gas and air!! Gas and air by the way, was a BEAUTIFUL addition and felt amazing. They say it doesn’t work as well for everyone but at the time it was a huge relief and it really helped take away some of the intensity however did give me some strange hallucinations (I won’t go into those haha). Anyway, the midwife asked if she could examine me again to which, at this point, I refused (not too sure why but I did). She decided it was time for me to get out all the same, as she thought it may be time to start pushing (I’m not too sure how she knew and this part is very blurry to me but it just shows that you don’t NEED lots of examinations if you don’t want them). I reluctantly got out and this instantly changed things for me. I was disheartened and my breathing went a little out of the window and I believe that the sudden change really made my second stage of labour by far the hardest. I told the midwife that I did NOT want to be lying down, I wanted to be upright and breathe the baby out and she fully accepted my wishes. During this stage, my midwife needed to take a break which meant a change in midwives which is completely understandable but also threw another change into the mix. This stage lasted hours and at about 2am on the 6th July the midwife suggested that it was taking too long and that she’d need to get the consultant in. I was determined not to have any intervention and so asked for a little more time. She asked if I minded if the consultant could come in just for advice to which I agreed. The consultant agreed to give me more time but stayed in the room watching the progress. My partner and mum were still doing AMAZING. My partner was by my side the whole way, encouraging me, getting involved and telling me how proud he was of me. He was in complete admiration which made me feel like a goddess. However, I still didn’t feel like I was making progress. Eventually I gave in and turned over from my all fours to upright on my back at which point the consultant said “the baby’s heartrate has dropped and if baby didn’t come on my next push, she would have to intervene”. “NO WAY” I thought and I have never felt more determined in my life. I gave one final push and out came his head. The midwife asked me to stop pushing at this point and take my time and with the next contraction his body came. This was the most surreal feeling in the world but I would never ever explain this as painful. It was powerful, it was surreal but it was empowering and incredible. A feeling I could never explain. My partner saw the whole thing and was in awe of what my body could do (as was I). A real cliché but my first words were “I did it”! Our son was born a mere 8lb 9oz which is NOT a “BIG” baby and considering he had been measured over 4 weeks previously as 7lb 4oz is hard to believe. Just goes to show how wrong they can be! He was born at 3:23am (over 50 hours after my labour had started) and was perfect. He is (and the experience was) completely worth every single second of the labour and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I did have a 3rd degree tear. In all honesty, I didn’t even feel this happen and had to ask the midwife if I had a tear. I also had an amazing recovery and can honestly say my tear was nothing to be scared of. However, I will just add how much my pelvic floor exercises helped with recovery. Initially I was disappointed and angry about some of the things that happened during labour. Disappointed I didn’t stick to my guns to stay on the MLU, disappointed I hadn’t fought harder to give birth in the water and angry for being bombarded in the middle of my labour HOWEVER, on reflection of my experience it was absolutely incredible. Not once did I feel any pain and at all times (even when things took a turn) I felt in control and empowered, I felt like I was doing an incredible job and…I was! I brought my boy into this world in a calming and beautiful atmosphere and my partner and mum helped me do it. If I could go back and do it all again, I would and although initially I wanted to change aspects of my birth on reflection I realised that perhaps it was the path I was meant to take just to prove to everyone how strong I could be.
Claire, I can’t thank you enough. The Yoga classes and Hypnobirthing were INVALUABLE. The techniques I learned and the opportunity to be in a relaxed atmosphere on a weekly basis helped me enormously not only during the birth but throughout the pregnancy. My pregnancy and birth were faultless and I enjoyed every second. I truly believe this is because I was informed and prepared by the Hypnobirthing and not worrying about every little thing. I will forever be in your debt! I will be recommending your Hypnobirthing to everyone!
Wishing everyone calm pregnancies and births xxxxxxx

Mama J - "I'm so glad I had my birth partner there. I couldn't have done it without him. Practicing the hypnobirthing scripts together every night definitely helped - his voice became my source of calm."

Hi Claire,
I hope you are well!
I know my partner has sent his birthing experience so I thought I would send you mine now that I have a moment to spare!
So, it all began in the very early morning of 27th August. I woke up just before 3am with discomfort in my stomach and initially thought it was just the usual pregnancy pain or braxton hicks. I tried to get back to sleep but noticed they were happening more frequently, roughly 7-10 minutes apart and lasting roughly 20-30 seconds. This was when I thought "OMG, they are real contractions, I am going into labour!" and woke my partner up. I told him to ring the labour ward and initially they said I needed to wait until the contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting 45seconds at least. So we waited.
During this time, I used the Hypnobirthing techniques and breathed through the sensations, which worked well. My partner also started reading some of the scripts and the sound of his voice really helped calm me down.
During this time my contractions were getting closer together and also lasting longer, but the labour ward kept telling us to stay at home. They said as it was my first pregnancy it could take ages for me to go into active labour. So we stayed home.
Not long later, around 5:30am I suddenly started getting these really intense contractions and felt a huge pressure around my southern area - I was making loads of noise and thought I was going to give birth then and there! I even asked my partner to have a look to see if he could see the baby come out!! – baby wasn’t coming... it was just my water breaking! So, after phoning labour ward and them hearing me shouting, they finally said I could come in! Trying to get to the car was fun with water trickling down my leg and contractions! My water finally broke in my partner’s car - of all places!
We got to the hospital around 6am and I was taken straight into the delivery room. At this point I kind of forgot all the hypnobirthing stuff as the contractions were so intense! I even asked for an epidural but couldn’t have one as I was already fully dilated! The Hypnobirthing down breathing obviously worked!!
My partner was great at this point as he made me focus on him and his voice to help me breath and calm down. At this point the sensations became more bearable. I even rocked with each contraction, which helped as well.
By 7:34am I had finally given birth to our little girl!
It was a very intense experience but looking back I am glad I couldn't get the epidural as Hypnobirthing really does work. I am so glad I had my partner to calm me down as I don't think I could have done it without him. Practicing the scripts at night definitely helped in our situation as his voice became my source of calm and down breathing, for me, was a great pain relief!
Hypnobirthing is definitely something I would recommend to everyone! Thank you for being a great teacher!