Helena and Baby
First Time Mum from Reigate
When people ask me about my birth story, I talk about it with pride, with positivity, and with a sense of empowerment that I genuinely feel will never leave me. So much of this is down to Hypnobirthing, and to our teacher, Leila, who guided us, educated us and supported us every step, and every breath, of the way.
My labour began on a cold, wintry Monday morning, a few days after my due date. I’d had Braxton Hicks for a number of weeks and was feeling tired, with a sore back, but I was also filled with so much excitement about birth and beyond. My surges were strong from the beginning, coming in relatively quick succession. I put on our calming Hypnobirthing tracks, pulled on my comfiest clothes and reminded myself of the affirmations that were written on post-it notes around the house. I remember having a shower and washing my hair in between contractions, not knowing when my hair might see shampoo again!
It took me a little while to get into the surge breathing flow. I’d practiced the breathing with Leila, with my partner, and on my own in bed before going to sleep, however applying it in real life is of course slightly different. Nevertheless, once I’d got into the breathing rhythm, it helped me enormously. I rode the surges using my breath, reminding myself that each one was bringing me closer to meeting my baby.
It turned out that, despite my contractions being long and quite close together, I was further from meeting my baby than I’d thought! Monday turned to Tuesday, Tuesday to Wednesday, Wednesday to Thursday. My days were spent at home, and were filled with hot baths, dancing to my favourite music, slow, surge-filled walks, back rubs, little bites of chicken salad sandwiches (that’s all I fancied!), and short sleeps between contractions. I focused on my calm breathing between contractions, and surge breathing during them. I felt lots of my contractions in my back, and while I’d hoped the TENS machine would help, it did the opposite!
My husband was brilliant throughout. He had embraced Hypnobirthing from the very beginning, and this meant that he knew how to guide me with my breathing and how to help me relax. What neither he, nor I, knew, was exactly when we should go into hospital, due to my erratic, strong, long contractions. We were in touch with the hospital who kept saying ‘You’ll know when to come in’ and advised us to continue labouring at home.
On Thursday, Day 4 of labour, I still didn’t have that ‘I need to go in’ feeling, and had to push to get an appointment. This was during Covid, so there were extra precautions, and while I felt my husband, bump and I were managing well at home together, I thought it would be useful to see how I was getting on. (Also, part of me was wondering how long this was going to go on for!).
At 3pm we were high-fiving in triage after being told I was 6cm dilated. I was so excited – 4cm to go! We’d hoped for a water birth in the Birthing Centre, and I went to see if my favourite room there was free - it was! I felt calm and in control and was savouring this time before we became a trio.One of the many benefits of Hypnobirthing is preparing you both physically and mentally for what you can control, and what you can’t. After an hour in hospital, things immediately became much more medicalised, something I’d really hoped to avoid. It turned out that my heart rate and blood pressure were sky high, I was very dehydrated and had low platelets in my blood tests. These factors meant that, after ruling out late-onset pre-eclampsia, I would still need extra checks and could therefore not have our baby in the Birthing Centre. I was definitely disappointed, but I knew too that I could make our Delivery Suite room as homely and comfortable as possible.
I appreciate that a salt lamp isn’t the most practical thing to take into hospital, but the calm orange glow had accompanied me during many a meditation at home, and so it featured in the Delivery Suite too! As did my little food station (I took a rucksack full of tasty snacks – you name it, it was in there!), my yoga mat and birthing ball. At this point Covid restrictions were still very tight and I didn’t know how long I’d be in, or how easy it would be for my husband to come in with extra provisions – consequently I had a lot of things with me!
What happened next may sound intense, and rather traumatic, but I want to preface it with the fact that each step of the way I felt so supported and so calm. This was down to the team on the ward, my fabulous husband, and an inner sense of trust in my baby and my body.
Each hour melted into the next in a blur of surges. For me, movement continued to be key when it came to minimising their intensity. Luckily the mobile telemetry was available allowing me to move around while the team kept an eye on my and my baby’s heart rates. The drip in my arm containing rehydration fluid restricted my movement, but I tried to ignore it as best as I could.
Seven hours later, I hadn’t dilated as much as the midwife had hoped. She suggested breaking my waters, and while I was initially reluctant, I did agree. Unfortunately, there was meconium in my waters, meaning that, while I was fortunate to have been given the only Delivery Suite room containing a birthing pool, I wouldn’t be able to go in it. Water and warmth had helped so much in the days prior to this, but I didn’t have much time to be disappointed. Not long after my waters were broken, my baby’s heart rate started dropping substantially after each contraction. I was immediately placed on my side with an oxygen mask on as the midwife rang for extra help. Thankfully things stabilised, and a fetal monitor was placed directly onto my baby’s head allowing them to better monitor the heart rate. At this point, due to the extra wire and my drip, I was unable to move around as easily which was certainly rather frustrating. My calm breathing and surge breathing were immensely helpful during this stage.
After stabilising, our baby’s heart rate once again dipped. There was a renewed sense of urgency in the room and another pull on the emergency cord. The room was filled with staff, my husband was told to throw on some scrubs and I was prepped to go into theatre for an emergency c-section – rings taped down, gown on, ready to go. I distinctly remember Leila’s soothing ‘Mountain Meditation’ playing in the background as all around me staff (I say staff very generally, as by this point there were so many people there, all wearing masks, and I was confused by who was who!) stepped into emergency-mode. I focused on my breathing, on Leila’s voice, on staying calm for me and my baby, and, looking back, I’m still surprised by how serene I felt despite everything going on.
Just before heading to theatre, the doctor took blood from my baby’s head to check the oxygen levels. The level was good enough to try for a natural delivery. He checked how dilated I was, and he was surprised to see I was 10cm (“I’ve never seen anyone so smiley and chatty who’s fully dilated!”). Our baby could be delivered naturally, but we were told it had to be done very, very quickly. There was the mention of forceps (something we were keen to avoid if possible), and while the doctor went to get them, our midwife encouraged us to start pushing. I was on my back with my legs in stirrups, the exact position I didn’t want to give birth in, but at the time it didn’t matter. All that mattered was pushing my baby out. I was filled with such a sense of purpose - I can honestly say I’ve never felt so determined to do anything in all my life. My midwife asked if I’d agree to an episiotomy to help get our baby out more quickly. Around ten minutes, and a small episiotomy, later, our baby boy was born. He came out with the cord wrapped around his neck twice (which I was later told was why I had such a long labour as he was effectively bungee jumping – trying to push his way down but not quite able to do it consistently). They took him straight across to the resuscitation area to give him a good rub down and check all was well before bringing him to me.
How surreal it felt to be holding my little boy (all 9lbs of him) in my arms! During our skin-to-skin bonding, I was advised to have the injection to remove the placenta. My body expelled the placenta, but I subsequently lost 2.5 litres of blood. The room was once again busy with people, but I held our little boy and focused on him and my husband’s smiling (and exhausted!) face as the bleeding stopped and my episiotomy was stitched up - all with minimal stress and discomfort. I didn’t have a blood transfusion, instead I stayed in hospital for two nights for monitoring and had an iron infusion before heading home.
We were lucky that our Delivery Suite wasn’t needed by anyone else that night. So, instead of my husband having to leave very shortly after the birth due to the Covid policy at the time (don’t get me started on those rules!), we were able to have some precious time together, just the three of us, as we got our heads around the fact that we were now Mummy and Daddy to our black-haired, blue-eyed boy.
The birth was nothing like we’d envisaged. Was this a bad thing? Not at all. It was four days of trusting in my body, taking it all minute by minute, breath by breath, using Hypnobirthing methods every step of the way. During pregnancy, I’d researched all the pain relief methods and knew which order I would ideally like to use them in if need be. In the end, I didn’t have any pain relief at all – I didn’t feel I needed it. All I needed was movement, breathing, and the fantastic emotional support from my husband. I say this not in any way to boast, but to highlight just how much power there can be in Hypnobirthing.
I still use my calm breathing now on those days when I’m feeling tired, or a bit frazzled by new-mum life. It helps me to re-centre, recharge and gives me a few seconds to reset my mind. I know I’ll be using some of my Hypnobirthing for the rest of my life!
It was important to me to share my story, just in case it might encourage another Mummy-to-be to consider Hypnobirthing, and also to perhaps help quieten any fears about giving birth. I’m so excited for those of you about to have your baby. It was, and always will be, the best thing I have ever done.
Laura and Baby Finlay
First Time Mum from Coulsdon
Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford
Good morning Leila,
I hope you are well, and i'm sorry for the delayed update! Baby Finlay Alexander Macfarlane was born on the 14th of September by caesarian as planned, weighing 9lb 1oz. It was meant to be the 12th but as September has been very busy in maternity they had to cancel and move us to to the 14th due to emergencies.
The birth itself was amazing- undoubtedly the best experience of our lives. We had prepared a playlist which was played throughout our time in theatre and he arrived coincidentally to the sound of the first dance at our wedding (bridge over troubled water). Although our birth was not what we had initially envisioned, in the end it was simply perfect.
Our hypnobirthing helped enormously throughout. On the 12th, we waited in the hospital all day to then be cancelled I was listening to our relaxation tracks (particularly the beach one!) and practising calm breathing. Although it was disappointing that we didn't meet our baby that day as planned, we didn't get upset or stressed, as we knew these things can happen and our baby was ok - he just wasn't meant to come that day! I think the techniques really helped us to accept this change of plan.
On the day itself I was not afraid and we were both very relaxed and excited. I didn't have any problems with the spinal and practised my calm breathing throughout. Mike was also helping with light touch massage and words of encouragement. After he was born we had plenty of skin to skin, a lovely colostrum feed and lots of relaxed time getting to know our wee man.
Afterwards we have continued to use the relaxation tracks and also Steven Halpen as we did during the pregnancy. I'm pretty sure Finlay recognises the music and it helps him (and me!) to have naps.
So we'd like to thank you for all your help and the techniques you taught us. I wish I could go back and have the birth again! I'm sure there will be plenty of tough days and nights ahead but I'm hoping that we can continue to use the tools we have learned to stay as calm as we can!
Thank you once again
Laura, Mike and baby Finlay
Lora and Baby Indy
Third Time Mum from Salfords
A week over due and I was beginning to think I was not going to go into natural labour. With a home birth planned, I was beginning to lose hope. Every day for last couple of weeks I had had signs of labour starting; aches and pains, Braxton Hicks contractions etc. But every morning I would wake up still pregnant!
On Monday 13th August, I woke feeling so heavy, so uncomfortable, I didn't know how I was going to get through the day. Being in the midst of the six weeks summer holidays, I had Summer 6 and Max 3 to entertain. I did manage to meet a friend sitting at a farm and we watched the kids run around as I started to feel a period pain really deep in my lower back and in my bottom !!
We got home at 5ish and summer and I started to watch a movie. We ate popcorn and the pain was still there. I began to notice it coming and going. We got the kids to bed by 8pm. Surges built up with the feeling of pressure. I started to time them by 10ish, they were half hour apart. I lit some candles in the house and watched a new Katie price documentary. By 11, three midwives came out when my surges were just 5 minutes apart. Jake ran the pool up in the cabin and Jake's Mum and my Mum turned up.
We blew the birthing pool up when I was contracting and filled it up with water I I got into the pool but unfortunately there was a big puncture on the inside the pool at the bottom edge. ( which we didn't know about )
We had put the liner over the pool but could hear air hissing and the pool went down every ten mins throughout the birth so my partner Jake had to blow it up every ten mins for the three hours so I could stay in the water.
It was a bit disappointing as blowing it up was really noisy and I couldn't hear the music and the Midwife's were concerned it was distracting the atmosphere. Just one of those things. Indy made a safe arrival which was the main thing
Surges were intensifying as I breathed them away. The lovely midwives checked me and I was established to be in labour. I got into the pool which took all my weight off my stomach. It was as warm as a bath and really soothing, bringing instant relief. I breathed each surge away as each became stronger. After an hour, I felt I needed gas and air. This made me really concentrate on my breathing and to blow away hard as surges came. With the help of each of the midwife they talked me through every surge, encouraging me that baby would be here soon. I did briefly loose plot towards the end though, asking to get an ambulance and have an epidural but hung on with the baby going to born soon. The midwives checked me and I was 9cm dilated. I continued with gas and air that really helped me focus on deep breathing and I could actually feel the baby moving down.
Delivery was out the pool on all fours which I found the most natural It was the position I wanted to be in and the midwives encouraged me to do what my body was telling me. I'm not going to lie, the pushing was pretty hardcore but with every surge I felt baby getting closer. I did feel like I couldn't do it. I was tired and feeling anxious. During the first three pushes I felt it natural to make really loud yells and then with the midwives' help I had to put my energy in everything left I had from the depths of my soul into breathing and not screaming. The last three pushes I bit down on the gas and air and breathed everything I had into my bottom. I felt the crowning with the next surge I panted and with one last breath, baby was born.
It was so emotional. They passed her though my legs. I was holding her with the cord attached and I said "boy or girl?" They said "you check." So I looked and there she was my baby Indy Wren born at 2.28am on 14th August 2018. Back in my front room I was still in shock and was shaking. My mum made me a cup of tea and biscuits. I slowly calmed down but I couldn't believe that I'd given birth in my cabin and she was here so quickly. Summer and Max woke at 3am both had cuddles with their baby sister on the sofa and we all got back into bed at 5am.
It was really amazing really experience I recommend a home birth for the relaxed and amazing experience I had!
I had a hypnobirthing course with Leila Gardiner when I gave birth to my first and this time did a relaxation evening with Leila and read lots of Leila's affirmations and other home birth stories she had sent me which really focused my mind on visualising the birth that I hoped for!
Michelle and Baby Alfie
First Time Mum from Godstone
East Surrey Hospital
Alfie Joseph Way was born on 16/5/18 at 3am after less than 6 hours labour from first contraction to birth.
Unfortunately my waters broke at home the Tuesday night 15th at 7.30pm and I noticed the colour was green-ish so phoned the midwives and told me to go into east surrey. He pood himself inside me and so the natural Home birth went out the window lol. These babies so have their own plan!
As it happened the Home birthing team weren't deployed and so I got their full service with two midwives attending to me in hospital. My first contraction started naturally about 9.30pm. My contractions went full throttle a minute and half apart straight away which was quite hard to manage. I was also hooked up to monitors because of the meconium so I couldn't live about that freely. I bounced on a birthing ball and listened to some relaxation tracks. I couldn't lay on my side it was too uncomfortable and found every-time I had a surge I would go on all fours onto the bed and rob applied pressure to my lower back.
He did light touch massage on me and I got some ice and squeezed it in my hand every-time I had a surge. Not sure why but that helped. I played the rainbow relaxation loads and rob played a funny comedy show I like for a little while but I found it hard to concentrate as the surges were so close together. I won't lie it was painful and exhausting but the breathing helped and I put my tongue behind my teeth every-time they cake round and breathed through.
I was 2cm dilated when I got to hospital and in 4 hours I was 10 cm. before they told me I was fully dilated I got to the transition phase and told the midwives I couldn't do it and felt in too much pain. They gave me some gas and air but I didn't feel it did anything. As soon as they said I was dilated I felt so relieved.
I wasn't scared and I just tried to imagine him coming down.
I knelt on the back of the bed upright and hung over the back of the bed and then felt my body start to draw him down. It felt like waves and I found this "pushing phase" not painful at all just very strange. I did my j breathing and held back a little to slow things down. They said to push but I just did the breathing. I was doing that for about an hour and then they said his heart beat was slowing down and so I had to go on my back. I was very against this and said I didn't want to as I knew how painful it has been trying to lay on my back earlier. They said I needed to start pushing and I could see they were worried and so I did. They put my legs in stirrups and I just continued with my j breathing. Rob rally helped me at this point and was rallying my with every surge. I did about 3-4 pushes/breaths every contraction. They said the doctor wanted to use a kiwi cap to assist pulling him out as they were concerned with his heart rate. The doctor examined me which was very painful and I agreed with whatever was best. As it happened I only had to push/breath a handful more times and he came flying out. When he crowned they told me I would feel burning sensation. I can honestly say I didn't feel that. I think the j breathing helped with that. I had one tiny stitch which was great.
Unfortunately they insisted on me having the injection to expel the placenta. I said I didn't want that prior to him arriving however as he was on my tummy I didn't really care anymore and was blissfully happy.
The midwife tugged in the umbilical cord and unfortunately she snapped it off. She said that was extremely rare as his cord was really thick and strong. She later admitted she shouldn't of done that. The placenta remained retained and it wasn't coming out. I had to go into theatre to have it manually removed but that didn't really bother me as I had my perfect little man and I felt on the whole my birthing experience had been very quick and I felt very lucky.
Because of the meconium he had an infection and had to stay in hospital for 5 days with me. The first 12 hours being in the neo natal ward for observations. He had a lot of tests and injections and canulas and a lumber puncture which we found very hard to watch. We came home on Sunday with the all clear after he had 5 days of antibiotics and we are settling in. He is a very calm baby on the whole which I put down to the hypnobirthing Along with my fast labour.
The Rainbow relaxation was the biggest help I found.
Although we didn't have our pool Home birth I certainly think things happen for a reason and the staff in the hospital were amazing and the homebirthing team gave us the rolls Royce service and regularly came to visit us while we were there.
I'll send some pictures through. Perhaps pop in for some cuddles when you can! We'd love you to meet him. Xx
Jessica and Baby Heidi
Second Time Mum from Haywards Heath
Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath
We had been planning a home birth for the second time round. Hired a pool and got the house ready. It wasn't meant to be as our little one was 12 days past due date. On 4th March I was induced by pessary. We went home to wait and see if that got things moving. I had a small bleed at around 9pm so we returned to hospital for monitoring and for the team to decide what was best from there. By about 9.30pm and at this point I had experienced some early and mild contractions with no particular consistency. They were similar to Braxton-Hix and easy to handle with my breath.
At 10pm they made the decision with our consent to break my waters due to the small bleed. They said they would leave us to it and see where we were at in four hours time. It soon became apparent to me by the way my body responded to the procedure that my contraction intensity was very strong. I found it hard to find a position that was comfortable when contractions came as a result. I was resolute though that I would not stop moving, walking as I knew just how important this was in helping my baby through that journey to birth. At times it was particularly intense and a challenge to achieve with contraction strength being tiring. But I never gave up and I worked with my breath to control things as best I could. I knew I was contracting a lot more quickly as a result. My husband had asked the midwife about filling up the pool and I remember hearing her say it's not quite time yet. I knew that I was far closer than anyone could realise. And at just under two hours from waters being broken at 2352 I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Heidi in two breathes which was amazing. I was so proud to have been able to achieve what I did especially given an extra intense labour. My husband was my greatest supporter and I couldn't have done it without him. Hypnobirthing gave me a greater awareness of what my body was actually doing and the breathe gives you control and courage to believe you really can achieve the birth you want whatever the circumstances.
Michelle and Baby Sofia
First Time Mum from Walton-on-Thames
St. Peter's Hospital, Chertsey
Hope you are well!? I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you so much for all your help and support on the run up to Sofia's birth. I don't think I would have had such a positive and empowering birth experience had it not been for the the techniques I learned from you. Here is the birth story...
I found out at week 39 that I was Strep B positive. This changed my plans as I was no longer eligible for the birth centre and had to have my birth in the main hospital. I was reassured by my midwife that there was still a birthing pool in the main hospital and so all being well I should still get a water birth. The other setback with the Strep B was that I had to have intravenous antibiotics before delivery to ensure the Strep B was not passed to my baby, these had to be given either when my waters broke or when I was in established labour. This meant that if my waters broke before I went into established labour, I wouldn't be able to stay at home in the early stages of labour as I had planned. These were all things that I just had to manage, as hypnobirthing teaches you - you can only control the controllables.
At 39 + 5 my waters broke at home around 10pm on a Monday evening, so I called triage and they asked me to come in straight away to start the antibiotics. When I arrived, I was told that because of the Strep B they would also have to induce me. I was pretty surprised that this was the first time I was being told this, I had no idea that being Strep B positive meant I would all have to be induced! Again, you can only control the controllable and if this was best for the baby we went with it. I was given a gel to induce labour around 1am, and given 6 hours to see if I would go into established labour. By this point I started thinking that this was not at all not going to plan! I'm being induced, have been given 6 hours to get into established labour and it was 1am! Given my original plan was to remain at home for as long as possible and stay mobile, I.e. go for a walk in the woods I was slightly disheartened everything was not going to the way I wanted so early in the process! Given it was 1am the midwife recommended I get some rest (I wanted to start climbing the stairs to help the labour advance!). So we turned the lights down, I curled up in the hospital bed and listened to the rainbow and affirmations. The midwife checked on me on and off and asked if I was feeling any surges. At the time I wasn't feeling anything but she said that the monitor was registering some mild surges.
By 5am (after around 4 hours since the gel) I was feeling some pretty strong surges, I couldn't get comfortable on the exercise ball or on the bed and was fairly restless although I was sure I wasn't in established labour and using slow breathing to manage the surges, Chris helped with some light touch massage too. He was convinced I was further on than I thought as the surges were fairly regular and close together. The midwife examined me and I remember telling her I thought I would probably be about 1cm dilated, but she told me I was 5-6cm dilated!
I had a second round of antibiotics at 5am, and then Chris asked if I could use the birth pool. I was so glad he did, the feeling of relief was amazing! I laboured in the birth pool for around 2 hours. Chris put the rainbow and the affirmations on in the room and helped me with my breathing and holding the gas and air. I did have a transition period and said I didn't think I could do this and asked for an epidural. But Chris reminded me that I could do this, and also that if I wanted an epidural I would have to get out the pool - which was the last thing I wanted to do!
I managed the surges using gas and air and slow breathing. The slow breathing worked really well with the gas and air asI got into a routine which helped manage things and made me feel more in control. During the birthing phase the J breathing really helped me breath my baby down, this phase was pretty short. Once the head was out, the midwife said that I was going to deliver my own baby and told me to reach down and catch her in the next contraction and that is exactly what happened :). I caught her and put her on my chest, she didn't cry and was incredibly calm and didn't show any signs of stress. Sofia was born at 9.07am on Tuesday, 13 February weighing 7lb 9oz.
Thank you so much Leila for giving us the confidence and the tools to have the birth experience we wanted. Even though we faced some set backs with not being able to stay at home for the early stages of labour and going through the induction process, I just kept telling myself to control the controllables, remain positive and that my body was built to do this! I believe the rainbow really helped me to relax, I really liked the familiarity of listening to the thing I had been listening to for months and really believe that helped me to relax and allowed my body to let the labour progress naturally after receiving the gel.
Thank you again for all your help and support. The positive birth stories you sent on the run up to the day also definitely helped me to get into the right frame of mind! Sofia is a pretty chilled out little girl and I'm sure that is down to all the relaxing sessions we had with you early on in my pregnancy!
Michelle, Chris & Sofia xxx
Alison and Baby
Second Time Mum from Stoneleigh
After I experienced a rather fast labour with the birth of my first daughter, three years ago, my husband and I decided we wanted to aim for a home birth using hypnobirthing techniques.
Whilst putting our first baby to bed at 7pm I felt some mild twinges but I wasn't certain labour had started. By 9pm the surges were coming at regular intervals and I knew then that our baby was on her way. My husband set up our sitting room with candles, oils, dim lighting and the birthing affirmations playing. He then called the midwife to notify her, as well as my sister as we had arranged for her to stay to look after our first baby.
I initially preferred to sit on the floor surrounded by cushions and felt very relaxed in the comfort of my own home. At 10pm, two midwives arrived. They were very discreet and sat in the corner of the room whilst observing me. I soon felt uncomfortable sitting and so decided to stand for the next part of my labour, using my husband as support when the surges came.
My waters broke and soon after that I felt the urge to get on to all fours, leaning over our sofa. A couple of surges later, and our beautiful second baby girl was born at 11.03pm. I cherished those precious first moments of her life with her on my chest. My husband cut the umbilical cord and she very quickly latched on to my breast.
Her birth was a truly wonderful experience and I owe thanks to Leila for being such a fantastic hypnobirthing teacher. The breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques she taught us were instrumental in ensuring we had such a positive birthing experience. Our baby is a wonderfully calm and relaxed baby, and we owe this a lot to her calm entry in to the world.
By having having a home birth we were able to create the calm environment we wanted. It was lovely to be able to shower in my bathroom and sleep in my own bed after the birth. But the most magical, memorable thing was being able to introduce her to her big sister, when she awoke the next morning, all in the comfort of our own home.
Liz and Baby Oliver
Second Time Mum from Nutfield
East Surrey Hospital
Thank you so much for your support, insight and calming influence as we prepared for our second baby.
On Sunday night I woke at 2250 as my waters had broken, I called the midwife, booked in for the day unit at 10am Monday and settled back to sleep. My contractions started at 2330 and quite quickly were regular. I used the breathing techniques, and air balloon and blue ribbon visualisation. I stayed in bed for the next few hours, convinced I was in it for the long road, having been in labour for days with Charlotte. At 3am my contractions were getting more intense, frequent and lengthy and I moved to using tens, affirmations and rainbow relaxation to keep me in the zone and Mark called my mum to come over for Charlotte.
We left for hospital around 0430 and I was convinced the hospital would review me and send me home, when I was examined arriving in the birthing unit I was a 'good' 8cm dilated and the midwife rushed off to start the birthing pool concerned i wouldn't have time to get in it! I transferred to birthing unit bluebell room - same one as we were in for Charlotte. Staff were hugely respectful and allowed Mark to do everything for me where at all possible. Mark helped keep me on track with breathing and focus and we quickly moved into the birthing pool by which point I was ready to give birth.
Oliver Samuel arrived at 0626, 7lb 12oz and I brought him out of the water myself ??
Amazing, and so delighted to have had a water birth again, albeit a lot quicker! Thank you for your refresher, updates and insights. Hypnobirthing and the support of Mark enabled me to have the birth experience I had hoped for.
As with Charlotte, Oliver is alert and chilled out, and Charlotte is hugely proud!
Sarah and Baby
First Time Mum from Crawley
East Surrey Hospital
On the 20th January I got out of bed after another uncomfortable night with very little sleep due to back ache something i had suffered with for the last month of my pregnancy so I thought nothing of it.
I had made plans to go to town and have a look at the baby clothes sale and was looking forward to hopefully easing my back ache with walking whilst getting some MORE cute clothes! In town my back was worse and I was extremely tired so I cut the shopping trip short to try and have a nap, I managed half an hour! That night at 10.15pm I got up off the sofa to go to bed, in the middle of the front room I felt a 'pop' and a rush of water I instantly knew my waters had broke (I then looked at my husband telling him to help get me into the hall as I remembered from class how he was worried about my waters going on the new carpet!)
All the prep we had done with Fils plan went out the window as he instantly panicked and I cried as I felt I wasn't ready- we both then laughed at each other and then started with what we had planned! I called the hospital who told me to go to bed as I was coping with just my back ache but as my back ache was coming and going they recommended I timed when it got worse as it could be contractions.
Fil got everything ready by the door and in the bathroom for if I needed a bath and I went to bed with a hot water bottle, neither of us could sleep through nerves for Fil and I couldn't get comfy! At about 1 I decided it was time to get into the bath, Fil lit the oil burner and put on the rainbow relaxation but I found i was much more comfy standing up! At half 1 Fil said my 'contractions' we're 2 minutes apart so I asked him to call the hospital who said we could go to get checked but I was probably still in the early stages. In the car my surges came and they were now not in my back! At the hospital I panicked as I could hear a lady screaming her heart out, Fil instantly knew I was panicking and our triage midwife tried to use the hypno language to calm me down but it was no good- all I could hear was this women screaming and I started to doubt myself. (Next time I'll be listening to music when we go to hospital!) I got examined (something I had said I didn't want but in the moment I wanted to know!) I heard the midwife say to my husband I was 4cm but that I could stay...relief as I felt it was closer than that! In the birthing room the lights were dim, it was quiet and they started to run the pool I heard the triage midwife tell my midwife I was 4cm but my cervix was so thin at first she thought I was fully dilated- even better I thought I am nearly there! I had some gas and air and at this point Fil said I changed, he said I got in the zone, the next two hours passed by so quickly. No-one said a word and Fil said I was just moving into different positions in the pool and pushing as I needed with no prompts- I wasn't even aware when the second midwife came in! I was told the heads here and I thought to myself it can't be, the next thing I know they're telling me my baby's here and I needed to pick baby up...i carried on pushing/breathing in disbelief until Fil looked at me saying babe your done, you need to pick up baby! I think the first thing I said to my husband was wow, I did it! I felt on cloud 9 knowing I had given birth to an 8lb .1 baby with just gas and air and that he was finally here!
Kerry and Baby Patrick
First Time Mum from Bookham
Epsom Hospital, Epsom Birth
Thank you so much for the classes they helped us all in so many ways. I was so glad Charlie did the classes with me as he was a massive help with my breathing. With all the techniques we learnt I was able to get to 8cm very quickly, the midwife couldn't believe that it was my first baby! Our little boy, Patrick, remained calm during it all - he was asleep for most of it. I got to full dilation without any drugs/pain relief.
Unfortunately despite all my j breathing Patrick's head got stuck behind my pelvic bone and the delivery team said I would have to have a c section. When they wheeled me into theatre the surgeon had one last check on Patrick's position and said I might just be able to do it myself if I could do it in three pushes. J breathing all the way we did it and little Patrick arrived.
Thank you again for everything.
Kerry, Charlie and Patrick
Caroline and Baby Leonie
Second Time Mum from Banstead
Epsom Hospital Birth
Martin & I had a baby girl on 30th November at Epsom Hospital.
I was 40 weeks plus 1 day & My contractions started at 12:30am, which I just started timing as they became more regular. They were about 12 mins apart at this point & lasting 30 seconds.
I woke my husband, Martin up at about 2am because I was pretty certain I was in very early stages.
I had my hypnobirthing cd on and using all the breathing techniques. I felt calm and Martin rubbed my back through each surge which really seemed to help. The gap between surges very quickly progressed to 3 mins apart but still only lasting 30 secs, but the gap was getting smaller & smaller.
At 3am we called the hospital to give them warning we'd be in soon & also called my parents to come and babysit my other daughter.
We left for the hospital at 3:30am and headed for the birthing suite as I wanted a water birth & we just kept everything crossed I was more than 4cm dilated.
On examination I was 6cm and felt so relieved & happy as I got in the birthing pool. Epsom birthing unit were amazing and my midwife Julie did a brilliant job at relaxing, supporting & caring for me.
Leonie Kitty-Anne was born just 3 hours later at 6:26am, weighing 8lb 5oz.
It was a very relaxed and exciting birth & I cannot thank you enough for giving me the courage and strength to do hypnobirthing for my 2 daughters. Childbirth was always something that terrified me, but hypnobirthing gave me the techniques to face it all head on.
Many Thanks again
Georgie and Baby Skyla
First Time Mum from Reigate
East Surrey Hospital Redhill Birth
Having completed the course, I was looking forward to the birth and excited when the contractions started. Over the course of three days they became stronger and more regular. It was a frustrating few days, made easier with some well practised relaxation techniques, walking, deep breathing and a lot of sport on television. When the contractions became a few minutes apart we went into hospital, only to be sent home again as I wasn't dilated enough. We were only at home a couple of hours before my waters broke and my contractions became very close together and really uncomfortable. We went back to hospital and were taken straight to the birthing unit. The midwife looking after us was a hypnobirthing teacher herself and was keen to leave us to it. It was great as she was a very calm, reassuring a presence in the background. My husband put on the relaxation music and spent the next four hours reminding me about my a breathing, doing light touch massage, giving me water and positive affirmations.
The contractions became so intense that the midwife suggest I get into the water to relieve some of the pressure and give my knees a break from being on all fours. It did help but at that stage I found it all completely overwhelming. I asked for my pain relief options as I felt I couldn't cope anymore. My husband and the midwife reminded me that this isn't what I had wanted and that it would mean getting out of the water. Looking back, I was in the transition phase and needed that firm reminder and reassurance. I'm so glad my husband understood the different phases I would go through and was strong and confident enough not to pull me out of the water immediately (it can't be easy to see your partner in so much discomfort). Soon after deciding against the pain relief there was an amazing lull where I could catch my breath, smile, talk to my husband, have a drink - I remember joking that I felt quite euphoric and 'high'. Unfortunately, the lull was all too brief as I soon felt the urge to push. The midwife told me to follow my body and remember to breath. I can't say I serenely 'breathed out' my baby but I was confident enough to let my body do what it needed to do...I think I made a lot of noise! It was amazing that through the hormonal haze and blur of it all, I was able to recall positive affirmations and the hypnobirthing techniques we had learnt.
The crowning was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced but it was short lived and followed by the most incredible feeling of joy and relief. Skyla was born at 1pm at 7 lbs 14. I had no tears or complications and felt elated after. When friends ask, I describe it as an incredible experience and definitely not something to fear.
Thank you Leila for playing such an important role in the birth of our beautiful daughter X
Katy and Baby Eliza
First Time Mum from Redhill
East Surrey Hospital Birth
Labour started at 4am on Friday morning. We started timing the surges and managed well by breathing through them, bouncing on my birthing ball and listening to positive affirmations.
By 11am they were a lot stronger so we decided to make our way into the birthing unit.
Unfortunately I was only 3cm dilated so we decided to make our way home, have a bath, relax and use the tens machine.
All animal instincts kicked in and I knelt in front of the sofa and plugged in my headphones - I found at this time that the babies poem and the birth companions reading really helped (we had these recorded on the I pad) they helped me keep focus and I was drifting in and out of sleep in between surges. Connell was fantastic and made sure I kept my energy levels up with pieces of banana and water.
I then decided that I needed to be back in the bath. We had relaxing music playing in the background. Before long I had this intense feeling and my body took over. I stood up in the bath and leant on Connell for support. Apparently I was in this position for two hours. I was totally unaware on time and just stayed very focused. Connell reminded me constantly to breath and elongate my out breath.
My waters burst in this position and Connell quickly called the birthing unit. Upon arrival they examined me and I was fully dilated! We were transferred into the Daisy room in the birthing unit and the pool was filled. We were in the water for an hour before Eliza made her entrance into the world. She came out with her hand on her head and the cord around her neck. Even so, her Oxygen levels were fantastic and she scored a 9!
Also, when I bought her onto my chest - she didn't cry, she just looked up at me and then looked at Connell. It was so magical.
I found that the Hypnobirthing was a great help in the early stages of labour and also, as labour progressed, everything we had learnt in our classes enabled us to work together as a team, give us a lot of confident and stay calm after working!!
Thank you again for teaching us. I hope to visit a coffee morning very soon!!
Laura and Baby Evalyn
First Time Mum from Godstone
East Surrey Hospital Redhill Birth
Around 6am I woke with some pelvic pain along with slight period pain but didn't think anything of it. I had suffered from pelvic pain in my pregnancy anyway and I was convinced this baby would be late. I wasn't due for another couple of days at this point. After a cup of tea and breakfast I had more period like pains varying in strength and times in between. Convinced this was false labour I told my partner Rick to go back to sleep. After a couple of hours I wondered if this was it so I applied the 4/8 breathing technique which kept me really content and pretty comfortable.
After a shower and a few more hours I knew these were definitely real surges as they became much bigger and more frequent. After ringing the hospital at 1pm they assured me I was in the very early stages of labour and it was pointless coming in, to just take a couple of paracetamol and stay at home. I would advise any Hypno mums to strongly express they are hypnobirthing as when using the techniques you are calm and relaxed so it appears you aren't very far along.
I found walking round the garden and staying active a huge help. This helped me focus and relax. I used my arms and hands to imagine the actions of the cervix with the 20/20 breathing along with the 4/8 breathing in between surges. By 2.30pm my legs were tired from walking around and it felt too uncomfortable to sit down so I decided to run a bath. Whilst it was running I relaxed on the bed closing my eyes which then made the surges come stronger and faster. This proved to me that by relaxing as much as possible my body would do more which was encouraging. At this point, 3.30pm I then had a small show so knew my body was doing what it was supposed to. I rang the hospital at this point but I was still advised to stay at home as I was "coping" well.
For the next couple of hours in the bath the surges ranged from 2-4 minutes apart and became bigger. I found this harder but remained focused and knew I had to stay as relaxed as possible or I would just prolong things. By breathing correctly my body was really progressing as I then had more of a show followed by my waters going. That was amazing to see. Things were moving along nicely, I felt more in control and so excited. I struggled a little after another hour or so to keep focused so my partner Rick suggested a little extra help by perhaps listening to the Rainbow Relaxation. I had been listening to it most evenings to help me sleep and relax. I truly believe this was a huge key to things progressing. Just don't ever listen to it when you are driving. It still relaxes me now! Rick said I looked like I was falling asleep, totally in the zone in the bath. I guess I had trained my brain through this relaxation and the breathing.
I don't really remember this bit as I had totally switched off when all of a sudden I felt this HUGE surge and an overwhelming urge for the baby to come down. I could feel the baby on its way and quickly. This feeling took over and my body was pushing my baby down. I wasn't expecting this as I was so calm and thought I had a long way to go for some reason, despite Rick continuing to tell me "your contractions are 1 or 2 minutes apart shouldn't we go to hospital". I think I was still unsure if I could do this as people perceive birth as a horrific experience when actually if you allow your body to do what it needs to and to work WITH it you can have to most beautiful experience of your life. Fear and drugs work AGAINST your body. I had a panic and we rang an ambulance who took me to east Surrey. Through getting in the ambulance and the journey there the baby had moved back up which proved to me being tense does the exact opposite to what you want. Prevents and restricts!
After a little gas and air in the ambulance I was transferred into a beautiful dark calm birthing room where I relaxed and therefore the baby came down again. With the next big surge I found it hard to relax with the J breathing and felt a burning sensation so on the second surge I really focused. Using the J breathing technique on that second surge and by staying in control my baby's head was born. My mum said she opened her eyes and looked around at her new world. Very content and my midwife said her heartbeat was perfect and that she was very happy. On the 3rd surge the rest of my baby was born, with Rick holding my hand by my side my mum told us we were the new parents to a perfect baby girl.
We had 40 minutes lovely skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping, a calm baby and tiny face looking at us, totally chilled. After delivering the placenta naturally we began feeding and enjoyed those precious moments as a family. Magical. No intervention, no procedures, no drugs! My midwife said she didn't even touch me or give me any help, my body did everything as it should naturally. My recovery was also amazing, I felt fantastic and not "hit by a bus" like most women feel which was lovely as I was able to enjoy my baby straight away.
I cannot thank Leila enough for teaching us to achieve the most amazing birth and the biggest achievement of my life. Her support during the course, afterwards, for all her helpful links for birth, relaxation, feeding etc. The course and the way she taught us was fantastic. I am SUCH a fearful person, I always panic and worry so thought birth would be horrific. Instead it was the most empowering and euphoric day of my life! I can honestly say I cannot wait to give birth again. It was amazing to actually feel like Rick and I worked as a team to bring our baby into the world calmly. The course and practice allowed us to do this as he was able to support me, totally understand what was happening and to be a great birthing partner. For any pregnant mum just totally believe in yourself, believe in your amazing body and your amazing baby. You CAN have a beautiful birth.
Evalyn Jayne Lawless
Sunday 1st May 2016
Weighing 7lb 15oz
From Laura & Rick
Kathryn and Baby Toby
First Time Mum from Epsom
Kingston Hospital Birth
My waters broke on the morning of the 20th March at 1:30am (we think it was the excitement of going to the pub that evening and England winning the six nations ;) )
I wasn't having any contractions at that point so the journey to the hospital was very calm; when we arrived at the hospital I was checked over and my blood pressure was raised so they decided to induce me. At 6am I was given a 6 hour pesury then the drip with an epidural at 2pm that afternoon. Three hours later I was 10cm dilated. I wasn't in any pain and was completely relaxed. Any time I felt anything I used the breathing you taught us.
From the start of the drip to the birth took a total of 6 1/2 hours so not bad going at all.
Thank you so much for all your help and calming words and techniques. You made such a dramatic difference to our experience. Below are a few pictures. Dan taking the day in his stride, me Dan and our lovely midwife just after I found out I was 10cm and one of our beautiful boy.
Toby was born at 9:23pm that evening. He's 2 1/2 weeks old and changing by the day. Dan and I are truly smitten.
Thanks again xx
Michelle and Baby Sophia
First Time Mum from Epsom
Epsom Hospital Birth
Her birth went beautifully. I woke up in the morning after a restless night and insisted on making an omelette - nothing would deter me from making this omelette 😀! The surges started late morning but I thought they were practice ones. We had family staying and we all went for a walk in the park at about 12pm. I could feel the surges but they weren't painful. When we got home I asked my husband Jason to start timing them, his first reaction was compete surprise as he hadn't realised anything was going on. We keep it between ourselves and they were about twelve minutes apart at this point. My mum wanted to go shopping so off we went! I patted Jason's hand every time there was a surge so that he could time it but other than that everyone else was none the wiser. I called the hospital when they were seven minutes apart but when they heard I was out shopping they told me to carry on as I had a long way to go. So we carried on shopping! I bumped in to my best friend in a shop and was having a conversation with her whilst in the middle of a surge and she had no idea! We then went for tea and cake, and the surges felt more frequent.
When Jason checked the app we were using to time things it showed that the contractions were four minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. I insisted on going in to M&S to buy dinner for everyone, I really did feel so relaxed and thought I had a long way to go. It was about 4:30pm when we decided to head home.
I then told my family and asked my sister to help with getting everyone out of the house so that Jason and I could focus on the relaxation techniques. Whilst she was doing that I packed the last few bits of my hospital bag. At this point surges were every three minutes and lasting more than a minute. We called the hospital and they suggested that we run a bath and wait another hour. Jason ran a bath but I really felt like the baby was on its way and Jason was then very keen that we went to the hospital! If I had got in that bath it definitely would have been an impromptu homebirth! We decided to head to the hospital and rang ahead to ask them to prepare the birth centre.
When I arrived at the hospital at 6:30pm we went straight to the room and settled in. The midwife examined me and announced that I was fully dilated. She mentioned at that point that she had been careful not to rupture the membrane when examining me but I didn't really register that my waters hadn't broken yet (I think that is also why I thought I had a lot longer to go). Jason asked if he had time to move the car and she told him to run!
I got straight in the pool and it felt amazing. I asked Jason to put on the Rainbow Relaxation and focused on my breathing. The midwife that we had teaches hypnobirthing so she knew exactly what to do and followed all of our birth preferences despite only having about a minute to read through them. It came to the end of her shift but she told us that she wanted to stay and a newly qualified midwife also joined us.
As our baby was moving down the midwife was monitoring the heartbeat every so often and said that our baby was incredibly relaxed. I only asked for water in between each surge and didn't even think to ask for any type of pain relief as it was all completely manageable through the breathing techniques.
Jason told me that he could see our baby's head and after three or four surges the midwife told me to look down. I saw our baby's face through the amniotic sac and watched as they turned their shoulders to come in to the water and be caught by Jason. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, I just stopped and all I could say was 'Wow'.
When Jason lifted our baby out the amniotic sac burst and we found out that we had a little girl. We came out of the water and were left to bond together as a family. Those first special moments are something Jason and I will treasure forever and it was exactly as we had imagined. We spent the night together holding our daughter skin to skin and had the same music we used to practice the relaxation techniques to playing in the background. All of the staff commented on how calm it made them feel when they came in to the room. When friends and family saw photos of Sophia and I after the birth they couldn't believe how relaxed I looked and my mum now tells anyone who will listen about how amazing hypnobirthing is!
We are both so glad that we did the classes and we are very grateful for everything that Leila taught us. Sophia is incredibly calm and very alert, and I am sure that is due in no small part to hypnobirthing. Thank you!
Rebecca and Baby Oscar
First Time Mum from Leatherhead
Epsom Hospital Birth
I just wanted to update you that last Sunday our little boy arrived @ 3:47am - Oscar Paul Miles weighing 7lb 14oz. Had a very good labour lasting only 3 hrs 17 mins. We did everything we wanted - had him naturally and he was born in the water. He didn't cry at first and he was incredibly calm.
Thanks for all your guidance I felt I used the breathing throughout and it helped me achieve the birth I wanted.
Thank you we are absolutely over the moon and so in love with him.
I didn't have any manual intervention or drugs as well , to show people it can be done!
Thanks again Leila
Felicity and baby Austin
First Time Mum from Redhill
East Surrey Hospital
I wasn't particularly nervous about giving birth, being very much of the mind-set that this is what my body is meant to do. I sort out hypnobirthing as the ethos rang true with how I felt about childbirth but in addition to this, gave me tools to remain in control, calm and give me something to focus on whilst the unknown was happening. I practised regularly and I felt fully prepared and relaxed when my waters broke at 5am on my birthing day. My surges began soon after and I put everything I had learnt into practice. I felt no real pain or discomfort and being able to focus on my breathing and listening to my affirmations meant time passed quickly and I was so relaxed my husband went back to sleep for a couple of hours. By 10am my surges were regular enough to take our initial visit to hospital for my first examination and this, like all the best laid plans in life, is when everything went slightly pear shaped!
After an initial examination and being told that 'baby's head felt a bit squishy' it was soon determined that my baby was undiagnosed as breech. This was not something we were prepared for at all because as far as we were concerned he had always been in the correct position. With the idea of my natural birth slipping away, discussions lead onto emergency c-section requirements. During this time I was still experiencing regular surges, but continuing with the relevant breathing types, I was able to conduct calm and relaxed conversations with the surgeons, midwifes and my husband. In this potentially stressful situation, by keeping calm my husband and I asked all the questions that we wanted, discussed it between ourselves and felt fully assured when making the final decision to go ahead with the c-section. I fully believe that the hypnobirthing techniques I was using during this time kept me and therefore the situation calm (even when I asked if I could continue with a natural birth and was told there was a high chance of me 'becoming a cropper'!). I felt confident that the decision we made was right for me, my husband and our baby without any doubt that this was just the way it was going to have to be.
I was able to remain completely drug free, managing my surges right up until the epidural required for surgery. I think that because I had been doing it for the past few hours, found I continued with my slow breathing throughout the operation and continued to feel calm and relaxed. I didn't feel nervous or worried at all and was able to keep chatting to my husband which was nicely reassuring and we just let the experts to do their thing.
Our beautiful baby boy was born at 12:55pm on 11/11. He was placed on my chest as quickly as he could be and fed immediately. From day one, Austin has always been really alert and relaxed, and although his birth was not the 100% natural, it turned out 100% the way it was meant to be and we're both happy and healthy, which is of course the most important thing.
I would like to say thank you to Leila for being so thorough and leaving me in a position where I was confident in my new abilities to have the birth I was meant to have. It may not have been how I imagined, but I would like to say to anyone who is thinking of taking a hypnobirthing course that it equips you with so much more than just the ability to birth your baby. It fully gave me the ability to deal with the unexpected and I did get a hypnobirthing birth, just slightly adapted to me!
Mother and Baby
East Surrey Hospital
So as we reached 2 weeks of fingernail biting, and waking every morning with a slight sinking feeling that "it" had still not happened, it became clear that a home birth would elude us again. At 42 weeks we went into ESH knowing that today would finally be the day, one way or another. I had been practising my hypnobirthing techniques throughout the waiting period, and so was as calm and prepared as I could be, but ultimately I just felt excited and relieved that it would finally happen. The plans were made at home, and If needs be my sister would look after our eldest overnight, so I had nothing to worry about.
By 10.30am the doctor agreed that we would likely only need a quick rupture of the membranes to start us off, which was great as I was still hoping to avoid any drugs. And at 11.20am Jo very gently performed the "ARM" and left us in peace to wait and relax. They would give us 4 hrs to reach active labour before they would want to introduce a drip. That was not to be a problem though as almost immediately I started to feel quite strong surges and was able to focus on going into a deeper relaxation, blocking out the sounds of the other ladies around me. After an hour it was agreed that I could move into a delivery room, and was most lucky to find that the room with a pool that also allowed for the higher risk monitoring was available. They recommended that I maintain the monitoring because I was so far along in my pregnancy, and I was happy to agree to that to reduce my own anxiety levels as much as anything else.
I was able to get most comfortable in the room, it was spacious and I was able to make myself at home quickly. The midwives (Charlotte, almost qualified, and Jenny, practising for 22yrs) introduced themselves and I explained that I would be focussing on hypnobirthing. Both understood what this meant but Jenny was obviously used to being more vocal, and so had to make a concerted effort to refrain from giving instruction and talking loudly (with only a couple of reminders from my husband ! ).
My surges quickly started to intensify and I was largely oblivious to the 2 other midwives that I knew and had come in to say hello, and the request for a student doctor to observe. I agreed to the latter on the grounds that I was really blissfully unaware of what was happening around me. By about 2pm everything was starting to feel very strong and everyone agreed, after a discussion, that now would be a good time to go into the pool. The fear that the water would slow my labour down proved to be entirely unfounded, as after only two more surges I felt the "urge to push", after that I think baby and I took everyone a bit by surprise. After just 3 rather intensive J breaths, and what my husband since told me were some pretty scary noises from me, out popped a head swiftly followed by a very long little body!
It was all so fast that I could not avoid a very small tear, but that was a small price to pay for such a quick and easy birth.
Afterwards I spoke to the student doctor who had been observing. She had seen c-sections and epidurals, but never a natural birth. She said that she had always thought that any woman would be mad not to take one of the other options, but having been part of our experience, she had completely changed her point of view. I considered that one point up for hypnobirthing!
Our son was born at 14.40, just over 3 hrs after my membranes had been ruptured. By 5pm I was showered and ready to go home, and so My husband was able to collect our eldest from nursery and after our 6hr checks I was able to head back to my own bed.
So not quite the homebirth that I had planned, but really I could not have hoped for anything better. Our son is a wonderfully calm baby (so far!) and everyone I saw immediate afterwards commented that they cannot believe I just gave birth. I am now back into exercising, and feeling great!
Kate and Baby Finn
Second Time Mum from Guildford
Was in labour on my birthday (25th) which I had a feeling would happen then the next day went to the hospital with what I felt was strong surges to be sent home as seamed so relaxed. Haaaa of course was because doing hypno birth. They were all fascinated at the hospital as most people demand pain killers etc by the end but we were doing fine. So sent home at 6.00 Got home (staying in Gibraltar at the time so only 5 mins away from the hospital) and contractions got so strong and Afew mins apart. Got in the bath and started to feel the urge to push. Panic, and water Broke as I couldn't stop the push. Had to make it to the car whilst resisting pushing. My poor dad was driving us and was traumatised as every bump we went over caused me to grown some hideous noise to stop myself from pushing! Got to the hospital, just made it up stairs and still dressed , in 4 pushes he was out, 9.01 pm. Literally just got there in time and all was perfect. What a great birth. Thank you again for all your help and guidance. My 2 beautiful babies were able to come into the world in such a wonderful natural way. The hospital was desperate to induce me and to sweep etc but was refusing , and there you go, I knew he was going to come out in the end!! Glad I held on to what I wanted and knew I had the choice.
Thanks again and when I am over if on a coffee morning time I will introduce you.
Lol Kate and Simon xxxxxxx
Amie and Baby Jenson
First Time Mum from Chipstead
The birth was incredible I really couldn't believe it as you know I was always expecting the worst!!
I was given a propess pessary on Monday morning and was up through the night with period pains from it. They took the pessary out at 11.15 on Tuesday morning and I was 2 cm dilated so they gave me another sweep and arranged for me to go down to the labour ward later on that day to have my waters broken and a sintocinin drip.
Anyways contractions started straight away. By 3.00 I was in a lot of pain with cramps in my stomach and back and was 1.5 minutes between each contraction. At this point I only had a tens machine on and was using the breathing techniques we had practiced. I wanted more pain relief so they took me to the labour ward to find I was already 7cm dilated in 3.5 hours. (I also refused to sit or lay down the whole time which is why I think things went so fast).
Anyways I had gas and air which was really effective for the final 3cm and the pushing stages and 2 hours later Jenson was born.
His hand was on his face when he came out so I had second degree tears but they wasn't too bad and are healing well now.
I just wanted to thank you as although we didn't get to use all the techniques we learnt, the Hypnobirthing made me believe I could actually give and have a normal birth hence not opting for a c section.
The positions and breathing we discussed was absolutely invaluable and I came away with an amazing birthing experience.
Thank you once again for all your help.
Katherine and Baby
First Time Mum from Kingston
My waters started breaking in the last ten minutes of my pregnancy yoga class. I nipped to the loo and, not quite sure it really was my waters, returned to the class and pretended nothing had happened before rushing home my waters breaking further in the car! As I was planning a homebirth one of the wonderful Kingston homebirth midwives came to my house to check for infection because my waters had broken. She said I'd have to be induced if there was no baby in 36 hours. But while she was there I started getting mild contractions, which were getting stronger. I asked if she should go now things were getting going but she said I had a long way to go yet. Once she left we had dinner and tried to watch television. My sister was visiting. She was already planning on being at the birth and it was an amazing coincidence she was already there. Soon I couldn't eat any more and I went to the bedroom to do hypnobirthing relaxations. Things were intensifying fast and my husband called triage, who again said there was a long way to go.
I decided the only place I wanted to be was the bath and my husband and sister began inflating the pool (with no intention of filling it yet in case it got cold). Our bath is tiny and I couldn't get comfortable so I insisted they fill the pool. My husband was worried it was too early but I was adamant that was where I needed to be. It took a while to fill and my sister poured warm water on my back during contractions in the bath while I waited, which was lovely. I had to get out briefly to throw up my dinner and then the pool was ready.
The lights were turned down and my husband had lit candles and was playing the hypnobirthing affirmations and Leila’s relaxation CD. Getting in the pool was amazing and I felt like it was the only place in the world I wanted to be. However, I'd heard you could slow down labour by getting in too soon and I really wanted the midwife to be there to make sure everything was ok. My husband rang again and they said that even though my contractions were so close together they weren't long enough and I shouldn't be able to talk through them. My husband explained I had done hypnobirthing but the midwife said she wouldn't come for another two hours. Being told yet again I still had a long way to go and nobody was coming worried me and for the first time I wondered if I was going to cope without pain relief. I felt very close to giving birth but if I was only in the early stages (as everybody kept saying) I wasn't sure I was going to manage. I worried I wasn't doing hypnobirthing properly and became panicky. My husband really helped by reassuring me and guiding me through the relaxations. Evert time I had a contraction I would call to my sister to turn the hot water on in the bathroom so I could hold the hose against my back. This really helped. Then in between contractions she removed water with a saucepan so the pool didn't over fill!
I was relieved when the midwife finally arrived but when she saw me already in the pool she looked worried. I told her I couldn't help pushing during contractions and asked if it was too soon. "Maybe" she said looking concerned because she didn't want me pushing too long. It really didn't feel like I had a while to go, so although my birth plan said I didn't want unnecessary examinations I suddenly asked to be examined. To my immense relief I was completely dilated and my baby was very much on her way out! Shocked the midwife called for a second midwife to come immediately and began hurriedly setting up. I returned to the pool much happier and calmer –I was able to trust my body again now I knew I had been right about how far along I was. I continued the hypnobirthing techniques and now knew I was going to cope. I did ask for gas and air but by the time it was ready I had forgotten about it and never saw it.
The second midwife arrived as my baby's head began crowning. The midwives were lovely and supportive of hypnobirthing even when my husband asked them to stop telling me to push as I found it easier to concentrate on the breathing and do what felt right. They continued checking my baby's heart beat in the water but otherwise everyone was quiet apart from my husband talking me through the hypnobirthing visualisations (and me!). With a pop my baby was soon out and I had to step over the umbilical cord while the midwife passed her under my leg. We snuggled down together in the warm water and she had her first feed there within ten minutes of being born, while everyone sat around waiting for the placenta.
We waited for an hour without cutting the cord, still in the pool with my baby feeding and sleeping. The placenta didn't come for ages but I eventually managed to birth it in the bathroom. I had very nearly had the injection and was so happy when I at last managed to do it all naturally.
Lastly I had to have a couple of stitches because I had a minor tear as my baby had come out hand first – my husband was happy about this because he said she had entered the world like superman.
Within two hours of the birth the midwives had gone and it was morning. My notes read that labour had been 2 hours and 45 minutes with the last hour waiting for the placenta. It was definitely a quick labour but I'm pretty sure it was longer than that. My waters broke at 7.30pm, contractions were pretty strong by midnight and she was born at 4.24 am.
I had the exact birth I had been visualising with Leila and I couldn't have achieved that without her wonderful teaching and hypnobirthing. It was by far the most amazing, empowering experience I have ever had.
Liz and Baby
First Time Mum from Redhill
East Surrey Hospital
I've never been great at relaxing...always busy with work...so I was never sure I could get in the 'zone' and that hypnobirthing would work for me but I'd read the book and was keen to explore...I really bought into the principle and knew friends who had used it successfully so I got in touch with Leila and through her support and practice I felt I had all the tools at my disposal!
My contractions started at 3am on Saturday morning and I stayed relaxed with limited discomfort. By lunchtime they were increasing in intensity but not close together...I focussed on breathing, the cd affirmations and maintaining calm...I had downloaded some chilled music, that helped too. Saturday night I went into hospital to be checked out...first time mum so I wasn't sure what to expect and when...they were great but I was only 2cm! So home and candles lit, affirmations on and I focussed on breathing and really listening to the affirmations and what they were telling me. Sunday morning and still no baby! Back into hospital and 2-3cm!! I couldn't believe it!! They offered me pethadine but i had been clear about my birth plan and to trust my baby & body so home we went again.
Despite the contractions increasing in intensity and starting to get very tired I got into a rhythm and through the breathing techniques Leila had showed me I was ok...by Sunday night I had a sudden huge pain around my stomach so I head back into hospital...still only 3-4 cm But I was admitted into the birthing unit, the midwife was amazing and very respectful of my birth plan and wish to avoid intervention...at 5am Monday morning my water broke...I was 5cm...at this point I had gas and air whilst the birthing pool was prepared...I assumed it was still going to be a while but then just before 7am our beautiful baby girl was born in the water!
I have no doubt that hypnobirthing, particularly the slow breathing and affirmations, was the reason I didn't end up on the labour ward with all sorts of interventions, instead I trusted both my body and baby and the results....a beautiful water birth and a very contented baby!
Thank you Leila
Tessa and Baby Elsa
Second Time Mum from Nutfield
We did it!!!! :)
Here is our birth story. More than happy for to share on Facebook. I woke around 3 am with some twinges which were around 15 minutes apart. I managed to sleep in between them until 6am when I woke Rob. At this point the twinges were a bit stronger but totally bearable. They were coming around every 10 mins. I had a shower and did my hair while Rob made breakfast. We called our doula and midwife at 8am to let them know that labour had started. The surges were around every 6 mins. The midwife asked if we minded her coming to assess me. We said yes but felt like it was a little early as the surges were bearable so surly we had ages yet!! Little did we know.. :)
Our midwife turned up an hour later. I was using a tens machine, had my relaxation cd on and was breathing through my surges which were stronger now. She checked me and I was 5cm dilated!!!! I got in the pool which helped me to relax even further. The weightlessness helped me to relax my shoulders and the warmth of the water soothed me.
The surges were strong now (10am ish) I found thinking of them as a wave helped. I imagined the peak of the surge as the peak of the wave. At this point my breathing was so important! It helped me to relax my shoulders and get through each intense surge. I was holding Rob's hands and my doula was doing light touch massage. All of the above helped me to relax so much that I was falling asleep in between surges.
The surges slowed down at this point which allowed me time to regain some energy preparing me to breath my baby out. Then the surges suddenly changed. This time I had the urge to push down. I listened to my body. Pushed when it told me to and stopped when it told me to. My waters brown and after a minute or two of strong surges with the urge to push Elsa was born into the water at 12.01pm.
It was the most amazing experience ever! It wasn't easy but totally manageable! Staying calm, thinking positivity, using the skills we learnt in class & the amazing team around us were the key to our success!! It couldn't have gone better for us.
Feeling very proud of what we achieved!
Lizzie and Baby Gabriella
Second Time Mum from Kingswood
All went well with the birth and Gabriella is a perfectly happy and contented little princess.
As you know I was scheduled to be induced. Unfortunately I didn't go into labour prior to my appointment, which with hindsight is a huge relief as everything happened so quickly I don't know if I could have coped with getting to the hospital in such a hurry!
I arrived at Epsom hospital at 10.30am, I was really happy when I arrived as a midwife I had gotten to know over the previous weeks saw me arriving and said she will be with me in a few minutes and to just get myself settled in the delivery suite. I set up the room with my bits and pieces and got the CDs ready and started playing the Stephen Halpern music.
The midwife came in and monitored the baby and the usual checks were carried out. We talked through everything that could happen and she checked me, I had had a sweep a few days before and knew something was happening but was still surprised when she said I was already dialated and that baby was in a good position so instead of using the pessary it was best to break my waters and give it a few hours to see what happened. At this point Alex was in London at a meeting as we thought I would be there all day waiting for the pessary to work! My sister Anna had driven from Bicester and had hit some traffic and was queuing for the car park and Katie was dropping Zak at nursery in Kingston. She broke my waters at around 11.30 and a few minutes later Anna walked in. We were all having a good chat and lots of laughing then decided to go for a walk. I got dressed and about to leave the delivery suite when I felt the baby really move down to the point I thought she was going to fall out. The contractions then started coming strong and fast and after a short time bouncing on the ball and doing the breathing exercises I started to panic as Alex and my other sister weren't there yet and the prospect of coping with the level of pain I was in for several more hours was sending me a bit crazy. The midwife checked me and said that I was now 7cm dialated so Anna started frantically calling Alex and Katie telling them to hurry up as I was really feeling the urge to start pushing.
Katie ran through the door a few minutes later and started the light tough massage and helping me stay focused on my breathing. This helped me get through the next half an hour which was when I knew the baby was coming. Alex just made it with about 15 minutes to spare! Which was only because the baby was a bit stuck as she had a rather large head, I had to have an episiotomy.
Gabriella was born at 2pm on the 10th December, weighing a healthy 9lb! She was taken to the SCBU for monitoring of her heart and was given a clean bill of health and we got to go home the following afternoon.
She is so beautiful and such a little girl with all her noises.
I was really happy with how the birth went. I couldn't have asked for better care from Epsom, they were so lovely and kind towards us throughout our whole experience. Other than having to have an episiotomy which was painful for a few weeks I have felt well and happy. Because the birth was so fast and smooth I was able to really get into the relaxation zone and had no idea how long I had been in labour for. I would say the last 15 minutes was the only part I can really remember as the room had filled with people, so I just kept my eyes closed and was using the visualisation technique which I'm not sure worked completely! I wouldn't say that I didn't experience any pain, because I did but I would say that hypnobirthing definitely gave me the tools to stay calm and confident. I am really happy that I had the quick birth I was hoping for.
Thank you for all your help and guidance throughout the workshops. We enjoyed the experience and are reaping the reward of a calm and happy birth now as we have such a contented little baby.
Romi and Baby Vinnie
Second Time Mum from Carshalton
I hope you're well and having a good week. I just thought I'd update you! Vincent Roman Gray was born yesterday morning in the comfort of our home. We had a lovely relaxing water birth. It wasn't as relaxing and boring as in the videos we've seen smile emoticonbut it was calm enough and Vinnie is well and very calm and contended baby. We had to go to hospital for 24 hrs observations and got back earlier today. All is well. I have to say the visualisation and J Breathing really help at the transition part which was only 6 mins long!! I breathed through most of the time. The last 10 contractions were really strong tho and they kept coming with no time to recover so I used a bit hip dance in the water and strained my back and neck a bit. Feel absolutely fine however, had my 2 placenta smoothies and feel great. Feeding is going well, but sore nipples but apart from that all very happy experience. Look forward to seeing you at the next coffee morning and introduce Vinnie to you. He is awesome thank you so much xx
Caroline and Baby Megan
First Time Mum from Banstead
Martin and I have a daughter called Megan born on 4th June at Epsom hospital weighing 6Ib 7oz and arriving 3 weeks early!
On Wednesday 3rd June at around 6am my waters broke. We were told by Epsom hospital to come in for an examination & to confirm my waters had broken. After the confirmation they advised us to go home & hopefully I would go into labour naturally in the next 24 hours otherwise they would have to induce me because of the risk of infection.
We felt very calm and relaxed, went for walks, out for lunch & even watched some tennis in the French open bouncing gently on my birthing ball!
At around 6pm I started feeling twinges & by 8pm mild surges which were easily manageable with walking around etc.
By 10am to 6pm I was in full swing of regular surges increasing in intensity & speed. We really put into practice everything we learnt with you calm-breathing, slow breathing through the surges, rose bud visualisation, Scripts, Martin even started making up scrips on the spot with each surge describing holiday destinations we'd been on, restaurants, special occasions etc, the cd on continuous loop & baths galore until we ran out of hot water!
We did go to the hospital at 2am because I was getting 3 surges every 10 mins but after an examination I was only 2 cm dilated.
We returned home until 6am continuing with all the techniques & I was amazed at how calm I was & didn't panic.
The hospital called back and told us to come in because it was 24 hours & I would need to be induced also I'd be unable to have a water birth now.
After another examination I was over the moon to hear in 4 hours I had become fully dilated with only hypnobirthing & was told to start pushing or J breathing on the next surge.
It was hear I hit a bit of a problem, I J breathed for 4 hours but still no baby. I felt calm and my heart rate was fine & so was the baby's but they said I was now at risk & so was the baby if we didn't let them help us. I would have liked to have continued pushing naturally still, but when you're told the baby is now at risk, we took their advice.
I went into theatre and they used the kiwi technique to "suck" her out (I think that's what it's called) because they said she hadn't turned. This also involved a spinal block but again I stayed calm and just breathed through any fear I felt, which wasn't a lot and no sign of panic
And at 14:49 on Thursday 4th June our beautiful Megan Jeanie-Jo Staunton was born and we were smiling ear to ear.
After all my apprehension of childbirth I felt so proud of myself that I managed to get fully dilated with no pain relief but most of all went through the whole experience without panic & fear even when it didn't quite go to plan. I still felt it was a positive birth experience.
Thank you for all your support & help and I'm more than happy you share our story if it helps other parents to be.
Our journey ended up being entirely different from what we had planned, but the experience and result was, and always will be, no less wonderful.
We had planned a homebirth. The pool had been bought and set up weeks in advance, candles were placed strategically ready to be lit and the music set. I was truly excited about everything. My waters broke on Thursday morning, 5 days over, and I spent the next few hours readying myself and the house for what was about to happen. I called the midwives to let them know, and they asked me to call again as soon as the contractions started. By mid afternoon there was still no sign, but I had noticed that the waters had started to show a very slight greenish colour. At 5pm, we agreed to go into the hospital for a quick check over, with a view to then coming home and setting up for a water birth. I felt confident that hypnobirthing had prepared me well and I would keep calm and relaxed whatever happened.
Everything began to happen when they confirmed that it was meconium in my waters; although 'insignificant' it was sufficient to push me out of the low risk category. That meant that a home birth and even water were going to be difficult. I agreed to stay in hospital so that they could keep an eye on us both. We set up the delivery room to be as much like our planned home environment as possible, with soft music, lighting and aromatherapy oils. We then continued with some of our much practised relaxation techniques and massage in the hope to move everything on. Our midwife was familiar with the Hypnobirthing methodology, and agreed to help us with as much of our birth plan as possible.
By 8pm, with no sign of any real contractions, the baby's heart rate was healthy but there was an ongoing fear of the risk of infection from the meconium. The suggestion was that things had to move along faster, or there would be the need for a Caesarian by the morning. After much deliberation and discussion, we agreed to a very low dose of Syntocinon.
That was sufficient to start some real surges, although they were quite intense very quickly. The midwife immediately agreed that we should continue naturally, and the drip was disconnected. After that, my husband was a light touch massaging angel, and we worked together to breath through the surges and to move through a number of different positions. Our midwife was also fantastic, offering all of the support and understanding that I could have asked for. After 3hrs of largely manageable surges, I started to feel the distinct urge to push that I had heard so much about and by 1.15am our perfect little bundle arrived.
The next hour flew by as we got to know our son, by which time the placenta was delivered naturally.
Somewhere between the beautiful home birth that we had visualised for so long, and the worst case scenarios that were presented to us on arrival at the hospital, we are confident that all of our practice and preparations secured us a perfect, albeit surprise, birth. We had no pain relief drugs, remained fully in control at all times, and felt calm despite the unexpected turns.
St. Helier Hospital
Monday 25th Aug I was woken up at 11.30pm by 2 strong surges and a feeling of my waters breaking. I went to the loo and could tell that they had. I felt excited and ready after nearly 3 weeks of pre labour surges, sometimes quite strong and a previous trip to the hospital thinking I was in labour so I was relieved that this was the real thing. I felt totally relaxed as I had been practising the hynobirthing techniques for weeks.
I went back to bed to see if the surges got stronger. Around 45 mins later the surges started again, we waited a few hours until they were quite strong and every 5-6mins. We decided then would be a good time to phone the birth centre and take our daughter to a neighbour. The midwife told us to stay at home for an hour or so and then make our way in slowly so at around 4am we made our way to the birth centre. I was having surges every 2-3 mins in the car on the way there but I was totally comfortable and just breathed through them.
We arrived and I was totally calm, relaxed and ready. The midwife was surprised to see me smiling and laughing as I arrived. We settled into our room. Matt put the relaxation music on and we just relaxed and were left to it for an hour or so. The midwives came to see how we were doing and could see we were coping fine. There were 2 midwives looking after us, one was a student and they were totally understanding and supportive of our birth plan throughout. I asked to be examined at that stage just to see where we were and was fairly disappointed to find out I was 2-3cm dilated.
They gave us the option of staying or going home for a while. We decided to stay and it’s a good job we did. I was moving around a lot but found the best position for me standing up leaning forward against a chair. I then decided to stand in the shower which was lovely. As soon as I got out of the shower, the surges got a lot stronger and my movements changed to swaying. I still managed to cope very well by breathing through them with Matt doing light touch massage on my back and talking me through them.
By about 2.30pm I was ready to get in the pool and the midwife could see that I was in established labour by my movements and primal noises that I was making so they started filling it up. Because of it being a VBAC they monitored the baby every 15 mins and kept an eye on my pulse and temperature throughout. I didn’t feel the need for any other intervention and they didn’t ask to. I got in the pool at around 3pm and it was instantly soothing. I was on all fours and the warm water felt really good. Matt put the birth affirmations on and kept talking me through every surge reminding me to breath and relax which really helped. Although the surges were strong, I felt in control and not in any pain, just intense sensations which I just went with and trusted my body.
The surges changed to a different sensation and I felt a very strong urge to bear down. It was all very intense but there wasn’t any pain. I was holding Matt around the neck with every surge and he kept reminding me to breath baby out. I breathed when I could but did the odd controlled push to as I could really feel it made progress and I was getting tired at this point. 45 mins of this and baby James popped out and I scooped him out of the water and held him. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. It was an amazing feeling. I had 3 midwives with me just watching by this point but I didn’t mind. They were all great. Matt cut the cord and the placenta followed an hour later. No intervention at all, we were just allowed to enjoy our new baby. I had a slight tear which didn’t need stitches but that was all. The midwives wanted to know all about hypnobirthing and were questioning me about it. The student midwife said it was the most amazing birth she has ever seen and she wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. We stayed in one of the other rooms in the birth centre that night and Matt was allowed to stay with us. It was a lovely room and the staff were great helping me establish breast feeding.
I was on a total high for days afterwards and couldn’t sleep that night at all. Thanks to Leila and the hypnobirthing techniques, I managed a text book birth with no medical intervention or pain relief at all. I had no idea that I was capable of achieving this as I had a traumatic birth with my daughter and was considering an elective c section up until being 34 weeks pregnant. I will be using the relaxation techniques in the future as I found it really helped me sleep throughout the later stages of pregnancy to.
If you are thinking of giving hypnobirthing a try but aren’t sure, my advice would be go for it! You have nothing to lose!
On 23 April I experienced a slight show and joked that with Irish and Welsh parentage I couldn't possibly give birth on St George's Day! That night I was awake a bit with a dull period-like achiness in my lower abdomen but nothing too uncomfortable. The next day, whilst I knew something was starting to happen I told Aaron to go to work as usual since I felt fine and it might be the start of something which could go on for days - who knows!
By c.1pm I decided to have a bath because I was getting more of a constant period pain which was more intense and which I thought was definitely early labour because I couldn't discern any pattern or surges. It was only when Aaron came home from work (a bit early at c.3.30pm) that I was able to start taking control. Working with the 4:8 breathing we established a bit of a pattern and started timing what I was feeling - by which time it was clear they were definite surges coming thick and fast for a minute every minute! At that point we decided to start making a move to go to the hospital. After a real effort getting out of the bath I made it back into our bedroom where I had an urge to go to the toilet. Thankfully we have an en suite and it was there that I realised our baby was crowning and on its way! I got down on my hands and knees next to the bed and the next thing her head was born and the relief was out of this world! Shortly afterwards the rest of her arrived kicking and crying. Alice Amelia was born at 6.24pm on the bedroom floor with my husband playing midwife directed by the emergency call handlers over the telephone. A natural third stage came just over an hour later assisted by a community midwife who attended us at home and concluded that we didn't need to go to hospital.
The breathing techniques we had learnt and practiced definitely helped me stay in control and whilst my goal had been to minimise time spent in hospital I hadn't envisaged having an impromptu home birth but I was coping so well! Aaron was brilliant at reminding me to count out the breathing - and would make a good midwife! With hindsight I think I was in established labour for less than 4 hours and Alice's birth took only a matter of minutes. The community midwife said that my waters had most likely broken while I was in the bath so I wouldn't have noticed.
I had a small 2nd degree tear because of being unassisted but apart from that I felt in good shape. It was so lovely to be at home; that night we had a take away and then got back into our own bed with our little girl! I guess you could say it was pretty much text book given that we had plenty of skin to skin contact to stay warm afterwards, experienced Alice do her little 'crawl' to the nipple and then had a natural third stage placenta delivery - all natural and very much in our birthing plan.
Thank you so much for all your tuition - it really helped remove the fear factor as we were able to go with it and knew what was happening. I even had the presence of mind to get Aaron to check the cord wasn't around her neck! Family and friends were amazed by our story and how well we coped with it all which we attribute solely to Hypnobirthing. We are now huge advocates of Hypnobirthing and the whole experience has very much empowered our lives. If we are lucky enough to have a next time we will definitely be aiming to have a planned home birth!
Alice is just a wonderful content and happy little baby. She was very alert from day one and we attribute that to her natural birthing. She is breastfeeding well, gaining weight and is just perfect.
The only down side is that we now need a new bedroom carpet and a dozen new towels but our baby girl is more that worth it!
East Surrey Hospital
After a difficult first birth, we looked to hypnobirthing as a way to achieve a more positive birthing experience with our second baby. This is our birth story, which I hope will help to inspire people that it really is possible to achieve the birth you want!
I woke up with contractions at 1.30 and managed to stay in bed and doze for an hour whilst listening to the rainbow relaxation. I woke Ian up at 2.30 and got into the bath whilst he rang up the birth unit to let them know I was in labour. They advised us to go in to hospital, so we got into the car and made our way there. During the car journey I managed to stay completely relaxed whilst listening to the rainbow relaxation and Leila’s CD. I found it really useful to visualise the balloon filling with air and then floating away with each surge. We arrived at the hospital at 4.30 and were told that I was 5cm dilated. The surges were completely manageable with the 20-20 breathing and felt a lot shorter than those in my previous labour. We headed into our delivery room in the new birthing unit at East Surrey and the midwife started to fill up the pool. I got into the water with Ian and found the breathing techniques, visualisation and light touch massage really useful in keeping me calm and relaxed. I found that my body started to do the J breathing on its own and I started to breathe the baby down. After only 10 minutes of J breaths, Harriet was born in the pool at 6.30 weighing 8lbs 10oz. I didn’t need any pain relief or stitches and managed to achieve the calm, relaxed birth that I’d been hoping for. It was amazing!
East Surrey Hospital
Having had a pretty traumatic birth with my first daughter, I was very anxious about birth number two. One of the worst things about the first time was that I had no chance to bond with my new little girl, and everything felt as medical and unnatural as it could be. Therefore I wanted to try to take some control this time around, and that's why I came to Leila's hypnobirthing classes. I found the affirmations and Leila's own relaxation CD incredibly useful in the latter stages of my pregnancy, and got into a good routine of using them for half an hour most evenings, which I'm sure helped enormously in keeping me relaxed both physically and mentally as my due date approached.
On the Sunday evening, I was 40 weeks +6 and although I had had no problems at all with the pregnancy, I was pretty fed up by then, and very keen to avoid being induced that week. I started to feel some twinges at about 9pm and told my husband that things might be starting, but we went to bed, and he had an entirely normal night's sleep, whereas I was awake most of the night with sensations about every half an hour or so - nothing painful but definitely something happening.
At 7am on the Monday, I asked my husband to stay home from work, and rang my mum, who had been going to come over for lunch anyway to keep me company on the occasion of my being 41 weeks! My husband then took my daughter to nursery and my mum arrived mid-morning. I was downstairs, walking around and chatting to them both all morning, so much so that I began to worry that it was all a false alarm, and my husband should be at work after all. The surges were about every 15 minutes and were totally manageable - all I had to do was stop talking, walk away for a bit and breathe through them, and then I was back in the conversation.
By lunchtime, I called the hospital, but wasn't very pushy about going in as I didn't think I was ready. I ate a big lunch and then went upstairs because my daughter came home from nursery and I didn't really feel like doing a Peppa Pig jigsaw! My husband and I then calmly said goodbye to her and to my mum, and I was in East Surrey hospital being examined by about 230pm. Although things had intensified by then, I was surprised and delighted to be told that I was 8cm and that they had better get the taps running in the birthing pool as I probably didn't have long to go. We were given a lovely peaceful room in the amazing spa-like unit, my husband set up the iPod speaker with Leila's CD and the affirmations, and I used a birthing ball and a mat until the water was ready, which was bliss.
Three hours after arriving in hospital and with the help of my husband and some gas and air towards the end, our second daughter was born under the water and I caught her and brought her out into the air. The difference between this experience and my first is beyond words. The next couple of hours were then also exactly what I had hoped for and wanted - the three of us were left alone in the room in which she'd been born, where the midwife had made up a bed alongside the pool, and we were fed tea and toast and left to bond and phone family, and get our heads around what had just happened. It was an utterly positive and mindblowing experience, exactly as it should be, and every time I think about it, I feel incredibly proud, happy and lucky. I'm so glad I found hypnobirthing and am so grateful to it and to Leila for helping me achieve the birth that I so desperately wanted.
East Surrey Hospital
At around 4 pm on the 10th of July, I started experiencing some mild stomach cramps. Mum and I had to go to Sainsbury's to pick up bananas for the banana walnut cake I was supposed to bake the next day. I noticed that I could barely walk with baby's weight on my pelvis, and knew that he was coming very soon!. When we got back home and at around 6.30 I started experiencing much stronger cramping. It seemed slightly different to the usual period like cramping I was experiencing since the last couple of days.
The cramping got worse by around 9.30 and I started doing my calm breathing. I wanted to have a quick meal as I knew by now it was not false labour. I went for a bath as I remembered my midwife saying "If its labour, it will progress else it will settle down". This was around 10 pm. The cramps didn't settle and we decided to ring in and inform the hospital. After the bath I decided to get a quick nap. I continued with the calm breathing and slept in between contractions.
At around 3am I had the show and we called up the hospital and decided to go in and get assessed. The pain was more intense and now the contractions were 50 seconds apart and at more regular intervals. We took our bags, birth ball, and my pregnancy pillow and set out for the hospital. Shabbir, mum and myself. On reaching the maternity unit I was assessed by the midwife who checked how dilated I was. She said that the cervix was 4 cm dilated and that they were happy to take me in the hospital. However, checking baby's heartbeat it was very high and they needed to give me saline to bring it back to normal. This meant I would have to be constantly monitored through the machine which threw all plans of my water birth out of the window.
I was shifted to the high risk ward and baby's heartbeat was being monitored by the minute. I continued doing my breathing and started listening to the affirmations and rainbow relaxation in a loop. I felt the pain in my lower back quite intensely and understood baby was back to back. It was very uncomfortable sleeping on the bed as the pain was in my bottom. At 6 o'clock there was a change of midwife. The new midwife who came in was Claire and she seemed to have delivered hypno babies before. She gave me paracetamol for the pain and asked me if I was coping well. I decided against taking any method of pain relief. After an hour or so I started to feel acute pains in my lower back and lower bottom. However, I still remained calm by focussing on my breathing. I used my birthing ball and it really helped me get comfortable because I couldn't lie flat on my back and it took the pressure off. The midwife was lovely and setup all the monitoring equipment for me so that I could use my birthing ball.
All throughout, I just kept reminding myself about what Leila said. To focus my breathing and thinking of positive imagery , counting backwards. The back to back labour was very painful yet nothing I couldn't manage. Finally at around 7.30 or 8 am I felt a sudden gush and my waters had broken. Now the pain was unbearable for me and I started begging Claire for some pain relief. It was time for my next assessment and she said she would need to see how much further dilated I was and then decide whether she could offer it to me. After examination, she said I was already 10 cm dilated and that now it was time to push. Claire, the midwife was surprised at how well I had managed so far. I could feel baby's head pushing into my back real hard. She said my waters had not broken completely so she had to break them to get things to progress. This was the most scary bit for me but all I was thinking about was baby being so close to coming. After breaking my waters she told me to push baby out. Shabbir and I insisted that we would like to breathe baby out. She helped me rest in a kneeling position on the bed handle so that gravity could help. For a few mins I tried to use “J breathing” to breathe him out but his head would go back in. I still remember Shabbir's words "You have worked so hard for this moment, this is it baby, breathe him out". Claire noticed baby's heartbeat reduce a lot and said it was best if I pushed him out fast. I knew a tear would be inevitable now. I started pushing to the best I could. It took 4 pushes in all. The first 2 pushes and she could see baby's head. Then I pushed with all my might and baby's head was out. After that one big push and I could feel his shoulders and arms coming out. And then she gave him in my arms. Our little angel had arrived. Mum and Shabbir were crying. Adam Shabbir Mookhtiar was born on 11th July at 9.09 am. After that we did skin to skin and Shabbir cut the cord of the baby.
The perineal massage that Leila recommended really helped. Claire mentioned that the tear could have been a lot worse had I not done it.
Adam is a really chilled baby and I think it's because I started doing the Hypnobirthing so early on in our pregnancy. Shabbir very proudly says that it's because he's a hypno baby that he's so calm and content.
Leila, thank you so much for the wonderful sessions, and all the useful material you shared with us on a weekly basis. Even the refresher session was so helpful towards the end and made me confident enough to be able to go through anything with a calm mind. Considering baby was breach all throughout until week 36, I was very optimistic about him turning, thanks to the affirmations which I listened to, on my way to work daily, and kept doing the polar bear position you suggested. I think it must have been that along with the breathing I practised every night that helped in turning him around. I would definitely recommend you to any new mums who are scared of birthing and all the horror stories that we keep listening to associated with it. I don't think I was scared at all after the course and especially the refresher session, but was looking forward to birthing as a Wonderful experience of bringing my baby into this world and into my arms. The video you showed of the calm water birth and baby sliding out is what I had visualised all throughout. Though I didn't get the water birth I had hoped for, I think I coped very well, Inspite of a very painful back to back and I didn't find the need for any pain relief until the last minute. It was the most empowering experience of my life!
P.S I took your advice and did the calm breathing in the initial days of breast feeding and it helped me get though the initial pain and challenges associated with it, with a lot more patience.
Epsom Hospital Birth
Our birth story....
Early evening on 8th June I started to feel the smallest of twinges every 15 minutes that I really didn't feel were contractions.
Around 10.15pm my waters broke and I knew that as Meconium was in them that my chances of a desired water birth were gone. But I remained calm and focused as we started getting ready to travel to hospital. I suddenly realised that this was it that I was going to have our baby and the mixture of emotions still stays strongly in my mind - it was the most amazing feeling of excitement - I wasn't scared I was ready to meet our baby.
We arrived about 11pm at hospital. They had wanted to bring on labour quicker with drugs due to concerns with the Meconium in the waters. Paul my husband was brilliant at being assertive and asking whether it was necessary and whether we could see how things progressed. The midwife talked to the doctors and they agreed to see how we got in.
And I'm so glad they did..
I was at 3cm dilation and within a few hours was at 9.5 cm dilated. I got through on just gas and air focussing on my breathing and working with my body to birth my baby. My husbands support throughout was amazing. At 5.50am on 9th June I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. It is still hard to describe how it felt to witness this little miracle that arrived into our world. I truly believe with the way hypno birthing helps you to work with your body and believe in yourself means it is possible to have the birthing experience you hoped for and to bring a calm and contented baby into the world.
Thanks Leila, 7 hours and with just gas and air still amazes me now.
Royal Surrey Hospital
Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you. Our baby was born on the 31st of May at 10:59. She was born in the water and I managed a completely natural birth thanks to hypnobirthing. The midwife said she had never seen anyone manage it before!
I can't thank you enough for your brilliant classes, help and support. Hopefully I'll be able to bring Elena to a coffee morning so you can meet her
First time mum
Home/East Surrey Hospital Birth
I had always kept an open mind when it came to accepting pain relief duing birth and was always convinced I would be in hospital, with as much medication as possible! After attending my NCT course and understanding more about our natural hormones being more powerful than many drugs, I decided to find out more on hypnobirthing. I read the Marie Mongan book and found Leila's website. After a long talk with her, I decided to start the course only 6 weeks before the Feb due date. I had already started the daily relaxation techniques and my sleep was much improved and I became convinced a natural birth at home was for me - quite a U-turn. Both my husband and I attended the course and I think that helped put his mind at ease for the role he had to play as birth partner.
The visualisation techniques, watching natural, positive birth videos and the relaxation techniques really helped me have the confidence that my body was more than capable of giving birth naturally. Leila was a fantastic, reassuring teacher.
I went 5 days overdue when my waters broke at home in the afternoon. After a check at the hospital, we waited for the surges to begin which they did around 11pm as I was going to bed. I breathed through them for a couple of hours when we decided to call the midwife after 2 hours - by then they were already around 5 mins apart and getting stronger. By 3am, I was already 5cm dilated and by 7am, fully dilated and was breathing down. I was mostly in a kneeling or standing position. I found after a while, i needed to really push downwards. Although hypnobirthing suggests more gentle breathing, it also gives you the confidence to trust your instincts and listen to your body. My body was telling to push hard by then!
We got to about 9:30am, 2 hours of pushing in a variety of positions, when my surges began to slow back down to 2 mins apart and it was decided to go to hospital. Little Annabel's head was practically crowning but she just needed a little help to make her entrance.
We got to East Surrey Hospital and vontouse suction was used in 3 surges and Annabel was born, about 30 mins after getting on the hospital bed. Her heart rate stayed stable between surges and she was a healthy 7lb, 6oz. I didn't feel I needed pain relief as it wasn't really painful, more an intense pressure. I kept in mind that each surge was bringing my baby closer to me which also helped. It was only after Annabel was born that I had some gas and air whilst the doctor repaired the episiotomy (necessary for vontouse).
I would say that although I wanted to stay at home, staying relaxed throughout was a massive help, especially as the birth took an unexpected turn at the end. I think the course helped me handle the unanticipated trip to hospital very well.
I would recommend this technique to anyone who is nervous about birth and keeps an open mind on the effectiveness of the human body's ability. I was certainly skeptical in the early stages of pregnancy about a completely natural and gentle birth but I'm so pleased I went on the course and very proud of myself and our little family to have had such a positive, powerful experience. The love and emotion I felt the moment our little one was born was indescribable.
First time dad
East Surrey Hospital Birth
I thought I'd send you an "eat my words" email just in case it maybe helps any of the dads you meet.
I don't know if you could tell but (I suspect like many dads) I was a huge skeptic about HypnoBirthing. I was very keen to be supportive of what Emma wanted so I kept my opinions to myself somewhat. However, with a maths degree, being a Chartered Accountant and having 10yrs in Corporate Finance I have become a professional cynic and so entered HypnoBirthing in the same way I look at any financial offer that looks too good to be true.
All I can say now, is wow. I can't wax lyrical enough about it and have been raving to all my family and our NCT friends about it.
I'll try not go on too much (maybe I will) but in summary I'd say this:
- Emma was just so so calm all the way through. She arrived at hospital so relaxed she wasn't sure whether she was in labour or had eaten too much, until they checked her and she was 9cm!
- She took maybe 3hrs to get to 10cm, and was totally in control and relaxed throughout. As feedback for you, the 4-8 breathing was REALLY helpful. She essentially slept between contractions but kept moving along.
- As she got to the stage of feeling the urge to push, she switched to 20-20 breathing (I can't remember the names, only the counting) and again this was brilliant at keeping her in control.
- Throughout I kept doing the light touch massage and it really helped too. Emma said she found it far more tingly than when we practiced. She also kept moving around as advised, and that really helped things along.
- Isla was also incredibly calm throughout. Jo, our midwife, kept saying she was the calmest baby she'd seen - her heartbeat kept a constant 140bpm.
- I was surprised also at how onboard all the midwives were with it too (as this worried me a LOT). Jo kept telling me she was keeping the medics away as otherwise they'd jump in with drugs. I think she enjoyed this! After the birth, the nurses and (especially) the breast feeding helpers were incredibly positive about HB too - anything that makes their jobs easier I guess.
- She finally arrived! I shit you not, Emma said that at no time was it painful. Incredibly hard work, but not painful. Wow! There was no martyrdom or anything and she was open to pain relief if she felt she needed it - she just didn't. At the very end, fully crowned, she said, "ooh that stings a bit", which just made Jo laugh and me. (A nettle "stings a bit" - this is childbirth Emma!). Oh yeah - perennial massage worked a treat too.
I could go on forever - I've already probably bored you! So I'll leave it there. I'm a 100% convert as HB is just a good, sensible and logical approach - not "hippy" at all. As a male, all I can think of, as a comparison is Mike Tindall winning the 2003 Rugby world cup on a broken foot - he was so focused that he just didn't notice!
I'm incredibly grateful to you for your wonderful help and advice.
Second time Mum
It’s Friday 20th July. At about 1pm I was taken aback by a familiar sensation. From then on I was feeling a surge consistently every 25 minutes. I kept busy, Nic (my husband) came home from work and we went to Reigate to see the Olympic torch. We had a lovely meal out and excitedly decided to put the pool up when we got home. We got home about 7pm and put Miller to bed, the surges were still consistent but no closer together. I relaxed, reading a lovely book that Leila had given to me earlier in the day (It was a book full of lovely homebirth stories) and had a nice bath, the bath seemed to speed things up as when I got out the surges quickly became closer together. By now it was around 11pm, I started making a note of each surge, and they were roughly 10 mins apart. Nic contacted Virginia and Leila to let them know. I was feeling serenely calm and very excited. My excitement was not aiding my relaxation though, so I listened to the rainbow relaxation CD that instantly relaxed me and focused my mind. I then sat on the staircase of all places (how primal the coolest darkest corner of the house) I was there for sometime feeling really comfortable, I was embracing each surge exactly how I had hoped I would, going deeper and deeper into relaxation with each one, it was lovely.
Virginia arrived and was pleased to see me so relaxed, she took my blood pressure and listened to the baby – all was well. Shortly after Leila arrived. I remained in my little corner on the turn of the staircase and Leila read relaxation scripts to me and performed the HypnoBirthing technique of light touch massage. I was so deeply relaxed and comfortable, it was bliss and the house felt wonderfully peaceful and calm. I felt that I may be many cm dilated, but since I hadn’t experienced any discomfort let alone pain I felt that I needed to be given proof of that, so I asked Virginia if she would examine me, she did indeed declare me 9 cm, yippee.
I got into the pool, which felt lovely, and spa like, it was approximately 5am now. I was able to chat in between the surges and was enjoying every minute. I felt very fortunate and safe thanks to Virginia and very blessed having Leila constantly supporting my relaxation. A couple of hours passed calmly like this, breathing through the surges. I could not have felt any more relaxed. “ My notes state that I was not showing any contractions and appearing extremely relaxed”
The second stage of labour turned out to be an unusually lengthy one. We now know that the baby had turned into the tricky op position and I also had a stubborn lip of cervix that slowed things down too. I have to be honest and admit that after about 4 relaxed hours in 2nd stage, I felt like things took an undignified turn. I was comfortable but did feel myself becoming agitated due to the length of time that had passed since I had been declared fully dilated. I was trying to breathe through the surges but I did feel an alarming pushy feeling in my bottom and back, I now know that was probably due to baby’s positioning. All was well with baby throughout so the time was no cause for concern. Leila was fantastic and read me the balloon script and various others; I was also loving the clary sage oil that Leila had thoughtfully brought with her.
Eventually after getting in and out of the pool a couple of times, I had an examination. Virginia popped the membranes delicately with her finger; something none of us wanted to do because they should remain intact unless they break naturally (this was something that meant a lot to us) however they were as low as can be and no instrument was necessary. Given the fact that 8 hours had passed I felt comfortable with this. I sat on Virginia’s birth stool for a few surges, I didn’t like this much and I was feeling quite undignified… It helped however, as in that time the baby had moved forward and was now crowning at last. The relief to get back in the pool and know that finally our baby was about to be born was huge. I’ll never forget the look of relief on Nic’s face and the look of delight on Leila and Virginia’s faces. Indy was born into my own hands at 14.28. Despite the second stage of labour taking 9 hours it was amazing. I am so thankful to Virginia for her skill and expertise, had I of been in the care of the NHS, unfortunately I would have had horrible intervention, the policy is to intervene after a set length of time. Time was the reason for my c-section last time! My hope is that home hypnobirths become “the norm” its such a lovely way to bring your baby into the world.
Both my babies have been beautifully contented and fab sleepers (95% of the time:) and I am in no doubt it’s because they are hypnobabies. I still practice the relaxation that I learnt during our HypnoBirthing training daily. Leila thank you so much for all the support you gave us during this pregnancy, and to have you there supporting us at the birth of little Indy meant so much to Nic and I. It wouldn’t have happened without you.
First time Mum
Epsom Hospital Birth
After reading every birthing book I could get my hands on and attending NCT & HypnoBirthing classes it seems that I still could not tell that I was in labour! I started to have my first surges on Saturday morning. They were mild cramps, so I put these down to being braxton hicks. All the other expectant mums had been talking about braxton hicks but I had not experienced these yet so I thought that this was what they were. The surges carried on for the rest of the morning but I was determined to go and look around the DIY stores as I had plans to decorate. I carried on with the breathing techniques and off we went. The surges started to get stronger as we walked around Currys, and I found myself holding on to a fridge as I counted and used the breathing techniques until it passed.
Once at home Oliver ran me a bath and I played the rainbow relaxation and affirmation CD and continued with the relaxing breathing. By 10pm the surges were 2 minutes apart and Oliver (who had been saying all day that this was labour and not Braxton hicks) decided to call the hospital. My waters broke and then I realised that this was the real thing. We got to the hospital at 1am and the staff were brilliant. They read our birthing plan and understood our choice to have as natural birth as possible.
After a few hours and through tiredness I decided to have pethidine, this just enable me to get a bit of rest in between the surges. By the morning the pethidine had worn off and the birthing pool was ready to use. Oliver put the rainbow relaxation CD on and the midwife at Epsom fully supported our choice of a water birth and no more pain relief. Oliver timed the surges and talked me though the affirmations and counted in my breathing.
Our beautiful son was born just before midday and we can both say it was truly the most amazing and liberating moment of our lives. Farron was so calm and peaceful when he was born. He made a little squeak to clear his lungs, blinked a few times and then just stared into my eyes. We sat in the birthing pool for around half an hour just taking it all in.
The placenta was also delivered naturally and we chose to wait until it had stopped pulsating before it was clamped and cut. Oliver said that the whole birth experience and the water birth was surreal, inspiring and one of the best days of his life. He said that the HypnoBirthing aloud him to take control and to feel involved and a big part of the birth. We both felt that what we learnt in your classes gave us the confidence and tools we needed as first time parents to have a positive birth experience and a moment that will be firmly imprinted in our memories forever. We both feel like the luckiest people in the world to have our little Farron and wanted to thank you for giving us the tools to have a wonderful birth.
First time mum
Royal Surrey Hospital Guildford
I discovered I was pregnant in October 2009 – shortly after my initial joy, I started to panic at the prospect of giving birth. Ever since I could remember, I had always worried about both the pain I would endure and also worried about losing my dignity in the process. Theses thoughts gave me sleepless nights and drove me to tears on several occasions.
I began researching elective caesarians and private surgery – whilst doing a google search, I found the InspiringBirths website, I called Leila that evening.
Leila spent almost an hour on the phone to me explaining what hypno birthing was and what the class involved. I was extremely impressed by Leila’s passion, knowledge and the fact that she had her own personal experience of hypnobirthing.
We started our course in March 2011 and had 4 sessions in the comfort of our own home.
The course had many benefits (not just the amazing labor and birth we had) but I also became very calm during pregnancy, this was down to my fear being relieved, the daily breathing techniques I practiced and also the relaxation cd (which I initially disliked, but grew to enjoy.)
I visualized giving birth to my son early on a Saturday morning, in order to maximize the time my Husband could spend with us.
My waters broke at 1.45am and contractions started soon after. With lots of encouragement from my Husband, I repeated the affirmations in my head, I remembered my breathing techniques and followed professional instructions with ease. Callum arrived at 6.49am on Saturday 29th May 2011 - I had a 5 hour labor in total with no pain relief.
My labor was the most liberating and amazing experience of my life and one which my Husband and I are very proud of and will cherish the memory forever – it was very special.
The midwife who delivered my son, told us that she had just witnessed the most calm first time birth in her career.
Post pregnancy I used the rainbow CD on a regular basis, especially in the early days – it helped me get to sleep very quickly – essential when you need a cat nap, in-between looking after a new born!
I have no hesitation in recommending Leila – she is a great teacher and was very supportive throughout and post pregnancy.
First time mum
Epsom Hospital birth
I must say, every time I think about or tell people about my birth experience I am always so pleased as it genuinely met beyond my expectation. Before taking Leila’s course, I had been very skeptical about the whole birthing process. To be honest, even during the course, at the back of my mind I was worried about the intense birth pain that you often see on TV. The course contained a fear release session, which really helped me to let go of my worries of the pain (I have a low pain threshold). What I found most useful from Leila’s classes is that the whole experience was just so relaxing. I remember in one class there was a very long hypnosis session and I actually found myself being so relaxed that I fell asleep! The husband sat next to be was snoring!! On reflection, I was very pleased that I chose Leila’s course over others because she is so passionate about HypnoBirthing and it rubs off on you. Leila is also able to carry out hypnosis and was previously a sonographer so I found her to be very knowledgeable and relaxing to be with. It was only after starting her classes that I realised how lucky I was to have chosen her over others that I was considering. Leila also provided endless support both during and after the classes have finished which was so useful to me. Overall, Leila was a brilliant teacher and her course was great, I highly recommend her and HypnoBirthing itself.
So a little about my birthing experience, My contractions started immediately after my waters broke and it then only took 24 hours to see my beautiful baby girl. The contractions were initially few and far in between. I was still able to do normal things in the day and generally felt quite relaxed. Over the course of the day it became more frequent however it was still not quite the 5mins apart lasting for an hour as I was told by the hospital before calling them. By the end of the day, there was more of a regular pattern and I could feel it getting closer. One valuable thing I took from Leila’s classes is the breathing technique. As the pain got worse, I focused on the breathing much more and it did help me to cope with the pain at home. In the evening we called the hospital the midwife spoke to me and said that I should stay at home for longer as she felt that I didn't sound in enough pain over the phone. I thought omg! This situation is exactly like other HypnoBirthing stories I have read in the past and I was always skeptical but envied those people of being able to stay at home for so long. During the short phone call, I'd had 3 contractions and she was still not too convinced but agreed to let me come in as I explained that I did HypnoBirthing. On the way to the hospital my contractions were almost continuous and I knew that it could be time soon. When I arrived, they checked me over and said that I was already 10cm dilated and ready to push. I wasn't too surprised but was still nice to hear that. So after only being on the hospital bed for 1 hour 45 mins I was holding my little girl. This was quite amazing and so much more than I ever could imagine. I can honestly say that I did feel the contraction pains and they did hurt a lot towards the end but HypnoBirthing gave me the tools to cope with it. I had no pain relieve at home and only a couple of puffs of gas and air while pushing. The breathing technique was invaluable. I still can’t believe that my own story is just like the perfect birth stories that you read in magazines and to think that I was so skeptical about it before the birth. My baby also scored perfect marks on the apgar scale that I put it down to hypnobirth. Leila was a brilliant teacher; I would recommend her to anyone. I'm sure I will be getting some refresher classes when I have baby #2!
Thank you Leila (quite emotional now that those memories are flooding back again)
Third time mum
Epsom Hospital birth
I decided to look into HypnoBirthing after having a traumatic second birth with my son having a shoulder dystocia. Although I was pleased to be pregnant for a third time the thought of giving birth again filled me with dread.
After talking to Leila I decided to attend the group sessions with my husband.
At the end of the course I had a completely different vision of birth, I was feeling positive and was looking forward to our baby's arrival.
I found the rainbow relaxation cd really useful at helping me to sleep and I think Leila should make her own CD as I found her voice really soothing. I had an extra session on fear release to replace the memory of my traumatic birth with visions of how I wanted my upcoming birth to be. It really helped me focus on the birth I wanted rather than reliving my past one.
Leila also lent me a DVD with some fantastic births, which I watched over and over. It was good to see what is possible if you put in the work.
I went into labour at about 9.30pm and the contractions came very quickly. A late change of circumstance meant that the planned water birth in the birthing centre was no longer possible and when we arrived at the labour ward it was full. We had a twenty-minute drive to another hospital. This is where the breathing techniques were a fantastic help; I managed to stay calm even when the contractions were a minute apart. We arrived at the labour ward one hour before our daughter was born.
For me the rose visualisation and the J breathing were the most useful tools during the final stages.
This was the quickest birth I’d had (two hours) but the only one where I didn't panic.
Thanks to Leila and HypnoBirthing I had the knowledge and tools to remain calm.
I can't thank Leila enough for all the help and support she gave me!
Many thanks from both of us.
First Time Mum
East Surrey Hospital Birth
Despite all my thoughts William arrived on his due date. A few days prior to Sunday the movement had really picked up again which made me think he might be starting to make the journey. I woke up on Sunday with very painful hips and then a few minor twinges throughout the day, but nothing really started until about 8 or 9 in the evening. Stayed at home until about 430 when the surges were 5 mins apart. Second stage was only half an hour apparently and I had a couple of minor stitches (more about me misunderstanding the midwife's comment about breathing I think). He arrived at 9am. I had no drugs at all nor gas or air but because I had fibroids I had the assisted placenta delivery but we were able to wait until the placenta had stopped beating, which was good. So all in all a 100% positive experience all round. Jon was amazing too. The midwife had also used HypnoBirthing for her birth so that was an added bonus.
Following the (supposed) changes in guidelines on c sections we were asked by the midwife to take part in filming for a piece that they are doing on the 'BBC One Show' about birth choices. It's very much about 'c-section or not' rather than detailed looks at HypnoBirthing etc but we might have a minute of fame - the three of us. Hopefully I'm not too incoherent.
Thank you again for the course and I'm more than happy for you to share our experience.
First time Mum
Many of my friends had told me horrendous birth stories, so when I became pregnant I was keen to do everything possible to prepare myself and give me and my baby the best possible chance of enjoying the birthing experience. I did a lot of research on the internet and HypnoBirthing was the method that kept coming up time and time again as enabling birthing to be a positive experience for both mother and baby. I was a little sceptical (and my husband even more so!) but decided that I didn't have anything to lose, if it didn't work then I would be in the same place as if I hadn't done anything.
When I first met Leila, and read the HypnoBirthing book, I realised that the premise was very simple, and not really as 'hippy-like' as the name suggests. By learning techniques to remain calm and focused whilst in labour, by understanding how you and your baby are perfectly designed to cope with the feat, giving birth without fear becomes achievable. This was not hypnosis of the stage show variety, just self-relaxation!
The lead up to my baby's birth was a challenging time as we moved from Surrey to Denmark 4 weeks before my daughter's due date. Moving house, changing medical care providers, leaving behind family and friends was all very tough. Additionally, once I arrived in Denmark my baby needed to be turned by ECV from her breech position and I ended up having to be induced with prostaglandin to get things going 2 weeks after the due date. Not quite what I'd imagined when I'd been learning the HypnoBirthing techniques earlier in the pregnancy, nonetheless, my newfound skills at remaining calm and being positive definitely helped.
Finally, 15 days after the due date, my waters broke at 5pm, and I had the opportunity to put everything I'd learned into action. There was meconium in the waters, and so I wasn't able to have the water birth that I'd hoped for, and additionally the midwife in the Danish hospital decided we needed to monitor the baby's heart beat during the labour. Again, not really what I'd imagined! However, I just started to focus on the birthing that was happening, rather than dwell on the birthing I'd dreamt of for the last 9 months.
Even though I'd learnt lots of techniques, there were 3 that I used and found incredibly helpful. The slow breathing and the rainbow relaxation to get me through the surges, and the j-breathing to finally deliver my daughter. The breathing exercises definitely helped, if only to give me something to focus on rather than any pain. However, it was the rainbow relaxation that I'd really recommend. I'd been listening to it daily for many weeks, so its familiarity helped. I think it was its simplicity that got me through. Trying to imagine intricate details of calming scenes didn't work for me as my mind would wander straight back to the pain, but having a voice remind me to think of something as simple as a colour was so straight forward that despite everything going on I could focus my mind entirely on that colour for the duration of the surge. Within 4 hours of the contractions starting I was fully dilated, and had only required a little gas and air to get me there.
At this point the contractions started to be a little irregular, so we waited for a while. After a couple of hours the midwife began to talk about an oxytocin drip, which I didn't like the sound of, so she suggested accupuncture to try and regulate the contractions and finally deliver the baby. I seized this option, had tiny needles inserted into my little toes, and within 30 minutes Rose Eleanor was born! She was born at 01:54, 16 days after her due date, weighing in at 8lb15oz, scoring 10 on all the APGAR tests, without so much as a squeak for over an hour after she emerged, and without medical intervention or drugs for me. A huge success, for which I thank HypnoBirthing and Leila.
First time mum
Home Waterbirth in Epsom, Surrey
Six years ago a close friend told me of her birth experience with her first child, at home, in the water and all through this magical thing called HypnoBirthing. At the time I remember thinking how brilliant she was, like some kind of superwoman, as all I had was these images of women screaming and yelling during childbirth.
Since then quite a few close friends have given birth through HypnoBirthing and had wonderful experiences so we didn’t hesitate in wanting to follow the same practice for our first. As a friend of ours said the worst thing that can happen by studying HypnoBirthing is that you decide it’s not for you.
We started the course with Leila with Andy knowing more about it than I did. Being a freediving instructor he was a specialist in the breathing side of the course and it was wonderful experience learning about how to apply breathing and relaxation to pregnancy and the pending labour.
To say we followed the HypnoBirthing practice to the T would be an exaggeration. I found it difficult to repeat all the techniques, and what we realised worked best for us was taking what we had learnt and adapting it to our own style and way of thinking (our own interpretation of the mongan method). The great thing about learning from Leila was that she encouraged this. The reading and course built the foundations and then we created our own style from there.
From doing the course with Leila we had the confidence to plan a homebirth in the water using HypnoBirthing techniques.
6 days after our due date, at 2am in the morning my surges started. Being 15 to 20 minutes apart I had time for a quick nap inbetween, the discomfort caused by the surges I found was quite simple to manage. Andy by my side helping me to do my breathing, reminding me to close my eyes and focus on relaxing and visualising. At times he stroked my back and I focused on reminding myself that what my body was doing was merely a continuation of what had begun 9 months and 6 days before. Through learning about HypnoBirthing I understood the changes my body was going through and it really helped me relax, it wasn’t a shock and I didn’t think I can’t do this or that I couldn’t manage the discomfort.
Not quite sure where the time went but at about 8.30am I asked Andy to call the midwife as I felt that the surges had quickly become closer together and I wanted the midwife to be there. My worry was that the midwife would arrive and tell me that I had hours to go, but when she examined me she said I was 8/9cms dilated.
She couldn’t quite believe I had gone all that time not asking for any pain relief, and she couldn’t quite believe how relaxed Andy and I both were. But she did say if I wanted to give birth in the birthing pool I had to go downstairs pretty sharpish.
I waddled down the stairs and got into the water, bliss, so relaxing. Andy joined me in the water, by my side reminding me to keep my eyes closed and to relax and breathe. By this time another midwife and a trainee had arrived at our home, and after one hour and 59 minutes, Sabina was born into the water.
As we sat in the water with Sabina on my chests, the midwives looked on, and the most senior midwife, with 25 years experience started crying, she said it was the most beautiful and peaceful birth she had ever experienced and she later asked if she could hire Andy out as a birthing partner ;o)
HypnoBirthing isn’t this magical trick, it’s quite simple, focus on understanding what your body will be going through, work with your partner and my advice would be to create your own method based on the Mongan way. For us it helped that we had the visualisations and affirmations there to use, but also meditation music and in our own home. We had the most wonderful birth experience through HypnoBirthing. Sabina is just a joy and so happy. We owe a great deal to Leila and her teachings and we feel blessed to have had such a wonderful experience.
For about a month prior to the birth of my son baby Zack I was having Braxton Hicks.
On Sunday 20th Feb I had a broken night sleep with cramps in my tummy, this also happened a few time during the day on the 21st and the night again was broken by the cramps.
On the morning of 21st Feb I woke with the contractions getting closer together. I ran a bath and soaked in it playing my HypnoBirthing relaxing track, followed by the affirmations.
At 11am I went for my 40 week check up, my midwife told me that I was as I had thought in labour, however informed me that there was no way I would be able to have a home-birth that night as there was a shortage of staff.
I had my water bath already blown up and waiting and was devastated to think I would not get the opportunity to use it. I talked to my baby in my tummy and pleaded that he would not be born until the following day when there would be cover for the home birth. However at 11pm that night the contractions had increased to every 5 mins and were getting more painful, so we ventured to East Surrey hospital.
Once there I was told that I probably wasn't very dilated as I did not look like a lady in labour I seemed calm and relaxed. When examined I was told I was 5cm dilated.
During the contractions I did my long slow breathing 20 seconds in 20 seconds out I found this the most valuable breathing technique during my labour, I then used the relaxing breathing between contractions and the J breathing during the final stage.
Once I entered the water at around 2am I played my HypnoBirthing CD pretty constantly and I found that I tuned everything else out. I focused on the words on the CD and went into a trance like state. During the contractions I wanted to be left on my own concentrating only on my breathing. The water was wonderful helping to relax me.
At about 4am I entered the crowning stage of the labour, this was very long lasting 2 hours, but was good as my contractions slowed down and were very intense but I did not push when told too, I worked with my contractions, breathing whenever they happened, although slow and painful at this time I was really pleased I listened to my body as Zack arrived at 6am and I only required two stitches which were put in to be on the safe side. I had no drugs at all and thank my HypnoBirthing for this.
I never went to hospital and was out walking the following day.
My birthing experience was natural and exactly as I had planned and hoped for.
Leila thank you for bringing HypnoBirthing to me and for helping me have the birth I had hoped for.
First Time HypnoBirthing-Dad
When my partner first told me about HypnoBirthing I was a little sceptical, which I think is a fairly understandable reaction for an average bloke! However, she was really keen and ordered some cds about it. I could see she was serious about it but I was worried how effective the cds alone could be so I booked us both on to a course with Inspiring Births as a present for her. From the first session it became obvious my scepticism had been misplaced because HypnoBirthing is, I am happy to report, based on an unquestionable premise! The reality is that if a woman can enter labour with a relaxed, calm and positive attitude then she will have a better birth experience. The only question is, what can a woman do to keep relaxed, calm and positive? HypnoBirthing provides a toolbag of exercises which can help.
My partners labour was by no means easy, in fact a complication made it really challenging and very different from the birth we had planed. However during the experience she remained calm by using the tools she had learned from our HypnoBirthing course. When she gave birth to our son I was so proud of her because I knew how thoroughly she had prepared herself to give him the best possible start. Leila from Inspiring Births was an excellent tutor as she helped us greatly to prepare ourselves for our son's birth. Leila's sessions are engaging and interesting and her passion for supporting people to have positive birth experiences is clear.
The Marie Mongan HypnoBirthing method and Leila's personal touch empowered me to have a calm, natural, drug-free positive birth experience at home, despite being 42 weeks and one day when I birthed ! I learned to really trust my body, and my labour was only 5 hours long, a stark contrast to the long labour I experienced first time round. Before I discovered Leila and HypnoBirthing I did not believe this was possible for me!
After a traumatic first birth I realised that I was holding onto a lot of fear and negative expectations surrounding birth. I was therefore looking for ways to improve my expectations going into, and also the outcome of, my second birth. Prior to commencing Hypnotherapy I was a combination of ignorant, sceptical yet hopeful. Now I am passionate about the wonderful way in which this method can help women have fearless and positive birth experiences.
Listening to the positive birth affirmations daily really helped me replace my negative thoughts with positive beliefs. And the Rainbow Relaxation CD is still being used even after birthing, its so effective. And the fear release scripts which Leila and my husband read to me were very effective -- one negative birth does not need to lead to another one!
One reason I chose Leila for our course was that she had used the method herself, and because she was so passionate about its outcomes. Leila's teaching to me and my husband together was a really important part of the process, and we are now closer as a result, we even still use the relaxation techniques post-natally!
I would highly recommend the Mongan method and Leila's passionate and personal teaching style. The impact of birthing lasts a lifetime and my husband and I are lucky enough to have a wonderful positive experience to carry with us.
My wife, Claire, is a private Nanny; she is always surrounded by and caring for babies & children. In doing so Claire is often in contact with women who have recently given birth – unfortunately lots of the stories she hears about childbirth have filled her head with worry, lots of negative thinking. Plus, her own mother had not had straightforward experiences with her two children.
Although this was not enough to resist her biological clock, it was enough to make her very anxious and nervous about the later stages of pregnancy and childbirth. We signed up to NCT classes to try and educate ourselves about all matters pregnancy & childbirth; we did this but it did not help extinguish the negativity from Claire’s mind.
My own attitude was one of a self fulfilling prophecy – think bad it will be, think good & magical, it will be. I had used hypnotherapy in my teen for stress related Asthma and was considering this option for Claire if she failed to get her anxiety under control.
During the NCT course the use of HypnoBirthing was discussed. I was pro-hypnosis having used it as a teenager to control my stress related Asthma & this centred on birthing, so I encouraged Claire to pursue it. So, Claire made contact with Leila and we signed up for 4-sessions in March 2011.
Straight away, with lots of coaching from Leila and the use of visual aids including HB videos evidencing drug free, calm, relaxed birthing, and Claire’s anxiety reduced. We got to work on positive thinking & visualisation with use of scripts we personalised; tactile use of hands to increase ‘happy hormones’ and lots of other techniques. Eventually, whenever the topic of childbirth came up in conversation at home or with other people, we scoffed at any negativity and promoted our excitement and readiness for childbirth to begin and how much we were looking forwards to it; how we couldn’t wait to hold our newborn. This did earn us a few odd looks, but we really meant it.
May 20th Claire woke up and knew this would be the day. The day could not have gone better if we had rehearsed it. Our two midwives could not believe the speed Claire’s labour progressed at and were most taken aback at her very leisurely approach. To top it off, there was no time or need for drugs. The following day when various nurses visited Claire they commented on having heard such good things about her birth the previous night.
I have no doubts in my mind whatsoever, that had we not undertaken HB with Leila, Claire would have entered childbirth in a panicked frame of mind. Instead, the whole process became just the natural step that it is towards holding our baby. Since then we have been blessed with a baby, which everyone comments on how calm and content she appears – of course we agree – we can’t necessarily put this down to HB, but it can’t be ruled out either!
for helping me through the preparation for my lovely home birth. Leila's hypnosis
power script and fear release hypnosis script really made a difference in putting
aside my fear...
Having a home birth is so empowering and gave me such strength, without the need for any pain relief, my mind was clear, focused and in tune with my body. Nature and instinct took its course and our not so little boy, Theo (8lbs10.5oz) was born in the safety of our own home in just over 3 hours. Our older son woke in the morning to a new brother, it was magical to see him so pleased to discover his baby brother at home and just snuggle into bed with us all. HypnoBirthing helped me to sleep well in the late stages of pregnancy and can help couples to relax and embrace birth without fear...Leila, I thank you and wish you well in your endeavor to help birthing couples experience the same joy and fulfillment as we did with our birth.
Early in my pregnancy, I discovered the HypnoBirthing method and after doing some research I was in no doubt that it was the method that I wanted to use for the birth of my 1st baby. I was so pleased to then discover Inspiring Births and then yourself. Working through the course has been delightful and we both thank you for teaching us how beautiful and peaceful natural childbirth can be. I have loved every moment of my pregnancy and can honestly say I have never felt so relaxed, calm and inspired which is the result of the relaxation and self hypnosis techniques you have taught us. Through practice of the techniques we are successfully achieving astoundingly deep levels of relaxation which is allowing me to bring about sensation loss every time I try.
We loved having our sessions in the comfort of our own home and would not hesitate recommending both the private classes or group ones. I'm over the moon that some good friends of ours have already contacted you.
I'd also just like to take this opportunity to thank you for the coffee mornings and newsletters. The newsletters are really inspiring to receive and your coffee mornings are such a wonderful way of hearing, wonderful real life birth stories. I can't wait to introduce you to our little hypnobaby and share our birth story.
Thanks Again Leila.