Positive Birth Stories
My positive homebirth story as a first time mum!
Clara arrived at 1pm on Friday the 26th of November (40+4) and weighed exactly 7lbs. Labour lasted 11 hours from start to finish and she swam into the world in our birthing pool!
After a nice autumnal dog walk and fajita night with friends Thursday night, I woke up at 2am Friday morning with a pain in my tummy. I knew my mum would be getting up for work so texted her that I thought I might of had a contraction and she agreed that baby was coming today because she could ‘feel it in her bones’. 45 minutes after that initial text I texted her back saying ‘ouch, that one hurt ’ which is when it sank in for me that labour had started.
I let my boyfriend sleep for the first two hours of contractions which were quite mild to start with, rocking on my birthing ball and just staring at his sleeping face. As the contractions got more powerful I held onto his hand and woke him up. When he realised I was in labour he popped on a film and got me some water and cereal. I started off with pacing the bedroom and hanging from his neck/shoulders during contractions and swaying my hips. I sang along to some of the songs from my birth playlist which was making him laugh because he was surprised I was managing to stay so calm (thank you hypnobirthing).
I had been planning to go to the shops that morning to pick up a tens machine and really wished I had it at this point. I’d been having contractions for three hours and they were lasting about 30 seconds each with only small spaces of time between. We rang the labour line at 6:30am while I led in a hot bath to let them know I was in labour and to answer all the main questions, because I knew when we rang them back later to send the midwives I wouldn’t want to have to answer lots of annoying questions! (Note: it is really annoying to be asked if you’ve taken paracetamol during labour, feels so patronising!)
At this point I was smiling through some contractions with happy tears because I was so excited to meet her, even when I started vomiting up everything I had in me. My boyfriend went downstairs to help his mum set up the birthing pool while his brothers girlfriend rubbed my back. We timed two contractions lasting 2 minutes each and another lasting 1 minute 30 within 8 minutes, so I begged her to ring labour line back to send the midwives. I’d been in labour for five hours and just knew that time to push wasn’t too far away.
When my mum arrived, I waited for a gap in the contractions to go downstairs, praying the pool was ready. It still wasn’t, so leaned over the sofa and carried on breathing through my contractions which seemed to last forever and were so strong! The midwife called and said she was 45 minutes away. It was a good job I asked her to make sure to bring the gas and air, as she had to then stop at the hospital on the way to pick it up! I genuinely believe if she had turned up without it there would have been some drama from me, I’d had no pain relief so far and was knackered.
The midwife arrived at 10am just minutes after I was able to get in the pool (MASSIVE relief) and asked if I’d like my dilation to be assessed which I declined. I assessed the progress of the baby myself, and could feel her head with the tip of my fingers. I’d managed to get 9/10cm dilated without pain relief within 8 hours. I used the gas and air while my boyfriend using our calming hypnobirthing techniques to keep me relaxed and in control. He talked me through our positive affirmations and the midwives were mostly hands off, only checking the babies heart rate between some contractions, and taking a look for babies head with a mirror. Amazingly her heart rate didn’t dip or increase at any point of the labour - she was so relaxed!
At some point when it became time to push my waters finally broke. I kept switching between pushing on my knees and floating on my back, pushing my feet against the pool. I continued to check the babies progress myself, saying she was an inch away, then saying her head was right there. The pressure was indescribable but I was so excited to meet her. The midwives warned that transition was coming and reminded me not to let the adrenaline cause me panic. When transition came, I found myself shouting ‘come on baby you can do it! You can’t stay there!’ So funny to think I was quite loopy on the gas and air, and rather than panicking I was cheering her on. At some point at this stage I turned to my mum and said ‘god mum you look pale’, which I remember she was.
Pushes went from big pushes to lots of small ones, and her head came out up to her ears. Then suddenly, her whole body torpedoed out in one go. The relief I felt was amazing. The midwives caught her and brought her up to my chest, and there was a loud ping as the umbilical cord snapped. This then flooded the pool with blood from her cord, and the midwives worked quickly to clamp it on her end and mine. My mum managed to record her entrance into the world and watching it back all I kept saying was ‘wow, wow, wow, wow, wow’.
As I looked down at her on my chest she was wide awake, eyes wide open staring at me and not crying, just chilling. Such a super calm, relaxed little baby! We called my boyfriends mum into the room so she could see her, soon followed by my boyfriends sister. It was amazing to have family around me that day as I felt so supported and couldn’t have done any of it without every person who was there and played a part.
So that was the birth, which was incredible. Unfortunately my plans for after this stage didn’t quite go to plan! As baby had skin to skin time with her dad, I was struggling to push out the placenta. I tried squatting, sitting on the toilet, the injection, an in and out catheter to drain my bladder, some wiggling from the midwives, but it just wouldn’t budge. My dreams of just getting into bed with a dominos and bottle of Bucks Fizz were soon met with the reality check of a trip to the hospital.
I was blue lighted to Basingstoke with my midwife and baby, while my boyfriend drove to meet us there. At the hospital, about 4 more people tried to pull the placenta out. As the umbilical cord was so brittle, and the placenta still being so high up, no progress was made. It was honestly agony as people tried to pull it out and found myself crying and begging them to stop, then try again, then stop. I so wanted it to come out so we could go home but my placenta really did just want to stick around as a souvenir.
I ended up with a spinal injection and trip into theatre. I was still quite high from the gas and air and found myself laughing at the doctor who I was watching go elbow deep, saying ‘wow this is like Yorkshire vet but I’m the cow’. I also requested them to stick the coil in while they were there (nice logic there Megs) but the surgeon just replied ‘go see your GP’ .
I’ll be honest, it took a lot of deep conversations with my boyfriend afterwards to not let all the pain from theatre, cannulas, injections, catheters. internal interventions etc from bringing me down after a magical, independent and relaxing homebirth. The placenta not coming out was completely out of my control, and the doctor reassured me that no matter how much I could have tried or they could have tried, once they’d removed the placenta they knew the trip to theatre would’ve been unavoidable as it really hadn’t wanted to budge. It was important to remind myself that some things are just out of your control, but it’s about tackling the situation fully informed, with calmness and an open mind.
All the positive support and praise from my boyfriend for how I’d managed to safely deliver our perfect baby girl meant the world and I look back on the birth proudly and positively. It really is my proudest achievement. The midwives said to me that I had really impressed them with my calmness, especially as a first time mum, and had set the standard for home births and should consider a career path in midwifery
The three of us had to stay in hospital overnight and I was in agony from some bad haemorrhoids. It made it impossible to sit or lay comfortably, walk, or get the baby in and out of the crib, but my boyfriend never left my side and took so much responsibility taking care of both of us all night. He truly was incredible from start to finish and we have never felt closer and proud of each other.
We have been home now for 4 days and Clara is an angel. She is good as gold and so beautiful. She’s a really peaceful little baby and I can’t help but think all the hypnobirthing practice throughout my pregnancy and during the labour could be playing a part in that!
Megan & Nate's Positive Home Birth
"I look back on the birth proudly and positively. It really is my proudest achievement"
Marnies's Positive Water Birth
"I can not be any more happy with how I brought my baby into the world"
Another massive thank you for your awesome Hypnobirthing course. It really did save me from an overwhelming medical intervention and instead I had a super positive birthing experience, thought it was worth sharing below to help someone else.
Our second baby girl was born Tuesday 16th November at 36 weeks and 1 day.
Waters broke at 7am, we made it to the maternity assessment unit by 9am. (As I was classed as "premature" labour there was no birthing unit option for me initially.)
A whole hour in the assessment unit where I had to stay firm with doctor and declined continued monitoring of baby as it was only a precaution and literally begged for the Spires unit so I could experience the birthing pool at some point during labour .
Off I went to the Spires however I wasn’t in what they called established labour and the midwife there gave me 4 hours to get into labour otherwise she was moving me to delivery suite.
I got the room ready, my affirmation cards and lavender spray etc. Within the 30mins I was in labour. So ear phones came out for my hypnobirthing playlist and just like that things progressed very fast. I was totally in the zone! Next hour was all about breathing through surges and trusting my body.
Next hour was gas and air and in the birthing pool. Things progressed very fast and the most intense part of the labour lasted 20mins and our little girl 8lbs was birthed in the pool (although felt like 2hrs). My midwife was super, she trusted me (sometimes more the I trusted myself) .
Ironically I had only just read the calming birth book that comes in our packs the night before, highly recommend reading this a few times and a little earlier.
I’d also recommend more practise with the different breathing techniques. At one point my midwife did say less screaming more deep pushing. Lol
For someone that is a control freak, can’t sit still and was really scared of all the pain again 2nd time
round . I’m so so stoked I chose to practise hypnobirthing, and can’t recommend it enough.
It is worth noting I was nothing like all the women I saw on the videos you showed, I was in and out of control of my mind; but knew I was educated and determined enough to make it through.
Afterbirth hasn’t gone as well as little one is being treated for jaundice and we are stuck in hospital for a few days, but can not be anymore happy with how I bought my baby into the world and it’s thanks to all your education and passion for bringing the hypnobirthing ability to life for so many expecting mums.
I have a wonderful positive birth story to tell you! Baby Grace Mabel entered the world on Valentines day, 2 days late at home in the pool and I got the perfect relaxing birth I wanted.
At 11.55 pm on the 13th Feb, I had some contractions which got more intense through the night. From every 30 mins to every 6 mins by 7am. I called our midwife and they said get up, bath, eat and call back when every contractions are every 3 mins, so I did. I knew it was happening so we slowly started to set up.
I went down stairs to eat and bath and at 11am my waters went in the toilet with a pop was the strangest feeling ever and I lost my mucus plug. I called my on call midwife and said to Jonny "It's all happening, can you come". By this point contractions were every 3 mins. Our midwife came out at 11.35am when she came in I was rolling on my ball, listening to my music and focusing on my breathing.
She did VE and I was 6cm. I felt so proud and happy. She said it may be at least another few hours as it was our first baby so I relaxed and focused through with my tens machine on which used for an hour. The midwife gave me massage and was saying all my affirmations which were around the mirror to keep me focused. Jonny was filling pool and I was so focused.
When the pool was ready around 12.45pm I got in and it was massive relief and I again focused. Contractions were intense by then very intense. But 2nd midwife hadn't arrived yet and she had the gas and air with her so was doing this all alone with no pain relief and was thinking at this point "I can't do it" but with support and guidance, I did it.
The 2nd midwife arrived 10 mins before the end and for the last 3 pushes I used gas and air to help which was good and helped me welcome Grace into the world. She arrived at 1.47 in the afternoon and they were shocked at how fast it all happened! I had skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, all my wishes were followed it was just the most powerful experience. I can't believe I did it and I feel amazing for it!
We are in total love with our little girl and wanted to share our story with you. Thanks again for your amazing support with it. Wouldn't of got through without hypnobirthing.
Shannon, Jonny & Baby Grace
Baby Grace Mabel
Shannon & Jonny's Positive Home Birth
"I got the perfect relaxing birth I wanted"
John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxfordshire
Due date 22nd Feb
Birth Date 24th Feb
On Tuesday 23rd Feb I had been booked in for a consultation due to low platelets that were discovered after visiting a&e and MAU the week beforehand.. this was at 2:45pm.
Following having my urine tested they found protein in it. I was sent in to get my blood pressure tested and found this was high. My blood pressure hadn't been an issue beforehand. I was then sent to get my bloods done. They sent my bloods out urgently. I waited until they came back in MAU, luckily I had brought a book with me. At 6:45 I got taken to another room to discuss the results of my bloods.
They thought that this was the start of pre-eclampsia, we discussed the start of the induction process and the risks of what could happen or not happen to both me and baby. I had been loosing some of my mucus plug on the Sunday and Monday. The consultant wanted to speak with the Doctor before any more decisions were to go ahead, they also wanted to see how many beds were available.
At 7pm on 23rd Feb we made the decision for me to be admitted and start the induction process. We were super lucky that a delivery suit was available as they were talking at first of this being on the labour ward which would have meant Jack would only be allowed in at active labour.
At 7:45 the midwife was sorting out the room. By 8pm I was in the delivery suit.
We discussed what will happen during the induction. My midwife explained to me what this meant.
I had gel placed to start off labour. This was at 9:55. She explained that this will help bring on labour and we would discuss if we need to break my waters after one gel or if we need another gel. She did say that this could take up to 6 hours to make any difference.
At this point I knew that I wouldn't be able to have the water birth I'd hoped for. This was OK though as I had a diffuser in the room with the oil that we brought, along with the music we prepared.
I started to get really bad what felt like period pains. I got offered paracetamol but I turned this down as I was breathing through each surge.
At 4:47 they broke my waters after more discussion. I still continued to breathe through the surges although there wasn't much dilation which meant that I went on the hormone drip. Along with having my blood taken every 6 hours.
I went on gas and air to help ease the pain but continued to breathe and focused on the smell around me. I had the epidural to help me get some sleep.
At 12.30pm I was 4cm dilated and no progress had been made.
I still continued to breathe through, listening to the playlist we put together and the diffuser with lavender in it.
At 20 past 7 I had a doctor come and explained to me that intervention would be needed due to a drop in baby's heart rate and the increase of mine. They explained that a c section would be needed, and why. ( I had an infection- later did I realise that it was sepsis)
At 8pm I was prepped to go to theatre, while they explained exactly what would happen. At 19 minuets past 8 our baby boy was born.
Noah was absolutely thriving and weight 8lbs 2.5oz.
Although it wasn't the birth that I'd thought would happen or would have planned, we are so grateful for your guidance and support with the course it really did make so much difference.
Charlie, Jack & Baby Noah
Charlie & Jack's Positive Induction & Cesarean Birth
"Although it wasn't the birth that I'd thought would happen or would have planned, we are so grateful..."
John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxfordshire
Due date: 6th April 2020
Birth date: 4th April 2020
My birth did not take the path that I hoped it would. I had hoped for a water birth in the Wallingford Maternity Unit but ended up having a very short labour and gave birth at the John Radcliffe hospital.
On Friday 3rd April we had a chilled night in, ate my favourite dinner (sausage, mash and onion gravy!) and headed to bed for an early night at about 9.30pm. I had a mild headache in the day and felt a bit grumpy (hence the dinner!)
Shortly after getting into bed I started to feel lower back ache and period cramps, I didn't think anything of it. Sam went off to sleep none the wiser and I closed my eyes to try and get some sleep. The feelings gradually got stronger and I lay awake using my breathing techniques to manage the sensations (at this point I hadn't really realised I was actually in labour!)
At 2am I felt a little pop internally and suddenly realised my waters had started to release and I lost my mucus plug. I woke Sam to let him know that things were happening and for him to call the midwife. There was meconium (babies first poo) in the waters and I knew at this point that a water birth in the Wallingford birth centre was probably out of the question. The midwife suggested I continued to labour at home until more waters release to determine if it was significant enough to need to be in the hospital.
I laboured well at home, using my breathing, birth ball, music and lavender oil to help me focus. The surges were getting very strong and closer together. We called the hospital to let them know how I was doing, I had to stop talking every minute or two, to focus on breathing through each surge!
At about 3am we got ready to make our way to the hospital... unfortunately and stupidly Sam couldn't find the car keys and spent about half an hour looking to find them eventually on the roof of the car! (we had practised fitting the car seat the day before!)
Shortly after arriving at the hospital at about 4.20am with surges becoming more intense, I began to shake. "Adrenaline" I thought. Knowing where adrenaline in labour can lead, I used what I had been taught and I focused. My body relaxed and labour progressed quickly.
They checked babys heartbeat to find that it was dropping with each surge and at that point things started moving quite quickly around me. We were taken to a delivery suite for further monitoring where Sam put on our playlist, asked for the lights to be dimmed and helped me get onto my knees as that was how I had told him I was most comfortable. I remained calm, and used gas and air.
Within 30 mins of being in the room, I gave birth to our beautiful 6lb 9oz son at 5.38am with very small grazes (5 stitches). We had immediate skin to skin and we didn't cut the cord until I had birthed the placenta it nearly an hour later. He latched well and was so chilled! The midwife commented on how well we did to make so little noise and fuss and how calm and cosy the room felt when he arrived.
The skills we learned prepared us for the speed at which it all happened and the knowledge we gained about keeping calm helped us to still achieve an amazing and positive birth despite it not being the birth I thought I wanted.
Kez, Sam & Baby Sid
Kez & Sam's Positive Birth Story
"The skills we learned prepared us for the speed at which it all happened..."
Wallingford Maternity Unit, Oxfordshire
Due date: 28th Feb 2021
Birth date: 1st March 2021
Our little boy, Harry, arrived into the world on the morning of Monday 1st March at Wallingford. We are all doing well.
I wanted to share my birth story with you as I feel I had an incredible hypnobirthing experience during labour and delivery. Unfortunately I had a post partum haemorrhage and spent a night at the JR, but all of the breathing and calm techniques I learned were incredibly helpful to get me and Harry through our short time there.
I woke at 3am on Sunday for my usual pregnancy wee, which always seemed to intensify the braxton hicks I’d been experiencing since around 37 weeks. But the feeling in my tummy felt different - it felt like a tightening across the top of my bump and it didn’t go away when I emptied my bladder. I had a few of these strange but not painful tightenings until around 7am, so I practised my breathing and going through my affirmations, when I woke my husband to say that I thought maybe my contractions were starting. Upon my morning visit to the bathroom I saw that I had lost some of my mucous plug, so I popped in a pad and spent the day checking it regularly. The strange tightenings across the top of my bump seemed to stop once I got out of bed and on with the day.
The day passed calmly and uneventfully. We had a walk and early evening I had a bath with some clary sage and expressed some colostrum. At around 10.30pm, after some cuddles with my husband, I had my first contraction. Almost immediately, they were about 10-15 minutes apart. I could feel a lot of the pressure in my back, so kept a warm lavender infused wheat bag on it, which my husband kept reheating for me. We phoned Wallingford, who said to keep them updated and get in touch when my waters broke. By around midnight I was having 2 surges every 10 minutes, and at 3am, mid-contraction, I felt the “pop” and then gush of my waters break. Time seem to pass incredibly quickly. My husband made some pasta he could have at the delivery suite if things took a while, and we tried to watch a film but my contractions kept interrupting it!
Throughout all of this I stayed calm and focused on my breathing. During each contraction, I breathed in slowly through the nose and out through the mouth. I kept my affirmations playing and remembered my favourite one: “each surge brings my baby closer to me.” My husband was brilliant at discretely timing my surges, encouraging me calmly, reading my relaxation script and showing me photos to keep my oxcytocin levels high. During some surges I even cuddled the cat, who surprisingly didn’t object!
After keeping Wallingford updated with our progress, we arrived at the birth centre to meet the midwife at 6am. My surges were at least 3 every 10 minutes. We were taken straight into the birthing room and I had to take a Covid test between contractions. This was probably the most uncomfortable experience so far! I was able to get into the birth pool almost immediately after that - the midwife did not feel the need to check how dilated I was. I remember saying I could feel a lot of pressure in my bottom.
The birth pool felt like absolute bliss as it released a lot of the pressure from my back. Almost immediately the pressure instead moved to the top of my bump and the surges really intensified: they took over my entire body and made me make noises I’ve never made before! Yet between each surge I regained my breathing ready for the next one. My husband kept reminding me of my breathing and my affirmations. We never even played our hypnobirthing playlist with our favourite songs! I just breathed and moaned/screamed/whatever noises I made through it.
2 hours and 15 minutes after arriving at Wallingford our son arrived into the world. I don’t really remember the details of the final stages of my labour... I remember the surges taking complete control of my body and his head beginning to crown - it stung but it wasn’t agony. The midwife got me to move over from all fours onto my back with my bottom slightly raised so my baby’s head could come out. We then waited as he turned slightly before I pushed out his body. Our little boy was lifted onto my tummy after the umbilical cord was gently unwound from his neck and my husband and I looked down at our wrinkled but gorgeous baby!
I was then carefully moved out of the pool, carrying our baby in my arms as he was still attached to the umbilical cord. I then birthed the placenta from the bed within 5 minutes - this was a natural third stage.
From here things became a little less calm, as it was realised that I had at least 2 large clots in the birthing pool and I had lost enough blood to constitute as a post partum haemorrhage. I also must admit that once the labour and birth was over, my pain threshold seemed to increase as I found my stitches (2 second degree tears and a graze...) the most painful part of the entire experience. I said yes to all the drugs available for this bit!!
Fortunately I was in excellent hands and kept under close observations all day at Wallingford (this meant my husband could stay with me and wasn’t sent home), however later in the day I hadn’t made enough progress to be discharged so was transferred to the JR for the night. I was home by 5pm the next day, sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea, our little boy attached to my boob with one hand and a chocolate digestive with the other!
So there is my birth story - no drugs, just breathing and oxytocin. Labour and birth was the most powerful experience of my life. I actually think it may be worthwhile James giving you his version of events too, as I’m sure he observed lots of things that may be beneficial to birth partners!
My top tips for a calm birth are:
1) Listen to the relaxation and affirmation tracks everyday before you fall asleep. I also got my husband to write one about our favourite place, so I had his voice and some amazing, comforting visualisations to boost my oxytocin levels.
2) Practice your breathing. I had regular clary sage baths once I reached 38 weeks and expressed colostrum into small pots while in the bath. This helped me create a space to relax and concentrate on my baby. These breathing techniques have become a life hack for me, I use them all the time!
3) Put the affirmations around your house to remind you wherever you look that you’re body designed to do this and each surge brings your baby closer to you.
4) Don't be afraid to say yes to the drugs - Hypnobirthing isn’t about having a drug free birth, it’s about having a calm birth because you are equipped with the tools to face whatever challenge comes your way. I very happily accepted all the drugs offered to me post partum!
5) Do your post partum research and have everything set up for when you get home: spritz for bits, pads next to the toilet, a travel bidet, stool softeners and drink lots and lots of water to dilute your wee.... and don’t be ashamed to do your wees while in the shower to help with the stinging! I healed unbelievably quickly but definitely had a couple of days when I first got home where I would wince when I sat on the toilet. Use the time you have before going into labour to do perennial massages too!
6) Believe in yourself and your body. We are capable of incredible things; even while pregnant you are a mother. Whatever happens during your labour you will make the right decision for you and your baby.
Thank you for having us on your course.
Jenny, James & Harry xxx