Birth Story no. 16: Laura’s Hypnobirth

Home » Birth Stories » Birth Story no. 16: Laura’s Hypnobirth

I gave birth to Henry on 2nd April at the birth centre at the Whittington, two days after my due date and 5 days before I’d been told I had to be induced (as they thought he was too small). He was born a very healthy 7lbs 3oz, and is absolutely perfect.

The birth experience was incredible, and truly the most amazing experience of my life.

I went into labour at 1am on the 1st when my waters broke, and had a very long first stage. We walked to the hospital and were admitted to the birth centre at 7pm on the 1st at 3cm dilated.

By 11pm despite walking up and down stairs and doing squats with every surge, I was only 4cm. This was hard for me as the only way I was able to really cope with the contractions was by standing up, leaning over and doing squats.

I wasn’t able to lay or even sit down, and after so many hours of labouring at home and in the birth centre, I was exhausted.

My midwife told me at this point that I wouldn’t be able to get through the next phases of labour if I didn’t get any rest – so recommended diamorphine.

This was a very difficult decision for me as I really had wanted to be as natural as possible, but she assured me that I was much more likely to get the natural birth I wanted if I got a couple of hours’ rest and then had more energy for the next part. With a heavy heart I had the diamorphine and lay down, hoping to get some sleep.

It was the only time I watched the clock during my whole labour as she had told me I would feel the effects within 20 minutes and be able to get some sleep.

My husband put on Sea of Serenity (which I knew was 20 minutes long!) and when it finished I was still in huge pain from the contractions and unable to lay down.

He then put relax with Nature on, and at the end of it I told him I needed the midwife as I felt I wanted to push.

I hadn’t felt any relief from the diamorphine, only a sense of being light-headed and not really present.

After just 40 minutes I was 8cm dilated and allowed to go into the pool. At this point Jamie sprung into action, setting up the LED candles around the pool, using the massage oil I’d made and putting the hypnobirthing music on.

I somehow got into the most relaxed state I’d ever been in, not really having any real thoughts or using visualisations.

I used the ‘U’ shaped breathing you taught us, and that brought huge relief and concentrated my mind during the surges (my midwife was really impressed that I ‘breathed the baby out!’).

Whilst it was painful, I honestly felt incredibly calm and peaceful. I credit this with the preparation I’d done in the weeks prior to birth – every night I had a bath and practiced the breathing with the hypnobirthing music, covered my shoulders in massage oil and lit candles.

Things got a bit complicated towards the end. A team of doctors came down to the birth centre as there had been a concern that Henry’s heart was slightly unusual in the previous scan, and (I found out later) insisted to my midwife that I be transferred to labour ward (I was 10 minutes from delivering Henry at this point and thankfully she put her foot down and refused).

A doctor came in and sat next to me and Jamie and told him that Henry would be taken away immediately and I would not get skin on skin contact at all. Jamie then tried to negotiate with them to get more time.

I then had to get out of the pool as they were unhappy that I was in there, and finally as Henry’s head was born they told me that I had to push the shoulders out immediately – the midwife told me that I needed to wait for another contraction and to ignore them! The reason I share this is because during all of this I managed to stay in my ‘bubble’ and remain totally calm no matter what was happening and I am certain that the hypnobirthing was the reason for this.

Henry was born with an APGAR score of 10 and I enjoyed half an hour with him before he was taken to the NICU.

His heart is absolutely fine and he was discharged two days later, when we carried him home. He is now sleeping soundly next to me and is a very good little boy, we are totally in love.

I really feel strongly that my birth experience gave me so much confidence to be a mother, and will be forever grateful to the Active Birth Centre for showing me that there is a way of giving birth that enables women to feel empowered, strong and secure.

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Janet Balaskas Founder of Active Birth Director of the Active Birth Centre
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