My hypnobirth

Born at home, 10:38am, weighing 3.74kg.


After a long, tiring hospital labour, first in Watford’s ABC and culminating in an unnecessary panicky trip to delivery suite, with our first child we decided on a home hypnobirth.

It started at three in the morning (again!). I’m not comfortable lying down, and feel like I need to go to the loo. After a couple of hours alternating between sitting up and lying down I wake my husband up. My back aches and I really want a bath. E, our three year old, wakes briefly then settles back to sleep.

I relax into the bath with lavender oil and candle light, and breathe – in to the count of four and slowly out to the count of eight.

After two days with a hypobirthing teacher and weeks of practising the breathing techniques and relaxation and visualisation exercises each night my husband and I feel far better prepared this time round. The spare room is ready – a new bed, plants, blackout blind and soft lighting. We thought about a birthing pool, but is seemed like too much hard work and since the plan is to relax the bath is plenty big enough.

And it works – the bath takes away my back ache and I am wonderfully relaxed. With each surge (a gentler, more expressive way of describing contractions) I change my breathing. Slowly, but strongly breathing in to my belly to a count of twenty, and then out to twenty. Our hypnobirthing teacher had said that two of these breathes should see me through a surge and that means I can see an end to each one. Such a change from last time, when I was so zonked out on gas and air that I don’t remember the contractions at all, just a continuous discomfort and struggle to get through labour.

Mu husband stays with me and I follow his voice, helping me to turn inwards and relax deeper between surges. He guides me through the surges, focusing me on the breathing.

My parents arrive, the midwife comes and goes, E wakes and plays downstairs with my dad. Surges become more intense and I throw-up. I move to the bedroom, hotwater bottle against my lower back easing the backache and relax, lying on my side. Our relaxation music and exercises play in the background. I relax deeper and deeper between surges, and quietly focus through the surges.

My husband is a wonderful presence, holding my hand, focusing me and helping me stay calm. My mum and the midwife are there, on the edge of my awareness. For a time my Mum takes over holding my hand and I feel a powerful connection to her – the woman who gave birth to me, her little girl.

After throwing up again it is back to the bath. Then later back the to bed where the surges intensify and are now coming close together. My mother-in-law arrives, despite having had to drive through the snow.

I feel my ability to breathe through the surges slipping and my husband refocuses me. I now need to breathe deeper, actively pulling the air right down into my pelvis. I remain lying down as long as I can, but there is no longer room to breathe hard down into my pelvis lying on my side. I move to the birthing ball. Continuing to pull air down into my pelvis as the baby moves down.

Eventually I’m standing, in my husband’s arms and I can feel the baby’s head coming. I put my hand down and touch my baby’s head. I am focusing on breathing the baby out, and it is comfortable. I try pushing, which really hurts. I need to slow it down and let it happen in its own time, but I am feeling impatient. It is so much easier standing up and breathing the baby slowly out. A really full stretching feeling, rather than the burning pain and feelings of helplessness I experienced last time, pushing lying on my back.

I call for E – if she wants to see the baby being born she has to come now! She arrives just as I breathe our baby out into my hands. I pull her up onto my tummy and settle back. E feels a little overwhelmed and returns downstairs.

Our little girl is impatient for a feed, and lets us know it. I bring her to the breast and she feeds. The cord remains attached, only cut by her Dad when it has finished pulsing. Half an hour later the placenta is delivered. E returns to greet her sister, having first ensured that she is no longer so messy.

It is only half past ten in the morning, a far cry from E’s birth. Labour started at the same time in the morning, but she didn’t arrive until just after midnight and all either of us wanted to do was sleep for days.

I am sure being at home has shortened this labour. I feel cocooned in my own home, among familiar surroundings and surrounded by my family. The hypnobirthing has enabled me to stay calm and let my body and baby get on with giving birth

Feeling hungry and energised we move downstairs to join the rest of the family.