What’s it like to have a caesarean after a vaginal birth? 

This is probably one of the questions I get asked the most, not only by clients but from other birth workers and even my family and friends! 

I guess for many people, they might experience one or the other (don’t forget that vaginal birth is absolutely possible after an abdominal birth!). 

So what did I find from both of my birth experiences? 

Before the birth 

In terms of preparation, both of my children were born prematurely so I hadn’t really fully gotten things ready at home and it also meant that I did end up having conversations with obstetrics (only as my waters broke with Charlotte but of course at length with Williams birth due to my diagnosis of ICP / requesting a caesarean. 

I had been incredibly focused on my hypnobirthing techniques and had written my birth plans and I was incredibly focused on staying within my zone when it came to both of my babies – their labours started in exactly the same way and whilst Charlotte’s labour progressed, I became quite unwell with a gallstone attack (this was undiagnosed at the time) and therefore I found that I really needed to prepare for Williams birth in a completely different way.

With a vaginal birth, it almost felt like completely letting go whereas with a caesarean – the build up felt the opposite. I was wanting to chat through my options and whilst I felt it important to stay in my zone – I almost wanted the distraction of talking to friends, family and my doula whilst I waited to go down to the theatre. 

The Birth 

I loved labour, I felt incredibly in tune with my body and I very much felt the same during William’s birth too – I felt incredibly connected to my babies and really tuned into my instincts to help lead me to do what I felt was right. 

Charlotte was born in a hospital and whilst the room had quite a medicalised look and feel – I was able to switch my mind off and stay focused on being in my birthing zone and this was still so important for me when it came to Williams birth – I’d never been in a theatre before and I was determined that whilst having a spinal block I stay focused, whilst preparing for the caesarean to start, there was a moment where I felt a little out of control and my breathing and visualisation helped me just as powerfully as it had done during Charlotte’s vaginal birth. 

Craig, my husband, played a huge role in the births of both of our children – he was my primary focus just as both of our babies were born. We worked as a team and whilst there were more checks done on William after his birth – we were very quickly able to create our little nook. 

The one thing I would say about having a caesarean was that I did feel quite frustrated that I just wanted to move my arms and hold my baby easily – I totally got and understood why it was harder.. I’d just say it probably was one of the things that I found the hardest having experienced so much freedom to move about when Charlotte was born. Again, just focusing on cuddling William and being with Craig really made all the difference. 

The Postpartum Period 

This is the area that I get asked about the most – what’s it like to recover from a caesarean compared to a vaginal birth. 

One thing I need to say is that the circumstances around my second birth were very different compared to my first, I was suffering with undiagnosed gallstones which had resulted in multiple organ issues so I did end up having 2 surgeries within 6 weeks of William’s birth which did mean my recovery probably felt quite different…

This might sound weird but there were elements I felt so much happier with when it came to caesarean birth recovery – life was slower, I spent more time resting and relaxing in skin to skin with William in bed. I felt nurtured and held by my midwives, doula, Craig and family and friends – I genuinely believe that this slower period helped me to recover both physically and mentally from a very challenging 2 months. 

The recovery from the caesarean birth wasn’t actually as scary as what I thought it would be. At first standing up and walking around felty quite daunting, yet I very quickly gained my confidence – I get why people said it was important to walk about as soon as I was able, it really helped me build my confidence up straight away. 

Charlotte’s birth was a physiological vaginal birth with a few small stitches, I’ve got to admit, being a first time mum it was more the anxiety of not knowing what was normal which I found quite difficult (again, this did impact me a little bit after a caesarean with my 2nd birth as it was my first experience!).

Overall, both of my experiences were really positive with my taking care of my stitches, listening to my body and seeking out advice from my GP and midwives if I needed reassurance.

My biggest tips from experiencing both types of birth 

Have an action plan on how you can use your hypnobirthing anchors for different birthing scenarios.

Chat with your birth partner and midwife about your birth preferences and the ways you want them to support you. 

Have a bit of a plan for the postpartum period and consider what your recovery might look like and how to reach out to others.

Remember that your breathing techniques really are the best tool in all types of birth

You are very much in the driver’s seat regardless of the type of birth – everything is always your choice.

Why do I love teaching families to prepare for birth and their babies?

I remember falling pregnant for the first time.

It felt exciting. It felt daunting. I began to question myself.

All within the first couple of minutes of that strip turning pink.

I almost felt a whole new sense of responsibility on my shoulders for the first time – a whole new human that not only I was responsible for but a human that I needed to bond with and birth too!

The shift in my mentality towards looking after myself for both me and my baby almost changed immediately – it sounds really weird but I really was in awe of my body for the first time, I respected it wholeheartedly.

And really… that’s why I started to explore how to prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby.

And of course, that’s when I discovered hypnobirthing.. and the rest is history.

Hypnobirthing really gave me the focus and the tools to bring out that inner confidence that had been hidden within me for so long and when I really allowed myself to let go and birth on my own terms I knew that I had to share these incredible tools with the rest of the world.

Whilst of course, it helped me and my birth partner Craig feel a new sense of confidence when it came to birth – it helped changed my mindset on the world.

It helped me to in social situations where I was keen to make new mum friends, ones who I felt that I could really connect to and share the ins and outs of being a parent – not just the great bits or the bits where I compared myself and my baby to others.

Interestingly, when the pandemic started – I really wanted to be able to start exploring how mental health plays such a contributing factor during the early days in pregnancy through to parenthood – it became quite evident to me that being a parent meant different things to different people and really being able to lean into our instincts was something that still came with a lot of resistance for many people.

My passion for self development and being able to share what I’d learnt with parents made me start to see that it wasn’t just hypnobirthing or doula support that I wanted to support families with – it was finding our own voice, our own rhythm of being able to do what we feel is right for us and our babies.

And that’s why I do what I do – because I know how it feels to be in that place where your not sure what your wanting to do or say and through exploring beliefs about birth and parenthood – it helps us to really open up and discover who we really are and what matters most to us.

How I went from being adamant about having a home birth to requesting a caesarean 

People are often quite shocked to hear how very quickly my plans changed from planning a homebirth to requesting a caesarean.

Even before I was blessed to fall pregnant with my 2nd baby, I knew that home birth was what I wanted – having had a physiological vaginal birth in hospital the first time, it 100% felt like the safest option and even more so during the pandemic. 

My mental health, being close to my birthing team and my daughter were my highest priority.

I’d had a pretty straight forward pregnancy and despite some more aches and pains in my back which I put down to pregnancy, I was feeling incredibly excited and confident about birthing at home.

I’d been fortunate to have been given a birth pool from my last birth doula client and I’d hired 2 wonderful independent midwives and a doula to support me and my birth partner Craig during the birth.

The independent midwives were in the process of renewing their insurance to support during birth yet I felt confident about liaising with the NHS nearer the time when it came to birthing at home.

Unfortunately, out of the blue at around 34 weeks I felt incredibly unwell which resulted in a lot of testing in A and E – I was feeling a lot of pain around my liver and back which was later confirmed as ICP.

I’d heard of ICP -Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy through my work and despite its risk of complications, I felt very much in control despite the serious itching that subsequently started (extreme itching particularly on the hands and feet is a common side effect of ICP, whilst a lot of people experience itching which is found to fine in pregnancy – do speak with your midwife if you have any concerns).

Whilst ICP carried additional risks, I continued to explore home birth – discussing with both NHS consultants and my midwives – with only 5,000 people getting it in the UK each year it is still such an under researched area which felt incredibly frustrating.

I agreed to additional scans, bile test blood tests and kept an open mind whilst standing pretty firm on doing what I felt was right for me and my baby.

There was a lot of talk of induction around 37-38 but deep down I knew that I wasn’t going to get there.

Like with my daughter who was born and 36 + 1 weeks – I’d always felt this baby would be born earlier too. 

In my heart, something niggled at me – I didn’t doubt for a second in my ability to birth my baby but some things were still unanswered about the pains I was having in my body – I knew that I was starting to feel that birthing in a hospital environment might be the safest option.

I cried, a lot. I cried because I wanted a home birth more than anything because in my heart I knew I didn’t want any more children. I’d always dreamt of 2. 

I explored things as much as I could with my midwives and decided that should I go into labour, I’d make a decision on the day even more so now that a scan had confirmed that both my baby and placenta were looking good.

Yet still deep down.. I knew my baby was going to come that week. I just knew. And I knew what that meant for NHS midwives supporting a premature baby being born at home.

On Thursday morning, I was woken by an almighty gush – my waters had broken, I felt immediately excited. 

Something similar had happened with my daughter, I felt well (despite being up most of the night with some serious itching) and thought I’d wait to see if the surges began.

Then out of the blue, I got a call from the consultant to say that my bile acid blood tests had reached a concerning level, from the research we’d put in we agreed to go in for some monitoring. 

I knew then that in my heart, homebirth didn’t feel right for me – I was determined to try get the labour going at home and after monitoring we went back home.

Using all my hypnobirthing techniques and the little quiet environment Craig had set up for me, I settled into relaxation – listening to my affirmations and waiting patiently.

After falling asleep, I woke up to the most intense pain I’d ever felt – yet I knew it wasn’t labour. This was something else, my liver maybe? I didn’t know…

We made our way back to the hospital where Craig had to pretty much drag me the whole way and after some strong pain relief, conversation and observations – I made it clear that induction was not an option if the labour didn’t start.

We didn’t know exactly what was going on with my liver and I wasn’t willing to put my body through a process which my instincts were telling me just wasn’t the right option.

I genuinely believed that if labour didn’t start my baby was trying to tell me that I needed to explore a caesarean. 

My determination to go back home and try and get some sleep (and Craig) meant that we went back home and agreed to call back in the morning. When I awoke the next day, I just knew that cesarean was the right type of birth for me and my baby. 

For me, choosing a caesarean birth was all about regaining control – at a time where I didn’t really know what was going on with my body.

Through using my hypnobirthing skills, I felt incredibly in tune with my baby and it was one of the most emotional moments of my life when we made that phone call saying we wanted to come in for a caesarean and only a caesarean.

I had an incredibly positive caesarean birth and again using all of those amazing techniques I’d learnt and taught over the years, I felt completely calm and in control. I made the call – I get to choose.

Given the circumstances I wouldn’t have changed it, the atmosphere, the way I felt held and supported in that moment was exactly what our family needed.

After Williams birth whilst in the postnatal ward, a guardian angel of a consultant heard about my story and the ongoing issues I was still having post birth – she told me in that moment that she had suffered similarly and that she thought it might be gallstones. 

She was right… not only was the a fuck load of them, they had infected my liver and got stuck which resulted in pancreatis too.

It was a lot, a hell of a lot with procedures and surgeries 4 weeks postpartum all whilst trying to establish breastfeeding and be there for both of my children was insane… but I’ve got to tell you, whilst the situation was incredibly difficult.. I’ve never felt so proud of my body, for nurturing and holding my baby. 

For my instincts guiding me to take control of my birth experience as best as I could- it really was one of the proudest moments of my life really leaning into what I felt was right in that moment.

And for that, caesarean will always hold a place in my heart. For helping me to be able to take back control to give birth to my baby safely, for both of us.

5 years ago – I would have laughed if you’d have told me I’d be supporting families to prepare for birth and their babies

For those who have known me for a while will probably know the story of how something just clicked for me the day Charlotte was born.

What clicked was that I had finally found what I wanted to do, I wanted to become a hypnobirthing teacher, a birth worker, someone who could support families to start to feel more confident when it came to birth.

Before I fell pregnant with Charlotte, I spent most of my life feeling anxious about something – whether it was something to do with my health, work or making sure that I was pleasing others.

I often look back and really ask myself the question – was it really the hypnobirthing that made such a difference to my life.

And the fact is. Yes. It did.

It helped me to really begin for the first time to explore things from my own point of view, tone down the other voices I had in my mind for so long.

The fact that much of the things that I learnt and continue to learn about the way that our mind and body work as one, how we really can influence how we feel within our mind was the most empowering thing I’ve every experienced.

I was in control of how I felt, and if ever there was a time where I felt anxious, scared or nervous – I knew now that it was important to acknowledge it, lean into it.

On the day Charlotte was born, so was I – my whole perspective of myself completely changed.

I had grown a baby, I had birthed a baby and despite what some would class as a few hiccups along the way (a preterm baby and a hospital transfer in labour), I was able to hold my own and stay firmly in control throughout my whole birth experience.

I knew for the first time that I could control my mind much more that I had previously believed to be true. This feeling, which to me felt so overwhelmingly important yet hidden in plain sight is the reason why I chose to do what I do today.

Through my own experiences of using hypnobirthing in 2 very different scenarios, using breastfeeding and amazing 4th trimester support to help me to heal from a more challenging 2nd pregnancy – I’m more passionate than ever to support families to do what works best for them and their babies.

A Caesarean using Hypnobirthing – My 2nd Baby’s Birth Story

The week before William’s birth was extremely fast paced, I had started with some pretty intense pains in my back and chest and after a trip to A & E with some further investigations to rule out blood clots, I was discharged without knowing what the pains actually were.

At a similar time, I started to experience some really intense itching on my hands and feet – I’d been tested for intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) in my pregnancy with Charlotte but had never been found to have it. This time, it was confirmed that I did.. Looking back now.. I think there’s a good chance I had it last time.

I’d always planned a homebirth for this pregnancy and with the support of my independent midwife, I had a telephone meeting with an obstetrician who was keen that I book in an induction at 38 weeks (I was 35 weeks at the time).

He also suggested that my ICP readings were potentially low enough for me to birth at home (he wasn’t keen on this, however, the readings had not reached a dangerous level they were just raised, I agreed that if they continued to rise, I would be happy to look at alternatives such as birthing in hospital). I kept an open mind and Craig and I did a lot of research to understand the implications of my bile acid readings becoming higher. 

After a quick scan at the hospital and confirmation that my baby was okay, I continued to make plans for my homebirth. However, I just had this really weird feeling that my baby was going to arrive that week. Craig seemed quite shocked but I told him to get ready in case..! I had also agreed to have regular blood tests to check that the ICP wasn’t getting worse which I was due to hear the results on the next day.

That evening, I could barely sleep – the itching all over my body grew even more intense and the back ache had become unbearable – I’d been living with it for several months but this was on another level. I woke up early the next morning to my waters breaking all over my bed!

They went with a gush and I woke Craig up to tell him – we quickly decided to take Charlotte to nursery as normal and he would stay at home.

I felt calm and confident and actually quite giddy about meeting my baby, Charlotte’s labour had started in the same way – I was 35 weeks + 4 and Charlotte’s labour started at 35 + 6. The only thing I felt I was going to have to let go of at that moment was my homebirth, I wanted to ensure that if there were any reasons that the labour had started early, that I was somewhere with additional support. 

I rang my independent midwives (who sadly weren’t insured to attend my birth) and I told them that I would remain at home until the labour progressed and go into the birth centre. As the pain in my back was still there, I went to my chiropractor for one final adjustment before birth. 

On the way home, I received a phone call from the obstetrician who I’d spoken with the other day who told me that my bile acid blood tests had more than doubled in severity within a few days – he was concerned and so was I. I used my brains acronym, asked questions and agreed it best that I came into the hospital for monitoring to ensure my baby was okay.

I continued to feel calm, I used my hypnobirthing breathing walking into the hospital and told myself that everything was my choice going forward. I trusted that my baby knew what was best and I felt completely guided by him – his movements were still the same and I felt that he was safe. Craig being his usual self continued to make jokes and started to reassure me when we were considering whether or not I should stay in the hospital from this point. 

The monitoring of me and my baby was all positive and despite the obstetricians original request for me to stay in hospital I declined. My contractions hadn’t yet started and I went on to explain to him that they were much less likely to start in an environment which was medicalised and without support of Craig or my doula – I was reluctant to stay.

I explained that I felt that hospital was the right place for me to birth my baby, however, the doctors were not currently at the stage where they felt induction was needed and I knew that if I stayed in the hospital – I wasn’t giving myself the best opportunity to start the labour naturally. I also explained that should it be needed – I would prefer a caesarean birth over an induction, for me, it was my way of taking back control.

We went home and Craig turned out all the lights and ran me a bath with candles and essential oils – I listened to my birthing playlist and began to really visualise meeting my baby for the first time. I felt a huge wave of oxytocin and was so excited that I’d be meeting my baby soon. I cried and just became so incredibly ready for the contractions to begin. 

When I got out of the bath, Craig had made me one of my favourite meals and he had turned our bedroom into a little sanctuary. There were fairy lights, loads of Charlotte’s drawing and essential oils in my diffuser – as my back was still quite painful I chose to get into bed, listen to my affirmations, practice my breathing and watch Notting Hill.

I woke up several hours later to further itching and really intense pain in my back – not contractions, the pain that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I started to feel faint and was sick with the pain and that’s when I decided to go back to the hospital to see what was going on – I knew something wasn’t right. Craig helped me to the car with my bags – the journey there was intense with me struggling with every speed bump.

I used my breathing all the way throughout, I wanted to keep a level head for when we got there. By the time we got there, I was really struggling and Craig had to support me through the hospital. 

In the maternity assessment centre, I explained the pain and how my contractions had not yet started and I was offered some pain relief which helped straight away. An obstetrician then came out and was keen to do a vaginal examination – I declined, I knew I hadn’t started to dilate and the pains were not contractions. 

After about an hour or so, I managed to get some sleep and agreed to a vaginal examination – I wanted final confirmation on whether or not I had started to dilate before making some decisions about what to do about my care going forward. 

As suspected, I hadn’t started to dilate almost 24 hours after my waters broke. I again decided to decline to stay in the hospital as I knew that my baby was managing well – I wanted to get my labour going and I knew it wouldn’t happen without Craig with me. The pain in my back had virtually gone and we both needed some sleep and from my experience of the same ward several years earlier with Charlotte – I wouldn’t get any there. 

We made an action plan that I would return first thing in the morning (there was a huge resistance in me leaving but again, I explained that oxytocin was vital to get things going and they accepted this) and I would plan to have a caesarean birth if things had not progressed – my baby was safe and I felt confident that I was making the right choice to give myself a few more hours at home.  

As I walked out of the hospital, I felt completely empowered that I was in charge of my birth. The pain relief had helped me think more clearly, Craig and I managed to get more sleep and when the pain relief wore off at home – I spent some time just listening to my intuition and every part of it felt an abdominal birth was the safest option. I’d done everything I could and I was now struggling mentally and physically – I wanted the final say on how my birth was going to happen.

After talking with Craig and my midwife, they supported me wholeheartedly and Craig rang the hospital to tell them I was coming back in for a c-section.

It felt absolutely surreal getting in the car knowing I was definitely meeting my baby that day, I held Craigs hand and although I felt some sorrow – I knew that I was doing the right thing for everyone. I practised my visualisation, meeting my baby for the first time and I immediately felt supported and safe. 

When we got back to the hospital, we were quickly taken to the delivery suite and put into a delivery room – it all felt a bit surreal. I was really nervous but listened to my gut and I knew it was the right choice for me, a quick check of my baby confirmed that he was well and all we had to do was wait for an available slot.. It took a fair few hours! 

Both Craig and I put on our outfits, I couldn’t stop laughing at Craig.. He looked like he belonged in ER! I spent the hours waiting listening to my hypnobirthing tracks, using my orange oil and breathing techniques and spoke with my doula on the phone. 

I found talking through my choices really reassuring and I spent time laughing and joking with my family on WhatsApp and Craig and I finally had the conversation about baby names – we had no idea if our baby was a boy or a girl! 

When the medical team came in to discuss the birth, I mentioned that I had preferences for a c section and discussed them with the doctor and midwife. I felt supported with the majority of my choices, my main priorities were optimal cord clamping and skin to skin as soon as my baby was born. I also wanted to keep my placenta for encapsulation and wanted to find out the sex of our baby ourselves. 

Just before we went into the theatre, we prepared my essential oils and talked with Craig about how I wanted to use my mind hypnobirthing tools throughout the birth – affirmations and visualisation.

When we finally walked down to the theatre, I was nervous – as a birth worker, I knew what theatres looked like yet the medical anxiety tried to rear its ugly head. The staff were unbelievably friendly, smiling, supportive and had some really good music in the background. 

I told myself that I was in control, that I was about to birth my baby and that I could do anything I put my mind to. Craig waited at the other side of the room whilst I had the spinal block – I breathed deeply and even the anaesthetist said how surprised he was at how relaxed I was – my breathing was steady and I felt safe. Yet again.. The best tool out of my toolkit! 

Once the birth began, I was very focused – it was a really surreal experience, Craig was by my side, the team in the theatre were incredibly supportive. I looked into Craig’s eyes the whole time we were waiting for our baby to be born, he was emotional and I just continued to tell him I was okay. I felt incredibly connected to him and the relief I felt was indescribable.

William was born very quickly and I remember Craig laughing saying see… I told you so.. A boy. The doctor held him up slightly so that we could see, I had chosen to have the drapes up and I was absolutely speechless.. A little boy. I really didn’t think he would be! He was born at almost cowboy time according to Craig.. 9.47pm and weighed 6lb 6oz.

William was a little slow to start breathing fully yet they waited until he had received all of his cord blood before taking him over to see the paediatric doctors. The anaesthetist and midwife were brilliant and were quick to get William into skin to skin – the moment he was put onto my chest I felt completely at ease. I felt immediate calm and happiness to just be with my baby. He started to breathe fully – he felt safe and my heart just felt so full. 

We very quickly decided on the name William Arthur (Arthur being Craigs grandad) and we began to get to know each other. I very quickly forgot about all the other issues I’d been having and felt confident they would now subside, unfortunately the itching became almost unbearable towards the end of the birth but I had the perfect distraction now in my lovely little boy!

For the rest of the operation, I held my baby and discussed several things with the doctors about the care we were to receive afterwards. My placenta was bagged up and once back in the delivery suite – Craig contacted Placenta Plus to come and collect it.

We were wheeled back into the room and Craig rang around our family to tell them the good news, he then popped him in his first nappy and his cord tie was put on whilst I began to eat my bodyweight in all the food we had brought with us! I started to squeeze colostrum out for William to feed and he very quickly began to suckle – I felt completely at ease and relaxed. I had birthed my baby.

I was taken down to the postnatal ward where Craig unfortunately had to leave us quite quickly after surgery, as William was premature – we were guided into an area where paediatric nurses could support us. We had lots of skin to skin and I was able to establish breastfeeding relatively quickly. That night I just watched him and gave thanks that he was safe.

During my stay within the postnatal ward, it became clear that the back pain wasn’t going away.. I demanded answers and was so thankful to come across the most wonderful registrar who was pretty convinced I had something she had suffered with in her pregnancy, she arranged an ultrasound 3 days after William’s birth which confirmed that I had chronic cholecystitis (gallstones and infected gallbladder) with several stuck within my bile duct – this lead to pancreatitis which meant my gallbladder urgently needed removing.

I cried hard when I found out..not because of what it meant, because I knew that something hadn’t been right.

I don’t deny that William’s birth was far away from what I originally planned for, yet I always felt comfortable in making a plan should my birth plan not go according to plan – looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My instinct and my baby guided me to make the right choices. 

I felt confident and in control every single step of the way, I was hit with a lot of blows but everything was my choice – I asked the questions, I asked for further investigation, I challenged what people said to me and this was all down to hypnobirthing, giving me some incredible tools and some incredible connections with some wonderful people that I was able to push forward and focus on getting well so that I could get back to what I always wanted to do, be a mummy to my babies.

How did I end up becoming a hypnobirthing teacher after years of fearing birth?

So how did a woman who was absolutely petrified of pregnancy & birth go on to become a hypnobirthing teacher?⠀

Well, the answer is simple really.. I did hypnobirthing and it changed my life.⠀

For those of you who might be new around here, I’m Laura. I’m a 32-year-old mama to Charlotte, I’m from Leeds & a proud Yorkshire mama ?⠀

I’m the LAST person on earth who thought I would become a hypnobirthing teacher. Before being pregnant I couldn’t even say the word vagina without getting shy.. since being a kid I have been terrified of doctors, taking days off work for blood tests because I needed some time to mentally prepare myself.⠀

When I first became pregnant I suffered a lot of pains that doctors initially diagnosed as IBS, after collapsing on the floor in A & E after a blood test a scan revealed I had a 9cm cyst on my ovary – the only way I could focus was by focusing my mind & breathing as well as I could. I knew there was something to be said for focusing your mind. ⠀

When I announced my pregnancy, I was UNWINGLY told a birth story that scared me so much that I feared birth in a way no woman should fear it… my protective instincts had already kicked in & I knew that the way I was feeling DEFINITELY wasn’t helping my baby. That’s when hypnobirthing came along.⠀

By my third trimester, I was a changed woman. I had the confidence to say what I needed, I was excited about Charlotte’s birth & I was determined to prove everyone wrong who thought I couldn’t do it – those people who kept telling me to go with the flow & do as I was told.⠀

With Charlotte’s birth, my waters went before 36 weeks, I was transferred from one hospital to another via ambulance WITHOUT Craig & I had a little tear which resulted in stitches. I’m really not exaggerating when I say that none of these things bothered me, it was ALL thanks to hypnobirthing.⠀

I’ve recently started doing videos on my Facebook and Instagram pages, if you’re not already following me – check them, they are a great way to get more tips about hypnobirthing and get to know me a bit better too!

I’m currently running all of my hypnobirthing classes online via zoom with me offering private classes and group classes. The next online group hypnobirthing class is due to start in July – if your interested in booking go to the course page!

This is a great way to meet other parents to be and particularly if you’re looking for an antenatal class in Leeds or the Yorkshire way – this class is great! That said, you are MORE than welcome to join even if your not local to Yorkshire, that’s one of the benefits of taking the classes online!

My classes will take you from feeling anxious & unprepared to feeling like your superwoman ??

The Birth Story of Charlotte – Our Hypnobirthing Baby

On Sunday 6th May, I woke like every other day, I was almost 36 weeks pregnant and was relieved that I had a free day to get some things done around the house. When I first got up and went to the toilet and that’s when I noticed a lot of clear fluid, I was a little shocked and tried to brush it off but felt that something had happened. When I stood up it happened again but on a much bigger scale and that’s when I knew that my waters had gone. I went to wake my husband Craig, rang my local MAC unit and they advised me to come in to confirm, but I already knew!

I had already packed most of my hospital bag the week before as I always had a feeling that my baby would be born before the ‘estimated due date’! I was very calm and was sure to bring my hypnobirthing toolkit with me – I had my birthing affirmations all over the place and was very keen to make sure I scooped these up with me before we left.

I was very conscious that I hadn’t yet written my birth preferences yet, this was one of the jobs I had intended to do on this very day! I remember trying to write it out in the car whilst Craig put on some music – my absolute favourite, Blink 182!

When we arrived at the hospital I agreed to a vaginal examination after using my B.R.A.I.N.S I felt it was right thing for me. The obstetrician on duty came round to explain what they felt was best (due to my sister having a premature baby, I was keen to ensure that I was monitored), she suggested that if my surges started naturally that we would just go with the flow and if they didn’t they would send me on my way after 24 hours of monitoring and re-access in a weeks’ time.

Craig went home to sort out some bits and pieces and I stayed in the hospital. I was feeling relaxed and decided just to put my feet up and go with the flow, I had magazines, Mary Poppins on TV, scented room sprays, affirmations and my birthing tracks to listen to. I used the time to write down my birth preferences and towards midnight my surges began, I began to use my hypnobirthing breathing straight away to keep me calm and focused.

By the early hours of the morning, I was needing to use my up breathing throughout my surges to maintain my focus, I didn’t really pay any attention to how often they were as I trusted my body to tell me where I was in the process and I was quite content to just go with the flow. I agreed to a second examination which confirmed that I had begun to dilating where I was then advised that due to my baby being premature she may need to go into a Special Care Unit, however, there were no beds in Leeds. When they suggested it might be as far as Sheffield if they were unable to locate a bed closer, I did have a bit of a wobble. 40 miles was a long way to go in labour, yet, I composed myself and reminded myself that I was in good hands – I focused on the positives! I was slightly emotional when I rang Craig to tell him to come to meet me and I used my breathing and refocused my energy back into my body.

By the time that Craig arrived, we were advised that Airedale Hospital had a bed for us and that an ambulance transfer was being arranged. I was relieved, I had heard really positive things about Airedale and it wasn’t as far as Sheffield, it was 25 miles away. We had to wait a while for the ambulance transfer and when the paramedics and a midwife (just in case!) arrived with a wheelie bed it all felt a bit unreal!

Craig had to meet us there as there wasn’t enough room for us all (it was a tense moment when we left, what if the baby came in the ambulance!?). I wasn’t that nervous as soon as we made the journey to the new hospital, I kept doing my breathing and had a really good chat with the paramedic and the midwife on the journey. I didn’t expect the sirens to come on but as soon as we left they did, I couldn’t stop laughing – all this for me and Charlotte! Whilst we were travelling to the hospital the midwife felt my stomach whilst I was having a surge and immediately said she could tell that I had been doing hypnobirthing and that it was really working. This really spurred me on and when my surges kept coming I went into my zone and as soon as they finished we were back laughing and joking.

Luckily Craig wasn’t far behind and when we arrived I was put in the postnatal ward (I didn’t realise this at the time but when I started noticing newborns in the rooms it was clear where I was).  Before this, the baby was monitored to which we received a lot of compliments on the heartbeat baseline, this sort of information was so reassuring to hear because I knew that it was just Charlotte’s time to be born, my instinct told me everything was going the way it needed to.

I used my birthing ball as I wanted to stay upright, forward, and open whilst I listened to my birthing tracks, we put my birthing affirmations around the room and I just went into my zone. With it being the start of the very hot summer of 2017, the room was absolutely boiling! Craig did everything he could to keep me cool and sprayed me with cooling spray during every surge and it really helped me focus. I tested out my new TENS machine and found it a really effective straight away!

I decided to take a bath and felt very relaxed in the water and I must have fallen asleep as I woke up with a start with a very powerful surge, the strongest so far and it did take my breath away a bit. I quickly continued my up breathing and told myself my affirmations in my head – my favourite at the time being ‘My surges cannot be stronger than me, because they are me’. By late afternoon I was in need of a rest, I was determined not to be on my back so I decided to lie on my side. Craig closed the curtains and turned on the TV and I spent a few hours in and out of sleep.  I had begun to become quite vocal during surges and found myself laughing. Mooing was a joke during our NCT class, our tutor had told us that midwives knew that a labouring woman was well on her way if she was making these sounds and I was making them.

Towards midnight, Craig had put on some tealights in order to create a relaxed and romantic atmosphere… and… Notting Hill was on the TV, my favourite romantic film, I was in my happy place. I was still in the postnatal ward at this point and I agreed to a final vaginal examination, I was tired and just wanted to know where I was. By this point, I wanted gas and air, I loved it and felt quite spaced out straight away! The examination confirmed that I was about 6cm and that it was time to get ready to go down to delivery suite.

I got back on my birthing ball and Craig began to pack our bags and out of nowhere I felt a huge urge to go to the toilet. The sensation was exactly like needing a poo, I told Craig I needed the toilet and that I wanted him to come in with me. All of a sudden I felt like I wanted him to protect me, this must have been my method of transition! I tried to go to the toilet but nothing. We went back to the room and I continued my breathing with my now best friend, gas and air and my birthing tracks and drifted in and out of sleep. By about 1.30am I felt I needed to go to the toilet again so Craig and I made the trip back to the bathroom. On the way we bumped into the midwife who was coming to take me to the delivery suite and look after us during the second stage of labour, I went into the toilet and after a few minutes, the midwives flew into the room saying it will have been my baby’s head and not me needing the toilet – I that a lot of people referred to giving birth as having a big poo!

As an extra precaution, I agreed to monitoring during the second stage, I felt most comfortable laying on my side and Craig helped ensure that I was propped up with pillows – my surges started coming and I knew that it was time to for my baby to be born. I wanted to keep my eyes firmly closed and concentrate on my affirmations, I felt my baby moving up and down the birth canal and my surges were quite far apart – as ever, my breathing helped me focus and I knew I wasn’t far away.

My baby was put straight onto my chest for that perfect skin to skin moment, I didn’t cry despite being a crier normally, I was still in shock. My baby was crying away, I was so so proud of all of us. Craig was crying which shocked me even more and he had forgotten to tell me the only thing that I was dying to know. The sex of our baby! We hadn’t had the slightest urge to find out as we wanted a surprise but I was absolutely convinced that the baby was a boy, when he said ‘It’s a girl’ I was absolutely gobsmacked and knew her name immediately. Charlotte Terri. Charlotte was born at 3.09am weighing 5lb 13oz.

I had been quite indecisive about the 3rd Stage of labour prior to the birth as I was still unsure how I wanted to birth the placenta, it was something I was still a little apprehensive about therefore I decided to go for the injection which meant that I delivered it quite quickly. With medical intervention being something I had a few anxieties around, I wanted to focus on Charlotte and enjoy these first moments.

I was so proud of what I had done and I was proud of Craig for helping me – we had worked well as a team and brought our daughter into the world in the calmest way possible. Given the fact that I had very bad anxiety at the beginning of my pregnancy, I was relieved, proud, and ecstatic at how my birth had gone. It was everything that I ever wanted and we had lots of cuddles and skin to skin time with our baby girl and some much-needed toast and my favourite thing in the world.. a cup of tea. I asked Craig to ring my Dad first as I knew out of everyone he would worry that he hadn’t heard anything, I was right, he hadn’t slept all night!

It was really nice to hear Craig speaking to our parents to tell them they had a new grandchild. I just held on tight to Charlotte in awe and disbelief. Me, a mum?

I had decided very early on in pregnancy that if I could, I would breastfeed. I had told myself beforehand that if it wasn’t to be, it wasn’t to be. We were very lucky that Charlotte latched on straight away and we laid there for a while until we moved back up to the postnatal ward, laughing when the room which they gave us was the one that we had been in during labour several hours before.

Within hours of Charlotte’s birth, I said to Craig ‘I want to teach hypnobirthing!’ and there my journey with Charlotte and hypnobirthing teaching began 🙂

How Hypnobirthing Changed My Life

Moments after Charlotte was born

Ever since launching The Yorkshire Hypnobirthing School I wanted to share some background as to why I feel so passionate about hypnobirthing.

Prior to becoming pregnant the anxieties that I felt towards anything medical were very high. I would need to take a day off work for a blood test and work myself up to it the entire time it was in the diary as I was just so nervous. I used to shake in the doctors surgery, sweaty palms and quick breaths before I went into the meet the doctor. Whenever I had to go to the dentist, it was written in my notes how nervous I became and I used to have the nurse hold my hand.

Anxiety around medical appointments and pregnancy is something that I have suffered with since a young age and I became older, my fear around having a baby grew, yet, I knew it was something I wanted to do. It was a bit of an ongoing joke with family and friends that I was going to have to ‘toughen up’ if I was ever going to have a baby.

When I became pregnant, I knew that I needed to do something big about my anxieties for the sake of my family. I had visions of being restrained during the whole birthing process, I had even worse visions too. I knew that I needed to do something drastic to get myself to a place where I was more confident about giving birth. My overwhelming instinct to protect my baby was already taking over, she was my world and giving her a calm start in life was what she deserved.

Shortly after becoming pregnant I heard a birth story which resulted in me having a panic attack, everything about the story scared me in the worst possible way and my fear almost became irrational. I managed to stay composed throughout the evening but as soon as we got in the car to go home I broke down and begged my husband to protect me from what was going to happen when I gave birth. I was genuinely terrified and could barely keep it together. At this point, I decided to be honest and mention my anxieties to my midwife who referred me to an obstetrician who then monitored me for several months. From then on, I was asked how I was getting on at every appointment. It helped massively.

My husband Craig came with me to every antenatal appointment bare one where my sister came with me for moral support. Yet, towards the end of my pregnancy I felt so much more confident through using my hypnobirthing techniques that I felt that I could go on my own – this was such an achievement in itself for me.

I did a variety of different courses whilst pregnant, I read everything about birth I could find, I attended NCT classes, regularly went to the chiropractor and pregnancy massage, watched birthing videos and did pregnancy pilates. Every tiny little bit of information about birth that I understood, my confidence grew. Hypnobirthing was more than the icing on the cake for me as I listened to hypnosis tracks, used breathing techniques and visualisations to stay focused. I began to find appointments with the midwife much easier and was even able to have a blood test without having to lie down for long afterwards.

Hypnobirthing meant that I began to believe in myself and become excited about giving birth and it was because I now understood how my body worked and why certain things happened, I was mentally prepared for what ever type of birth I ended up having. I was able to listen to other birth stories and take them on board without a slight flinch and ask myself if I could have done something differently – would I?

When my waters went at just over 35 weeks, there was no panic despite Charlotte being classed as an early baby. I remained calm at the hospital and I even managed to send Craig home to get rest when I was admitted for monitoring (my contractions didn’t start for almost 24 hours after my waters broke). I was transferred via a blue lighted ambulance due to the hospital being full and still, I was happy and calm. practicing my breathing and just going with the flow and it was all because I felt like I was in control.

I’ve written my full birth story which I will share on the blog shortly, all I will say is that I was so proud of myself after Charlotte was born and it was all down to the fact that I had fully invested in hypnobirthing. I was delighted to become a mother but I’ll be honest, doing what I did was just a prouder moment for me as I had tackled my phobias and become a much more confident person in the process.

During my pregnancy, the rapid changes that I felt within myself made me realise that hypnobirthing might be my calling and when I saw myself transform, that’s when I decided to study with KG Hypnobirthing. I’m very proud to be able to call myself a birth worker and will forever be grateful for the changes hypnobirthing has made to my life.

If you have any questions about hypnobirthing or our courses, please get in touch. Our main aim is to help people to have a positive pregnancy and birth because it is so important. It can be life changing! It is the self care that every parent should invest in for their birth of their baby.