The Birth of Toby –Tessa’s Positive Hospital Birth Story

When I got pregnant I knew I wanted to try hypnobirthing as I’d heard really positive things from friends. I was already interested in meditation and did a lot of physical activity.

I wanted to do everything I could to make my birth run smoothly. I’m also very much someone who would rather know all the “gory details” to prepare myself for what’s to come!

Myself and my husband did a one on one session with Laura, having done some reading and prep beforehand. Our session put all that into context and really convinced my husband of the value of hypnobirthing. We found the sections on decision making & using “BRAIN” particularly helpful.

Before then, we had assumed we didn’t have much say in how our birth went, and both had thought I would labour and birth on my back, in a hospital room. Our birth couldn’t have been further from that!

Just after my due date I experienced some reduced movements and the consultant offered to induce me. Without hypnobirthing, we would have automatically agreed; but we used BRAIN to talk through the decision, risks etc and ultimately decided, as the monitoring showed no issues, to decline. I really didn’t want an induction, and decline a stretch for the same reason, as I believed baby would arrive when he was ready. I always thought I would go overdue.

I went home and spent the next week keeping a close eye on baby’s movements, bouncing on my ball and doing lots of affirmations. 10 days after my due date we agreed to an induction, as I knew I would start to worry which would impede labour regardless.

On the morning I was booked in I started getting contractions , so said I wouldn’t be coming into hospital for a while to give them a go at continuing. I knew I wouldn’t progress so well at hospital, so I walked around our village in the sun for hours, stopping and resting at contractions.

I braided my hair and packed all our snacks and went into hospital at 4pm. I really thought I was in established labour and the midwife agreed. I popped my headphones on, TENS machine on and walked about my room. My husband pinned up photos and affirmations around the room, and set up the music, fairy lights and electric candles.

I suddenly started progressing quite quickly; I didn’t have any time to watch my Netflix series!

I gave my midwives my visual birth plan which my husband took them through. He was the gate keeper and spoke to them so as not To disturb me. They were fantastic, literally taking a back seat and saying they loved how relaxing the room was , like a spa!

At around 8pm I got into the pool. I had my headphones on with my relaxation tracks on. After a couple of hours in the pool I felt like I wasn’t progressing & the pressure was really intense,  so got onto my yoga mat onto all fours.

My husband was holding my hands, showing me photos and affirmations and telling me how well I was doing.

I had gas and air and used it to help with my breathing. Again the midwives occasionally monitored me with a hand held Doppler, and agreed to check my dilation whilst I was on all fours as I refused to get on the bed.

I went through transition here, saying I couldn’t do it – my husband kept telling me “you ARE doing it!”

Knowing this was transition and that it would pass was so helpful. My midwife suggested I stand up in the final stages as I was getting tired – I lent over the bed and my husband kept talking to me and giving me sips of lucozade.

My midwife told me that my baby was still “in his bag” – that my waters hadn’t broken and as I was pushing they could see the amniotic sac, not his head! I had asked not to be coached to push so was left alone to do my own thing.

Quite soon after standing up, I said “he’s coming!” And baby Toby was born very dramatically, with my waters finally breaking as he emerged!

We’re not sure if I or the midwife caught him but we were very quickly cuddling in bed with lots of skin to skin.

Unfortunately I needed a bit of help after the birth but we managed to have the golden hour and my husband continued with skin to skin whilst I was being looked after . Toby didn’t cry, just slept happily all cuddled up!

Birth was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I wouldn’t say it was “painfree” and certainly not one of those peaceful water births you see on YouTube – I was swearing and shouting my head off!

But it wasn’t scary – I knew the sensations were productive, we were so well prepared and knew what birth we wanted but we’re fully open to other alternatives if we had to go down a different route.

We were very lucky to have the birth we had hoped for but I really believe being equipped with the skills and knowledge (and knowing it’s OUR birth!) made a huge difference.

Our midwives thanked us for “letting them watch” our birth and said they’d never seen a birth partner so engaged with the process – we are so grateful to Laura for giving us the tools to welcome toby into the world in the way we wanted!

George’s Homebirth – Elle’s Birth Story, 1st Time Mama – Leeds

George Mark Jack Bentley arrived on the 29th October at 10:38 pm and we achieved our homebirth which was absolutely incredible!

Contractions began 24 hours earlier and I managed to go from start to finish using hypnobirthing techniques meaning the only pain relief I felt I needed was the pool we had set up!

We treated part of the labour just like date night! And although we had Alexandra our doula present and different midwives attending we had lovely Xmas candles lit, Xmas films on & nice music playing.

Labour was exhausting and we almost ended up in the hospital due to ‘slow progression’ but while the ambulance was en route George & I pulled together and he arrived about 20 mins after it’d been called!

We’re so pleased we explored the hypnobirthing world as it kept me
present & in control through labour & drug and medical intervention-free.

Marlon was amazing and super confident; even cutting the cord without a moment’s hesitation!
We worked to protect our space and consider decisions using brains!
Marlon’s used the skills he’s learnt from your course during my pregnancy, birth and since George has arrived; challenging when needed, making informed decisions based on research; especially when ‘scare tactics’ have been used – which they certainly have been!

Alexandra complemented this perfectly. She’s an absolute treasure! There every step of the way but not intrusive in any way.

I just wanted to say thank you for the role you also played in our pregnancy and labour journey!

 I never felt any anxiety since your course and felt super confident in our decision to home birth even though we were first-time parents.

The book, relaxation techniques; especially the visual poster (baby in the birth canal) and positive affirmations I put up really helped stay positive and embrace the arrival of our lovely son!

Keep doing what you’re doing! It’s clearly the right path for you!

With love Elle, Marlon & George xx

Lilys Homebirth – Nicola, 2nd Time Mama

Lily Raine was born on Friday morning after the most amazing home birth. 

I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to have the most amazing birth, quickly and easily at home with no drugs or intervention needed at all. 

I knew I was going into labour on Thursday night so We set up all my tools and anchors, Put the tens machine on, I sat on a birthing ball and simply breathed her out – no pushing required! The midwives arrived about 5:30 after we called them and I was already 9cm dilated so all that was left for them to do was catch her when she came out.

There were problems with the home birth kit with 3 taxi’s having to be called with drugs and kit still missing. They weren’t being particularly quiet about it but I was so in the zone it didn’t matter. I could hear them commenting on how calm and relaxed I was which just spurred me on. 
I still keep getting flashbacks of how easy the whole experience was and pinching myself to see if it was real, a whole different experience to last time. 

You were so helpful in letting me run through what I needed to understand better, which areas to practice and why and the importance for Richard’s role which made the difference from my last birth to 7 hours of breathing totally in control so thank you again. 

I will be highly recommending you to any of my friends that may get pregnant in the future. 

Elizabeth’s Positive Birth Pool Story, Baby Ben – 2nd Baby

It’s been a little while as we’ve been settling in, but I just wanted to update you on how our birth went! 

I started with regular surges on the morning of Wednesday 19th of April and things hadn’t ramped up much by the Thursday evening, so I called the hospital who said I could pop in for an examination to see how things were progressing. We took all our bags just in case, which was lucky as they asked us to stay in and I got the pool room that I missed out on last time when I was induced with Sophie.

I had the time to set up my hypnobirthing space, with photos, birth affirmations, fairy lights and forest sounds (which I’d been practising and relaxing with since our session). Nathan was incredibly supportive, making sure I had everything I needed and encouraging me through the surges, which carried on for a few more hours at which point the midwife said we could go home if we preferred. I trusted my body though and decided to stay, we managed to take a short nap and when I woke up the surges were getting more intense – I cracked on my music playlist (everything from Blink 182 to Pantera haha!) and stayed active, breathing through the surges. We put the water in the pool at around 11, which really helped me to relax and take some weight off. I also started squeezing my comb at this point (great tip!) as things got more intense.

Our baby boy Ben arrived at 1:29am on the Friday after lots of slow, controlled pushing. I got away with no stitches or tears using the breathing exercises we’d talked about.

The midwives commented afterwards that they’d not seen such a calm and beautiful waterbirth (not that it felt anything like that to me at the time, I definitely made a lot of racket!) which makes me so proud looking back on it. As a very anxious and self-critical person, I tend to focus on everything I think I should be doing better so this was really lovely to hear, and I’ve drawn a lot of courage from it over the past few weeks, which I’ve found really hard.

I can say with certainty that our session with you gave me the confidence and tools to have such an amazing and positive birth experience, which I’ll always be able to look back on as a wonderful memory. What an incredible gift – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Elle’s Birth Story – The Birth of Odette – A Positive Caesarean Birth using Hypnobirthing

I was incredibly anxious throughout my pregnancy. Hypervigilant and quite concerned for mine and baby’s welfare.

I had lots of friends and knew of lots of women who really suffered through birth, and I was petrified.

I got in touch with Laura after repeated requests for a C section kept getting batted away – could you not try?

Are your scared of the pain? Have you thought it through?

I felt I may have to deliver vaginally and how would I do it?
Laura seemed like the perfect fit from her website, and I got in touch. The toolkit and anchors have been life changing for me.

After the course I decided to still advocate for a C section but knew I could give birth vaginally if I needed to. I was given a date at 39 weeks
and 6 days. This made me spiral a bit: what if she came early?

I rang Laura again and she coached me through this. I accepted the date and hoped I would get there.
At 39 weeks at 4 days I started with surges. My mucus plug had been coming away over the space of a few weeks and I had Braxton hicks. These felt different- like a waves of pain and were coming every 40 mins or so.

My stepdaughter was here so I tried to keep calm and waited for my husband to drop her off before and panic. Would I still be able to have my C section?

I had a hot shower, downloaded the freya app to chart my surges and went to bed about 8 to see how things progressed.

Soon they were every 16/18 minutes and I decided to ring Mac to get some advice. I wanted the delivery I had been working for. I spoke to a midwife who advised that no one would do a c – section on a Sunday night and to see how I got on.

If I had 2 in 10 mins to ring again. I used my hypnobirthing breathing with each surge and played the positive affirmations that Laura had sent me – my favourite being ‘all aspects of pregnancy and birth are safe.’ I got through each surge with the breath in for 4, out for 8 and I used my ball and the UFO acronym to help me.

My husband stayed awake through the many surges with me, occasionally dozing off– about 2am – it slowed, and I tried to sleep a bit. By 5 am, the surges were 4/5 mins apart so I rang MAC again and they told me to come in.

I was booked in at Jimmy’s but they redirected me to LGI. I used my breathing all the way in the car and felt very calm.

The contractions weren’t slowing despite the change of location and losing some of my anchors so this told me labour was quite established. We parked up and went in.

The midwife could see I was having surges and suggested a vaginal examination. I had said I didn’t want them in my birth preferences but I knew now was the time to make the decision- continue in labour or advocate for my section. I said to my partner if I was 4cm dilated I would try to deliver vaginally.

I used my advice from Laura on being honest and advocating and explained why I was concerned about a vaginal exam: the midwife was great and so understanding.

My husband held my hand and stroked my arm and reminded me of my breathing techniques and affirmations. I was 1 cm.

She said she could see the surges were very close together, did I want to have my c section today.

We used BRAIN and decided to have the C section. Things moved fast then: I was consented and had a canula before being taken to the delivery suite.
Several staff commented on how well I was dealing with the pain of the surges – I used my breathing throughout. I also refused pain killers. I wanted to experience how close the surges were together.

I had an amazing team – another of Laura’s affirmations came into play here – ‘you are safe with your trusted team.’ Lots of brilliant young women helped deliver my baby and I felt very empowered.

We went to theatre. Matt got his scrubs on, and I began the spinal block.
It was difficult with the surges but again used my breathing and Matt was too far away from me, so I did visualisation of a run I do on our family holiday to Spain and kept running it in my head until the spinal block was over. I then lay down and the C Section began.

Matt stayed by my head and he told me the story of our engagement, a technique we had practiced, to help me keep my oxytocin. We put on our wedding ceremony playlist to anchor us, and Odette was born to Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles: it was perfect.

We had optimal cord clamping and Matt moved with Odette to get her weighed. I had a small complication -a bleed which meant skin to skin was hard to do but I got to touch and kiss her, and Matt stayed at my head for the next hour. I continued with my hypnobirthing techniques.

Breathing was especially important. I had another complication later that day and needed another catheter – again I used my breathing to do this without pain relief.
Overall, I was so proud of myself and I had an amazing experience.

No small part of that was down to hypnobirthing and especially Laura.

A First Time Mum Home Birth Story – The Birth of Eloise Grace

Eloise Grace
Known girl
EDD 9.2.21
Born 18.2.21

I was feeling so fed up of being pregnant in the final couple of weeks. Everybody had been telling me that they were convinced Eloise would arrive early and so for the final few weeks, I was waking every day expecting that day to be the day.
Just like her mum, she was keeping her own schedule, though and it wasn’t until I was 8 days past my EDD that my waters finally started to break.

I had sought reassurance from my hypnobirthing teacher (Laura) and the Leeds Home Birthing group about how safe I was to decline a sweep and induction after having my 41 week appointment on Wednesday 17th Feb. My confidence in standing my ground had started to waiver, but Laura and the group’s support renewed it and I felt happy to continue to refuse both. That evening, at about 10.30pm, as I was bouncing about on my birthing ball and watching Kingdom with my husband, I felt a little trickle. I went to the toilet and saw a very pale pinkish liquid in my pad and went downstairs to tell my husband that I thought my waters had started to go. The trickling kept coming for ten minutes and we called the home birth phone. They dispatched a midwife to come and check if it was my waters and she recommended I have a speculum VE to check as the majority of the trickle had soaked away into my pad. I accepted this and she confirmed it. She then told me that if I had not gone into labour naturally within 24 hours, my infection risk would be increased and they would recommend I come into hospital for induction. She then went on to do my observations, but didn’t have a BP cuff to fit my (incredibly swollen and already substantial) arm and she was concerned about my BP, so advised me to go to MAC to have my BP taken on one of their machines. In hindsight, I don’t think I needed to do this. I had had my BP taken earlier that day at my midwife appt and it was fine. Plus, I knew I was fine. My temp was normal and I felt perfectly alright. The powerful thing about taking Laura’s hypnobirthing course was feeling confident in trusting my own instincts. My husband and I got into the car with all of my things (just in case) and drove to MAC, where it turned out they had no idea I was coming and didn’t understand why I had been asked to come for no reason other than to have my BP taken. Anyway, all was fine and I was sent home and at 2.30am, I was finally able to climb into bed.

During the night, I slept through continuous period sort pains. I have never been the type to have back ache period pains, it’s always been lower abdominal pain for me and that is what this was. They were perfectly manageable and I slept well. When I did wake, I practised hypnobirthing up breathing, whilst squeezing the lavender bag I was given in my hypnobirthing pack to settle me again. In the morning, I woke up and got dressed and decided to keep myself as calm and relaxed as possible to try and encourage my body to go into labour. I drew on what I had learned throughout my hypnobirthing course so often and it kept me really calm. I sought further reassurance from Laura and the Leeds Home Birthing group on Facebook that I was OK to monitor myself for signs of infection rather than following the recommendation to go into hospital if I hadn’t gone into labour naturally in 24 hours. They were amazing again and I felt confident that as long as I felt ok and had no temperature and baby’s movements were still normal, I would be fine. I didn’t realise that labour had already started. I pottered about doing little jobs as my husband worked from home and in between jobs, I bounced on my ball with my AirPods in listening to Shagged Married Annoyed and my labour playlist (which mostly consisted of 50 Cent, Drake and old school Twista and Kanye rather than relaxations because that’s just my jam 

). As I bounced, I lent on the back of the sofa and rode the waves of the surges (which I still didn’t realise were actually contractions and that labour was progressing) by breathing, keeping my eyes shut and thinking happy thoughts. I danced about a lot on my ball and I felt so happy and calm and relaxed all day with my husband working behind me. He kept bringing me tea, juice and chocolate and rubbing my back and shoulders.

At 5pm, my husband went to take the dog out and as he was out, I felt the surges ramp up a notch. They became significantly more intense and that’s when I realised I should probably start timing my contractions to see if there was a chance I was actually in labour after all. Clueless FTM and all that. I realised pretty quickly that I was in fact having contractions that were about 2 minutes apart lasting for around 45-50 seconds each. I cracked on with folding the washing, breathing through them until Dale (husband) got home again. When he did (at about 6pm), he called the midwives and they said they would be with us ASAP.

Dale went upstairs and ran me a bath at this point and I tried to focus on keeping my breathing controlled and slow. I remember having a few panicked moments thinking ‘how long is this going to go on?’ And ‘how much can I take?’. Dale was so reassuring, though, and he got me through all the wobbles by reminding me to practise my up-breathing and think of meeting our baby girl. I got into the bath and what I thought was my plug came away. It was floating about and I had a bit of a laugh watching Dale try to fish it out. It was sliding all over the place and reminded me of Flubber. I had to get out of the bath after 15 minutes or so because even though the water felt lovely, I couldn’t get comfortable in it. I’m not a small person and the bath is not a big bath. The only position I could be in and be submerged was by laying on my back and it wasn’t nice. Dale helped me out and got me wrapped up in a dressing gown and I decided I wanted to go to bed. I climbed in, covered in lots of fleecy blankets and it was absolute bliss for about 2 minutes, until a surge hit. I couldn’t stay laying down and I had to get up. I did struggle to remember my breathing a bit at this stage and Dale had to keep bringing me back to the Freya app to count me through the surges, especially as they intensified. I wanted to move about. I think I was trying to get away from the intensity of it. Dale got me set up with the TENS machine to help with the discomfort and I found it such a relief. I started on a relatively low setting, but turned it up with pretty much every surge.

I went downstairs and decided to get back on my birthing ball. We had the living room covered in fairy lights and Dale had lit all of the candles. When I had my home birth assessment, the midwife I spoke to said I wouldn’t be able to have candles once they arrived because they carry canisters of gas, but they never ended up being blown out, which is nice. I kept switching between bouncing, rocking, standing, pacing and leaning on the back of the sofa for the next while, until the midwife and a student arrived at around 7.30pm. I remember telling them I didn’t think I was coping very well and I think it was at that point that Dale went to get me 2 codeine from the prescription he had collected for me a few weeks beforehand. The midwife also asked if I would like her to order me some gas and air to be delivered by the hospital, which I accepted. She took my birth plan and offered me a VE, which I declined. I wasn’t interested in knowing how dilated I was and I didn’t want to increase infection risk. Again, thanks to Laura, I felt confident and happy to decline as I knew it was the right thing for me. I remember the midwife saying something about it being quite possible that I wasn’t yet in established labour and that they might leave for a few hours and come back later. I remember thinking ‘Jesus Christ, if this isn’t established labour, I do not know how much more I can take’. It was, though. Very much so. I think the midwife quickly realised that from my behaviour and without the need for a VE because they never left and they got everything set up in the corner as I carried on bouncing on my ball and pacing.

My husband went off and decided to make himself something to eat and even though I can laugh about this now, I wanted to kill him in the moment! He made himself the quickest meal he could find, which just happened to be crab and prawn ravioli (!!?!?) with a garlicky tomato sauce. I was labouring right next to the kitchen and it absolutely STANK. He was flapping about trying to shovel it in as quickly as possible and keep the smell away from me and I was heaving into a washing up bowl. Luckily I wasn’t actually sick, I just felt it. As soon as he had finished, he ran upstairs to brush his teeth so that I could stand to have him near me again.

The next part is blurry and I can’t remember which bit happened first; the bloody show, or being encouraged to go to the toilet. I know that I stood up and was pacing at one point and that the midwife looked at me and said she needed to check me. I looked down and saw that I had soaked right through my pad and into my knickers with blood. She helped me to take down my knickers and there was what looked to me like a huge amount of blood. It was mucus like and clotty. I panicked and asked if we needed an ambulance. The midwife was definitely hedging her bets a bit as she checked it because it really was a lot, but she confirmed pretty quickly that she was happy that it was just my bloody show. I hadn’t expected it to be as much, or as bloody as it was and I did take some reassuring. When she encouraged me to go to the toilet to try and have a wee, I remember feeling irrationally furious that we had moved house just before Christmas from a house with a downstairs loo to a renovation project with just the one toilet upstairs. I huffed and stomped upstairs whilst also still trying to breathe my way through the surges and hanging onto Dale.

Afterwards, I came downstairs and started to feel the uncontrollable need to push at around 10.15pm. I was really baring down. The urge just completely took over me with each surge. This was definitely transition and it made my surges much more bearable as the break in between them was an actual break, whereas the surges I had been experiencing beforehand had been pretty much constant, with no break. The midwife recognised the change in me and sent my husband upstairs to get the shower curtain and all of the towels we had stored for the birth. They set about covering the floor below where I was standing and once they had done that, I felt my legs beginning to buckle. I asked for help to get down onto my knees and I found myself leaning with my arms on the seat of one of the dining chairs and hanging onto the leg of the dining table as I kept breathing my way through. It wasn’t until this point that the gas and air arrived in a taxi. They set it up for me immediately and I was so grateful for it. It really helped me to refocus and calm my breathing and I loved chewing on the mouth piece. I struggled with the midwife being around me and trying to put the Doppler on me to check baby’s heartbeat because it made me really anxious if she didn’t find it straight away. I just wanted to get on with it. I kept asking for reassurance during this final hour that baby would arrive soon and the midwife told me quite confidently at about 10.50pm that she was sure the baby would be born within the next half an hour.

Around this time, the second midwife arrived along with another student. They asked if I minded and I genuinely didn’t. I found it quite amusing that there were 6 of us and a dog in my tiny living room. I felt a lot of relief with the urge to push. I didn’t feel much of a ring of fire. One thing I did find quite painful (no other word for it) was when baby moved back up the birth canal after a surge and then the initial moment when she moved back down at the start of the next surge. That made a sharp ache in my lower abdomen that I didn’t enjoy. Eventually, she stopped moving back up and down again and I could feel her properly descending. The midwife and Dale kept chatting about how much hair she had and it felt exciting that she was so close to being with us. As I was pushing, I was making very loud and guttural noises. In my haze between surges, I kept thinking about our next door neighbours and what it must sound like to them. They knew I was having a home birth, so it won’t have been a surprise, but I chatted to one of them the next day and she said her young teenage daughter was ‘quite surprised’, which made me laugh. The poor girl! After I had pushed out the head and the surge had subsided, the midwife asked me to spread my knees more to open my pelvis and allow for the body to be born in the next surge, but before she could properly finish her sentence, the body was born. She just slid out, almost cartwheeling with her hand over her face and I bent down and caught her. That moment was totally surreal. It was 11.17pm.

I sat back on my heels holding her and I declined the placenta injection, opting to wait for it to come naturally. We did delayed cord clamping and I was having my placenta encapsulated. Around 10 minutes after, my placenta came away painlessly and the midwives took care of it after the cord had turned white. I moved onto the sofa for the midwife to check for any damage and to have skin to skin and try to feed for the first time. I remember being quite shocked by the sensation of suckling at first. I had a minor tear that required a couple of stitches. The midwife handed me the gas and air again and stitched me up on the sofa and my dog Joey didn’t leave my side. He was fascinated by our little girl and his new little sister, Eloise Grace.

Scales were sent in another taxi and the midwives weighed Eloise. She was 7lbs 13 and perfect. The second midwife and student left after I had been stitched up and they were happy all was ok. Before leaving, both told me it was the first home birth they had attended and that it had been a privilege to see and the kind of birth that made them really remember why they did the job, which I found so touching. The first midwife and student stayed for another hour or so to do observations and sat chatting, having biscuits and tea with us as I ate toast. They did say that as it had been almost 25 hours from my waters breaking to Eloise’s birth, they would recommend we both be transferred to hospital for monitoring. I declined because I felt fine and both Dale and I agreed that Eloise seemed perfectly fine, too. When they left, Dale and I made our way upstairs and I showered, whilst Dale settled Eloise. We got into bed and stayed in our little baby bubble till morning.

The birth of Adaline – A positive hospital birth story

I am PETRIFIED of needles and hospitals so when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby, I knew I would have to overcome my fears.

I had heard a few people recommend hypnobirthing and as someone who loves yoga, meditation, positive affirmations and crystals (yes crystals), I figured it was worth a shot.

A friend recommended Laura after having some private sessions.

Nauseous, sleepy and far too lazy to Google different local courses, I jumped straight on to her website and booked the next lot of available group sessions. 

Let me tell you now that our birth would not have been remotely close to the empowering experience we had if it wasn’t for the classes we booked and the expertise Laura shared with us. 

After weeks of growth scans showing baby b to be on the small side, it was recommended that we be induced between 39-40 weeks.

At our last growth scan (38 weeks) I was offered a sweep by a very pushy doctor. I used my BRAINS and asked for time to discuss with my husband before agreeing. I was hopeful it would mean an induction wouldn’t be necessary but I think I knew deep down it was unlikely to work miracles.

We knew that agreeing to an induction meant saying goodbye to the birth we had pictured. We wanted a pool birth. We weren’t allowed a pool birth. I went back to work feeling upset and deflated.

Laura’s words ‘take control of what you can and let go of what you can’t’ came to mind and I went straight to my boss and told him I was starting my maternity leave at the end of the day. If we were to be induced in a weeks time, I was going to enjoy one last week off to myself. I was going to enjoy a Christmas movie marathon, go for lunches at nice cafes and fill my week with bubble baths and oxytocin. 

Without telling anyone, we booked our induction for 39+1 weeks. The day after our first wedding anniversary. 

When the day came, we sat waiting (very impatiently) for a call to head in to hospital. Our bags were ready. At 2pm off we went, excited at the prospect of meeting our baby. We listened to Laura’s mp3 tracks in the car and talked about how we were looking forward to our mince pies!

After monitoring and an examination, we were told that my waters could be broken without the need for a pessary or other hormones. However, it was looking like it would be several hours until a delivery suite would be available and my husband would have to go home in the meantime.

Using our BRAINS, I put my foot down and said that I was also going to go home until the call came despite this ‘not being advised because you’re here for an induction’. An induction that I could have booked for 5 days later I added. Reluctantly, the midwife agreed to have me discharged. She came back 15 minutes later to tell us that there was space for us to move up to delivery.

We were given an explanation of the next steps of induction and introduced to an overwhelmingly large amount of midwives and doctors. I agreed to have my waters broken on the basis that we could wait the maximum amount of time they would allow before starting the syntocinon drip. We were told 2 hours. 2 hours is better than nothing we figured.

My husband hung the fairy lights, spritzed the room with sleep spray and we sat and watched Miracle on 34th Street as I bounced around on a birthing ball. 2 hours later, we were told we could wait another 2 hours but that would be it.

I had a nap, listened to some music and bounced some more. At midnight, which ended up being 5 hours after the breaking of my waters, it was time for the drip.

The canula was something I feared the most but my husband sat at the other side of me distracting me with talk of our recent holiday. 

After only an hour, the surges were INTENSE. I used the breathing techniques to get through each one, knowing that I was making my way closer to meeting our baby.

After three and a half hours, it was clear to my husband that I was struggling. He spoke with the midwife (using his BRAINS) about having an epidural.

With a calm, clear mindset, I, phobia of needles, asked to have an epidural. I was told it would be at least 30mins as the anaesthetist was in theatre. 2 hours and a lot of controlled breathing later, he arrived. Did the sight of the scrubs and the equipment scare me?

No. I knew I had taken control of this decision and that it was going to help lead me to our baby. 

I had my first examination at 6.30am and was told that I was 5cm. By 8am I had an extreme urge to push. We were told by the midwives that my body wasn’t ready for that yet and that I could damage my cervix. We knew I wasn’t due another examination for another 2 and a half hours. I stood my ground, again. And told them incessantly that I needed to push.

The midwife said she could do the examination to see if anything had progressed. It had. I was 10cm.

We were told that it is advised, when on the drip, to wait an hour before coached pushing but the midwife was happy for me to listen to my body and push when the urge came. She told us that she could see the head and that our baby would probably arrive in the next 20 minutes.

The atmosphere in the room changed. The midwives moved me on to my side and held one of my legs up, my husband sat in front of me holding my hand and encouraging me every step of the way.

How exciting. We were so close. “I’ve changed my mind,” said the midwife “It will be here in 10 minutes.” I felt so empowered knowing I had come so far and all I could picture was meeting our little one. 

At 8.45am, as the sun rose over the skyline, visible from our hospital window, my husband told me that we had a little girl. I asked halfway through my contractions why anyone would give birth more than once.

I knew the moment they placed her on my chest for immediate skin to skin why. After delayed cord clamping and my husband cutting it, we were left to enjoy some incredibly delicious toast and a lot of emotional cuddles. 

Our birth was by far the most empowering experience of my life and it wouldn’t have been without the help of Laura.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! 

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.

Julie’s Positive C Section Birth

On the morning of 5th October 2019 my partner & I found out that we were expecting our first child. Almost immediately, I began to research vaccination options, water births and hypnobirthing.

With the pregnancy becoming a reality, I was unexpectantly scared of the pregnancy, and more understandably, the birth & of not being ready for the big arrival.

Before we met Laura I had it all sorted in my head – I’m having a water birth, hopefully no more than gas & air (but open to all pain relief if needed) and my hypnobirthing.


I was amazed at the stuff Laura was telling us – who knew that you have a right to say “no” to a stretch & sweep? Who knew you could request preferred birth positions?

Who knew that the “traditional”, Hollywood movie type of delivery on your back is less helpful than others? The one that really got me though was this – you can have birth preferences when having a C-Section. I thought she was mad when she said you can still have birth preferences with a C-Section – how much say do you have when you’re
numb from your toes to your chest & in my mind, at their mercy; but she was absolutely right & due to how things panned out, I was even more grateful for having spent the time and money on the course.

My pregnancy was fairly straightforward, however, my baby decided at week 38 during a positional scan she was absolutely not ready to be engaging. She was having too much fun freely floating around in all that lovely excess amniotic fluid; apart from that, her favourite position was transverse – lying across the top of my stomach.

My baby was officially an “unstable lie” due to her constant moving around. The hospital admitted me immediately and booked me in for a C-Section in just over a week’s time. I reached for my hypnobirthing toolbag & for Laura. I used my affirmation cards, lavender pouch, visualisations, breathing techniques etc during peaks of anxiety & Laura held my hand via WhatsApp & calls all the way.

When the doctors were attempting to make decisions on my & my baby’s behalf about how we would move forward if baby did decide to engage, I had the knowledge & strength to say “no” and “I would appreciate it if you would discuss the options with me, rather than decide for me”. Additionally, I had faith in my gut instinct. All of this was thanks to doing Laura’s hypnobirthing course.

I gained further confidence in my approach when I found out a senior midwife was also fighting my corner in the background as she agreed with me.

I wrote down my birth preferences, discussed them with my partner & ensured there was a copy in my file & a spare for me. My partner was prepared and ready to create a bubble for me & him & he knew that I didn’t want anyone else speaking to me or telling us what was going on.

On the morning of my C-Section I asked if my birth preferences had been noted & was told that the team would read it before I went down to the Labour Ward. I was advised that this had been done when I arrived in the theatre. I won’t lie – I was really scared of the spinal but I was able to get into a zone of calm with the help of a hypnobirthing track & breathing with my partner. The spinal was effective very quickly & once all checks had been made my partner created our bubble. This was the last time it would be just us & he reminisced & breathed with me. He helped me to move the focus away from the room, the noises, the knowledge of what was happening to me.

I have little memory of the birth as I was so focused on our bubble which is how I wanted it. I can honestly say that my birth experience was really positive & that was due to what we learned with Laura. I can also report that our daughter’s birth was a positive experience for my partner as he felt he had a role to play.

Not only was he able to create and maintain a safe space for me, he told me the sex of our baby & gave our daughter her first cuddle.

We did it together.

Georgie’s Positive Birth Story – Birthing in a lockdown

I went into hospital to be induced at 41+2 which was really daunting going on my own due to birth partners not being allowed. 

At the point of induction, my waters were accidentally broken which meant I was then admitted onto the antenatal ward, as my surges began to come and I was facing the unknown with the birth of my first baby, listening to my hypnobirthing tracks and focusing my mind really helped, including spraying my favourite calming perfume, to help me relax into it. 

Later that evening I was taken into the labour suite and told I was unable to give birth in the pool, so a change to my original plan, but with the lights dimmed and music playing I created a calming environment, made even better when my boyfriend was finally able to come in. I delivered Indie Sophia Eileen Newman 7 hours later with just gas and air, without medical intervention despite the Midwives and doctors saying I would need assisted delivery as we got to the later stages. 

In my birth plan, assisted delivery really worried me and something I really didn’t want, so I gave everything I’d got by taking myself out of that room, letting my partner speak to the medical team and taking myself to my calming place, repeating affirmations over and over again, and had a natural birth xx