Petra and Wade’s first birth to Luka October 2017
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I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of our hypnobirth!
My goal was to have a fearless, calm and natural home birth and I got just that.
This was our first baby and our due date was Nov 3rd. During the wee hours of the morning on 27th Oct, I started getting my early labour surges. I used my relaxed breathing and Wade applied light touch massage. After a couple of hours of being awake with this, we decided to reserve our energy and go back to bed as we knew we should ignore these mild surges as much as possible. They woke me during the rest of the morning but I continued to breathe through them & I could easily get back to sleep each time. They were not painful, just feelings of tightness and pressure.
During the daytime the surges calmed down and I continued with the baby shower plans that friends were throwing me. I was 39 weeks pregnant and although I did feel like baby wasn’t far away, I was aware that these early labour surges could subside or rest over the following days or week. I was feeling great and still very comfortable with my pregnancy, in fact these last few weeks were the best I’d felt in 9 months.
At the end of the day once all my guests left, my mild surges picked up again. I wasn’t timing them as I knew it wasn’t important at this stage. Once Wade got home from work however, he realised my surges were approximately 1 min long and 3 mins apart. We asked our midwife if we could get her birthing pool in (that was in the plans, we just didn’t have it yet) and I mentioned that I was getting regular surges. So yes we got the pool in and spent the evening pumping it up, trying to get the hose connection to work – which it finally did after copious amounts of electrical tape strapping the connection together, (trialling the pool was on the to do list too…. oops) part filling it & getting the things ready to prepare for our home birth. I put my ‘opening flower’ picture on the wall in the birthing room (I had found my own beautiful image that I loved) and a few notes to help me stay focused:
~ASSIST DON’T RESIST
~RIDE THE WAVES
Our midwife came to check me at 9pm and although my cervix had softened, I was only 2cm dilated so I was still just in the early labour phase.
At 2am I woke Wade as my surges had become much more intense and I felt like I needed his support. He did light touch massage again and the deep anchor which helped immensely. My mucus plug had come out and at 2.06am my waters broke, I was happy to be sitting on the toilet at the time! I spent a lot of time on my knees leaning over my yoga ball or over the table, swaying & rocking, visualising the opening flower, reciting affirmations in my head and doing the 54321 technique. (My all time favourite – worked every time without fail) We played calming music, turned off lights & only had candles and a crystal lamp glowing and stayed as relaxed and calm as possible, all of which paid off. My labour progressed rapidly and when our midwife arrived at 3am my cervix had completely opened and I was fully dilated.
The baby was on its way! Wade was running between assisting me with hypnobirthing techniques, feeding & hydrating myself and Fiona, heating pots and boiling kettles to keep the pool at temperature, among all the other jobs & loose ends – his support was just incredible.
At 4.00am I was in the pool and baby was descending. Here I recited the “trust my body & my baby” affirmation in my head, my midwife encouraged me to work with my body and use my energy to breathe down and told me to not be afraid of what I was physically feeling as baby’s head started emerging. I carried on with the 54321 technique, more swaying/rocking and visualising the J shape as I breathed baby down and gently “mooed like a cow”…(as Wade puts it!)
Wade continued with the deep anchor which worked every time, as soon as his hand was on my shoulder, my shoulders relaxed and I regained control in my breathing. I was fully in the zone and oblivious to any other activity going on around me.
With one final breath down, at 5.57am, we gave birth to Luka; a healthy & calm baby boy in the birthing pool, at my dream home birth. I scooped him up out of the water and there he was, in my arms. I was ecstatic, we had done it!
My established labour was around 3 hours – my visualisation of labour time during an exercise on the hypnobirthing course was 3 hours!
I had no drugs or pain relief and I didn’t tear. (Thank you perineal massage!)
All the practising and repetition of the techniques we learnt at our course had taught me how to calmly birth my baby. I couldn’t have had this birth without that knowledge & practice. I learnt how to release my fears and believe that birthing a baby does not necessarily need to involve medical intervention. I also have to point out the importance of team work with your partner, I couldn’t have done it without Wade and his hypnobirthing techniques. The course also taught him a lot and mostly, above all things, to stay calm.
Many of our friends, family & colleagues were shocked to find out we were planning a home birth. One friend laughed in my face saying it’s not possible to have a painless birth. I was in disbelief about the comments, doubt and lack of confidence that people had in regards to natural or home birthing. I’m so happy I can turn around to everyone and say “I told you so!”
Massive thanks to you Helen.
Monica and Joanne’s birth to baby Michaela October 2019
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in a world where childbirth is still seen as this incredibly painful experience, I managed to have the most wonderful, pain free birth instead. It was an event that changed me completely has a person. I had never felt so empowered in my life or in tune with my body before. Here’s my birth story on how I achieved all of this thanks to hypnobirthing.
It all started when my wife was pregnant with our first daughter. We were at one of the antenatal classes and everyone was talking about how scared they were about the pain of giving birth. One of the girls mentioned hypnobirthing and how she read a book that took all her fears away. She was dismissed very quickly, probably because they heard the word “hypno” and imagined a pendulum dangling in front of their eyes as they were giving birth.
My wife was going to have a planned c-section for medical reason so I didn’t think too much of it. But my curious mind made me have a peek on the internet. I remember reading something like this: “HypnoBirthing uses deep relaxation, visualization, affirmations, special breathing techniques to achieve a confident, calm, peaceful birth and a positive birthing experience for you and your baby”. Ah – interesting I thought – I need to remember this for when I will get pregnant!
And there I was. Two years later and I was the one expecting our second little girl. Fear and doubt started creeping in when thinking about delivery. I knew I wanted to have a natural birth and I wanted to avoid drugs. Partially to protect the baby from adverse affects of the drugs. Partially to prove myself that I could deliver a baby as nature intended. All of that while going through the most incredible physical pain of a lifetime. Like the one my mum always described when giving birth to me. Or the dramatic scenes that you always see in movies (have you ever watched the second Bridget Jone’s diaries movie?). Laying on my back on a hospital bad, with my legs up in the air, and an obstetrician up my vagina telling me when to push. I didn’t know any different! But I remembered that word “hypnobirthing” and something in my head told me to have another look.
The more I was reading on the internet about hypnobirthing, the more I was intrigued. I didn’t really know what “positive affirmations” meant, or what “self-hypnosis” involved. Some of it sounded very mystical. But I had done yoga and meditation in the past. I knew how much breathing techniques can really help achieve a calmer state of mind and direct the attention to the breathing instead of the physical pains.
Reading some testimonials and watching some videos online gave me a final push in that direction and I finally decided to buy a book: “>HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan. This book blew my mind to say the least. All of a sudden it all made sense. It become my bible and I was 100% committed to hypnobirthing.
After finishing the book I liked to think I was ready for it, but I knew I still had some fears to conquer. Also, I wanted to get my wife on board too, and it didn’t feel like explaining her what the book said was going to cut it. So I decided to enroll in a hypnobirthing course. I enrolled in Helen’s classes from Positive Births. It felt quite expensive for the number of sessions but, trust me, it was worth it! And it really helped having my wife there as well, getting involved in all the exercises. We worked a lot on all the hidden fears about births and were now fully equipped to have the best birthing experience of our life. I KNEW then that I was going to have a pain-free, calm, incredible labor and childbirth.
I attended the course when I was about 4 months pregnant. So I had quite a long time to practice all the relaxation and breathing techniques. I didn’t go all crazy with it, but I was listening to hypnobirthing music from Spotify every morning and afternoon going to and coming back from work. Even though you are not suppose to drive while listening to it – oooops!. And I was often listening to the rainbow relaxation track in bed before falling asleep. Very often falling asleep while listening to it!. I also did a lot of yoga when pregnant, which includes breathing techniques. So I was confident I had it covered! If you have never done any yoga or meditation before, and have a very busy mind, I would recommend practicing a bit more than me.
When labor day came, I had the first surge (contraction) at 3.30 am. I woke up with these incredible cramps and urge to go to the toilet, so I ran to the loo and had a massive number two. How glamorous, right?! I was not sure whether I had a tummy bug or if that was actually a surge. But by the time I got another contraction I knew it was the start of labor – yay! Surges kept coming throughout the day every half an hour or so. Totally manageable with the breathing techniques I had practiced in the previous months.
I had a normal day at home, resting in bed as much as possible. Then at about 7.30 pm, all of a sudden they started getting closer and closer to each other. When I called the midwife to give her an update she kept telling me not to worry and wait a bit longer. She kept saying that because it was my first pregnancy, I was still a long way to go. Thank god I insisted for her to come and check me out anyway, as by the time she got to my place I was 7 cm dilated! So in the car and off we go!
To the hospital
The 30 min or so car trip to the hospital is a blank. All I remember is listening to the rainbow relaxation track on repeat all the way and closing my eyes to focus on the breathing. Walking from the car to the hospital in the birthing unit was quite hilarious. I was doing a few steps and then stopping because I had to breathe during a contraction. I remember one person stopping by and telling me “good luck”. And I was also hoping I wouldn’t get a contraction as I was getting out of the elevator. Imagine that: squashed between elevator doors while trying to reach the delivery unit!.
As I got to the birthing unit, we found out they didn’t receive the information that I was coming in and there was no room ready for me. Not sure how that happened as the midwife called from our house saying we were coming! So I had to wait in the waiting room. To top it off, they hadn’t filled the pool yet … I was SO looking forward to a water birth, so the midwife rushed to one of the spare rooms and opened the tap of the pool.
While in the waiting room, all of a sudden, I transitioned to active labor and I felt such an urge to push. It’s amazing how the body just knows what to do. So, picture this – us in the waiting room with another big family and me kneeling down over a fridge going “I feel the need to push”. And my wife screaming back “you can’t push yet!”. Like I had any control over it!
The room wasn’t quite ready yet, but they walked me all the way there. What the heck happened to wheelchairs that you see in movies for pregnant ladies?? By that point I could feel the surges coming closer and closer and all I needed to do was to push. I remember I kept telling the midwife “isn’t it time to take my pants off?”, as she was still setting up the bloody room. Eventually she realized how fast this baby was coming and helped me take my pants and undies off.
She asked me if I wanted to go on the bed but there was NO WAY I could climb on the bed at that point. Or get into the pool for that matters (which was still pretty much empty, sigh). All I could do was stand by the bed – eyes closed and still focusing on the breathing. The midwife and my wife forced my legs open to try and squeeze a pillow between my legs and after a few minutes, at 9.35 pm, little Michaela came out and was in the midwife arms.
It was the most intense and yet most calm experience of my life. I was aware of all the noise and chaos happening around me, but all I could think of was breathing during the surges and visualize my little baby coming out. The room didn’t matter, the pool didn’t matter, nothing mattered but me being in sync with my body. It was so empowering, like I was invincible. I knew exactly what my body was going through every moment of labor and that awareness made me feel in control. I knew exactly what to do. And I remember that ecstatic feeling when my midwife told me “you are about to meet your baby” towards the end – I felt pure joy. The pain was never there, or maybe was there but never felt any. My baby was soon placed in my arms and I could finally lie on that bed with her on my chest. All of a sudden, we were a family of four.
Why you should do it too
To all the mums-to-be out there: giving birth is not about the pain. It’s not like we need to go through hell before feeling the pure joy of holding a baby in our arms. The whole experience can be a joyful experience. Hypnobirthing is not a myth, it’s not a scam that you hear about. Let go of any prejudice when you hear the word – I wish it was just called “positive birthing” or “natural birthing” or something similar. It’s about understanding the roots of who we are as women, as human beings. It’s about understanding what our body is capable of and letting go of any fear instilled into us by decades of modern and men-driven medicine.
Dione and Nick’s first birth to Sienna, October 2016
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My story begins with my waters releasing at 0230hrs, I felt so excited as I knew soon I would get to meet our baby. I got back into bed and put my rainbow relaxation and birth affirmations on repeat and went to sleep. Within about 40 minutes my surges began coming and going, I felt calm and let my body continue with its journey. By morning I got up with my family had some breakfast and decided to continue my day as normal to allow myself to keep relaxed and calm. I called and updated my midwife of my progress and she informed me to call her when I felt I needed her.
We planned for a homebirth, everything was in its place and ready for our baby. As the day continued my body decided it was far too sunny to continue with surges so they decided to stop. I went for my afternoon nap and continued with the rainbow relaxation and my surges commenced again. By 6pm they were becoming regular, I did my surge breathing and my 5,4,3,2,1 as needed. By 9pm I knew my body was progressing, I continued breathing through and being at complete rest in between surges.
I had an amazing support team which included my mum, husband, midwife and two cat doulas Indie and Mila. Indie never left my side she sat on the side of the breakfast bar as I breathed with my surges while Mila helped with some light touch or light “lick” massage on my legs.
Nick my husband was an amazing support he did light touch massage and constantly reminded me to breathe and keep relaxed. He remained so calm and supported me the whole way through. While my mum was on heat pack duties, and pressure point massage.
I called my midwife at 130am to come to my house, when she arrived she checked to see my progress and I was already 7cm!!
I was ecstatic and felt so empowered. I continued with a combination of rainbow relaxation, affirmations and a soft music playlist. I listened to these tracks so many times im sure its well engrained in my subconscious and feel I could resite them word for word.
I stayed at 7cm at next check and my surges has slowed down to 2:10 so my midwife put clary sage oil on my belly to increase them. My surges became more frequent and strong instantly it was incredible how my body responded. Some hours later I was still 7cm and found that my baby’s head was not well flexed. I felt teary and worried that she would not get into the correct position, I refocused with my birth affirmations and support from my midwife and family.
With a combination of left side lying and standing with one leg up on my birth ball lots of crying and determination she rotated into the correct position. At 730am my midwife checked my progress and I had reached 2nd stage. By 822am I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Sienna.
It is such an empowering experience that I will never forget. I am so grateful we attended Helens hypnobirthing classes as it has not only given me skills for birthing but for life. I am also a registered midwife, it has given me invaluable knowledge to work in partnership to empower women to use the incredible power which is our mind.
Alexandra and Cam’s first birth to Bryn 17 August 2016
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I’d been up and down all night to the toilet on the 17th of August and when my partner Cam woke up he wasn’t feeling the best either so my first thought was that somehow what I’d cooked the night previously hadn’t agreed with us and I’d given us some mild food poisoning. Not something that you want the day before you’re due to have a baby! Cam got ready for work and told me he was feeling better but I was feeling quite strange and while I wasn’t off to the toilet anymore I certainly wasn’t feeling normal (turns out Cam’s dodgy tum was a reaction to some antibiotics he was taken and nothing to do with my cooking thank goodness).
I thought it might be a good idea to see if these ‘funny feelings’ were consistent or coming regularly so we started to take note of when they were coming. It turned out that the patterns of what I now know were surges were coming quite regularly, I was in labour! It was about 8.30 at this stage so we decided that Cam probably shouldn’t be going to work today after all. I got out the swiss ball and leant my elbows on it and found that the rocking back and forth on the ball was really helping how I was feeling, every time a surge came through Cam did light touch massage on my back which was wonderful and really worked for me right throughout labour. At about 9.30 he started blowing up the birthpool in our living room and we called the midwife who said that she’s come round later in the morning. We had Stephen Halpern’s music on the stereo and some lavender and clary sage coming out of an oil burner which all helped me to feel relaxed and focus on using all the breathing practice I’d done up to that point.
I continued to relax and rock on the ball until the midwife turned up and covered the room in plastic and towels and told Cam he could start filling up the pool. I was in a daze most of this time because I was so focused on my breathing and time seemed to suspend, I couldn’t have told you how long anything was taking. Once the pool was full they helped me to hop in and the warm water was so soothing and really helped me to focus even more on my breathing. We’d put the rainbow relaxation and birthing affirmations on repeat on the stereo and they were like positive reassurance in the background because I’d listened to them so many times, although I hardly heard them on the day. I actually think a chorus line of dancing hippos could have come past and I wouldn’t have noticed I was so deep into the breathing and relaxation practice.
It felt like all of a sudden Cam was dressed in his boardies and was in the pool. I felt a real build up of pressure and changed to birth breathing which seemed more instinctive at the time than it had when I’d practiced it and then the baby’s head appeared in caul. Cam helped bring the baby out to the surface over the course of about 5 minutes. It was 2.15pm and we had a baby! I’d felt very calm and in control through the whole process but now a massive wave of exhaustion came over me and I realised just what an amazing feat my body had been through. We were so overwhelmed that we even forgot to check the sex of the baby for about 5 minutes until the midwife asked us what we had, and we had a look to check – a little boy.
All the practice had really paid off, at no point had I felt any pain and the only real time of discomfort was as the baby was coming out. I had no idea how long anything had taken but in class the number that I’d come up with was 5, and my awareness of being in labour didn’t take much longer than that. The midwives were very impressed that I’d given them a daytime baby and they’d be home for dinner!
I can’t emphasise how relieved I now am that I really put the effort into practicing the hypnobirthing techniques. I used to listen to the affirmations in the car and the Rainbow Relaxation CD every night, so when it came time to use them during birth it felt so comfortable and normal. I also did the perineal massage which I didn’t like at first but it got easier and meant that I had a 4kg baby with only 2 stitches. People don’t want to hear that you had a great birth experience and think that it just must have been ‘easy’, but having now given birth to a healthy (and large) baby I think I truly have HypnoBirthing to thank.
Keep up the great work Helen”
‘K’ & ‘R’s first birth to their baby girl 11 July 2015
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At about 1:30am on Saturday, 11 July I woke up because I felt a sudden movement against my cervix. I had been having quite a few for the last week, so I thought nothing of it, when to the loo (a necessity at this stage in pregnancy when waking in the night) and went back to sleep. At 3am it happened again, but again, just went back to sleep. And then another at 3:30am. At 4am I realised that I must be in labour, so I woke up my husband, and my Mum who was staying with us.
We started the HypnoBirthing tracks and my husband did light touch massage during each surge, which really helped. He was also great at using the ‘Deeply Relaxed’ hand on the shoulder technique and talking me into a deep state of relaxation. Apart from the need for several trips to the bathroom to clear everything out, I laboured on all fours on our bed until about 7am when my Mum said she really thought we ought to go to the hospital. She realised that things were progressing at long quicker than we did! We were both feeling so relaxed that we weren’t even thinking about the hospital. The surges were getting quite intense at that stage and pretty close together, however, so we decided we would go after speaking to the hospital staff and midwife.
Getting in the car was the hardest part of my labour. I tried to sit down in the back seat and got out of the car again because it was too uncomfortable. I must have been in the transition stage at that point because I said to my Mum and R that I wasn’t going to go to the hospital! My Mum was quite anxious and said that if I did not get in the car she was calling an ambulance, and I didn’t want that so I got in the car on all fours and travelled to the hospital across the back seat breathing deeply and listening to the hypnobirthing tracks. R said I was very quiet on the way there and I hardly remember the journey as I was so inwardly focused. Luckily as it was early on a Saturday morning we go to the hospital without too much trouble and parked outside.
The walk to the labour ward was a slow one as the surges we coming quickly and we had to stop several times. We were admitted just after 8am and shown into the room and I immediately lent over the bed to resume a more comfortable position. I immediately felt the urge to push and breathe the baby down, so R called for the midwife and she arrived very quickly. She wanted to examine me, which was the second most difficult part of the labour as I had to get on the bed and lay back, which I found very uncomfortable. Luckily the examination was very quick and my midwife could hardly believe that I was already fully dilated and ready to have a baby.
I got back onto all fours, leaning up against the back of the bed and began to breathe the baby down. I also used the unfolding rose visualisation and my husband was brilliant at talking me through it and keeping me relaxed. Although the light touch massage had been really helpful in the earlier stages of labour, I did not want him to touch me at this point, but he had his arms around me so that I could hold on tight to his hands and he could whisper encouraging phrases and help me with the visualisations. It was an incredibly special time of closeness between us, and that period of time felt as though it was only about 15 minutes. In reality it was about an hour and a half, and at 9:34am our beautiful baby girl emerged into the world. The midwife passed her up between my legs and I was just in awe. She was so beautiful and I could not believe that I had just given birth to her.
I held her close to my chest (after turning over to relax) and the three of us just enjoyed a wonderful hour together, before I delivered the placenta, which just seemed to come out with very little effort. We left the cord attached until it stopped pulsating, and then I actually cut it myself, because my husband did not like the idea of being the one to break that connection between us.
Our birth was incredible and I really felt on top of the world afterwards. I was so proud of myself for being able to employ all the HypnoBirthing techniques we had practices and so happy that they had enabled us to have exactly the kind of labour and birth we were hoping for. I can honestly say that I did not feel anything I would describe as pain during my labour and birth. The surges felt like pressure in my cervix and it just felt as though it was opening and stretching, and breathing the baby down actually felt really good and it was a relief to push her further down with each surge. Our daughter is such a happy and placid baby, which people frequently comment on, and I am sure that it has a lot to do with the birth that she had.
Thank you so so much Helen for being such a great teacher. We have told all of our expectant friends about HypnoBirthing and we will definitely be back for a refresher if we have another baby.
We have also found that the techniques we learnt have been useful in every day life. I have always struggled to relax but hypnobirthing has really changed that and I often use the breathing and the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique.
We are so glad we found your course and put in the time and effort to learn and practice.
Jess and Adrian’s birth to John, 6 Feb 2014
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(Jess and Adrian also used HypnoBirthing with their first son in 2012).
Our little man John was born at 4.30am on Waitangi Day 2014.
Again, by using some of the HypnoBirthing techniques I enjoyed a smooth and quick labour. We had another home birth and I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to be in.
The build up of surges started at 8pm while I was watching TV and by midnight they were 3 minutes apart. I knew that this time I wanted to remain upright through my labour and spent some time kneeling against the bed and then went into the lounge and sat on the couch in my pyjamas with the lights off. At 2am I told Adrian to phone our midwife. He stood there and asked if I was sure as I seemed too calm. I said that I was sure. My midwife turned up at 2.30am and after an examination she confirmed I was 8cm dilated. I continued to focus on my breathing and on relaxing my pelvis with each surge. The second midwife arrived at about 3am. At 4am my midwife did another examination and confirmed I was fully dilated but that there was still some cervix showing. I sat on the toilet for a couple of surges to see if it would clear the babies head. It was not moving so I agreed to have the sac of waters above the babies head broken as they were bulging and tight. Shortly after that I went to kneeling over the couch to prepare to birth my baby. Within minutes my I could feel my baby descend and after a couple of gentle pushes he arrived.
It really was a text book labour and birth. So, thank you again. HypnoBirthing has allowed me to enjoy two empowering experiences of giving birth to my two beautiful boys in the comfort of my own home.
Jess and Adrian
Kacee and Jeremy’s first birth to Cecilia, born 19 January 2013
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(written by Dad – Jeremy)
Kacee and I are excited to introduce you to Cecilia Ballew Slezak, born on January 19, 2013 at 9:02am. It was a long night, but basically drama-free, as Kacee did an amazing job in keeping up her energy, her spirits, and her determination in utilizing the skills and techniques learned in our HypnoBirthing class.
Kacee had experienced dozens upon dozens of practice surges over the past two months. With many of these surges coming at night, Kacee consistently practiced her meditations to handle the pressure, preparing her mind and her body for giving birth. It’s also worth noting that Kacee remained quite active throughout her pregnancy. While days of discomfort became more common in the last month, there were probably equal numbers of days when she felt great. We were very fortunate in that regard.
Friday night at 1:15am, Kacee jumped out of bed suddenly and made it to the toilet just as her water broke. While we took this as a good sign that the birthing process had begun, we knew that this was only the beginning. Kacee lied down again and tried to sleep while listening to the Rainbow Relaxation and Birth Affirmations. However, her surges came in quick succession (as they had with the practice surges in the past), making it difficult to sleep. At 2:00am with surges occurring regularly (probably every 5 minutes), we decided it was time to prepare for the next steps. Kacee and I made a list of items to add to our “go bag” (iPad, my bathing suit, snacks), and then called our midwife to get her thoughts on how best to proceed. She requested that we call her again once Kacee’s surges were more frequent than 5 minutes apart.
Almost immediately, Kacee began to feel surges in her abdomen of greater intensity, for longer (about 1 minute each), and averaging just 3 minutes apart. After an hour of this had gone by, we called the midwife again. We asked that she come to our house first in order to minimize our time in a birthing center. She arrived at 3:45. The baby’s heartbeat felt strong, Kacee was only a few cm dilated, and the midwife encouraged Kacee to shower to relieve some of the pressure and rest as best she could.
Kacee sat on the shower floor with hot water streaming over her body for a long time meditating and trying to remain calm and relaxed as the surges came and went. She was even able to doze off during her meditations. The midwife lied down on our couch to rest, noting that it would most likely be a few hours before the next phase of labor would begin. I went back to bed, as well.
At about 6am, Kacee’s breathing patterns changed and her light hums became more like groans. The baby was descending and Kacee’s cervix was more dilated. The midwife noted that now was the time to change locations, recommending that Kacee would feel more comfortable sitting in a hot bath.
Kacee slowly walked from the car to the birthing ward, denying the offer of a wheelchair since she felt she could better concentrate on her breathing while moving under her own power (it took nearly 30 minutes in total, but she was in a zone!). When we arrived in our birthing suite at about 6:35am, the midwife began to fill up the tub while Kacee sat on a chair in the shower with hot water running over her abdomen and shoulders.
At about 7am, Kacee then moved into the tub, where I joined her. She felt most comfortable kneeling forward, leaning on the side of the tub, both during surges and in the rest periods between surges.
(Note to birthing partners – Kacee enjoyed the light touch massage throughout these moments. She also appreciated calming affirmations and words of support at this time during the rest periods but not during the surges – this is something we couldn’t have anticipated when we discussed our birthing plan previously, but adapted as needed).
After about an hour in the tub, the midwife suggested that Kacee move to the bed as she was now fully dilated. Kacee knelt on all fours, as I slowly rubbed her back and hips. The surges became even more intense, but after 5 strong ones, there was still no visible sign of the baby.
Kacee remained controlled and focused, increasing the forcefulness of her breathing as the pressure intensified. Yet without any visible signs of the baby’s descent, our midwife suggested we switch positions again.
Kacee sat on a birthing stool, and I sat behind her to provide support. This was probably the first point at which Kacee broke her trance and became fully aware. A mere 1-2 minutes after repositioning, the next surge began, and the midwife noted that she could see the baby’s head. We asked for a mirror so we could witness the process ourselves. It was also exciting and encouraging since we could see the physical proof that we would soon hold our little girl.
The midwife instructed Kacee to gently push, while breathing through the motion in order to avoid tensing up (almost in a rocking motion to slowly open up the birth canal). After just a few of these rounds of pushing, breathing, and relaxing, the baby’s entire head appeared, with her slippery body following shortly after.
As part of our birthing plan, we intended for the baby to be immediately placed on Kacee’s chest to find her own way to the breast without cutting the umbilical cord until it had stopped throbbing. However, due to a short umbilical cord, she only reached as far as Kacee’s abdomen. So, we decided to cut the cord earlier than planned.
Holding our little girl was an incredible feeling! She seemed alert and curious about her surroundings immediately, and both Kacee and I were overcome with emotion and excitement, as well as (a good) exhaustion. We were at the hospital for about 2 ½ hours when the baby was born. From when her water broke, the whole experience lasted a little under 8 hours.
Not surprisingly for HypnoBirthing parents, Kacee has mentioned that she was not fully aware of the time. She said very little during the whole process, instead focusing on her breathing and keeping her body as calm as possible.
We left the Hospital at about 1:30pm, and checked into Birthcare. While at Birthcare, Cecilia began to latch on successfully for the first time.
While as an outside observer I would have commented that Kacee seemed to be in pain as the surges occurred, Kacee has since said that she enjoyed the experience and would classify the sensations as “intense pressure” rather than “pain” (what a good HypnoBirthing student!). It unquestionably required full concentration and energy, but it was an incredible experience to be able to share together.
Jess and Warren’s first birth to Stevie born 28 September 2018
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What a surreal feeling it is to be sitting down to write our birth story. It feels like yesterday we were in our HypnoBirthing class, hearing the stories others had shared and wondering if it was really possible to bring a baby into the world in such a peaceful, calm way (spoiler alert, IT IS!).
We have now reached what feels like a special milestone in our journey to becoming parents, writing our story and signing off on the chapter of preparations for our first borns arrival. Today, I have a phenomenal 19 day old daughter sleeping on her equally phenomenal daddy beside me and it is a privilege to share the story of how she entered the world early one Friday morning…just in time for the weekend!
Our ultimate goal for the birth was to have a healthy baby, and we were prepared to do whatever we needed to to ensure this outcome. If that meant intervention, then we would accept that path if it was medically necessary, but i had always hoped for a natural birth and this was definitely our ‘Plan A’.
At 40 + 3, just before 4am I awoke to subtle pains, much like period cramps. I listened to rainbow relaxation (which I had been falling asleep to most nights) and tried to go back to sleep. I relaxed, practiced my breathing and wondered excitedly whether this could be ‘it’. I decided to let Warren continue sleeping as I figured if it was, one of us may as well be rested!
Fairly quickly I knew I was in labour and at around 5am I felt like I needed to start actively managing the increasing surges. Feeling very relaxed and calm I got up and did the washing (a great distraction!) and bustled about around the house. At 5:30am I woke up Warren and we started timing surges. At this time I was managing well using my breath as well as distraction and movement – two techniques I found incredibly helpful throughout the labour. I relaxed in bed or on the couch between surges to conserve energy then when I felt one coming on I got up and paced around, focusing on my breath, the sound of my footsteps, counting my strides, the nails in the timber floorboards, the rows of bricks in thewall…anything that could distract me.
At 6am things were progressing quickly. Warren and I felt very calm and in control as we watched the sunrise and knew that today our lives would be changed forever. The best way I can describe it is, as the intensity of the surges increased I dove deeper into a very focused state and matched the sensation with my techniques – breathing, visualisation, movement, affirmations, etc. I kept trying different positions with my body and we also did a few exercises from class, progressive relaxation and ‘lavender’.
At 7am we contacted our amazing midwife who was going to come and check on us at home. During the surges I asked Warren to count from 1 up to 30 at a fast pace as I found this helped me break the surges down into manageable blocks of time. Between surges I was focused on gathering myself, resting and staying relaxed and hydrated. Warren and I were communicating in a natural shorthand with me mostly gesturing or using single words to tell him what I needed.
By about 8am the sensations had started to change and I was breathing and visualising the baby coming to me, all the while Warren was coaching me through the surges – reminding me I to breath, counting, and reciting our affirmations.
Our midwife arrived around 8:30am and I had I was sitting on the toilet as this was the most comfortable place for me at the time. She checked me and calmly told us that I was 10cm dilated and we could either have a lovely home birth or we could go to birth care right away.
We were surprised and happy as things were going so well we had no idea we were that far along!
Shortly after 9am we hopped in the car and made our way to Birthcare (a very surreal drive!)
When we arrived I got straight into the pool that they had filled for us…bliss! We had little LED candles and played the birth affirmation track on repeat in the background. Warren was right there with me coaching me with breath, affirmations, encouragement, counting, lavender, shoulder touch, cold flannels, water, etc. There are no words to describe how connected to Warren I felt in that moment, we were a dream team!
We were both completely focused and it felt like there was no one else in the world except us and soon, our baby. Simply amazing.
We had decided not to find out the gender before the birth and at 10:28am our baby arrived into the world completely naturally, into a beautifully peaceful and calm environment. We were in absolute awe and almost forgot that we still didn’t know whether we had a little girl or boy. After several minutes staring at this phenomenal little miracle we had created I peeled back the umbilical cord that still connected us and announced to my partner and our amazing midwife that we had a daughter.
Birthing her was truly the most empowering and immersive experience I could ever imagine.
I am so grateful we got to experience it the way we did and my wish is for every woman to know that she is powerful, capable and can have an overwhelmingly positive experience like we did. Believe in yourself, your body and your baby! And for the partners — do not underestimate your value, I know I could not have done it without Warren and our bond has been strengthened by such a powerful and emotional shared experience. He is my rock and already the best father imaginable.
We worked hard to have our dream birth but it wouldn’t feel right sharing our birth story without acknowledging that we feel exceptionally lucky that we had a relatively short labour (6.5 hours from 4am – 10:28am) and complication free birth. P.s. In our class with Helen when we made a guess as to how long we thought our labour might be, I said 1-2 hours for second stage labour – it ended up being spot on!
P.p.s. One of the best things we did was get a birth photographer! I knew there would be a lot going on and we likely wouldn’t be able to recall the details with complete clarity. If you are considering it, don’t hesitate! I can’t recommend Liv Buchanan enough, at the time we didn’t even remember she was in the room and we now have the most stunning images of our daughters first breathe and our first moments with her. www.livbuchanan.com
Alex and Nathan’s first birth to Elsie 27 Sep 2010
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Our night started with a mini ‘show’ at about 6.30 pm after a very busy Sunday. We had been out all day visiting with friends at various restaurants and then my mom and I went for a 45 minute walk through Le Roys Bush. When we got home we had the mini ‘show’ and I called the midwife who said we could be in labour in the next week or so. After this news our energy levels increased and we called a ‘team’ meeting to discuss our hypnobirthing plan.
My mom had only arrived 2 nights before from Canada and she wanted to be fully up to speed on our hypnobirthing plan. She was open minded to hypnobirthing but had only experienced medical births with drugs and was a little sceptical how hypnobirthing would work.
So we had a chat about the calm, peaceful birth we wanted and how we would do this when labour started. We watched a few of the hypnobirthing YouTube videos to show my mom the calm birth we were planning, and this also helped remind me what I wanted the birth to be like and that it was entirely achievable.
I wrote a list of my favourite birthing affirmations to reaffirm them in my own mind, and also so Nathan would know which ones I found the most inspiring. At this point I still felt like things were moving along (but Nathan was not convinced) and I went to bed to relax with Rainbow Relaxation and Birthing Affirmations. By 10 pm the surges were frequent but not regular yet.
I found having my iPod on with the Rainbow Relaxation and Birthing Affirmations helped me get into the hypnobirthing ‘zone’. I was limp and relaxed between surges, and we used lots of soft touch massage during the surges. As the surges became stronger I was able to go deeper into the relaxation zone I had hoped for (but was not entirely sure I could achieve!).
The night passed very quickly as we laboured at home until 6.00 am. I used the rose imagery to help me visualise opening and thinning. With the visualisation of the rose, I found myself using my hands on my belly during the surges to simulate the opening of the rose and my cervix. This helped me to place the sensations to what was happening in my body and I could understand the sensations to be a good thing to bring my baby closer to me.
I also repeated my favourite affirmations to myself at any of the intense moments. I didn’t talk much during labour, but Nathan and I were in synch due to our practicing of relaxation together over the last month.
We credit hypnobirthing to our relaxed state and also intimate connection without actually talking throughout labour.
When we arrived at the hospital (6.30 am) the first nurse I saw asked “ Are you sick? …” and then “ ..Oh you’re meditating! ” which I was able to ignore and stay in my own zone. From this point on I hardly noticed where I was or who was in the room. I was 6 cm dilated when we arrived, my water broke after the midwife did the exam.
We used the birthing pool for about 50 minutes. The bath was down the hall quite a ways from our room, however I was oblivious to where I was when walking there. I even walked into a wall at one point! While in the bath I didn’t have my iPod on so Nathan whispered the affirmations in my ear and helped me focus on positives despite a very noisy woman across the hall who obviously didn’t use hypnobirthing!
Earlier in the week I had a pedicure and painted my toes orange which was my birth colour. I found looking at my toes to be helpful in calming me while in the birthing pool.
When it was time to ‘push’ I took off my iPod so I could hear the midwives talking to me. Nathan supported me during surges and again whispered the affirmations and prompts (from the list handed out in class that my mom was holding onto throughout labour). I also used two mantras from my pregnancy yoga class during this time along with the affirmations. The mantras were “ just this breath ” which I used with the birth breathing to focus only on the breath I was taking at that moment, and “ this too will end ” which reminded me soon I would be through each surge and labour and have my baby in my arms.
I felt amazing after birth and I was so proud and happy not to have used any drugs. I had planned on having gas if I felt I needed pain relief, but the thought did not even cross my mind! I felt empowered and proud to have had a calm and peaceful birth. The midwives described our birth as an intimate experience between the two of us.
My mom was a great help and it was good to have another support person there with us. She was very impressed and explained the birth as a magical experience. She is now an advocate for hypnobirthing!
Our experience with hypnobirthing was amazing. We even credit the fact that Elsie came 5 days early to hypnobirthing visualisations. The doctors were threatening to induce me if I went past the due date, so once we found this out we started visualising Elsie coming a week early. She was also posterior two weeks prior to birth and we used the visualisations of the ‘perfect position’ to help.
Thank you to Helen for teaching us the hypnobirthing techniques. Thanks to you we have very fond memories of the birthing experience.
Kim and Travis’ first birth to baby Scout 4 October 2018
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“Leading up to birth Travis and I had attended both Hypnobirthing with Helen and then anti-natal classes. Hypnobirthing seemed really right for us as it set the birth up to be a positive and exciting experience versus one that had potential to be feared.
The philosophy really resonated with me already – I am both calm and pragmatic by nature so the idea of a gentle and positive birth was one that i was already focusing on, I know that Trav really enjoyed learning about the philosophy and the course really well equipped him for what was coming in terms of the birth. He was also able to apply some of the breathing and relaxation techniques to his work which can be stressful at times!
Leading up to birth I would listen to the positive affirmations weekly – usually in the bath with epsom salts and lavender oil to promote deep relaxation. I would also listen to the rainbow relaxation track prior to bed whenever I remembered or couldn’t sleep for some reason. To this day I never got to the end of the track – I was always asleep by about the second colour!
I tried to practice my breathing as much as possible but I have to admit that was not the best at remembering to do so. Trav practised light touch massage whenever he was reminded 😉
Our due date came around, I spoke with our midwife who was happy – baby was sitting really low and engaged. I had been having a few cramps on and off for a few days – nothing regular and nothing painful and just told myself it was my body getting ready – doing all the right things. . The day before I went into labour I went on a walk around the neighbourhood to get my body moving. I fell asleep at around 11:30 that evening. At 12.15am I was woken by my waters breaking and just made it to the bathroom in time.
I woke Trav up and we lay in bed for a bit thinking about what was coming. Sure enough 15 minutes later I had my first surge. It was at this stage that I told Trav to get some sleep and I would pop into the lounge to get a feel for what was to come (we were expecting a slow labour to begin with).
I probably spent about half an hour in the lounge on the floor and was surprised at the power of the surges. I had begun timing them and they were 6 minutes apart right from the start. I went back into the bedroom and woke Trav as I was unable to time them myself while trying to breath through them. I lay on the bed and Trav gave me light touch massage between surges while he timed then on an app. They were strong and constant but I did manage to nod off in between each one (even though they were only 5 minutes apart).
From here we laboured at home for a few hours. I moved between the bed and the bath where I just laid on my side and focused on my breathing with each surge. At around 5am the surges were about 2-3 minutes apart so I asked Trav to call our midwife and let her know. She was happy with how things were progressing and asked Trav to call back when I felt a change in sensation from surges to ‘bearing down.’
Almost instantly after that phone call my body felt the change and I asked Trav to call her back. This was at 5:10 am. Our midwife confirmed it was time for Birthcare.
Trav helped me up from the bath and got me dressed, grabbed our last bits and pieces and bundled me into the backseat of the car where I was on hands and knees for the speedy trip to Birthcare.
We arrived at Birthcare at 6am – just before our midwives. I had a huge surge in the foyer and had to stop and use our suitcase for support. The oncall midwife popped us into the birthing suite and began filling the pool for my intended waterbirth.
Our midwives arrived and told Trav where to park the car. They made him take his phone as they knew we were not far off delivering. He dashed off and by the time he got back our baby’s head was visible to the midwife. The pool was turned off as baby was on its way and there was no time to get the pool filled.
I remember having a couple of strong surges where the goal was to ‘stretch.’ My midwives got me to focus on only breathing into the top half f my body to avoid pushing and allowing my body to stretch in time for baby. They applied essential oils and warm compresses to my perineum with each surge to promote this further.
The sensation was one of relief and my body completely took over knowing what to do with each surge. The midwives prepped me that with the next surge we would birth baby’s head and I was to bear down. I felt every bit of her coming out but not in the painful sense – just aware. Trav was by my side the whole time holding my hand and quietly encouraging me through the process.
The final surge, a minute or two after the head was birthed, was where baby’s body came out – much the same as the first and before we knew it our baby girl Scout was lifted up through my legs into my arms. So many emotions flew through bothTrav and I – we were completely surprised that it was a little girl – we had always felt like it was a boy coming our way.
Scout was born at 6:55 am – 55 minutes after arriving at birthcare and 6.5 hours after my waters broke. During hypnobirthing Helen talked us through a visualisation where we had to ‘say’ our number for labour. I had seven in my head – a seven hour labour and she made it in just under that at 6.5.
What surprised us most about the birth was the rapid speed in which it began. We were expecting time to eat / relax / candles / music / sleep but it is almost like I skipped early labour. Hypnobirthing helped us most in the lead up to birth and getting the positive, calm mindset in place. At 6 days old currently, the calm, positive vibe has continued with us as we navigate our way through life with our wee newborn.
We would strongly recommend hypnobirthing to anyone having a baby, especially if there are nerves around the experience of birth. Leading up to birth, I kept telling myself that my body and baby would know what to do on the day – and it turns out that was exactly true!”
Zara and Jason’s birth of Ali November 2018
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Hi Helen, Jason and I would like to introduce Ali. Born 18/11/18 at approx 7.35am, at home in the bath, delivered by Dad as our midwife was still on her way here!!! Weighing a wee 2.82kgs and 50cm long. We are absolutely besotted with this incredible little human and I am still completely blown away by how he arrived. Here is our story….
Ali’s due date was December 1st, 2018. On the evening of Thursday, November 15 at nearly 38 weeks pregnant I started to get pre-Labour warm ups, about every half hour apart, they were mild but enough for me to take notice and think is something starting. When I spoke to my Mum the next day she said she experienced them for about 2 weeks before I was born, and I thought that sounds about right as that would take me to pretty much my due date . Same thing happened on Friday night, again I was able to breathe through them and went to sleep.
About 4.30pm on Saturday they started up when I was visiting a friend in hospital. As I was leaving she said, you’ll have your baby tomorrow. I said, oh no I don’t think so.
I came home and went to bed really early, reading the chapter in the hypnobirthing book about relaxation techniques and breathing techniques (it’s like my mind knew something was happening). I couldn’t sleep through these surges. I dozed in between them but with each one I woke and really had to breathe through them.
At midnight I thought wow, maybe this is actually happening and woke Jase up to tell him to start timing the surges. Then I decided I needed to clean the bath! So I did, and started filling it. By now the surges were getting stronger. I had to stop and breath through each one. At 1am I decided to call my sister (it just so happened that this was the one weekend all our family were on holiday out of Auckland!) who was down in the Mount, as someone would need to be with Patrick (13 months) when he woke in morn. She said she would leave straight away, “see you in 3 hours!”
Jase put on my birthing playlist, lit candles, put on the diffuser and I hopped in the bath. He packed the car, ready to go to Birthcare when the time came. The surges continued to get stronger and closer together. At 2am I had the birth show and Jase phoned our midwife. I moved between our bed and the bath trying to stay as relaxed as possible. I asked Jase to put on the affirmations and these were followed by the rainbow relaxation. They played on repeat alongside my music playlist. I really focused on the affirmations – particularly repeating ‘my cervix opens and allows my baby to ease downward’ ‘I turn my birthing over to my baby and my body’ ‘I meet each surge only with my breath and my body is at ease’
Jase did some light touch massage in between surges
I really focused on going into myself ‘As my labour advances I go deeper within to my baby’ visualising blowing up and releasing balloons during each surge. My sister arrived at 4.30am, quickly spoke to us and then went into the spare room.
I should also mention as a side note, we were looking after Jases parents extremely elderly dog, as they were away, plus our dog and cat. All 3 of them were following me everywhere! It was quite the zoo!
At about 5.30am I had more birth show and my surges went from being about 2-3 mins apart and a min long to being 5-8 mins apart, but still intense at a min long. I thought in my mind, ‘oh my Labour is slowing down’ Jase spoke to our midwife again and I thought, I wonder if we should be going to birthcare now but I honestly couldn’t even think about how I was going to get out of the bath.
The midwife asked how I was feeling and I said tired. She said to leave me while I was relaxed and to call her when the surges started to get closer together again. I dozed on and off in between the surges until just after 7am when they started to get more intense again. Jase phoned the midwife and she said, I’ll come to your place. She only lives 10 mins from our house.
Well it turns out my labour hadn’t been slowing down, I was actually in the transition phase and next thing you know I felt the baring down and the urge to breathe Ali down!! With the first birth breath out popped Ali’s head. I told Jase to ring the midwife again! He told me to focus on birthing the baby!
Second birth breath and out came his whole body, Jase caught him! What an incredible moment, the two of us had just birthed our son on our own. I turned around and Jase put him on my chest and phoned the midwife, announcing he’s here! She was a few minutes away.
Jase went out into the lounge where my sister was giving Patrick his breakfast, and announced, Zara’s just had him – can you go and meet the midwife and let her in. My sister was in shock and couldn’t believe it. She had heard nothing and thought everything was so calm, she thought there was no way I was close to giving birth.
Our midwife arrived, clamped Ali’s cord, which Jase then cut. Jase did skin to skin with Ali while I got out of the bath and our midwife helped me birth the placenta. I repeated the affirmation, ‘my baby emerges and my blood vessels close to the appropriate degree’ over and over. The placenta was delivered with no issues. We all hopped in to bed and Patrick came in to meet his little brother. We have been at home bonding ever since.
Ali is just so amazing. He has seamlessly completed our little family. It feels like he has been here a lot longer than 4 days.
Birthing him at home was the most amazing experience, which I had never envisioned. Jase had said early on in my pregnancy that he thought I would have him at home in the bath and I looked at him like he was mad. But seriously, I can not emphasis how magical the whole experience was. So relaxed, so easy, no having to move or stress about when to leave the house. Having all our home comforts here, and not having to leave Patrick – it all turned out to be just perfect.
Helen, HypnoBirthing is the most incredible tool. Thank you so much for all that you have enabled us to achieve as a family. We can’t recommend your course enough.
Love from Zara, Jase, Patrick and Ali xxx
Helen’s Birth Story of Amelia (Milly) born 14th August 2009
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Our new baby girl Milly was born in the water on Friday 14th August 2009 after a 3 hour labour. She was well past her due date by at least 10 days and I’d been experiencing practice labour for a week leading up to her birth.
Throughout the week I’d been relaxing through any of the practice labour, breathing and listening to affirmations. I found the CDs very useful to get to sleep to – just like I’d found them very useful throughout most of my pregnancy. I felt I was well rested by the end of the week.
On Thursday night I went to bed with the usual mild practice surges (contractions/Braxton hicks) hoping that tonight would be the night. To be honest I was totally fed up of being pregnant – along with the constant pressure from friends and family enquiring as to when this baby would be born! I woke a few times in the night disappointed that nothing seemed to be progressing. However I slept soundly between 3-6am and was woken suddenly at 6am with a stronger sensation.
The surges weren’t regular – some coming every 5 mins, others every 2 or 3 mins and some were long, some short. So I was unsure of where I was at. Nevertheless we called my Mum to come look after the older kids and by 7.40am I’d decided it was time to start to make a move to the birthing centre.
Meanwhile I’d been focusing on breathing and relaxing through each and every surge; plus I had some breakfast and a shower.
We got into the car and towards the end of our 10 minute journey I noticed feeling pressure intensifying and very low down.
On arrival at the birthing centre at 8.15am my midwife checked baby and me, I was 8 cm dilated, baby had descended right down and her heartbeat was fine.
I got into the pool – bliss to be emerged in warm water. Phil used some affirmations and an anchor through the next couple of surges, but very quickly I felt the intensity and pressure increase and the need to breathe downwards. Our baby crowned and I continued to breathe her out – relaxing and letting go as much as I could. My body and my baby did all the work – all I needed to do was breathe through each surge.
It was truly an amazing experience to feel her head crown and feel it emerge – the water giving incredible support to my body. After her head was born one more surge and out came her body.
My midwife passed her to me, cord still intact and we just enjoyed watching her in my arms, waiting for the placenta to detach. It felt like a long time for this to happen as I felt this part of the process was quite uncomfortable, and it was harder to remember to breathe and relax when you have this new little person in your arms! Finally after 30 mins the placenta detached and was born, the cord was clamped and Milly had some bonding time with her Dad while I got out of the pool.
I then breast fed Milly, enjoying the surreal feeling of having had an incredible experience over the past one hour. A lot had happened in a very short time.
I feel incredibly grateful to have been able to give our daughter a gentle and calm entry into this world. Once again I credit the tools and techniques of HypnoBirthing that helped give me the knowledge and confidence to release, relax and let go. My body and my baby truly knew what to do. Plus – and very importantly I had the complete support of my midwife Kate, who is totally dedicated and committed to a natural birth experience.
Gemma and Mark’s first birth to Evie, 2016
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I came to hypnobirthing because I was terrified of birth. I had always assumed this was because of my mum – poor mum always gets the blame. But after the fear-releasing session I discovered it was because of the media: TV shows, movies, etc. Don’t believe everything you see, read or hear, birth is the single most empowering experience. Embrace it, enjoy it, savour it.
My birth story started late Thursday afternoon when I started having a few little niggles. Mark (Hubby) was supposed to go to training but I asked him to stay home with me. I had a ‘bloody show’ at about 6.30pm before going for a little walk. After dinner I went to bed early at 8.30pm all the while having little niggles that I breathed through easily using my Hypnobirthing techniques.
Despite having to pee every hour through the night I managed to sleep.
Mark didn’t go to work on Friday because we knew bub was on the way but my surges didn’t get too strong until later so he went and got a haircut and things while I had a nap at home and chilled out.
Mark brought some yummy bakery things home for lunch but I only had a wee bit as I didn’t really feel like eating. I did however make us up lunchboxes to take to the hospital so we wouldn’t go hungry.
After lunch we watched ‘Love Actually’, during which my surges started to get stronger.
After the movie I went to bed because I couldn’t get comfy, here the surges got stronger to the point it wasn’t as easy to breathe through them like I had been, I had to really concentrate.
After a while I decided I wanted to have a bath to ease the pressure – it was instant satisfaction as soon as I got in! Mark even put a pillow behind my back to try to make me more comfy.
Straight away the surges got closer and closer together. Mark was trying to time them but I couldn’t tell him when one stopped and the other started because they were just rolling like waves on top of one another. It was in the bath when I said he needed to call the midwife. I tried to get out of the bath but when I sat up I spewed again – yuck! Mark lifted me out of the bath and called the midwife. As he was on the phone I crawled to the bedroom and saw my body pillow – it was like seeing the holy grail – bliss! I curled up on the floor and lay on the pillow. Surges were coming strong and fast at this point then I felt my waters break, it felt nice, reeeeeally nice.
Next I felt a really strong pressure to poo which I knew was baby ready to come down and for me to start pushing, yay nearly there!!! I told Mark that you were coming and I needed to push, he said “no no just wait till the midwife gets here”! Yeah … right…. Because the body listens to that! My reply was “I can’t help it, the baby is coming,”. The body is an amazing thing and just takes over.
Finally Barbara the midwife turned up and checked me – I was fully dilated and pushing! She told Mark to go get her things from the car as there wasn’t going to be any moving me! 20 minutes later baby Evie was here!!!! It was THE most incredible experience ever! The best part was feeling her come out – truly amazing. Then Mark telling me she was a girl before she was in my arms!!!
Thanks to hypnobirthing I am now a birth-loving-hippy – its awesome!!!
And thank you Helen for your wonderful delivery of the course 🙂
Ewa and Paul’s second birth to Kasper, Feb 2019
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“It was a sunny Saturday, six days past my due date and I was more than ready to meet our baby. I went for a long walk in the morning to help kick off the labour naturally.
I had been to the hospital a few days earlier to check everything was alright as I wasn’t sure the baby was moving as much as before. The talk of induction started immediately with no medical reason apart from my age. I am 38 and this is was my second pregnancy. I politely declined.
That Saturday afternoon we went to the beach with our soon to be six years old daughter and her two good friends. The girls were wearing unicorn towels and at some stage they all put the golden horns on my belly and whispered some magic spells – in attempt to invite the baby to come out. We couldn’t help but laugh.
Our daughter went to a sleepover that night and we were all saying how convenient it would be for everyone if the baby came tonight. When my husband and I finished watching Netflix at 10:30pm, I got up from the chair, said to the belly: ‘It’s time to come out Kasper’ and at that exact point my water broke.
Funnily enough Paul turned around and started frantically wash the dishes while I called our midwife. Our first labour started the same way, except that almost six years ago the first contractions took almost eight hours to start. We were in no hurry. However, this time the surges started already within five minutes and were quite close apart.
We put some music on, started to use our hypnobirthing relaxation techniques, light touch massage and I was breathing through contractions. It was all going very well, in fact we were so relaxed that I didn’t even realise how fast it was all progressing. Suddenly I just knew we needed to get going. IMMEDIATELY.
The drive to the hospital at around 12:40am was pretty frantic. How fortunate that we live just 10 mins away! On arrival at the North Shore Hospital I got into a wheelchair, as I wasn’t able to walk anymore. Reaching the Birthing Suite I was already at the pushing stage. Due to a pre-existing condition the midwife needed to put a Venflon into my arm; this was the only moment which was truly unpleasant as I had to stay still against my instincts. Luckily it didn’t last very long as Kasper was born with four pushes at 1:24am, just 30 minutes after we had arrived to the hospital!
We couldn’t believe we were holding a baby three hours after my water broke! Add another five hours, and we were already on our way to Warkworth for a blissful postnatal stay.
I felt very good after delivery, incomparably to my first birth giving in the US. The Hypnobirthing course made a huge difference for us. We definitely were equipped with tools and knowledge of what to do and approached the birth from a much more aware place.
I truly feel ‘healed’ from my first traumatic birth experience. We both are very thankful for your support Helen and so happy we brought our son to the world in this positive way.”
Many thanks for everything again Helen.
Jayne’s first birth to Charlie, 27th May 2009
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The birth itself was really quite surreal, I had done a hypnobirthing course as I really wanted a natural, drug free birth for both of us. I had a show and started leaking water at 2pm and after visiting the midwife for a scheduled check up half an hour later the Midwife did a sweep on me to move things along as I didn’t want the hospital intervening if my waters hadn’t fully broken 24 hours later. She told me to keep myself busy for the rest of the Afternoon so both Jon and I went to the shopping mall and to Harvey Norman to buy a heat pump for the house.
My contractions started to intensify whilst I was in Harvey Norman so I went and found some massage chairs sat on those for a while and did my breathing exercises before heading home. Once we got back home Jon managed to convince me to sit down so he could time my contractions as he was concerned that they were getting closer together and the midwife had told him that he needed to call her when I was having three contractions in ten minutes.
I had pretty much zoned out of it by this stage so I didn’t pay any attention to the look of shock on his face when he timed the contractions for 10 minutes and I had actually had four. He insisted on calling the midwife even though I was insisting it was too soon as it was 6pm by this time and all I kept thinking was that I would really like to watch the six o’clock news but this whole labour thing was making me pace up and down and want to keep moving or just sit on the toilet!. In addition to that I so didn’t want to go into to hospital too early and have them intervene but I just let him go ahead and call her just to stop him worrying really!
The midwife didn’t seem to believe him and asked to speak to me so I responded to her with yes/no answers as I was experiencing a surge throughout the conversation and she suggested that I go into the clinic so she could examine me before she headed back home for the day just to see if it was worth her traveling home for the evening.
Once we arrived at the clinic the midwives were waiting for me and made a bit of a joke of my face being that of a woman in labour, asking where my sense of humour was now and should they run for some hot towels! I basically looked through the three of them stuck my hands on the counter and breathed through another surge.
They all went quiet and my midwife suggested I get on the bed so she could examine me, I said to her please don’t tell me I am only 1-2cm’s dilated as these surges are pretty full on. I can tell you I was pretty relieved when the voice came from between my legs actually you are 9cm’s dilated and we really need to get you to hospital quickly (I don’t think the midwife quite shared my sense of relief!).
We got back in the car after the midwives had put a pile of towels in my passenger seat and told me under no circumstances to push if I felt the urge to in the car, and so with the midwife in hot pursuit behind us we made the 10 minute journey to the hospital.
We arrived at North Shore Hospital and after escorting me up to the Birthing suite Jon went back downstairs to park the car. I stripped off into a hospital gown and insisted I needed to go to the toilet (not for a wee) to which the midwife assured me it was the pressure of the baby not my bowels.
I told her I didn’t care I wanted to sit on the toilet and so sit on it I did, after about half a minute I felt a strange sensation called in the midwife who entered the bathroom to be greeted by the what seemed to be a tsunami that was indeed my waters, membrane and all exploding into the toilet bowl / up in front of me etc!!.
I was told in no uncertain terms to get off the toilet and into the other room as the baby was literally on his way down, I got onto the bed feeling absolutely elated as the sensation to push had taken over the sensation of pressure and I just wanted to get the baby out (in the nicest possible sense of course).
Problem was Jon was nowhere to be seen as he was still parking the car and Charlie’s head had started crowning at this stage, after a desperate call by the student midwife on the mobile Jon reappeared with all the bags and was told by the midwife he could see his Son being born if he would like to move down the other end.
Jon looked extremely shocked but this was soon forgotten as he saw Charlie’s head crowning again and after about six pushes Charlie came into the world at 7.36pm with one of his famous cry’s and apgar scores of nine just 25 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.
The memory of it will stay with me forever as it truly was the most wonderful experience of my life, I can only describe the crowning as a stinging sensation and when Charlie was finally born he literally slipped out of my body, I will never forget the sensation. He was put straight onto my breast and started feeding straight away whilst I spoke to my Mum, my In-Laws and my Brother who were all in England. As you can imagine they were all pretty shocked as Jon had only called them all less than an hour earlier when we were on our way to hospital.
As I say it was all pretty surreal and the adrenalin really kicked in a few hours later when I was in the hospital bed by myself after Jon had gone home and I recalled the events of the afternoon and Charlie’s subsequent birth.
It was an amazing experience which I totally put down to the HypnoBirthing techniques I practiced and the only thing I will do differently next time is to have my next baby at home as I really didn’t enjoy being in hospital away from Jon and away from home.
So there we go my birth story in all its glory, it’s a bit of a novel but you hear so many stories about nightmare births I think it makes a nice change to read about a positive birth story. Four months on Charlie is the most amazing baby, he is so chilled out, has been sleeping through the night since he was three months and quite honestly gives me looks and smiles that convinces me he has been here before! He took to breastfeeding from day one like a duck to water, is absolutely thriving and is chomping at the bit to start on solids.
I thoroughly recommend HypnoBirthing to any expectant Mums out there it made my labour and Charlie’s birth the most amazing experience I have ever encountered and I am so looking forward to delivering my next baby in exactly the same way (but at home next time!)
Ulala and Mike’s first birth to Tao, February 2016
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I was week 39 and 5 days and still no signs at this stage apart from the occasional light cramps a couple of times a day.
We had gone out for a nice dinner out at our local pizzeria with family and friends on the evening of the 10th, just another usual day.
We came home had a shower, relaxed a bit on the couch before going to bed at around 11:30pm.
It was only 15mins after putting my head on the pillow when I suddenly started to wet my bed….
I soon realised my water had broken. I calmly woke my already half asleep partner Mike up and since there wasn’t any emergency as such, we decided not disturb our midwife of her precious rest time and just flick her a text and wait till the morning how things progressed.
We placed few towels on the bed and tried to get some rest for what might be a long day ahead of us, well, so we thought…
With no hesitation Mike went straight back to sleep…
Few moments later, I started to get what first started off as like a light period cramp down my lower back, I just breathed my cramps away, trying to fall asleep at the same time, but the light cramps soon became more stronger and more frequent. From hardly no pain, I was getting repetition surges that were minute long every couple of minutes. Things began to move…and fast!
By now I was fully awake doing my surge breathing technique on my balance ball next to our bed. Almost over an hour had passed and the surges was greater and getting greater by the minute. Mike finally woke up to see me hovering around the bed trying to breathe through these heavy surges and just surprised how quickly things had progressed on. From there onwards he put what he learnt into practise, helped me through each surges reminding me to breathe through them because by then I was starting to hold my breath every time a big surge would come along, it was getting harder for me to stay calm but Mike was ever so calm and did everything he could at the time to help me.At that point I really understood the importance and the need of having a great support. Around 2:45am Mike finally made the call to our midwife to tell her things were “moving fast”. He said he should have called her earlier but from looking at me he said I was so calm and quiet that he didn’t actually think Labour was moving so fast, that was until I started to dig my nails into his neck as I held onto him during the big surges. He said he was surprised how much strength I had ( he also told me later to cut my nails next time 🙂
It was an half an hour later when the surges were at it’s peak, I still wrapped my arms around Mike on my knees on our bed and just kept listening to him, keeping my focus on his voice and to let go of any fear that tried to take over me. After my second big surge I felt the tip of his head right by the opening and in that instant I knew he was not far away…
In the little time I had in between the surges I called out in the small voice I could just barely manage and I said, “ Baby….” Mike thought I was talking about him and replied “ yes babe?” and I was like “ no, baby! ” and he quickly figured what I meant looked down, reached his hands and in that instant on my fourth big surge Tao was born into Mike’s hands at 3:30am, 3.67kg and 54cm long.
At the same time our midwife walked in our bedroom.
From the time my water broke to the birth of our son, it was only 3 hours long. It was definitely a night we did not see it coming.
We didn’t even have time for Mike to blow up the pool for a water birth which was “in our plans”.
It was just an overwhelming experience no words can describe how amazing it actually was. From the moment he was born and even to this day he sleeps so well and is such a content baby. We really believe that the whole birth experience plays a great part to this. Having done the hypno birthing course and having an incredible midwife who supported the most natural birth possible gave us the confidence to have a home birth where we felt most comfortable and safe and preparing ourselves throughout the 9 months with such support definitely gave us such relaxed and positive approach.
Without a doubt Mike’s support was absolutely huge as well. With only Mike by my side I felt so comfortable and secure with the situation. if we were to have another baby in the future, unless there’s some medical reasons,I would not want it any other way. It really felt like we were as one and having this baby together.
Without the use of any epidural or help of any drugs, my recovery was great too.
Now that we’ve been through this experience, we truly believe that how baby is brought into this world does affect the baby in so many ways and possibly for the many years to come. I feel so happy that we could give our son the best possible birth experience.
It truly was a dream birth.
We are so grateful to everyone who made this possible for us.
Hannah and Dan’s first birth to Mateo, December 2018
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“I began reading Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan in my early weeks of pregnancy after hearing a friend’s positive birth story. I felt inspired that I too could have drug-free, calm and easy labour and
that’s exactly what I had.
Our son Mateo was due on the 7th of January 2019, however I had a gut feeling that I would go into labour before 2019 rolled around. On the morning of December 27th I began feeling some
tightening sensations that were coming every few minutes, I carried on with my day, caught up with a friend for coffee and went out on the boat ride with the family. I think part of me was also in denial
that pregnancy was coming to an end because I wanted to squeeze a camping trip in the next day.
The evening rolled around and at 8pm that night the tightening sensations were getting stronger and closer. At the time I was eating fish and chips – not the best choice of meal for someone
knowing that labour was beginning. My partner Dan was quick to get the positive affirmations track going, I had been listening to this for weeks leading up to the birth to feel empowered and
confident about the labour. As soon as the track ended I needed it back on straight away, it acted as a pain relief for me and kept me in the zone. The stodgy fish and chips thankfully came up,
which made me feel a lot better, I had read that vomiting was your body cleansing itself in preparation so this got me a bit excited too that I wasn’t experiencing false labour signs.
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the toilet but threw up in the sink. As I was cowered over the couch working through the surges poor Dan was pulling pipes apart to unblock the sink I had clogged up,
his hands covered in spew!
During surges, my breathing kept me so calm and relaxed and therefore the ‘pain’ was very bearable. I would fall asleep between surges and wake to work through the next one. We had
conveniently picked up the Tens machine too that day so I had that attached to me. Dan kept urging me to call my midwife to let her know what was happening but I kept wanting to hold off
because ‘it was late’ and ‘she might be sleeping’. I finally gave in and let her know that I was in labour. I worked through the surges for about 5 hours at home until they were 3 minutes apart,
before heading to the birthing centre in Warkworth at 330am.
The car ride was the part I had worried about most towards the end of my pregnancy, but pillows in the back seat with the affirmations track continuing made it so comfortable and I continued to fall
asleep between surges. Walking into the birthing centre was so nice – calm, quiet, softly lit and cosy… no disruption to the zone I had been in at home. When checked, I was 5cms dilated and
pretty happy about that! The affirmations track continued on repeat, the surges did become more intense but it was like each one was gearing me up to handle the next that had more power. There was no point that I thought I needed pain relief or a
feeling of ‘I can’t do this’, I must have skipped the transition phase of feeling helpless and defeated.
My eyes were closed for most of the time and few words were spoken to Dan but orders of what I needed, water, I’m hot, I’m cold. Things I found helpful were:
– being reminded to keep my jaw relaxed, loose jaw = loose pelvis
– applying the ‘deeply relax technique’ of placing a hand on my shoulder as an anchor
– visualisation of my cervix opening like a rose bud
– imagining my baby travelling down, Mum and baby working together to birth
– Dan repeating the word ‘melting’ to remind me to let my body relax and just surrender
Around 7am I was fully dilated, I entered the birthing pool, the sun was coming up and I remember thinking how true the time distortion was that I had heard about! It felt sooo good to be in the warm water!
My body then began to ‘bear down’ and what a sensation that was. It was intense but definitely not uncomfortable, if anything it felt good to be naturally pushing! I was becoming quite vocal now and
used my voice to put energy into bearing down. I noticed Dan getting emotional and I asked him what was wrong.. he thought I was in pain and I reassured him that there wasn’t pain just pressure
and releasing my voice was helpful. ‘J breathing’ here was very helpful.
Dan switched from the affirmations track to a playlist we had made for baby’s birth day, playing one song in particular that I had listened to often while imagining holding our baby for the first time. I
knew that meeting my baby was very close and the excitement and emotion of that was just overwhelming, Dan and I were smiling, crying and laughing, the head was out. I turned to my
midwife and said that I would do this again for sure. A few pushes and out baby came, I managed to catch him myself which was what I had wanted. A few minutes passed of absolute joy holding
him until we checked whether we had had a girl or boy!
Today is day 17 of being a Mum and I’m still buzzing over my labour experience (it also helps that we set up a little camera to film the birth, I haven’t been able to watch it yet without crying). It was
important for me to capture those first moments with baby and I instinctively knew it would be an awesome birth that I wanted to share with my girlfriends, who like so many women, have a
preconceived idea that childbirth is dramatic and scary.
What a great beginning to motherhood, thank you Helen so much for guiding me to have such a wonderful experience!”