Finding out I was pregnant a 2nd time came as quite a shock. We had only just discussed having another baby and 2 weeks later I was looking down on a positive pregnancy test. I had naively assumed that conceiving would take its time as it had with our 1st. I was in shock, how would we cope with 2 under 2? How would I cope? My husband was over the moon about the news. I already had concerns about the birth after my experiences with my 1st, my little boy. I knew I couldn’t spend the pregnancy in a state of anxiety and fear.
I was only 8 weeks pregnant at this point, but instead of wallowing in my anxiety I needed to know that I was taking action that might help this journey to motherhood be a smoother one and keep me calm in the forthcoming months. I knew there was nothing I could do to change things physically about the birth, but I needed to change how I felt mentally about the birth and prepare myself for what might happen. I didn’t want to struggle with PND again with 2 small children. I needed to find strength and stay strong.
I reached out to my Hypnobirthing trainer. We revisited my memories of last time and my anxieties for this time. I felt that I missed something along the way in the journey to become my little boy’s Mum. Friends and family had tried to make me feel better by getting me to focus on my beautiful little boy but I felt that something was missing. I had taken a journey from A to B, but wasn’t aware of how I had got there. I hadn’t heard his first cry, I hadn’t been able to give him his first cuddle and ease his discomfort after a long labour. I likened these feelings to the transition that a vaginal birth offers. The fluid on a baby’s lungs is squeezed out at birth and the mother’s body is given a kick-start to produce milk. If a vaginal birth can do this physically, I felt that it was perfectly natural for me to feel the way I was mentally having missed out on this transition.
My hypnobirthing trainer encouraged me to talk with the Head of Midwifery at the Hospital I’d had my 1st and where I hoped to give birth to my 2nd. The HOM was very supportive and wanted to do as much as possible to ensure a more positive experience, especially as I’d had an Emergency C Section under a General Anaesthetic. When we met, although she had my birth notes in front of her, she was keen to hear my recollection of the birth (not rely on the facts that were written down) and how I felt about it. She felt it was important to hear how I felt, in order to work out how she might be able to ease my concerns over the next 7 months and for the arrival of our second baby.
We discussed my experiences with the various Registrars and Consultants that I had seen during my pregnancy. Fertility investigations before my pregnancy had discovered that I had a bi cornuate uterus, a malformation that can cause issues regarding the growth of the baby, breech presentation and premature labour. I had also had a placenta abruption in the early weeks of my pregnancy so the midwives felt that my pre natal care should be under a Consultant. My experiences of these appointments were that I felt I wasn’t listened to and that I was made to feel by the Consultant that I was a naive first time ‘Mum to be’ who didn’t know any better. Towards the end of my pregnancy when breech presentation and premature labour had been ruled out I asked about going on the birth centre under midwife care. I was made to feel like I was acting cavalier about my health and the health of my baby and that I should want to be on the delivery suite under consultants so that I had lots of pain relief options and could be taken into theatre in an emergency. I knew by this point from a tour of the maternity facilities that only a short corridor separated the birth centre and the delivery suite. I wasn’t being cavalier. I was merely asking a question about the type of birth I was hoping for. I wanted it to be written into my notes that I could go on the birth centre to avoid any deliberation when I arrived at triage in labour. The midwives told me to ask my Consultant and the Consultant told me to ask the midwives. I was frustrated and if I wasn’t being listened to now, would I be listened to when I was in labour.
In response to these experiences and how I felt, the HOM arranged for me to be seen by the Consultant who I’d had a great experience with during my fertility investigations. I hadn’t realised that I could have asked to have been seen by her. In addition, she organised for me to see a midwife that I’d received great post-natal treatment from and it would be this midwife that I would see throughout my pregnancy. It was such a relief to have this continuity of care. I wouldn’t have to keep repeating how I was feeling and why I was feeling it to different medical professionals. I felt as my pregnancy progressed that my Midwife really got to know me and could tell if I was having a good or bad day. The HOM also sought out answers to questions about why things had happened the way they had during the 1st labour. There were question marks over the kind of infection I had which had led me to not being able to have an epidural and which subsequently meant having to have a general anaesthetic during my c section. She also encouraged me to be positive about what I had achieved in my previous labour. I had felt that I had failed in using Hypnobirthing and that I wouldn’t be able to successfully birth a second baby because I had only reached 8cm with my first with whom it had been discovered was brow presentation. She pointed out that I had successfully dilated to 8cm despite him being brow presentation and that in itself was no mean feat. If I had only reached 2-3cm then she would have her concerns but reaching 8cm was a pretty good stat to base a successful VBAC on.
Aside from my appointments I felt I needed to practise a way of relaxing, take some time out for ‘me time’ and focus on my body and find my inner ‘Mummy’ strength. I chose to start Pregnancy Yoga and revisited Hypnobirthing using a new CD and simpler techniques. The yoga class I attended was led by an inspirational teacher who instilled confidence in my body’s ability to birth, gave me the opportunity to practise breathing through contractions and feel empowered and accept that if the inevitable was another c section then so be it, it was just mother nature being given a helping hand.
My husband and I decided to opt for a Doula, thankfully my Hypnobirthing trainer is one, so we didn’t have far to look and it felt like a very natural choice having now known her for 2 years. Tracey is very passionate about positive birthing experience and on several occasions she encouraged me to believe that whatever was going to happen, sticking with my birth plan or not, I would feel different about this birth compared to last time because she would ensure that we would be involved and in control. Tracey came with me to a few of my Consultant appointments. She knew my wishes and early on was my advocate when it became all too much for me emotionally. Medical professionals had assured me after last time that this birth would be different because it was a different baby but tried to make decisions about my forthcoming birth based on last time. This left me feeling confused and frustrated. Over time at my appointments, my confidence grew and I was able to speak for myself. On my own, at my last Consultant appointment I politely and confidently declined an elective C Section (again!). This felt like such a big deal for me as my decision came from a well-informed place and I wasn’t scared to speak my mind. I told the Consultant and anyone else that asked “let the facts lead decisions, rather than making decisions based on what ‘might’ happen”.
Towards the end of my pregnancy the HOM arranged a tour of the delivery suite. Up until this point I had avoided this part of the hospital for meetings, choosing to meet elsewhere. I felt anxious being anywhere near the room I had been in last time. Tracey and I met the Head of Delivery there to discuss the use of the birth pool, a sign off that we were struggling to get from my Consultant. I assumed it was because the Consultant was being stereotypically obstructive but as it turned out it was because the hospital had no guidelines for VBACS birthing in a pool. It may have not been the news I wanted to hear but I happily accepted this. I didn’t want to push my choice to use the birth pool and end up with a midwife on pins at every deceleration of my baby’s heart beat . After we had discussed the use of the birth pool, the HOD took us to look at one of the rooms on delivery. It had been described to me as one of the lesser medicalised rooms on delivery, with its birth pool, bubble tube and larger open space. I felt anxious being in the room, even though I had thought about giving birth a lot in the last few months, reality certainly set in being stood in the room that everyone hoped I would give birth in. The moment lifted for me as the HOD had clocked that Amanda, the final midwife that attended my son’s birth was on duty. I knew from my husband’s recollections of events and what the HOM had told me that Amanda had tried a change of tactics during my labour to avoid the inevitable outcome and was very supportive as I went into theatre. The HOD gave her a recap about my 1st labour and her involvement and how I was feeling about my impending labour. Amanda immediately put me at ease by suggesting ways of making it a positive experience even if we went down the C Section route (by putting heart monitor pads on my feet so my chest was free to enjoy skin to skin immediately). She also suggested emailing all the band 7 midwives and filling them in about my history and to be aware of my impending arrival around my due date. It was such a lovely thing to suggest and I took a lot of comfort in knowing that a team of people would be aware of me and my background and for the first time I felt excited about giving birth, a feeling that I believe baby shared with me as I had really strong Braxton Hicks on the way home.
To avoid feeling like a watched pot and feeling anxious that I might go over my due date again we told a white lie to our friends and family. We added a couple of weeks onto our due date. As the waiting game started this helped me avoid conversations with people about whether or not I would have to have another C Section and what would happen if I went overdue. I wanted to stay positive. I was hoping for the best but felt I had become prepared (because of last time) for the worse. As my real due date loomed I could be relaxed with friends and family who didn’t know the real truth but could be as anxious as I wanted to be with those that did, such as my Doula, close friends who were on round the clock call to look after my little boy and obviously my husband.
I quietly revelled in every symptom that labour might be on its way in hope that this time was going to be different. This time I had a show 4 days before my due date, I knew my baby’s head was engaged and then 3 days before at my own baby shower I started having contractions. Disappointingly these stopped after 2 hours. Nothing then happened until a day after my due date when I had another 2 hours of contractions and then nothing. I was getting despondent and worried that there was a reason that my contractions weren’t sticking around and building. Tracey reassured me that it was a good thing as it could be my body slowly getting everything into position and then it would all kick off. The pessimist in me needed more convincing.
3 days after my due date it took a friend who was visiting me to point out that I was having regular contractions. I was occupied with getting lunch ready for my little boy. She offered to hook me up to my tens machine but I dismissed the offer as I didn’t want to mess around with the sticky pads only to have to put them away again, as I assumed that once again, my contractions would disappear. It was when my little boy was down for his nap, my friend had left and I was sitting down for my lunch that I started to think differently. I finished my lunch and decided to call my husband. During the phone call I had to stop talking to breathe through my contractions. Neither of us wanted to get excited so I decided that I would download an app and time my contractions for an hour and then call him back. It took less than 10 minutes using the app to realise that my contractions were coming thick and fast. The text that I sent to my doula sums up my panic ‘Every 2 mins. 45 secs in length. Just started timing. Reuben sleeping. Rich at work’. My Doula heard panic in my voice on the phone as she tried to get me to think practically. I needed to call Rich and get him to leave work and get my friend back who had only recently left, to come and look after Reuben. She then added, that if anything changed drastically I should call an Ambulance. Eeeeek! More panic set in. I clocked the time and told myself that I could cope on my own for another 20 minutes. I listened to a Hypnobirthing track and breathed through the contractions using the shush breathing I had learnt at yoga.
Tracey arrived to a slightly emotional labouring me! I was so relieved to see her and felt a lot better after some paracetemol and being hooked up to the tens machine. I felt even better 10 minutes later when I had a brew in one hand and slice of fruit cake in the other whilst I was sat on my birthing ball. Normality existed between strong and powerful contractions. I loved being at home surrounded by supportive and loving people.
At around 4.30pm Tracey observed that my contractions were building and we discussed whether I wanted to go into the hospital or not. I was wary about going into hospital too early as I knew being a VBAC that some control might be taken away from me sooner than I wanted it too. I also couldn’t decide whether the pressure that was building down below was because I needed the toilet or if it was the baby. I also wondered if a bath might help. Anyway 4 or 5 contractions later I got upstairs and went to the toilet. I considered the bath briefly but dismissed it because I realised that in order to get in the bath I would have to make the tens machine redundant and I didn’t want to do that. This confirmed to me that it was time to go to the hospital.
We pushed through local rush hour traffic and I endured every bump in the road whilst having contractions. I got to triage at 6pm and it was confirmed that I was 6cm (amazingly this ended up being the only examination I needed). I cried tears of joy. I was in established labour. I had done 6cm all on my own. I was so relieved and proud of what I’d achieved. I still wasn’t sure I could finish the job and surely something would happen like last time. This was topped off by the fact that Tracey went to find a midwife and came back with Amanda. It was lovely to see a familiar face. Sadly Amanda was only able to stick around for an hour but she involved me in the handover to the next midwife, Jess with such sensitivity that this wasn’t an issue.
It was a slow walk to the delivery suite, stopping frequently to breathe through contractions. Whilst being continually monitored I had the freedom to shuffle around the room that had been reserved for me, leant on the bed and leant on Tracey and Richard and frequented the toilet several times. The pressure down below was building and I was getting quite anxious about it. Tracey encouraged me to make more noise if I needed to. I tried this and it really helped. After a couple of times making a noise I dropped an octave or two so that the noise came from a lower place in my diaphragm and this seemed to create a downward pressure to break my waters. I felt excited and amazed when my waters broke, shocked at what my body was capable of.
I knew now that I was in unchartered territory, I knew that the next part involved a baby being born and I wasn’t sure I had it in me to do it. I doubted myself. I asked for gas and air, not because of pain but because I needed to relax and go with what was happening. I felt that I was mentally stopping my body from birthing. I needed to switch that doubting voice off in my head. Equipped with gas and air I moved to the floor and got on all fours. Using the gas and air distracted me. I could feel my baby moving downwards and the feeling amazed yet filled me with fear, I looked to Tracey and Richard for reassurance. It wasn’t long before Tracey pointed out to me that the midwife was getting the delivery pack ready. Our baby’s arrival was close. 29 minutes after my waters broke, at 9.04pm, our baby girl arrived. I couldn’t believe it.
I was in shock that I had actually given birth. I’d done it. I was elated that I’d birthed my baby and then had the complete surprise that we had a girl (I know it’s a 50/50 but in that moment I was just pleased we had a baby!). I am grateful to Tracey for her support throughout my pregnancy and birth and even more for the fact she grabbed her camera phone and captured Imogen’s first few moments of life and my realisation with Richard that we had achieved the birth that we had dreamed of. In the hours that followed, in amongst laughter and love and NHS tea and toast I breastfed Imogen for the first time, we enjoyed skin on skin and Richard cut the cord after delayed cord clamping. By 2am the following morning we were getting into our own beds with our beautiful baby girl sleeping next to me.
It took me a while to process how I felt about the birth. It was such a euphorically amazing moment in my life. Even though I already had Reuben I feel that the act of giving birth to Imogen gave me a smoother ride into ‘becoming’ her Mother. I think I floated for months with fulfilment as I pushed Imogen around in her pram. I felt complete rather than feeling broken, lost and wading through grief as I had done with Reuben.
There were times during my pregnancy I feared not being listened to and choice not being given to me. I was also made to doubt my own body. In my fear I empowered myself to take charge. I lent on Tracey, professionals at the hospital and my own personal network for support and guidance. Often through tears I had to discuss and fight for the birth I wanted. It didn’t seem fair to have to fight, it was emotionally draining and a huge rollercoaster but somehow towards the end of the pregnancy I found my voice and made people listen. It was hard, but so worth it. I learnt so much about myself.
I needed this ‘text book’ style birth to get over my 1st. I feel privileged in some ways to have experienced two such different births. My children made two very unique entrances into the world and both stories will be retold to them when they ask with much love and happiness. Despite some internal stitches, I felt healed.
Just wanted to let you know that Thomas Jon Phillipson was born last Tuesday (3.11.15) at 13.42 and weighed 7lb 9oz.
I would like to thank you for all the support, tips and hypnobirthing strategies. I had a wonderful and quick labour and can honestly say I enjoyed it. I went into labour around 2 in the morning and listened to the hypnobirthing music and tried to relax and get comfortable. I then had a bath around 6am. My surges started to increase very quickly from about 8 onwards and remained at home as long as I could. When I started to feel Tommy’s head coming I knew we had better get to hospital! Once in hospital I was taken to the birth centre and was told baby was coming so there was no time for the water. Pretty much within 3 pushes he was born. I had 4 paracetamol and used the Tens machine that was all! I had no gas and air (even though the midwife kept offering it to me) and even had to turn down my machine! The essential oils really helped (and are still helping now). The breathing and focusing techniques really helped and I was so proud that Tommy was born so naturally as possible. I am very lucky to have had such a lovely labour and am so happy that we have a beautiful, healthy baby boy!
I am so pleased we went to your fourth class the other week as he came 2 weeks early and I would have missed tonight’s last session.
Please let everyone know at the class tonight that hypnobirthing does work and for them to look forward to labour and to meeting their babies. I have had a very positive experience and they can too!
On a personal note thanks for all your advice, tips and support! I really enjoyed your classes and will recommend you very highly to anyone I know who is pregnant.
Becky, Barry and Thomas Phillipson
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for your classes, Phill and I delivered baby Arthur at home this morning (3.25am), following the breathing techniques you gave us, without this it would have been a different story!
The labour/birth took 8h in total. we couldn’t make it to the hospital by the time wythenshaw accepted us to come as it was too late by then.
Phill delivered the baby on his own as the ambulance didn’t make it on time, he remained so calm and I was so focused that we actually had a great experience. The ambulance then took me to the hospital to deliver the placenta.
Thanks again for all your help Tracey xx
Just wanted to let you know that baby Betty arrived late on Sunday night, and we were both happy and well and sent home the next morning.
I’m still shocked by how fast and easy the labour was! I didn’t start having surges until an hour after my waters broke, at which point we were in the car and on our way to triage to confirm they had broken. At triage the midwife recommended we head back home for a bit, but that didn’t feel like a good idea. I asked her to check me out before I went and she was surprised to see I was already 7cm dilated and I was starting to feel like I needed to push. I still don’t know how things progressed so quickly but I felt so calm and I was able to really relax during the surges rather than fighting them like I did with my little boy. We were only in the birthing suite for 24 minutes, a good chunk of which was spent with me being told off by the midwife for letting Stewart go out to move the car, as she was worried he would miss the birth. Luckily he made it back in time!
I was able to concentrate on one surge at a time, I remembered that any pain was a pain with a purpose. I was comfortable throughout on just gas and air, and I delivered with no intervention in the lovely, peaceful birthing centre at Wythenshawe hospital. Your help was invaluable, thank you so much Tracey……
Betty is three weeks old today, and she is such a lovely, calm little girl – we think this must be because of how peacefully she was delivered. Thanks again for your help and the tools you gave us.
I’ve been recommending you to my all pregnant buddies and will continue to do so, so please feel free to share my email.
Hope you have a very lovely Christmas. X
We wanted to thank you so much for your expertise with the hypno birthing. We are so glad that we were able to take part in such an informative course that gave us so much knowledge. It worked an absolute treat for us!! So much so I was 9cm dilated by the time we got to the hospital!! The midwife was shocked at how calm we were.
We delivered our beautiful baby girl Ingrid Rayn at 7lb7oz on 26th September 7:20am (term+4) with just the breathing techniques and the tens machine. Although we didn’t have the water birth we wanted it was defiantly the right birth on the day for all of us. We did need some assistant at the end from the ventouse due to a latent second stage and baby being slightly stuck on the pelvis and I was exhausted having been in early labour for 22 hours.
Baby is happy and healthy and I’m recovering well too.
Thanks again Tracey, we will be advocates of the Wise Hippo for life.
Jess, Gareth and Ingrid
We wanted to share the story of Alexander’s birth as it was such a positive experience for us and we benefited from reading about other people’s stories throughout the pregnancy so thought others might enjoy reading this. This is also an opportunity to say thank you to Tracey – whose support, teaching and care made our lovely birth possible. It is safe to say that we are total converts to hypnobirthing and viewing labour as a positive and empowering experience, which is a huge leap for us as I began the pregnancy certain that the baby would be delivered under consultant care and with as much pain relief as possible.
On the day that Alexander was born, my waters broke in the night around 4.30 am and I started getting contractions. We were sure it was still early labour as although the contractions were intense, they did not have a regular pattern and were actually almost continuous so we were thinking we have a long day ahead of us. I was finding the intensity hard to manage, so I got in touch with Tracey for some support. Tracey came right away, arriving around 7am, she took control of the situation, reinstated calm and got me set up with a Tens machine while helping me to breathe through the contractions and use the hypnobirthing techniques I had learnt. As the contractions did not follow a regular pattern, it was difficult to know how far the labour had progressed and Tracey suggested the use of Jasmine essential oil which really helped.
Around 9ish we started thinking about making our way to the hospital as we had planned to make use of the pool but before we could, mysterious contractions regulated and the baby was crowning. Pushing took just a few minutes and was almost pain-free and then Alexander came into the world so relaxed and beautiful at 9.45. He was delivered in our living room, with no pain relief except for two paracetamol I had taken earlier!
As we ended up having an unplanned home birth we needed to get in touch with the paramedics. The ambulance arrived and they cut the cord and then the midwife came to help deliver the placenta and check both baby and me. As everyone was well we did not need to go into hospital and by 11am we were left alone at home to have one of the best days of our lives with our gorgeous new bundle in our arms.
Throughout the pregnancy and the labour, Tracey’s support was invaluable and it is hard to express just how much she did for us. I think it’s the combination of her knowledge as a nurse, the experience of supporting many labouring mums and most of all her warmth and natural intuition that make her an incredible companion and help. We will always be grateful to her.
We’ll certainly choose to have home births in the future (if we are lucky enough to have another little one) so long as Tracey is able to support us and we can do a refresher course in hypnobirthing!
Thank you again Tracey for helping us have a better birth than we could have ever imagined and for providing such an amazing start to Alexander’s life. .
My surges started rather strongly at 7pm on Monday 6th Aug. I had had twinges since the early hours of the morning but carried on as normal, went to tesco, walked the dog etc (all as planned!!) Once the surges got strong, I spent the evening on the sofa, candles lit, Paul watching TV and breathed through every one. By about midnight they were not really getting ‘closer’ together so I rang Preston Hospital who said I need to ring back when they are and it could be hours. I literally sat back down, tried to lie down on the sofa as the next one started and my waters brokes. The surges were instantly coming then thick and fast. We rang the hospital back and I basically told them I was coming in . I had been ‘labouring properly for about 6 hours. We arrived at the hospital at 2am, they examined me and I was 6cm. Once in the delivery suite, the midwife was amazing and so very supportive. She read my birth notes and afterwards I know she did everything I wanted. I used G&A only, tried a bath but it was too uncomfortable. Apparently I had lost ALL my waters so his head was literally right on something. Eekkk. I did have a very slight wobble at one point and said I didnt like the g&a and wanted an epidural. The midwife knew this was not what I wanted so distracted me – clever lady – I soon forgot about it. Paul was fab he held my hand and helped me breath through every surge. I felt totally in control. When it came to birth breathing, although I was anxious about it before hand I really feel I did a good job. I think all in all I was breathing him down for about an hour. In between surges and pushes I was totally relaxed and zoned out – it was such a strange feeling but good one too. He finally arrived in the World at 6.28am on the 7th Aug. So all in all, my labour in hospital was only 4 hours or so. I did not have any stitches/intervention at all. Very proud.
Thank you for all your help and support – The breathing was amazing and as a result I literally had the perfect birth!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks again. Louise and Paul Brookes xxxxxx > > P.S He is Gorgeous!!
We were so impressed with Tracey’s knowledge, passion and level of support. Thanks to Tracey we went from being apprehensive about the whole birth process to having the confidce to plan for a home birth with absolutely no anxieties! We can’t believe its not more widespread/mandated in antenatal classes. We believe midwives should do a hypnoBirthing course!it transformed our view from something to be feared/ a medical event to a natural time to be savoured and enjoyed.
Tracey, We just wanted to thank you for your passion, support and inspiration through the course. You taught us to be confident and educated about bringing Aoife into the world naturally and with out pain relief. We are loving motherhood and our wee girl! We will see you again for a HypnoBirthing booster before number 2 arrives! Love Lin, Lorna and Aoife xxx
We wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to you Tracey. I was sceptical at first but enrolling on your course was the best thing we did.
Having you be our doula was the second best thing we did!
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 29 weeks and they wanted to induce me at 37 weeks. You came along with us to the meetings with our consultant and supported us throughout. We were caught in the headlamps of the situation but you guided us through it and we all compromised on an induction date at 39 weeks.
I went into hospital to be induced but we were in hospital for a week having sweeps and pessaries before anything got going. Your techniques got us through that time. I was having contractions but never needed any pain relief. I look back on it as a wonderful time actually. Your course brought me and my husband so close and that week was a lovely opportunity to use what we’d learnt.
They finally decided to break my waters and put me on the oxytocin drip to try and get things going however 8 hours later (as you know because you were there with us every step of the way) they decided to go for a c section as my cervix had not dilated. You may think that your course was irrelevant for us but you’d be so wrong! Your course and what we’d learnt on it kept us sane, calm and able to make good decisions in a difficult situation.
All around us we saw girls panicking and I can honestly say we never did. We felt like we had a selection of tools we could use together.
So thank you Tracey, in fact I’m going to get back to it again. I really miss doing your relaxations. !
Sarah, Matt and Jamie, born to very calm happy parents
Birth story – Kathy, Dave & baby Alice 29.09.13
My mum was given an epidural when in labour with my sister and I. She was given it as routine. Unfortunately it wasn’t inserted correctly so she has experienced some back problems on an off ever since. I asked her if she felt she could have managed without it and she replied that she felt she hadn’t needed it. She felt resentful of the lack of choice. Whilst it had been a rare accident, I was nervous of epidurals and needles in general and wanted to have as natural a childbirth experience as possible for our first child.
Whilst researching online, I discovered hypnobirthing and came across Tracey’s website. She offered a 6 week course in it. Whilst I could easily access hypnobirthing material elsewhere, my husband and I were interested in learning the correct techniques with other couples in the surroundings of the local Midwife Lead Unit.
Commencing at 20 weeks into my pregnancy, each week we learnt about breathing, visualisations and relaxation techniques for the different stages of labour and childbirth. It was during the course that we decided to ask Tracey to be our Doula. We both felt comfortable around her. As first time parents, we felt reassured that Tracey had a really good knowledge of the ‘system’ and could confidently liaise with the healthcare professionals on our behalf when needed.
I practiced the hypnobirthing techniques every day without fail, often falling asleep to the music. I was very committed to it. Dave enjoyed being involved with the practice and felt Tracey supported him by showing him ways to help me.
We met with Tracey about three quarters of the way through my pregnancy in our home to discuss our birth plan and techniques. She answered any of our questions and made notes of our preferences. We transferred hospitals to the one we had taken the course in as having taken tours of both, we preferred the large birthing rooms and feel of the one we moved to. Tracey helped us find the information to do this.
Tracey contacted me on the day she started her ‘cover’ of us – available 24 hours a day, for us to call whenever I went into labour. We were excited and reassured that she was just a phone call away. Unfortunately, the due date came and went and still no baby. I started to take raspberry leaf tablets recommended by Tracey and walked for an hour each evening with Dave. One of the benefits of having a late summer baby! In the meantime, the topic of cervical swipes was raised at each midwife appointment. I discussed my concerns with Tracey. I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea and I decided to decline the offers, which was the right decision for me. She sent positive messages and offered advice. Sex being one of them and the last thing I felt like doing!
As the induction date loomed, Dave and I started to get worried. I was weary of medical intervention and its possible escalation. I discussed with Tracey, our options should I decide not to be induced at 12 days and was reassured that we had them. At 9 days overdue, we finally tried the sex option. At 10 days, I had a relaxing reflexology session with a lovely lady recommended by her in the comfort of our own home.
The next morning, I dosed though some slight discomfort in my lower abdomen. I had downloaded a free contraction time app and sleepily timed them. They were ever 15 minutes or so and I realised they were contractions. I sent a text to Tracey to make her aware. She said to keep track and contact her when I felt I needed her. Unfortunately they subsided. I was disappointed but with Tracey’s advice we upped the sex (not an easy thing to do at almost 42 weeks pregnant!) and kept active. Thankfully, at 4pm the contractions started again. Dave and I had a Chinese takeaway and watched some TV with me using my breathing techniques through the contractions. They really felt like the waves we had learnt about. Whilst I had to focus on them during their build up and decline, once each had subsided, I made sure I relaxed and kept engaged with everyday life.
At about 7:30pm a small trickle started. We contacted the hospital who told us to go in, but having discussed it with Tracey we decided to wait a bit longer as I wanted to stay home as long as possible and there was a good chance that we would have been turned away. I starting using the TENS machine (having practiced putting on the sticky pads some days prior helped!) and began listening to the relaxation music through my ipod. At 9pm my mucus plug went when I was on the toilet. By this time, the contractions were about 4 minutes apart. I asked Dave to phone Tracey and she came round. She gave me space to use my breathing techniques and rest.
Finally, at Midnight we left for the hospital. On the way to the MWLU I had a contraction and it really helped when Tracey firmly pushed down my shoulders when I breathed out. Unfortunately there was a communication error with the hospital and a room hadn’t been prepared. However, with Tracey’s help we remained calm through the two hours and I was happy to sit in a chair continuing to use the TENS machine, the music, the breathing and visualisations. She regularly sought updates which helped. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was 7cm dilated.
I choose to get into the birth pool once we were in our room. I found the water very comforting. I stayed in there for several hours. Tracey respectfully moved out of eyesight when I had the regular monitoring checks, which I appreciated.
After a while I suddenly felt a strong urge to bear down. I requested G&A and found using it a useful distraction. After an hour or so, I felt like the water was not helping me bear down and my contractions had slowed. It was suggested I get out. We discovered that not all of my waters had gone. A simple and painless procedure helped to rectify this.
We tried some different positions, but not much was happening although I felt a lot of pressure in my lower back so I was aware that our baby was moving downwards. The midwife kept on telling us that I should go on a drip, which I didn’t want to do. I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but Tracey negotiated on our behalf to allow us more time, which we’re very grateful for.
I tried standing with support either side of me under my arms so I could breathe into my pushing and soon found this to be the right position for me. Apparently I hummed! I felt a lot of pressure down below and a stretching sensation and was told that our baby’s head was out. A few seconds later the rest of her body slid out too and there she was! Alice was born at 11:53am, weighing 7 pounds 5.
We had wanted to wait until the cord had stopped pulsating for Dave to then cut it. We were pleased that we could do this and that it had been conveyed to the midwives by Tracey. The placenta followed easily about 20 minutes after delivery.
I had a few stiches, but it was fine. Tracey stood by the bed and I used the G&A. I didn’t need it however. I was enjoying the lightheaded experience. We even shared a joke about me being drunk. We were able to leave hospital within 9 hours of our daughter’s birth as we were keen to return home.
Tracey visited the day after to assist with breastfeeding instruction. This was a great help. She also surprised us with a lovely birthing story and gift a few weeks later.
I’m really pleased we decided to have a hypnobirth and choose Tracey as a Doula. We felt calm, secure and confident. I never once thought to ask for an epidural, which surprised me, but it is a testament to the support she provided. Thank you Tracey for making our birth experience such a positive one!
Dave: When Kathy suggested that we attend a hypnobirthing course I was very sceptical, but I am glad that we did. It was not long into the course that I realised that it was incredibly useful. Thanks to Tracey, we had a brilliant birth experience, and with her as our doula I felt a lot more confident that we were providing Kathy with the support she needed in such a pivotal moment.
Tracey helped by comforting Kathy in ways that I could not, in particular it was great to have her sitting in the back of the car on the way to the hospital, I could concentrate on getting us there safely! Tracey continued to be incredibly helpful at the hospital, liaising with the staff so that Kathy was as comfortable as possible, and could concentrate on her breathing. She also supported Kathy helping and encouraging her to try different positions to help keep the birth going.
I am so proud of my wife, she gave birth without any drugs and without swearing once, all thanks to Tracey’s teachings, advice and support!