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Rachael and daughter

I found out about hypnobirthing quite late in my pregnancy and only did the course in my third trimester. Ideally I would have completed the course earlier and more importantly practiced listening to the relaxation exercises for longer, that said it all worked really well!

My husband and I did practice reading some of the relaxation exercises but what I found most useful was the recording that was provided, which I listened to religiously every night (or at least I remember hearing the first 10 - 15min of it before I fell asleep!) I avoided listening to or watching any negativity about labour and made sure that I continued to think about my labour in a positive way.

On the day I woke up about 4:30am feeling a little strange. I sat on my birthing ball playing with my iPad. At about quarter to six / six o'clock I started to feel what I thought must be contractions although I wasn't sure and remember thinking my husband would normally leave for work at seven and I didn't want to stop him for a false alarm. At quarter past six I woke husband up as the contractions seem to be coming more regularly and I felt I needed someone else to help me time them. My husband didn't panic and the first thing he did was make sure he had some breakfast as he knew he was not good if he hasn't eaten!

At this point I was using the breathing that I had practiced (breathing to the rhyme twinkle twinkle little star) and felt quite calm and relaxed. By six thirty the contractions were coming four/five every ten min so we called the hospital. The hospital said they were very busy and that I probably didn't need to come in just yet and to call back after seven. It was starting to feel a little uncomfortable so I took a paracetamol and decided I would try having a bath, the bath did not work for me, being in the water made my bump feel unusual, and I struggled with my upwards visualisations, so I quickly got out the bath and returned to my previous position leaning on the bed.

At quarter past seven we called the hospital again and they agreed for me to come in to be assessed. I have to say one of the hardest parts was to keep focus whilst getting into the car and I think something I could have done is practiced that part of the birth in my head so it would have required less thought at the time. By twenty to eight I was in the assessment room and everything was working as planned. My husband had my birthing plan and was explaining it to the midwife making sure all the talking was done through him. At this point I was already eight cm dilated and so they moved me into a birthing room quickly.

The midwife went to check the babies heart rate and seem to become concerned that the baby was back to back, at this point I was struggling to find a position I felt comfortable in and so when the midwife suggested laying on my side this seemed as good an option as any, and in fact work perfectly as the baby soon turned to be in the correct position. The next hour flew by, I concentrated on my breathing and had the same reading playing that I had listen to every night to reaffirm my relaxation. My water broke in a spectacular fashion narrowly missing my husband, it was soon after this that I started to feel I might need some additional support in the form of pain relief. My husband knew that I had been keen to avoid any drugs if possible and as Nancy had said often when you get to this point you are just a short time away from giving birth - and she was right!

Three more contractions and my baby was delivered, my second phase was just twelve min. I felt a change in sensation and changed my visualisation and breathing and I very much remember my body doing what it needed without me even thinking about it. Our baby girl was born at 10:02 weighing 8lb 8oz, she was immediately placed on my tummy. Once the cord had been cut my baby started to wriggle her was up to my breast ready to feed. We had no issues with breast feeding and we have one relaxed and placid end little girl :-)

The key I found to the whole labour was to remain relaxed and hypno birthing gave me the tools to do this. I couldn't have imagined my birth going any better, it was quick, I didn't need any drugs or intervention and I remained calm and relaxed all the way through. This enabled me to have a quick recovery and meant I was home from hospital enjoying my baby the very next day!