Positive Birth Stories are here to revolutionize the way we look at birth (and change the world 🙂 )! Fear and stress associated to birth are one of the main reason why women don’t manage to achieve a joyful birth experience. And it doesn’t have to be that way! You can read more about Positive Birth Stories here. Or head to my birth story: How I had a natural and pain free birth thanks to hypnobirthing.
Emma’s Birth Story
I practiced hypnobirthing when I was preparing for my daughter’s arrival into the world – we wanted a calm, relaxing birth for our daughter and so we worked hard to prepare for this. I spent countless hours reading birth stories so I could learn about the process, and what I could do to facilitate a calm and relaxing birth. Here is my birth story:
Riley (our Little Pickle!), born at 3.13am, 7 pound 6 oz.
I had been given my due date, but I had done my own research and found out that the average first time pregnancy is 41 weeks and 3 days, so I used that as my own estimated due date, but I thought about it more as a ‘due month’ (most babies come within 38-42 weeks)- no need to focus on a particular date. I had a midwife appointment about a week before my assigned due date, where I had refused to be booked in for an induction, and also refused a membrane sweep (a more gentle form of induction where the midwife uses a gloved hand to sweep the inside of the cervix in a circular motion to try and bring on labor). At this point I wasn’t even at my due date, so I left the appointment wondering why she offered me an induction so early on? Was there something I wasn’t aware of?
The due date came and went (as expected) and I worried a bit about being induced- the midwife was a bit pushy when it came to me refusing induction, and she made it known that it was not ‘the norm’ for women to refuse induction. I came out of the appointment and e-mailed my hypnobirthing instructor to check I wasn’t missing something- was I wrong for refusing induction because ‘everyone else’ goes with it? She replied back and stated that I made an informed decision, I know the risks of induction and I didn’t feel that they outweighed the risks of having an ‘overdue’ baby. I felt much more reassured and carried on enjoying my maternity leave.
On Monday night, I felt a few twinges, and so went to bed to get some rest before labor started. I had a full night’s sleep and in the morning, we went for a walk before Nat went to work, in the hopes that it would kick start things again- it didn’t! I had an appointment later that day, where I had a membrane sweep. They said I was already 3 cms dilated, and discussed induction dates with me. We had done more research into induction and we decided to refuse induction until 40+14 (the midwives wanted to book me in to be induced at 40+10, but being induced would have meant that I couldn’t give birth at the Midwife Led Unit (MLU), so we wanted to avoid that if possible). I was booked in for a sweep on Thursday, and another on Saturday.
On Thursday morning I had the second sweep, this time at the MLU. The midwife was absolutely lovely and didn’t make me feel at all weird for refusing induction. I used my hypnobirthing breathing throughout the sweep, and didn’t feel any pain. It just felt a bit socially uncomfortable, but didn’t feel uncomfortable physically at all. The midwife said I was 4cm and was doing really well. I had felt a few twinges between Monday and Thursday but nothing significant at all.
I had a few twinges throughout the day but they just felt like normal cramps. I started timing them at about 8pm, but I kept forgetting to time some of them because I was just going about my day! We went to bed at 10pm, and by 10 past 10, realized it was actual labor because I couldn’t talk through the surges. I called the hospital to tell them we were coming in (the contractions were about every 4 minutes apart at this stage, but each contraction was getting closer than the previous one). I put my hypnobirthing tracks on, and just breathed through the surges while hugging Nat.
Things came to a complete halt during the journey to the hospital (as expected- due to the stress of travelling), and didn’t really pick up once we got to the hospital (around midnight). We were waiting in the waiting room for a while before they took me to be examined. The surges started picking up but eased massively when Nat hugged me (I didn’t know how well this would work)! I was examined and they said I was “only” 3 centimeters (even though my birth plan said to not tell me how many centimeters I was!). I was massively disheartened but remembered what I had been taught- that the current dilation gives no indication of what will happen, it just shows what has happened (which is why I didn’t want to be told in the first place!).
Once the midwife left the room (about 1am) the surges increased tenfold. It was quite scary but I didn’t panic, I just tried to focus on the tracks and focus on Nat’s hand on my back (I may have shouted at her for this at one point!). I didn’t ask for pain relief, but I think that was mainly because I didn’t have time to think! At one point I said “I can’t do this” but Nat must not have heard me (“I can’t do this” is, according to our hypnobirthing instructor, the classic phrase that women say while in the transition phase- just before the baby arrives).
At about 3am, I felt a lot of pressure down below. I put my hand there and felt something. I told Nat and she calmly went to get the midwife. When the midwife came in, she said the baby was coming! They rushed to get the pool ready. Once it was half full, they said I could get in it. I had one surge and then somehow got into the pool (not before my waters burst all over Nat’s socks!). It was only half full so I lay on my back (not ideal!). When I had surges in the pool, the midwife told me to push. I think it was about 8 surges and the head was out, then one more and Riley was born! We had put on the birth plan that we wanted immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, and that I wanted a natural third stage, and we had all of this.
Riley was born so peacefully- she didn’t cry or seem at all distressed, she was so alert and was looking around, taking it all in. We never expected her to be so alert so soon, it was surreal!
Although I did feel pain while I was in labor, I think a lot of this was to do with the speed of the labor (going from 3cms to Riley being born in under 2 hours!), and I think my body must have been in shock because of the speed of it! I also wish I had got into the birthing pool earlier on, as that definitely eased things. I didn’t stress or worry during labor, which is why I feel the birth was so quick- the midwives were amazed, especially because Riley is my first.
I think my labor experience would have been so much scarier without the hypnobirthing knowledge, and without Nat being there. She was consistently calm, and knew the perfect thing to say to me at the perfect time. I also think that the hypnobirthing helped me in the build up to the labor- after speaking to a midwife since having Riley, I realize that there are not many women who would progress to 4cms without being in considerable pain- but I hadn’t felt anything because I’d just been focusing on relaxing!
Related: Hypnobirthing 101: the basics for a positive birth experience
I’ve got no other pregnancy to compare to, but I honestly think without hypnobirthing, I would have been much more stressed throughout both pregnancy, and the labor. Our main aim in this was to have a healthy baby, anything else we considered to be a bonus- we just feel so lucky and proud that we had the relaxing, drug-free birth that we wanted, with skin to skin, delayed cord clamping and a natural third stage. It was a truly amazing experience for us all!
Emma is mum to 4 year old, Riley, who keeps her on her toes! Together with Riley’s omie (other mommy), they run Little Pickle Memories, which specialises in baby, pregnancy and adoption keepsakes. From record books, milestone cards, and greetings cards, Little Pickle Memories can help you cherish the special memories of creating your family.
From Monica: I love hearing stories of women that gave birth with hypnobirthing, and hearing how amazing their labor experience was 🙂 I personally gave birth to my second daughter with hypnobirthing as well and had a wonderful, drug-free, natural birth.
If you are curious about hypnobirthing and want to find out more, you can have a look at these articles:
- Hypnobirthing 101: the basics for a positive birth experience
- Hypnobirthing breathing techniques
- Best Free Hypnobirthing Apps
- Top 5 Online Hypnobirthing Classes
- The Most Powerful Birth Affirmations for a Positive Birth Experience
If you are looking for more tips or information on how to prepare for birth and postpartum, also have a look at the following related articles:
- 23 Tips for a Natural Birth without Epidural
- Printable Natural Birth Plan Template (FREE Word + PDF)
- 15 Signs that Labor is 24 to 48 Hours Away
- Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Baby and Partner (with FREE Printable)
- 12 Must-Have Clothes for After Delivery in Hospital
- Postpartum Care Kit Checklist (with all Essentials!)
- What to REALLY expect with your Postpartum Recovery
- 10 of the Quickest Ways to go into Labor Overnight (with Stories from Real Moms)
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