Claire & James began private sessions with Mama Hypno in their home in their 8th month of pregnancy.

I woke up on the Thursday morning (14th July) to a bit of “the show”, I hadn’t had it with Daniel, so looked it up in the book to see that it can
happen any where from two weeks, to just before, labor begins. So I headed off to work as normal thinking it was really just another day. I had a few surges throughout the morning, but as I had a regular appointment with the mid-wife (Amy) at 1pm, I just ignored them (they weren’t very significant, and I’d gone for hours with Daniel).

I was very busy trying to close out the month, and left my desk in complete disarray to go for my appointment fully expecting to be coming back (at least long enough to tidy my desk).

When I arrived at the Amy’s office, I told her things might just about be starting. When she checked me I was 3cm and fully effaced so she put my on the monitor saying she would send me home and I could come back just before the office shut to see how much I’d progressed. The baby wasn’t moving, so instead, she sent me out to get some lunch and come back to check the baby again. I decided at this point to deliver Daniel’s overnight bag and car seat to his day care (in the same office park as the mid-wife), and went and bought the watermelon I’d promised to contribute for his class picnic the next day (you can’t let the first child suffer when the second one comes along!!).

When I got back to Amy, the baby wasn’t really moving much more, but I was 5cm! All the time I was on the monitor (on a very uncomfortable examination table), I was doing my relaxation (without the music – somehow I managed to allow the technician to take my walkman away from me!). At one point Amy came in, looked at the trace and said “you must be uncomfortable”, in complete naivety I said “yes”, not realizing she was talking about surges when I was talking about the very un-padded table with my legs hanging off the end! It was time to head to the hospital – I drove myself there! It’s not as bad as it sounds, it’s less than 1/4 mile, and I have to say, I still didn’t think it was urgent, I didn’t even want to close my eyes during urges at that point! I called James on the way. My memory is that I said “get here NOW”, but he says I sounded very calm and relaxed and he didn’t think it sounded that urgent!

I checked in at admissions and headed for the maternity unit complete with my rather heavy bag. I have to say I had a few surges between the admission desk and the elevator which I thought were tough because I was carrying the bag. I have to say I’m still surprised that as a woman arriving in labor on my own, no one offered to help me with my bag (on the movies laboring women are always in wheelchairs) – maybe with all the relaxation techniques I wasn’t looking like I needed assistance!

I arrived at the labor unit at 3:45pm to one of my nightmare scenario’s – the labor rooms were all occupied and I had to go into the recovery room until they had cleaned a labor room for me. I opted to make the best of it, and put my walkman on (AT LAST!). If your eyes are closed, it really doesn’t matter where you are, does it?! I was so glad to finally have the music to listen to (albeit the rainbow relaxation – I figured I would have plenty of time to get out the Comfort Zone CD once James arrived and I was in the labor room with the full size CD player. Amy checked me again, and in the few minutes it had taken to get to the hospital from her office, I’d got to 7cm. The hospital has an “Integrated Therapy” program under trial at the moment, and Amy asked if I was interested in trying the Reiki, massage or aromatherapy. I said yes and was very quickly joined by Karen who does Reiki and aromatherapy. Amy told her I was using Hypnobirthing and it turned out she had just done the Hypnobirthing training, so she knew exactly what I was trying to do and exactly what she should say to help me (remember, James was still not here at this point). I have to say that the Reiki and the aromatherapy complement the hypnobirthing perfectly and really helped me to relax – I found it hard to believe that these were just scents that I was sniffing and not some magical relaxation drug.

James arrived at 4:10. I have to laugh at myself when I think back to it all – I really had no clue how quickly things were progressing, Amy had always been a bit sceptical about the Hypnobirthing especially because I’d ended up with an epidural the last time. She had kept saying to me that I didn’t know what labor was really like because I hadn’t experienced transition. The whole time I was there, I was thinking I had hours to go. They finally came through and said the labor room was ready and I could be moved. My reaction to this was that I needed to go and pee first, then I changed this to “I need to poop first”. I’m really not sure why even said it – us brits aren’t usually that forthcoming about bodily functions!, but it certainly put everyone into panic mode. Amy decided to check again first, at which point my waters broke. I was in a wheel chair in seconds and was pushed at lightning speed down the corridor to the labor room (I still didn’t realize why they were in such a hurry!!).

Even Amy didn’t realize quite how fast things were happening, she was massaging my back when one of the nurses, said “you need to get down here I see a head”. I guess I was doing much better at the relaxation than I thought, I really didn’t hear most of the things going on and being said. I was more interested in getting hooked up to the Comfort Zone and getting myself settled in to the relaxation, I’d been permanently in transit since I’d left work and felt that I hadn’t had a chance to get properly relaxed. Then came a really bad surge, and I thought “OK, she’s right, I can’t get through hours of this transition”, then Amy said “look down”. My thought was “what on earth for, I’m trying to get this relaxation back on track”. It was only when she said “put out your hands”, that I realized the baby was actually out!

Amy was great the whole way through, she had communicated at every juncture, she had clearly read and digested my birth plan and did everything she could to abide by it (the only shock she got was when I screamed at them to turn the lights out when Hester was emerging!). I didn’t need to remind her of anything else in it, and she was really my advocate when it came to things the hospital nurses wanted to do. I have to say that the labor nurses were all very accommodating (and in awe), it was just the nursery nurses who wanted to do things their way. On more than one occasion I heard Amy say “the monther wants….”. I really didn’t need James to be my advocate, Amy was doing it!

Hester Victoria was born at 4:35pm (50 minutes after arriving at the hospital). She weighed 8lbs 7 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She nursed straight away, and hasn’t looked back since! She emerged healthy and pink, not looking like she’d done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson – I guess things are easier for babies when they pop right out like that!

I really had the birth experience I’d visualized (albeit rather quicker), no gestational diabetes, the baby turning the right way in time, and coming before Amy went on vacation so that it was her who attended the birth! The only difference in the picture was the presence of Karen – a gift from God (or maybe the Hypnobirthing Institute!).

I couldn’t believe that I was calling my office to say I’d had the baby before they’d even left for the day. If I hadn’t had the appointment with Amy, I would probably have delivered in the office, or on the highway!

James has since admitted to me that he had wondered whether the
Hypnobirthing was doing anything for me, or whether I was just “strong”. Then he saw my reaction to a surge that came in the middle of them trying to change my position in the bed to get a better reading of the baby’s heart rate. I completely lost the relaxation and couldn’t get it back until after the surge. The difference between that surge and the others proved it to him!

Thanks for everything!

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