Our gorgeous boy arrived on Christmas Eve – just in time for Santa!

wonderful hypnobirth from listening just a few times
What a wonderful christmas present

Following on with our series of Christmas birth stories, Judy’s story shows how practicing hypnobirthing even for just a few times can still make all the difference.

“I was quite nervous about giving birth and so when I heard a friend tell me about Natal Hypnotherapy and how it helped her I thought it was worth giving it a go. After reading the great reviews on Amazon, I decided to buy the hypnobirthing album “Effective Birth Preparation“. It is recommended that you listen to this from 32 weeks …well, I only got to listen to it about 4 times and even then, not really all the way through because I always fell asleep!*

My husband listened to part of it only once.  However with just those few times I found it really helped me to relax as I had dreadful heartburn and pains which later emerged to have been symptoms of HELLP Syndrome. As a result, I went into early labour at 34 weeks but with huge thanks to the focus the hypnobirthing  gave me even after so few sessions, I had a very straightforward 5 hour labour, using only gas and air and had no tears or cuts and thankfully no stitches.

We played the CD a few times during the labour, and whilst it was not one my husband was a huge help and kept repeating a few lines over and over again such as 3,2,1 relax….. it worked so well for me as I was able to go completely floppy and just let the contraction happen. The midwife was really amazed and told us we were very focused compared to a lot of other people, which was probably why I had such a comfortable labour. Liam was 4 lb 13 oz so being smaller would have made a difference but I am recommending Natal Hypnotherapy to all my friends! We are now enjoying settling in to parenthood with our gorgeous bundle of joy who arrived just on time for Santa on Christmas Eve!

If you are pregnant and due around Christmas we would love to hear your story!

Wishing you all the very best

Maggie Howell

Download your free hypnobirthing track

* It is very common to feel like you have fallen asleep.  For most women they are in fact just in deep hypnosis as opposed to actually being asleep as they normally “wake up” at the end of the track (when they are counted up from 1 to 5).  This shows that their subconscious was still listening and taking in the suggestions the whole way through the track.

Best Christmas ever – a peaceful birth under the xmas tree!

Using hypnosis for pain management
Using hypnosis to anesthetize arm

With Christmas around the corner, I thought I would focus on lovely Christmas birth stories.  Here George tells of her journey using and developing her Natal Hypnotherapy skills to help her have the best Christmas ever! After listening to the Natal Hypnotherapy tracks and attending a weekend course, she wrote her own script to really personalise her birth preparation.

“Having used hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis for a number of years and experienced the sometimes life-changing results (including sticking a nappy pin through my arm!), it wasn’t a question of if I would use it during my pregnancy and the birth of Danuta, but rather how I could use it.  Not only had I never given birth before but we also had our hearts set on a home birth, which if we were to listen too carefully to conventional current medical opinion, was a crazy plan fraught with issues – what if it goes wrong?  You will only have gas and air – what if you need an epidural/c-section – think about the transfer times to hospital – you don’t know your own body, being a first-timer – you are putting yourself and your baby at great risk – what you are considering is very selfish.  All of these words had come from my doctor and pretty much every mainstream birthing text-book backed her up.  Any basic birthing instinct to bring your baby into this world in a safe, comfortable and loving environment is dangerous and selfish.  And she’s a doctor, so she must be right…

In my experience, a Natal Hypnotherapy approach turns the whole what-if-it-goes-wrong starting point on its head and focuses instead on the perfect and unique birthing experience for the individual woman or couple.  If you dare to allow yourself to visualise it, what factors would feature in your perfect birthing experience?  For me, Christmas is a very special time of year that holds with it feelings of childhood excitement and happiness – just the smell of a mince-pie or the sound of carols being sung makes me glow inside, so the fact that our baby was due around this time had all the makings of the best Christmas ever.

Throughout my pregnancy I had spent time listening to a Natal hypnotherapy relaxation tracks (you can get a free download by clicking here) which, whilst increasing my bond with our growing baby inside, also helped me tune into my natural instincts as a mother-to-be.  In the third trimester Adam and I attended a Natal Hypnotherapy weekend and this is when we really began to focus our minds on the actual birth and the writing of our own birthing programme.  Using emotive language that was very specific to our own personalities we developed a script that described the perfect birthing experience – how we would feel, how we would react to certain phases or situations, images, sounds and smells that would trigger positive emotional responses.  For example:

The sounds of the music, which are now familiar to me, reinforce my natural feelings of relaxation and calm, allowing me to fall deeper and deeper into a comfortable, peaceful feeling of complete relaxation…

an extract from the birthing programme – earlier stages of labour

…with each contraction I visualise my cervix softening and opening slowly softening and opening gently, smoothly and easily…

george adam and danuta after birth
The best Christmas ever

an extract from the birthing programme – final stages of labour

I would read the birthing programme often, really soaking up the words that meant so much to us and once in a relaxed state of self-hypnosis I would then recall these words, images and feelings to the sounds of music that would accompany us in the birthing experience.  The more often I listened, the deeper into my subconscious these associations were going.  The Christmas tree bauble I knew so well, the stocking hung by the fireplace ready for baby’s presents, the smell of Christmas spices – all of these factors meant excitement, comfort, happiness and deeper and deeper confidence to birth our baby safely and naturally.

The due date came and went and as the days ticked by, talk was turning to induction – this is when I felt my most sacred.  Not because of the dangers of letting me go over, but because I just felt baby wasn’t ready yet and that he or she would decide when it was time to meet us.  Things were happening – we’d had a show and, having had contractions for 2 weeks now, I was already 3 cms dilated.  14 days after her official due date and on the day we were due to go into hospital, baby Danuta decided it was time to join us and she wasn’t hanging about either.

George and Danuta
George and Danuta

The experience certainly wasn’t without pain and there was no time for birthing music CDs or Christmas spice oils, but I wouldn’t change a single moment.   Focusing on each contraction took me deep down into the experience and during the later stages the visualisation of my cervix softening and opening was intensely powerful and effective.  Adam was fully involved at all times and helped communicate my feelings to the midwife during contractions as well as somehow knowing what to say at right time.  We birthed our daughter in our front room next to the Christmas tree and in front of the open fire and Christmas stockings – four and a half hours after waking with strong contractions I was holding Danuta in my arms, crying at the beauty of our perfect baby girl who truly made this the best Christmas ever!

With the support and confidence of an amazing partner, an experienced and trusted doula and our very special birthing programme, I was never in any doubt we were doing the right thing.  I was frightened then angered by the words of my doctor, I was upset by the reaction of some friends, but I never once doubted my instincts to birth Danuta at home using hypnosis.  I can’t wait to give her a brother or sister.”

A wonderful story of a couple taking their birth preparation into their own hands for the best christmas ever!
Click to download your FREE track

Preparation is key for a positive birth experience

Liz and Robin (small
Liz and baby Robin

“When we found out that we were expecting our first baby both my partner and I were in agreement that we would like our pregnancy and birth to be as natural as possible. and that we wanted to really prepare for a positive birth experience. From the outset my pregnancy was healthy and straightforward and, with the support of our brilliant midwife, it seemed a natural choice for us that we should have our baby at home. I felt so well that it seemed bizarre to me that we should have to go into hospital for such a natural and normal thing as childbirth. I also wanted a birth where both my partner and I felt confident and in control, and where we were at lowest risk of unnecessary intervention – for us it felt that hone was the place where we were most likely to achieve this.

On doing further research it became clear to me that preparation is key in facilitating a positive birth, especially a home birth – in terms of logistical preparations to ensure our home was birth ready, but also my own physical and emotional preparations. It was in this second aspect where Natal Hypnotherapy was key.

In undertaking our course with Natalie, and engaging in self-hypnosis during pregnancy meant that I went into labour relaxed, confident and free of fear. As a couple the course also connected us to each other and to our baby and was particularly successful in supporting my partner to be as engaged, proactive and confident as possible in the pregnancy, labour and birth (see Olympic Gold medalist Greg Rutherford’s review of The Natal Hypnotherapy course). This was particularly important to me as the birth of our baby was something  I absolutely wanted us to do together  – I did not want my partner to be sidelined by the excitement of the moment or by medical professionals supporting the birth.

I eventually went into labour one week before the due date that I had been give when my waters broke at home around 1pm. I felt relaxed and in control throughout the labour and this meant that although at times I was uncomfortable at no point would I have described the experience as being painful or unmanageable. In fact, I felt so relaxed that when our midwife came to check me about 4pm that afternoon she said I was not in established labour and that it would most likely be sometime before the baby arrived. In actual fact we called her back later that evening and by the time she arrived just before midnight I was already fully dilated and our son was born about thirty five minutes later?

Robin Arthur weighed a healthy 8lb 9ozs and came into the world in the calm and peaceful way I had hoped for without any intervention or pain relief! We have no doubt that Natal Hypnotherapy was a key factor in making this possible. On the whole Robin is a very relaxed and content baby and we are sure that the hypnotherapy I have learned also contributed to that due to the way it allowed me to connect with my baby during pregnancy, labour and beyond.

Natal Hypnotherapy has been a brilliant thing for us and I would not hesitate recommending it. It really helped us prepare for a positive birth. Regardless of where or how you choose to give birth I fell it has the power to make anybody more relaxed, confident and engaged during the incredible time that their baby is born.”

 

Thanks Liz for sharing your lovely and inspiring birth story.

If you have found this useful and would like to try out a Natal Hypnotherapy track for FREE then click here

Click to download your FREE track

You can find a class near to you by clicking here

NatalieQureshi_Natal Hypnotherapy, Manchester
Natalie Qureshi, Natal Hypnotherapy Practitioner, Manchester

Liz took her Natal Hypnotherapy class with Natalie Qureshi who runs class in Manchester

Julia’s home birth story

Julie and her familyMy pregnancy was totally normal and low risk from the start. I was born at home and when I mentioned this to the midwife at our booking in appointment at 12 weeks, she asked if I had considered a home birth. I said I hadn’t as it was my first time and I didn’t think they would advise it. She said it was totally up to us and gave me the details of the dedicated home birth (Eden) team in Poole.

After discussing it with family, we decided to go for it at 14 weeks. At 16 weeks I found Natal Hypnotherapy and started listening to the 15 minute home birth relaxation track a few times a week.

To begin with I never got to the end of the 15 minutes as I was fast asleep! It was brilliant to no longer spend hours worrying about work or other things before falling asleep at night.

At around 28 weeks, I started listening to the effective birth preparation track a few times a week, moving up to every night from about 34 weeks. I did make a conscious effort to listen to it in different positions, not just in bed but kneeling over my ball and sitting on the sofa, as I wanted to know it worked not just when I was tired! I also made an effort to listen to it without falling asleep so I could fully visualise the birth process. I only did this twice but I feel that those two sessions where I actively ‘felt’ what was happening made all the difference. From listening to the sessions, I created my own “5 Cs” – calm, capable, confident, comfortable and in control. These trigger words reminded me of different parts of the track.

Five days after my due date, I woke up at 2.30am to do my normal middle of the night toilet trip when I experienced what I thought was my waters breaking. My contractions started immediately and were lasting 30-45 seconds every 3 minutes!

Four hours later, we called the midwife out and I was 3cm. She gave me a mix of lavender and bergamot oils, reminded me to eat to keep my energy levels up and I put on my TENS machine.

We spent much of the day watching comedy DVDs, Disney DVDs and listening to the relaxing music tracks. My contractions stayed at 3 minutes apart but increased to 1-1.30 minutes in duration.

At 2.30pm (after 12 hours), the midwife checked me again and I was still 3cm and said that this stage could last for two to three days. I was NOT going to let this last a whole weekend and focused all my energy into opening my cervix. It was at this point my husband put the birth preparation track on repeat and I got ‘in the zone’, commenting at times that I felt like I’d just woken up!

At 5pm my husband called the midwife to say I was wanting to push, she said it was probably my waters bulging (they hadn’t gone in the middle of the night!) and that she’d think about coming round in an hour or so. Ten minutes later he rang her back and said she needed to come now!

What Natal Hypnotherapy did for my husband was phenomenal. He was always supportive of having a home birth as he hates hospitals even more than I do! And having read the book and listening to the track with me every night, it normalised the whole process and taught him what would happen when and the signs to look out for.

If he hadn’t have read and heard the sessions I’m certain he would have panicked when I entered transition!

The midwife turned up almost immediately and called the second midwife to attend as I was 8cm and definitely pushing! It was from this point that my second stage was recorded and I spent 43 minutes pushing before Alex entered the world at 6.45pm.Julie and Alex after their home birth

My placenta followed just 15 minutes later, physiologically. My plan had always been give it an hour, if it’s not coming then I’ll have the injection. We never had to worry about that!!

The whole birth experience was truly pain free and wonderful. At one point my husband said he offered me paracetamol and I just ignored him! I didn’t need anything but to be in my own world, feeling every sensation. The midwives commented that I showed no fear and was totally in control, knowing exactly what was happening and how to respond to my body’s cues.

When I first started looking into hypnotherapy and hypnobirthing, I thought it was a lovely idea but I wasn’t convinced. I loved reading the book and the science and history of birth but I didn’t really think I would get the birth I wanted!
Turns out it was the best decision I have ever made!

***
Incidentally, when Alex was 5 days old, we were admitted to hospital as he had lost too much weight. I had believed we had been breastfeeding successfully, as had the midwives who had checked on me as I was so confident, however he had not been able to feed efficiently due to having a severe tongue tie and tightness in his jaw. I instantly downloaded the breastfeeding companion and it got me and my husband through one of the most uncomfortable and challenging nights of our lives as everything became very medicalised and out of our control.

Thank you so much for supporting our little family! Couldn’t have done it without Natal Hypnotherapy!

Jennifer’s homebirth story

Thanks for your interest in my tweet of the results from my Microsoft Band during the birth of my third baby.

This is the third birth during which I have used your Natal Hypnotherapy and all my birth experiences, while all vastly different, were amazing, empowering and life-defining. I apologize now for the length of this email but there is little else I love talking about more than the births of my babies!

Our first two births were in hospital- although my second daughter was nearly born in the car park! And we had a doula for the first two births as well. I believe that if I hadn’t prepared so earnestly for my first birth with your CD and book, it would have ended in a C-section. I think my husband thought I was a little mad with my flowcharts and cue cards but all the preparation was well worth it. Eleanor, my eldest, was back to back and the labour was nearly 3 days long, starting at 38 weeks. But even though I needed to beIMG_0582 induced to get her to turn the right way and eventually opted for an epidural after labouring for nearly 3 days, I was always calm, relaxed and in control. I discovered that all I needed was a body to lean into and for someone to repeat 3, 2, 1 Relax. The midwives left me to myself because I was so calm and this prevented me from having to fend off interventions. In the end, I made the choice to be induced and to have the epidural when everything stalled at 8cm. But it was the right choice as she was born less than an hour later – perfectly healthy and calm.

My second daughter’s birth was completely different- perhaps my body new what it was doing this time! I started listening to the CD’s around 36 weeks. I never managed to stay awake past the beach part during any of the sessions but oddly I would always ‘wake’ up to you counting back from 5 to 1! I worked through the book again as I did fear another 3 day labour! Luckily, Penelope had other plans and I woke up to contractions at 7am the day after my due date. I managed to get Eleanor dressed and fed and my husband took her to nursery. By the time he came back I was in fully established labour and his question, ‘Shall we put on the TENS machine’ was as if he asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii! But as I hadn’t gone through transition with the first, we didn’t recognize it even though it was exactly as you described as the ‘self-doubt phase’. So when I told my husband, just a couple hours into labour that I think I needed to push- he didn’t believe me. It wasn’t until our doula came, took one look at me and ordered us into the car immediately, that we accepted I did indeed need to push! But through this ‘drama’ I was always calm- listening to your stead-fast voice on my MP3 player. Even when my waters broke in front of the car park ticket machine, complete with a queue of people, I didn’t come out of my peaceful space. Penelope entered into this world very shortly after but was greeted by two ecstatic parents who couldn’t believe how smoothly and quickly it had all gone- and how I had managed the entire birth without a puff of gas and air!

When I fell pregnant just 5 months later, my husband Paul and I felt like old warriors at this whole birth thing. So we decided to go for a home birth and we also opted to not have a doula. In fact, we did consider doing a ‘free-birth’ but neither of us felt confident enough to go that far- so we compromised with making a note in our birth plan that we wanted Paul to ‘deliver’ the baby with coaching from the midwives. We also knew this would be our last baby so we wanted this birth to be different than the others. We researched lotus births and cord ties, placenta smoothies and joined the local homebirth groups. But through all that- I knew that no matter where I had the baby or how it played out- I would be using Natal Hypnotherapy to see me through the experience. From our first two, we are convinced that calm births make calm babies- so it was essential we kept to the same plan. I started listening to the CD’s from about 36 weeks again but I had a few hang ups that I couldn’t shake. I put it down to not being able to visualize the birth at home as my previous ones were in hospital. So I purchased your homebirth CD around 38 weeks hoping that would help. It did and I made a concerted effort to stay awake for at least a couple sessions. As the days went by, I became more excited about the birth- ready for another wonderful experience.

I woke up to my waters breaking at midnight on the 21st of June- 2 days before my due date. We were so excited- if all went well, we’d have plenty of time to have the baby while our girls slept and they could wake up to a new sibling! Except one hiccup- no contractions. We went back to bed and I fell asleep listening to your calming voice. I was still optimistic the next morning when I woke that all would be ok and when the girls were picked up by their grandparents, I thought- ‘Right, my body was just waiting for the house to be empty and for us to have all the time in the world to welcome the new baby’. It was father’s day and it felt funny to not have our girls around- but we went to ‘work’ at getting the contractions to start. We tried all the tricks from long walks to nipple stimulation. I even had a doula friend come and give me a reflexology session. As requested, we went to the hospital for a quick once-over for them to see all was ok. They wanted to plan an induction for the following day at 8am. I resisted, sure that things would get going soon but suddenly, I felt like I was on the hospital’s ‘clock’. As the night closed in and we readied ourselves for bed,  I became anxious about being induced and having to do the labour in hospital. In retrospect, what I should have accepted, was that my little one was actually giving me a gift, a day alone with my husband to go on long walks, eat and sleep as we pleased and just generally enjoy a day in anticipation of her arrival. Trying to keep my emotions in check, I put on your hypnotherapy session, closed my eyes and promptly fell asleep.

Next thing I knew, I was having mild contractions. I smiled in my sleep and relaxed back into my pillow. By 3:30am, I wasn’t able to sleep through the contractions any more. My lovely husband went to work readying the ‘nest’ in our ensuite, helping me put on my TENS machine and starting to record the contractions on an app on his phone. It was right after I called the labour line and the midwives were notified and on their way that I put on the band and started to record the ‘new workout’. It was 3:56am. Paul had given me the band for my birthday a week earlier and we had talked about using it during labour then. This was also related to an article I read about the lack of female input on technology development in Silicon Valley. While the Microsoft band is fully kitted out to support a round of golf – there aren’t any functions related to pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum experiences like breastfeeding for example. So I wanted to record my labour and share it with Microsoft in the hope it would catch an eye and perhaps other people would use their bands to do the same. Obviously, my data is pointless without other data to heart rate of a NH mumcompare it to. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a woman, not using Natal Hypnotherapy (or similar) recorded her labour experience? I wonder if her heart rate would spike higher, or build over time (as opposed to mine). If the data would show how much ‘harder’ labour is physically if you are fearful or even the body’s response to the use of other forms of pain relief? So, I would love to get the word out and encourage other women to record their experiences and perhaps, even to influence the Microsoft Band’s development.

The midwives arrived around 5am. By that time my contractions were regular and strong and we stopped recording their timings. I have to say, I feel quite proud when a midwife observes me in labour- I love the first time they see me go through a contraction and then, almost dumbfounded, say something like, “Wow. You are so relaxed. Was that really a contraction?”  I also love how proud Paul looks when they say this. He puffs up and it gives me even more strength. The midwives happily let me be- following our birth plan asking for as little intervention as possible. I didn’t want any internal examinations- only to check the babies heartbeat- which was always steady and happy throughout. I did start to use the gas and air around 5:30am. This was absolute bliss. I remember laughing after the first ‘hit’ and thinking to myself- My God- with this, I can withstand anything! Of course, no matter how wonderful the Gas and Air was- nothing was better than just surrendering to a contraction- burying my head into Paul’s abdomen- allowing myself to just sink down and accept the sensations. Around 6am, the midwife asked me to use the loo to make sure my bladder was empty. The contractions were now fierce and it was taking all of my will to keep my head. I became desperate to know how far along I was- I wanted to be examined. Then I became a bit ‘paranoid’ for lack of a better word and was convinced that my husband and the midwife were planning to transfer me into hospital. The look on Paul’s face when I suggested this was almost comical as the conversation they were having was about getting the space ready for me to push.

Sometime around 6:30, I got into position to push. I was on all fours- leaning up against the footstool of our nursery chair. I was overtaken by emotion and started to cry, asking if it would all be over soon. The midwife responded with, “all the signs look good. I’m going to observe your next three contractions and we’ll know where we’re at”. Funnily enough she must have known it was only going to take a few more contractions before the baby’s head would be born. I did then become serious and focused but also very happy. Just as the CD said, the sensation of the baby moving down the birth canal was pleasurable. I remember this with Penelope’s birth as well- being almost surprised at how it felt pleasurable, productive and powerful. I don’t recall any pain from the crowning- just the sensation of her moving down and knowing that I would soon be able to give that one last ‘satisfying push’ and our baby would be born. My husband took a video of me pushing. It really shows how calm and serene this part was. Just breathing my baby down.

I could hear my husband being coached by the midwife through the process. Antigone Lee King was born at 6:56am, weighing 8lbs 1 oz. Paul was the first to have his hands on our baby as she was born and I was second as he passed her up through my legs. My first thoughts were how slippery she was—and that she was a ‘she’! But it was incredible, once again, to hold a brand new life in my arms and gaze down into a serene face. Our third little girl was calm, quietly blinking in the morning light. It wasn’t until later that day that she really showed us the power of her lungs! Immediately, she went on the breast as the emotions of the experience washed over me.Jennifer King

My placenta delivered shortly thereafter and Paul and I were overcome with joy and relief that everything had gone to plan. We had our baby girl at home in the most relaxing, calm environment possible. Our midwives were so supportive and open to our birth plan. As I was recovering in bed- I only needed a stich or two but the after pains were pretty terrible this time around- I could hear my husband and the midwives discussing the birth. “Textbook’ they said, ‘impressive’, ‘she’s very good at labour’…all such wonderful things to hear- but really I owe those compliments to your technique.

Thank you again!

Jennifer