Trying Hypnobirthing after two difficult births


Here's what can happen when you try Hypnobirthing for the birth of your third baby. with huge thanks to tessa for sharing her experience here.

I did Hypnobirthing for the birth of my third daughter, having experienced two very challenging births previously. Both my girls were born 2 weeks late, both induced, both eventually born with forceps in theatre after long drawn out labours.

My experiences of labour had left me scarred and scared, both mentally and physically. This time, I didn't want to go through what I'd been through before.

I wasn't sure I’d be very susceptible to the self-hypnosis side of hypnobirthing, but I decided it was worth a try. 

In the event, it worked brilliantly. Everything about this birth was totally different. It went as smoothly and comfortably as it possibly could have.

Here is my story.

We did a private hypnobirthing session with Zoe at 25 weeks pregnant. After the course, she followed up to see how things were going, and I told her I was finding it hard to practice. Zoe sent me her own relaxation recordings and that changed everything for me! Her voice really helped me get into it, and I’d listen to the relaxation scripts in the evenings.

I went on maternity leave at 38.5 weeks. On my first day of leave I went to see Julie, the amazing consultant midwife at St Thomas’s, to discuss my options. My previous births had left me with bladder damage, and I was concerned about the implications for the birth.

Julie and I had a long (long) chat, discussed that I was doing hypnobirthing and what sort of birth I wanted… I explained that I wanted as calm a birth as possible, in water and that I didn’t want to be induced.  Julie was the first person other than Zoe who had really listened to what I wanted.

At the end of the consultation, Julie said she’d better examine me, so she did. She found I was 4cm! I was already in early labour, but having never gone into labour naturally, I hadn’t even noticed that anything was happening, apart from the same old Braxton hicks I’d been having from 20 weeks! Julie then told me that if my waters hadn’t broken in 48 hours, I should come in.

Had somebody told me with the previous births that I was 4 cm, I would have panicked. But this time, I was just so calm, nothing fazed me. This was hugely down to Zoe and the Hypnobirthing. 

I left and walked from St Thomas to Blackfriars to collect my daughter Sassy, and the next day my mum came and collected both the girls so I could prepare myself for birth. I went out for lunch with my sister and lost my plug whilst I was there (in the Rye Pub)!!  Still, 48 hours passed and nothing else happened, so I called Julie on the Thursday evening and she said to come in early the next morning. James and I went for a lovely dinner (because we had no kids!) and went to bed, feeling relaxed and calm.

We booked a car to take us to hospital and I listened to Zoe’s relaxation recordings on my headphones all the way. I had my leopard print scarf which I’d used during my relaxation practice and I had sprayed it with the relaxing lavender spray that I had been using since my hypnobirthing practice began.

I entered the hospital feeling really calm. I was so relaxed, it was almost ridiculous! 

I checked in, and Julie came to meet me in her power suit and Prada handbag(!). She said she had a 10 o’clock, so she was going to break my waters and then leave me to it. So at 9.40am she broke my waters, which was fine, and it was clear, and I was so happy because it meant I’d be able to get into the birth pool later.

Julie left and James and I sat together laughing for no particular reason, and I just remember saying ‘can you imagine if we had the birth of my dreams and we meet our baby today?!!”

James had a conference call, which he took in the en suite! Meanwhile, a midwife came in to see if I needed anything. I said I’d quite like a birthing ball, which she brought, and I sat bouncing on it while watching the pilot episode of Cold Feet. When James came off the call, we walked from the 7th floor all the way to the ground floor to go to the M&S there and I walked sideways for some of it because I remembered Zoe told me that helped bring the baby down and into a good position.

I walked back up and by then it was 11.55am and it felt like something was happening. With Zoe’s relaxation playing on the speaker in the room, James said I was ‘going off into another galaxy far away’. 

I was in my zone!

With both the other births, I never felt in control of myself of the situation. I don’t think I even knew how to breathe properly. This time, I did. For James, it was the first time he felt like he wasn’t watching something painful and awful unfolding. 

We walked to the Garden room and another midwife brought me some gas and air. It was all just so relaxed! I got back to my room about 12.10 and 5 mins later Julie arrived, in her scrubs instead of power suit. I asked her to run the birth pool which she said they were already doing, but she got me in the bath first.

Then at 1.10, when the birth pool was ready, I calmly walked to the room, (fully dilated) and got in the pool. It felt great. The lights were low and the relaxations were playing.

Julie was telling me I could do it, but also gave me the space I needed to be in my own bubble.

Soon after, our baby girl's head emerged in the pool and I reached down to touch it, something I’d really wanted to do. As the rest of her body came, I pulled her out of the water and to my chest.

Dolly is born

She was born at 1.34. I always remember that when she came out the midwife said ‘oh my goodness, she’s so perfect, she’s like a little dolly’ and I thought, how amazing, because that’s what we’re going to call her! 

I stayed in the pool, holding Dolly for about 10 mins, feeling incredible. Then I came out and birthed the placenta on the bean bag nearby.  James and I were left on our own after half an hour and we were just laughing and saying we couldn’t believe it.

I remember I kept saying ‘I did so well!’

Newborn Dolly

We'd discovered that birth doesn’t have to be traumatic or involve screaming your way through it. That it could be just really lovely and so perfect. 

I remember James phoned his mum and told her that I’d just panted Dolly out. 

15 minutes later, Dolly found her way to my breast and latched on to feed, totally by herself. We were just amazed that it had gone so well.

Tessa breastfeeding Dolly

We sat there for 4 or 5 hours as a little family and went home that evening. I felt strong and well after it, instead of knackered. It was the perfect birth I’d always hoped for.

In fact, I remember that as soon as I’d had Dolly, I said to James; ‘that was so amazing, are you sure we’re stopping here?’ I’d have 8 if every birth was like that!!'  

I am living proof that you can have the birth you choose to have. 

My only regret is that I hadn’t met Zoe 7 years before, as I would put money on my previous births being very different.

I definitely think Dolly's birth affected her. She’s so happy, she hardly ever cries. She was born in a dark, quiet room in water. What could be better than that after a nice cosy womb for 9 months?!