“Baby Xander was born last Thursday healthy and at home as planned, midwives arrived too late again but didn’t need them. For me having my baby at home was the obvious, sensible thing to do. I’m pretty matter of fact about it! It’s like asking me would I rather eat my lunch at a nice table, with a garden view seated in a comfortable chair or in the bathroom with my plate precariously balanced on my knee! Imagine the most precious, intimate, intense and raw moments of your life and multiply that by a thousand, because that is what giving birth to your baby, in a natural state, is like. Then think about what you need in such a situation? Is it lots of people, chatter, questions, bright strobe lighting, machines, prodding, unfamiliar surroundings and unfamiliar people...? Or is it somewhere quiet, low-lit, soothing and comfortable and familiar to you with people you know and trust around you? Where describes that better than the safety and comfort of your own home? For me, unquestionably, it was the latter and I would argue that that is better for all healthy, birthing women, with the right support, who are able to trust their own bodies. Us women are amazing creatures, we grow human beings from a few small cells and then produce a wealth of milk to feed them. We don’t need our intellect for birth; left to its own devices our bodies know what to do and will birth our babies without us having to think through the process. We don’t even need to be conscious. It is an innate, primal, reflexive process that happens all of its own accord - and, without interference, can be smooth, quick and truly the most empowering thing you can do as a woman. It’s a beautiful way to start your new life with your child, knowing you’ve brought them into the world from your womb without any need for doctors or clinicians or frantic taxis to the hospital! Home is where the heart is, as they say - and it’s such a lovely way for your baby’s big adventure to begin” Shani & Richard
“I had a birth centre water birth and used water as pain relief for the most intense parts of my labour. Hypnobirthing with @myhypnobirth was brilliant for helping me not feel scared for labour which was the best mindset to go into it with! I used the bath at home which was the only thing that helped by the time we were ready for the birth centre, and I stood in the shower at the birth centre for a little while which was wonderful to help ease contractions on my lower back (the sound of the shower was also nice to help stay in the labour zone). The pool was amazing, so big and warm and really helped take the intensity off and it was so nice to feel weightless for the first time in months! I delivered my beautiful daughter in the pool and lifted her up to my chest which was the cherry on top of a great relaxed birth” Cassie
“My mum and sister both had terrible birth experiences and I knew I wanted mine to be different so I looked into hypnobirthing. Lydia's course was brilliant at giving me all the confidence and info I needed to believe in myself and my body. But the biggest benefit was for my partner who was really nervous about his role in the birth and Lydia taught him how important he was too, and he went from a nervous wreck to my absolute rock. Lydia kept in touch after the course, and when I had wobbles she was there to remind me I could do it and sent me loads of positive stories and videos to watch to to get me back on track. I would actually love Lydia to record some relaxation tracks herself because her voice is so warm and comforting!
When I was late Lydia was there for me, reassuring me and keeping me calm and patient and educated around induction, I was prepared to wait until the baby was ready to come. When my waters broke and were full of blood and meconium they realised my baby was breech and we had to make the decision to have an emergency cesearean. It wasn’t what I planned but it was the right decision in the moment and I'm sure the hypnobirthing helped us to remain calm in what was a very stressful situation. There was a lot to take in very quickly and it helped us be informed and make clear decisions, we had learnt how to ask all the right questions so that we felt confident that this was the right choice for us and our baby. The breathing techniques really helped me through the surgery as I repeated 3,2,1,relax over and over. And the NHS staff were so supportive as I had obviously had hypnobirthing in my birth plan but I hadn't made any plans for a cesearean. But the doctors knew that as a hypnobirther I would want my own tracks on, and they dimmed the lights, they asked if I wanted them to be quiet - I actually didn't, I liked the distraction of chatter. I couldn't do the skin to skin but my partner took over and I'm sure it has made his bond with the baby even stronger because of that time they had together.
Now we are home and enjoying our new life and I actually still use the tracks to fall asleep when I'm trying to nap in the day when the baby is asleep!
It's so empowering to feel positive about birth and about what our bodies can do, even trusting our bodies to heal after major surgery! Lydia has been the perfect coach and friend to help on that journey” Lauren & Danny
“Isabella’s positive abdominal birth story . When I first started thinking about Isabella’s birth I felt excited and empowered. I had choices, something I didn’t have when birthing my stillborn son Arlo. I had no idea what to expect when induced to give birth to Arlo, it was incredibly medicalised. Despite the tragedy and trauma, I felt like a superhero afterwards. I conquered 30 hours of induction and labour to birth my baby. But this time I wanted to experience spontaneous labour. I wanted to have a bath at home while Rich worried about when we should head to the hospital, to remain active and not be confined to a hospital bed, to give birth in a non medicalised environment like the birth centre, to be drug free and to be in a birthing pool. I felt strong and awakened to the possibilities of making rainbow girl’s birth the most beautiful experience for all of us.
We booked a hypnobirthing course with Lydia of @myhypnobirth and I started to read some amazing positive birth stories and books that encouraged women to have a say over their birth, rather than lie back and be told what to do. Lydia encouraged me to harness my inner wild woman and feel strong, empowered and capable. I started to really look forward to birthing Isabella. I had to learn to stop using language like ‘Am I allowed...’. and understand that the decisions were all mine and Rich’s, we just had to make them in the most informed way possible. The acronym BRAIN became one of our greatest assets. Whenever faced with a decision we would ask ‘What are the BENEFITS?’ ‘What are the RISKS?’ ‘What are the ALTERNATIVES?’ ‘What does my INSTINCT say?’ And finally, ‘What if we do NOTHING?’
Hypnobirthing with Lydia equipped us with the skills and confidence to stay calm, relaxed and focused in late pregnancy when decisions needed to be made. And we used these invaluable skills during Rainbow Girls birth, but not in the way that we had planned.
Owing to a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and rainbow girl being breech (feet down) we were booked in for a C-Section at just over 38 weeks. This new plan was as far away from the birth I had hoped to have as possible. But during our hypnobirthing course Lydia had shown us a video of a ‘Gentle C Section’ or Abdominal Birth. It was beautiful and showed me that I could still apply my hypnobirthing techniques and my personal wishes to this new plan. And so I wrote my abdominal birth plan and continued to practise hypnobirthing. I recited affirmations that embraced the new plan; ‘My baby’s journey into the world will be safe and calm’. ‘I will have the birth that is right for my baby and my body’. ‘I feel relaxed and confident as I prepare for my baby’s birth’, ‘I know that the decisions I make are the right ones for my baby and me’.
On January the 31st at 7.30am I got my hospital gown on and Rich changed into his scrubs. I dabbed some lavender oil onto my gown, I’d been using lavender oil throughout my hypnobirthing practise and associated the smell with relaxation. At 8am our bereavement counsellor who we have been seeing since Arlo’s stillbirth came to wish us well and walk us to theatre, it was so relaxed.
Once in theatre Rich worked on connecting his iPhone to the theatres Bluetooth speaker and I was introduced to the theatre team and had a cannula put in my left hand. This was important because I’m right handed and I wanted that hand free to hold my baby. By chance our entire theatre team were female, a brilliant way to birth a mini feminist! I sat on the edge of the operating table and Rich sat on a stall in front of me holding my hands. We closed our eyes, took deep breaths and played a hypnobirthing track through the operating theatre speaker. Our synchronised breathing and 321 ‘relax’ techniques washed over me and my fear disappeared. I was breathing in gold flecks of light, sending life down to my baby and breathing out a dark green mist... symbolic of any fear I had within me. I was transported to the beach that I always visited during my practise. I felt calm and peaceful. When the track finished the spinal was in and I was numb from the belly button down. I was so relaxed.
As the theatre team began, Rich and I exchanged a few words of excitement and hit play on our Spotify playlist. I could feel people doing something on my abdomen but I felt no pain. I continued to feel relaxed and excited for the birth of my baby. It was just a matter of minutes before we were told to listen out for my waters being released... we knew that once the waters are out, baby will be out a minute later. And she was! We heard the waters, they lowered the curtain as requested in my birth plan and out she came! Our daughter! Her beautiful cry rang out, filling my heart with joy. I recognised her immediately, it was as if I’d always known and loved her. She looked beautiful. I cried, so many emotions for our long awaited rainbow baby. The first voices our baby heard were mine and Rich’s along with a soundtrack of London Grammar’s ‘Hey Now’. As I greeted my baby with love and overwhelming emotion, I told her how pleased we were to see her and that we have been waiting for her for a very long time.
Rich trimmed her cord and then she was placed on my chest for skin to skin. While my placenta was birthed and I was stitched up. Me, Rich and Isabella marvelled at each other in a bubble of love as Fleetwood Mac played. Rich and I both used our phones to take photos throughout the birth, capturing memories of the most incredible day.
The whole experience was absolutely magical. Our wishes were entirely respected and the control and calmness was exactly what we needed. I absolutely loved Isabella’s birth. I am so pleased that we were able to make it so personal and perfect for us. I don’t feel any less powerful for having an abdominal birth, I had the birth that was right for my family. I feel so proud that I harnessed my inner strength and positivity to make Isabella’s birth as special and enchanting as it was. A truly positive birth experience. January 31st 2019 was undoubtedly the best day of my life.
Thank you so much for all of your support, knowledge and encouragement throughout my pregnancy. You helped me to feel empowered and take control of my own birth. The acronym BRAIN became a vital tool for us and one that I will continue to use while parenting Isabella. I never imagined my birth plan would evolve so much throughout the pregnancy but you equipped me with the skills to handle the changes calmly and positively. We had an incredibly positive birth and without our hypnobirthing course with you I’d never have known that I had the power to create that. Thank you!
“When we found out we were expecting number two, the excitement quickly gave way to anxiety about the birth, as our first experience had not been a terribly good one… Our first born gorgeous girl arrived following a pretty traumatic birth. With no early labour signs, labour started with a pop, quite literally. My waters broke at 10:30pm and immediately started pretty intense, regular contractions all in my back. After a call to the hospital they said I had to go straight into hospital (due to waters breaking) so we set off in the car fully expecting to be sent home; I know now this was the first of the ‘you have to do X’ scenarios we faced in our first birth that so many first time parents blindly follow as gospel truth without realising what their rights are. Once in hospital we were set up in a little triage side room with only a curtain for privacy, with a constant flurry of staff coming in to do extraordinarily painful VE’s (which they shouldn’t have done given my waters had gone), strip lighting and the sound of so many other people milling around. I was quickly thrust the gas & air, which didn’t leave my grasp for the entire labour but sent me completely loco - I asked my husband to go and get Sherlock Holmes at one stage! The intensity was almost unbearable, which I know now was due to the little one being back to back but I was obviously terrified, thinking that if the pain was so great so early on, how could I possibly cope when labour ramped up another level? Had I known it would just be constant I don’t think I would have been so scared, but nothing was communicated to us. After a few hours in the side shack I was walked down the corridor, past goodness know how many people in the most undignified manner (picture shirt, no pants and socks, classy!), into a labour room, finally at about 3am. There past 4 hours bouncing on a ball, sitting on the loo and fighting my way through the pain, never relaxing in the rests because I was so scared of the next surge. The lights weren’t low, the midwives were kind but noisy and interfering and I was never allowed to get into my rhythm or just hide away and progress. When they declared i was ready to push at 7am, they decided it was the right thing to do to put me on my back and coached me through pushing - we didn’t question the advice but are now patently aware of what an awful position that is for giving birth, especially given the back-to-back positioning. Our little girl just kept coming down a little and then slipping straight back up. This went on for 90 minutes before the red button was pressed and the ants came swarming and my husband understandably freaked out to a new level. Cue me signing my life away on a consent form (would love to see that signature!) being whisked into surgery, the surgeon trying to manually manipulate the baby to no avail and an eventual emergency C-Section.
Suffice it to say, that was not something either of us was keen to repeat in a hurry and I was in a state of panic at having to give birth again. So, we looked into hypnobirthing as a way to silence those fears and it was the best decision we could possibly have made. I wanted calm, quiet, continuity of care, safety, low lighting, minimal interventions and minimal fuss. Hypnobirthing not only helped us process what had happened and lay the demons to rest, but enabled us to inhabit a state of calm and truly believe that a positive birth experience was entirely possible and a completely normal thing to hope for. It was also through hypnobirthing that we learnt about home birth, not as some hippy and ‘brave’ concept but as something completely normal and natural, just as our Granny’s and their Granny’s before them would have done. My husband was a little harder to convince about the whole 'birth pool at home business’, as he was, understandably, in protection mode (we’re all societally programmed to think that hospital equals safety). However, looking at all the information, reading between the lines of the stats and reading up as he does, he too was fully on board.
Before I was signed over to the Home Birth caseload team I had a meeting with the consultant midwife. She was incredibly lovely but also gave quite a lot of confusing, contradictory advice, as she is somewhat restricted by hospital protocol, which advises that any VBAC take place on the Labour Ward - not something I was willing to concede to! We listened to the advice and decided that the best course of action for us was to proceed with our plan for a Home Birth and, from then on, received the most amazing, continuous care that felt so personal; I really can’t explain clearly enough what a huge difference it made to us knowing all the people who would eventually be part of our birth, completely priceless. The other huge difference we made was hiring a Doula to help guide and support us in the lead up to and during the birth and I cannot recommend it highly enough; they provide another level of continuity of care, a feeling of safety and like you’re wrapped in a love blanket and my goodness they have all the tricks for easing labour, all hail the Doula!
Enough of the waffly back story, and on to the best bit, the incredible story of our complete opposite second birth, our successful HBAC. After a few weeks of maternity leave I was definitely getting itchy feet but really relishing the daytime baths and last few nights of full sleep this time round. On day 39+4 at around midday I started getting some real burrowing period type pains and that all too familiar lower back pain that i had feared so much in my first birth - number 2 was also stubbornly back to back. But I didn’t fear it this time; messages with our Doula and everything i’d learnt in hypnobirthing made me believe the baby would turn in it’s own time. So passed a few hours of me rocking to and fro, bouncing on the birth ball and just generally carrying on with my day, with toddler in tow. I even baked some maltese brownies. The surges became increasingly intense over the course of a few hours and I called my mum; she was coming to take our daughter away so we could fully focus and, given she lives a few hours away and I thought things would probably kick off that night, I thought the timing was right. So super Granny arrived and took our daughter away, my husband came home and our Doula popped by to assess things - she arrived as we were coming back from a walk (I was walking like John Wayne!) and came in and massaged my back, got me in a few good positions to turn the baby, put wooden spoons in pressure points on my shoulders to relieve the aches and just generally made me feel calm. Everything was super manageable at this stage - the early labour I’d never experienced first time around. She headed off after putting me in the bath and we knew at that stage she knew it probably wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Post bath everything turned off like a tap, so we had supper and few glasses wine, watched some mindless TV and went to bed, to wake at 8:30 after the best nights sleep we’d had in months (no toddler to wake up!).
Feeling completely normal and energetic I was a little frustrated, I can remember my overriding feeling was of guilt for wasting my Mum’s time - but after a quick call with her she obviously told me to stop being silly and that she had our daughter until at east 24 hours after the baby arrived and to just enjoy this extra gift of time our baby was giving us. With guilt assuaged, we did just that, a gorgeous, un-February sunny walk, lunch out, an afternoon film, a few games of scrabble, a bath and a spicy curry before heading off to bed. I woke at midnight with pregnant bladder and could feel a few niggles and that grinding, burrowing feeling but went back to bed and slept through the light waves. It wasn’t until 5am that I really woke up and thought, this is happening now, my breathing woke up my husband and within half an hour he was messaging our Doula as he could see change. I headed to the bathroom and within another half hour things had really changed up a gear and I had to concentrate but knew I wanted to get out of the bathroom and somewhere more comfortable for the rests. I created a pillow fortress on our bed and rode the waves that were coming on thick and fast; whilst silently being fed camomile tea, fanned and having ice rubbed on my lower back. I managed the surges by deeply inhaling lavender oil and really moaning (i’m not quiet in labour it turns out!) then enjoying the brief rests by collapsing and letting everything go. I didn’t notice her arrive, which was just incredible (I was never disturbed and left to continue my rhythm) but our midwife arrived half an hour after the Doula and softly and calmly went about her checks and notes and just observed from a distance, trusting mother and baby to continue undisturbed. When full on active labour started, at about 7:30, I felt the need for a change and some relief and made my way downstairs to the haven my husband had created in our sitting room, being helped into the birth pool - while it didn’t relieve the intensity, it lifted some weight and gave me the most amazing sense of privacy. After a few more intense surges I clearly felt another monumental change and muttered the classic ‘I can’t do this’ before feeling the most incredible relief as the baby burrowed completely down ready to make its entrance; at which point I shouted ’something’s coming’; this was the moment my husband says my expression changed completely from disbelief to pure determination and belief that I really was about to do this. Two surges later and the little one’s head was born. I held it in disbelief waiting for the final surge and final Grrrrrrrrrr until our perfect little baby was born, into my hands. I was able to lift her to my chest and discover her sex for myself and just stared in utter disbelief and pride, revelling in the most incredible moment I had only hoped was possible; I had done it in a very rapid 1 hour 26 minutes. The fourth stage was a very uneventful tiny pull of the chord about 15 minutes later on our sofa after which we were wrapped in towels and set up in a ball of love in the safety of our own cosy home. A truly euphoric experience. I believe one thing that has enabled me to remember it so clearly is not using any gas and air this time around, I’m not saying that to sound tough (because it was ridiculously intense and there were moments I would have taken any drug under the sun) but I was able to focus more without feeling high.
After a quick check that revealed all my work with the Epi-No and perineal massages had paid off - no tears - I had the best shower of my life and set myself up in bed, cuddling and feeding my gorgeous little girl whilst eating honey toast off my own plate and drinking the best ever cup of tea out of my own mug. Theodora had her newborn check in our bed and my husband then clambered in and we spent the afternoon feeding, napping and watching the Six Nations, it was utterly perfect. So there we go, tiny Georgie became a bear and roared out another little girl! Thank you both again so so much, you were a huge part of our life changing moment and we will always have a huge place for you in our hearts” Georgie
I gave birth on Dec 30th to a little baby boy - Rory. My labour and delivery was the best I could have hoped for and overall my experience was amazing. I laboured for 10 hours at home and when I arrived at hospital was 4cms dilated so went straight into the pool and he arrived three hours later with gas and air. In terms of the hypnobirthing I found it so useful for the car to the hospital and Eamonn played it while I was in the pool. The preparation beforehand paid huge dividends and I was calm at home and able to focus on my breathing. The breathing techniques were also essential! Eamonn has been amazing - so encouraging that if even if the hypnobirthing helped on one small area it would have been worth it and it helped in so many I don’t think either of us thought it would be so instrumental. In fact, he was quite sick the night I went into labour and I laboured in bed for 2 hours and then woke him to tell him. Poor guy was feeling really rubbish so I actually laboured in the kitchen myself for a number of hours but because I was so calm it was a lovely experience to have that time to myself in some ways! Claire & Eammon
We had an addition to our family on the 13th December - a gorgeous baby girl called Piper, weighing a chunky 9.8 pounds! I’ve been meaning to email you but I’ve realised I’m now even worse at replying to people to say a big thank you for the course - we really enjoyed it and it helped so much during labour. I surprised myself with labour as we stayed on the birthing unit in Lewisham, I didn’t have any drugs and I didn’t tear. I put it down to staying calm as much as possible and focusing on my breathing - Justin was amazing and I know he took so much away from the course which he was able to put into practise during labour. I’ve been raving about hypnobirthing to everyone as it really helped with our birthing experience!Thank you thank you thank you! Hattie and Justin -first time parents
We have some news. Baby girl Charlotte Edwards was born Saturday morning at 9.05am (just a day short of 39 weeks) weighing 5 pounds 4 ounces. Hypnobirthing has been a huge anchor point and support for us. I want women to know that even if things go haywire staff do and will work to support your preferences as far as they can and that hypnobirthing has an even bigger role to play in keeping you and your partner calm. Our team were simply incredible. I had my hypno music playing next to my head -the anesthesiologist kept trying to turn this up to relax me more and a senior midwife even went to fetch my lavender oil on muslin to place by my head! Mark came in as soon as he was in scrubs and the midwives held earphones to my ear playing my hypnobirthing music whilst the spinal block was put in and talked me through my breathing. Mark was by my head talking and soothing me the whole time and was simply incredible. Baby was born within minutes. I didn't have the screen lowered like I had requested as I was quite anxious and feeling unwell and later found out there was a lot of blood loss due to a vein being across my uterus. However, nobody had general chit chat, the radio was turned off as soon as I asked when we were wheeled in. Nobody announced the sex, she was brought straight to us and unwrapped, placed on my chest and ECG dots moved to facilitate this. We checked for the sex ourselves and announced to the room much to lots of cheers. Mark took baby to recovery after the op whilst I was moved and I was helped to breastfeed within minutes of being in recovery. Weighing measuring etc were all delayed until after the breastfeed and they did any checks on me and baby whilst she was on my chest in theatre and in recovery. We weren't rushed at all , in addition to all this, the night before and knowing how upset I was about a c section, the midwife had taken me into theatre and showed me around explaining who would be where and what all the instruments were etc. She handed over to our amazing midwife Candice Saturday morning having explained the importance of our birth plan and that we were hypnobirthing. So this meant under the circumstances we felt we were in a room we knew and were familiar with. The team worked so hard to try and bring elements of my birth plan back into the birth as far as they could under the circumstances and this means so much. I don't feel like I've missed out, just thankful to have our baby girl safe and sound. Especially seeing the room before helped. The hypnobirthing techniques and music gave Mark and I something to anchor to and focus on in what was such an emergency situation. Mark was incredible and constantly reminded me of my breathing. Thank you for your incredible and unwavering support. I wanted you to know how thankful we are we took your course. We have been through the mill but all the hypnobirthing techniques have really given us an anchor and focus. For now we are so in love with our beautiful baby girl. She is our world. Jennifer & Mark - first time parents
Thank you Lydia for coming to our home today, we really had a lovely day and deeply enjoyed the course! I didn't expect this from my 'rational' partner at all, but your approach really won him over. We felt like this was a fully tailored session, answering all the needs we'd shared with you. We also both felt super comfortable and at ease around you. It was just really lovely. We both already feel so much more ready for it. I've already recommended you to a friend and will be sure to tell all the mums-to-be I know how fantastic your teaching is and how lovely you are.Thank you again.
He is here! The whole 9lb.4oz of him and Hypnobirth all the way!!! When the midwife came she did 1 VE that I had agreed, I didn't want to know (the number) but I was 9cm. I think the midwife was amazed that I was so close because I was so calm on the phone. I actually had to play it up a bit because I wanted them to be around for phase 2 and knew they wouldn't believe it was time. We did this together. The most amazing thing for me about this whole experience is how Paul became my birth partner, beyond my expectations. On the day, he was there for me when I needed and how I needed. He knew the words he should say and I knew I could trust him. During the last stage when I thought I couldn't do it, he planted his eyes in mine and told me that I could do it, to remember my practice and breath baby out. He gave me the strength to calm back down, accept the process and take the pain so I could open up again for baby's head to come out... Within 10 min he was born. The whole 9.4lbs of him! Aurora & Paul -second time parents
Robyn arrived safely and swiftly last night! It was a dreamy labour, with so much thanks to you. We didn’t have long- the first contraction at 16.30 and then got to hospital at 19.45. We hypnobirthing at home until contractions were 2 mins apart and when we got to the hospital I got straight into the birth pool. I felt calm and took 2 hours to welcome our daughter into the world. The birth centre was amazing, although it was fast we had a pretty tranquil time of it. I was only pushing for 1.5 hours and they were super impressed. It was magical it really was a positive birth experience and I cant thankyou enough. I’ll be telling everyone I know to do it.
I never thought I’d be writing such a positive birth story that goes like this. Your midwives and antenatal classes teacher will get you prepared for a slow and long labour and although there are some good practical things to learn from them, the information, ideas and toolkit picked up from a hypnobirthing course does so much more for you as an expecting couple. I thought that hypnobirthing would be an “added bonus” of pain management that I would use to supplement all the drugs the hospital could give me! I expected to have an epidural and was completely ok with that, what then happened was such a lovely surprise.
Breaking all traditions for a first baby, my waters broke 10 days early while I was on my last day of work. That happened at 13:00 but with no other signs of labour, we got checked quickly at the hospital and then came home. On the way, I was dreaming up ways we could occupy ourselves over what I assumed would be hours of intermittent contractions. In fact the contractions started off at 16:30 fairly intensely and we started hypnobirthing quickly. Lydia had encouraged us to use a couple of strong anchors that worked for us and when practicing we’d used lavender oils, candles and imagined a particular colour. So my husband, Adam, ran me a lavender bath, put on the hypnobirthing track and read from the scripts.
We found the second session script the best for us and I quickly found the visualisation of blowing bubbles the best way to achieve the right up-breathing for the first stage. We stayed like this in candle light for what felt like ten minutes but turned out to be an hour and a half. We kept the music and low lighting throughout the flat and used the TENS machine and birthing ball for the next half an hour but the contractions were close enough together for us to leave for the hospital. On Lydia’s advice I used an eye mask in the car, kept using the TENS and managed the rising intensity of each surge with breathing and visualisation.
Three hours into labour we arrived at the midwife-led birth centre at St Thomas’, had an anti-sickness shot and found that we were already 7cm (without any pain relief!). Adam made sure that the midwives knew our birthing plan quickly and we were taken to our birthing suite then into the birthing pool room. The gas and air I got my hands on was just the boost I needed to cope with the increased intensity and coupled with the relief of getting in the pool, I felt like I’d gone backwards a few steps in intensity which was awesome. Rejuvenated, after half an hour of being in the pool I felt the urge to push. I also felt hungry (strange for labour I know!) so in between surges I had a gulp of yoghurt, a slug of water and then gas to power through the push in a constant cycle for 1.5 hours, which was enough to bring our lovely baby Robyn into the world!
The midwives were supportive and although I felt that it was impossible in the last 30 minutes and wanted to give up, the positive language and encouragement coming from them and Adam was great for getting me through the last stretch. Robyn was calm when she came into the world and the three of us had the most magical first 20 minutes together. Overall I would say it was quite a dreamy labour, especially for a first baby. 6 hours of labour, 3 of which were in the birth centre. It was quick but we felt calm and together because we felt informed and knew what to expect. I didn’t know how pivotal hypnobirthing was going to be to our labour. Next time (shhhhh don’t tell my husband I’m talking about next time!) I’d even feel confident enough to have a home birth. Josie & Adam - first time parents
“In the end our little Eléa arrived ahead of her ‘due date’, on the evening of 17th September, which saved me the ordeal of ducking out of induction with the hospital (although I was feeling prepared and psyched-up to do so!) I was quite expecting her to arrive a couple of weeks later...
I laboured at home all afternoon, using the Swiss ball as you’d shown us, and focusing on breathing, blinds closed and hypnobirthing music playing softly; before heading to the birth centre at 8pm with contractions 3 mins apart. The car journey was smooth (I kept my eyes closed but it was nice that it was dark outside anyway) and we were taken into our own room as soon as we arrived. I was fully dilated so able to get straight into the pool (just as I had hoped!) - which felt absolutely amazing when I got in! The midwife we had usually worked on the labour ward, but thanks to you I knew which angle she would be coming from and which of her comments I could take with a pinch of salt...for example at one point she said she felt labour was slowing down due to being in the pool and suggested I get out and walk around... I knew to stay positive and listen to my body which I felt wasn’t slowing down at all, and Alistair helped negotiate to give us more time in the pool ;-) Eléa was born 1.5hrs after getting into the pool which I thought was pretty good going!! And without gas & air etc...just our baby and I. In the end I did push (rather than breathe her out) because my body was telling me that I could and because I decided I needed to work with this midwife! I feel very lucky and completely indebted to you to have had as smooth & straightforward a birth as possible.
Your hypnobirthing course was by the far the best thing I did during my pregnancy; I came away from the lessons feeling knowledgeable about my options surrounding birth, confident and empowered. I think Alistair was truly amazed that I delivered Eléa without anything more than a Swiss ball, tens machine and pool! Thank you again Lydia for all your time, kindness and expertise... and to your husband for looking after little Drew during our sessions (you really are a dream team!). Long may the positive birth stories continue! Much love to you and your family. Alice & Alistair - first time parents
Firstly I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the support you have given us before, throughout and after the birth of my daughter. I was so nervous about trying for a VBAC birth after having a planned c-section with my son. Your classes gave me back the confidence I once had in myself to labour naturally. Although my birth turned out to be slightly different than I had planned I used my hypnobirthing throughout and remained calm and controlled at all times. I am not at all disappointed that I ended up having an unplanned c-section this time, as I really did achieve what i set out to do. This was to experience labour and stay confident and controlled throughout. Lottie and Dan - second time parents
Just a quick one to let you know our little girl arrived this afternoon (on due day!) after a quick labour... so quick that we didn’t actually get a chance to even use the pool and even quicker that J had to deliver her! The midwives didn’t believe that she was so close so were reluctant to send anyone out and didn’t make it in time ( as mum was so calm & relaxed when speaking on the phone). She is completely and utterly beautiful and I am so, so happy we chose to go with the home birth. You have been pivotal to making this all happen and making this such a positive experience for us and I am forever grateful for all you have done for me. A thousand thank yous for introducing us to Hypnobirthing, for your continued guidance, reassurance, encouragement and friendship we are truly grateful.
All in a days work. Our morning alarm went off as usual at 7am. But rather than signal the usual Monday morning struggle into the office (for J only as I was now newly on mat leave), this one marked the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. A couple of hours before, I had been dozing in and out of sleep after the beginnings of some period pain type sensations, low down in my tummy. After spending the previous couple of weeks considering every Braxton hicks, every niggle, every toilet visit as a possible sign of labour starting, this needed no consideration - I instinctively knew this was “it”. I acknowledged this not with excitement or trepidation but rather a matter of fact recognition - maybe I was tired, I don’t know but I remember thinking it was strange that the only emotion I was experiencing was a sort of calm acceptance. I told J that it had started, that we were going to have a baby but to go to work as it would be ages yet and I would be fine on my own. He decided to ignore me and work from home, beginning to type a message out to his team. I didn’t argue as I was already on my way to the loo, calling back for a plastic bag ready for my body to expel its contents from various orifices (sorry, graphic!). At 10am we called the labour unit to let them know that things had got started but that we were happy on our own. At this point I was flopped on our bathroom floor, feeling like I had food poisoning. On speaking to me, the midwife explained that it was very early and as a first time mother I could well be in this phase for days so to get plenty of rest and sleep while I could. This was the hardest part of all I think. The sensations for me were already feeling intense and regular. I had been well prepared for a lengthy first phase of labour - expecting to watch box sets, bake a cake, go for a walk and romantically put the crib together but where I was I couldn’t walk our tiny corridor let alone handle a puzzle. I felt disheartened thinking others could manage all this and I was ‘failing’ so early on. Disappointed we had invested so much in hypnobirthing and feeling like I wouldn’t get through it without pain relief.
J encouraged me to relax... to breathe... and before long I was comfortably set up in a position which I remained in for the (near) entirety: kneeling on our rug, head resting on our sofa against a soft ice pack (no.1 essential for me), swaying my hips to and fro. J attached my TENS machine (no.2 essential), delivered a filled water bottle with straw (no.3), and ensured my hypnobirthing music was playing through the Sonos (no.4 - no particular order here!). The blinds were closed, lighting low and candles lit (although I asked for these to be blown out as they were too pungent after a while). I had lavender and clary sage oil on a hanky nearby which I used periodically through surges to help refocus when I needed a boost.
While I was here, I found a calm rhythm. Each surge came with a routine, a cycle of activity (the beginning of a surge signalled by the “click” of the TENs boost function which in turn triggered J to begin timing on his app. As a self-confessed control freak this routine created a sense of calm control and progress for me.
While this was going on, J was busying himself around the flat getting everything set up (pool, midwife station etc.) wanting everything to be ready before the next call which (we hoped) would result in the arrival of a midwife. Every now and again I would call him over, singing out “stoooooooke me!!”.
By noon we had well and truly hit the requested target of “over an hour of three surges in 10 minutes, lasting 60 seconds” but not wanting to be turned away by the midwives I suggested leaving it another hour till 1pm before calling again. At 12:30 however I noticed an obvious change in activity. It felt like the baby had really dropped and I had a growing urge to bare down with every surge. As this happened I could really feel her moving further down the birth canal. My noises changed to mimic those of a petting zoo and I called J over to explain he needed to stop setting up and instead be with me now. Up until then I had been okay with him coming and going, being present for surges when he could. But now, I needed him right there with me. I had read about this shift beforehand but didn’t recognise at the time that this was the transition into the pushing phase of labour.
J made our second call to the labour unit. I was asked for again but at this stage I really didn’t want to talk, I needed to focus so after feeling frustrated by the Midwife’s questions (the distribution broke my focus) I shook my head and handed the phone back to J. During the call the music cut out and I forgot to control my Tens machine, both these distributions had a big impact on my state of mind and I knew I needed to regain my focus.
We were advised that we were still in the early phases but that a community midwife would give us a call back in the next 30 minutes. At the end of the call, J was told that it sounded like my breathing was strained and to help me control it better. J told me to calm down, to slow my breathing and again I felt really disheartened and asked him if I wasn’t doing a good job. I felt really flat from the second triage call but again I now realise this feeling was due to the ‘transition’ into active labour. J assured me I was doing a good job.
The community midwife then called and, on hearing me in the background, advised she was on her way and would be about half an hour. At the end of the call, she advised J that if he saw a head, he was to call 999 (something he never expected to be advised given he thought we were in the early stages!). The moment the call was over I announced “somethings just happened”; I felt a distinct turning feeling. J asked if he could have a look but I cried “no vaginal examinations!” (Which looking back is now pretty funny as I doubt this is what J had in mind!). At this point I needed to loo so we went together to our tiny bathroom where I sat and exclaimed “J, I’m doing a poo big (signalling the size of a baby’s head). (Towards the later part of my pregnancy I had been taking iron supplements which had left me pretty constipated. It genuinely felt like I was about to have a colossal poo (feeling everything in that vicinity opposes to my bits) so this seemed totally rational to be but of course J knew this was ludicrous and took a sneaky peek through my legs then to shout “Beth, get off the toilet!” Having seen her head crowning.
I refused to get off the loo (feeling pretty comfortable here!) and explained to J that if he didn’t calm down I wanted him out of the room. J cried “I can see her head!” to which I replied “well call 999 then”. We were quickly joined in the room by 999 on the phone. The following (and remaining) 10 minutes were the loudest, most frantic, adrenaline fuelled of the entire labour experience... possibly normal as the baby was about to arrive but this was also the point medical professions got involved in what had up until now, been a very calm experience.
I was advised to lay on my back to which I refused, explaining “that goes against gravity”. The atmosphere got panicked and I remember asking them both to calm down (at this point I felt my most confident and comfortable and knew that the baby would be here safely in only a few more surges). J was coached through how to deliver the head, finding a pillow and towels to lay beneath me (I had now gone on all fours). I was being pushed by 999 to push as hard as I could regardless of whether I had contractions which felt very unnatural and again I pushed back on this explaining I would push when I had a contraction which is what felt natural (at this point my body had completely taken over and my mind was 100% backing my body to do what it needed to do). The final few minutes are a blur as before I knew it, J had delivered our baby’s head, let two midwives and two paramedics into the flat and before I knew it our baby was here and J was crying “she’s here, darling you’ve done it, she’s here!”. All I could think about was the bright lights and all the noise and I asked them to turn the lights out and please be quiet as I wanted calm for the baby.
I was then helped up to the loo where I held my baby in my arms while I delivered the placenta.
No more than 10 minutes later, all three of us were lying on our own bed, J holding our beautiful baby girl, me being checked over and stitched up before being delivered the most delicious cup of tea of my life.
Labour didn’t go exactly to plan but I think the Hypnobirthing definitely helped me remain calm throughout so it wasn’t at all traumatic for me, which is what I’m really happy about. They said they have never seen such good and calm monitoring for a baby as she just wasn’t phased even with some small complications throughout .
Established labour was 18 hours in total. I managed to fully dilate but my contractions completely stopped so I ended up having a hormone drip as they were concerned I had been dilated for so long. I got 1 hour to push before they were going to intervene and managed to deliver naturally. I had an epidural to help me through but I’m really glad I did as it helped me to stay calm. Thank you for all of your help and I have already been telling friends to take the classes.I may not of had a ‘perfect birth’ but I went in feeling confident and not petrified like I was before the class and importantly feeling informed. I was able to use the breathing throughout and remain relaxed. I even managed to impress my sister ( Midwife ) with my calmness . Thanks again. “ Becky & Sam - first time parents
“A million thank yous for helping me prepare for my imminent birth.Thanks to you I feel confident and relaxed about my due date. Knowledge is power! It really pays to get informed about how you can apply your mind to let your body do what it was built to do. Lydia is truly expert and speaks from experience, immediately putting you at ease and filling you with confidence that you’ll have a positive and empowering birth. I couldn’t recommend her enough. I honestly wouldn’t have got through it and had the smooth experience I got in the end without your support. It got me through some tough decisions , I only had a wobble at the very end. It really is amazing practice.Seriously even Elliott ( birth partner ) was blown away and grateful for it . He couldn’t believe how I didn’t need any gas and air until the very end. The ultimate goals have been achieved in that I’m on my feet , with no issues downstairs , baby is feeding and we are home already. Feeding is going very well so I’m very happy. Clo would have really struggled without her Hypnobirthing research. We were not able to use the birth pool in the end . I reminded Clodagh all the stuff she had learnt was for all situations not just her perfect situation, this calmed her and we had a pretty amazing experience because of it - that and the gas & air! “ Clodagh & Elliott - second time parents
‘I am a control freak, my friends call me a stress head! My boss says I’m the best at what I do because I ‘give a shit so much’ .So when it came to childbirth it was exactly the same for me. Instead of browsing for baby clothes I was googling ‘how to have the best birth’ ‘can you avoid pain in birth’ and ‘what can I do to speed birth up’ - all of which kept leading me to ‘Hypnobirthing’ - which quite frankly sounded like hippy rubbish! - how wrong was I. Like most things I took to Instagram and found Lydia... and what Tom, my husband, and I were about to learn was priceless! What I love most about the course was that it made me view birth in a new way- how it ‘should’ be viewed; as something completely natural and powerful and not as a procedure. Secondly how much knowledge Tom left having and how much of a role he could now play in the lead up and birth of our beautiful baby. And thirdly how stressed I wasn’t anymore. I was so calm and reassured and comfortable with what was to come! Never did I imagine I would handle birth the way I did. We started at home and ended up in hospital but my god it was amazing all of it. I really felt proud of myself and how I approached decision making. I had what would have been my idea of a nightmare before and I had managed to turn that into an amazing experience using a positive mindset and by having control. Thank you so much Lydia for being incredible and supportive throughout some difficult decisions along our journey, for providing us with the knowledge to have an incredible time and being there to just chat and vent to! I honestly would not have wanted to do this without you and Hypnobirthing. Grace was born on 25th May at 40+6 at 10:53am weighing 9lbs. We can’t wait to see Lydia for a refresher when baby number two makes an appearance! Danielle & Tom - first time parents
"My husband and I heard about hypnobirthing early on in my pregnancy and decided it was something we wanted to do. Lydia was recommended through a friend and we’re so glad we were put in contact with her. I’m a paediatric children’s nurse in a specialist hospital and have worked there for over 10 years. When I fell pregnant I didn’t realise how much my work would have an impact on my personal experience of pregnancy. My daily working life is seeing the worst case scenarios and how life can so suddenly take the wrong turn; having this insight definitely had an impact on my own positivity and my perception of labour, causing me quite a bit of anxiety.
Lydia’s 2 day hypnobirthing course opened my eyes to the beautiful, natural and empowering experience pregnancy and labour can be if you trust in your mind and body to do what it was made to do. The hypnobirthing exercises are so calming and reassuring that you can escape any negative thoughts and build the confidence to believe in yourself and what you are truly capable of.
For my husband, the course has given him so much knowledge and insight, which beforehand he had very little of. He feels empowered to advocate for me during labour and informed about the choices we have as parents. He also really enjoyed the relaxation exercises, which he was initially nervous about and thought he’d feel silly doing!
And finally, Lydia was quite simply a wonderful person to deliver us a calm, open and captivating hypnobirthing course. Her warm presence, gentle nature and positivity was very inspiring; there was a lot to take in, but due to Lydia’s systematic delivery of the information, we were all kept completely engaged and able to absorb it all, with lots of opportunity to ask questions! The sessions were relaxed, open and informative, leaving us feeling confident going forward.
No one can predict exactly what their labour will be like, but I truly believe going into the process with your eyes wide open and fully informed empowers you to have the best experience possible.
Thank you so much Lydia for all your hard work! " Chloë &Troy
A huge thank you for today, we both enjoyed it and are feeling much more equipped and excited about another baby joining our family. My partner is totally bought in, in particular your calming voice sending him off to sleep. It was such an amazing experience giving birth to Archie despite all the hurdles, I really did enjoy it and felt so proud of myself for completing our family. Not the birth I planned at all but it was an amazing experience and my hypnobirthing techniques helped enormously. I was actually invited by my midwife to tell my birth story at a group for expectant mums. Mine was the story that didn't go to plan but still a very positive experience. I was so proud to tell our tale again and it really helped some of the expectant mums in the room to know that everything can still be enjoyable despite hurdles. I obviously sang the praises of your hypnobirthing" Victoria & Ben -third time parents
"Thank you so much for all your support. I cannot recommend you highly enough! Everything was beneficial from the positive affirmations to the relaxing visualisations and breathing techniques. Each played a part in making my labour a calm and empowering experience. This was my quickest birth of all three with Lila arriving under two hours and it was certainly the most straightforward, easiest delivery and the least pushing time. I had the confidence to tell my midwife what position I wanted to be in during the pushing stage, as I understood how my body would work to its full potential. As a result this was the quickest pushing time I had and this had been a concern of mine after difficulty in previous labours.The breathing techniques and up/down visualisations were so helpful as you know what your body is doing, so you work with it and not against it. The midwife that delivered Lila told us afterwards it was her second day as a qualified midwife and her first ever delivery. Her supervisor said she was very lucky to have had such a straightforward and calm birth for her first experience, all thanks to My Hypnobirth." Jo & Joel - third time parents
Hypnobirthing was really important for my husband - besides the books/articles he has read - he was able to get engaged into birth preparation mentally. He was reading me the texts, writing positive affirmations and felt good and confident about us both going through this period. For me it was emphasis on the period before birth - on staying calm, being relaxed and getting prepared for the baby to arrive. By this I mean knowing that we are prepared for everything you can be prepared for and with anything unexpected - we'll try to stay confident and calm.Even though I have had an emergency C-section I think I had a Hypnobirthing experience - the tracks helped me to breath through the first hours of contractions - and very importantly they helped me to stay calm during the surgery itself. I've had surgeries before and I know that I could get very anxious. This time the surgery was with spinal anaesthesia - which means that I stayed awake - this fact is actually very frightening to me. I listened to the tracks before the surgery itself - and I think it helped me to stay calm and to be very PRESENT in a moment. It was very important. Luckily I was able to hold our baby almost straight away, was able to do skin to skin and to try latching baby on. I was also got placenta pills - which went very smoothly. Thanks to midwives, doctors, nurses and anaesthetists - everyone who helped us to deliver our baby - we had a very good experience. No matter that almost everything didn't go according to the birth plan - we were exactly prepared for anything and for taking everything step by step - making decisions, trusting and being in harmony. Thank you, Lydia, very much for being part of our experience!) Natalia & Phillip -first time parents
Baby Xander was born last Thursday healthy and at home as planned, midwives arrived too late again but didn’t need them. For me having my baby at home was the obvious, sensible thing to do. I’m pretty matter of fact about it! It’s like asking me would I rather eat my lunch at a nice table, with a garden view seated in a comfortable chair or in the bathroom with my plate precariously balanced on my knee! Imagine the most precious, intimate, intense and raw moments of your life and multiply that by a thousand, because that is what giving birth to your baby, in a natural state, is like. Then think about what you need in such a situation? Is it lots of people, chatter, questions, bright strobe lighting, machines, prodding, unfamiliar surroundings and unfamiliar people...? Or is it somewhere quiet, low-lit, soothing and comfortable and familiar to you with people you know and trust around you? Where describes that better than the safety and comfort of your own home? For me, unquestionably, it was the latter and I would argue that that is better for all healthy, birthing women, with the right support, who are able to trust their own bodies. Us women are amazing creatures, we grow human beings from a few small cells and then produce a wealth of milk to feed them. We don’t need our intellect for birth; left to its own devices our bodies know what to do and will birth our babies without us having to think through the process. We don’t even need to be conscious. It is an innate, primal, reflexive process that happens all of its own accord - and, without interference, can be smooth, quick and truly the most empowering thing you can do as a woman. It’s a beautiful way to start your new life with your child, knowing you’ve brought them into the world from your womb without any need for doctors or clinicians or frantic taxis to the hospital! Home is where the heart is, as they say - and it’s such a lovely way for your baby’s big adventure to begin.