Our hypnobirthing stories...
All stories and photographs are reproduced with kind permission and consent
Nina Sauer, Berlin...
"I tried your program before the birth of my son. I listened to the affirmations throughout the birth and had no pain whatsoever... Only panicked once whenever my headphones stopped working properly! I delivered my son in 4 hours, the hospital staff here in Berlin were amazed about my calmness and I said no to all medications - not because I wanted to be brave but because it really did not hurt at all. I am recommending you to all pregnant ladies I know! Thank you so so much :) "
Stephanie Williams, Launceston
"Just thought I'd let you know our baby boy arrived yesterday. I was so confident and looking forward to birth thanks to hypnobirthing. Although we didn't manage to make it to Penrice and ended up having an unexpected home birth, it was a lovely experience. Breathing techniques helped and it felt like my body took over and pushed him out for me! Just wanted to say thankyou for being part of making this a different experience for me. Here is baby Noah, born yesterday at 14:18 weighing 7lbs 14.5oz"
Sarah McDermott, Penryn
"I had a very positive labour and home birth of my second child after taking Alice's hypnobirthing course. I practised the pregnancy relaxation and other tracks during my pregnancy until 34 weeks most days, usually at bedtime and then the birth preparation track everyday. I really enjoyed my time doing this-20 minutes of me time when I really relaxed, became mindful and felt positive about the birth.
I had some anxieties based on my first labour but these were always calmed by practising hypnobirthing and I actually looked forward to giving birth and had confidence in my body's ability to do it.
When I went into active labour I put the birth affirmations on my ipod, felt immediately relaxed and kept them on throughout as I moved around and stayed active. When the contractions became stronger and longer I really focused on what Alice was saying, on relaxing my whole body and breathing through each contraction. With each in breath I said to myself "I am strong" and with each outbreath "I let go and relax". It helped to focus my mind on the current contraction and nothing else, and see each contraction as a positive thing bringing me closer to the birth of my baby.
I got into the birth pool just before transition and we put the affirmations on out loud on the laptop. I found transition and second stage hard work but I think because I had been so relaxed during labour my body knew what to do and Agnes Trevenen was born very quickly after a couple of pushes into the water.
The whole experience of being at home, practising active labour moving around the house/the garden/having a bath, and the focus on the breath and positive birth affirmations made it an incredible, moving experience. I would recommend Alice Kirby's hypnobirthing course to any pregnant person."
Charlotte Aspinall, London
"I had a wonderful birth all natural, no medication or intervention and quick. I wouldn't say it was painless but it was totally manageable and an amazing euphoric experience in all. Once we got into the hospital I listened to Alice's tape on my ipod and it really helped me to keep calm and block out the outside world and distractions and just relax and let my body do what it needed to do. The midwife said it was the best birth she had ever seen and none of them could believe how quick it was or how calm and quiet I was.
Before becoming pregnant I was terrified of the thought of giving birth and was going to opt for an elective caesarean. I am so glad I didn't as I would have missed out on an amazing experience of natural birth.
Alice's online course was amazing. It was very clear and simple. With bits to read about great births, explaining the birth process and little videos. The mp3s were all set out well and she tells you what ones to listen to when. I really put in the work and listened to them lots and read about natural births to understand it all."
Harriet Harper, Helston...
"Just wanted to email and let you know that yesterday (30:11:2016) I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, baby girl at Helston Birth Unit; I was lucky enough to deliver in the pool as planned.
It was the most incredible experience of my life and this is mainly due to the Hypnobirthing course I did with you. I cannot recommend you and your work enough!
Labour was 12 hours from my waters breaking naturally, to baby being born and I did it all with absolutely no pain relief! I am beyond proud of what we achieved! And I can safely say before meeting you it's something I never thought possible.
Baby and I are both doing so well. Thanks again Alice. I couldn't have done it without you!"
Sara Carr, Southampton...
"I just wanted to share my birth story of my second son, as I found hypnobirthing to be such a positive experience.
After the birth of my first son (now 3 years old) I felt out of control and quite traumatised. I had a lot of fear about giving birth again.
My best friend, Zoë, had tried your hypnobirthing course very successfully, so I thought I would give it a go, and I’m so pleased I did.
At 37 weeks + 5 days I started having quite regular contractions around 3pm, which became more frequent and intense over the next few hours.
I hadn’t had as much time as I had hoped to practice the hypnobirthing tracks or visualisations, although Zoë advised that any practice was more than I had previously had and would be useful during labour and birth!
In particular, during the early stage of labour, Zoë had reminded me about a balloon visualisation, which I hadn’t previously practised, but I can honestly say was the key thing that really helped me work through the contractions... I imagined with each contraction that I was blowing up different coloured balloons for my 3 year old’s next birthday party! This took me to a completely different “world” in my head and I really felt my body take over as I was able to release myself from my “thinking brain” (something I struggled to do with the last birth). My husband was surprised that I was pretty silent for the majority of my labour!
I decided it was time to head to the birth centre about 9:30pm, and felt very close to needing to push by the time we arrived. We walked in and I clocked the time at just after 10pm.
I’m sure the midwife thought I wasn’t as close as I was to giving birth, as she took a very relaxed approach, most likely because I was very calm.
I started the hypnobirthing tracks once I got into the triage room and felt very confident and not at all self-conscious, with playing the tracks and also the position I wanted to be in.
Within a few minutes, the midwife checked and I was 9cm dilated – I couldn’t believe I had managed all those contractions with just visualisations and the birthing tracks! What a relief!
A couple more minutes later and I felt the urge to push/bear down. The midwife telephoned for an additional midwife to help with the delivery.
Four pushes later and Michael Jenson Jörg flew into the world at 10:47pm, weighing 7lbs 3oz, with no tearing and very limited gas and air! Needless to say, I didn’t get out of the triage room and the additional midwife missed the birth!
Overall, I felt that hypnobirthing gave me an unforgettable (positive) birth experience. I was so much more aware of my body, and trusted what it could do in order to deliver my baby. I went into labour with much less fear about giving birth, and I felt prepared and ready, as well as in control.
I can vividly remember having skin-to- skin time with Michael and feeling incredibly proud of myself!
Thank you for offering this amazing course – I will be sharing my experience and recommending yourself and hypnobirthing to friends and family in the future!"
Natalie Swann, St Agnes...
"I had the most amazing labour and birth. Trixie was born at home in the pool on 22nd March. Your hypnobirthing class created a mindset that allowed me to believe that birth was natural and my body would know what to do... and it did! The MP3s really reaffirmed this. I was not afraid during any part and used the breathing techniques and active birth/yoga positioning to support a calm delivery.
My waters started to trickle at 2am and I went back to sleep eventually, for a couple of hours in between contractions that were every 5 minutes. We then got up and called the midwife at 8am. She came to check me at 11.30am and I was 3cm and fully effaced. She came back at 2.30pm and I was 7cm so got in the pool. What a relief it was to get in as it felt wonderful. With a bit of gas and air, she was born at 4.49pm in the water. A truly amazing experience.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your inspiring hypnobirthing class and your wise pearls of wisdom within. Your teachings really resonated with me and I know you have made such a difference to the labour and birth of our gorgeous little girl (a surprise as everyone tried to convince me I was carrying a boy!)"
Tania Reed, Retanna...
Judith Doyle, Truro...
"The labour was 24 hours long, beginning at 4am on my due date. I was so excited that I couldn't sleep so woke up then to start managing the contractions with breathing techniques. The contractions were very irregular, with some as close as 3 mins apart and others 10 or 15. This lasted all day and I was able to use hypnobirthing to cope easily with this. As evening drew on I was more anxious about the length of the labour and about going into hospital. I noticed that whenever I was anxious the contractions slowed right down and then when i relaxed again they would speed up. I felt that my mind and mood were very much affecting this. At 9pm we decided to go to hospital, because I was just a bit bored and anxious at home and was hoping things would move on.
When we got there, the delivery suite was completely full so we were on the downstairs ward. This was not ideal at all because it was a shared room with lots of noise and too much light. I continued to use my breathing techniques successfully but the contractions still weren't regular. Eventually we moved into the bathroom and with the door shut and nice and peaceful, I really relaxed into it and things started moving along very quickly then.
The hypnobirthing breathing was absolutely essential as I moved towards transition and the contractions got really fast. Just when I doubted my ability to cope, the midwife brought gas and air at just the right time. The delivery suite was still full and I couldn't go upstairs! I think the midwives doubted how well I was progressing, until I got on the toilet and felt the urge to push! Then I was rushed upstairs very quickly and into the delivery suite. It was quite exhilarating then,as the pushing sensation wasn't nearly as painful as the contractions, I quite enjoyed it with the gas and air!
Lucy was born quite quickly with maybe 10-20 mins of pushing, and I really let go and had no fear thanks to my knowledge of the expulsive reflex. She came out 'in the caul' and it was all very straightforward. She is now feeding well and very settled after only 11 days.
I am so grateful for the techniques you helped us with. Ian was able to support me through the difficult contractions, and help me to breathe into them. Next time I will definitely have a home birth because being relaxed is so important! But I have to say the staff at Treliske were very supportive of our need to be left alone, and they didn't once try to offer me anything I didn't want."
Stacy Howard, Penzance...
"I'm just writing to thank you for all your help during our hypnotherapy sessions and to tell you how fantastic it was! Baby Ohran is now 6 weeks old and the birth went so well. After being strongly advised to have that cesaerean, I delivered him naturally in three hours. He weighed 9lb 6oz which is a lot smaller than we expected although he was very long!
The hypnobirthing was absolutely incredible. As soon as we arrived at the hospital, Liam set the room out the way we had planned - battery operated candles, deep purple throws, birthing ball, our chosen smells (spiced vanilla), the Calmtime CD and the blinds closed. We made sure the midwife was aware that we were hypnobirthing and she was very supportive. I hardly made a sound throughout the labour, which I spent on all fours on the floor with Liam and my throws and blankets from home, and when Ohran arrived, he was very calm and content. Even when I was about to start pushing I remember thinking how easy the labour was! We had a completely natural third stage too as we discussed and it was perfect.
Ohran is still a very contented and happy baby and I really believe the birth we had is a contributing factor. The midwife attending said it was one of the best births she has ever witnessed. It really was one of the most beautiful and amazing things I have ever experienced, a complete contrast to my last two births!
Thank you again for all your help and support, without it our birth would have been a completely different story!!!"
"I had another baby 12 months and 1 day after Ohran was born... A little girl named Winnie-Rae who was born in an hour on Christmas day.... We chose a home birth after the success of Ohran's birth and we once again hypnobirthed. It was absolutely beautiful! So thank you again for totally transforming my birthing experience twice!"
"I undertook Alice's hypnobirthing course for my first baby, a beautiful little girl who came into the world in July 2016.
Watching the videos really helped me visualise how i wanted my birth to be - which was really important to me to help me prepare.
When anyone asked me if i was nervous about the birth I would say 'No, the birth will be in the water, it will be beautiful and my baby will just pop out' - which I probably wouldn't have said if I hadn't done the hypnobirthing course!
I found the first stage of labour fine, the second was more painful but I was hugely helped by the visualisations and affirmations, and Alice was on the ipod in the background! The third stage was also manageable.
I will say that vocalising very loudly and mooing like a cow helped me (unlike the very serene women I saw in the vids), but whatever helps you is fine I guess.
My labour was far from pain free, however, without the hypno course I am unsure how I would have handled it / coped.
After the birth I realised that in fact I had delivered my first baby with no pain relief, no intervention, and without any tearing which is pretty much a miracle. And I'm certain that the course was the major factor in helping that little miracle happen.
We left the hospital the same day and I was driving and walking about the next day perfectly healthy.
Frankie, my baby, is an extremely content, happy little girl - and I firmly believe she is a product of a calm and healthy mother - one I might not be if i hadn't practised hypnobirthing.
I have already recommended the course to my friends."
Kately Dennison, Falmouth...
I just wanted to tell you that little Adora-Day Dennison arrived on August 25th weighing 7lb 7.5 oz.
I began having period pain like feelings after having a show at 4:30 in the morning, and by 7:00 am I began thinking they were contractions!
At ten thirty I was having three in ten minutes so we called the midwife for her to tell me I was 5-6 cm dilated. I couldn't believe it!
I had your affirmations MP3 on continually throughout, and concentrated on the breathing.
Matt got the birth pool filled up pretty swiftly and I got in when the sensations were getting harder to breathe through. It felt so incredible in the water.
After a few more hours our little girl arrived safely in the pool at 15:05 and Matt caught her on her way out!
The hypnobirthing mindset and techniques really really worked so well, I was concentrating on breathing so much and relaxing as much as possible I didn't even have a paracetamol!
Thank you so much for your lessons and online course, I'll be recommending hypnobirthing to everyone!"
During some bedtime fun with my partner at around 11pm I got my first contraction! I decided to try and sleep but unfortunately the surges came thick and fast and I started to be quite sick. I was very thirsty but with every bit of water I took in it came back out! Despite this I remained really calm and relaxed and tried to breathe through each surge. I must admit I found this quite difficult due to the tightening around my tummy but I continued to do so.
We rang the midwife in the morning and she suggested we went straight to Treliske (due to my blood pressure and signs of pre-eclampsia). The car journey was tough but I remained calm and listened to my relaxing music whilst laying on the back seat. We stopped a few times so I could be sick and took our time - my partner driving carefully over any bumps!
When we got to the hospital (at around midday) the midwife thought I looked very pale so took us to a room. A urine test revealed I was very dehydrated so was put on a drip straight away.
We put on my music, I smelt the lovely frankincense oil which had a very hypnotic effect, and carried on relaxing and breathing. My partner was amazing - during pretty much every surge he pressed points on my lower back which made them bearable, and tried feeding me bits of food (I still couldn't keep anything down).
The midwives popped in every so often and always said how lovely it smelt and how well we were doing. The surges were coming every 5-10 minutes and in hindsight I wish I had walked around a bit more but I just wanted to be still on the bed.
There were some amazing moments of bonding between my partner and myself, and I had a lovely deep hot bath at around 8pm which was amazingly relaxing and really helped me to get on top of things. One affirmation I kept on repeating in my head was "its not pain its power" which really helped me get through it.
At around 11pm a midwife checked me and was surprised to find I was 8 cm dilated! She commented that there were not that many women having their first baby who got that far with only a paracetamol and very little fuss! I felt quite proud of myself and decided to have some gas and air as I thought it wouldn't be too long until baby arrived.
They took me up to delivery suite where I think the change of scene made me go a bit off-track and I started to get quite tired. I still kept up the breathing and relaxing. I had another whole night of it, and by the next morning I was still only 8cm! With my blood pressure rising and ketones in my urine it was gently suggested that I could go for an epidural and augmentation. We decided this would be the best option as I was so tired and still could not eat much. So our beautiful boy Rowan came into the world around 1pm two days past his due date, after an hour and a half of pushing. He was 8lb15 and a quarter and it was noted how calm he remained throughout the whole labour.
Although I did not have the water birth I wanted I feel Alice's hypnobirthing course and MP3's really helped me in the few months before having Rowan. I felt calm, informed and prepared.
Although the birth was tough going, there were some really lovely moments that I just don't think would have happened if I was scared or panicking.
I would recommend to anyone who is going to have a baby to do the course. Alice has a lovely calm and gentle manner which instilled a sense of ancient womanly wisdom to me that I knew was there - it just needed a little coaxing out !
Thank you Alice
Love from Vicki, Andy and baby Rowan xx
Zoe Viney, UK...
"I'm really proud to announce the arrival of James Adam Harry born 08.09.15 at 1.23pm, weighing 9 lb 1oz, at 40+5.
I wanted to share my birth story, as I am sure it would have very different without your hypnobirthing support.
As a first time mum I was really keen to clue up on anything I could do to make the labour manageable. I began hypnobirthing practice at about 28 weeks after signing up to your online course.
First thing Tuesday morning my waters broke, so I thought I'd have some time to get things tidy and prepped and for Simon to set up my birth space, or at least the space at home before we headed to the birth centre.
No such luck! I just about managed a shower before pains started at 2 min intervals and lasting a minute (from nothing). Headed to the birth centre straight away (option 1 of 2 because they have a pool), and only five minutes away.
Annoyingly, the birth pool room was being decorated, so that was off the plan. After they examined me to see what kind of time we had to work with (see if I could get to Winchester to a pool) we found that I was 8cm...and not going anywhere!
So I ended up hypnobirthing without water... At the birth centre. I seemed to whizz through the first phase in about an hour. Then pushed for a long time- initially only 'bearing down' but then having to actively push because of baby's position. James was back to back, which was challenging. I had gas and air, and a great team of midwives who worked with me to prevent an emergency transfer to Winchester.
Thanks to my hypnobirthing practice I was able to be calm even when my birth plan went to pieces, and felt much more in control of the situation. The whole thing was so quick, the only thing that made it to the birth was my phone (playing the birth affirmations tracks) and a hanky with lavender oil on it (oh and some jelly babies!) so my birth space was portable :-)
I really feel that all of the preparation and time spent practising breathing and working on my own affirmations allowed me to face a very different labour to what I had envisaged.
Thank you for introducing me to hypnobirthing! Xx"
"As soon as she was born it was amazing"
"I was 41 weeks + 4 days when my waters broke at 4.30am. I woke my husband up (who was overjoyed to not have to go in to work that day), got back in to bed with a packet of chocolate digestives and waited. Nothing was really happening by about 6.30am, so, perched on a big pile of towels (I was still losing quite a lot of fluid), we went to Mcdonalds to pick up some breakfast and fill up on calories.
I visited the midwife at about 11.30am, who just confirmed my waters had broken and that my blood pressure was slightly elevated. She contacted the midwife on call who said she would come to us once things were progressing.
It wasn't until about 1.30pm that the contractions started, but there was no slow build up or 'niggles' that you hear of. They started really strong and regular - only about 3 minutes apart.
By the time the midwife turned up at about 6.30pm, I was struggling to cope and nothing really helped. The speed and ferocity of the contractions convinced me that I must be pretty well dilated, and was disappointed to find out I was only 3cm when she examined me and "not even in labour!"
On top of that my blood pressure was way too high, so she had to call an ambulance to transfer me to Treliske. She was really apologetic and felt terrible I couldn't stay at home as planned, but I was relieved in a way as I knew I was going to need some pain relief.
They gave me some gas and air in the ambulance which helped for a couple of contractions but then the sensations changed. The intensity went up to a whole new level in the ambulance. This is apparently when I "went into labour", and the gas and air did nothing at all.
I'm guessing because I was only 3cm at home, they thought there wouldn't be much happening for a while. They didn't examine me when I got to hospital, but the midwife when I arrived on delivery suite commented on the strength of the contractions.
One contraction was massive and pushed down really strongly. The midwife asked if I wanted to push and I said yes, but it wasn't a matter of having the urge to push, my body was just doing it.
She said she was just going to have a quick check, and was surprised to find the baby's head pretty much ready to come out. So I pushed and there she was... Astraya Willow Speed. I was in labour for about 1 hour 45 mins. No tearing!!!!
As soon as she was born it was amazing. I felt like nothing had happened - no pain, no exhaustion, just got right up and had some tea and toast and a bath. The midwives were amazed. It was less traumatic then ASDA on a Saturday afternoon, haha. And even the next day, after what my body had done, I would of expected some muscle pain but nothing. Amazing!
I'm pretty sure that my relaxed attitude leading up to the birth and my mindset must of been to thank for the quick birth. I honestly didn't have anything to do with it. My body just got right on with things and I let it. I do believe I'd conditioned my mind to let my body take over and I'm sure that's why it was so quick.
I thought they were great at Treliske and I wasn't disappointed that I'd had her in hospital. It was still in the end what I thought to be a totally natural, non-traumatic birth, and she was completely alert but calm when she was born.
I would definitely recommend yourself and hypnobirthing to people in the future.
Astraya was diagnosed with a duodenal atresia several days later (malformation of a tube between the stomach and bowel), and was rushed to Bristol for major surgery. She spent the next month in hospital. However she made an amazing recovery and after 3 weeks of nil by mouth, took to breastfeeding straight away. I'm still feeding her now at 6 months."
Ruby Martins, London...
I was breathing through the contractions every time and imagined them as waves bringing my baby to me. A warm bath really helped calm me, and I had the hypno-birthing tracks playing in the background to help me stay relaxed, as well as dimmed lights. My fiancé was amazing throughout, helping me in and out of the bath and bringing the sick bucket back and forth as I did vomit quite a bit. He also remained calm, making the calls to the hospital as I progressed and this encouraged me to stay calm.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to use the pool as there was meconium in my baby's waters [note from Alice - very common and normal for an almost 42 week baby - not necessarily a sign of distress but caregivers will keep a close look out for problems] but I still used gravity and birthed him in the birth centre room, which had mood lighting and a really calm atmosphere. He was born 7 pounds 15 ounces, a healthy little boy and now we are just getting to grips with parenthood! :)
I can definitely say that hypno-birthing worked for me, it remove my previous fears and myths about childbirth and allowed me to trust my body to do what is natural"
Henry McTighe, London...
"Mirna breathed through the contractions and we listened to the backing music that you gave us. It was very intense at the end, which is to be expected I guess, but we were rewarded with our little guy [Logan, 8lbs 3oz], so it was worth it.
It sounded very painful, but afterwards Mirna said that during contractions she kind of wasn't in the room - I don't know if it was a result of the hypnobirthing training, but I think that our active labour was relatively short at 4.5 hours which is probably in part due to a calmer, more prepared and positive state of mind to most.
Thanks for everything"
Emma Rosenfeld, Falmouth...
"I wanted to share the news with you that my little baby girl, Ailla, arrived at 8.55am on 9th August after quite a quick (7hrs) labour. I stayed at home as I wanted and used my birthing pool which was great and I needed no pain relief. I actually ended up giving birth standing up!
Thanks for your hypnobirthing teaching, I certainly used the relaxation and the breathing techniques during labour. Jolyon used some of the phrases to keep me focussed and relaxed during contractions and I responded well. One of the things that I really found valuable was the hypnobirthing recordings that I listened to on the run up to Ailla's birth, keeping me positive and trusting in my body which really did work for me on the day!"
Ruth Hunter, Camborne...
"I'm really grateful to you as hypnobirthing helped remove the fear I had about my previous birth and enabled me to look forward to Daniel's. I gave birth on Monday and found that hypnobirthing was what got me through the contractions and back pain.
Last time I found the backache crippling. This time Chris put his hands on my shoulders each time I tensed, which reminded me to drop my shoulders and relax again. That helped enormously.
I was determined not to lose the plot and focussed on imagining the cervix stretching and thinning with every contraction. During pushing I imagined the baby moving down gladly to be born and willing me on. I was so tired for some of the final contractions, but I really relaxed and found truly that if I avoided tensing and allowed them to pass over and through me, I could see the pain without it affecting me.
The other benefit I was told was that the baby was unlikely to be stressed due to being born so gently. They were impressed with his 'handling' and wellbeing.
Anyway, thank you again for turning what could have been a horrible, painful, long, back to back labour into something special I can remember happily. I would recommend you to anyone. It changed my perception and fears and enabled me to feel strong and in control throughout. With more practice I could have had a totally still and relaxed birth. Very powerful technique."
Liz Kane, St Austell...
"We just wanted to let you know that Emma Eloise Kane was born at 2:17 Thursday morning, and I had the natural labour I so wanted :) Thank you so, so much for your part in that!
On Wednesday, I woke up with period type cramps. These were coming and going all day - but slowly getting more intense but I never felt them over the bump, only very low down. Everything I read told me it was just pre-labour which was a bit depressing, but in the end I phoned Penrice to describe them - they said it sounded like contractions and to come in when they were 5 mins apart.
I used your tips to set the lighting down low, had a really comfy seat of cushions on the floor, leaning over a pile of cushions on the sofa and listening to the Calmtime music, and I had a muslin with the essential oil on (which I took to hospital with me and was breathing it in like a drug LOL!!) Counting through breathing REALLY helped keep me calm, and made me concentrate on the breathing rather than the pain. Although I kept trying to 'summon' my calm place by a stream, I couldn't quite get there but was feeling I was doing well - not tensing up and feeling I could relax even during contractions.
The contractions didn't get regular for long enough, but by 11pm I wasn't coping too well anymore. Penrice said I could go in for a check. I was 3cm and disheartened, but they let us stay in as after the check the contractions stepped up their frequency.
The contractions were getting really painful now, and it was too early for pain relief. Out of nowhere I started imagining drawing around a door with each breath that we'd used in pregnancy yoga. I hadn't practiced it as much as the hypnobirthing scenes, so no idea where it came from! But just counting was all I could do.
I then had gas & air which helped loads, and again the pain was ramping up. Most contractions were lasting 10 breaths, then I got a couple that lasted 20 and I was starting to lean towards going to Treliske to get an epidural. I'd only been at Penrice 2 hours so I thought that I would only be another couple of centimetres along and it was too hard.
But out of nowhere, a contraction ramped up and never left. My husband ran to get a MW to check me, and I was 8cm!! Yeay! This was at 1.30am and I had the strongest urge to get on all fours, which the MW helped me to do. Then that was it - waters broke, it felt like I needed a big poo, they talked me through not pushing (as i wasn't quite 10 cm), then that i could push, when to pant, and in 3 pushes out came baby Emma at 2.17am - before the pool had filled up :)
Although I still felt a wimp and drama queen about those early contractions, the ending was absolutely amazing - to feel everything and it happen exactly as you and the books described it was a surreal but rewarding experience - and so different from my first birth where I headed down the intervention route at 3cm and ended up with a forceps delivery.
Martin seemed more confident with his 'role' too - leaping up to rub my lower back at each contraction, and translating my gas & air ramblings into what I wanted from the midwife, e.g. supporting me when I said something had suddenly changed and asking the MW to examine me. He was a superstar.
So i just wanted to say that I couldn't have done it without having dealt with a lot of the fear from my first labour, nor without having affirmations to help me with the final stages - thank you so much"
Gill Bradbeer, St Columb Major...
[Gill first contacted me pre-pregnancy as she was tocophobic, i.e. super scared by the idea of giving birth]
"The hypnobirthing really helped with the first part of labour and I didn't even wake Dave up for 3 hours! I felt so calm, unbelievable really after all the worry I had!
When I got to Penrice I was 6-7cm! I couldn't believe it!! I had to be transferred to Treliske though and ended up opting for an epidural (which was amazing!)
All in all it went well and I stayed calm throughout. I can't say I enjoyed it but I did it!!!! 😄
Thank you so much for your part in making that happen. I really loved listening to the hypnobirthing tracks and actually, when I was pushing, I kept hearing a phrase you had said over in my head. It escapes me now unfortunately but it certainly helped at the critical time!"
Penny Laban, Porthtowan..
"I wanted to email to say thank you for all your support and advice in the run up to the birth of Molly on Thursday morning. I had practiced using the MP3s a lot and found it so useful to be able to deeply relax and get excited about meeting our new baby.
Once labour started I was able to put myself into relaxation and could hear the words of the MP3s in my head and my affirmations about each contraction taking me closer to meeting my baby. I had a relatively short labour - real contractions started at 8:30pm, we went to Treliske at about 10.30pm and Molly was born at 2:49am. I am not sure how long the second stage was but felt quite long- she was a little bit stuck and it took a while to push her down but the impact of the hypnobirthing in the first stage was incredible - I felt in control and relaxed and was even able to laugh at times between contractions- there certainly was no fear or tension.
The whole time I was listening to the Calmtime music and was able to take myself down into relaxation for each contraction. One of the other really useful tools was the picture you had shown me of the longitudinal muscles of the uterus-I was able to picture each contraction working to open the cervix, so in combination with my affirmations was able to meet each contraction with some sort of positivity.
Molly is an absolutely beautiful little girl and we feel very blessed to have her. She has so far been very content and is feeding well which we are contributing in part to the fact that I was so relaxed in the run up to the birth, and that the labour was much much faster than with jack. Jack has so far met Molly with curiosity and has been keen to have some cuddles and kisses (we will have to see if he stays as keen once he realises she won't be able to play trains for a little while!!! :)
I cannot thank you enough for the tools you provided me with in the build up to and the birth of little Molly. I will certainly recommend your workshops to our friends."
Lee Strickland, St Ives....
Just wanted to let you know that our gorgeous little girl was born around 7am on Saturday morning (23rd) weighing 7lb 2oz. Her name is Darcy Rose, she was a week early and we are besotted! Throughout the pregnancy we both practiced our hypnobirthing exercises regularly, and despite my worries that I wasn't 'doing it right' it did bring me an awful lot of comfort in the lead up to the birth. I especially loved the 'Breathing & Bonding' visualisation which gave me a real connection to what was going on inside me.
I went into labour on Thursday (21st) evening and eventually went to the hospital on Friday night around 9pm. Darcy was back-to-back so causing me an awful lot of back pain; despite that however I was able to use the breathing exercises to manage the contractions and went from 1cm dilated, when I arrived at the hospital, to 9.5cm dilated just 3 hours later.
Unfortunately I couldn't dilate the last 0.5cm and the pushing on the last remaining bit of cervix was making it swell up rather than dilate so around 3am I was given an epidural to stop me pushing.
Around 6am, when I was fully dilated, I started to push but Darcy was very high up and after half an hour (and having been awake for 2 days) she was still quite high and both me and the baby were very tired so was given a bit of help by the doctor and Darcy was delivered by forceps just 20 minutes later.
Throughout the experience I don't really remember feeling much pain - apart from the back pain at the beginning - and was very proud of the fact that I got to 9.5cm without anything but gas and air (which I didn't feel provided any pain relief but having something in my mouth did help me focus on my breathing).
The hypnobirthing definitely made a huge difference and from Danny's perspective, gave him a real role in the birthing experience. All the way through I could hear the affirmations in my head. 'I give birth easily' and 'I surrender to the sensations'.
Just wanted to let you know how things had gone and to thank you for your help and encouragement throughout it all."
Katie Frazer , Helston...
"Just to let you know Ruaridh was born Thursday 20th Dec at home in our bedroom. He weighed 8lb12oz and came out no problem. My labour was about 5 hours and I used only a tens machine and the breathing techniques I'd practiced up to just before transition...I then had gas and air, but only for about half an hour :)
I am really chuffed with the whole experience and luckily I never felt that I needed a birthing pool , as I chose not to have one in the end! Fortunately I didn't have one anyway because Ruaridh's umbilical cord was very short and I could only hold him between my legs and no higher!! Unlike the lady on your FB page, my boy was crying even before all of him was out!!
He is a very calm baby, but has a huge pair of lungs on him, I don't think I've ever heard a baby cry so loudly!!
Anyway, thank you for all your help and giving me the tools to be so positive about giving birth naturally; although very painful in transition, it was an amazing experience!"
"Just thought I'd send you a quick mail to say thanks again for helping me to have such an amazing birth experience. I still can't quite believe that I enjoyed it so much!! It's definitely made a huge impact on me. I want to do it all over again! Anyway, little Ida is 11 weeks old now and is a little beauty. Going too quickly though." [Sarah had a homebirth after a previous caesarean!]
Donna Sharpe, St Keverne...
"Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks so much for sharing your hypnobirthing wisdom! I gave birth to our baby Reggie at 4.24am on Friday 19th July, he weighed 8lbs 1 3/4 oz with nothing other than hypnobirthing and a little gas and air!
My waters went at around 9pm but contractions didn't start until a couple of hours later. At around 1am contractions still weren't coming particularly regularly but having had a bit of a bleed I called the delivery suite for advice. They said that nothing would be happening yet but suggested I go in just for assessment to check baby was all ok.
By the time we arranged childcare for George (our 3.5yr old) and got sorted, it was almost 3am before we left for the 30 mile trip to Truro. As we left home my contractions had ramped up quite a bit, they were coming fairly quickly (perhaps every 3-5 mins) and were enough to stop me and need concentrating on. Hypnobirthing affirmations and breathing were getting me through at this point (and my Mum, who had come to collect George, commented afterwards on how calm I had seemed).
As you know, the car journey to Truro was the part of labour I was dreading, but I stuck the affirmations MP3 on my phone, plugged in my earphones and concentrated through the contractions. This saw me through most of the journey in relative comfort - contractions were getting closer and stronger, and the pain was increasing but I was still managing.
As we arrived at the hospital the surges were very strong and as we were walking through the corridors I began to have doubts and become fearful. I believe now this may have been transition. I managed to focus myself back into it and after being quickly admitted to a delivery room and being examined by a midwife, I was declared to be 8-9cm dilated.
At this point my body started to take over and I was pushing. The midwife initially tried to dissuade me as there was still cervix there, but my body had other ideas. She informed me that if I was going to carry on pushing I'd need to open my legs and give my baby some space! I tried to keep relaxed and let my body lead the way. Within a few minutes I heard her asking for a delivery trolley, and just half an hour after arriving at hospital, Reggie was born.
Having had rather extensive tearing from his speedy arrival, the hypnobirthing also helped me through the stitching, after which we enjoyed a couple of hours of family time just cuddling and feeding.
I am absolutely convinced that hypnobirthing helped me to have such a good delivery. It helped me to remember that birth is a natural event, and to remain as in control as possible over my fears to keep the pain to a minimum. I am so proud to have given birth as I did, it was an amazing experience and in no small part that was down to hypnobirthing. I'll be recommending your workshops to every pregnant woman I know!!
Reggie is an absolute sweetheart and we are all smitten. Thank you for making this such a brilliant experience, such a contrast to my previous experience and my lasting memory of birth will be positive and happy"
Tamsin Huddy, Stithians...
"I found the workshop very positive and inspiring and felt it made the subject feel very accessible.... Isla May Dark was born at 7.46am on Friday 25th March, one day before her due date. My waters broke at 1.50am on the morning of 25th when I had got out of bed to go to the toilet. I dried myself off and went back to bed, however within 40 minutes I had to get up as from the time my waters broke I had started getting contractions, coming about every 6 minutes, so was unable to go back to sleep.
I phoned the on call midwife at about 2.30, to say that my waters had broken, that things seemed to be progressing, and that I was planning a home birth. She reassured me that there was no problems with midwife availability, and to continue as I was, but to ring back when I felt that I needed the midwife to attend, or if I wanted any other advice.
I spent most of my labour sitting on my birthing ball. Mainly because I found this by far the most comfortable position, but also, as my membranes had ruptured I periodically, if I was up and walking around let out VERY large floods of water! After soaking 3 pairs of pyjama bottoms, 2 dressing gowns, multiple towels and a large number of maternity pads, I felt it was better to just stay put and hold a towel between my legs!!
After 5am the contractions seemed to be getting more intense and were coming about every 3-4 minutes when I sat on the ball or every 1.5-2 minutes when I was walking about., Neil phoned back to request a midwife come out. She arrived at about 6am and examined me, by then I was 7cm dilated, so she suggested if I wanted to give birth in the birthing pool Neil better get on with filling it, and she contacted the second midwife.
At this point Neil swung into action! He was amazing – filling the pool, making tea and toast for everyone, getting our daughter Evie up and collected by Grandma and Grandad, yet throughout remaining a constant support for me. It took Neil about one and a quarter hours to fill the pool and I got in it as soon as it was filled, at about 7.25. After a couple of contractions in the pool I felt the urge to push and with 3 pushes (at 7.46am) Isla was born into the water and I pulled her up into my arms.
I chose not to use any gas and air, mainly as I'm not keen on the “out of control” feeling it can give you, and also because I felt comfortable breathing through the contractions, and using hypnobirthing techniques. I couldn't have asked for a more calm, relaxed birth, and I couldn't have done it without the amazing support of my husband."
And here's Claire's subsequent birth with Seth!
"I woke up on the morning of 20th October, 5 days past my due date, at around 7am and realised I was having contractions every 10 minutes or so. After about half an hour I got up, had my breakfast and decided to run a bath. By this time the girls and Neil were up, I said to Neil that I thought our little man would come today, so he got the girls dressed and arranged for his parents to come and collect them.
Neil set up our front room for my labour. After some time in the bath, I decided that I’d prefer to be downstairs, so I continued to labour downstairs, focussing into myself using my hypnobirthing techniques and breathing through my contractions, rotating on my birthing ball or standing and leaning forward on the side of the birthpool. The contractions were by then coming a bit more frequently and intensely, so I rang to talk to the midwife. At around 10.15 she arrived to see how I was progressing, and I was 6-7cm dilated.
Neil filled up our birthpool, made tea for the midwives and by 11.15 I was ready to get in. The midwives very much left us to ourselves, I laboured in the pool, leaning forward on the side.
Around 12.20 I felt that I wanted to push, I tried the bearing down breath and after about 10 minutes my waters broke, and I felt an absolutely overwhelming urge to push. Seth was born at 12.41, his head came down gradually and I felt I had to focus on ‘opening wide’ to help him come down. As it turned out he was occiput transverse, but he delivered with no tearing or damage to either of us, weighing 7lb15.
Seth and I stayed in the pool cuddling and happy. After 15 minutes or so Seth latched on for his first feed and I delivered the placenta. The midwives stayed for about another hour to check we were all ok, then left us to it, to get to know our new and beautiful member of the family."
Lizzie Heath, Praze-an-Beeble...
My second son's birth was completely different to George's...
Initially, worries from my last experience and dramatic TV birth documentary stories were playing on my mind. The hypnobirthing activities you taught me - reaffirming the positive points and discussing how to cope with a first child coping with a sibling really helped to dispel my concerns.
This time my waters broke unexpectedly over a period of 30 minutes around 10pm. There were no other symptoms until after 11.30pm. Between midnight and 1am I focused on the breathing techniques and wandered the house. From 1am my contractions appeared to be around every 5 minutes so I woke my husband. He decided we should pack and get ready for the hospital. We arrived at 2.20am and after the midwife palpated my tummy she left to do my admission notes on the computer.
Within minutes of the midwife leaving my contractions changed. Thankfully, my husband noticed this and called for the midwife who returned - slightly disbelieving that things could change so quickly. Subsequently, she did an internal examination, and then said "On the next contraction, we will see the head." I was shocked! Edward was born at 2.46am whilst I was in kneeling position. I was given him immediately for skin to skin contact, and the cord was not cut too quickly this time. He weighed 7lbs 10oz. By 6am we were all home making a big cooked breakfast and waking George up to introduce him to his baby brother which was an amazing moment too!!
I truly believe that the hypnobirthing techniques allowed me to experience a relaxed and speedy birth where I felt in control and each contraction was managable. From start to finish, this birthing experience was amazing, natural and I can almost say enjoyable. It was everything I had hoped it to be. Thank you Alice!"
"Just wanted to thank you for the workshop. We had a baby boy, Harrison Jack McKenzie on 28th April. The birth was completely natural and I managed to avoid an epidural and didn't have any pain relief.
Jayne Cosgrove (midwife), St Columb Minor...
"I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your hypnobirth sessions earlier this year! Our beautiful daughter Jessica Ashling was born on 24th March at 41 weeks weighing 8lb 13.5oz (our second baby).
She was born in the water birth pool at Penrice. My first contraction started at 12.30pm and by 7pm they were getting pretty painful and I needed the TENS machine. By 10pm I was fairly convinced it was labour and by 11pm we were using the affirmations we had practiced (albeit not practised as much as we would have liked to have done). We kept it really simple, just about three lines that really helped me to focus and stay calm. We also used lavender and frankincense which I had been using when I had a bath in the evenings for a few weeks.
We arrived at Penrice at 1am and I got in the pool at 1.20am. Andrew felt a bit shy of using the affirmations when we were at Penrice (even though we never mentioned what we were doing to anyone else) but I made sure he kept it up... It kept me sane & focused! I was 5cm when I got in the pool and at 2.42am with no further pain relief our baby was born :-))
We were so chuffed and I'm very confident that the hypnobirthing was what made it possible and so bearable. I was quite sceptical at the initial idea of hypnobirthing but I truly couldn't have been more wrong and would recommend it to absolutely everyone. We both really enjoyed your sessions and I really wanted to say a HUGE thank you."
Alissa Kindred, Newquay...
"I created a lovely birth space in the days before by printing off the visuals and hanging them up to remind me each day and help me focus.
I was super relaxed and calm throughout the whole experience and once I was established and the contractions were stronger and 1min apart I just lay / leaned there propped up with my eyes closed not making a sound and then breathing and shushing through each surge.
My friend who is an amazing doula came round at about 6am (1.5 hours in...I had a show at 4:30am which started my contractions).
I had really enjoyed the quiet calm of everything as I walked around my quiet home in the dark, lighting candles, preparing things, relaxing.
When Claire arrived we hugged and chatted, got my partner up and prepared the birth pool.
At about 7:30am it was time to get our daughter up and ready for school. I went upstairs to help her brush her teeth by which time I was having to get down and not talk with each contraction. There was a beautiful moment when she had finished her breakfast and I was leant over the birth pool with a stronger contraction and my daughter put her arm round me and gave me a hug.
My partner took her off to school about 8:30am. By the time the midwife arrived at 9ish and examined me I was 9cm so she gave me the all clear to get in the pool whenever I wanted.
The midwife was so great. She picked up on the vibe and what we were doing straight away and just left me to it. She made monitoring the baby really easy and never asked me to change position despite me offering to.
When I was feeling like pushing I jumped into the pool and within a few minutes baby's head had been born. It was then seven minutes till the next contraction so we just waited and wondered as my daughter was looking incredibly peaceful in the water.
The next one came and at 9:49am she was born and we were holding her with huge gratitude and love.
After the birth I had a retained placenta and had to transfer by ambulance to Treliske. All of that was very traumatic and difficult, or it had potential to be. The ambulance journey was horrendous, I was in a lot of pain and discomfort, and fear could have easily crept in and caused panic. Fortunately I had got so used to reaching a deep state of relaxation and calm through the hypnobirthing I was able to stay totally calm and focused through a tough journey. I kept my eyes closed and focused on my breathing. Fortunately I didn't have to go into theatre and the placenta was delivered soon after arriving at the hospital. This provided for me the biggest sense of relief I have ever experienced! Afterwards the staff noted how well we had managed the whole process and I was home in time for tea.
Rosie was / is so calm and peaceful... She barely cried or even opened her eyes she was so relaxed at birth. Since birth she has been very relaxed and happy. I felt truly empowered by the whole experience and feel really pleased to have brought a baby into this world in such a way that meant she had nothing to recover from in her first days and weeks.
Also extremely glad I opted for a home birth and stuck to my guns despite lots of external pressure to go to hospital. A real lesson in trusting our instincts.
The birth was everything I could have hoped for... Quick, easy, med-free and natural, and I'm sure we owe much to the hypnobirthing. Much of it was things I already knew but it really helped remind us of what's important and to help get dad on board and prepared too.
Thanks a million... I enjoyed listening thorough the portal in the weeks running up to my birth, and always felt calmer and more positive on the mornings I woke up having listened the night before.
I particularly found the birth affirmations helpful as they could be listened to any time, especially in labour. I would highly recommend your course to anyone preparing for birth."
Click on the 1st pic below for Rosie's home hypnobirth story in pictures!
Vic Augier, St Eval...
"I started having irregular contractions in the early morning on the 17th. I woke a few times in the night, but by the time it was morning they had stopped! I had a midwife appointment that day at 4pm where she did a stretch and sweep and said I was about 1cm. It certainly worked!!! I was contracting all through the night, becoming progressively stronger, I spent the night laying on the lounge floor, then bent over the pouffe when contracting!
We got to Penrice about 2pm on the 18th, where I was 3cm but very stretchy so she let me stay! I got in the pool when 5cm. By 7pm I was 7cms and so relaxed! I cannot explain how relaxed and in control I felt, we had the hypnobirthing music on and joe was massaging my head. I kept on falling asleep in between contractions! I was so happy that everything was going as I had imagined.
But I thought too soon as just then my waters broke along with some clots. Then again more with more contractions. The midwife wasn't happy and we discussed being referred to Treliske. I really didn't want to but the thought of anything happening to my baby that they couldn't deal with there made me agree. We got to Treliske about 7.30pm and I could feel I was definitely losing it, the relaxing, serene atmosphere of Penrice felt like a distant memory!
The contractions seemed so much more intense and I couldn't manage them anymore. I stayed at 7cms for about 5 hours - Very disheartening. I couldn't get out of the negative frame of mind and upset the way things had gone - which I totally believe is why I didn't progress. I gave in to having an epidural about 12.30am, still at 7cms. It wasn't something I had wanted but looking back it was the best decision I made given the circumstances.
Then all of a sudden all hell broke loose as Stan's heart rate really dropped, the room was full of people shouting at me to push! I'd gone from 7-10 cms in about 10 mins and he'd dropped into the birth canal and was getting stressed. He popped out in about 5 mins! I had to have some stitches but who cares when you've got the most beautiful baby in your arms?! Maybe I didn't practice the techniques enough under stress as I might have been able to control it better at Treliske. Who knows. But I will definitely use the techniques next time and hopefully things will go a bit smoother!"
Sammy Symons, St Erth...
My contractions started in the early hours and were every 2-3 mins lasting 1 min. After a couple of hours I woke Gary up and he called the midwife who met us at Helston Birth Unit at 4am. Obviously with me not wanting examinations she couldn't tell how dilated I was, but she said it seemed early because my contractions weren't strong. It made sense that it was early stages because I could feel the lifting feeling you told us about! So we went home to try and sleep.
Contractions carried on throughout the day but they were all over the place and not that strong until the evening. Went to bed and around midnight again they started getting more and more intense. Gary decided around 2.30am to call the midwife because I felt I needed gas and air. They were very strong and I could feel something pushing down each time - I didn't tell Gary because I didn't want any panicking!
The midwife arrived within the hour, and I decided to be examined... She could feel the head! I then had to make the decision whether to risk travelling in the car to Helston without the gas and air, or stay at home.... So I wasn't budging! I was going through the gas and air pretty quick so she had to call the the 2nd midwife.
I'd been lying in bed on my side all night because I was most relaxed that way. Around 5.30am when the 2nd midwife arrived with more gas and air, I got up and was leaning against the back of the bed. After a while we remembered we had a birth ball so I got that out. After getting up, leaning on the ball, my waters broke around 6am - which Gary and I think was pretty amazing - it was literally like someone burst a water ballon! It was a big pressure release. There were mats down but I was on the mattress... Oops! Gary was very hands-on helping the midwives though.
Not long after the waters went the head started to show. I started panicking saying I couldn't do it, but I did! The head was soon out - can't remember how many contractions it took. Then I think it was the next push when I had to do the panting and her little body came out at 6.25am! Most amazing thing I've ever done! I forgot to see what sex she was, so we had a lil look! We were over the moon!
It definitely wasn't pain free, but with your sessions I really felt able to cope with it and believe that my body was capable of giving birth. No screaming either, just a lot of grunting noises when it was time to push. When I got up on the ball I was imagining the baby coming down and breathing her down so I wasn't pushing as much until I really needed to. I had the music playing, and lying in my own bed (which is where I practised all my hypnobirthing) with the bedside light on all made it very relaxing. Where's more relaxing than your own bed?!
I would definitely choose to have a home birth again, the midwives are so hands-on listening to baby's heartbeat every few minutes. I knew if they had any doubt whether it was safe for me or the baby they would have got an ambulance straight away. I only had to go Treliske because they weren't sure if I had 2nd or 3rd degree tearing. Turns out it was only 2nd so I didn't need a spinal anaesthetic. Was back home within a few hours :)
Thank you for your sessions, I don't think i would have managed without them, and probably why I lasted the contractions out for so long before we called the midwife! Really didn't think it'd be possible to have such an amazing birth... will be recommending you to everyone! :D
Emma Knight, St Eval...
"Here's a picture of Oscar entering the world in our front room, in the birth pool we bought from you! Oscars birth was a wonderful, magical experience all thanks to you" [Emma was a first time mum]
Emma's second birth story...
"After a lot of hypnobirthing practise listening to your MP3's and having our own script we would use to relax Tom and myself were feeling quite confident but we were getting a little worried about the date as I was keen to have another homebirth.
The waves got stronger and closer together and I decided I was ready to use my birthing pool but after a couple of hours the waves unfortunately slowed down. Things had slowed down to almost a stop and my midwife decided to break my waters as the baby's heartbeat was causing some concern. I had my waters broken on my bed and from then on things moved very quickly and I started to lose control, luckily Tom was brilliant at keeping me calm and kept bringing me back and using the words we had practised to get my head focused again. An ambulance was called [seems just as a precaution] as I was getting very dehydrated and Tom had spotted meconium in my waters when they broke. The ambulance took quite a long time to turn up and by the time they arrived she was very much on her way. Bailey was positioned in a very odd angle (sideways) and it took some time for her to crown. Between Tom and my amazing midwife they kept me calm and I couldn't have done it without them both.
Ellen Regan, Looe...
"Now that I have a quiet moment (Peter has taken the baby out for a walk) I thought I'd write and let you know how my pregnancy and the birth of our baby boy went (name to be confirmed) and to thank you for the hypnobirthing classes and use of the MP3s.
I was very lucky with my pregnancy so did not suffer from any problems apart from a little pelvic girdle pain so I was able to have a pool birth at Penrice Birthing Centre in St Austell as planned.
Prior to starting hypnobirthing I was insistent on paying for a caesarean section as I was always very scared of natural birth. I am 5'5" and have very narrow hips so I could not see how I could give birth naturally without problems - and large babies run in my family, I was just under 10lbs when I was born and my partner is 6'2". However, the positive affirmations MP3 helped me believe the baby would be appropriate to my size and the birth would go smoothly. The MP3s definitely kept me relaxed through the pregnancy and enabled me to not be affected by other people's scepticism and horror stories.
My due date was 19 June but my waters did not break until 28 June. They broke before I went into labour which I understand is due to the position of the baby. I had a sweep the Wednesday prior and was 4/5ths engaged with a 'paper thin' cervix. My contractions started at 11 pm and right away they were so painful all I could do was pace. I had hoped the hypnobirthing would help me relax through the contractions and manage the pain but I was unable to relax and focus. The baby was back to back which meant I was experiencing severe back pain with each contraction.
In the early hours of the following morning, my contractions were between 5 and 9 minutes apart and as they were irregular. Penrice told me to have a warm bath (which was lovely), record my contractions for half an hour and then phone them again.
After my bath, I started recording my contractions which were a minute long each and about 2 minutes apart. Peter suggested now might be a good time to go to hospital and he phoned Penrice for me as I was in too much pain to speak apart from during the brief break in my contractions. During the drive I listened to the positive affirmations to distract myself, which worked.
We arrived in Penrice at 4am and I was 4 cm dilated (that was quite disheartening!). I was fully dilated some time prior to 8.40am. This is when I entered the pool and after an hour of pushing our baby was born on 29 June at 9.40 am weighing 8lbs 4oz. I only had gas and air and started this at quite a late stage.
I am told that was a very quick labour for a first baby and the midwives said they considered the hypnobirthing would have helped me during my labour. I think the positive beliefs towards the pregnancy and birth helped me cope. It was incredibly painful but I managed to achieve something I could never have imagined. I understand the baby didn't turn so I think his entry into the world may have caused more pain than usual and it gave him a slightly funny shaped head, which is gradually becoming more regular. I had only a small amount of tearing - I think I had four stitches in total."
Charlotte Garratt, Falmouth...
"After a traumatic emergency caesarean with my daughter two years ago I spent this pregnancy worrying about the birth. At about 28 weeks I found Alice's website and we had a half day session with her. I found it incredibly relaxing and affirming but still worried about my bodies ability to really do birth naturally! I took her advice and every day used the MP3 downloads and read the affirmations while visualising a natural, peaceful birth.
After two weeks of on and off contractions I finally went into labour after a blissful day at the beach with my toddler and family. The contractions took 14 hours to progress to five minutes apart at 2am during which time I bounced on my exercise ball and did the breathing exercises Alice had taught us. We went off to the hospital once my mum and dad arrived to stay with our daughter. I was disappointed to be told I was only 2cms and began shaking as I was convinced it would be like last time. However, I continued breathing and calmed myself down. After one hour downstairs to relax the labour suddenly progressed and I went to 4cms and then before we knew it I was at 10cms with an unstoppable urge to push. It was an incredible feeling, so right and so natural! Our son was born with just a little help from the ventouse and I was up and walking around 20 minutes after stitches for tiny tears. It was the most affirming, positive experience I could have hoped for and I credit Alice's workshop with helping me to finally experience what I hoped for. Our son Ernesto is now almost three weeks old and a happy little soul."
Abbie Hackland, Helston...
"Having had a negative experience with my first labour, I especially wanted to have a straightforward natural birth and I am very grateful to Alice for helping me to achieve this. She made both my husband and I feel totally at ease and with her positive support I was able to prepare for the birth with confidence. The hypnobirthing and relaxation techniques that she introduced me to were invaluable and helped me to stay relaxed and calm throughout my short labour. Her calm and positive support both before the birth of my baby and the encouragement afterwards made the whole experience totally fulfilling.
Klaire Clymo, Redruth...
"I became a very proud mummy to Jacob Harrison Edwards at 5.20am on October 27th 2011. He weighed 7lbs 13oz of pure gorgeousness.
Matt had been on the phone to the midwives outside of the birth room and had been advised that nobody was available and I would have to come into Treliske or Penrice. At this point there was no way on earth I could have gotten out of the pool, so Matt relayed this.
[Note from Alice - if the local team are unavailable and mums decline to transfer to hospital, then other staff may be called upon instead, including midwives from other areas, an on-call midwifery supervisor, or paramedics as a last resort]
Documentary birth photography by www.Bambino-art.co.uk
Jacob's birth slideshow by Bambino Art Photography...
Vicky Rice, Penzance...
"On 19th Sept at about 4pm I was getting out of the car to go into the supermarket with my 3 year old daughter when I felt a gush of liquid – I was 37+2 so was a bit shocked that my waters had gone as my daughter was born at 41 weeks but I felt really excited that I would definitely be meeting my baby in the next few days. The night before I had finished everything that needed doing and said “ok baby, you can come now” and I had been joking with my friend that day that I was going to have the baby the next day.
I called my hubby but said not to get too excited as it could be days before anything happened. I decided not to call the midwife yet as I didn’t want to be pressurised to go in if things hadn’t started happening to their timescales (waters were clear and baby was moving). DH came home from work and he got dinner ready for our daughter and him and I started having tightening at 6pm that were coming every 10-15mins but were very manageable.
I showered and washed my hair then listened to my CD in bed – the tightening continued through this. I then had to write out instructions for my hubby as everything was on the laptop, which had died earlier that day! Poor thing wasn’t at all ready and said ‘I better get a good night sleep tonight” I said that I didn’t think either of us would be getting much sleep and I thought baby would be here tonight or early tomorrow.
After getting everything ready (oil burner etc) I spent the evening sitting on my birth ball, watching x-factor with DH – laughing and breathing through surges. By 10:30 they were coming every 5 mins and lasting about a minute. We called the on-duty midwife who, it turned out, lived almost an hour away so I said I’d like her to come out just in case things speeded up. Midwife arrived at 11:30pm and read birth plan. She was not really on-board with my request for no internals and said the other MW was an hour away so it might be good to know how far along I was to let her know. (I didn’t really care whether the 2nd MW came or not to be honest – as long as we had 1 there!)
Surges were much stronger at this point but I just practiced my surge breathing and DH used shoulder anchoring through each one, which really helped. At this point I was just chilling on the ball, listening to a CD of my favourite music and singing along between surges. I found that walking around and leaning on a wall / fireplace helped too. I felt really nauseous with each surge but couldn’t be sick.
At 1am I felt like getting in the pool and curiosity got the better of me so I said MW could do a VE. I was 5cm and cervix was very thin and baby very low down. I had been in established labour for 2.5 hours. The internal was way more uncomfortable than the surges – esp as I had SPD. The pool was amazing – and I just zoned out from then on. The endorphins were making me feel great and I can honestly say I have never felt so relaxed as I did between surges.
By about 2am the surges were getting really strong but still not painful just really intense. I start vocalising instinctively on the out breath and find it really helps to release the tension. I am then sick during a strong surge and think I’m probably in transition – woo hoo! I start feeling pressure but the contractions aren’t expulsive yet. It doesn’t take long before I start grunting and feel my body pushing. I ask DH to get in the pool and he comforts me.
At 2:35 the MW goes into the other room to call the 2nd MW but I know she’s not going to make it and I’m really glad that there isn’t going to be a complete stranger flapping in at the last minute! The noise wakes my daughter but amazingly she agrees to go back to sleep until baby arrives! The pushing completely overpowers me and is really intense just like it was with my daughter. Not at all pleasant! I didn’t actively push myself but my body was doing it all for me. I was slightly dreading crowning as I remember this being really painful with my daughter but the head was born really easily (am sure the water helped) and I told the MW and DH that the head was out. I put my hand down and felt a mass of hair. And a hand and arm! No wonder I was struggling to get him out – the same thing happened with my daughter. He was a bit stuck because of the compound presentation and I didn’t think the his body was ever going to come out but at 2:55am with a bit of help from me, baby Jude swam into the world, caught by DH.
He weighed 7lb 14oz and the cord was wrapped round him twice. Because of that and being stuck his face was very bruised but scored got 9 and 9 apgar scores. Established labour was 4.5 hours. I delivered the placenta in the pool – it just happened when I stood up to get out. DH woke our daughter to meet her new baby brother and we all snuggled up on the sofa.
Having had 2 home births – the 1st without hypnobirthing, I would recommend it to anyone. I can honestly say I felt no pain until the 2nd stage and It only occurred to me afterwards that I hadn’t even thought about using gas and air, which I had done with my daughter. I felt completely different afterwards and people kept telling me how well I looked. The Dr that did the newborn check said I looked more like I’d been on holiday than had a baby! Needless to say, Jude is super chilled out too. I feel like I could do it all over again even though we are not planning any more!"
Alice Kirby, Gweek... "Thought you might like to know that our baby boy, Henry Rowan, was born at Treliske on 28th April at 4.13am weighing 8Ib 7oz. He was 12 days overdue and missed his induction by 4 hours! I was lucky enough to have a completely natural delivery, no small thanks to the hypobirthing techniques which helped to keep me calm (ish)! Stayed at home til my waters broke then we raced to the hospital and I had Henry 40 mins later. I was home by 9am! Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for the introduction to the hypnobirthing techniques. I think they did help, especially when I was tense about being overdue. "
Charlotte Browning, Midlands... “Thank you so much for all your help – this really did make a difference, not just in the short term sense of helping with the birth but long term in that you have helped me to change how I felt about Noah’s birth and my ability to have a baby naturally. I don’t think that I’d have had the confidence to even try for a VBAC, let alone the labour and birth I’d hoped for if I hadn’t met Alice. In addition to achieving it this time, I not only now see my first labour and birth as a positive experience but the confidence I gained in my body through our time with Alice and by achieving a VBAC has helped me to overcome fears of a recurrence of mastitis and to try again – and this time succeed – at breastfeeding. So thank-you Alice,... I will forever be grateful.
"I often think of that weekend when we did your course - I can honestly say that I think it was one of the best things I have ever done, you really did give me back my self-belief and helped me to trust my instincts and body, something which not only helped in Isla's birth and breastfeeding but with Gabriel's too and also just in general day-to-day life, from using the techniques for general pain control (headaches, etc!) to generally just being at ease with my body again."
Sarah Willshaw, Falmouth... “I definitely support hypnobirthing and believe that if madam hadn't been posterior that I could have dealt with the contraction pain no bother as they weren’t hurting much at all with the relaxation etc....But our hypno-waterbaby is definately a relaxed laid back happy one!”
Kate Ewert, Downderry... "Our beautiful baby girl, Rudi Harper Ewert, arrived safe and well on the 20th October, just 5 days late! She weighed a healthy 4.1kgs (9lbs). We had a rocky few weeks before the birth. After a period of reduced movement and a trip to triage, the doctors were concerned that she was going to be too big and I would need a c-section. We continued with the hypnobirthing practice and it really helped to keep me calm. Anyway we managed to have a homebirth and it was the most beautiful, peaceful experience. I loved it so much I now want another baby! She was born in water after just 4.5 hours of active labour and just 20 mins of pushing ... so so so different to my son's birth! Thank you for your help and support"
See also - Our birth statistics