From about 20 weeks into my pregnancy my husband and I started practising hypnobirthing and right from the beginning I found the scripts extremely useful in helping me relax and connect with my baby. It really helped us prepare for the arrival of our baby and know how to make informed decisions when it came to the birth.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I experienced high blood pressure. This was monitored by my midwife. It was in my opinion ‘white coat syndrome’. My BP only got high when I went to the doctors. However on one occasion the midwife was worried it had become too high so she sent me to hospital to be monitored for a morning. I, of course had very high BP on arrival, they then took readings every 20 mins for the next hour.  Whilst waiting I listened to the scripts and the nurses were amazed to see my readings dramatically fall to a normal BP reading within 20 mins. I was then observed for another hour and I continued listening to the scripts and my readings stayed normal. I was immediately discharged and the nurses commented on how effective they thought my relaxation techniques were.

As with many woman for their first pregnancy my due date came and went. I tried not to worry about this and decided that my baby knew best when to arrive. However, my midwife soon began to put pressure on to begin intervention. Although slightly unsure I decided to have a sweep 3 days after my DD. After this I had a ‘show’ and some Braxton Hicks but nothing happened after a few days so I decided to have another sweep on the Friday. It was on the Sunday morning after this sweep my waters broke. I woke up at 7am and large amounts of fluid had soaked my pyjamas. I then began to experiences surges on and off. I was advised to go to the hospital as my waters had broken. It was a quick visit just to check all was ok and then we returned home. They advised us to keep an eye on the colour of the waters and if they change from clear to green colour to call triage. That day my surges came and went following no pattern, so I tried to rest and relax using the scripts. At around 8pm my waters turned a greenish/yellow colour so we called triage and they asked us to bring our bags and come in. After examination the Doctor advised that I should be induced as the change in colour of the fluids could indicate the baby was showing signs of distress. They explained that I would be monitored and the drip would be given to induce the birth and suggested an epidural. At this point I became worried that all my hopes for a calm, drug free water birth were slipping away from me but then I thought back to my hypnobirthing training and reminded myself that although certain aspects of my birth plan may not be possible, a great deal of it could be adjusted and I could feel in control of the situation. I asked for the doctor and midwife to meet me and we went through my birth plan working out each stage how we could ensure my choices were put into action. I decided not to have an epidural immediately and asked if I could use my hypnobirthing techniques initially and then make a decision later if I felt I wanted one.

The drip was administered at 12am, we were advised to rest for the next few hours until it began to take action. At around 3am I began to feel more intense surges so with the support of my husband I began to breathe and use my visualisations to help me through the next hour. The surges then became really intense and I asked the midwife to examine me. She said that because my waters had broken she wasn’t able to examine me for another two hours so at this point I asked for an epidural. Those 45 mins before I received the epidural were very intense and I had to use all my energy to focus and breathe through the surges.

Because of the epidural I found it difficult to identify how to push. The midwife was very helpful and described where and how to push. Three lovely doctors and a fantastic midwife gave me all the encouragement and support to help me. They did a small episiotomy and with one final push Felix was born at 10:10am. He came straight onto my chest and we were able to delay cord cutting for a few minutes before they checked him over. They were quick to give him back and he was placed on my chest where he crawled up and began feeding immediately.

Even though my birth didn’t go exactly to plan, I did feel that I was in control and had the tools to deal with the situation that we were faced with. The care we received was outstanding and we look back on the birth of Felix with pride and happiness.

Baby Felix, born 8 February 2016, Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells