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POSITIVE BIRTH STORIES

Enjoy this inspiring collection of birth stories from wonderful Auckland Hypnobirthing parents.

We had our baby on Friday, 21 Jan and had an incredible birthing experience … so good I thought I was in pre-labour for most of it and he was almost a car park baby.

I woke up at 5:10am and felt a bit different but nothing uncomfortable, waters leaked at 6am and then I had steady cramping/pressure at home till 12:30, I used my breathing and affirmations and I spent an hour in the shower. We then went to hospital, I was euphoric in between contractions in the car, singing to the radio.

We got to the hospital at 1:08 and had him at 1:21. No pain relief, no intervention.

My LMC said she has never seen someone so relaxed in between contractions with no fear of the next one. I was looking out at the view of Rangitoto thinking how lucky I was.

He came out with 3 pushes/birth breaths. Thank you for teaching us Hypnobirthing, now my husband thinks we should have have a million kids as it’s so easy!

Names undisclosed, first time Parents

Anaisha’s Birth

Navin and I would like to introduce our beautiful daughter, Anaisha Aaravi Kumar born on the 14th September at 11.30am. She arrived at 37 weeks and 1 day.

A bit of history: I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 16 weeks and went into full freak out mode hence the reason we first came along to hypnobirthing.

I had to be induced due to my waters leaking and being 3cm dilated but no labour pains. I was induced at 1am, ready to birth her at 9.30am and pushed her out within an hour.

If it weren’t for the methods you taught us, we could have had a very long and frustrating labour.

BTW: I still use my calm breathing with her 2am screaming fits!

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Abigail’s Birth

I am pleased to share our little girl Abigail was born on Tuesday 22nd Oct.

After starting the day with a lovely massage I lay down for a rest after picking up our son Ben from school and by 5pm I was sure baby was on its way.  I had Ben take a final pregnancy photo then between surges put on, put out and folded washing from the day, and checked I was ready for the hospital.

I returned to bed and listened to relaxing music and rested. Michael joined me after putting Ben to bed, reminding me how to breath and supporting me in different positions.  My waters released and my surges came very close together, it was time to go to the hospital.

We had a quick clear run to to hospital arriving around 11pm with a second release of waters in the lift on the way up to delivery suite.  We were shown into our room and the midwife told me I was fully dilated and it was time to have our baby. Abigail was born at 11.36pm wide eyed and alert, we enjoined some lovely skin on skin time while the midwives caught up on the paper work.

Going into this birth I knew I wanted a natural drug free birth, to spend as little time in hospital as possible and feel I had some control in the direction the birth would take.  I believe the hypnobirthing techniques we learnt helped to achieve this.  The birth was completely different to the story I wrote but I think that is because my story was influenced by my past birth experience and I couldn’t imagine it going as well and quickly as it did.

Max’s Birth

On Sunday night I could feel it starting, but it was not until a couple of hours later that I got out of bed to actively breath the surges. I wasn’t able to let Xavier know when a surge started and when it ended and where I was at. So I sent him back to bed thinking it’s just the beginning and he’ll need the energy once I am fully there. I found a nice rhythm where I was able to breath during a surge and relax in between.

On Monday morning Xavier filled me a bath where I continued in a relaxed way, listening to the music we chose before. I got out of the bath as I thought the surges where getting less. I was so relaxed. While I was out, it got harder to resist the urge to press rather than only breath a surge.

We decided it was time to call the midwife and get ready to go to Birthcare. I had to press again and again on the exhalations. And then it happened while I was standing, breathing and pressing, our baby came and I caught him with my hands. Max was born Monday morning 10th of August at 9.18 am. We went back into the bath to keep warm and Max had his eyes fully open and managed to crawl from my belly towards the breast. We had plenty of time together – also for the first breast feeding. Through out the whole time I used the breathing techniques, but never got to the birth breathing as I didn’t get that I was already that far. 

I guess having to get into the car to go to Birthcare and having to get ‘out of the zone’ weren’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to call the midwife either as she said to call when the contractions come every minute over an hour and last around 30 to 45 seconds each. I never really reached that point. At least we couldn’t track it. 

When the midwife arrived an hour after birth, she said we did well and that we could just stay at home and relax. With my mum taking care of us and Xavier having the child on his chest under his t-shirt we did relax and enjoy the miracle. 

It was a great start for the three of us and that will be our moment forever. 

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Alex’s Birth

Unfortunately Alex was having problems growing so we decided to accept an induction while she was still strong and healthy which meant that we ended up in Auckland City.  It all got rather dramatic in the end – after weeks of relaxation, nightly walks and positive visualisations – and a number of acupuncture sessions including what I think was a very effective induction session the day before we went into hospital, I was 3cm dilated before any interventions.  My membranes were ruptured and labour started as soon as I got up – and went like a steamroller.

Alex arrived an hour and a half later after a ten minute second stage!  It was all very intense, but the delivery was unmedicated, and Alex was unbelievably serene when she arrived.  Unfortunately my LMC didn’t quite manage to make it in for the delivery and I think the sheer speed with which she flew out lead to me tearing quite badly, but with the support of our midwife and some amazing surgeons I got patched together pretty quickly and we had a few hours with baby as a family first.  The surgery did mean that I had to stay in the hospital a day longer than I’d hoped but we were all home together on Monday.

I can honestly say that the preparations we had made for our birth, particularly the Hypnobirthing course, made the difference in allowing me a positive birth experience by giving me the tools to handle our special birthing circumstances.  I find hospital environments extremely stressful and I was pretty devastated when it became clear that our baby was going to be at serious risk if I chose to wait for labour to begin naturally at home.  But we were indeed prepared to calmly meet whatever turn our birthing took – we discussed our birth plan in detail with the hospital prior to arriving and a huge number of the staff went to a great deal of effort to honour and respect our wishes.

Everyone makes mistakes, and with the number of people inevitably involved (shift changes etc.) it wouldn’t’ be truthful to say that we were happy with every experience we had in hospital, but we were prepared to question decisions that didn’t work for our family and staff whose attitudes were not appropriate for us.  Every time we did this, the hospital responded to accommodate our needs, which was incredibly empowering in a whole different way from how I had expected my birthing experience to pan out.

The labour itself was extremely intense and we didn’t have time to use many of the resources – including a birth pool that the hospital had agreed to accommodate if possible using their wireless monitor if we had needed syntocinon – that we had planned, but Gordon supporting me with the relaxation techniques and particularly the affirmations we had picked out allowed me to remain calm and work with my body to dance with my beautiful baby girl until she gently slipped into the world to join us, wide awake, happy and amazingly unbothered by her change in circumstances!

Poppy's Birth

Both Dan and I enjoyed your course so much, it was so empowering and really disarmed many of the fears that are natural I think for your first birthing experience.

Having been through the experience now I can clearly see how these fears could have resulted in a completely different experience and taken us down a far less enjoyable road.

My OB was quite shocked at how effective my pushing ability was and how perfectly Poppy arrived into this world… And I came out completely undamaged also!! Woohooo!

I got up showered and was out of the hospital and over to Birthcare in no time. I have had the most relaxed gorgeous wee girl and I put a lot of her temperament down to how relaxed and easy she entered this world!

She arrived naturally and in her own time the night before her due date on our wedding anniversary – at the time of our first dance. This was exactly what I had asked for in my preparation.

Not 100% the time and day but had meditated on her being full term, the time and date was just a special little present she gave to us.

THANK YOU .. Your guidance was just so important.

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Amélie Sophia’s Birth

We are very happy to announce that we gave birth to a wonderful baby girl last Wednesday 18th September!

In fact I was reading your birth story, when the surges began around lunch time. Just 3.5 hours later our little wonder was already in our arms.

We nearly had a home birth! Everything went very quick. The surges started at around 12.30. By the time Chris got home at 1.30pm it was already quite intense. A half an hour later I felt that my uterus was pushing our baby downwards. We convinced the midwife that we really have to go to Birthcare (she suggested by the first call that I should stay home for at least another 3 hours). We arrived at 3pm in Parnell, fully diluted. One hour later Amélie was born in the pool.

She is a healthy, calm and happy baby. It was an amazing experience and we can’t stop looking at our little girl.

Victor’s Birth

Hello HypnoBirthers, I would like to introduce our little sweetheart. I started getting surges at 2.30 am and Víctor was born 8th April at 1.22 pm at 41 weeks 3.700 kg and 54 cm.

It was an incredible journey that ended the best way possible. We had a water birth a healthy alert baby boy with two incredibly happy parents.

The positive affirmations were amazing leading up to the birth. I listened everyday during the previous 3 months and they resolved any nervousness.

I was feeling happy at the end of my pregnancy.  Thanks Claire for the tools for your patience.

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Arya’s Birth

OUR HOME BIRTH – JOURNEY FROM FEAR TO LOVE

In April this year (2013) my wife Rochelle gave birth to our beautiful daughter Arya at our home in Auckland. Huge feelings of joy, relief, happiness, and love have come over me since then and an overwhelming sense of pride in myself and Rochelle for having brought a beautiful new being into this world, our way.

If you had asked me just six months ago if I would have considered a home birth, I would have looked at you like you were mad. My father was born in National Women’s, I was born there, my two other kids were born there.

That is what happens, babies are born in hospital and I certainly wouldn’t want to risk anything happening to my precious daughter or wife. Heck, the fact that we had a midwife instead of an obstetrician was cause for concern enough in my circle of influence.

On the suggestion of a friend we attended a workshop at Auckland Hypnobirthing and it opened my eyes to an entirely different way to look at birthing. Hypnobirthing has nothing to do with Home Birth by the way – it is more about using the natural resources women already possess to have a gentle birth experience. What I got for myself was way more powerful; the realisation that I had bought into the collective social fear that exists around one of the most fundamental and natural things we do as a species on this earth – birthing new life.

It was the first few chapters of the Hypnobirthing book by Marie Mongan that changed my mind completely. Early last century a doctor name Dick-Read was called out to a birth in a poor part of London and immediately offered the women chloroform, pain relief of the day. The woman refused, and with some gentle breathing gave birth to her child with no fuss or noise. The good doctor asked her afterwards why she refused and she replied “It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t supposed to, was it Doctor?” Many other positive experiences later the doctor wrote a paper called the “Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome” and it was this that made total sense to me. His premise is “that fear is the cause of tension within the body and in particular the uterus, and that tension inhibits the natural process, prolonging labour and causing pain”. Bang, there it was right there for me, it made total sense, tense up and injury, pain or trauma can happen (or be worse than it would otherwise be). Relax and our bodies have an amazing capacity (coupled with endorphins, our built in natural pain relief is as powerful as any medical version) to do incredible things.

So this got me thinking. How could I create the most relaxed environment for Rochelle to have a gentle birthing experience?  Home. The only place where we could both feel relaxed and in our own world and the more we looked into it the more obvious it became. What also dawned on me, was that if it wasn’t for the strength of my ancestors, generations of women tracing back thousands of years, the majority giving birth in their homes, probably in basic conditions, I wouldn’t be here.

It is amazing the amount of time spent preparing for the birth, in reality just a second in the life of our child, but we spent time most days for 3 months preparing ourselves for a calm birth. We also delved a lot more into the effect fear has on birth now-a-days. You can’t escape the movies or TV shows of women screaming in pain in the final minutes. And there is the well-intended advice of friends and family to ‘take the drugs’. FEAR, False Expectations Appearing Real drives so much of who we are as a society it is often hard to see the real truth and touch the deeper innate wisdom we all have inside.

There is definitely a place for the medical system, but on our journey we discovered a couple of other concerning things. Men being allowed into the birthing room has been a huge breakthrough in the last 30 years but, significantly it has co-related with an increased amount of times women are now given pain relief. And while not proven, many suggest that there has been an unconscious side-effect to ‘tone-down’ the birth experience because partners didn’t want to see their spouses in pain.

What happens next is also well discussed, true in my opinion and I am sure open to scrutiny. But the minute any type of intervention is introduced into the birthing process, the mother’s body ceases to be able to do what it was designed to do and things often escalate to emergency situations. The introduction of drugs effects the natural hormones, the endorphins, causing the mother to tense rather than relax. The baby suddenly gets its first dose of something different,  can get distressed and often ends up as an emergency. One could argue that it was lucky the birth was in the hospital, and that is of course sometimes true, but given a more relaxed birthing experience, it may also have prevented many negative birth experiences as well. Intervention can often lead to further intervention.

We ended up not telling many people about our plan for a home birth because of the fear based reactions of friends and family.  While we did our best not to lie in the weeks before, it was certainly hard to remain focused on what we wanted. Every single person asks ‘have you packed your bag yet for hospital?’  While this is generally a throwaway line, it became a little harder to ignore, and at some stage we relented and did in fact pack a bag. I admit that every now and then some sticky fear would ooze up from the dark depths of my sub-conscious, playing in the shadows of my past beliefs. But each time, by shining some light on this fear, acknowledging it, loving, trusting, I knew from deep in my bones that we were on the right path.

Our due date came and went and the days ticked by. At 7 days over our midwife started talking inducement because ‘they’ don’t like the mother to go beyond 14 days. The big ‘they’ was the hospital, a place we wanted to avoid like the plague. We became a little resigned to that possibly being our destiny despite all the preparation, and a discussion with our midwife lead to more stress, the very thing we were working hard to avoid. We requested that if we had inducement we wanted the right to just have the minimum, and the right to stop at any time when the body took over. But we were informed that the hospital has it’s ‘protocols’ and that once certain things started, one after the other will follow including increasing dosages, and interventions until birth.  Because induction speeds up the birthing process it inevitably leads to needing pain relief.

There was that fear thing again, we didn’t want to end up in that situation, I mean how can anyone have a relaxing birth in a hospital? People go to hospital when they are sick, birth is about joy and new life and nothing about the induction process seems supports that.

What happened next? Well we found a home birth midwife who was willing to support us going a little over the magic 42 weeks and the relief we believe, funnily enough brought on labor the next day. Rochelle started feeling surges (contractions) around 2pm and between them did some final nesting around the home. They got more intense by 6pm and we spent the next 4 hours doing the best to breathe through them, find a place to stand, squat and sit.  Our midwife came at midnight and I had prepared the water bath, Rochelle got in and we spent the next couple of hours going deeper into relaxation. It was definitely a joint effort, Rochelle doing the work and me reminding her to breathe. By the way we had two midwives present at this stage, one to look after Rochelle and one for baby.

At around 2.45 it became clear Rochelle was a little too relaxed, so we helped her to move out of the bath and within minutes baby was right there, ready to come. What happened next was where the months of preparation paid off. Rochelle was ready to have the baby right then, so we got back in the bath and with gentle encouragement from our midwife slowed the process right down. Literally breathing the baby out, no screaming, no drama just mother and baby working together. It was simply beautiful. Our daughter Arya was born and immediately placed on Rochelle’s chest where she stayed and bonded for 30 minutes with her mum in the water. As I said earlier, I am so proud of Rochelle, the midwife and also myself for working through my own fears, challenging my beliefs and finally experiencing total bliss.

I want to finish off by talking about water births. When we first started looking at one that old friend fear again popped up. I could just see the baby coming out and taking what was supposed to be her first breath to be drowned in the pool. I have spoken to other people who have the same feeling. What really happens is the baby feels the water as an extension of the womb and as we experienced, with just her head out and in the water for about a minute, her breathing system didn’t kick in until she was out of the water. A few coughs and splutters later and a new life was ready to start her journey on this earth.

I wanted to share our story in the hopes that other soon to be parents might consider for a moment, looking past their own judgements, their beliefs and deep into their own fears and find what I found. To trust that a woman’s body and her baby are created with all the tools needed to have a safe, gentle and natural birth; mother and child working in beautiful harmony with nature to create new life.

Ava’s birth

In the early hours of Monday 27th June I started to have surges which were quite mild so I slept through them until 6am when they began to become a little more intense. I woke Nick up at 6am to let him know our baby was coming that day. Throughout the surges I had a couple of warm showers and quietly sat in a comfy chair in our bedroom with a blanket over me whilst listening to the Hypnobirthing  affirmations and the rainbow relaxation. This definitely helped me stay calm and relaxed.

At about 1pm I said to Nick it’s time to get to the hospital as the surges were becoming a lot stronger. We arrived at the hospital at 1:38pm and my waters broke 10 minutes later. My midwife had to encourage me to lie on the bed to check  how far along I was as lying down seemed to make it more painful. Once she checked me she let me know that I was fully dilated and it was time to push! So my goal of staying at home for as long as possible was achieved!

After an hour and a half of pushing, Ava was born at 3:38pm. Her heartbeat was steady and calm throughout the whole labour so I’m truly thankful for our calm and relaxed Hypnobirth! Ava is a very chilled (most of the time!) and calm baby and I truly believe it’s due to the Hypnobirthing experience!

Oh and I definitely experienced the hallmark when I was asking my midwife for an epidural as soon as she walked in the room! Thankfully I was fully dilated to avoid that!

Nick and I just want to say a huge thank you for all of your guidance and help as it gave us the birth we wanted.

Asher’s Birth

I started getting my first twinges Friday night – just regular, un-painful tightenings like a mild pulling from my back then around my belly.

Saturday morning we actually considered for a while going to HypnoBirthing class, but decided instead to go for a walk to the park with our dog. The tightenings were happening every half hour or so, and I would just face away from people, breathe through it, and then we would carry on.

After lunch things moved up a notch and they were feeling a bit more serious so I lay down and did my rainbow relaxation. That really really relaxes me to the point that I fall asleep, but it made the surges come on a lot more painful for me because I wasn’t awake at the beginning of it coming on so wasn’t able to do my breathing until I woke and it had already taken grip of my body. In hindsight, I probably should have done the rainbow relaxation in the morning when the surges were mild.

Around 6sh we decided to try get some sleep as we knew we were in for a big night. I tried for an hour or 2, but I would wake up every 6 minutes or so in the grips of a surge. It was getting pretty intense and Mx was starting to feel a bit helpless so he did a quick cram study of our notes which helped him feel more in control. I would throw back the duvet and sit on the side of the bed, while Mx would touch my shoulder and remind me to relax my shoulders, breathe, and let my body do the work for me. Each time he reminded me I concentrated on relaxing my shoulders and envisioned my uterus moving the baby down, and my cervix opening up. I started to feel a bit nauseous around now, so I called our midwife to let her know what was happening. She said I was still in the early stages of labour. It really didn’t feel like it, but between surges I was fine so she just said to ride it out a bit longer as I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible.

The best position for me was kneeling up on the couch with my forehead up against the back (the same position I eventually gave birth in). I must’ve stayed in that position for a few hours. Mx found some acupressure points in my hand and pressed them at each surge which helped more than the back rub.

At about 10.30 I got a bit teary and said I can’t do it anymore. Although I could deal with the pain, the surges were still 5 or 6 minutes apart, not getting any closer, and I didn’t like not knowing how long it would go on for and was worried about getting too tired. Mx called our midwife and she agreed to come. I vomited then, and was also switching between shivering cold and too hot.

Our midwife arrived and reminded me to not focus on how long it may take but instead to just focus on getting through each surge. Her gentle reminder was enough to relax and calm me. I was about 5cms and I had just lost my plug. She said she’ll meet us at Birthcare, but said to take our time. I was anxious to go because the surges were very intense, but Mx, calm as a cucumber, went and had a shower!

We got to Birthcare at about 1am. Our midwife was waiting in the room with the lights dimmed and the spa on. Mx put on our playlist and I jumped in the spa which was relaxing but made my surges slow down so I jumped out and went back to my kneeling position on the upright bed. I felt pressure like I needed the toilet and our midwife suggested I sit on the toilet as it’s a good position to be in. As soon as I sat down I got hugely intense surges, my waters broke, and I had an overwhelming uncontrollable urge to push. I got 2 of those in a row. Our midwife examined me again and I was fully dilated and ready to go. This part was the good part!! It felt good knowing he was ready to come now, and it wasn’t painful – just tiring. Mx and our midwife talked me through pushing and reminded me to do my correct breathing, and I was able to let my body take over because it knew what to do. Only a short time later our midwife and Mx could see the head, but unfortunately at the end of that surge the baby decided to shoot right back up again! That was the worst feeling, knowing I needed to go do that tiring work to get him back down again when he had been so close!! But our midwife said he would have been getting into a better position – clever baby!!! The baby got back down again, and with one big push his head was out. He started crying straight away, before his body was even out. Next push, at 3.45am, he was finally out! (With no tearing thanks to my perennial massaging).

I had gas available, but I didn’t consider it as it would have been another thing to try deal with and I felt like I had enough going on as it was. The pain was totally manageable with my breathing and with mx helping me through each surge.

The classes helped Mx and me so much as it helped us understand that my body is made to do this, we shouldn’t need any intervention, and I was confident that I would be able to give birth naturally. It was such a positive experience, and my first words when I was handed Asher was that it was all worth it.

My view on childbirth has changed completely – it no longer is a scary, gory ordeal, but a very positive, empowering achievement. I am absolutely looking forward to my future births 🙂

Our midwife said it was a very typical birth for someone who had done the hypnobirthing classes, and it resulted in a very content happy baby (and mum).

Christopher’s Birth

Thought I might touch base and introduce you to Christopher David. He was born on Saturday, 26 October at 8:56am weighing in at 9lb9oz.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the lovely waterbirth we were after but the HypnoBirthing certainly helped us remain in control and certainly provided us with a happy, calm and collected little baby!

I was admitted on the Tuesday with full term preeclampsia, so four hourly observations and not a lot of sleep. I was therefore booked in for induction on the Thursday midday. By 5pm on the Thursday I was transferred to Women’s Assessment Unit to begin the induction, only to be told I should have a c-section. At this point we said no that this was a last resort not a first stop. So we kicked off with the first administering of the gel at 7pm, then again at 11pm. Everything was coming along nicely, then slowed down overnight. Another lot of gel was administered the next morning of which I spent the rest of the day pacing the corridors. I lost the plot by 3-4pm on the Friday, sat in the pool for an hour ish and at 5pm on Friday they assessed me to say I hadn’t started contracting but they could break my waters. After a couple of requests I was finally on the gas – I was overtired and sore. Waters were broken at 7pm, we went to delivery, watched the sun go down and come up. Only to find out that being 8-9cm dilated that the baby wasn’t moving (but under no distress) and we’d have to go to surgery. Christopher was then born at 8.56am, born at 41 wks. Once in recovery he latched straight away and has been feeding like a trooper since!

Christopher’s heart rate stayed the same from the day we were admitted through to the time he was delivered and we attribute this completely to HypnoBirthing.

I listened to our relaxing music, did rainbow and a fear release during the process and the breathing techniques were awesome. Now that he is out  he is a pretty chilled out baby. He is sleeping from 11.30-5/7am each night (and then going down for another three hours after that) so we are pretty happy with that – we believe this is because Hypnobirthing allowed him to be ‘grown’ in a stress free environment! For this we are very thankful!

This was nothing like our birth story – but we were completely in control of our story, we made the right decisions for Christopher and me and don’t have any regrets. I would not have felt in a position to do this with just the ante-natal class education. HypnoBirthing certainly provided us with fantastic foundation for the pregnancy and birthing processes.

Thank you very much for all your help and guidance along the way – we are totally in love with our little man and are loving parenthood!

Connor’s Birth

So my “due date” of Dec 10th came and went.  Funny how everyone else seemed more worried about this than me and my hubby.  I loved being pregnant and our baby was obviously very happy where he was too!

By Saturday night (14th) I knew something was starting to happen.  The first surge I felt was at 10pm and wasn’t intense at all, they were just very patchy and all over the place time wise.  So I spent the night propped up with pillows on the couch in the lounge (couldn’t get comfy in bed).  I did manage to doze off a little in between surges and intermittent wandering around the house.

By 8am things were getting a lot more intense so I woke Chris up and he ran me a bath.  I just continued with my surge breathing and relaxation techniques we learnt in class.

Chris called our midwife around 10.30am and let her know where we were at.  She wanted us to wait until the surges were a bit closer together and call her later on.  By 12 I knew I was definitely ready to go.  My surges were still not close enough or long enough but I insisted it was time so we arranged to meet at Waitakere Hospital for a check up and then the plan was to go to Birthcare from there.

Just before we left home my surges stepped up a notch and I really felt the need to push!  I had another three like is in the car on the way to the hospital (on looking back now I’m pretty sure I was in transition at this point).  We met our midwife at around 1pm and another surge came and I told Chris and our midwife “I really feel like pushing” – they were not expecting that!!  She did an exam and I was fully dilated and ready to go (no trip to Birthcare for us).  Our midwife started to fill the birthing pool for me and Chris was rushing about trying to get everything prepared for our peaceful birthing experience (he had to rush out to the car and get everything since we thought we were going on to Birthcare afterwards!).

Once I made it into the birthing pool I felt really great and knew I was ready and could do this.  I was so relaxed I had my eyes closed the whole time listening to our relaxation music.  Through the whole time in the pool I spoke about three times, just to tell Chris “nearly” as in baby is nearly here.  He was amazed to see our baby’s head half way out and me just squatting there calm as anything.  I turned to lie sideways to breathe Connor’s head the rest of the way down and Chris received him with our midwife watching closely right next to him, guiding him along (this is when my waters broke too).  He had arrived, we have a son!!  (His sex was a surprise).

We had some time skin on skin in the pool while the cord stopped pulsing.  Unfortunately Connor didn’t initiate his own breathing straight away (fairly common with water births I’m told), so they had to take him from me for suctioning and oxygen.  In this time I got out of the pool, birthed the placenta and got in bed for cuddles with our son once he was given the okay.  Back to skin on skin bonding for us for about the next hour, it was amazing.  (So after arriving at hospital at 1pm, our son arrive at 2.16pm!)

I had one tiny tear which didn’t require stitches and barely any discomfort after the birth.  I truly believe this was due to me not pushing or holding my breath.  Instead I used the birth breathing “breathing down” right to baby.

Chris and our midwife were both very impressed and proud of me for how I managed through the birth.  My midwife had had a few other clients use hypnobirthing techniques in the past but not to the extent to which I did.  I really did feel like I just went to my own little world or “in the zone” so to speak.  I really wasn’t too aware of anything happening around me.  We filmed our birth and I just watched it for the first time the other day.  I was very proud of myself to say the least.  I have also shown the video to a couple of girlfriends who don’t have children and have been previously terrified of childbirth.  After watching our birth they have let go of some of that fear and I’m pretty sure they will be using hypnobirthing techniques when the time comes for them!

I just want to say a huge thank you to you Claire, not only for teaching Chris and I all of the techniques we used in our birth but for sharing your birthing stories and your birthing video.  We need to get more positive birth stories out there for other women to help them feel empowered and fearless when it comes to childbirth and to give them the confidence to rely on their bodies doing what they’re made to do and getting back to drug free births being the norm.

Olive’s Birth

Ben and I were extremely blessed to welcome Olive Mae Ward to our family on the 27/04 at 520am. We had such a beautiful birth made possible by using lots of our hypnobirthing tools.

The positive affirmations were amazing leading up to the birth I listened everyday and they resolved any nervousness I was feeling. It all started at midnight on Sunday 26th and we used the breathing and relaxed in the shower things progressed quickly and we headed to Birthcare about 3am where I listened to my relaxation in the car, this was helpful because I had been walking around or standing so sitting in the car was not fun.

Luckily I was able to zone out. Olive was then born in the water at 520 and we feel so blessed to have had such a calm relaxed birth. Thanks so much for the tools Claire!

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Elsie’s Birth

On Thursday 16th January, I was having a leisurely day, a break from a busy day of getting things done around the house the day before (including scrubbing the windows in our bedroom, which some say was a nesting sign in itself!).  I went for my morning walk, enjoyed a decaf coffee with a friend at a local café, then I met a tradesman back at the house to get a quote to paint the kitchen.

I polished off some leftover salad (‘raw energy’ salad which in retrospect was probably ideal) and then went to meet the girls from antenatal class for our first coffee group at a café in Mt Eden. With my due date the furthest on the horizon (February 14), I had absolutely no idea that I would be in labour a few short hours later.

After a pastry and some good chat I headed off to Harvest to pick up some naturopathic supplies before having an appointment with my acupuncturist, a proactive wellness session designed to help prepare the body overall for labour (as our baby was already engaged and in the right position). A short stop at the butcher, and I was on my way home.

4.30 PM – as I hit the curb up the driveway I felt a warm wet sensation and immediately thought I had peed my pants, as it continued I realised that in fact my waters had broken. I called Bede who was suitably surprised, and we agreed things might be a way off so he should stay at work until after I had talked to my midwife.

My midwife said ‘I know you wanted a waterbirth at birthcare, but you are going to have to let that go because you’re just 36 weeks you need to go Auckland Women’s. Don’t panic but don’t dilly dally, get yourself there as soon as you can.’ She went on to explain that the timing was particularly terrible as it was the one time she wasn’t available, she was busy with her son’s wedding. We hadn’t had a chance to meet her backup midwife either as we had only recently changed our LMC. She said we would be in the care of the hospital midwives for our birth, something we were not at all prepared for.

A hospital birth was something I had worked on with fear release during hypnobirthing and I had a moment of real sadness about going there, but at no point was I fearful. Bede made his way home and I called my Mum who booked herself on a flight from Wellington immediately, only the day before had she decided she should pack a few things in case the call came early, and all day that day she had been feeling a bit strange.

I threw a few things into our labour bag, topping up the small preparations we had made and put aside the swiss ball, our rainbow relaxation and some calming music.

By the time we were in the car it was around 6 PM and as we neared the hospital I began to feel the first surge, it was concentrated in my back and I breathed comfortably through it. We parked and made our way slowly to the assessment unit. They were expecting us and ushered me into an assessment room, a very small space with a bed and adjacent bathroom (it was such an unpleasant room that Bede would later refer to it as the ‘holding pen’).

By this stage the surges had increased in frequency and they wanted to monitor me on a machine, I was asked to lie still in my back and they strapped me to a monitor, this had been my fear; the exact position I wanted to avoid and I was not comfortable, but I remained very calm, continued to breathe and Bede remained tenacious about engaging with staff around making changes that would be more comfortable for me.

After 20 mins of monitoring I was able to move and I got down on the floor, on my knees leaning forward on the swissball, I went deep inside my mind and worked hard to stay focussed through each surge as they started to come on faster. We played the rainbow relaxation CD and Bede reminded me of the breathing with each surge. He also and applied light touch massage frequently, as well as using piping hot towels on my lower back, this kept me very comfortable and aided my relaxation.

My Mum arrived from Wellington at 8.30 PM and said ‘you could have this baby anywhere’ and I felt really empowered; despite the environment being the total opposite of what I would have chosen, I was labouring well and all my practice was working, I was experiencing labour just as I had hoped to – meeting each surge with a sense of welcome, each time the affirmation ‘each surge brings my baby closer to me’ was floating through my mind. I focussed on the opening rose and completely gave over to my body.

The delivery suites were busy and the hospital staff had largely left us alone, we assume because they thought it would take some time for labour to advance, and because I did not appear to be ‘in pain’. In the end Bede had to get quite assertive with staff about moving us to a delivery suite as it was apparent to us that our baby was quite close, surges were increasing in intensity and were less than a minute apart. Finally a midwife examined me, and was very surprised by our progress, she arranged a speedy transition to a delivery suite. I was breathing our baby down, kneeling on the bed under a sheet as we where wheeled down the corridor at pace.

At 10.45 PM we were in the delivery suite with two young midwives who were very supportive and excited to be part of a hypnobirth. Later they would say it was a privilege to be part of such a great birth, rarely do they get to see hypnobirths at the hospital.

In between each surge Bede would press firmly on my shoulder and say ‘ deeply relax’, and I would, feeling a rush of endorphins, Mum spooned ice chips into my mouth and wiped my face with a cool face cloth which I found soothing. With the support of everyone in the room I was able to breathe our baby down into Bede’s arms from a kneeling/crouch position on the stroke of midnight exactly. Weighing a petite 5.6 pounds our little girl was alert and eager to embrace us.

From my waters breaking to Elsie’s safe arrival the entire birth was just 7.5 hours. The 2-3 hours where labour was intense went by in want seemed like a very short time to me. I had two small grazes from Elsie’s hand which came out beside her head in a superman kind of way, but there was no tearing, so no stitches and no need for any follow up care. I couldn’t feel them during the birth and it was only afterwards that I was told they were there.

Due to her ‘pre-term’ arrival and size we spent a night at Auckland Hospital and then 5 nights at Birthcare to get her weight up. On arrival at Birthcare we were asked a series of questions for admission assessment, I remember one of them was ‘how do you feel about your birth experience’, I said I was delighted.

Gabriel’s Birth

The birth story began the night before when we were at a friends leaving dinner at an Indian restaurant.  I asked for the hottest curry they could make me.  I love spicy food and none of the others at the table could stomach my curry, it was that hot!  But I gobbled it up and it must have done something.  during the night I remember waking a few times and going into child’s pose.  Looking back on it, I think labour had already begun but a broken sleep is nothing new when you’re 41 weeks pregnant!
 
At 7.30 I woke up and went to the bathroom where some of my waters broke.  I wasn’t sure if it was the ‘real deal’ so I rang our midwife.  She told me to put a pad in and monitor the amount of liquid to see if it was really the waters breaking.  She said she’s come round after her clinic at 5pm.  I had an acupuncture appt for 3pm that day and she thought I should still go as it would hurry me along.

About 30 seconds after speaking to her a huge gush of waters came out and messed up the bedsheets – no doubt now about what was happening.  I felt okay, had a shower and breakfast.  Shortly after breakfast the surges started coming, and in pretty quick succession.  Ben was trying to write them down.  I was going into my own little world – I was splayed out on the beanbag lost in the beautiful playlist of music I had created, remembering my affirmations and letting it all wash over me.  The surges felt intense but manageable, however in between time I was throwing up that healthy breakfast of bircher muesli and green smoothie.

 
Ben called the midwife back and asked her to come. When she came she thought I was doing well and said she’d leave us for a few hours.  She got me to change to the bedroom and lie on the bed. Here I felt a bit lost – no birthing playlist or beanbag so when the surges came I was hit harder than before, although I did like the fact that I could relax between surges on my bed. To cope with the rising intensity my mind invented an image of me as a dolphin.  When the surges I dived through the surf of a breaking wave, nose down and swimming with my skin shining in the sea.   It was a beautiful image and totally unplanned but it really helped me get into the heart of the surge and relax.
 
The midwife was about to leave then she changed her mind and decided to do an examination.  It turned out I was 6 cm dilated!  So, big change of plans.  She called birthcare and told them to fill the pool and her and Ben were running around getting ready to leave.  She drove us in her car so Ben could sit in the back with me.  I had on my lavender eye mask and headphones listening to Radiohead, bon iver and rainbow relaxation.

We arrived at birthcare – I had a big surge in the carpark and probably frightened some of the people arriving!  We got up to the room and into the pool – for my water birth! But alas it was not to be.  I was in second stage by now and for some reason, it just wasn’t working trying to get the baby out and be in the pool.

So, on my midwife’s advice I went to sit on the toilet. This is where my birth deviates from HypnoBirthing – I started to push out the baby rather than breathing him down. It felt like the right thing to do, although I kept saying ‘ I don’t wanna have this baby on the toilet!’

After a while we transferred to the bed.  I found this stage quite manageable.  Between surges I had time to relax and kept saying ‘ I can do this.’  I didn’t feel too tired and felt strong inside.  The midwife put a mirror up for me to see the baby’s head – this really helped as during surges I could see it coming out and felt encouraged by this.

Each surge showed me a bit more of the head coming out, and I was asking ‘ when am I going to be crowning.’  She kept saying ‘ nearly there, you’re doing so well.’  Then when it finally happened it all went really fast.  The baby’s head came out and was just hanging there.  He let out a short little ‘wah’ that I found really buzzy – that thing is alive!!  Then the body came out really easily and that was it!  Both the midwives started crying, and I just felt like it was a surreal moment, I just couldn’t believe that a baby had really come out from inside of me!

The last part of delivering the placenta was easy, I was just so relieved that baby had arrived. We didn’t look to see if he was a boy or a girl for a good 10 minutes, we were just so happy and relieved it was over and it didn’t seem to matter what it was! We finally looked and sure enough – boy!  my instincts had proved right.

So, my reflection of HypnoBirthing is as follows

    • While I didn’t use the techniques of ‘deeply relaxed’ etc during the birth as there was no time I feel absolutely that all that practice meant we had a straight forward birth.  I felt empowered by the toolkit of strategies  that hypnobirthing gave me.  As a result, the fear that would have accompanied me normally was not there.  I trusted in myself and in the process.
    • The visualisation of the ‘birth we wanted’ was also a powerful tool. I wrote out my birth story and it really was amazing how much came true.  Actually, my actual birth was better than the story I wrote  as I hadn’t wanted ot make it too good in case it didn’t happen like that!  My birth was only 6.5 hours all up whereas my invented plan was more like 14 hours.
    • The perineum massage was vital as it meant I had no tears or stitches!  Such a relief.
    • I’m the only one in my ante-natal class to have a straight forward, natural birth – and the only one to do hypnobirthing.  A coincidence?
    • I deviated from my ideal birth in that I couldn’t have a water birth, I did push out the baby in the end and I was more vocal than I expected during the surges.  But this is just what happened and I don’t regret anything.

I think hypnobirthing has given me good skills beyond birth and labour – of the power of the mind to visualise and meditate – to create a reality through positive reinforcement and belief.

Jacob’s Birth

HypnoBirther Strikes Again. PBAC Victory!

My husband and I met Claire at our hypnobirthing workshop during our first pregnancy with Zachary.

When we decided it was time to invite our second child to join us, it was important to use the techniques of HypnoBirthing again. In fact it was imperative that we used the skills and techniques even more so based on history.

The history: His big brother was considered a large baby, however we knew he was the perfect size for my body. I went into labour spontaneously and we started birthing gloriously. When we hadn’t reached a certain ‘medically dictated’ point of birthing we were convinced to release his waters manually. Which was something my husband and I tried desperately to avoid while in the situation, our requests were denied. When the desired outcome wasn’t achieved it was decided that we ‘medically’ required an emergency cesarean.
On reflection, reading over our notes post Zachary’s birth, their medical reason was the size of our baby. There was no evidence of fetal distress. And as fellow Hypnobirthers can attest, I was nothing but calm. No elevated blood pressure or heart rate.
On hindsight we wished we had voiced our opinions better and had pushed for patience and time. However, our beautiful boy was born… And we couldn’t have been happier.

Why does this affect Jacobs birth story? Because from the point of conception it was ‘told’ to us that we would be needing a cesarean section based on the previous cesarean. There were no medical reasons for this other than an assumption based on statistics. This opinion was opposed by us instantly and we went on our way to back up our opinion. First off by seeking a like minded midwife.
The beauty in this was our previous midwife worked alongside a midwife that was one of our tribe. It was unfortunate that on our previous birthing day she was already at a birth. So be it. We requested her for this birth and were met with an open heart and mind.
Aimee Jones reviewed our previous birthing notes and agreed with our opinion.
We started early to get the necessary data for the white coats so we could go ahead with our plan. I was cleared of risks like gestational diabetes early on & left to grow our baby.

As the pregnancy commenced I used my skills as a HypnoBirther to keep myself and our baby calm and happy. I used the healing room many times, recording myself revisiting and erasing our previous birthing process. I replaced it with one of love and trust, planting affirmations of ‘I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure’.
Within my recording of The Fear Release, I spoke of how and when our baby would arrive. I stated he would be born in the full moon cycle, knowing that this date was medically ‘post date’, also knowing this would create a hurdle for ‘the White coats’.
I spoke of how the labour of love would be less than three hours because our baby and my birthing body would do a lot of pre work in the weeks leading up to the birthing process.
As a HypnoBirthing couple, my husband (the science mind) also did his own preparation. He made sure he knew exactly what I looked like while in a deep state of relaxation. He ‘programmed’ my deepener using The Lavender script. And he made sure he knew what prompts would be useful during the different stages of our birthing journey. He was also aware of our birthing colour and how to use this to my benefit should I look like I was rousing from my self hypnotic state.
The key to a great Hypno Birth is to use the same energy that created your baby to help your baby on their birthing day.

Within our journey I spoke to our baby daily. Evenings were our together time where I’d meditate on him and tell him how loved he was already. I would reassure him & he would reassure me. My husband spoke to Jacob every night telling him how excited we were to be chosen as his parents.
Within these delicious moments I incorporated learnings from DZAR, the compassionate energy of All That Is. Source Creation. I was creating a centre of energy reflecting energy. I would listen to meditations and connect with my inner being and ultimately our ‘to be born’ sons inner being. I was affirming my true knowing of self.

One week prior the full moon we had a ‘blessing way’ where I invited close friends and family to bring a crystal, stone, feather piece of wood or anything they felt drawn towards along with them. These ‘pieces’ then became part of our ‘birthing shrine’ to be used in the birthing suite. The essence of our blessing way was to gather and give thanks to our support network and to create a strong energetic bond for our son. During the blessing way we made candles to be lit on our sons birthday and we created dream catchers for both of our sons. Most importantly we came together and ‘feasted’ sharing great food and wonderful conversation, instilling nothing but positivity in and around our family.

Leading up to our birthing time we were referred to the PBAC (Positive Birth After Cesarean, formally known as VBAC, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) clinic for appointments where we would see an obstetrician and a midwife. Both whom were there to coach us into a positive birth after cesarean. Due to their medical training, more often than not they would try to coach us into another cesarean. My husband and I went to every clinic with an open heart and open mind and met with them with nothing but compassion and respect. We were energy reflecting energy.
We did as they asked, having growth scans, meeting with pre surgery admissions teams and being spoken ‘at’ about risks. Again, we gave nothing but respect and compassion. Energy reflecting energy.
The hospital made a date for an elective cesarean, something we did not request. With the guidance of our midwife, at our request, we politely declined and agreed to meet with an obstetrician to talk through our options. Again, we went along with the process and met it with respect and compassion. Energy reflecting energy… And we were met by the first obstetrician that agreed with our plan. Dr Nicholas Walker, he saw us as people not data, he saw we were not going to take risks, he saw that we were HypnoBirthers that were using our skills and HypnoBirthing techniques already through out the system… And that we still respected the system… above all he saw us as parents that loved our ‘to be born’ son more than anyone else IN THE WORLD.
We made a plan there and then that should spontaneous delivery not commence within a certain date we would have our midwife manually release my waters. There was a possibility that our ‘to be born’ sons membrane was as thick as his older brothers and they might not release themselves. We agreed there would be no artificial assistance and Dr Walker put his name to our plan saying we would allow 24 hours for the birthing process to commence. Our midwife was overjoyed by Dr Walkers seal of approval saying she’d never heard of an obstetrician putting their professional name on the line and ‘allowing’ 24 hours post waters release.
We left feeling empowered! Energy reflecting energy!

That evening I listened to our affirmations, Rainbow Relaxation and a DZAR practice for manifesting love meditation. I then meditated with our son and he put my mind at ease by saying we would require Aimee’s assistance and that it would all be beautiful.
I then re wrote our Birthing Journey Story stating that our waters would release with the help of my adoring husband, and they would at a ‘magic time’ (at that point not knowing our admission time). I said that after our waters were released the birthing journey would commence and our son would be born in no more than three hours. I knew this would be done due to the fact that two weeks prior our birthing date my body had been thinning and opening and our son had been engaged.

A day prior our ‘date’, I had an energy session with Claire (of Auckland HypnoBirthing). She asked me to remind myself of my inner beauty and power. While in this conversation I did just that, seeing all the times I had birthed before and all the times I’d assisted with births. I made a comment of “I’m going to fill that room with compassion and conviction to the point where no White coats will enter and all the machines will fail so they won’t be able to monitor me”.

The day arrived, we were admitted to hospital at 10am.
We set up our birthing ‘shrine’ with crystals & tokens from nature infused with love from our friends and family, three electric candles, our electric aromatherapy diffuser, our sons chosen birthing crystal and my favourite birthing affirmations.
Our waters released at 11:11, with my husband pushing down to assist (it was beautiful).

I had a moment of ‘what if’ when my husband reminded me to ‘deny the doubt’
He then placed our birthing Rose Quartz on my stomach and played The Rainbow Relaxation, reminding me to relax. I did. I then played two special DZAR recordings, firstly The Realm of Magenta then Manifesting Love. I don’t recall hearing the manifesting love mediation!
During the Realm of Magenta there is a segment where DZAR requests you to draw up the realm of magenta through your core. As I did this I had the most vivid vision. I was in a dark green lush forest (I’d chosen green as my birthing colour), in this forest I was in a circle of trees, within this circle of trees there was a circle of women with their backs to me… I was in that circle. I knew this circle was a circle of protection.
Then the glorious time distortion really kicked in.
I started having the most amazing strong surges, my birthing body and baby were getting the show going! Due to our previous history our midwife HAD to take one fetal reading. But the machine wouldn’t work. She called the charge midwife who brought in another machine… This wouldn’t work either.
I then saw the room full of the colour magenta, I felt nothing but universal love.
I was relaxed and letting birthing happen.
My body was opening easily and naturally.
I felt confident, I felt safe, I felt secure.
Strong surges were met with beautiful birth breathing and the odd primal groan (or as my midwife said ‘vocalising’).
Half an hour later our son was born, using two gloriously divine birth breaths.
My beautiful husband received our son, and placed him on my chest… He stayed there for an hour. One whole glorious hour.

Jacob Stone arrived surrounded by love and trust.
He is the most settled and content baby.
And I am the most radiant and delighted mother.

Jakobus’ Birth

Just wanted to let you know that our son arrived 7.21pm last Sat evening (3rd March) via a water birth as planned.

Jakobus Johannes Smith (JJ) is just beautiful and he and I remained calm through the birthing process which was just amazing.

I was able to focus on breathing through the surges and (as hypnobirthing teaches us) my labour advanced quickly and smoothly as a result.

We stayed at home until I was around 7cm dilated and jumped into the pool for JJ to be born just over 1.5 hours later.

The water was great – it was so nice to feel weightless!

Thank you so much for sharing hypnobirthing with us – I have no doubt in my mind that Hypnobirthing enabled us to have the natural and relaxed birth that we were wanting.

I would totally recommend HypnoBirthing!”

Leo’s Birth

We just wanted to say a big thank you for preparing us so well for the birthing of our son, Leo. He was born on 27 June after a relatively short labour…and the day happened just like we planned using the hypnobirthing techniques (except for the very end!). Leo’s arrival started exactly as I planned it would in our birthing story, right down to the weather, the date and the time of day!

Waters broke at 2am and I went back to bed to listen to the rainbow relaxation, even managed to sleep (although I was very excited). At about 10am we were called into hospital for a fetal heart rate check, which I was reluctant to do, but we went in…and I was 2cm dilated. Our obstetrician sent us home…and at about 12pm I settled in to the relaxation routine we had practiced over the last few months.

Just 2 hours of relaxation later we went back to hospital with surges approx every 3 minutes and 6cm dilated. I got straight into the birthing pool and within an hour was at 8cm…and just another hour later was at 10cm. All went by very fast – felt like no time at all to me. I didn’t feel any pain as such, but very powerful surges (exactly the right word for it!!).

My husband was amazing and spoke to me the whole time using the scripts and techniques we had learned…he really kept me focused. Unfortunately right when I was fully dilated the midwife couldn’t find Leo’s heartbeat so I had to get out of the pool. I was reluctant to do that, but actually found I was even more comfortable out of the water than in it!

We then had 2.5 hours of trying to birth Leo naturally…but in the end we needed a ventouse to help him out. I used some gas while in the birthing pool, but other than that, no pain relief, and had no tearing. Leo was born at 6.36 pm weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce.

I totally credit hypnobirthing and your awesome teaching for helping to make our birthing such a positive one. The preparation ensured I was not fearful of the birth itself, the relaxation techniques kept the birthing calmly progressing, and little Leo was calm and not distressed (although unfortunately probably was a bit when we needed the ventouse).

He is two weeks old now and is a very calm and relaxed baby…he’s just amazing. Thanks again so much Claire – you really made an amazing contribution to the successful introduction of our lovely boy into the world. Thank you!

Macey's Birth

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Phoebe’s Birth

Everything is going really well with Phoebe, we are so madly in love. She is a real milk guzzler and feeds in about 20min! She sleeps like a log – 3-4 hour stints! Nice to be getting good stints of sleep so far 🙂

Here’s how our birth story went:

My waters started breaking on Friday night (1 November) and so we wanted to leave it as long as we could without heading into hospital, in the hope of labour starting naturally. By Sunday morning we had to go get checked out because labour had not started and that’s when we had to say goodbye to our home/water birth. Felt disappointed but this was quickly replaced by excitement that our bubba was on the way!

I had a sweep at the hospital and then a few hours later we were in active labour (doctors were knocking down the door wanting to give me syntocinon but we held them off!) I listened to the affirmations and practiced the breathing techniques for a few hours when the surges were mellow and listened to beautiful ‘yoga’ music.

Lane and I spent the next few hours in the shower as the surges became more intense and balloon breathed through them. Lane was absolutely my rock. He was amazing. He knew what to say and when, and helped me through every minute.

Pretty soon we were 10cm dilated! Then we spent about two hours trying to breathe our baby out with the J breath. Our baby was JUST there! But when the pushing stage wasn’t bringing bubba any further, we were advised we’d need to have help from the doctor because her head was in a funny position. She was never distressed though, which is why the midwives were doing everything in their power to try and get her to come out without the doctors help. In the end we had an epidural, which by this point was my new BFF because not being able to push when that’s all your body wants to do is quite hard work!

Then I was able to breathe her out with the help of the doctor’s vontouse. What a moment when she came out! Wow. I felt her head come out which was great because I thought maybe I wouldn’t after the epidural. She was calm when she came out and totally content.

In the end it was about an 8 hour birthing and we both felt really proud to get to 10cm naturally, with hypnobirthing! There is no way we would have done it without the strategies we learnt.

She was born 6 pounds 11 and 49cm long. She’s the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen and we’re pinching ourselves every day that she’s ours to keep!

Thank you SO much for everything you taught us and for helping shift my fears about birthing.

Ryder’s Birth

I had a difficult labour with my first baby boy, being induced with both gel (which did nothing) and then the oxytocin drip. After a ten hour labour and an epidural at 7cm which only worked briefly on one side, followed by two hours of pushing with no luck, my baby was found to be deflexed (his head was right back and therefore in the wrong position). He was born via ventouse, which meant an episiotomy, and the ventouse had left a good tear in my cervix also. He was however very happy and healthy which of course was the main thing!

We were overjoyed when we found out we were expecting again almost two years later, and as happy as I was, I was absolutely terrified of going through the same thing again, as I still wasn’t 100% back to normal.

I decided I would do everything I could to have a natural labour and delivery. I did a pregnancy acupuncture course, which aims to prepare the body for birth and produce surges which are not as intense. I also did hypnobirthing with Claire. I worked a lot at home, listening to the cd’s most evenings and worked especially hard on fear releasing.

My due date came and went, and I kept positive and rested and watched the Birth as we Know it movie every day. At 8 days overdue, I became discouraged as my midwife (who wasn’t 100% believer in what I was doing) booked me for an induction at 10 days over as they thought my baby was going to be a whopper. Interestingly, it was her weekend off and I would have her partner (who was a huge hypno advocate) deliver my baby should he come.

I was sitting on the couch eating dinner when I had a very decent surge which stopped me eating. I then realised I had had a few! Not wanting to get too excited, I went and had a shower. The surges continued (not painful just downward surging pressure) and I realised they were probably about 6 minutes apart. I text the midwife, just saying I thought I might be niggling, when my water broke. I was laughing my head off at this stage, still not believing that my body actually knew what to do! After calling mum to come watch the eldest, I went to the bedroom, put on my cd and spent the next two hours in bed and walking around the room, really trying to let go and just let my body and baby do their thing. Chris had been timing the surges without me realising and given that they were 3 minutes apart, thought we should get to hospital.

I should add here that by my due date, I had actually accepted that I still held fear around tearing to bits upon delivery, but I had acknowledged it and knew that was my only barrier. 

When we got to hospital, the midwife asked me if I would like to be checked to see how far along I was. It was funny, in my heart I knew exactly where I was at and knew I was fine, but my fear made me curious! She checked me and I laughed out loud to hear I was 8cm dilated (which I already knew).

The surges kicked up a gear then and I gave 100% focus to swivelling my hips and really really channelling that energy. And then…. I lost it! My fear came to the surface and, what was coming out of my mouth was “I can’t do this, give me an epidural, this is too hard etc etc). It was literally like purging that fear during labour. What was in my heart and head was – ‘I know exactly what I’m doing, baby is almost here and I can absolutely do this”.

Then, something changed in my body and I knew, without reason, it was time to breathe baby out. I did do more pushing than I thought I would but again, it was so natural to be birthing that way, pushing and breathing all fear and insecurity out. After only ten or so minutes, I felt baby move down and crown… and out he came, just like that! He was 8pound 6oz (big but not a whopper!) and perfect. I swear I have never been so proud of myself in my whole life, he was born an hour after I arrived at hospital and when my midwife checked me out – I did not need one single stitch and there was no tearing. The other interesting thing was that, I had had pulling in the episiotomy scar for two and a half years, right up til the birth and now it is 100% gone. 

This birth was such a healing experience for me, physically and mentally. My baby boy breast fed perfectly, was so alert and I had no problems with it at all. I was home the next day and recovered so easily.

I am so so glad that I followed my heart and learnt what, I believe, our souls have just forgotten. We are now thinking about baby #3 and if we are lucky enough to be blessed with another baby I will aim to deliver in the pool, and deliver the baby myself.

There you go, I’m sorry it’s so long!! Birthing him was honestly so healing on so many levels. We have such a special bond as a result of his birth.

I hope you are well – what an amazing business you have!! You are such a talented lady and I completely admire how you have followed what you know you are so good at doing and turned it into your work. It’s so inspirational:-)

Xavier's Birth

Throughout my pregnancy, I often felt a niggling fear that something was wrong with our baby… I worked on this during our hypnobirthing fear release however my fear didn’t disappear, it simply became a little bit more prominent. People were often commenting about how ‘small’ my bump was and it was when my sister mentioned it over skype that I decided to talk to my midwife about it. My midwife measured me at our next appointment when I was 35 weeks. My small measurements teamed with my ‘motherly intuition’ led to a scan which showed the baby was indeed smaller than should be. Understandably – this set off a whole lot of worry and panic about the health and well-being of our baby. I was to be having a follow up scan in 2 weeks time and I knew I simply could not live in this state of fear during this period. Not only would I go crazy with worry, but I knew this would not provide my baby with a healthy environment to thrive. After an inspiring and uplifting conversation with Claire, I set about making a visualisation board filled with pictures of happy and healthy babies. I also typed out and put positive affirmations, as well as the visualisation board, around our house. Every time I saw these images and words – I allowed myself to really breathe in and feel my baby growing inside of me. I didn’t just look at them, I stopped and felt each word and picture.  Each time I did so, I felt an inner feeling of peace and happiness. I knew deep within me my baby was growing and healthy, I really felt it – and I knew my baby did too. These 2 weeks before the next scan flew by, there was not an ounce of worry within me – I simply was excited at the chance to see the next scan of our baby and hear of its growth. 

Sure enough – the next growth scan showed a growing baby and no concerns.

The next day we went along to the hospital for the Doppler test which had been booked earlier, merely as a precaution.

It was at this appointment that Shaun and I were given the devastating news that the doctors suspected our baby had a serious brain defect. This defect was called an encephalocele – they believed our baby’s skull hadn’t formed properly and the brain tissue had come spilling out. This diagnosis was confirmed the next day and we were given a huge amount of information. We were warned that our baby could have a chromosome defect which would mean at worst it would not survive the birth and at best it would live 3 weeks to 1 year.  We were warned that our baby could have brain defects ranging from mild to severe and we were told to expect our baby to undergo brain surgery as soon as it was born. On this day, my world shattered. I was inconsolable and desperate to go back to a few days prior when everything was okay and we were waiting with great anticipation for the birth of our first baby.

We received all of this news on the Thursday/Friday. Our baby celebration was due to be held that weekend on Sunday. After some consideration, we decided to go ahead with our baby celebration because if we gave up on our baby, if we lost hope and faith in its health and well-being … what hope did our unborn baby have? What chance in life did it have if its mother and father had lost hope even before it was born? We loved this baby unconditionally. Regardless of how this baby arrived to us – it was ours, and we knew we would love it and care for it just as we would with any child. It was our baby, we were a part of it and it was a part of us now. Nothing would stop us believing in and loving this baby.

The Saturday before the baby celebration was surprisingly one full of much peace. We had a few visitors and there a calm, loving and peaceful energy in our house. Late that evening, after experiencing some spotting which I was unsure about, we went into hospital to get it checked out. Being told I was in labour was the most terrifying moment of my life. My baby?? I was 37 weeks and I didn’t know what kind of health our baby would be in arriving to us in. Due to its brain defect, I was taken into theatre for a caesarean. Shaun was incredible. There are no other words for how strong and calm he was. Me … I was terrified and I remember repeating an affirmation in my head throughout the surgery to try to steady my breathing and my mind.

Our baby came into the world crying! What a relief to hear that little cry. Shaun followed him to a small room where he was checked out, the doctors were happy with his condition so decided to postpone his brain surgery for a few days. The next few days for me are a bit hazy but what stands out for me is the feeling Shaun and I had about our baby. We knew he was okay! We never spoke about his brain or his health, we simply talked about how well he was doing. Instead of our friends and family consoling us, it is us who were consoling them. We were prepared for him to go in for his brain surgery, but in our hearts – we just knew he would be okay. I can’t explain this deep sense of peace that we had. We just felt it and couldn’t explain it to anyone.

On Tuesday morning I was sitting by our baby’s incubator in NICU, waiting for the doctors to take him away to theatre. It was at this moment that our lives would change forever. We were given the news. Our baby was completely healthy. Let me just repeat that so you can take it in… our baby was completely healthy. His MRI showed his brain was perfect. All tubes and monitors were to come off him and we were able to hold our baby boy. He was completely perfectly healthy. The doctor cried, Shaun cried. I sat with a feeling of ‘knowing.’ I always had known he was going to be okay. I didn’t know he didn’t need the brain surgery – but I always knew he would be okay.

At that moment I reflected. It was a miracle. And indeed the doctors were calling him a miracle baby. They were baffled. I reflected on our journey over the past weeks. I understood at that moment that the positive work we did around his health and indeed his very being, had had the utmost effect on our unborn baby. We believed with all our hearts and minds that he was growing and healthy and happy. We never lost hope in this and even when were given the most devastating of news – we never lost hope or faith in our baby.

The day I went into labour was a day of peace in amidst a storm of hurt and grief. I believe this energy we created gave our baby the space to come into the world and show us he was perfectly fine. I truly believe he just wanted to give his mum and dad back that same feeling of peace which we had so strongly created for him.

Throughout my pregnancy, I never felt our baby move much. Other mothers would talk about their babies kicking them and waking them up at night, I would long for that kicking to know our baby was okay. Speaking to Claire about it – she mentioned we must have a peaceful baby. That was early in my pregnancy and from that day on that is exactly what I envisioned. I envisioned how peaceful our baby was. Xavier is 15 weeks old now and should you ask me to describe him in 1 word, I would with no hesitation or doubt tell you how peaceful he is. His nature and his very being is one of peace. As well as this, he has been sleeping through the night since he was about 6 weeks old – he is a dream baby! And indeed- he has made all of our dreams come true.

We are filled with gratitude for everything we learnt with Claire on our hypnobirthing course. Undoubtedly the work we did as a result of working with her helped to create an environment which allowed our baby to thrive in every way possible and against all odds. The visualisation board, the affirmations, the relaxation techniques, the recordings that we listened to every night. We were avid in our practice and we were filled with such great strength, confidence and belief. In my body to carry and birth this baby naturally. In our baby and its growth and well-being. And in each other and the roles we would play as parents – loving and supporting each other. We were strong, confident and positive and we never lost belief.  It is because of this that our baby flourished. There are simply no words to express our thanks. We are grateful beyond words.

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Zoe's Birth

We are really happy to welcome baby Zoe to our family. Zoe was born 10:09am Friday 10 January 2014, about 8 days after the original birth date.

To be honest we were a bit anxious when Zoe was close to a week late – during this time we used the hypnobirth techniques to relax, did lots of walking, had a few really fun dinner dates with delicious eggplant and curry dishes. The midwife did a sweep a few days before the birth and it did not seem to start anything. She found the sweep very difficult as she discovered Shanny’s cervix position is a bit too far back, she suggested the birth may be difficult and further induction measures may be needed.

In light of this we got in touch with Angela and enquired about pregnancy acupuncture (thanks a million!). She booked us in with her colleague at their beautiful clinic in Herne Bay. Later that night just after 3am the surges started, We were really excited.

The surge breathing technique really helped. We listened to more relaxation music and Shanny slowly walked around the house when she could. When the midwife came around she did not think Shanny will be ready for another 2 – 3 days, judging by her responses to each surge. Shanny asked the midwife to take a quick look anyway, and after she examined, she said Shanny was actually ready and will meet us at Auckland Hospital at 4.30pm.

The entire birthing experience went smoothly, we put relaxation music on the computers there, we both got into the hot tub (really helps to relax and ease the surges, and it was kinda fun) and the final ‘pushing’ stage was about 1 ~ 2 hours. Because Zoe’s head was quite big, the midwife had to do a small cut to ease the exit. Eventually baby Zoe was born at 10:09pm, weighing 3.7kg and about 50cm tall. We were overwhelmed with joy when she arrived. Zoe also opened her eyes, not long after she was born, and also enjoyed her first colostrum meal. Our midwife and nurse at the hospital complimented on Shanny’s “high pain threshold” and being very “well-behaved” (quiet) throughout the birth.

The breathing exercises were most vital for Shanny to become relaxed during the birth, and thanks to the hypnobirth classes we had the techniques/skills to remain calm, relaxed and focused. Our baby, too, is quiet and very well behaved most of the time. We are very thankful for what we have learned during the classes and we thank everyone who is involved for your support 🙂

Although the birthing experience did not 100% match our original birthing story (Oli wanted Zoe to come on his birthday in late December), but we really enjoyed the entire experience with highly skilled and friendly midwives and staff, and great facility at the hospital and Birthcare.