Lemon Tree Birth Stories

An incredible homebirth just in time for a holiday to Turkey

Baby Ezra
1st Baby

On the 5th of November 2018 I found out I was pregnant.
On announcing my due date to my parents my mum quickly did the calculations only to find that my due date coincided with our annual family holiday to Turkey – my due date was the 17th July and we had flights booked for the 2nd August. I was keen to go mainly because I would have the support of all my family whilst away and what better place to recover from birth than on holiday?

Throughout my pregnancy I had regular braxton hicks which I felt from around 17 weeks, some days I’d have as many as 30+! I was forever googling the difference between braxton hicks and contractions and asking people ‘will I actually know the difference between my first contraction and a braxton hick?’ Apparently I would just KNOW.

On Wednesday the 17th my due date came and went with not a single twinge, I was disappointed but knew I could still have a couple more weeks of waiting around. The following day I started to get some stronger braxton hicks but nothing regular or out of the ordinary, these continued into the early evening and then stopped. This happened every afternoon for 5/6 hours until Monday the 22nd. Much to my husbands delight, my midwife had encouraged us to have sex to ‘get things going’ so that’s exactly what we were doing!

On Monday the 22nd after spending the morning in Tunbridge Wells with my mum and sister, me and my husband had a little ‘mans intervention’ (as my dad so eloquently put it). At around 3:30pm, the usual braxton hicks came, only this time we decided to time them. They were coming every 4 minutes, but weren’t strong in any way, I didn’t really think much of it at this had been happening for a few days now. I made dinner as usual, hoovered the house and went to my parents house to pick up a parcel. At about 7pm we decided to go for a walk around the block. The braxton hicks were a bit stronger now and every so often we would have to stop walking and wait for the braxton hick to finish. We arrived home 30 mins later and settled down for the evening, I bounced on my ball and furiously rubbed clary sage into my stomach to keep the surges coming which worked a little too well. I decided to stop using the clary sage as I was content that this was the start of things now and didn’t need to encourage the already strong surges. We decided to go to bed about 10pm, my husband fell asleep straight away which is totally unlike him, while I tossed and turned most of the night. I managed to get a couple of hours sleep before waking up at 2:30am when I decided to get up for a bath. I sat in the bath for an hour doing my surge breathing and then had a shower. Everything was still very manageable at this point, I washed my hair, shaved my legs and even cleaned the shower! I went back to the bedroom at 4:30am and told my husband I think it was time he woke up. He hadn’t realised I had been awake most of the night as he’d had ‘the best nights sleep in years’!

For the past few days Brad had been doing cervicle checks for me; he offered to have a look when he got up and guessed I was around 4cm at this point. We went down stairs and Brad made me a bowl of cereal which quickly came back up. We put radio 1 on and I paced around the living room and kitchen, holding onto the fireplace, radiator or kitchen work top every time I could feel a surge coming. At 7:45am my husband decided to call the midwife who I spoke to. She stayed on the phone whilst I had a surge and told me how well I was doing. I remember crying on the phone to her because she was just so lovely and encouraging! She offered to send someone out but I decided that I was coping well at home and didn’t need anyone at this point. She suggested I took another bath and encouraged me to eat something bland like toast. Brad ran me a bath and fed me toast and water in between surges. The surges were intense at this point but still totally manageable. With each surge I closed my eyes, gripped onto the bath with one hand and held brads hand in the other and did my surge breathing. Brad offered to play the rainbow relaxation but I preferred to chat to him in between surges, it made me feel more in the moment and less zoned out.

My waters broke in the bath around 8am and Brad called the midwife again to keep her updated. She said there was a midwife coming on shift at 8:30am who they would send her straight out to us. At some point before the midwife arrived I started to feel an urge to push, it wasn’t a big, all consuming urge but enough for me to notice that feeling. The midwife arrived at 9:15am and offered to check how far dilated I was. I accepted and as I stood up out the bath, the strangest noise came out of me and I instantly knew this was that urge to push. She examined me on the bathroom floor in between surges and to both our surprise I was 10cm!

Before I gave birth EVERYONE said to me there would be a point where I would think ‘I just cant do this anymore’ and I hadn’t had that yet which made me think I was no where near 10cm! Everything up until this point was so manageable and I was still able to have a conversation in between each surge.

My husband offered to blow up our birthing pool but by this point I knew it was too late and I had thought our baby would be with us soon. I over heard our 1st midwife call for the 2nd midwife and I knew this was it. For some reason I decided that I didn’t want to give birth in the bath and wanted to stay on the bathroom floor, a choice we later would realise was a blessing in disguise.

I used my J breathing to breathe our baby down but he seemed to just stay crowing, we tried various different positions but the baby just stayed crowning. After about an hour the midwife asked if I was happy to be cut as I had started to tear by my anus and my vagina – something that wouldn’t have been picked on had I been in water. If I didn’t get cut, she feared I may tear straight through and end up with a 4th degree tear. The midwife asked if I would like some gas and air while they did the episiotomy to which I accepted. She told me how to use it and after a few puffs I completely freaked, I didn’t know what was going on! Brad grabbed my face, looked me in the eyes and said ‘do your breathing’, I completely relaxed again and was ‘back in the room’. They made the cut and with one final push our baby was here and put on my chest. At 10:34am our baby boy was born! We did delayed cord clamping and waited for my placenta to come out before I was taken to bed to enjoy some time with Brad and our baby boy. An ambulance was called so I could get taken to Haywards Heath to get properly stitched up and where I spent the next 2 nights recovering. 10 days later I was boarding a plane for a 2 week holiday in turkey which was the perfect place to recover with all my family around!

Although my labour took a couple of unexpected turns, each step of the way I was able to make conscious and thought out decisions. I can’t thank Laura enough for arming Brad and me with the knowledge and understanding to make these decisions and ultimately give us the birth we wanted.

I always thought it was really weird when people said they weren’t scared about labour but I can genuinely say I have no fear now and genuinely look forward to the next time.

My amazing hypno journey

Baby Arthur
2nd Baby
Born at East Surrey Hospital
Story written by his mummy

My birth story…

In order for me to share this story I must give a small amount of history so that on reflection you can see my story as positive and empowering. Some people may read it and think that’s not positive but it was to me and that’s all that matters.

History
My first baby born in 2017 was 6 weeks early ( real shock) was under prepared for what to expect and new little about my options. Very managed delivery due to premature baby. Constant monitoring, drip for bringing on contractions, epidural due to lack of movement being aloud, forceps delivery ( no skin to skin immediately after) or delayed cord clamping. All in all I had no choice but I did not realise that I did have a voice and could have changed the outcome of this labour.

Following this experience I enlisted the help of Laura at The Lemon Tree to complete a 5 week hypno birthing (antenatal class) basically an education into birth and labour. You as an individual choose what to take/ get from that course depending on how hard you work. Laura gives you all the tools/ skills ready for the big day.

Laura helped me work through my fear from the previous birth ( move on) to not dwell on and blame myself for that birth.

I then realised a world of choices was at my disposal this was my baby my body and I was going to choose how to bring this baby into the world and that is exactly what we did.

Monday 9th September
My contractions started at 6:30pm while bathing my 2 year old. They were 10 minutes apart and managed with warm baths tens machine and headphones with my birth play list. Rested when I could and listened to rainbow relaxation when ever I felt I wasn’t Coping. Theses 10 minute contractions carried on into Tuesday evening until about 9pm when they were every 3 minutes. My husband and sister where my birth partners and were already supporting me through the last 24 hours. We called the home birth team and they arrived within the hour.

They asked to examine me I agreed too but declined the sweep they suggested as was only 3cm along. Now at this point I was a little upset, tired and showing signs of exhaustion due to lack of sleep. But I put my music on and my hypno head together. I can do this I’ve studied For months to ready myself for this day and at the end I will have a beautiful baby.

The home birth team received another call that another lady was in labour and further along than me. They asked if I minded if they went I said they should go if someone was in greater need than me at that point. I continued with hot baths and showers and tens machine to manage the surges.

By 5am Wednesday morning they were continuous and I needed further help to manage the pain I asked my husband to fill the birth pool with hot water so I could get in. And asked my sister to get in touch with the midwifes as I needed them to come back now.
I got in the pool and the relief was instant. Yes this slowed down the surges but I needed the break at this point to refocus and get some much needed rest for the next stage.

4 lovely midwife from east Surrey arrived 2 from the night shift and 2 for the new morning shift( lucky me) I stayed in the water from 6am till around 10am. At this point the midwifes wanted to check me to see what was going on.
I needed a wee so made my way to the toilet thankfully downstairs. I needed assistance as was struggling to put any weight on my left side. I did not think this was unusual at the time and just assumed this to be a normal part of labour when you can feel it. I was pushing at this point in various positions( standing, squatting, on the toilet, over the bath you name it I tried it) we walked into my lounge were I was asked to lie down so they could examine me. Babies head was there I just needed to push him down. I did this over and over baby head came down then went back up again. After nearly 2 hours of pushing I made a choice to call an ambulance for further help. I was exhausted and I’m sure baby sullivan was too. ( please don’t see this as negative) I feel empowered to have done my darnedest to get my baby out at home. It just was not meant to be and thank the lords we did and that is why we have an amazing nhs. I was able to choose to get additional help.

I was not scared or worried at this point I just wanted to get to the hospital and meet my baby. We arrived in record time at this point I was using the gas and air to try and not push. We arrived in the delivery suite I went over to the bed.
I began to push and was asked if I was happy to have my legs in stirrups I said yes anything that will help get the baby out and for me this was the best position for baby to come out.

Within 15 minutes of arriving I had birthed my baby boy ( Arthur) and what a knight he turned out to be.

The midwife did delayed cord clamping for a minuet and he was put straight on me. He had to be rushed over to the resussater as he was not breathing and a team of doctors and nurses got him breathing. I was given my baby for skin to skin and breast feeding straight afterwards which was amazing. My baby was here safe and loved.

I’m sure some people are thinking how is this positive but it is. I decided to have my baby at home and for the most part I did. I decided to go to hospital. I’m glad I did as he needed help when he arrived. Everything happens for a reason and every choice I made regarding the arrival of baby Arthur was mine and my husbands. I had the best support from my husband and sister and the amazing midwifes the 2 Emma’s. And none of this would have been possible had I not been in the right mindset which was all down to the knowledge and support I gained through laura at the lemon tree.

What an amazing course to have helped me release fear and worry from my first birth and to have been able to birth my second baby with out the need for intervention or an epidural.

I am amazed and what my mind and body was able to do.

Over 3 days and makes me realise that I can do anything I put my mind too.

Especially as the reason that I struggled with getting the baby out in both cases which I was not aware of until after I had the baby and told the midwifes that the same thing happened with my 34 week gestation baby. And that my mum had to have c sections as she had a small pelvis.

They confirmed that this and my pelvis not being aligned due to having a club foot and issues with my back from a young age is what caused the babies in both cases to struggle to make there way through the pelvis and into the world.

Thank you Laura at The Lemon Tree for freeing me from my fear of birth and giving me the knowledge and power to decide how to bring a baby into the world.

Hypno birthing prepares you for all eventualities and this is my positive story.

I couldn’t recommend laura at the lemon tree more a caring, passionate and very knowledgable person who will help you at every turn in your pregnancy labour and beyond.

A challenging journey from start to finish – but TOTALLY worth the wait

Our Beautiful Sofia
Born at 3.35am
7th May 2019
8lbs 10
East Surrey Hospital

Written by Sofia’s lovely mumma…..

“A long overdue review on our hypnobirthing journey…

Our baby girl was a very long time coming. After 2 failed IVF attempts, we got 3rd time lucky and we fell pregnant with our little miracle girl. I was determined to have a perfect birth, but all I ever came across and heard about were negative birth stories. A friend and my sister in-law recommended hypnobirthing and I must say at first it sounded to me a bit hippie like, but I wanted to know more about it and then whilst waiting for our scan at ESH, we came across Laura’s Hypnobirthing leaflet on the notice board and booked the next hypnobirthing class. The best decision ever, we’ve learnt so much about birth and made an informed decision based on evidence and our beliefs. We were determined with Chris to have the perfect most amazing experience ever. The positive mindset and daily relaxation tracks helped to focus, relax and believe I can do it, I am made to do it. We’ve prepared a birth plan and were determined to stick to it as much as possible.

It started to get close to her arrival and I had few practice surge runs that did go away eventually, so when the third time I started getting mild surges, I didn’t think much of it and went to sleep. Around 5am on 6th May I woke up and noticed that surges are getting more intense and rhythmic. I woke Chris and he started recording them. We had a lovely breakfast at home whilst watching last episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ and I bounced on my ball. We went for a lovely walk to encourage surges, watched a comedy to release oxytocin. As surges started to get more intense a bath felt really nice. Around 2pm once surges were every 2 – 3 minutes and at least 60 sec long we got in the car and drove to ESH. I remember feeling very excited and a bit scared but in a positive way. I was doing my surge breathing and calm breathing as practiced prior to birth. It has really helped me to focus on me, the baby and every single surge, that brought my baby closer to me.

At the maternity triage, without examining me, I wouldn’t get admitted to birth unit, so I allowed them to do a vaginal examination even though I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to know the number so the midwife spoke to Chris and it wasn’t good news – 2cm, so we were sent home. It didn’t feel right as I could barely walk and the surges got even more intense. After coming home we tried few other tricks to bring on the birth- ‘hugs before drugs’, I had another bath as the surges got so intense. I didn’t even get a break sometimes in between. Surely it has progressed, but when we drove back to the hospital around 5pm, it was only 3cm, which has disappointed me loads hence I never wanted to know. My waters broke after second examination and we were sent home again, but I refused! I couldn’t walk at this stage much as surges got more intense and I was not going home. It can take only few minutes from few cm to 10 cm. Since we couldn’t stay at the triage any longer, I was admitted to the antenatal ward. I was GBS positive tested prior to that and NHS recommendation is IV antibiotics during birth, after doing my research I decided to decline antibiotics, so 2 paediatricians were sent in to change my mind. That was my breaking point as instead of concentrating on my surges, I had to explain myself in between the surges. I was strapped to a machine lying down, so couldn’t move much and felt very uncomfortable during the surges. My blood pressure was monitored all the time as was measured higher than normal. Of course, the paediatricians made me feel bad about my decision, surges were so close with very little breaks in between and inability to freely move, has stressed me out. I was told that with blood pressure higher than normal I will be unable to birth my baby in birthing unit and surely I want epidural as according to the machines my surges were particularly strong. I was even tested for preeclampsia. All it was – me being stressed due to all the pressure and nothing else. At this point I have given up and was ready to be admitted to the delivery suite with epidural as long as they all left me alone. That’s where having a birthing partner pays off. Chris didn’t let them take me to the delivery suite. He knew I would regret it and was pushing for birthing unit. He was in touch with our lovely Laura all this time who was encouraging and encouraged us to stick to whatever WE wanted to do and advised on what our rights are. I feel like we had to fight very hard for ourselves.

4 hours have passed and I measured 5cm and was allowed to have water birth in birthing unit! Yay, happy days. As soon as I got to the room, lights got dimmed, calming music and relaxation tracks on and I got in the water, pain disappeared and I felt calm and relaxed. It was around 10pm by then. Chris was feeding me and making me drink as due to nausea, I have vomited a lot and was dehydrated and running low on energy. Only used gas and air for little while. Then suddenly I experienced the urge to ‘push’. Wow, what a powerful force that is. You really know when the baby is about to arrive. Just tune in with your body and trust it, it’s doing everything that it needs to and working with baby in harmony. At this stage I was not fully dilated therefore was not allowed to do J breathing yet. It was hard to do calm breathing instead when my body wanted to push the baby out. An hour or so later I was given the green light and an hour after that Sofia arrived in to this world. This was one of the most beautiful and emotional moments of my life. My midwives were absolutely amazing, so encouraging and positive.

We had our water birth as we’ve dreamt, but almost ended up with epidural and God knows what else. Always always stay your ground, it’s your choice. Let your spokesperson deal with it whilst you concentrate on surges.

Our perfect baby girl arrived at 03:35 weighing 3.9kg with no need for antibiotics. Always do your research and make an informed decision, that’s what we did and avoided unnecessary antibiotics. Our lovely Laura was with us through it all. She was up all night and gave Chris the support and advice when needed. I only was told that afterwards. Chris was trying to keep me calm in a protective bubble so that I can focus on me and the baby.

Sofia is sooo perfect and we had the most beautiful natural delivery. Thank you Laura for preparing us for it and helping us along the way. We couldn’t recommend Laura and Lemon Tree Hypnobirthing classes strongly enough. Do it, you won’t regret it. Myself, Chris and Sofia are very grateful”

Special circumstances for a special little lady

Willow Mila Mcauliffe
6lb 3oz
26th Nov 2018

Because of my endometrioses, polycystic ovaries, arthritis in my spine and problems with my hips, we were told we may not ever be able to have children, if I get pregnant that I may not be able to reach full term, let alone labour without drugs, intervention…… but there we were, blessed & pregnant with our beautiful daughter….

I found you & The Lemon Tree through several amazing recommendations. So many other mums had recommended you so I booked straight away. You put me at ease straight away, especially as I was high risk and was told things could be tricky from the start due to some of my history. You reassured me that regardless of whether we had a vaginal birth or an abdominal birth (c section which was more likely), that I could still be in control of many aspects of my birth, feel empowered & let go of the things I couldn’t control.

From 20 weeks I was in and out of hospital for various reasons and from 30 weeks I was in hospital at least 3 times a week having various checks, monitoring and scans etc. I was under consultant led care as our baby kept showing signs of wanting to come early, with my body actually contracting and I also had a hyper stimulated uterus which meant throughout my pregnancy I kept having regular contractions – a result of my endometriosis. Hypnobirthing skills really really helped me with this and it could have been such a stressful time but we remained so calm. We practiced our breathing every day & our relaxation every night. My partner Lou had great sleeps from the relaxation ha ha. I have to say that Hypno for Dads is amazing 2.

The consultants thought it was safest to get willow out sooner rather than due to my uterus and medical history, so I had a sweep at 37 weeks to see if we could get things moving and I found out I was already 1cm dilated. After the sweep I didn’t sleep that well as I had quite intense back-ache but that was due to willow being back to back and not in the best position. The day after on the Saturday I went in for my induction & then had my show by 1pm. By this point I was having contractions varying from 1-5 minutes apart & they came think and fast. I felt that something wasn’t quite right, you know when you just tune in and know your body, which Hypno really helped me to do, so I used rainbow relaxation, my breathing, focussing and working with what my body was doing.

I then went on to have 2 baths and spent lots of time on my birth ball, remaining upright and moving. 11 hours later I was still only 1cm dilated so I had another bath to really relax. I was on all 4’s and once I got out of the water I really felt something was different, my instincts just said something more was happening, I was told I was probably wrong but I knew and within half an hour I had gone from 1cm to 5cm! Then within the next half hour I suddenly felt the urge that she was coming and I had gone to 5cm almost to 10cm!!!!! They zoomed me across to delivery suite, no drugs so far can I add, no pain relief, nothing, purely working through just using my Hypno tools alone even though things were challenging and ramped up. All I remember through every surge “breathe in slowly to 10 count to 10”.

There were a lot of doctors around and it felt a bit chaotic at this point, her head was there and I just felt something wasn’t right, they said willow was in an awkward position so we tried moving around and tried various positions to birth her. She was back to back and her heartbeat was fluctuating, I expect due to my surges being a bit erratic & my uterus function, so I was quickly prepped for a c section. Because I had done the hypnobirthing course I was really aware that these things could happen but still felt calm for every eventuality especially as I was high risk and Laura had helped prepare me & what I might want to do in every type of situation. Because I hadn’t had an epidural and wasn’t prepped for a section I got taken into surgery for a crash section as it was the quickest, safest way to ensure Willow was ok. It seemed a bit surreal at the time but I remained so calm, kept my eyes closed & used still used my breathing. I really focussed on my baby girl and knew that if I remained calm, breathing well, staying focussed that she would be calm, happy & get all the oxygen she needed. I was put to sleep and they began……

Before we knew it she was born at 4am, although I didn’t get to see her until 9.30am. We didn’t get skin to skin or many of our preferences but we knew afterwards that my placenta had started to stop functioning as well as it should have been, which is why my body was doing what it was doing. My instincts had told me something felt different. I just knew and had tuned into my body and baby through Hypno. Mothers instinct.

Even though most of my preferences went out the window and everyone kept saying “oh my god how traumatic that must have been for you” ……. but I just really didn’t feel that way at ANY point because I had my beautiful girl and I totally believe that doing Hypno and learning all those wonderful tools prior to birth and being in control as much as possible had made ALL the difference. I don’t feel traumatised from a birth that could have made me feel so different had I not done HpnoBirthing. It wasn’t negative. I feel so blessed and so lucky to have Willow and that she was ok.

I was also told that my milk may not come in due to a ‘traumatic birth’ and that I may not be able to breastfeed. By 5pm the following day I was successfully breastfeeding and we have never looked back. Willow is now almost 8 months and we LOVE our breastfeeding journey. I truly believe that’s down to everything we learnt from our Mindful Breastfeeding Workshop with Laura @ The Lemon Tree. I learnt so much and knew that I could trust my body and baby knew what to do. I’m forever grateful for everything you taught me and I still use everything I learnt now. If willow is having a fussy day I use the skills and relaxation. I have taken the tools into parenthood and so many people comment on how chilled Willow is and I swear it’s because of Hypno. HypnoBirthing is also so wonderful for dads/birth partners. To learn, know what to do, have tools to use & help them feel calm & relaxed as well. Lou was my rock & so calm throughout becuause of the course. A huge thank you Laura we know things could have been a lot different. Our beautiful baby is chilled, healthy, happy and breastfeeding. Eternally grateful xXx

Sophia & Lou

And then there were 3

Baby Boy
7lb 13oz
East Surrey Hospital
1st Baby

Leading up to my due date I was feeling surprising calm, which is a testament to the course as I have always had a HUGE fear of birth. I am not sure where it came from, but it has always been there since I was a child, to the point where I considered never having children.

The surges started at 10pm on Wednesday evening; I decided to stay in bed and listen to the rainbow relaxation to stay calm. They gradually increased in frequency and intensity over the next few hours, but I always felt completely in control. I woke my husband at midnight who helped me to time the surges and to fit the TENS machine. By 2am they were 3 in 10 so we called the hospital and were advised to come in. Before the birth I was concerned that I would lose focus in the car but I managed to keep going with the breathing and was still calm when we arrived.

We went through to triage and were offered an internal examination to establish how far along I was, but I chose to decline this as I wanted minimal medical intervention. I was also worried that it would interrupt my focus. Even though my surges were 3 in 10 the midwife thought I was too calm to be far along and advised we went home until things advanced further. This was really disappointing as I felt confident the labour was progressing, but because we refused the exam we had no choice but to return home.

We got home around 5am; I went back upstairs to bed, using the breathing techniques and the TENS machine to manage the surges. By 8.30am I felt that I needed to go back to the hospital. The surges were still manageable but they were increasing in frequency and intensity and we didn’t want to leave it too late to make the journey.

Back at the hospital we were offered another examination, which I initially refused but it was looking like they might send us home again so I decided to go ahead this time. I was still very calm and could speak normally between contractions. When I was examined the midwife (and my husband!) were surprised to find that I was 8cm dilated. I had hoped to use the birthing unit, but there weren’t any available so we were taken through to the delivery suite. The hospital was great though and managed to find me a room with a pool as they knew this was an important part of our birth preferences.

I got into the room around 10am and moved into the pool, which was lovely. In hindsight I probably should have waited longer before getting in as I was managing well with the TENS machine and the pool slowed things down. I was so relaxed that I was falling asleep between surges. I felt completely calm and in control and was able to chat with my husband and the midwife between surges.

After a couple of hours I was encouraged to push, but I chose to try the J breathing instead. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards the midwife found meconium in the waters so I was asked to get out of the pool so that they could monitor the baby’s heartbeat more closely. I was asked to lie on the bed, but I felt strongly that I wanted to try and birth standing up after what I had learned in the course. The midwife was great and tried her best to accommodate this. I wasn’t able to continue with the J breathing as the baby’s heart rate was slightly accelerated, so he needed to be born more quickly. I gave a couple of big pushes and he was born just before 5pm. He was very calm and hardly cried at all. Immediately after the birth we had lots of lovely skin to skin time (mum and dad) and he fed straight away which was a relief.

Looking back on the birth, it was exactly what we hoped for and much of the reason it went so smoothly is down to the valuable lessons we learned on Laura’s hypnobirthing course. I am so pleased that we did it and can’t believe I spent so many years fearing birth!

Through a Grandmother’s eyes

As a mother to 4 children and having been a birthing partner to both my sisters, I thought I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about pregnancy and birth. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

My hypnobirthing experience started when my daughter Darcy and her partner James invited me along to their classes.

We would go every week, with other couples and really have positive experiences. We would learn how to relax, support, bond, change our language and outlook on birth (whilst eating some very nice biscuits).
I really enjoyed the classes, I’m open to learning and trying new things, but I’m going to be honest, although it sounded really good in theory, I wondered if this would really work?

Well all my doubts were answered on Christmas Eve 2018.

After receiving a call after 2am I rushed to Darcy’s house to find her having regular surges, but breathing and smiling. We got into the car and set off.

The journey was a little uncomfortable for Darcy but she listened to her affirmations through her headphones.

When we reached the hospital, we set about making the room as Darcy wished it to be, putting up affirmations and the opening rose picture, dimming the lights.

Darcy let the midwife do the first and only examination and she was 3 cm.

After being told we could go home, Darcy decided we would stay. She was listening to her body and the surges were coming close together. We went for a walk, up and down the halls of the hospital. It was dark and quite at that time, so perfect for walking.

After a while and some surges later, Darcy said it’s time mum, I feel pressure….. I was a little confused as it had barely been an hour after being 3cm.

But we returned to the room. Darcy sat on the toilet and I informed the midwife that she had pressure.

The midwife looked at me as if to say, no, not yet! Until she looked down and saw the babies head was actually coming!

Darcy got into a comfortable position ready to breathe baby down.

At this point, I remember just standing there saying over and over “ the head is there? It’s so quick, she hardly had any strong surges?”
I was honestly shocked, when we were walking she was so calm and in control I thought that she was in the first stages!
Darcy was on the bed, James and I either side and she began to breathe her baby down with every surge. She was focused and calm and smiling.

I remember thinking do you even know your giving birth?

After a while they called in a team as a precaution, but Darcy ignored the fuss and kept focused.

They said that if he didn’t come with the next one, they would have to intervene.

I whispered in Darcys ear, come on, beat them to it. She smiled and relaxed then breathed, my grandson was born. She had him put straight on her chest and waited for the cord to turn white before James cut it.
I left the room to call my husband and the midwifes were all talking about this amazing young lady and her quick calm first birth!
One midwife looked at me and said “ how did that happen?”

I just smiled and said Hypnobirthing!
Welcome to the world – Zachary John Farrow, the most content happy baby I’ve ever known.

Zachary’s Speedy Birth

Zachary John Farrow
Born at 5.25am
Weighing 7lb 9oz

zachI woke up at 1:30am with a sensation in my back, it felt different to anything I had felt before. I sat on the edge of the bed and closed my eyes. I feel like I really got in tune with my body and woke James up adamant I was having a surge. I put my lamp on a dim setting, James got my birthing ball and I put my affirmations track on whilst doing some calm breathing. I felt another one come and started surge breathing, they were coming every 5 minutes which makes me think I must have slept through the first half of them possibly (thanks to having a calm evening the night before listening to my Stephen Halpern music and cuddling up with James).They were quite strong but the breathing techniques made them go from uncomfortable to a pressure. I sat on the toilet waiting for my mum to get here and James was getting things ready.

The car journey wasn’t that great as I felt confined and got a bit stressed which admittedly made me lose my focus for a bit. I was listening to my affirmations in the car with my headphones on in the end, breathing through each surge. When I got to the hospital they were only 2-3 minutes apart and very strong. The feeling and pressure was in my back. I gave the midwife my birth preferences and James stuck the picture of the opening rose on the wall in front of me with my affirmations and asked the midwife to dim the lights after she checked me over. I felt most comfortable on the floor on all fours leaning on the bed. I asked the midwife to do only 1 check to see how far along I was and that I didn’t want an examination after that. I was 3 cm and she insisted we went home again as it was “going to be a while yet” but I refused and said I wanted to stay as I knew my body was more ahead than she said.

We went for a walk up and down the halls, stopping every couple of steps as I knelt on the floor on all fours, breathing through the surges. My mum and James were really praising me after each surge encouraging me to be calm for our son. I wasn’t all that calm sometimes because I did ocassionally tell them to shhh so that I could focus. I spoke out loud to myself “I can do this, we’re doing this together” and the affirmation “each surge of my baby brings me closer to me” was ringing in my head. I then started getting the feeling of needing to “push”. I told mum and she said ok, don’t push, just breathe. I stayed absoloutely silent somehow through the last few surges and just breathed with them, edging him down.

I said to mum that I need to go back to the room now I can feel him coming. Mum and James looked really confused as the midwife had just said to us I was only 3cm dilated, but they helped me walk back to the room and I went and sat on the toilet. I J breathed with my next surge and James and mum seemed a bit confused. Mum called the midwife in and she came into me, I told her “he’s coming” and she just replied “are you sure? Let me have a look”. I opened my legs and she said “yes his head is coming”. I got up and moved to the bed. I sat all the way up and had midwives hold my legs. With each surge I breathed down and controlled the oxygen because I knew that whatever I did affected him also. They told me he was crowning and the biggest smile plastered across my face and I kept saying “he’s coming my baby is coming”. That honestly made all feelings of any pain go away, I literally felt pressure on my front. Unfortunately I am quite small down there and it took a lot to get him to start moving. His head would start to come out and then go back in, which made his heartbeat slow as he was getting tired. James and my mum held my hands and arms, and encouraged me to really get into my body. My mum was watching him and was telling me what was happening because I had my eyes closed. I didn’t want to see all the midwives (soon found out they had called the ressus team in for him as a precaution because his heart rate slowed and there were about 7 people in the room). “His head is coming hes got beautiful hair, keep going keep going” and “you’ve almost done it Darcy” is all I heard. I heard a midwife say she was going to cut me and my mum bent down to my ear and told me to beat her to it. With that I did it with the next surge…… he was out and put straight on to me. The cord stopped pulsating and James cut the cord, his heart was ok and he was perfect!
I spent only 10 minutes in actual active labour!

By Darcy (Zachary’s proud mummy)

“We did it” – by Jessica (John’s Mummy)

Baby John
Born 29/09/2018
11.48am
6lb 15oz

We found out we were having our gorgeous little bubba and my husband (knowing I am a worrier and full of anxiety – all you see is films full of horror and hell labours)…… introduced me to Laura and her magical HypnoBirthing. If I knew what I was going to learn would change my world and give me the most magical birth I would have given her my house! Not only have the techniques helped me, they have given me the most healthy, calm and smiley baby.

Laura taught us SO much – to trust our instincts and to know that doing nothing was an option too. We 100% automatically felt confident walking in to the birthing centre.

Our story:
4 days earlier, late on Friday night at 11.30pm it all began. I reached the hospital at 4.30am (4cm dilated). The nurse struggled to tell I was having contractions and had to ask me to raise my finger as she could not tell how far apart they were or if I was uncomfortable. 7 and a half hours and many repeats of my hypnobirthing tracks, with a touch of gas & air, in a warm birth pool out came my little boy, calm and happy. I managed to cut my own umbilical cord and we left 4 hours later on the same day.

We could not thank you enough Laura and constantly recommend you. Than you for changing our lives with your work. You are a blessing.

Baby Remy

01/09/18
3.40am
7lbs 12oz
Born in the water
East Surrey Hospital Birthing Unit

After having a very long labour with lots of medical intervention with my first son, we decided that we would like to try the hypnobirthing course with Laura and The Lemon Tree as I was keen to have a calmer labour and drug-free birth. The course was absolutely fantastic and not only taught techniques to help achieve the birth I was longing for but I also learnt a great deal about how our incredible bodies work during pregnancy, birth and beyond. I hugely recommend this course for all expectant couples but especially those who are feeling anxious or are keen to have a calm and natural birth.

It was 11am on Sunday and I was on the way back from the park with my 2 year old. I was sitting at some traffic lights and felt a little twinge much like a period pain. I was 40+2 so knew he could come at any moment so I clocked the time and continued to drive home. As I arrived home, I felt a few more light serges so told my husband and he suggested we start timing them. At this point they were 10 minutes apart and nothing more than period pains. We had lunch, had family round for afternoon tea etc and after we put our toddler to bed at 7, they were 6 minutes apart, getting stronger and I knew things were progressing. I started to feel excited that I was going to meet my baby soon and was using the serge breathing techniques which helped me to focus and remain calm and relaxed. At 10 pm my husband called the hospital to tell them we would be coming in. Unfortunately we were told that the ward was shut due to there being no special care cots and we would need to travel to Chichester. Knowing I wouldn’t make it and didn’t want to travel that far (almost 2 hours away), I explained that I would rather have the baby at home. We arranged for my son to get picked up as I decided I would prefer him not to be in the house whilst I was giving birth but no sooner had he gone, we received a call back from the hospital to say we could go in. Although this slight shake up to our plans had slowed my serges slightly, my husband reminded me about the breathing techniques Laura had taught us and I started to feel more relaxed again. We made our way into hospital and arrived at 12am. As soon as we arrived, I put on the rainbow relaxation and got comfortable on the bed on all fours. The serges were only 2 minutes apart at this point but I was only 3cm dilated so I went for a short walk down the corridor. I almost immediately needed to return to the ward as I felt like the baby was bearing down. I was examined again and was 8cm dilated and felt the urge to push. The midwives frantically filled the pool and I was in the water by 2.30am. At 3.40am on Monday morning our perfect baby boy was born in the water. He was absolutely gorgeous and incredibly calm. No sooner had I stepped out of the water he wanted a feed and latched on beautifully. We were home 8 hours later to introduce him to his big brother who couldn’t have been more excited with our new addition.

A huge thank you, Laura- you are so knowledgeable, kind and understanding. I never would have been able to achieve the birth I was desperate for this time without you. X

The Birth of Baby E

1st Baby
7lbs 15oz East Surrey Hospital

Around 6am I woke with some pelvic pain along with slight period pain but didn’t think anything of it. I had suffered from pelvic pain in my pregnancy anyway and I was convinced this baby would be late. I wasn’t due for another couple of days at this point. After a cup of tea and breakfast I had more period like pains varying in strength and times in between. Convinced this was false labour I told my partner to go back to sleep. After a couple of hours I wondered if this was it so I applied the 4/8 breathing technique which kept me really content and pretty comfortable.

After a shower and a few more hours I knew these were definitely real surges as they became much bigger and more frequent. After ringing the hospital at 1pm they assured me I was in the very early stages of labour and it was pointless coming in, to just take a couple of paracetamol and stay at home. I would advise any Hypno mums to strongly express they are hypnobirthing as when using the techniques you are calm and relaxed so it appears you aren’t very far along.

I found walking round the garden and staying active a huge help. This helped me focus and relax. I used my arms and hands to imagine the actions of the cervix with the 20/20 breathing along with the 4/8 breathing in between surges. By 2.30pm my legs were tired from walking around and it felt too uncomfortable to sit down so I decided to run a bath. Whilst it was running I relaxed on the bed closing my eyes which then made the surges come stronger and faster. This proved to me that by relaxing as much as possible my body would do more which was encouraging. At this point, 3.30pm I then had a small show so knew my body was doing what it was supposed to. I rang the hospital at this point but I was still advised to stay at home as I was “coping” well.

For the next couple of hours in the bath the surges ranged from 2-4 minutes apart and became bigger. I found this harder but remained focused and knew I had to stay as relaxed as possible or I would just prolong things. By breathing correctly my body was really progressing as I then had more of a show followed by my waters going. That was amazing to see. Things were moving along nicely, I felt more in control and so excited. I struggled a little after another hour or so to keep focused so my partner suggested a little extra help by perhaps listening to the Rainbow Relaxation. I had been listening to it most evenings to help me sleep and relax. I truly believe this was a huge key to things progressing. Just don’t ever listen to it when you are driving. It still relaxes me now!

He said I looked like I was falling asleep, totally in the zone in the bath. I guess I had trained my brain through this relaxation and the breathing.

I don’t really remember this bit as I had totally switched off when all of a sudden I felt this HUGE surge and an overwhelming urge for the baby to come down. I could feel the baby on its way and quickly. This feeling took over and my body was pushing my baby down. I wasn’t expecting this as I was so calm and thought I had a long way to go for some reason, despite my partner continuing to tell me “your contractions are 1 or 2 minutes apart shouldn’t we go to hospital”. I think I was still unsure if I could do this as people perceive birth as a horrific experience when actually if you allow your body to do what it needs to and to work WITH it you can have to most beautiful experience of your life. Fear and drugs work AGAINST your body. I had a panic and we rang an ambulance, who took me to east Surrey. Through getting in the ambulance and the journey there the baby had moved back up which proved to me being tense does the exact opposite to what you want. Prevents and restricts!

After a little gas and air in the ambulance I was transferred into a beautiful dark calm birthing room where I relaxed and therefore the baby came down again. With the next big surge I found it hard to relax with the J breathing and felt a burning sensation so on the second surge I really focused. Using the J breathing technique on that second surge and by staying in control my baby’s head was born. My mum said she opened her eyes and looked around at her new world. Very content and my midwife said her heartbeat was perfect and that she was very happy. On the 3rd surge the rest of my baby was born, with my partner holding my hand by my side my mum told us we were the new parents to a perfect baby girl.

We had 40 minutes lovely skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping, a calm baby and tiny face looking at us, totally chilled. After delivering the placenta naturally we began feeding and enjoyed those precious moments as a family. Magical. She had her first feed within the first hour and was happy, alert and looking for the breast.

The course was fantastic. I am SUCH a fearful person, I always panic and worry so thought birth would be horrific. Instead it was the most empowering and euphoric day of my life! I can honestly say I cannot wait to give birth again. It was amazing to actually feel like we worked as a team to bring our baby into the world calmly. The course and practice allowed us to do this as he was able to support me, totally understand what was happening and to be a great birthing partner. For any pregnant mum just totally believe in yourself, believe in your amazing body and your amazing baby. You CAN have a beautiful birth.

Baby Jack

1st Baby
Weighing 7lb
27/04/18
East Surrey Hospital

Before approaching Laura about the hypnobirthing course, I was concerned it may be more about meditation and that as I had struggled in the past with meditating/yoga etc, this course wouldn’t be for me and the cost/effort would not be justified.

After speaking with Laura at length she really reassured me and helped me to have confidence that I would be able to really enjoy the course and it would help me achieve the drug free relaxed birth experience that I really wanted.

The course itself was really amazing. My husband and I learnt so much about how labour actually happens and the different stages. Also how clever our bodies really are and how they work. Week on week I began to really get further into the relaxation side, practice at home was so much easier than I thought and I was feeling more and more prepared for labour. All my previous concerns were put to bed and I felt really confident in everything we had learnt.
The course was also really helpful for my husband. Laura was so knowledgable with all her tips and print outs, I think it really helped my husband to undersrand his role as my birthing partner.

Originally for my labour I wanted a water birth in the hospital and no pain relief as I hoped the hypno tools and the water would help me overcome any pain.

Due to my sons growth I was induced at 38 weeks with a days notice so it felt very rushed and bit scary. I was unable to have a water birth and there was a lot of monitoring and interference such as the breaking of my waters. Despite all the worry, hypnobirthing really helped me to stay really calm through the surges which were quite extreme after my waters were artificially broken, but it also gave me the confidence to power through and know that although the labour was not bought on naturally my body could really do this and there was no need to panic. I was able to keep myself together.

I delivered a lovely healthy boy in 19 hours without any further intervention or drugs and just a little gas and air. I really do wish my labour had been the way I first wanted but it really does show that even if everything doesn’t go to plan you can apply everything you learn in the course to any situation to still have a positive birth.

I am so pleased we went to The Lemon Tree and I will definitely be utilising everything we have learnt for my next pregnancy, however it turns out.

Thank you
Anna & Al

The Birth story of baby Felix

Baby Felix
2nd Baby
7lb 10
Born at home

Leading up to Felix’s due date, I was feeling incredibly excited, yet still had a little anxiety about whether the birth would go the same way as my daughter three years prior – it had been a very medicalised birth where I felt decisions were taken out of my hands, and it was all just a huge blur.

As a result of my difficult first birth, I decided to try hypnobirthing and change the way I went into the birth – being more positive and taking out the ‘medical’ aspect of birthing! I wanted to take the anxiety out around ‘when should we leave to go into the hospital’ and instead just remain relaxed, where numbers and times don’t matter – basically that it will happen when it happens. With this in mind, I decided to go for a home birth – that way I could be comfortable at home, not worrying whether I was 1cm or 10cm (I’d been sent home at 2cm with my previous birth and she was born 2 hours later!).

I also decided to have Adam as my main birth partner, but also my mum to be there as well. I thought that Having a woman there to coach me would be so important, especially as there were things I probably wouldn’t listen to Adam about!

The day before my due date, I was feeling really positive with loads of energy. My midwife came And let me know that baby’s head was engaged. About an hour after she left, I started getting surges. They weren’t particularly strong, but they were regular. Adam came home from work, and put our daughter to bed. I had a bath and the surges stopped. We went to bed knowing that things were likely to start soon.

The next day At 5am, I began to feel the surges again. They were coming regularly – every 4 minutes and lasting around 40 seconds. It was incredibly similar to how my first birth had begun, so we knew that things were progressing and labour had started.

Unlike my first birth, I wasn’t worried about when we should leave to go to the hospital. Instead, we called our midwife, Adams parents and my Mum, letting them know that things had begun. Adam and I were both incredibly relaxed – he made breakfast for our daughter whilst I focused on my calm breathing, and listened to rainbow relaxation with all the background noise going on around me.

At 8am, the troops showed up – midwives, Adams parents to take lily over to theirs, and my mum. It was so relaxed, we were all chatting. I was doing surge breathing every time I felt one, and everyone just let me focus. and doing my surge breathing. I gave lily a huge kiss goodbye and she went off with Adams parents to their house.

At this point, we were all in the front room chatting. I was able to get into relaxation even with the noise, and continued to focus on my breathing whilst the midwife team ate snacks and drank tea! We were listening to baby intermittently, with me being able to use my birthing ball to open up my pelvis. There was lots of tea, flapjacks, laughing – it was brilliant. I was examined upstairs but asked the midwives not to tell me how open my cervix was – it was important for me to not focus on numbers or time in case it disheartened me.

As my surges began getting more intense, I went up to my bedroom where I put on rainbow relaxation, and lay down in bed. I was so relaxed – the midwives were quietly coming in every 10 minutes to check on me, and listen to baby. All whilst this was going on, I remained in a relaxed state. Adam came in and lay next to me, and we just cuddled as each surge came .

The midwife team were able to tell that my surges were closer together and decided it was about time to get the birth pool filled up (20 mins). I came downstairs at 10.30 and got into the water.

It felt so relaxing – we had music, candles, aromatherapy and dim lighting. Everyone spoke very quietly, and Adam stayed behind me rubbing my shoulders and counting my breathing. We were listening to rainbow relaxation, birth affirmations, and some of our favourite music as well – all of which continued to keep me calm.

At about 12.20 my waters broke in the pool, and I used my J breaths to breathe Felix down. It was very calm, and everyone continued to whisper. One of the midwives guided me into some positions which would help baby move down, and continued to check whether I was comfortable. There was no talk of any pain, or pain relief.

After about 20 minutes of j breathing, and a lot of encouragement from my birth partners and the midwife team, I remember looking at Adam and asking ‘is he really coming?’, as I felt like I was beginning to get tired. I had a moment where I worried things weren’t progressing – Adam kept encouraging me and putting his hand on my shoulder, looking at me int he eyes reminding me I could do it. The midwives encouraged me to check whether baby was on the way: so I reached down and could actually feel the head. suddenly that was all I needed to remind myself he was only a few breaths away.

He was born at 12.42 in the water, and was immediately put on to my chest where my first words were ‘we did it!’. He had arrived, safely and calmly into the world, and I had managed to birth my baby just how I had imagined. It was so empowering – the student midwife even delivered Felix, as her first birth. She started crying with us, and there was this hugely magical moment in the room. Felix Peter Rowan Amos was born 7lb 10. Despite an incredibly calm birth, he did decide to do a poo in my waters – so unfortunately we took a trip to east surrey hospital anyway – but we went there very calmly, with big smiles on our faces, and an incredible team with us. Felix’s pooey antics didn’t take away that the birth had been such a positive experience.

In terms of post birth – recovery has been so quick! I was up, walking around the labour ward whilst Felix was being observed. I had tons more energy, no tears and I felt so much more positive! I genuinely had that rush of emotion when Felix was born, and couldn’t stop smiling like a proud Mum on what we had just achieved

Thank you Laura – hypnobirthing has meant the world to us xx

Charley and Toby

Reuban
1st Baby
20/09/2018 – 7.25am
East Surrey Hospital

“HypnoBirthing allowed me to remain calm and relaxed throughout the induction process and despite the labour taking turns we had nor expected it remained a calm and happy experience. When the decision to go to emergency c section was made it was one that we accepted and were significantly less anxious about. Even the c section was a really calm experience, with the majority of our preferences being, such as delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin, delayed first checks etc. Overall HypnoBirthing allowed me to meet every new element of labour without fear”
By Charley (Baby Reuben’s Mummy)

A Dad’s account - A must read for all expectant Dads

For any Dads out there that might be sceptical………
By 2nd time Dad Martin

“If you are a parent to be and would like advice on HypnoBirthing (without reading the following essay) then simply do not miss out!

It’s fair to say I am often cynical (and sarcastic) about ideas such as HypnoBirthing which may be dismissed as ‘crazes’ or ‘fads’. When I first discussed the idea with my wife I wondered if I could keep a straight face if we actually went along to the class and I thought it was ‘all a bit hippy’. None the less I was intrigued.

A few minutes into researching it seemed that anyone who had participated in or witnessed Hypnobirthing was amazed by the outcome. Although I didn’t want to admit it I had heard many horror stories surrounding birth and labour and was of course scared by potential turns the event could take. Hypnobirthing parents on the other hand were relaxed and positive about the whole experience. With doing some research it was easy to see why.

The lessons taught in hypnobirthing followed some wonderfully simple ideas:

  • Birthing is a normal, natural experience which women have done for millions of years
  • With a little reassurance and information mothers could be properly prepared for a peaceful birth & even enjoy the experience
  • Techniques were taught weekly to naturally relax and for a mothers body to open during labour instead of tensing and closing, leading to easier birth.

Having read further I realised the idea was to keep happy, positive, relaxed and use the bodies natural impulses to help birth along. It dawned on me what a great idea this was. You could go into labour full of fear and worry or armed with confidence and positivity. It was easy to see which would have the better outcome.

When we arrived for the lessons with The Lemon Tree it was better than we had hoped for. We were vastly informed about what to expect and knew the more relaxed we were (my wife) stayed, the easier and quicker our baby would be born. Laura was there to answer questions and give us reassurance at all times – far more than could be expected given the goo value of the course. We felt we had an expert on hand at all times.

The birth then…… our son was born in water without any pain relief or medical intervention at all! It fulfilled all our hopes and more. Our baby was born in 9 hours and we were able to leave the hospital just 4 hours later. This could have been a fearful experience but was a happy and meaningful birth which brought our whole family closer. The nurses and midwives were full of praise about how my wife who usually suffers from anxiety had handled the birth.

I am 100% sure that this is entirely due to the skills learnt with The Lemon Tree HypnoBirthing and the knowledge we gained from Laura. We would recommend hypnobirthing to anyone and everyone who is having a baby. The course not only helped our baby to be born peacefully but has helped us in all aspects of our life.

Please give hypnobirthing a go if you are expectant parents and recommend it to anyone you know that you wish to have a peaceful loving birth”

Baby Ethan's story - written by his mummy

Laura & Andy Shaw
2nd Baby
Ethan
Born at East Surrey Hospital Redhill

“I didn’t realise that I was in labour at first as I was in the garden helping Andy in the garden planting. I put the back pain down to bending down so much with a heavy bump. I had been having plenty of practice surges throughout the day and these were now a daily occurrence by this point. With every surge I practiced the breathing technique. At about 7pm we stopped gardening and I noticed a stronger surge that had me leaning over my kitchen counter. I was breathing through the pressure.

I started timing the surges and told my hubby I thought this was it. Our daughter Lena, aged 9, also my birth companion was getting ready for bed. I didn’t want to tell her I thought I was in labour as I wanted her to get some rest. Expecting my labour to take a while I told Andy to go off to the gym. I called my mum who was planning to be at the hospital to support Lena whilst I labored. She had a huge bag of activities packed provided by her Nanny to keep her occupied if labour was long.

I then started creating a labour space in my living room where I could settle. At this point my surges were inconsistent but roughly 5 mins apart and lasting about 90 seconds. I called the birthing unit and let them know. I was told to stay at home and take paracetamol. Like that would help ha ha.

During each surge the pressure in my back started around 20 seconds in. I was focusing hard on my breathing and thankfully the pressure didn’t last long. I started playing my rainbow relaxation track but repeatedly had to go to the bathroom as I felt my waters close to breaking. No water yet, but I had a slight birth show so felt excited inbetween surges that things were happening.

It was at this point that I noticed my surges had suddenly switched to 2 minutes apart and the pressure had me on tip toes as I tried to escape it. Unable to talk, focusing, I sent a message to Andy to come home. Luckily he checked his phone and he came straight home. He found me on the living room floor like a turtle. He packed the car and got Lena out of bed. She burst into tears, which was a mixture of being excited and anxious. She said she had never seen a baby be born before. Andy consoled her whilst he drove and said neither had he so they would do it together for the first time. Whilst driving Andy was rubbing my leg intermittently helping me focus and reaching behind to Lena’s leg to check she was ok. Thankfully the car journey was not too distracting as I had worried it would be. We listened to my Rainbow Relaxation and continued breathing through each surge.

My mum met us at the hospital entrance it was 9.30pm and the door was locked. I have a vivid memory of my mum banging on the glass door and angrily pointing at the poor man telling him to open it immediately. He must have been terrified. I couldn’t walk easily at this point so got to ride in a wheelchair. It was faster but by no means more comfortable. We arrived upstairs to the midwifery let birthing unit. It was quiet, dark and really calm.

I immediately relaxed as the midwife led us into a room with the birthing pool. My worst fear was c section due to previous back surgery, I could only have a general anaesthetic and would miss the birth. I stayed in the chair whilst the pool filed and our midwife Maddie reviewed our notes and preferences. At this point intensity of the pressure increased and was familiar but manageable. Maddie asked if she could examine me to see how dilated I was. I was happy for her to do this. Lena and my mum went out of the room so I had some privacy. As I lowered myself onto the mattress I felt my waters release. Between surges Maddie told me I would meet my baby very soon, I was so thrilled. She asked if I wanted to use the pool and suggested I get straight in. Andy helped me but as I stood another surge came. I gripped around Andy’s neck and made a guttural noise as I could feel my babys head was about to be born. At this point I realised I hadn’t had to push my baby at all, I would have to apologise to Laura my hypno teacher for doubting I could breathe my baby out and that it could be done.

With Andy’s help I lowered into the pool and with another surge our baby’s head was born. I reached down to feel the head, I couldn’t believe our baby was nearly here without me needing to push. I started panting as I felt I was losing control. Andy stroked my hair and reminded me to use my J breathing. Immediately I refocused myself and began breathing slowly. Maddie then tried to listen to baby’s heartbeat as I was in the squatting frog position. Through the haze we couldn’t hear the heartbeat and I asked if baby was ok, whilst Maddie assured me baby was fine I didn’t like we couldn’t hear. I used my J breathing and bared down. Maddie said she could pick baby up but I had waited so long for our baby that I reached down and pulled baby up as he was born. My elation was short lived as the cord was around his neck twice. Between us we freed him, I had to stand to do this and after that I scooped him up, holding him against my body. I could feel he was a boy. I looked at Andy and said “we have a boy”. Andy was watching with tears in his eyes. As I cradled him he squawked and settled back against my body. Maddie said he was perfect.

I heard my mum and Lena asking if they could come back in. They thought I was still being examined! I lifted my arms and showed them – I think I said “it’s a boy”. I couldn’t believe our luck. Lena ran up to Andy and he pulled her onto his knee and gave her a cuddle whilst we all stared at our little miracle.

It was then we discussed his name. I love than Lena was involved in this. We agreed on Ethan and David as his middle name. It suited him well. Perfect, Ethan David Shaw.