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Hypnobirthing in Hospital - Lauren's planned Home Birth turned Hospital Birth

Second time mum, Lauren, has kindly shared her birth story. She shares how she used Hypnobirthing techniques in hospital to support her labour & birth at various stages and how she used the knowledge gained to advocate for herself and listen to her intuition.

"I’d done hypnobirthing for my first birth so I felt pretty confident second time after having an amazing water birth in a midwife-led unit with no interventions and naively thought everything would be very similar with my pregnancy this time round... it wasn’t!

I really wanted a midwife-led water birth again as I loved my experience last time at the local birth centre, however, this ended up not being an option due to a lack of availability in the area. The birth centre had shut so I was planning on using the new birth centre in the hospital which was due to open in January, but then they found Raac concrete above it so it couldn’t open at all. In an ideal world, I knew giving birth on a labour ward wasn’t what I wanted so I spoke to my midwife about my options and she suggested a home birth! I wasn’t sure about the idea of it straight away so I went home to think about it. We did our research and I told my midwife we were going to go for it. We did the home birth plan, we got entonox (gas and air) delivered and we bought a few things to make home birth possible. 

Then, at my next midwife appointment, my bump measurement wasn’t where it should be so I had to go for multiple growth scans over the next few weeks which unfortunately showed reduced growth. At 38 weeks the Doctor wanted to book me in for an induction and told us our plans for a home birth plan were never going to happen. I was so upset, so we asked for a minute to talk about it between ourselves and we used B.R.A.I.N to help us decide what to do. From hypnobirthing, we knew of the benefits and risks of induction and personally I didn’t feel like induction was right for me but the doctor was very insistent and she booked me in for an induction the following Monday without even asking me if it was ok! I told her I didn’t want to be induced and would rather have a c-section but looking back, she didn’t take me seriously and instead she just moved the induction to Wednesday. So I went home very upset and researched everything I could to try to go into labour spontaneously!

I spoke to my midwife about what the doctors had said and that they’d booked me in for induction and she put me in touch with the consultant midwife at the hospital, who was brilliant at giving me the accurate statistics and risks of reduced fetal growth. From that conversation, we decided that home birth wasn’t the best idea for us with the risks involved and would rather be on the safe side to have more monitoring available. However, I cancelled the induction that was booked and decided to go for daily monitoring at the hospital instead, to check baby’s heart rate and movements. This was a bit of a pain having to drive there every day and pay for parking but it gave us some peace of mind about the health of the baby. A couple of times when baby was asleep and I didn’t meet criteria for movements, it triggered me having to see a doctor, and every time they tried to persuade me to be induced but every time I politely declined and said I would rather have a c-section than be induced.  

I had a gut instinct that my baby was fine and she was just going to be small like I was as a baby because all the monitoring had shown everything else was normal.  Plus, one doctor told me that the induction process can take anywhere between 3-7 days! This made me think if it was a real emergency and they needed to get this baby out urgently then they would be giving me a c-section right here and now, not letting me go through a long induction process. I was happy to wait it out knowing my first baby was 6 days overdue and go for daily monitoring to keep an eye on things. I did reluctantly book in for a c-section at 40+6 but was praying she would come on her own before then!

From about 39 1/2 weeks, I was having contractions which would start and stop for a few hours at a time. They would get stronger and more regular in the early hours of the morning or when my son was at preschool and then when he woke up or I had to pick him up from preschool they would stop again. Each time I kept thinking “oooh this is it!” and then everything would come to a halt which was frustrating but apparently really common when you have another child to look after! At 40+4 on Sunday, my husband decided to take my son out for the whole day to give me a chance to really relax - it worked! And by the Monday morning the contractions were really strong and regular and I knew this was finally it! 

I was a lot more relaxed this time around because I knew what to expect! So I shut the curtains, lit some candles, got on the birthing ball with the tens machine on, dropped some clary sage in the diffuser and watched back-to-back episodes of Below Deck! We even went to Aldi at one point for some lunch! I managed to stay really calm all day just by using the Freya app to focus on my breathing every time I had a contraction. Then we rang the hospital and made our way there about 5pm. 

When we got there they did a sweep and they were surprised I was 8cm because I was so calm! They asked if I needed gas and air but I still felt fine at that point. They hooked me up to a monitor and a midwife asked me to move on to my side mid-contraction and baby’s heart rate dropped so I suddenly got rushed into a delivery room with loads of people - a couple of doctors, a consultant and two midwives. Everyone was talking about me as if I wasn’t there and it was really loud and difficult to concentrate on my breathing so my husband asked everyone to go out while they decided what to do. Then a doctor came back in and wanted me to sign a form to agree to them using instruments for delivery, which I declined because baby’s heart rate had stabilised by this point and I still had faith I could get this baby out on my own! 

Then things got a bit crazy because for some reason I started with hyper stimulation which is where contractions last for a really long time without much of a break in between them, so baby started getting a bit distressed and I needed gas and air by this point. The midwife offered me an injection to calm the contractions down and it worked for 15 mins and then I needed another one after that which made the contractions more stable. I had to stay still though because we realised when I started moving around the hyper stimulation started up again so I opted to labour on my side on the bed which was comfortable even though it wasn’t in the recommended “UFO” position. 

Then for a few hours we were just listening to music and chatting with the midwife in between contractions. I had felt the urge to push for a while but was putting it off because I was worried and embarrassed that I was going to poop! But then I remembered the doctors had said they were coming back at 11pm to see if I’d made progress and if not, they wanted to break my waters. I suddenly asked what time it was and my husband and the midwife said “11” in unison and they laughed knowing what I was thinking - I didn’t want anyone to break my waters or interfere! So I told the midwife I was going for it, flipped on to all fours on the bed and in five pushes Isla was born at 11:18pm! We did skin to skin straight away, delayed cord clamping and a few minutes later, I felt the urge to push again and I delivered the placenta. 

So even though we didn’t get a home birth like I’d envisioned, or a midwife-led water birth like I’d had the first time round, it was still a really positive experience. I’m so glad we had done a hypnobirthing course because it gave me confidence in myself and my ability to birth both my babies but it was even more helpful this time round when we were faced with challenges. It gave us tools like ‘BRAIN’ which helped us make the decision to refuse induction. It helped my husband know how to protect the space in the delivery room when he asked everyone to leave and it gave me the confidence to say no to the doctor when she wanted to deliver the baby using forceps. 

If I’d not done hypnobirthing, I wouldn’t have had any knowledge about birth. I wouldn’t have even known that I had a choice in every situation and every challenge I faced and I probably would’ve just gone along with what the doctors had said and had very different experiences. But it gave me confidence to ask questions and make informed decisions at every point. Hypnobirthing sounds like some hippy-dippy-woo-woo thing, but it’s not - it’s the science and process of birth and it’s without a doubt the most useful course I’ve ever done in my life. Everyone should do it!"


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