Leo's Birth Story

Our Birth Story by Kev & Lauren

Florence Daisy's Birth Story

Our Birth Story by Jana & Ondrej

Our Birth Story by Emily & Mike

Our Birth Story by Sarah & Dan

Our Birth Story by Jenny & Kevin

Our Birth Story by Laura & Dan

Our Birth Story by Sarah & John

Our Birth Story by Rachael, Dylan & Noah

Our Birth Story by Fabien & Alex

Helen's Birth Story

Alex and Paul's Birth Story


Aoife, Andy & baby Hughie

Our Birth Story by Claire & Mike

Karen & Mike…..our birth

Becka's Birthing Story

Chrissy's Birthing Story

Our Birth Experience. By Katy and Chris

Amanda, Kevin and baby Zak

Leo’s Home Birth by Laura

So it was Wednesday October 3rd ‘m 40 + 8 with not a single sign, the hospital was trying to push me for an induction within the next 5 days so my midwife came to do a sweep as she knew how much I wanted a homebirth. to my surprise I was 3-4cm and she stretched me to 4cm, she told me I had to go into labour Thursday night or Friday morning because that way she would be there to deliver my baby instead of some stranger but after the sweep she hinted that the person on call that night might be doing the delivering. I had back ache all day/night, hardly slept and when I did finally go to sleep and I woke up to not a single niggle.

So Thursday I had no niggles, no signs, no back ache. My midwife Andrea was coming in morning to do another sweep and I thought I was going to have to have words with her for getting my hopes up. That night I couldn't sleep and at 2.30 am got my first wave of back ache I then started to get worried as I was having some complications along with backache so called labour ward who said have a bath an to call back if I had no improvement in an hour.

At 3 I noticed the back and thigh pain was coming in waves so woke Alex up and said I think its time he turned back over and started snoring again. I timed them but they were all over the place varying from 4-7 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long. I just thought it was probably going to be my body preparing and tried to ignore them. I thought lets have a clary sage bath that might help so I relaxed in the bath for a good hour, when all of a sudden my body said I cant cope and something told me to ring the labour ward, the back and thigh pain wasn’t that bad, just like leg cramp and back ache and I was coping with them as they was so far apart and not that long and not painful this is the first time I thought it could well be labour but very, very early stages and thought I was just panicking. I  Got Alex up start getting the living room prepped for my pool so I could get in, I stayed in the bath until Andrea came. When she came the pool was inflated but since I thought I was probably not even in labour we didn't fill it up. she did all the checks and said  “well that pool wont be filled in time you are fully dilated but you still have a cervical lip so we will say 9cm” She did my blood pressure and found it to be extremely high. Andrea said if it doesn’t go down that she would have to send me to hospital she rang them to see what another midwifes opinion was on it as she thought if I transferred I would end up giving birth on the way, I then used my breathing techniques and a technique Sandra had shown us to reduce high blood pressure, I managed to imagine going into my body's control panel and using a dial to lower my blood pressure. I got Alex to take my daughter to my mums which is luckily down the same street, he came back and Andrea re did my blood pressure it had gone down and was fine. For an hour we sat chatting even laughing and watching the t.v. Surges were still 5-7 minutes apart and lasting no longer than 30-40 seconds, it was all in my back and legs so during surges I got a lovely back massage from Alex. Andrea noticed that baby wasn’t descending properly and told me to do little pushes he still didn't descend. Andrea finally decided I needed to be helped with this cervical lip as this is the reason I wasn’t progressing it was stopping baby from going any further down the birth canal and he was stuck, she was trying to move the cervical lip behind baby heads (only time I made noise as it was very uncomfortable) and she the noticed baby's head was tilted it took a while for baby to descend go past the cervical lip due to his head position and after some j breathes out came the rest of him, I felt amazing, we named him Leo Riley he is such a content baby, that hardly ever cries and I even had to wake him up for feeds. He weighed 8lbs 3oz and is beautiful.


After months of trying to conceive and having no look, I decided to meet Sandra to do a course of Hypnotherapy to see if it would help us along our journey. My partner, Kev and I had both had the medical tests to see if there were any problems, which there wasn’t so Sandra focused on me with the sessions.

I learnt a lot straight away and realised all of my anxiety and worry wasn’t helping us at all and Sandra taught me how to become more relaxed and positive thinking. I came away with a wealth of knowledge and put it into practice by changing my diet, taking supplements, listening to relaxation cd’s and generally stopped dwelling on the situation.

In the meantime, friends and family started to announce pregnancies which were hard but with Sandra’s help I was able to deal with it differently to how I had previously.

Throughout the 8 sessions I had with Sandra, three of the weeks when I arrived I told Sandra of new pregnancies which we thought would have been a setback, but strangely I coped very well with each bit of news. I’m sure anyone who is reading this will understand how you feel when you’re trying to conceive with no success and people around you are announcing their happy news, your over the moon for them but can’t help feeling upset inside like a kick in the stomach.

However, with Sandra’s help my attitude completely changed and I started to feel a lot better about our situation, and the best news EVER was that by my 8th and last session I had my own amazing news to tell Sandra about……I was pregnant!

With the success so far, there was no way I was not completing the actual HypnoBirthing course, so about 5 months later, here we were again back at Sandra’s with Kev, carrying out the course.

And now my birthing story begins……..

It was the morning of the 13th December 2012 at 4.30am and I was laid in bed when all of a sudden a loud “pop” sound happened and my waters broke. It was 2.5 weeks before my due date so even though early, I wasn’t overly concerned. I contacted the hospital to advise them but because I couldn’t feel anything at the time I was told to call again later in the morning and come in for an examination but if my labour progressed to just continue as normal.

It was now 5.45am and Kev had run a bath for me, I managed to stay in the bath for about an hour trying to relax but couldn’t seem to get comfortable so decided to get out. I spent most of the time in the bathroom leaning over the toilet and then the side of the bath. At this point I started to panic a little because all of the relaxation techniques we had practised didn’t seem to be working and I even said to Kev, “if this is only early stages of labour….then I don’t think I can do it and our HypnoBirthing practice isn’t working”. I must add here though that this is the only one time throughout the birth that a negative word came out of my mouth and I had a bit of a blip shall we say. 

All this time whilst I was trying to remain calm and doing my breathing exercises, Kev was doing a pack lunch and having his breakfast and getting everything ready. Fortunately I had finished packing the baby bag the previous night before we went to bed.

It was now 8am and I said to Kev we need to go to hospital now!

It was 8.30am when we arrived at hospital, I managed to walk to the labour ward and declined a wheel chair because all I was thinking was Sandra saying keep upright and moving.  It was a bit chaotic when we were settling in our birthing room because we hadn’t rang ahead again to say we were coming and they didn’t have our notes but that soon settled and I gave our midwife our birthing plan and straight away our requests were carried out.

Up until now, things didn’t seem to be going as planned but once I settled in our room, it was like someone had flicked a switch. The lights were turned off for us, our CD’s were put on, the staff were all made aware that we were doing HynoBirthing and everyone went quiet and calm.

I wasn’t able to have a water birth because I had high blood pressure so this also meant I had to have monitors on me constantly but this didn’t affect my HynoBirthing.  

Our midwife asked if it was ok to carry out an internal examination, which I agreed to and at this point I was 8.5cms. I was amazed that I had got this far. Now everything was in process we were left on our own for a while.

Kev made sure the cd’s didn’t stop and sat by the bed holding my hand. It was wonderful that I had finally got to this calm, peaceful stage to progress with the rest of our birth. The midwife hardly spoke to me, I was just silent throughout focusing on my breathing, we both even fell asleep for a few moments which the midwife was astonished by!

After another examination when I was fully dilated my surges had started to slow down and they realised the baby’s head (Isaac) was turned sideways so they put me on the hormone drip to get them back up again and to try and get Isaac to turn. I was left for another hour or so, calm and completely relaxed and silent on the bed listening to my cd’s and breathing. I was in my own world and was a lovely feeling being in such control.

I was checked again after another hour, originally this was supposed to have been to see if I could continue on the drip for another hour but then they realised Isaacs heart rate had dropped and had been for a while so they decided they had to get him out and quickly.

It was explained to me that I needed forceps assistance and then all of a sudden there were a lot of people in the room and all I kept hearing was the medical staff asking if I’d had “pain” relief. I hadn’t had anything so it was explained that they would cut me so they could get the forceps in and that I would need a numbing injection.

We both still managed to stay calm with all this going on and Kev reassured me, although I didn’t need the reassurance, I was zoned out as though oblivious to everything going on around me.

After a couple of pushes and the assistance from the doctor Isaac was born. I mainly got the birthing experience that I had hoped for except from the last part when it went at bit hectic and Kev wasn’t able to cut the cord. I briefly held Isaac on me straight after his birth but then they had to take him to check he was ok as he was a bit startled but thankfully he was fine and well and brought back to me where I held him closely on my chest and did skin to skin contact and he even latched onto the breast himself and started feeding.

The whole experience was amazing and brilliant, I was so proud of myself and so was Kev and it was so empowering to hear all the medical staff saying how they couldn’t believe how I’d done it, in silence, controlled and no “pain” relief. I say “pain” relief as that is what everyone always says, but I wouldn’t describe anything like pain, just a strong feeling of pressure.

Afterwards we spoke to our midwife about Isaacs’s birth and how she felt throughout and it was interesting as she had never been involved in HypnoBirthing before, only heard about it. She couldn’t make her mind up whether she liked it or not because she said she couldn’t read me to see where I was at as I wasn’t doing anything. Normally they can tell by the noise people make etc and when they are birthing a baby when a mother has had an epidural, they lead her anyway. But all I can say to that is, that was what we were aiming for….to have a natural birth, led by my own body and my instincts.  Unfortunately we had to have intervention towards the end, but Isaacs’s safety then became my priority but at least I came away from hospital feeling happy, blessed, and positive about birthing with our perfect bundle of joy – Isaac Benjamin Jack Short, born 13.12.2012 6Ibs 8oz

I would not hesitate to recommend HypnoBirthing to anyone and will certainly be going back to see Sandra again in the future.

Thanks Sandra for everything
Lots of Love
Lauren, Kev and Isaac

Florence Daisy’s Birth

At around 37 weeks of pregnancy I had a really peaceful sense that labour wouldn’t be too far away. I’d had several periods of regular, strong Braxton Hicks contractions that didn’t progress anywhere, but led me to believe that my body was preparing for birth.

On the Wednesday, when I was 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant, my husband had to work 200 miles from home. By 4pm I was getting quite intense pains that I couldn’t talk through. I realised that I needed to get to hospital. Dominic was still 100 miles away, so I called my Father in Law who drove me into hospital and Dom met us there.

We were checked over, and the contractions were showing strongly on the monitor. I was examined, and my cervix was found to be fully effaced, anterior but closed. The midwife, who was lovely, was able to touch the baby’s head though, which felt very strange. She didn’t think I was in labour yet, and said she thought it would be days away yet. At 9pm we made our way home.

I was very uncomfortable for most of that night, and used a TENS machine to help with the pains. By morning things had died down, but I was still getting strong Braxton Hicks. I had a feeling that this was early labour, so I hunkered down at home and got on with it. The pains were strong, but were irregular and not getting closer together.

I had an appointment with the community midwife in the afternoon, so I decided to go to that and talk to her. She felt that labour was weeks away yet. She told me of a patient who had recently had the home birth midwives out six times in the night, between 38 and 42 weeks, and felt sure I would be the same. She also said she thought the baby was at least 9lb. I went home a bit disappointed and fed up.

The next morning, Dom left for work late. As I got out of bed, I felt a funny sensation as I walked past the full length mirror on my way to the bathroom. I paused, only to actually witness my waters breaking! I saw – and instinctively caught – the bag of membranes as it broke.

Dom came home and we made our way to the hospital.  I was having weak contractions, but they weren’t developing into anything convincing. I tried listening to my HypnoBirthing CDs, and bouncing on a birth ball whilst sniffing Clary Sage, but I was struggling to concentrate to get into “the zone.” Our midwife was getting less patient as time wore on as the labour ward was very busy. The contractions started to get a bit stronger but were still irregular – at one point they were coming every 2.5 minutes – but they slowed down again the next time I was interrupted, which was happening quite often on the busy ward. The midwife asked us if we’d prefer to go home, which we were both unsure about. However, nothing much was happening and she felt that we wouldn’t progress before tomorrow, by which time I would be induced as it would be 24 hours since my waters broke. As I wasn’t progressing, I asked to be examined and was only 2cm. We decided we’d be better off at home, where we could be private and focus on the business of going into labour. I felt sure I would be induced the next day, as I was with Charlie.
At home, we packed the children off to Grandma’s and settled down to a quiet night in. It was lovely – we had a nice dinner, a glass of wine and watched some trashy TV. We had an early night, but I didn’t sleep much. I wasn’t contracting much, either.

Saturday 30th June arrived after the longest night I have ever experienced. I woke several times because I was excited, but not because I was having contractions. I awoke at 6am with period pains, but was not convinced anything was happening. We got up to wait for the hospital to phone us, and pottered about the house. We waited, and waited, and waited. I spent a lot of time bouncing on the birth ball, listening to my HypnoBirthing CDs and trying to breathe through the contractions I was having. I was absolutely unconvinced it was anything serious, having experienced similar so many times before.

At about 10.30am, Dominic phoned the ward and asked if they had any idea what time we should go in. They were very dismissive and said it could be another 72 hours! I got very frustrated at this point and cried.

11am came, and I decided a bath might get me out of the funk I was in and help with the pains. Dom ran a nice, hot bath and it was absolute bliss. I wallowed for a long time, listening to my HypnoBirthing CDs and visualising opening flowers and blue ribbons tugging my cervix upwards. I felt very dreamy and relaxed; it was really quite enjoyable. Dom was pouring warm water over my bump and timing my contractions “just in case” – I think he needed something to do. Even by 1pm, when I decided to get out of the bath, they were still irregular, although they were now quite strong. Our app shows them coming at 4 mins, then 2 mins, then 8 mins. As they were still irregular, and I didn’t need pain relief, we didn’t think about calling the hospital.

Around this time, I suddenly realised that I had started “mooing” through contractions, and this worried me. Part of me was pretty sure this meant I was in transition, although another part of me thought this was impossible, as I’d hardly had any labour pains. The HypnoBirthing wasn’t really helping at this point – probably because I had this inner warning voice telling me that things were moving quickly. I tried very hard not to moo; I couldn’t. This really set my alarm bells ringing. I decided to get out of the bath, which was a bit of a challenge – had we had a bigger bath I would probably have stayed there until delivery. Once I stood up, I realised very, very quickly that things were moving at some pace.

First of all I sat on the loo back to front, which was helpful. However, it was starting to seriously hurt. I realised that things were moving very quickly and asked Dom to call the labour ward for advice. I could hear him on the phone, and I couldn’t stop the low, moaning noises I was making to get through the now very strong contractions. It was clear to them I was in advanced labour, so they sent both an ambulance and the community midwives. I started to panic and found it difficult to focus on my hypnobirthing techniques as I was suddenly in very strong labour. To manage the pain, I tried standing up holding onto the bed frame. I was feeling quite scared and I didn’t feel in control anymore. Eventually I got onto all fours, hanging over the side of the bed. I can’t remember much about this stage, except Dom hugging me and telling me he could hear the sirens coming.

It was in this most refined of positions that the ambulance men first saw me. By this point I had decided to only way to deal with the situation was to bury my head in the duvet and not look at them. They silently handed me some gas and air and from this point I didn’t care what the hell they did. Damn, that is bloody good stuff! And these blokes were lovely. Amazing.

After a few breaths of gas and air things were looking up. The ambulance men were really down to earth and decisive, which put both Dom and I at ease. The Labour Ward hadn’t managed to get hold of the midwives, so it was decided I would be taken in to hospital. It was 1.20pm.

Given the gas and air, the ambulance ride was really rather fun. We whooshed through the local village at 70mph, the sirens and lights starting the moment I started groaning loudly with the next contraction. I fear I may have made a fool of myself at this time; I blame the gas and air. I prefer not to think too hard about this experience, lest I remember something else humiliating. Suffice to say that the contractions were very strong, but in between times I was at my best, most charming, drunken self.

We arrived at the hospital at 1.55pm – it was a good job that we’d not attempted to drive as the roads were very busy and lots of cars didn’t even get out of the way for the ambulance. They also jumped all the red lights and cut up the roundabouts, etc. We just would not have made it.

I was having a contraction as they whizzed me through the coffee shop area, which I am not sure was very dignified (I vaguely remember people standing up to see what was causing the commotion). I went up in the lift, and was shown straight into a set up room, with two LOVELY midwives that we’d met before. I was helped off the trolley and, as soon as I stood up, I had a massive contraction which turned into an overwhelming urge to push; a real expulsion reflex. I have given birth twice before and I have never felt anything like this. In a flash the midwives had pulled in a rubber beanbag and positioned it between my legs with a dent for the baby to land in. They heightened the bed so I could rest my elbows on it. In another surreal moment, I was facing a massive picture window overlooking the car park. I heaved three, massive pushes, whilst at the same time watching what was going on in the car park – and my baby was born.  The head came out in two pushes, and her body was delivered in the third.

I was kind of in shock afterwards, I think. Everyone was behind me and busy, and I daren’t look round. I took a few breaths thanking God that everything was over and we were safe, whilst calmly watching the car park, and I could hear the baby crying and that Dom was cutting her cord. In the hubbub of the birth there hadn’t been time to see that I wanted a natural third stage and, to be honest, it was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t mind though.

Suddenly they placed my baby girl on the bed right in front of me. She was covered from head to toe in vernix, and looked like a little alabaster baby, totally perfect, with these big, dark eyes. She looked at me and I looked at her. She didn’t cry. Everyone else did. It was amazing. She was born at 2pm on the dot. Labour was officially recorded as 40 minutes, four minutes after we arrived at the hospital.

Despite the birth not being what I was expecting, it was a very positive experience. The HypnoBirthing techniques helped the first stages of labour be very calm and relaxed and pain free. Had I been able to stay at home in water, then I am sure that the HypnoBirthing techniques would have helped me for longer. We had planned a home water birth, but medical complications in late pregnancy meant that a home birth was inadvisable, hence the dash to hospital.


Our Birth by Jana & Ondrej

My story was probably quite different to most of HypnoBirthing stories. I always believed that my body is capable of doing what nature intended. However, I was also aware that we don't live in a society where one naturally comes across opportunities to observe birth, breastfeeding etc and as a society we have fell out of touch with those natural processes. These things became unknown, scary, and inappropriate or taboo. I was looking for support and reassurance that I CAN do it all on my own, the natural way!

HypnoBirthing became an obvious choice and after meeting Sandra there were no doubts anymore.

My husband and I undertook the course which was very informative. It definitely opened our eyes to numerous amounts of new information and in some cases drastically changed our opinions. We did the recommended reading and I practised relaxation every day. So far, my story was not much different from others.

One day I had an appointment with a midwife. That day I was 36 weeks and 3 days. I was hit by the word preeclampsia. Unexpectedly! Out of blue! I was taken into hospital that very evening and had an emergency caesarean the next morning. Our daughter Vivienne was born. One might think that our time and money spent on HypnoBirthing were wasted, as we were not able to put it all into practise. We would argue otherwise. Only thanks to preparation which HypnoBirthing and lovely Sandra offered we were able to stay calm through everything. Once taken into operating theatre, my husband took me through the colours of the rainbow while my spinal was administered. We felt welcomed to telephone Sandra before the caesarean took place for more advice which she happily offered.

Yes, the truth is that I imagined my birthing experience to be very different from how it has actually happened, but the knowledge I have acquired on the HypnoBirthing course will stay with me and hopefully will be used next time... because there will be a next time
Nowadays, my daughter Vivienne and I enjoy being part of HypnoBirthing community which meets regularly for a chat, advice and fun. And Sandra is like a fantastic godmother to all "her" HypnoBirthing children.

Dear Sandra, thank you for everything.


Emily & Mike's Birth Story

I found out I was pregnant for the second time just before Christmas 2011. My husband, Mike, and I were so excited and couldn’t believe how lucky we were. Our first little girl was an IVF baby and so our second pregnancy was completely unexpected.

During my first pregnancy I had been quite anxious and worried constantly which is why I had chosen to do the HypnoBirthing course with Sandra. I thought it might help me to stay calm throughout my pregnancy and look forward to the labour. It definitely worked and Jessica was born easily and without the need for any drugs. As Jessica was only 10 months old when we found out I was expecting again I decided just to go to Sandra for a top up session of the HypnoBirthing as felt it had not been that long ago since I did the course last time!!

My second pregnancy was problem free and I was much more relaxed which was possibly down to the active toddler I had to keep me occupied, I had no time to worry or think this time round!! I tried to listen to my HypnoBirthing relaxation CD as often as I could but it was difficult to find time while I was still at work. Once my maternity leave started I was able to listen to it every day though and get myself prepared.

Our ‘due date’ was the 14th August and everyone kept telling me baby would arrive earlier as this was my second child. The 14th August came and went and there was still no sign of baby. I was booked in for a stretch and sweep when I was a week over due and as this seemed to kick start my labour last time I was hopeful it would work this time too. I remained active and walked around most of that day trying to get things moving but nothing happened. The next day I started to feel uncomfortable with pressure low down in my pelvis and noticed a bit of a show. I was convinced this was it so asked my sister in law to have Jessica for the night and waited for things to happen. Mike and I walked around our village for three hours that evening hoping to move things along but still nothing!! I woke the next morning feeling completely normal and without any signs of labour at all and felt very disappointed. I was adamant I did not want to be induced and on the Thursday, I was 10 days over my due date, the hospital rang to book me in for induction. I asked if I could put it off and was told I could but only by a day. So I had to agree to go into Hull Women & Children’s on Monday if nothing had happened before then.

I was feeling very down by now and uncomfortable. I was unable to sleep properly as it was warm and I was feeling continuous pressure on my pelvis. I was worried about where I would be when my labour began and what would happen to Jessica. My Mum and Dad live in Scotland so they decided to come down and stay in a hotel round the corner so they could have Jessica with them and I would have one less thing to worry about.

On the Friday I had hardly slept all night and was so uncomfortable. I rang Mike in tears at lunchtime and asked him to come home from work. He rang the hospital and they asked me to come in for observation as I was feeling this pressure all the time. I kept doing my calm breathing while I waited to see the midwife. She wanted to keep me in for observation for the afternoon as I had a slight temperature and baby’s heart rate was slightly raised. I had still not started dilating though and was only 1cm which was the same as I had been on Tuesday at my stretch and sweep. I felt very deflated as was sure something must have been happening to be having all this discomfort. They put me on a monitor which showed I was having surges quite regularly which explained the pressure in my pelvis. After a few hours of monitoring they sent us home and said to get as much rest as possible as I more than likely be back in later than night!

We went to the supermarket on the way home but I didn’t feel like eating – Mike bought me a new dress instead!! We got home and I went in the bath and listened to my relaxation CD and then had an early night hopeful that I would be needing it!

I woke at 11pm and knew something was happening. I carried on doing my deep breathing and eventually gave in at midnight and went and ran the bath again. I put my relaxation CD on repeat and felt myself relax. I wasn’t sure what time it was or how often or how long my surges were lasting so I shouted through to Mike who was fast asleep. He came through and began timing them for me. I had been in the bath for three hours!! The surges were coming every two to three minutes and lasting about a minute. Mike rang the hospital and they told us to come in and that the birthing pool was available if I wanted it. I had wanted a water birth last time but Jessica had arrived too quickly so I was pleased I would have the opportunity this time round.

We arrived at the hospital about 4am and were shown to the delivery room. A midwife came to see how I was progressing and told me I was 3cm and could stay in. I didn’t want to go home again as thought I might not be able to get the birthing pool if I gave it up now!

The midwife told me I could not use the pool until I was 5cm dilated as the pool can cause labour to slow down. I was to stay active and try using the birthing ball as much as possible. I sat on the birthing ball for about 4 hours just rotating my hips and breathing through each surge with my eyes closed and felt very calm and relaxed. I didn’t feel that my surges were lasting very long so was worried that things were not moving along. I almost nodded off a few times which showed how relaxed I was. A midwife came in about 10am to tell me I could go onto the ward until things started happening as she didn’t think it would be anytime soon as I was too happy!! She asked me if I wanted her to check if anything was happening first so I agreed as was still desperate not to lose the birthing pool. I was 5cm and the midwife broke my waters while she was checking. At last I could get in the pool!!

It took the midwife about 20 minutes to fill the pool, during this time my surges got quite intense. I was offered gas and air but decided I didn’t want it as had heard it could make you feel sick. I was still coping with my deep breathing and didn’t feel the need to ask for any pain relief. The midwife informed me that as this was my second baby that things should move along quite quickly now and that she thought baby would definitely be here within the next 4 hours. It was so nice to get into the pool. It was lovely and warm and I felt relaxed. Mike put the relaxation CD on. All of a sudden my surges just kept coming and coming and I felt the need to bear down. I could feel baby moving down and started to worry that it shouldn’t be happening so quickly. The midwife was very encouraging and just told me to do what my body was telling me to do. She warned me that when my baby’s head delivered I should not touch her until she was fully born as it might make her take a deep breath under the water. I could feel baby’s head moving up and down as my surges refused to let up. Her head appeared and I could hear Mike saying she was coming. I kept telling the midwife not to touch her!! I kept my eyes closed the whole time concentrating on everything I was experiencing. I felt the rest of my precious baby enter the world and the midwife scooped her out onto my chest. Mike kept saying how amazing it was and that I had done brilliantly. I felt amazing holding my little bundle in the warm water while I waited for the cord to stop pulsating. I couldn’t believe it had happened so quickly, only 45 minutes after my waters broke. I had only been in the pool for 20 minutes!

Beautiful little Emily Joan weighed 7lb 15oz and didn’t make a peep when she arrived into the world. She fed straight away and was awake for ages afterwards sucking her hands and looking around, taking everything in. She was so alert. The midwives were very busy so Mike and I had lots of time for skin to skin contact with Emily while we waited to go onto the ward.

I feel very proud of myself for bringing both of my beautiful daughters into the world without any drugs. I feel I have given them the best start in life and know that that is down to the HypnoBirthing and all the support from Sandra. I will be able to tell my daughters that labour is not a painful, horrendous experience and hopefully be able to allow them to look forward to having their own children someday without that fear of birthing hanging over them. Thanks again Sandra xx


Baby Anya's amazing breach birth by Sarah & Dan

I was really pleased with how the HypnoBirthing course had given me the opportunity to learn to have a calm and natural birth. About half way through the course we decided we wanted to have a home water birth. I was slightly nervous about this, mostly due to many people saying "a home birth, are you mad?"

However I religiously practised the rainbow relaxation and as my due date approached listened to the affirmations and soon began to feel more excitement than nerves.
We had a trial run with the pool that we hired from Sandra and everything was ready to go at home.

My waters broke just over a week before my due date in the middle of the night in the middle of a huge thunder storm! I had mild but fairly regular surges so I gave the hospital a ring and they asked me to come in the following morning for them to check if my waters had broken.
Despite the fact I knew they had we went in to the women and children’s hospital in Hull in the morning where they examined me and confirmed what I already knew! They told me everything was looking good but if I wasn't in established labour in around 36 hours I would have to come in. I was desperate not to go into hospital so I just kept calm, returned home and tried to carry on as normal, keeping as active as I could.

The surges came and went throughout the day and around tea time they started to get a lot stronger and more intense so I decided to have a bath and listen to the rainbow relaxation. The warm water really helped and I was looking forward to getting in the birthing pool later.
At this point I asked Dan to start filling the pool -we found it tricky to know when to start filling it but thought it was better to be safe!

We also rang the midwife at this point and I continued to relax with the rainbow relaxation, essential oils, candles and surge breathing. I felt the surges getting stronger and although I did feel them to be painful I continued to stay focused and relaxed. I let the midwife examine me and I was only 4cm dilated so she said she would go home and to give her a call when we needed her again. At this point I was wondering how long this was going to last as the surges were getting stronger and a lot more intense!

However I used the birthing ball and got on all fours to help ease the pain and soon the surges were really strong and I started to feel a pressure from the baby so I asked Dan to ring the hospital. They asked to speak to me as I was experiencing a surge to make sure I was in established labour and thankfully they sent the midwife back out to us around two hours after she had left.
I wanted to wait for her to arrive before I got in the pool and when she did she examined me and discovered that in two hours I had gone from 4 to 9 cm dilated!
She also discovered that my pulse was high, as was the baby's heartbeat and she wanted to check with the hospital if they wanted us to go in. Unfortunately they did and I never made it into the pool as we had to get an ambulance into hull royal.

I continued to remain calm and declined the offer of gas and air. When we got into hospital I sensed things weren't quite as they should be and despite that fact I was now exactly how I didn't want to be, on a bed with people telling me to push I knew I had to stay calm and do the best I could. When the baby started to appear they quickly realised that what should have been a head was in actual fact a bottom, someone shouted breach and lots of people ran into the room. At this point I knew things were not going to plan but I still tried to keep calm and keep breathing.
The next few minutes were fairly awful, the baby was stuck, oxygen levels dropping and me being threatened with an episiotomy. There was no way that was happening to me so I gave it my all and my baby daughter Anya was born at 1.24 am.

She was put on my chest, Dan cut the cord and then she was whisked away as she was struggling to breathe properly. I then had a retained placenta and had to be taken into surgery while Anya was taken to intensive care.

She recovered well and I got to see her at about 8am in intensive care, as she was being moved to special care. She stayed there for two days and then eventually she came into my room. We had to stay in hospital for a week as she had developed an infection and that week was one of the most challenging I have ever experienced.

Despite the fact that Anya's birth went completely the opposite to how we wanted, I am certain I would not have managed a natural birth with no pain relief without HypnoBirthing. I didn't realise how rare a natural delivery of a breach baby is until every midwife I spoke to in hospital commented on how well I had done! All down to HypnoBirthing, I can't recommend it highly enough.


Jenny, Kevin and Baby Freya

I was very happy that HypnoBirthing had given me the tools to have a marvellous, calm and relaxed first pregnancy but what would happen on the day?

Four days after my official due date, at about 11am, I started to have mild twinges every ten minutes or so but was convinced they would just peter out so just kept leaning over the sofa as they passed. After half an hour I decided to get into the bath and listen to the Affirmations and the Rainbow Relaxation CD, expecting the surges to stop once in the water. Kevin lit some candles and left me to relax and breathe.

I eventually got out of the bath and started doing the deep, surge breathing although this was quite difficult to get the whole long deep breath in during the quick surge! Kevin decided that things were happening (I was convinced everything might stop at any moment) so he called my sister to come over and look after our dogs and my Mum arrived at about 1.30pm. Kevin, Mum and I had done the course with Sandra so we all felt well prepared. I continued to listen to the Peace Sanctuary CD and managed the surges by standing and swaying during each one. I tried to eat and drink between surges but they were starting to become quite close together and at about 4pm I actually threw up which is when I finally realised that this was actually happening and perhaps we ought to start timing things in order to call the hospital!


So, at 5.30pm with the surges every minute and a half (!) and after chatting calmly to my sister and giving her a big hug we got into the car to make the short trip to the Women's and Children's Hospital. We were shown our lovely room and settled in (although the first midwife we met was quite dismissive that I was in active labour!). We handed over our birth preference sheet, Mum stuck our HypnoBirthing sign on the door and Kevin put on the Rainbow Relaxation CD. I really wanted to get back in the bath as the pool wasn't quite ready for us. I was calm between surges and could breathe but was making a soothing 'Ahhhhhh' sound during the surges which made it a little difficult to do the slow breathing, but at least my jaw was limp and loose!

I wanted to get out of the bath and the lovely midwives (including a student who stayed several hours beyond the end of her shift to observe her first 'natural birth') wanted to examine me prior to making the pool ready. This was the first time they had suggested any intervention (apart from the baby's heart rate and my blood pressure checks) but once I was out of the water and tried to lie on the bed the surges were really strong and I couldn't get into a comfy position unless I was on my side, so I never did find out how dilated I was! Apparently it was clear to everyone that things were progressing (I was told my waters released in this position but I didn't really register any of this!) and as I moved to a more upright position I saw the time on the clock behind the bed head was 7.50pm. The midwives said that they could get the pool ready for 8.30pm but I was in another dreamy place and my Mum, Kevin (and probably me) decided that I would just stay kneeling up, leaning over the back of the bed for now. The Rainbow Relaxation and Birth Affirmations were still playing in the background and the lighting was dim and relaxing and I recall thinking that each surge really was bringing me closer to my baby! I was now making some very loud open mouthed sounds during the surges and my birth companions were supporting me, with Mum on the left and Kevin on the right. There was a bit of joking about their height differences!

I suddenly got very hot and was glad of the ice bottles and flannels I had brought as the surges were now becoming more strenuous, like hard exercise, but still I didn't feel any pain. I reached down and was disappointed when I couldn't feel anything and announced to everyone 'Nothing's happening!' to which my Mum reassured me that it really was, and during the next surge or so I could feel the baby's head pressing down. Everyone was getting excited and looking and saying there was lots of hair! I felt a slight stinging sensation at the front (the massage had worked!) but my companions told me to breathe her out slowly and make 'Ho, ho' sounds and I pressed the area with my hand and said, 'Be born!'whilst the head was slowly arriving.

I had a very nice, chilled out pause after this and then after a couple more surges the rest of the baby was born. The midwife helped Kevin collect her and he passed little Freya up to me at 9.10pm, weighing 7lb 3oz.

Amazing! It was a totally euphoric moment! I kept grinning and saying, 'I did it! I did it!'. I had no tears, no stitches and no pain relief and I don't think Mum and Kevin were worried about me coping at any time. They were the most brilliant birth companions! Not even a retained placenta could dampen my spirits as I was still exhilarated about my birthing experience two hours later! When I got back to the delivery room Kevin and Mum had been enjoying lots of cuddles and we were allowed to stay there together as a family, still elated at the wonderful main event of baby Freya's birth!
Baby Freya was born on 9/7/12

Grandma’s view

When my daughter asked me to be one of her birth companions, I was flattered but anxious that I would be in the way and possibly distressed by seeing her in pain. I needn't have worried on either account after doing the HypnoBirthing course with Sandra. We learned so much which empowered all three of us, so that Jenny and Kevin had the birth they wanted and Freya arrived in the world a very chilled out baby. Kevin and I had practical things to do in supporting Jenny through the birth and I really did not see her in pain. I saw her completely relaxed and then letting her body work to bring my granddaughter into the world with no interventions, pain relief or stitches. Sandra had informed us and prepared us to meet any circumstances calmly, so even a trip to theatre
after the birth did not detract from Jenny's glowing moment of triumph. She really did say "I did it, I did it!"in a delighted way.
Thank you
Sandra from a proud Granny.
Eleanor Marsden


Eddie’s Birth Story by Laura and Dan

Eddie's due date of the 18th of March came and went, however, having completed the HypnoBirthing course with Sandra, we were fairly relaxed about his due date despite constant enquiries from well-meaning friends and family. I was put under a lot of pressure from doctors at Hull Royal to be induced at +12 days; however, since I had a very healthy pregnancy and a very active baby, I decided to wait a little longer.

Eddie clearly needed a gentle push in the right direction so at +15 I went in to be induced. On the way to Hull Royal I felt a little nervous but used the breathing techniques Sandra had taught me and began to relax. I can honestly say that thanks to Sandra, this was the only time throughout my pregnancy and birth that I felt nervous. On arrival at Hull Royal I opted for the slow release prostaglandin in the hope that I could still have a natural water birth. The midwife informed us that the baby was back to back so my husband and I spent most of the day walking around the hospital grounds and I bounced on a birthing ball and listened to the HypnoBirthing scripts. I started having gentle surges soon after the prostaglandin. Hospital policy meant that my husband had to leave the inducement ward at 9p.m. but I still felt relaxed and managed to sleep.


Two hours later I started having stronger surges but stayed in bed and rested, I was still relaxed and slept a little longer. I stood up later to visit the bathroom and my waters broke, at this point I rang my husband and said 'It's time!' The midwife took me up to the labour ward where my husband joined me. Unfortunately there was meconium in my waters and the midwife said that I would not be able to get in the pool but gave me a birthing ball and tried to monitor me whilst I sat on the ball. This proved impossible and I was becoming uncomfortable so sat on the bed instead. Unfortunately to further complicate matters Eddie was still back to back and his head still wasn't fully engaged!

Eventually the midwife said that she would like to ask the doctor to examine me since Eddie was showing no signs of moving down into position. On examining me the doctor suggested we wait a while and that she would come back later. I was happy to wait and pleased that we weren't being rushed. However, after a while the monitor showed changes to Eddies heart rate and the doctor was called back. I have to say she was brilliant and explained everything clearly. With the baby already overdue, meconium in the waters, and the possibility that Eddie was stuck, it was suggested that we try Syntocinon in the hope that this would encourage him to move down. I agreed and ended up having an epidural as the surges became much stronger. It became clear that Eddie was most definitely stuck but I insisted I really wanted to avoid a caesarean. In the end I had an assisted delivery in theatre, even then I felt confident and excited to meet my baby. On paper this may all sound a bit traumatic but I can honestly say that I enjoyed birthing my baby and even during labour I was talking about having another! The following day the doctor told me she had been convinced that I would need a caesarean and I'm sure that the HypnoBirthing course gave me the confidence and strength to push despite the complications. I really want to thank Sandra for instilling that sense of confidence in myself and my husband; Eddie's birth was amazing and despite the complications I wouldn't change anything about the experience. Our gorgeous baby Eddie was born on 3rd April weighing 9lbs 1.5oz.

Our Birth Story by Sarah and John

My first son, Corban was born in York District Hospital. We then moved to Beverley when I was 17 weeks pregnant. We decided we would like a home birth as Corban would only be 14 months old and we really didn’t want to go into hospital and leave him. I heard about HypnoBirthing and found Sandra’s details and we took the HypnoBirthing course which helped to confirm that home birth really was the right choice for us

With Corban I seemed to take a long time getting into established labour from the early signs. Any mum that labours like this knows how tiring it is as sleep becomes limited. I really hoped this time it would be different but it turned out to be similar. My due date was 29/10/2011 but he had other ideas. On Monday 31st I started with slight dilation pangs and by the following day they were about one an hour, by Tuesday teatime they were becoming like regular aches, I just relaxed and watched television and went to bed early. During the night I had to get up a few times to soak in the bath to ease the aches in my back. On the Wednesday I just relaxed all day, not really feeling like doing anything as I was tired due to lack of sleep. By the night I was really tired and getting a bit panicky that I wouldn’t have the energy to birth if it went on much longer. I asked John to time the surges but he kept falling asleep and so did I in between them. Every time I woke it was to see John face down and the stop watch still running. I practised the breathing techniques and went for a bath. I stayed in the bath for the rest of the night then at about 5ish I woke John and asked him to reheat the water in the pool. John then rushed about removing some of the cold water from the pool and refilling it with warm. I relaxed back on the sofa and asked for some paracetamol as the tiredness and back ache was getting to me a bit. I got in the pool at 6.45 and we rang for the midwives. My surges were only every ten minutes but I wanted someone there to confirm that this was the real thing as I wasn’t sure he was on the way.



My waters released at 7.15 and the first midwife arrived at 7.30. Just as she came through the door I felt a strong surge and the pressure of his head and I realised he was coming. As I didn’t want any involvement or coaching unless it was necessary I didn’t mention I was that close and the midwife settled down to do her paperwork. John was also busy at this point as Corban had got up and John was warming his milk. I leaned forward in the pool and relaxed until the next one came. All was calm and I felt in total control. Then two more surges and I slowly breathed his head out, with no pain or stinging. I took a breath and said “his head is out” John and the midwife raced over and I breathed out his body. When he came up out of the water he cried a bit and was put on my chest. His big brother, who was laid on the sofa drinking his milk looked over and smiled. It was the most perfect moment.

Rowan was born on 3/11/2011 weighing8lb 3 1/2oz He is a really happy, chilled baby.

Our Birth Story by Rachael, Dylan & Noah

I was very nervous about being pregnant, labour and childbirth, so I felt I needed to be as prepared as possible. I also wanted to have some control over a situation I wasn’t sure it was possible to have control over. HypnoBirthing taught me more than how to have a relaxed birth; it allowed me to relax throughout my pregnancy and helped me discover how many choices I really had.

I loved our sessions with Sandra and I even started to look forward to the possibility of having the birth experience other people had managed to have through hypnobirthing.

Towards the end of my pregnancy things started to get a little more complicated, my blood pressure had increased and there were concerns that I might not be able to have my birth at my preferred location of the Jubilee Birth Centre. I had to have regular monitoring at the centre and was signed off work; anxiety about my blood pressure was certainly not helping. Sandra helped by using the techniques I had become accustomed to and focussing on reducing my blood pressure. This was very successful and my blood pressure returned to within the realms of normal!



My waters released early on the Tuesday morning but there was no sign of contractions, we contacted the Jubilee and they asked us to go in. the midwife explained that if I was to give birth at the centre I needed to begin labour within 72 hours, but ideally within 48 hours, she also wanted to perform an internal examination to check my waters had definitely released. Thanks to my preparation I felt confident in politely declining her offer, I was certain that my waters had released and I didn’t need poking to check. So, I was sent off with a pot of clary sage.

We went into town, as despite being two days over my due date we hadn’t bought the music CD's we had planned, and typically my contractions began in HMV.

We returned home and I had a hot bath while Dyl read the relaxation scripts, things moved pretty quickly in this calm environment and within a couple of hours my contractions were every three minutes. Time to get to the Jubilee!

Unfortunately by the time I was admitted (8 pm) things had slowed right down and the gaps between surges seemed huge so the midwife ran me an aromatherapy bath and left me to it while she read my birth plan. The aromatherapy and hypno scripts did the trick and my surges returned with gusto.

We moved from the bath to the birthing room where my pool was ready filled. From this point I don’t have a huge recollection of what was going on around me. I remained very calm (except for two minutes during transition which certainly brought me back to reality), but I was pretty groany during the surges. Otherwise my room was silent, my midwife sat behind me, Dylan sat in front of me and supported me through the surges. I used a little gas and air, but I was nervous to use too much as I didn’t want to feel nauseous. I had been feeling a strong urge to bear down for quite a while but the midwife and encouraged me to try not to as I wasn’t fully dilated to, it came as a relief when she told me that I could go for it. The feeling of bearing down was uncontrollable; I certainly did no deliberate pushing. The muscles did all the work; I just had to go with my body.
Noah was born in two powerful surges. I reached into the water and lifted out my son. No assistance required. Our midwife was amazing; she congratulated me on delivering my own baby and took pictures! Within minutes I wanted to do it again, I have gone from being terrified of childbirth to wanting a decently sized family; I think another success for HypnoBirthing!

Rachael, Dylan and Noah

Our Birth Story by Fabien & Alex

After the course we waited patiently for the birth of our baby. As the time passed we both got more excited, wondering whether we would get a little girl or a little boy. I had been booked to have our baby in the Jubilee Birth Centre but it closed shortly before my due date, I really wanted a calm birth in an environment that wasn’t clinical so decided to have a home birth. We hired the pool from Sandra and found the midwives to be very supportive of our choice. Even though this was my first baby I felt confident and relaxed about giving birth at home and knew this was the right choice for me and our baby.

Alex and I really wanted to meet our little bundle now but my due date of 22nd August came and went. I remembered Sandra saying babies come when they are ready and not on a set date but I was getting impatient. I hadn’t had any signs or symptoms, I felt exactly the same and fine. Three days later on the morning of Thursday 25th I woke up feeling different, can’t really describe it just different! I rang the midwife that night and she said to call back if there were any positive signs of labour. On the Friday I started with period like pains in my tummy but still wasn’t sure if it was labour or not. I was a bit worried as I wasn’t sure if this was normal at this point. I suppose I just assumed I would know if I was in labour. I rang the midwife again and she told me to have a bath and call her back when I was getting three ‘pains’ in ten minutes.


My mum came round and Sandra arrived around 1 o’clock, Sandra had agreed to stay with me during my birth. I was feeling relaxed at this point so we sat around chatting. Alex had blown the birthing pool up so all there was to do was wait and see. At about 4 o’clock Sandra did a relaxation and visualisation session with me and then as things did not seem to be progressing her and my mum left to get something to eat. I still wanted to know if I was in labour so again called the midwife who agreed to come round. After talking to me she decided I wasn’t in labour as I was so calm and was not in pain. She was going to leave but I said I would feel better if she examined me, at least then I would know I wasn’t in labour and could get some sleep. She was very surprised to find out I was 4cm at 7.30 I was so relived and excited that this really was labour and I would have my baby soon. Alex on the other hand was still not totally convinced that HypnoBirthing would work and he was dreading the worst.

Sandra arrived back around 8 o’clock and my mum and dad shortly after. Alex started filling the pool and I relaxed in my big comfy chair, just chilling. I kept thinking about going to straighten my hair for the photos but couldn’t really be bothered lol. With each surge, I went into my own little zone and breathed through them. I found the breathing techniques worked brilliantly and at no time was I unable to cope. Alex and I spent some time on our own and by 11.30 the surges had become stronger and closer together, I wanted to get in the pool but the midwife wanted to examine me again first. I was very disappointed when she said I was only 5cm, I was sure I would have been more. I got into the pool to see if it would speed things up a bit but I was too warm and I had to get out again. I went to the bathroom and I had a show, another good sign I thought. The surges were coming quick and fast and were causing me discomfort in my back. I still felt in control but decided to try the gas and air, after only a few breathes I didn’t want any more, it tasted disgusting. Sandra came back in from the other room and I asked her to stay.

Sandra and Alex both did the light touch massage which was really relaxing and helped more than gas and air. I remember at this point I just wanted a nap and then I started shaking a lot, which I had learnt on the course, was a sign of transition so knew things were moving along. Alex and Sandra helped me to get back into the pool and continued with the light touch massage.

Getting into the pool was pure bliss; the warm water eased the discomfort straight away. I was able to just float and relax. My mum came back in the room and stroked my arm. The atmosphere was quiet and calm, nobody felt the need to talk and I was able to zone out completely.

My baby moved down so slowly and gently, I didn’t need to push, my body just did the work for me. As I continued to breathe down Alex saw the head emerging, He shouted for the midwife who nearly missed the event as she was still in the other room. She didn’t interfere with the birth and I just continued to allow my baby to birth. My baby entered the world in calm and peace, no screaming, no pushing. I scooped my baby up out of the water and discovered we had a beautiful baby girl. Alex cut the cord after it had stopped pulsating.

Alex and I had some time on our own, gazing at our beautiful baby girl, I was so shocked that I had done it, so excited and happy. Alex kept saying I was amazing and I felt amazing. The midwife came back in and as there was no sign of my placenta being birthed she suggested I got out of the pool. Eliza was handed to Alex and everyone went in the other room to admire her.

After ten minutes still no placenta and I was offered a shot of pitocin, which I declined. I wanted my baby back and as soon as I held her my placenta came away. I didn’t need any stitches and felt amazing. Eliza Nancy was born at 1.50 am on the 27th August weighing 6lb 13oz.

Did HypnoBirthing work? Would I do it again? yes yes yes. Has Alex changed his mind about HypnoBirthing, Well put it this way He tells everyone about it and how awesome it is.

Helen's Birth Story

My due date was 22nd October 2011 and because I had had a previous caesarean the obstetrician informed me that I would not be allowed to go much over my due date. I was told that if baby hadn’t arrived by the 29th they would induce me by using a Foley catheter. I had never heard of this procedure, nor had my midwife or Sandra. A close friend of mine who is a senior midwife asked an OB and found out it was a technique that was used in the 1930s !! I really didn’t like the sound of it and the research that Sandra found showed that it wouldn’t reduce the chance of a second caesarean. No, that wasn’t for me so I declined the offer.

I negotiated some extra days to see if baby made an appearance but he was far too comfy in there. When I was 12 days over my due date I went in to be induced, with my new confidence and knowledge I asked for the lowest dose of prostaglandin in a peccary form wanting my labour to start as slowly and gently as possible. As they thought it would take a while for anything to happen they suggested I went for a walk downstairs to the café for a coffee. I had another idea, after all it was nearly Christmas so we decided to pop to Tesco’s for some Christmas shopping and go to their café. I don’t think they were very impressed when we returned !!  I felt fine and I started listening to my birth affirmation and relaxation CD and started to relax.



I can safely say I was not frightened but ready for my baby to arrive now. I focused and I have to say I concentrated on the breathing techniques I had learned and they worked well. My labour progressed very fast, enough to panic staff as I wasn't even on the delivery ward. My labour lasted four hours and 12 minutes so staff tell me. I never spoke to anyone during my labour apart from my husband and that was to only request water. I felt deeply relaxed and worked my way calmly through the contractions.

One thing no one knew was that my son was to be born weighing 10lb 7oz. I had no intervention apart from a few puffs on the gas and air. The doctors came to see me and each one said something like 'Good girl well done' when they looked down their notes at saw my sons weight and how I had only had gas and air at the end.

I would never have had my son so quickly and naturally if it wasn't for Sandra. The midwife was very surprised after my son was born and she kept saying in her words you did 'amazing'. I had the cord clamped on my chest and he was weighed a few hours later. I can say that my son breast feeds brilliantly and took to it quicker than my daughter.

On the whole I am not good with pain and when I first met Sandra I told her 'I don't like pain I'm no good even with a leg wax'.

Alex and Paul's Birth Story

When I discovered I was pregnant as awful as it sounds I was horrified. It wasn't really planned and came as a bit of a shock. My first pregnancy was not great, physically everything was fine but mentally I was a mess. I suffered with antenatal depression and also had a genuine fear of labour which meant as well as being depressed I was very anxious and suffered with panic attacks. During the last 2 months of my pregnancy I had to go off sick from work which I think looking back made the situation even worse as I had too much time to think about what was to come. I had counselling and also cognitive behavioural therapy but it didn't really work and I was so scared about giving birth. My first labour was uncomplicated and everything went fine but I had every kind of pain relief offered including an epidural, pethidine and gas and air and it resulted in me being very battered and bruised after the birth. I didn't think I would ever get over it but in time I did and I moved on. I did however develop post natal depression also and still suffered with anxiety. My husband and I said we would never go through the experience again. This time round as soon as I found out I was pregnant the first thing I said was “I'm having a c section, I can't go through it all again.” I even asked the midwife to refer me to the obstetrician so I could discuss this with him but I wouldn't be seen until I was 20 weeks.


In the meantime someone mentioned about hypnobirthing so I looked into it and found Sandra's website. I was immediately intrigued and got a shimmer of hope that maybe I could go through labour again with the help of hypnobirthing. I contacted Sandra and she did a consultation with me to get a background history and also did a couple of hypnosis sessions first to deal with my fear of labour. I was amazed at how well I relaxed and was put into trance, I came away from each session feeling a lot more positive. My husband and I started the course quite early on as I was very eager to start work at the hypnobirthing. I had a very different pregnancy this time round was a lot less anxious, worked right to the end of my pregnancy which I was determined to do this time and felt reasonably positive about the birth. Infact I was so positive that I decided to have baby at Jubilee birth centre. This would never have been an option with my first pregnancy. I was also determined to not have an epidural and only wanted gas and air as pain relief.

I practised my hypnobirthing everyday especially towards the end of my pregnancy and really enjoyed the light touch massage. Sandra had also very kindly agreed to be there during my birth experience and be a second birth partner which she doesn't normally do. Sandra came with me to all my appointments and was just fantastic during my pregnancy which also gave me the confidence to have a natural birth experience. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was very anxious I must admit but I think it was because I had stopped work and also because I knew labour was approaching. Sandra still saw me right to the end of my pregnancy and did some more hypnosis sessions to keep me relaxed.

My due date came and went and each day I went over I was getting more and more anxious. I kept telling myself that the due date is just a date and baby can come two weeks either side of it but I was stressed about the thought of being induced. Having a fear of labour is pure torture for this reason as it is so out of your control and you never know when labour is going to start. I had tried most things by this point to get things moving including walking, curry, gallons of pineapple etc. We eventually got desperate and gave in on the fifth night and had sex to speeds things up. Three hours later my surges started at 2am, I couldn't believe it had worked that quickly. My surges were not strong at all and I lay in bed for two hours keeping track of how far apart they were, which was only 10 minutes and they were lasting about 1 minute. At 4 am I decided to wake up my husband to tell him things had started. This proves how calm and relaxed I was as with my first labour I freaked out as soon as things started. My husband and I laid there while I listened to my hypnobirthing CD and he did some light touch massage. My surges started to get stronger as time passed and they were bout 8 minutes apart now by 6 am.

As Sandra was going to be one of my birth partners I texted her to let her know things had started and also rung my mum inlaw to get her to come and pick up our daughter. At 7 am my mum inlaw arrived and my surges were now 7 minutes apart and lasting a good minute and a half and were regular. We said our goodbyes to our daughter and I rung the hospital to pre warn them we would be soon on our way soon and to let them know my request of a water birth, my history of anxiety
during child birth and that I was doing hypnobirthing. They said to go in when my surges were about 6 minutes apart with it being my second birth and also fact we lived quite far away.

I started to potter about and sorted out the laundry to keep me busy, I was still amazed at how
relaxed I was. Unfortunately my surges became irregular and went back up to 10 minutes apart and then I didn't have one for 15 minutes. This was very frustrating as we were thinking to set off at this point to the hospital. I went to lay down and listened to my rainbow relaxation and get some rest. My surges were irregular for most of the day, one minute they were 8 minutes apart then 10
minutes, it was very frustrating and I was getting tired and fed up. At 3 pm I rung the hospital and
spoke to a very unhelpful midwife who made me very anxious by telling me I might have a urine
infection. This really stressed me out which made my surges even more irregular. I rung my
community midwife who agreed to come and visit me at home due to my anxiety levels and to
check all was well. My midwife came at 5pm and was there for 30 minutes and I only had 1 surge
the whole time she was there. She said I was in early labour and baby's head wasn't even engaged yet. My waters still hadn't gone either so I was expecting it to be a while. Everything was fine though, urine dipstick was clear and baby’s heart rate was also fine. I was advised to try and relax but to be prepared that it might be a while longer yet and my midwife said she would be very
surprised if baby arrived anytime soon. Once the midwife left I really made the effort to relax and laid on the couch concentrating on my breathing and relaxation CD. Paul made me some tea which I forced down as felt quite nauseous by this point. My surges had become really strong by now and felt quite severe through my back. They were still irregular however about 8 minutes apart still and then I would have a long gap when I wouldn't have a surge. At 7pm I decided to get in the shower, I put it on really powerful and aimed it on my back and leant right forward. It felt so nice and was such a relief I stayed in there for agers. When I got out the shower I felt so much better and even dried and straightened my hair. I got into bed for a bit and my surges started to become more frequent about 7 minutes apart and more regular. At 9 pm I went to the toilet and noticed I'd had my show. I carried on trying to relax and Paul did some light touch massage but I was struggling with the surges because babies head had obviously engaged and things started to move really quickly. At 10 pm I notice more blood which really panicked me. I rung and spoke to the midwife and they told me to go in to get checked out but if my contraction were still only 7 minutes apart then they may send me home. I decided to go in as I was getting more anxious being at home. I rung Sandra and she said she would meet us there. The journey to the hospital l wasn't too bad, I continued to do my breathing and listened to my relaxation music. My surges were 6 minutes apart the whole journey and were very regular by this point. We arrived at hospital at 11 pm and left the bags in the car in case they sent me home again. We really didn't think we would be staying in. We met Sandra in the entrance and then went up to the labour ward. I was shown to my room, hooked up on a monitor for about half an hour until I was to be examined. Everything was fine on the monitor so I was taken off. The midwife then checked to see how far dilated I was and I was only 2 cm. This was a huge disappointment as I thought I would be further on. The midwife said I could go home or stay, was up to me. Due to the distance back home I decided to stay in. Paul went and got my bags from the car and Sandra did some hypnosis with me and it was by far the most relaxed I had been since labour started. I spoke to my midwife about using the birthing pool which she said would be available soon as someone had just birthed in there. The next hour was a bit of a whirlwind, before I knew it my surges were 3 minutes apart. I lay across my birthing ball and had light touch massage from both Paul and Sandra, it was very relaxing and even though my surges felt strong it was bearable.

My midwife went on her break at 12.30am and said she would have the pool ready when she got
back as it needed cleaning out. I went to the toilet and remember thinking whilst I was sat on the
loo that I felt a huge pressure down below and needed to push. I went to my bed and got in the polar bear position laid on all fours. It was 1.30 am at this point and I suddenly felt a huge urge to push and also began to feel very uncomfortable and told Paul and Sandra to get my midwife. She was on her break at the time so another midwife came and had a look to see what was going on. Believe it or not but I was right, babies head was crowning and I was ready to start pushing just 2 hours from being only 2 cm dilated. Before I knew it, I was sucking on the gas and air and pushing baby out. It was all very quick in the end and I only had 5 pushes and my Kate Elizabeth arrived at 1.58 am and weighed 7lb 2oz. I was so happy and relieved, it was such a different experience to the birth I had with my first. I held her and within only 10 minutes I tried feeding her as this was my request in my birth plan. She was reluctant to feed at first but within next 10 minutes she was feeding brilliantly. I was completely blown away and so happy to hold my baby girl. The whole experience was so different to my first labour and I felt genuinely proud of myself at how well I had coped during this birth experience.

I genuinely believe that without Sandra and my hypnobirthing course I would not of had such a
wonderful experience birthing my baby. I would have opted for an elective caesarean due to my fear of labour. I would like to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Sandra for being there for me
through my pregnancy and also for agreeing to be there throughout the birth of baby Kate. I feel so
lucky to have met Sandra who has now become a trusted friend. Also big thank you to my ace
husband for putting up with me and being my rock as always.

P.S waters didn’t release prior to birth and Kate’s transition was cushioned by the waters.

Our HypnoBirth Story by Aoife, Andy & baby Hughie

My baby was due 2 days ago. My family and friends keep asking questions and generally harassing me but I remained calm and relaxed and not focusing an awful lot on my “supposed” due date. So I was shocked when my baby showed signs of his or her arrival so close to the expected date.

I ate my dinner that evening about 6pm, put my plate down and instantly brought the whole thing back up again, as I had stomach ache. It was then that my husband and I realised that this could be the moment we had waited so long for. Andy put my relaxation CD’s on, brought me a duvet, turned the TV off and dimmed the lights in the room.

Before I knew it I was asking him to phone the hospital to let them know that I thought I should go in. The nurse asked to speak to me, and because I was calm and holding a decent conversation I was told to have a bath, continue doing what I was doing and call them later. I did as I was told and again before I knew it I was on the phone and again was told that because I still seemed to be managing that I should stay at home, I told them we were coming in!

We collected our bags and set off for the hospital and I continued listening to the hypnosis CD’s we had put in the car a few weeks earlier. Once we got into the hospital and were given our room, Andy turned the lights down low, and quickly put on my music and passed my birth plan to the midwives for them to read.

The midwives gave me a very brief and un-intrusive check over and told us that the baby was very close to arriving. After this initial update, they stood back, occasionally speaking quietly between themselves and leaving us to it. My husband had to leave the room at some point, so the midwife took over, reminding me to listen to my music and stay calm and relaxed.

After 2hours of being in hospital, I felt ready to push, I asked the midwives if I was ready, and they said “you do what you feel you need to” (following my birth plan, to the word) I was pushing for about an hour, but was calm and pretty excited about what would eventually happen.

Hughie Vincent was born 22.10.2010 at 1.50am. Weighing a healthy 8lb 10oz It was amazing; I felt full of energy and was particularly proud of myself for doing so much work without any intervention. Unfortunately I held on to the placenta. So an hour later I was wheeled down to surgery, which I was upset about because I had to leave Hughie behind with Andy, and also because I had to have a Spinal injection in surgery, but I was just so pleased that Hughie had been brought into the world drug free. I just kept patting myself on the back.

I honestly could have done the whole thing again days later, I enjoyed Hughie’s birth. Even today friends who listen to me say the word “enjoyment” just snigger and dismiss the enjoyment part.

I would recommend HypnoBirthing to everyone; both my husband and I were so relaxed. I don’t join in most people’s conversations about their births because I just sit there internally gloating about how mine was such a pleasant experience!

Our Birth Story by Claire & Mike

My husband and I become pregnant through the process of IVF and had been given a ‘due date’ of 15th February.  Baby and I were monitored closely throughout my pregnancy, mainly due to my incessant worrying!! 

As we were having a baby through IVF we were told by our consultant that we would not be able to go past our ‘due date’ by more than a week and that I would be induced at 41 weeks.  I was desperate not to let that happen as I wanted as natural a labour as possible and couldn’t stand the thought of having to stay in bed with monitors and drips attached to me. 

I was examined a week before our ‘due date’ and a midwife told me that she would be very surprised if I went over that date so I left her feeling very hopeful that our baby would be arriving soon.  The 15th February finally arrived, but no sign of our baby, I was booked in for a stretch and sweep the next day to try and get things moving.  I was told that everything was as it should be but that if my body wasn’t ready then the stretch and sweep may not do anything to help.  We spent the afternoon and evening waiting to see if anything would happen and woke the next morning slightly disappointed that we were still at home and not in the hospital with our little bundle of joy!  My husband was going to be my birth partner with my Mum as stand in, in case it was a long process or Mike needed any support.  My Mum and Dad live in Scotland so were on standby waiting for the phone call to ask them to come down to Hull.


Claire & Mike's Baby

The next day I went out for lunch with family but did not feel hungry.  I started to have an uncomfortable feeling low down in my pelvis but just put it down to the stretch and sweep the day before.  I spent the afternoon shopping and began to feel more uncomfortable although I thought it was more like IBS, which I do suffer from sometimes.  I came home and decided to listen to my hypnobirthing CD on the sofa and fell asleep for an hour.  I tried bouncing on my birthing ball but that was not very comfortable.  At 5.30pm I walked up to my doctor’s surgery to pick up a prescription for my husband.  I walked slowly as I felt very heavy and uncomfortable.  I actually asked the receptionist if there was a doctor around to check with him if this was normal but they had all finished for the evening.  Once I got home I noticed a slight bloody show in the toilet, I decided to have a bath to try and help me to relax.  When my husband came in from work he rang the Maternity ward and they asked me to come in just to check all was well as I had mentioned a slight bleeding.  We packed my bags and pillow into the car just in case I was kept in although I was pretty sure it wasn’t labour. 

At around 7pm the midwife at the hospital checked our baby’s heart beat and asked me to explain what I was feeling.  I was still only having an uncomfortable feeling low down in my pelvis every now and then.  She told me I wasn’t in labour and that I would know when I was as the feeling would start at the top of my uterus and move down.  She explained that the feeling I had just now was just the baby’s head pressing down and getting into position.  She didn’t give me an internal examination.  We came home feeling a bit deflated as we had hoped that this would be the beginning of the labour. 

As the evening wore on the feeling started to become more intense.  At about 9pm Mike rang the hospital again and the midwife asked to talk to me.  She told me it probably wasn’t labour and just to take a paracetamol and have a warm bath to ease any discomfort I was having.  I went for a bath putting my hypnobirthing CD on repeat and managed to relax and take control of myself.   

I decided to try and go to bed and sleep just in case anything was to happen in the night.  Getting out the bath was a bit of a struggle and I began to feel very shaky and unable to control it.  Mike had to come and help me to get dry and I got into bed with my relaxation CD still on repeat!! 

I asked Mike to try the light touch massage but the feeling I was getting became so intense and frequent that I began to panic slightly.  Mike rang the hospital yet again at about 10.30pm and we were told again that I probably wasn’t in labour but that if it was then it would be painful and it would be better to stay at home for as long as I could!  Not really what I wanted to hear!!  Mike explained to the midwife that I was shaking uncontrollably and she told him to give me something to eat as it may just be low blood sugar as I hadn’t eaten much that day. 

I managed to get myself up to the toilet as I really felt like I needed to poo.  I didn’t dare get off the toilet then as the waves kept coming and coming.  Mike was trying to make me eat a cereal bar at the same time which wasn’t going down very well!!  I could not get comfortable and was beginning to think that something was wrong with me or the baby as we kept being told I wasn’t in labour so it made me wonder what on earth was actually happening to me!!

I eventually got myself onto all fours on the landing and suddenly told Mike that I felt the need to push.  Even then I was still convinced I wasn’t in labour and that I was just being over dramatic as the midwives had kept telling me I wasn’t in labour.  At this point Mike rang the labour ward and told them he was bringing me in.  He had to help get me dressed. I managed to get into the car between surges and Mike rushed me to Hull Women and Children’s Hospital.  I fought back the need to push as we drove.

As soon as I stepped foot out of the car my waters broke.  I had Sandra’s voice in my head saying that it is best to stay active if you are in labour so opted for the stairs instead of the lift to get up to the labour ward!!  I had to keep pausing as each surge came.

We made it to the delivery ward and the midwife there showed me to a room and said lets have a look and see where this baby is.  She then told us that our baby was on her way now!!  We couldn’t believe it!  I was so convinced they were going to send us away again, we hadn’t even brought our bags, camera or birth plan in with us!  I asked if I could have the birthing pool but was told it wasn’t available.  I explained that I was doing hypnobirthing but then didn’t really have time to say anymore.  I didn’t realise how quickly the next part of the labour actually happened.  Once I was told that our baby would be here soon and I knew that I was actually in labour I felt so much more relaxed, there wasn’t anything wrong after all!!  Mike kept telling me how proud he was of me and how well I had done. 

The last stage of labour was very quick and my body just seemed to take over.  I got myself over the back of the bed and just went with each surge.  I didn’t even consider asking for gas and air or any drugs and wouldn’t describe that part of the labour as painful.  It was just a natural urge.  The midwife asked me if I could feel a stinging sensation which was when the head first started to crown.  Mike and I were able to feel our precious little girl’s hair just before she arrived into the world.  She gave a little squeak as she was born and as soon as I held her to me she stopped and looked around wide eyed taking everything in.  She was so alert and her eyes were so big, searching out our faces.  I remembered to ask the midwife to wait until the cord and stopped pulsating before Mike cut it and we then were able to take it in turns to hold our baby close to us skin to skin.  The midwife helped her to latch on and she started feeding straight away.

I then had the exciting moment of ringing my Mum and saying ‘Guess what?  I’ve had a baby!’  It was the best phone call I have ever made!!  She was ecstatic although a little sad to have missed baby’s arrival.  Our quick delivery had saved anyone worrying as we didn’t even have time to ring anyone to let them know we were going into hospital!!

We arrived at the hospital at 11.50pm and Jessica Eva was born at 12.28am.  I did have a few stitches but I think that was due to the fact that Jessica was in such a rush to come out, she came all at once not the head then shoulders as often happens. 

I would not say I had a pain free labour but it was nothing like the experience I was fearing and dreading before I met Sandra and took part in the hypnobirthing course.  Neither would I describe the experience as painful, it was more uncomfortable than anything else and I believe the reason it became more uncomfortable was because I began to panic and become tense when we kept being told it was not labour as it made me think something was wrong.  I will know for next time!!

I love telling people my birth story and seeing the look of shock on their faces when I say it was easy.  Everybody expects to be told the usual horror story!  I would like to say a huge thank you to Sandra for all her support and being there for me through all my concerns and worries.  She enabled me to look forward to my labour and gave me the confidence to believe that I could do it naturally.  I can proudly say I was able to bring our precious little girl into the world without even a sniff of gas and air!!  I just can’t wait to do it all over again!!



Karen & Mike…..our birth

After suffering from ME for five year and having fallen pregnant, I decided that I wanted to give myself and my baby the best possible start in this world, so I underwent a lot of research in to what the possible outcome would be to my health depending on the type of birth I had. I found that in a high percentage of cases if the birth was long and complicated the likelihood of a relapse was highly likely.  If however I was to have an easy and relaxed birth the outcome could be extremely positive.

I was determined that and easy birth was the one for me.

My research led me to hypno-birthing and after speaking with Sandra, the practitioner and reading up on all the information that I could find, I knew this was the path for me.

I didn’t have the best of pregnancies; suffering from morning sickness twenty four hours a day for eight months, reflux, very low blood count, fainting spells and sheer exhaustion, I was then told at twenty four weeks that my baby was breech.

I tried in vain for the next fourteen weeks to turn the baby, but at a thirty six week appointment it was confirmed that the baby was still breech and would be delivered by c-section. To me this news was a double edged sword, as on one hand I had had enough of the pregnancy but on the other I wanted a natural birth.



At thirty eight weeks I was admitted to hospital shortly after 12noon with severe preeclampsia and was told that I needed an emergency caesarean. A few hours later around two thirty, I was in the ward waiting to go in to theatre to meet my baby. I remained calm, upbeat and happy. During the course of the afternoon nurses, obstetricians, doctors and anaesthetists came and went all the while telling me I was next. One emergency delivery after another kept cropping up, meaning I was still waiting. At approximately 22:30 (10 hours of waiting) my other half was told to go home as I would not go down for surgery until the next morning. I was still smiling. 
At four o’clock the next morning my waters released and I went in to labour. My other half was called and told to get back in to hospital as our baby was on the way.

With the ladies either side of me in the labour ward screaming in agony and begging for help I was so glad I had gone to hypno-birthing. My labour was advancing and I was staying as calm and happy as I had been the day before. The breathing techniques that I had been taught in my hypno-birthing classes were working with great effect.

Two hours later the obstetrician came to see me to check how advanced the labour was, whilst speaking to me I kept  going quiet as I was using hypno-birthing with my contraction. He enquired if I was ok to which I told him when I went quiet I was having a contraction, he looked at me in astonishment and asked how often were my contractions coming, when I said every two minutes he looked in amazement and five minutes later I was in theatre having a caesarean.

Until the anaesthetist put the epidural needle in my spine, I was calm and excited and then it all changed. The drugs took affect and my teeth started chattering, my hands and body started shaking this is normal apparently but I found it quite unnerving. I was pretty scared and didn’t like what was happening to my body. The baby was stuck and the obstetrician explained that he would have to put his hands right under my ribs inside my body and he said the words “this is going to hurt” and believe me it did!

The next few hours were horrible. The drugs took a few hours to wear off and I was scared to hold my beautiful baby boy because I could not stop shaking. I could not feel my legs, which is the strangest feeling and all I wanted was the effects of the drugs to disappear.

In summary there were definite benefits from attending the hypno-birthing course.  Pre epidural I felt in control and calm even though my expectations of when I was going into theatre were being changed frequently.  It didn’t faze me.

Due to the drugs of the epidural I felt less in control and this is an unnerving feeling having being in control for so long.

I would highly recommend hypno-birthing for the positive approach it takes to pregnancy, it’s also informative and it brought my partner and me closer together during what was a unique experience to us both. If I was to do it all again, I would do everything humanly possible to have a natural birth, because my personal experience of caesarean is that the element of control of the situation is lost. As discussed earlier I experienced contractions and although uncomfortable (like bad period pains) you still maintain control and have the power to have the birth you want. 

Beautiful baby Fynnan was born on 25/6/2010 weighing 7lb 8oz



Becka's Birthing Story

Seeing the blue line appear on the first, second and sixth pregnancy test I did was the most exciting moment of my life, however my excitement was tinged with fear. I repeatedly experienced bleeding which meant I had to regularly attend hospital appointments for the first few weeks of my pregnancy. The doctors were great but kept using terms like 'failed pregnancy' and even advised me when to start trying for my 'next baby'. I felt like I was just another pregnant woman to them and was on some type of factory line which was emotionless and full of medical terms which did not relate to my idea of being pregnant or having a baby.

Anyway my excitement grew as my bump did and when I was a few months pregnant a colleague gave me a leaflet for hypnobirthing. I read it out to the girls in my office only to be greeted with laughter and horror stories of childbirth. I put the leaflet aside but something made me keep going back to it. I liked the idea that child birth did not have to be a medical event and I also liked the idea that I could remain in control and influence how it went (I am somewhat of a control freak!).

We arranged sessions at Sandra's house and each week I looked forward to learning new relaxation techniques and the practicalities of what birthing would be like. My pregnancy progressed and soon I reached my 'guess date' of 29th October. Each day I religiously practised breathing techniques, relaxation scripts and exercises. By the 7th November I was becoming anxious as midwives were talking about sweeps and inducement. This would mean that I would not be able to attend the midwife led birthing centre I wanted to. Sandra offered to do a session with me the day before I was due for a sweep in order to release any fears I may still have. We discussed when I would like to have my baby and Sandra asked me to imagine the specifics of how this would happen. I imagined driving to the hospital at 4:30 the next morning.


We finished our session at 6:30 that night and I drove home picking up tea on the way. As I took my last bite I had my first surge at 7:30pm. I had 3 more, 15 minutes apart before they rapidly moved to 5 minutes apart. By 2am I was at the birthing centre. I was examined and told that I was 1cm dilated and I would probably be sent home. I was disappointed to say the least but tried to remember the advice Sandra had given me. I laid for a while listening to my relaxation cd and using breathing techniques through the surges, imagining my baby moving its way down. The midwife agreed to let me have a bath and it was then I started having an overwhelming urge to breathe down. I got out and continued walking about until the midwife advised me that the guttural 'mooing' noises I was making meant it was time to get into the birthing pool. It was 4am. I immediately got onto all fours and began breathing my baby down. It never occurred to me to ask for drugs, I felt very much in control and let my body tell me what I needed to do. By 4:36 I was scooping my beautiful baby girl out of the water. My timings were slightly earlier than I had thought but I was not going to complain! Jessica Scarlett was alert and calm, feeding almost immediately. Her cord was cut when it had finished pulsating and we were left alone for several hours as requested to adjust to our new roles as Mummy and Daddy. It was amazing being able to feel everything and as soon as Jessica was born I felt an enormous wave of emotions and adrenalin. Our visitors actually said I looked in better shape than my husband!

I am not an overly confident person, yet something about hypnobirthing gives you a confidence and strength you never felt possible. On the 8th November 2010 I did something amazing and hypnobirthing gave me the knowledge and tools to do that.

Shaun's Version of Events

When Beck told me about hypnobirthing I was sceptical to say the least. I imagined a hippy with candles, incense sticks and whale music making us do bizarre things. By the end of the first session I realised that Sandra was not like this. It was not all about being hypnotised. Sandra told us about the practical aspects of childbirth and what to expect (she also gave us the best chocolate biscuits I have ever tasted). I tried the relaxation techniques and while I didn't feel some of them worked for me I could see how much they worked for Becka. I began to realise that to have a baby you didn't have to have medical intervention.

The most useful thing I got from the sessions was knowing what to expect when Becka went into labour. I wasn't the one who had to give birth so I can't say whether the hypnobirthing worked or not. What I can say is that that everything went to plan and Becka seemed to know exactly what she was doing. I would also say that if we have another baby we will be going back to Sandra again for a refresher.

I'd tell other sceptical Dads to give it a go!



Chrissy's Birthing Story

Jacob was due in medical terms, on the 6th April 2010. Having gone through the process of HypnoBirthing, I wish Id taken the attitude of "sometime in April” as 6th came and went with no sign of Jacob. Not that it bothered me. I went around doing what needed to be done. Relaxing with my HynoBirthing CD’s,  practising my breathing and talking to Jacob. Telling him it was ok for him to have extra time in there. Every day, I embraced as an extra rest day, extra time for me and my daughters to do special stuff, while others around me, got more and more agitated. I did try a few non evasive ways of kick starting things off, but he was happy where he was. Having everything ready at home for a homebirth, with the support of my midwife, Jan. We decided to do a sweep when I was 40+7 and 40+9.  He was low, his head resting against my cervix, ready but was obviously too comfortable.

At 40+10, I was told that the community midwifes would not support a home confinement after this time and if I went into spontaneous labour, I was to attend the Hull Royal because I was overdue.  My induction was booked at 40+12. Overdue my ....!!!! I politely insisted that I would like to leave the induction until 40+14, which wasn’t received very well at all. I had to go down to Hull Royal for a trace to check Jacob’s heart rate which I agreed to. After the trace, I spoke to a consultant, who insisted that I should be induced the following day and again, I politely refused. As Jacob was happy, heart rate was lovely, moving lots, I would come in on 40+14. My extensive birth plan, stated that if an induction was necessary,  I would allow them to release my waters, but then wanted to be left for the max of 6 hrs ( they usually leave you for 4) and if nothing happened then I would be willing for the hormone drip ( really didn’t want that!)  I also wanted to be as active as possible with the use of a birthing ball, walking about, adopt any position I felt comfortable in and use the birthing pool. Again I had to politely push for all this but it was written down and highly noted 



I'd been having lower tummy pains n pressure in my bottom for most of Monday 19th April but put it down to feeling a bit anxious regarding the induction on Tuesday 20th. By about 9pm I noticed that I was cramping regularly so took myself off to bed to see if I could sleep. Plugged myself into my itouch and listened to both the HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation and Comfort Zone, whilst practising deep breathing. Every time I felt myself cramping ( around 7-10 mins at this point) I did my surge breathing, which I found so relaxing and comforting. I stayed in bed until around 2am and then decided to get up, I was too wired! Although I was in a relaxed state and the cramping was mild, I was getting excited. I pottered about the house, sat and watched a couple of things on sky+ but at 4am Tues. morning I woke John up as I wanted some company! We both sat and watched a few bits and bobs on TV. He could tell by my surge breathing, the surges were coming 3/5 mins. apart. He asked if he needed to do any scripts with me and I said no at this point as I was relaxed and calm, so he kept giving me a few key words to encourage me on.
We arrived at Hull Royal about 6.30. After settling in and having a trace for 30 mins, all was well and they just let me get on with things. I had a male midwife, Paul and a student midwife, Julie who were popping in and out from time to time. I kept active, bouncing on a ball, swaying and with the help of my HypnoBirthing CD and breathing I felt really calm. While I was on the birthing ball, I lent forward on the bed, with my head resting on my arms doing my surge breathing and even managed to doze off between surges. John was also relaxed and calm sitting on the sofa.
At around 10.30 when I started to feel ‘pushy’. I knew my body was getting ready so I got john to get the midwife. The birthing pool was filled, and Paul asked if it was ok to check me. I said that was ok and I was about four cms.  dilated. I felt relaxed and asked if they could release my waters at 11 Funnily enough, this was the time of my induction so they would have released them if I hadn’t started naturally. I knew that it would quicken things up but I also knew with the breathing, the music and John, I would be fine. Paul released my waters and told me that I was doing really well and the gas and air was on the wall if needed. He then sat with the student midwife at the far end of the room and let us have our space.
I had been hanging over the end of the elevated end of the bed on all fours using gravity and  Jacob’s head to press on the cervix and to help me dilate. With the breathing, I imagined opening flowers, Jacobs head being born, musical notes floating up in the air. John was still standing by me, rubbing my back and messing with his phone and again asked if I needed the scripts and I said I was still coping fine. I drifted off, in and out of deep relaxation and started to use the gas and air with my surge breathing as the surges were now almost continuous. 
With my first daughter, I suffered from an anterior cervical lip, which when I became pushy, didn't move out the way and became swollen, I had discussed this with Sandra in our sessions and we did a fear release script. Although I was imagining a beautiful flowering rose, the bearing down and surges were quite intense, at the height of the surges I could feel myself bearing down because my body was telling me to. I followed my body and took over with a guttural, primal grunting.
I asked to be checked again, and was told that Jacob was almost here. The birthing pool was run but in another room and because I was so close, Paul was concerned that I might have him in the corridor! I must have really wanted a water birth as I was off the bed and leading the midwives to the room! I managed to get to the side of the pool before next surge, then got straight in, turned on all fours and started to birth breath my baby down.  Within five breaths, Jacob was crowning and I was so overwhelmed I was calling his name and saying hello all the while he was being born. I felt him rotate and Paul un looped the cord from around his neck, which was loose. I brought him up to my chest, sat back and had a cuddle and a chat with Jacob Christopher Hartley.
Jacob was born at 12.06. He cried a bit but then was really alert and looking about happily. John cut the cord after it stopped pulsating and he was wrapped up and given to John for a cuddle. I had a physiological 3rd stage in the pool and everything was great! I felt calm, relaxed and bonded immediately with Jacob.
I went to get out of the pool, got one foot on the stool on the outside, felt really sick, told Paul, who grabbed me just in time as I fainted. I woke up on the floor after what felt like a very odd dream with a roomful of people making sure I was ok. It took me about 15 mins. to be able to move without feeling dizzy, my blood pressure was really low .Again, my HynoBirthing came into its own as I was doing the calming breathing to bring my blood pressure back to normal and make sure my body was getting enough oxygen. I had a saline drip (while I had tea and toast) and they wanted to keep me in overnight just to make sure I was ok. Paul thinks the combination of losing just a bit more blood than I should have and birthing so quickly just sent me into shock but with the HynoBirthing breathing and remaining calm it stopped both John and I panicking. We were left in the birthing room until about 6.30 and I was moved to the postnatal ward. Jacob weighed a lovely 9lb 7 1/2 oz and I had a very slight graze. I had a room on my own and while Jacob was sleeping, John and I chatted and tried to get some sleep! He didn't want to leave at 9 pm but he got kicked out and I had a reasonable night with Jacob. On Wed. morning my bloods come back and my iron was low but the staff were happy with me coming home with iron tablets. So although I didn't get my home birth, maybe someone was looking out for me. I still got my water birth and I couldn't have wished for a better birthing experience! 
Jacob is now 13 weeks, exclusively breastfed and doing brilliantly. He has fitted into our lives like a perfect glove fits a hand, sheer, and like you never knew life before that glove and you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself if you lost it. I practised calm breathing in the early days when I had my after pains which helped a great deal! I also calm breath when I’m breastfeeding and last thing at night before I go to sleep and I still find the odd surge breathing slipping in there too!!



Our Birth Experience. By Katy and Chris

Even before getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to experience all that labour and birth have to offer as my sister in law spoke so warmly about her experiences and said she felt  empowered – that she could do anything after it.  However, I have heard so many horrific stories from women and men that I knew I needed help to really trust myself and not panic.

I came to Sandra’s after hearing Nadia Sawalha’s experience of HypnoBirthing.  I chose to take the course because she was immediately enthusiastic, expressed similar ideas to my own and I didn’t feel like ‘just another pregnant woman’.  My partner was initially sceptical but after he did his own research, he was soon on board.

I found the course helped me to focus on what I wanted and the relaxation materials were an excellent way to facilitate this.  I listened to them every day and did the affirmations before I had a bath every night from about 31 weeks.  It was a good job because my waters broke three weeks and three days early and I had expected to be over due as a first time mother!


Even though my waters had broken, I did not go into active labour and the medical staff advised induction due to risk of infection.  HypnoBirthing does not appear to give advice on what to do if you have to be induced so I emailed Sandra whilst in the hospital and she replied immediately, which was very helpful.  My partner and I decided to wait for 48 hours and returned to the hospital to be induced on the day I turned 37 weeks.

Following an examination I was evaluated as a bad candidate for induction and was 1cm dilated.  I tried to concentrate on dealing with the situation and not be too disappointed that I was not having the serene water birth in the birthing centre I had envisioned.  I received a peccary at 1pm and began reading the scripts with my partner and kept active.

Armed with my birth plan, I asked the midwife not to discuss pain relief with me and they left my partner and I alone.  I had been told to expect aches as my cervix softened and had thought I was experiencing that, even though I remember timing the aches, which at one point lasted 30 seconds and were two minutes apart!  I never allowed myself to think they were surges as they were manageable with my partner’s massage and use of the birthing ball.  I used the visualisation to imagine them as waves crashing over and through me.

At 9pm I decided to try and get as close to a water birth as possible and got into the bath!  I lost more blood than I was happy with and called for the midwife who told me I’d have to be monitored and needed to get out of the bath.  I insisted on being monitored on all fours (!) and was found to be 8cm dilated (the midwife asked me to guess and I guessed I was 3cm so I was happy to find out the aches were surges after all).  The monitors recorded the baby’s heart rate was dropping too low following each surge and the midwife called for a consultant.  The feeling changed then and I knew I was in transition because my body began to naturally bear down.

Due to the drop in heart rate, seven medical staff piled into the room and I had an assisted delivery (ventouse) – everything changed very quickly.  I was unable to use the J breath because I was told to push but I almost can’t wait to have another go because it felt natural to do!  After two or three pushes, our daughter arrived looking up at me (I delivered back to back in spite of days of scrubbing floors on all fours!) and she was put straight to my chest, which was a moment that was as amazing and unbelievable as I had hoped it would be.

Under my wishes, I was given an hour for physiological delivery of the placenta and the helpful midwives gave me a birthing stool but it did not arrive so I ended up having the induction drugs I’d avoided earlier, but it still didn’t show.   Nearly four hours after giving birth, I went to theatre with an epidural to have it removed internally, very ironic!

The staff were concerned/bemused that my birth plan had not gone to plan but I feel the most crucial part went to plan as I had the full experience I wanted and I’m excited about doing it all again rather than scared or panicked!  I believe HypnoBirthing helped my partner and I work together, gave me the tools to be drug free during the surges and face the extra challenges that followed.

There is a lack of guidance in HypnoBirthing about how to face induction and I had to work on not feeling like I’d failed by not going into labour naturally or that everything would go out of the window as a result but Sandra helped me with that.

I would advise any woman to try the course and use what you learn to your own advantage to take on anything that arises as you give birth.  It takes a lot of control to completely surrender!  The whole experience was nothing like the horror stories I was told and like my sister in law, I do feel part of something powerful every time I look at my daughter.

Beautiful Juliet Rose was born on Saturday 9th Oct 2010 5lb 11oz


Amanda, Kevin and baby ZakDescription: https://scontent-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10405698_10152194594758435_8413637439837988958_n.jpg?oh=55d48cfe264c968fd465a582d9bf534b&oe=55561411

 I found out about hypnobirthing from an advert given out at Yoga Bellies.After having looked at the national hypnobirthing website (www.hypnobirthing.co.uk) to find out more, I contacted Sandra and she invited us for a cup of coffee to chat about the course that she offered. I was already becoming aware of the pregnancy horror stories and wanted to find a different way to approach pregnancy and birthing without the fear that these stories can create. Kevin was happy to come along and find out more, although I suspect he harboured a little scepticism. 

Sandra made us feel instantly relaxed. She was clearly very knowledgeable about all aspects of pregnancy and her warm and friendly manner created an instant connection for us. We signed up for the course straight away. 
Very early in my pregnancy I had already been labelled as “at-risk” due to a pelvis fracture over a decade ago. This despite having run marathons since. I can’t say the pregnancy was easy. In the first trimester I had nearly constant nausea, sciatic pain and then from 8-weeks I developed pelvic girdle pain and had to stop running and later on was unable to walk more than 200 yards. I have always had low blood pressure and the pressure of Zak when sitting caused me to have a number of fainting episodes. 

However, the hypnotherapy course, the rainbow and the deepening meditations that Kevin led for me all combined to make me less anxious about everything that was happening and how to recover from the more wobbly moments. I listened to the birth affirmations and the rainbow relaxation on the CD every day. With my husband we did the deepening meditation and light touch massage about twice a week.  
We saw the consultant obstetrician at 28 weeks. He was very good and listened to our wishes for a natural vaginal birth. But he recommended that we had a growth scan at 32 weeks to establish the size of Zak’s head, even though the final width of the birth canal could not be measured at any time. All pretty irrelevant really. He also referred for orthopaedic opinion, which we cancelled afterwards having done some research about successful vaginal birth after pelvic fracture and that there was little evidence to support elective caesarean. 

We had initially wanted a home birth, but the community midwife did not recommend this as we did not live close to the hospital. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided that we would not be happy to take the risk should there be complications.  
We ensured our birth plan indicated our intention to have a natural hypnobirth, that we wanted minimal noise and interruptions, that I did not want and clearly indicated how we wanted to handle induction.  

Zak’s “calculated” due date was 29th March. I had been having a regular series of Braxton-Hicks from as early as 36 weeks. In fact 6-days before his due date, a series lasting about 4-hours between 4 and 8 pm had us convinced that things were on their way. But it was just a practice run. We had a number of these over the next week and into the 41st week. All very tantalising but at the same time frustrating, especially after the due date had passed.  
 We saw the community midwife at 41 weeks and I was offered a membrane sweep at this appointment which I declined. I was sure nature would take its course and Zak would come when he was ready. So on Saturday 5th April at 6:40 pm I thought my IBS was playing up, despite going to the loo I still felt some sensations in my lower abdomen. I was convinced it probably wasn’t labour starting as this was more comfortable than the previous practises! Kevin suggested we go for a walk in the village to see what would happen – a series of very frequent (every 2 mins) surges came and went as we walked down the lane. As we were returning to the house, our cat Charlie was studiously waiting at the end of the block of houses. Did he know? We retired to the bedroom where I used the birthing ball and wandered around the room sitting and standing between the surges. The surges were very irregular and we were convinced they would stop again. Kevin rang the ward to let them know just in case. We remained at home with the lights dimmed, candles burning and the hypnobirthing music playing. My bowels opened several times and I began to be convinced our baby Zak was on his way. After a couple of hours of timing the irregular surges, which lasted from anything from 20-120 seconds, our other older cat became rather bonkers: he would not settle until he had climbed all over me and clung in my arms; the latter bit we captured on video! Did he know? 
Around 11:30 pm I had a shaky do whilst at the toilet and a series of very powerful surges and it felt the right time to go to the hospital. Kevin rang the ward and let them know and was somewhat relieved to be going to the ward.

We arrived on the labour ward at around 00:30 to be admitted by one of the community midwives who was helping out as the ward was very busy. Janet was lovely and respected our birth plan. Janet remained our midwife until 2am and was very gentle and supportive. I was offered an initial VE which I did actually want as I was really wanting to know how far on I was! We were pleased that on arrival I was already 3 cm dilated.  
We settled in our room with the light very low, the electronic coloured candles glowing, a sign on the door saying hypnobirthing in progress, avoid unnecessary interruptions and the background hypnobirthing music playing softly. I felt very calm as the surges came and went. Light touch massage by Kevin was lovely and helped me relax.  

At 2am there was no midwife free to take over our care initially so the midwifery coordinator stood in to monitor us for an hour before our next midwife was free. Our next midwife was very experienced if not a little too chatty for hypnobirthing but to be honest I blocked her prattle out and let Kevin answer! She did realise this as she said to me ‘maybe I shouldn’t be talking so much’ my silence maybe said what needed to be said.  I remained breathing through the surges with Kevin’s amazing support. At some point in the later hours (I stopped looking at the clock) and accepted another VE indicating I was 6cm dilated.  I was a little disappointed as I wanted to be 8cm! but still good progress so I couldn’t complain! A little time later (I think) my waters gave way with a bang – quite funny actually!  By the time the early shift started and the next midwife and her student came on duty I was having very frequent intense surges. I had tried gas and air earlier (having told myself not to bother for a while) but it did not actually provide any effect – no spacey feeling, no dizziness, nothing!, so I slung that to one side and continued to get on with it myself! I can’t say I was quiet either! What struck me was this primal inner response of moaning, quite loudly LOL! I simply could not inhibit it and it helped birth Zak down for sure. I remained calm and relaxed using the breathing techniques and I did need to bear down to crown him, breathing down for me was not enough. I had one wobble which I think was in transition where I said I was tired and wondered if I could do it – those that know me, know me for being a tenacious sod and one who never gives in. Kevin helped me so much by counting down as the powerful surges came, which helped me focus at least for half of the wave! Zak remained a calm baby with his heart rate ranging 135-145 bpm throughout all the birthing phase. 

Zak was born at 09:26 am Sunday 6th April with no intervention and birthing in the desired position. Although at the last minute he took his arm through with his head and came through like superman! A slight baby cry was voiced and he was then passed immediately to me and placed on my breast. He began breastfeeding within minutes. His cord was clamped only after it had stopped pulsating and the placenta delivered 20 minutes thereafter physiologically. What a chilled baby he is and what an amazing experience; one that we will never forget. The importance of remaining calm and viewing childbirth as a natural process helped both myself and Kevin throughout the entire birthing. There was no need to fear what women were made to do. Hypnobirthing is fantastic and it helped me stick to my biology and strong mind set.  
A note to the obstetrician – Zak in the end was a big boy weighing in at 8lbs 7oz despite mum having a small bump and being slim hipped who happened to birth him just fine . Funny that.  
Thanks Sandra, for opening our eyes and supporting us! 
With love Amanda, Kevin and Baby Zak




Copyright East Yorkshire Hypnobirthing® 2010