Fiona came to my short course and found the breathing techniques she’d learnt absolutely amazing during labour 


My baby was due on the 1st September, and as that day came and went I felt a bit disappointed. I spent the next 6 days waiting and wasting time and also thinking about induction, which is something I’ve never really looked into.

Anyway, on the morning of the 6th September I woke up and thought I’d lost a small bit of my plug but couldn’t be sure. I got excited that this could be the day, but I didn’t get my hopes up! I also noticed that throughout the day, I felt like I was loosing small bits of water, but again it wasn’t significant enough to make me think it could be the start!

My mum and I decided to go for lunch in Caversham, which was nice but after finishing my lunch, I stood up and my waters just went! All over the cafe floor! I ran to the toilet to get cleaned up and my poor mum wiped up the water from the cafe floor!! I wasn’t in any discomfort at all at this point so was still relatively calm as I drove myself home and waited for my partner to come home from work.

The hospital told me they wanted to see me to confirm my waters had actually gone but to not rush in as they were super busy – something that I already knew as September is the most popular month for births (due to all those Christmas pregnancies)!

We made our way into hospital at about 6pm and we were finally seen by about 7.30 by some lovely midwives on the day assessment unit. They monitored baby to check she was still happy with no water, scanned me to check she was still head down (which she was!) and also confirmed that my waters had well and truly gone! They then told me to go home and either wait for labour to begin, or if nothing happened by 2pm the next day to ring the delivery Ward and arrange a time to come in to be induced. One of the midwives joked with us about how busy they were tonight and said ‘please don’t have this baby tonight!!’

At this point I was starting to get some tightenings but nothing major at all and I was pretty confident I would be going home to have a lovely sleep and would be induced the following day. I was still very calm at this point and relieved that after 6 days of waiting she was finally on her way!

On our way home my partner suggested grabbing something to eat to keep our energy levels high so we stopped at McDonald’s drive through and at this point I started to feel uncomfortable with the tightenings and found myself holding my breath through them. When I realised they were getting stronger I remembered to breathe through them rather than holding my breath which helped massively. As we got home, the surges really started to intensify and I knew I wouldn’t make it until 2pm the next day!

I decided to have a bath to see if that helped (it didn’t!) and then got into bed but lying down made the discomfort worse. So as my partner downloaded a contraction timing app, I rocked on my birthing ball through each surge breathing and imagining myself on a beach! My partner also rubbed my lower back during each surge which eased the discomfort in my back and helped keep me calm.

After an hour of timing the surges, which were now lasting over a minute and were 2-3 minutes apart we phoned the hospital again and started getting things ready to go in. When I phoned the hospital, I was informed that the delivery suite was actually closed because they were so busy and that the midwife was going to phone round and see where would accept me! This sent me into a panic and I was scared about going elsewhere because I haven’t ever been to any other maternity units. When the midwife phoned back she said the nearest hospital that could take me was Swindon. At this point I just burst into tears and said I didn’t want to travel that far. Thankfully the midwife on the phone took pity on me and told me to come in and they would see what they could do.

So we headed to the hospital and the 10 minute car journey was enough for me – not sure I could have sat in the car for 45 minutes to Swindon. When we got up to the day assessment unit again they told us we would have to wait in the waiting room until called. I think this was the hardest part of my labour because I then found myself in a waiting room full of people, having lots of surges and not wanting to cause a scene or make a fuss. This is when my breathing really helped and I was imagining Deborah’s voice counting through each surge. By doing this, I stayed calm and I don’t think many people knew I was having surges at all. Finally when I was examined, the midwife informed me I was between 7/8 cms dilated and she wheeled me straight to a room on the delivery suite!

It was there I met a wonderful midwife Caroline and her equally wonderful student Helen! These two ladies were amazing and really helped me focus and get through each surge. Upon getting into the room, I was asking for an epidural, and Caroline was brilliant in distracting me and telling me that there might not be time for an epidural. I didn’t actually believe her at this point and thought I was hours away from giving birth but as it turns out I wasn’t!

I used some gas and air and leant over the bed, focusing on staying calm through each surge. My partner was amazing, holding the gas and air, massaging my back when he could and holding a cold paper towel against my forehead, and offering words of encouragement. I remember turning to him at one point saying ‘I’ve had enough of this now, I’m not doing this anymore!’  The midwives were listening into baby’s heartbeat after every surge and as she moved lower they couldn’t hear her as well so they asked me to turn around on my back. After I did this they then took away the gas and air!!

Again everyone in the room was so encouraging and the midwife was excellent in giving me clear instructions and our baby’s head was born at 2.16am followed by her body! As she was born, the midwife held her up and she looked like a little Buddha! I could tell she was big (9lbs 2ozs!) but she was a perfect colour and let out a little cry! I couldn’t wait to get her in my arms!

The midwives lifted her onto me and my partner cut the cord! All was so perfect and we were lost in the moment, until my placenta delivered and I then began losing too much blood. Before I knew it the room filled with people and I needed to go to theatre to stop the bleeding. They wanted to give me a spinal block but because I’d managed the whole birth without an epidural, and I have a herniated disc in my back I asked to be put to sleep. Thankfully they agreed and my poor partner had an anxious hour and a half wait while I was sorted out in theatre. Finally I came round back in the delivery room and could hold my beautiful baby girl and start getting to know her!

Our beautiful baby girl Sienna-May has completed our family perfectly and we both feel very lucky! I was very impressed with myself that I managed with little pain relief, and the fact that from start to finish was only 5 hours! I strongly believe the calming strategies and breathing techniques I learnt on the one-day hypnobirthing course helped me deliver our baby quickly and calmly. I will be recommending this course to anyone I know who becomes pregnant!

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