Birth Stories

The Birth of Iris

We took a hypnobirthing course in January with Abby to prepare for the birth of our daughter in May. We learned so much about the birth process across four Saturday mornings in the comfort of Abby’s home and felt empowered by our understanding of how to achieve a calm positive birth experience.

Abby’s advice on not placing too much importance on due dates really helped me to stay calm and patient when I went over my ‘guess date’ of 10th May. When my waters broke at 40 weeks + 6, we were very excited. The course had given Mark a clear role in helping to prepare and he had been enjoying making a playlist of our favourite music. However our first challenge came when I was identified as carrying Group B strep and we were faced with an increased likelihood of induction which we had hoped to avoid.

When we arrived at hospital at 12 midnight, we were fortunate enough to be given a private room and were able to sleep a little while listening to our music playlist. I began to have surges at around 2.30am and stayed active, walking around the room, using ‘up breathing’ techniques to breathe through them while Mark massaged my back.

At 6am we were taken to the delivery suite with a view to being induced as the midwife was unaware I had been having surges through the night. Our hypnobirthing training allowed us to have an informed discussion with her about induction and after examining me and discovering I was already 3cm dilated she was happy to let us progress naturally. This had the effect I believe of allowing me to relax and the surges began to come thick and fast again. I stayed active, standing then leaning over the bed for my surges while Mark massaged my back.

At around 9am I was 5cm dilated and we entered the birthing pool. The atmosphere was lovely in the room. There were LED candles and we were able to listen to our playlists while I laboured and Mark supported me. The natural build-up of the surges and the breathing techniques we had learned meant that I didn’t feel the need to ask for gas and air at all throughout the labour.

By 11.30am I was fully dilated and was getting ready for the pushing stage. I decided to leave the pool at this point as I wanted to be more active. However, after 2 hours pushing it was clear that our little baby was stuck and I was in danger of tearing. We agreed to an episiotomy in order to avoid a tear and after 3 or 4 more pushes, our little girl Iris arrived into the world at 2.23pm. It was an incredible moment when she was placed on my chest and calmly stared at me with her beautiful almond shaped eyes.

Even though I would have obviously liked to avoid the episiotomy, overall our birth experience was calm and positive. The cut has healed quickly and I know that without hypnobirthing I would not have had the knowledge and strategies to labour without pain relief and would probably have agreed to induction and perhaps other interventions more readily. Mark felt that having a clearly defined role helped him to help me to make informed decisions and not panic when unforeseen issues arose. Even the midwives commented on how calm we were and how “in the zone” I was throughout labour.

Thanks to Abby’s training, at every stage of the labour we felt confident and calm and equipped to handle everything that came our way.

Thank you Abby. x


Nicola and Mark, Leeds