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  1. Settle in…it’s a long one! I was fortunate to have a pretty straightforward pregnancy and had always considered completing a hypnobirthing course. As a midwife, I have supported several women using hypnobirthing techniques for their own labours and had seen how effective it could be. I’d been told from a couple of extra scans that I was cooking a pretty good sized baby so naively thought I’d end up spontaneously labouring before my ‘due date’, so when that came and went I felt a little frustrated.

    During our classes with Shelley, we talked about my mindset regarding an induction and how I could avoid getting fixated on a booked date to help me labour spontaneously. I felt well informed about what an induction of labour involved, it was something I was keen to avoid however when I was still pregnant at 12 days ‘overdue’ we used the BRAIN tool to weigh up our options and decided to accept an induction. I was fed up and despite nearly 3 weeks of cramping on and off and signs that things might be happening, I was still very much pregnant. I chose to birth in the hospital where I work, surrounded by colleagues that are like a second family and who I trusted wholeheartedly. Combining this with everything Shelley taught us during our hypnobirthing course I went into my induction feeling relaxed and prepared for any eventuality but also so excited to finally meet our little girl.

    Although birthing on labour ward was our ‘plan B’ we settled into our room and instantly made it our own, setting up a portable diffuser with aromatherapy scents, listening to some relaxing music and creating our snack/hydration station. I had chosen to accept membrane sweeps from my due date (I had 3 in total) so was already aware my cervix was 2cm dilated and so was hopeful I could skip a couple of the induction steps and go straight to having my waters broken. After a few checks and some observations I had my waters broken at 3pm when I was 2cm. As it was my first baby, the recommendation from the medical team was to start an Oxytocin hormone drip straight away, however I was keen to try and see if I could get things moving on my own so we opted to delay this by a couple of hours.

    I put in my noise cancelling headphones to block out any background noise from the ward outside and focused on my music and birth scripts. I used the pebble Shelley gave us during our class as an anchor to help focus my mind and take me to my happy place to try and get the oxytocin flowing. I also got bouncing on the birthing ball and went off for a long walk around the hospital, trying to encourage contractions to start. After a couple of hours and having only had 3 very mild contractions, we decided it was time to get things moving with the help of the oxytocin drip. I was connected to a heart rate monitor so my baby’s heart rate could be monitored throughout labour but my colleagues had gone above and beyond to read our birth plan beforehand and sourced a wireless monitor so I could stay upright and active.

  2. I woke around 3am with mild, period type 'pains' and knew this was it...my labour was starting! I called the hospital in the morning and they advised me to come straight in when the sensations became more intense - I'd had a relatively quick labour with my daughter and they were concerned my labour may be even quicker second time around. The surges became more regular around 11am and I left for hospital around 11:45am after they became more intense (but not painful). I remember we parked up just after midday and I think I was in my room in the Mulberry suite (the midwife led unit at Frimley Park Hospital) by about 12:30pm.

    Coincidentally, my sister had given birth the day before and was literally leaving hospital as I was arriving!