Vikki Turner, 26, a full-time mum, lives in Bury with husband Anthony and their son Maxwell, 12 weeks. She tells us how she gave birth without medication.
When I told people I was pregnant, the horror stories about difficult births started. It made me nervous so I searched online for something to help me feel more positive.
I found a local hypnobirthing teacher called Grace Grieve and went to see her. She told me to close my eyes and think of a happy place. I thought of the beach near my mum’s home. I could go there in my mind if I felt anxious, Grace said. In the next five sessions, she got me to practise relaxation techniques and helped me channel my energy into being positive about my birth.
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Every night in bed, I listened to the tracks Grace asked me to download. Most nights I fell asleep before the end of them, but Grace assured me they were still ‘going in’.
When I was a week overdue, I began to feel nervous that I’d be induced. I’d planned a home birth and didn’t want to have to go to hospital. At 3am one morning, I woke with a dull, tight sensation in my back. I didn’t connect that I might be in labour.
‘Trust in your body; it knows what it’s doing,’ the voice said.
Rather than wake Anthony, I got up and ran a bath. At 4.30am, still in the water, I felt a pop. I knew my waters had broken. As I lay in the water, I listened to the recordings of birthing affirmations. ‘Trust in your body; it knows what it’s doing,’ the voice said. I repeated each phrase in my mind.
After half an hour, the tightening in my back and side started to become more intense and frequent. As the pressure built, I didn’t feel scared or in pain.
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I got out of the bath and lay on the bed, closing my eyes and feeling a sense of peace. Anthony got the script we’d prepared and read out more affirmations. Despite the surges coming faster, I felt calm.
By 5am, just half an hour after my waters broke, the sensations intensified and I felt as if someone was holding me tight around my waist. Grace’s words, that each surge was just muscles pulling up to let the baby out, stuck with me. There was no need for it to be painful.
‘Wow, you’re 7cm dilated,’ she said. I’d come so far, and not once did I feel anxious or in pain.
I got back in the bath. Seeing how regular the surges were, Anthony called the hospital to ask a midwife to come. ‘She doesn’t sound like she’s in labour,’ the midwife said on the line. Even so, a midwife popped over at 6am. She told me not to get out of the water, and examined me where I was. ‘Wow, you’re 7cm dilated,’ she said. I’d come so far, and not once did I feel anxious or in pain.
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By 6.30am, I was in the birthing pool we’d hired, breathing calmly and rhythmically, and leaning over the side during each surge. The pressure in my bump was powerful, but still didn’t hurt. The midwife stayed silent in the background. She understood I was coping on my own. At 7.30am, though, my confidence started to falter and I began to feel I wasn’t able to cope with the intensity of the surges. ‘Try and relax, this is a perfectly normal stage,’ the midwife reminded me. I felt relaxed again instantly.
On my knees in the pool, I breathed deeply as the pressure grew even stronger. I could tell Anthony was surprised at how quiet and calm I was. Suddenly, at 8am, I felt an overwhelming stretching feeling. Still controlling my breathing, I exhaled slowly as the head, followed by the body, came out. I leaned back in the pool as the midwife caught my son Maxwell and placed him on my chest.
The birth was quick and painless. I feel sure that Grace’s sessions, my affirmations and all the positive thinking made a huge difference. I trusted my body, and it didn’t let me down.
Three things I’d tell my friends
- If you’re scared about giving birth, talk to your partner and agree on ways he can support you during labour. Having Anthony on board with my hypnobirthing exercises really helped.
- Read the book Hypnobirthing: The Mongon Method by Marie Mongon (£15.99, Health Communications 2005). It gives an excellent account of birth and made me feel more confident in my body.
- Invest in a hypnobirthing CD to listen to at night. Don’t worry if you fall asleep while it’s playing, it’ll still have a positive effect.