Robyn came to Natal Hypnotherapy workshops when expecting her second baby. She was very anxious following the caesarean birth (abroad) of her first son. 

Robyn writes: 
 I did Natal Hypnotherapy with Barbara and it was fab  I listened to the pregnancy relaxation CD, VBAC birth preparation CD, labour CD (before and during labour), read the Effective Birth Preparation book (Maggie Howell), and did the 2 day workshops with Barbara.

For my first baby I wanted a natural birth but ended up having a caesarean and bad birth experience. James was growth restricted. I was told I was possibly getting pre eclampsia and I’d also had some bleeding at 36 weeks which I was told was the placenta coming away, and as such I had to be induced right away. I since found out none of this was the case and I should have been left alone, to make it worse. I couldn’t eat (having had half a bit of toast all day and was starving!), had a cannula, drips, CTG, bed bound and a midwife who was meant to increase the drip regularly and keep a close eye on me but didn’t. After 8 hours I got to 4cm and suddenly felt something was very wrong. I told 3 separate midwives over 30 mins but all said I was fine. It wasn’t until my obs came in to check me before going home and looked at the CTG she noticed he’d been distressed for that 30 min. I had an emergency caesarean. 
None of my wishes were met because the anaesthetist was in a bad mood and just said no to everything. I didn’t see James for 15 min when my husband brought him over, I didn’t hold him, and then he left (with my husband) for the ward. They gave him formula when I wanted to breastfeed. I held him after 3 hours. I had a bad recovery and as such couldn’t hold him except for breastfeeding and then still needed assistance. Not seeing (or feeling) him be born really affected my head too. I subconsciously felt alarm bells ringing that someone had taken my baby; he was in me, I had alarm bells that labour was happening when I never asked it too and we weren’t ready for it, then it all went numb and then he was gone!!! It took ages to get rid of that feeling. I also had guilt for feeling bad about the birth because ‘at least baby was okay’ as everyone say. I have since found this feeling happens to a lot of caesarean mums and baby being okay and birth experience are two separate matters.

Upon becoming pregnant with this baby I had issues attaching. I think subconsciously I was protecting myself from the massive let down of a bad birth. This worried me a lot; I didn’t want to get post natal depression and I didn’t want to not enjoy my pregnancy and the amazing thing it is. Again I wanted a natural birth, drug free, but I was worried about getting in a flap with pain like I do with my bad periods (vomit and feint). Someone suggested Natal Hypnotherapy and Barbara, so I looked into it and am so glad I did. I was also a bit scared of birth and worried about it all. Originally I was sceptical and giggled at listening to the CDs but when I put that to one side and seriously did it, it really worked. 

I was able to relax and enjoy my pregnancy. The CDs, workshop, book and Barbara all really helped me deal with my bad birth experience and have faith that this one would go well. They also informed me that I have choices in everything and although the NHS make out like you have to do this and that you don’t. Later in my pregnancy I also found out the way VBACs (vaginal birth after caesarean) are managed by healthcare professionals and treated like a ticking time bomb. I found all the rules and policies were setting me up for caesarean and like no one believed in me or my body; like I was broken. This all really upset me and I thought if I labour in this environment with these people I’m going to get nowhere and end up with another caesarean. This made everything worse on top of dealing with my previous experience. My relaxation CD and the support from Barbara/the workshop helped as well as a VBAC support group on facebook. In the end I decided on a home birth which I never thought I’d have. The home birth midwives were lovely and supportive to me.

I went into labour early morning following a relaxation evening with Barbara the night before; I hadn’t noticed how tense I was about some things before hand and felt all floppy, chilled and so happy after. I was happy, excited, relaxed and not scared or worried at all; very positive. I couldn’t have been in such a wonderful mental state without Natal Hypnotherapy. A midwife came at 9am and said I was only 0.5cm so left me to it and said to call when I’m in established labour. I was contracting once every 10min if resting and 3 times every 10 min if moving around, lasting about 15sec. At first I just did the '3, 2, 1, relax' technique through contractions and was fine. By late afternoon I put on the labour CDs excitement phase track and leant over the ball and breathed through contractions. At around 6pm I realised it wasn’t really working so put on the serious phase track which really helped. I was contracting once every 6 minutes lasting about 30-45 sec. I was still asking my husband if I was in labour and worried if I was I’d be there all night and the next day because this isn’t much trouble and doesn’t hurt like when I was induced (i.e. I must be less than 4cm).
I wanted to get into the birth pool at about 8pm so did; it was amazing and so relaxing. I knelt with arms flopped over the edge. The midwife came about 9pm. I started squeaking at the end of contractions so she asked if that was me pushing. I thought surely not, I couldn’t have done first stage of labour already, it couldn’t have been that easy?! 
The next contraction I noticed it was a push, but not done consciously. She called for the second midwife. I really had to concentrate on the CD and ‘turn the pain dial down’ as well as ‘contractions are not bigger than me’. It didn’t hurt it was more ridiculously intense squeezing; I couldn’t believe the strength of my womb! I let go and surrendered to my body giving it all control. I did nothing except try breathe. As the CDs said the gap between contractions was just long enough for me to fully rest and recover and be ready for the next one. A few times I fell asleep. I embraced contractions and wasn’t scared of them, but I didn’t look forward to them. I just got on with it. I hit the self-doubt phase. I felt I couldn’t do this all night; I was so tired, I thought I wasn’t far through because it hadn’t been horrible and painful. I couldn’t get into a good position for them to see how dilated I was so had no idea. 

Suddenly they said they could see his head. I was amazed I was near the end already! I thought this labour business isn’t a terrible, painful thing like everyone says; just hard work. But your body really does know what to do so you just let go and fight the tiredness. The midwives had to shout at me firmly to breathe (I wanted them to), I found it so hard, my body had all control and when my womb squeezed so did every other muscle in my body, which is why, by then, I was screaming like a banshee! There was a pop and his head was out, then the rest of him came on the next contraction. It was 11:05pm. He was so content and quiet. His APGAR was 9/10 after 1min, 10/10 after 5min. 

Although no one knows for sure because after being told I was 0.5cm no further examinations were done, the midwives wrote in my notes stage one was 3 hours and stage 2 was 10 minutes! I can’t believe I achieved such a fast, easy labour. It was all such an amazing, empowering experience, especially after all that happened last time. I am not scared of it in the slightest anymore; no one should be, it’s such a wonderful natural thing. I couldn’t have done it without Natal Hypnotherapy, I can’t believe how well it worked and the effect it had. The techniques are useful for life in general to. Thank you *SO* much  I recommend it to everyone; take it seriously and listen to the CDs regularly and you’ll cope amazingly well. 
Birth is one of the most wonderful things in the world XxXxXxX