Felicity Lamb, 27, is mum to Bernie, nine months. She practised HypnoBirthing techniques throughout her pregnancy and successfully used them to manage her pain in labour.
How did you find out about HypnoBirthing?
My very good friend Zoe decided to do a HypnoBirthing course after she tried it when she was pregnant with her first baby. She told me how relaxing it could be. Then, when my friend Jen took it up, I thought - I've got to find out more. So Jen lent me a book and CD, and I took it from there.
What techniques did you learn?
I learnt a lot. The Rainbow Relaxation Technique - where you picture objects of different colours in turn, such as water for blue and a cornfield for yellow - was very helpful and can be done with the CD. The music is wonderful and really brings your thoughts into harmony with the natural flow of energy within your own body.
The 'affirmations for easier, comfortable birthing' really helped me through the birth experience itself. Affirmations are positive words or phrases that are repeated to help trigger the subconscious mind into action, anything from "I trust my body and I follow its lead" to "My baby moves gently along its journey". I read my chosen phrases daily throughout pregnancy, I felt it was best when I said them out loud in my bedroom - it really helped me to realise I could do it.
What was it like when you went into labour?
I felt my first contractions around lunchtime, six days after my due date. They were fine and completely bearable, but as the day went on they became stronger. I focused on my breathing techniques and the Disappearing Letters Relaxation Technique. You close your eyes and picture the letter A slowly moving across your eyes out of sight, then imagine B and so on.
At around 11pm the contractions were at their strongest so my husband Paul and I left for the hospital. The car journey wasn't much fun - I could feel every single pothole. Again, focusing on my breathing helped me not to get too stressed out.
What happened at the hospital?
We arrived at about 11.30pm, and I went straight to the birthing pool. I'd always known I wanted a water birth and when I got in I knew why - it was just like being in a giant bath, while the warmth of the water instantly helped with the contractions. Paul was great, and really supportive, even if he did forget to bring our playlist of songs in the rush of leaving the house. It was fine though - chuckling at the music on the radio (Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now'!) helped us relax even more!
Did you have any pain relief?
The midwife offered me some gas and air but it made me feel dizzy and unable to focus, so I stopped. I really felt the HypnoBirthing techniques were all I needed. By controlling my breathing I was able to concentrate on what my body was telling me to do. It felt very natural.
When did you start pushing?I had to get out of the pool as I couldn't pass urine because the baby's head was blocking my bladder. It was hard to get out the pool when the contractions were so intense - in fact it took me about three attempts to stand up before I finally managed it. Once I was out of the pool I was transferred from the maternity suite to the emergency ward. I was ready to push at this point and ended up pushing just once, and with one pull Bernie was born with the help of forceps at 10.08am.
I just couldn't believe how small he was - just 6lb, 13oz. It's not tiny but I was enormous during pregnancy so I expected him to weigh more. I remember him just lifting his head up and looking at Paul and me. He didn't cry - he was just so chilled out, and I am certain this is down to the HypnoBirthing techniques.
Would you use the techniques again, and would you recommend HypnoBirthing to other mums-to-be?
I would definitely use the help of Marie Mongan's books and CDs again. And I'd advise anyone looking for tips or techniques for relaxation during pregnancy and birth to contact a qualified HypnoBirther. My HypnoBirther Zoe Hill McCully - and HypnoBirthers all over the UK – can be found at Hypnobirthing.co.uk.
"HypnoBirthing techniques to try:"i
Quick Relaxation Technique: to get you quickly relaxed without help from others
Did you use Hypnobirthing?More on Parentdish: I teach HypnoBirthing but had both babies by C-section