Like most women, the first thing Linsey worried about when she was pregnant was the birth.
‘When I first found out I was pregnant although I was filled with excitement about becoming a mummy and meeting my beautiful baby, I was nervous about the birth.’
Linsey, a fashion retail project manager from Tunbridge Wells, had heard about hypnobirthing but didn't know too much about it. ‘When I started my maternity care at The Portland Hospital I was given a leaflet about the various antenatal classes that were on offer and I noticed hypnobirthing being one of them.’
Hypnobirthing is a technique which is designed to provide a calm and less painful birthing experience. It teaches women techniques to encourage their own body’s birthing abilities.
‘I did a little research and thought it sounded very interesting so booked a two day one-to-one course.'
‘My husband Adam and I arrived at The Portland Hospital and were welcomed by Teresa Walsh who was our coach. She had a very warm and caring way about her and instantly made us feel relaxed.’
Linsey, 31, and her husband then practiced hypnobirthing techniques at home every night and after a week they both started to feel calmer. Her husband even found himself to be less stressed about work.
Hypnobirthing involves techniques such as deep breathing, thinking of calming images and deep relaxation.
Linsey woke up on the morning of the 4th of December with a feeling that something could be happening; ‘I was already a week overdue. I started to get a tightening feeling, which felt like every hour, and by 11am I started timing them and they were coming every 35-40 minutes.’
Linsey began to use her hypnobirthing relaxation technique to help her through the pains, and waited until 3pm to call the midwives at The Portland Hospital. ‘When I called them the surges were coming every 4 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds. The midwife at the time Breda, said to make our way in.’
Linsey was only 0.5cm dilated so she decided to go to a hotel she had booked. ‘As I was getting dressed to leave, I started being sick and felt nervous about going to the hotel so we decided to stay and we were put into another room’
Once there, and as her surges began to get more frequent, Linsey found herself using the hypnobirthing technique
‘I worked with my body knowing it was my uterus contracting upwards, I was rocking my body to and fro in an upward direction through each surge whilst also using my upwards visualisations which was hot air balloon rising into the sky.’
In three hours, Linsey had gone from 0.5 to 5cm, so her midwife checked her into the labour ward. ‘I was asked if I wanted gas and air, but I just couldn't use it. I didn't like the thought of not being in control.’
Linsey used the birthing pool and classical music to help her relax as well as using the visualisations. ‘I instantly relaxed even more in the warm water. I stayed there for a little while and then I felt like I needed to push.’
‘Using my visualisations (a flower head opening) whilst pushing through each surge, I remember my husband and my midwife asking me questions but I was ignoring them.
‘I didn’t do this on purpose - I was in my hypnobirthing zone.’
Her birth plan said she wanted to deliver her baby herself if it was possible. ‘Feeling his head with my hands was amazing. Adam cut the cord and we both just felt an unbelievable rush of love.
‘To this day, I feel so proud of myself for giving birth with no pain relief. It's my biggest achievement.’
‘I have an inner strength that I didn't realise I had until then and I will forever be encouraging pregnant women to try hypnobirthing. I believe if I can do it, then anyone can!’
‘The hypnobirthing experience made me realise more that I can do anything I put my mind to.’
‘It totally empowered me to have the most perfect birthing experience. Many thanks to Teresa for being an excellent coach and a lovely friend during my time at The Portland Hospital and Margaret El Guerab for being the most patient and caring midwife, but most importantly, my wonderful and supportive husband Adam.’