I have decided to share my birth story, not only for myself to read back on in years to come when the memories have faded but I also wanted to share this for the women who may have lost faith in their bodies, who may be overwhelmed with their options leading up to their own birth or who have been exposed to too many fear mongering birth stories and are longing for a positive one. To give you a bit of context of why I chose to do Hypnobirthing for this birth - In June 2018, I underwent 2 x back to back abdominal (small bowel) surgeries. The first being intussusception and the second one only three weeks later for closed loop obstruction (due to scarring from the first surgery). The recovery required me to ease really slowly into eating again, to the point that I was unable to eat anything for 7 days straight, everything that was going in my body I couldn't digest and it would come straight back up. I lost 10kg that week, on an already slim frame, I was just skin and bone. A shell of who I was. To make matters worse, my first born was only 18 months at the time and was petrified of the hospital environment. My husband would bring her in to visit each afternoon and in that time she wouldn't go near me, I had tubes coming out of my face, and cannulas for fluids and antibiotics coming out of my hands. Its no wonder why my baby was scared. The physical recovery I could handle but the disconnection from my daughter in that time broke me. Every night I’d call my mum and husband crying. Repeat the same experience three weeks later and I was shattered in every way possible. My body was broken and my mental health felt beyond repair. Even when I returned from hospital, it was well over a month before I could physically or emotionally respond to my daughter. Thankfully, I had the support from my mum who stayed with us for 6 weeks to help me care for her while I recovered and my husband was at work. This experience left me traumatised, although I denied it at the time. I spent the next 6 months focusing on getting my health back on track and by Christmas I felt stronger than I ever had. I fell pregnant in January 2019, our first month of trying, after having difficulty the first time round this came as a shock to both of us. My first appointment at the hospital made me realise I had so much mental work left to do before I could birth my baby. I had major fear of being back in the hospital environment, fear of being separated from my eldest daughter and my newborn baby, fear of a lengthy stay and being held there against my will, fear my body was going to fail me and end up in surgery again, fear of losing body autonomy and fear of not being heard. Thankfully at my first appointment I had the most beautiful midwife who could see how distressed I was being in the hospital. She suggested I do a hypnobirthing course to ease my anxiety and address my fears for my upcoming birth and referred me onto her friend Anita at the Midwitch. I cant thank her enough for introducing me to this incredible woman who gave me the best tool going into birth - to help me recognise and own my strength and power as a woman again. I continued to make my health a priority throughout my pregnancy and did everything I could to make it an enjoyable 9 months. I did prenatal yoga, had regular acupuncture sessions, meditated regularly and did a hypnobirthing course. Minus the last few weeks of pregnancy when everything becomes a real struggle, especially with a toddler in tow, I had an incredible pregnancy. I was mentally and physically ready to birth my baby. As a hypnobirthing mum, I could've gone down the route of a home birth, however after all the mental work that I had done I chose to tackle my fears head on. Instead of fearing the hospital (while some parts of the hospital still did/do scare me) I felt comfortable in the birthing suite, where I birthed my firstborn. I was equipped with all my birth choices and made sure my care providers were going to listen to me without hesitation. I knew exactly what I wanted for my birth and I was busy manifesting every aspect, even down to which room I wanted/was going to be in at the hospital. On the 11th of October 2019 at 39 + 3 weeks (exactly the same gestation as my first born), I woke at 7am with mild cramping. My (3 year old daughter) woke up a few minutes later and said to me “baby sister is coming soon”. I knew these weren't braxton hicks like I had been having for a few weeks, these were wrapping around my back and felt different. I knew I wasn't in full blown labour though, the surges (contractions) were so irregular and carried on like for the majority of the day. I was even able to have a sleep at midday, preempting that I needed to preserve my energy if my body decided to kick it up a notch later in the day. My midwife later on referred to this as “latent labour”, for some women this can carry on for days. I asked my friend to come pick up my daughter around 2pm. Although the surges weren't becoming any stronger, I knew my body wouldn't progress while I had my energetic toddler in my face. My daughter knew exactly what was happening, she was going to play with her friend while her baby sister was arriving. She couldn't get out the door quick enough, she yelled bye without looking back and ran to my friends car. Cheeky monkey! I had a lump in my throat saying goodbye because I knew it'd be the last moment just her and I without a newborn stealing my attention. Around 5pm the surges were still irregular, ranging from around 7 mins, then 4 mins, then 10 minutes apart. I knew my body still wouldn't progress until I was in the room I chose to birth in, so even though I knew I wasn't in active labour my husband, mum and I headed into hospital so that I could feel comfortable. Unsurprisingly, I was only 2cm when I got to hospital, I was happy for them to do a check so that I knew where my body was at. The midwife I was given upon arrival had never witnessed a hypnobirth before and was quite obviously overwhelmed with meeting my requests. In the birthing/hospital system, when you check in you are often put “on the clock” before they start giving you synthetic drugs to speed up your labour. From reading my birth plan she knew this wasn't what I wanted, so instead of giving me a room to make myself comfortable, she suggested I either go home or walk some laps of the hospital to see if that would allow my body to progress. I chose to walk around the hospital - unfortunately and unsurprisingly my body actually regressed in that time. I was so emotionally triggered by walking around the hospital that I had become quite distressed. Around 7pm we went back to the birthing suite, I lied and told the midwife my surges were closer together so that they'd give me a room. It worked haha As we got into the room, my husband and mum set up everything so that I had the birthing space I envisioned. The diffuser was on candlelit mode with lavender diffusing, a little too much though because the entire birthing suite could smell it haha. This is where I started listening to my hynobirthing tracks, in hindsight I should've started this earlier. The track I was drawn to the most and kept on repeat was called “rainbow relaxation’, which was quite fitting given that the sky just broke out with the most beautiful rainbow out the window as the sun was setting. A sign my beautiful baby girl was on her way. At this point my body started to relax and the intensity of my surges increased. My body felt comfortable sitting on a birthing (exercise) ball, while leaning over the side of the bed. Every time a surge would come I got my husband to squeeze my hips with his knees from behind me, this helped ease the pelvic and back pressure SO much. Although I was now in a room, and my labour seemed to be progressing I still felt disappointed I wasn't in the room I initially wanted - the room with the bath. Although I wasn't after a water birth, I thought that water immersion may help ease the pain. Im pretty good at manifesting so I wasn't too worried and I knew my birth would come together how I wanted it to. No joke, an hour later, the midwife came in an asked if I wanted to switch rooms to the room with the bath. She apologised for interrupting my zone but I happily jumped up and switched rooms even amidst the surges. I was then assigned a new midwife as the other one has just finished her shift. My new midwife had a beautiful, calming nature. She was all on board for every request I had and was so excited I was having a hypnobirth. My husband ran the bath and this is where my active labour began. I hopped in the bath for all of 2 contractions. It made my skin crawl and the surges started to feel unbearable. I thought at the time it was because Justin couldn't fit in the bath with me so he couldn't do the hip squeezes but in actual fact this was when my body finally relaxed and progressed SUPER quickly. I hopped out of the bath and back onto the ball where I felt comfortable. At this point I asked the midwife if she could do another cervical check to see how dilated I was, I was starting to question whether I could get through the rest of my labour without pain relief. I thought to myself, I was still only 2cm I would get the epidural. The midwife checked and said to me “whatever you're doing Amy its working, you're 6cm”. I felt in control again. Three surges later I screamed out to my mum and Justin “get her back in here, I need the epidural.” At the same time I became super nauseous and vomited (I made it to the vomit bag thankfully), I knew from my last labour that this was my body telling me my body was progressing. This was when I realised I was in transition because I was full of self doubt. The midwife came back in after mum fetched her and gave me reassurance that I was doing an incredible job and that baby should be here soon. I had become very vocal at this point, my previous labour I was quite silent but this time I couldn't control the noises I was making. So many primal noises to get me through each surge. It was only half an hour later (and a promised epidural on the way) that I started to feel baby move down very quickly, she was right down in the birthing canal. I instantly felt the need to jump on the bed and lean over the top of it to start bearing down. My midwife put some ridiculous mask on that looked like she was going to do some welding haha. My water had still not broken so she was just preventing an explosion in her face. I started to breath baby down whilst on all fours but I had a feeling she wasn't going to come out that way so I flipped over and that thats when my body had an overwhelming primal urge to bear down and push her out. I made it clear that I didn't want to be coached into when to push so that I could let me body do its thing. The next surge she started crowning, and then she went back in. The next surge I decided to give my body a break. The third contraction Justin had his hands ready and her head and body came out in his hands within a matter of seconds. He caught her. Only 3 surges of bearing down until she was born! My baby girl arrived at 11:34pm, Justin placed her on my belly and he winked at me haha, he was so proud. He placed her on my belly and I kept saying over and over “Im so proud of us baby girl, we did it”. It was the birth I had envisioned. My midwife then came in to tell us that I was only in active labour for 2.5 hours, from the moment I let my body relax in the bath to the birth. My body knew exactly what to do the second I allowed it to. My faith in my body was restored and the oxytocin was flowing. It was the cathartic experience that my mind and body needed. Indigo Rose Pasfield - the girl who healed me.