Birth of Ellie

Back to Basics

Jenny and Ellie

When labour stalled, Hypnobirthing & Mindfulness go back to basics for a beautiful birth.

We’re glad we knew Sabrina…… and Brian

On 23 May 2011 we embarked on the NCT Antenatal course. Our facilitator was to be Sabrina Gant. We were expecting our first child on 29 July and were excited if but a little anxious and wanted to gain as much information as we could prior to our little ones arrival. Little did we know the positive impact Sabrina was going to have on our birth experience!

My pregnancy had progressed with extreme ease though towards the end I had been diagnosed with polyhydramnios and told that were my waters to break, we were to proceed immediately to the hospital. I had been having Braxton Hicks since mid-June, which was initially picked up when I was admitted for a urine infection, though at that stage I could not feel them.

I started my maternity leave on 15 July with 2 weeks left to go before our due date. I’d been experiencing regular (what I would call) Braxton Hicks for a few days and they were now starting to get reasonably regular and occasionally strong but not unbearable but each time I would lose ‘water’ and was unsure whether it was an effect on my bladder or whether my waters had gone. Knowing what we had been told about the polyhydramnios, on Saturday 16 July we phoned the hospital to see if we should go in but were told to take paracetamol and come in for a check-up at 10am the next day.

We arrived with my hospital bag, just in case, expecting to be reassured that everything was normal and would be back home in time for lunch and were surprised to hear on examination that I am ‘a good 5cm dilated’; the midwife seemed surprised too! It seemed this baby wasn’t going to wait. We spend all of Sunday at the hospital on a ward, the ‘contractions’ continue all day, but are not regular, some are 5 minutes apart, some are 2. We kept on the move pacing hallways and corridors. By 7pm the contractions were getting stronger and we put on the TENS machine; we were open to pain relief options. By the end of the day, we found ourselves in a delivery suite but due to the polyhydramnios, we would only be accepted with a cannula in place. Contractions still varied between every 5 minutes and 2 minutes and then subsided; as a result, I was moved to a bed in the transition ward, which we had to ourselves, and Stefan got to spend the night on a sofa!

Monday morning and the contractions were still subsided and the doctor arrived to examine me. He said I was only 3-4cm dilated and we opted to return home in the hope that the labour would begin again shortly. The contractions did return but only when I ate and at night and were still varying between every 2 and 5 minutes so I was uncomfortable and getting little to no sleep. Tuesday come and went but still no regular contractions and another sleepless day and night.

On Wednesday evening I was unsure how much longer I could and should cope with this so Stefan decided to give Sabrina a call to ask her advice as we are in a bit of a quandary. Sabrina kindly offered to come round to our house; it was nice to see a friendly face at the door! We had the lights down low and Sabrina helped me to relax with essential oils, foot massage, music and visualisation, the lavender oil and a wedding photo in view as hypnotic anchors to some good oxytocin rich feelings. Within a few hours, the contractions were every 2 minutes, though Sabrina didn’t tell us this; she advised Stefan not to take us to the hospital too soon as she leaves. The music was transferred to our laptop, for the journey and to listen to in the delivery suite. ​​Stefan phoned ahead and we arrived on ward at 11:40 pm.

​We were met by a lovely midwife called Sarah. As we had previously discussed our preferences, Stefan answered Sarah’s questions leaving me to concentrate on my breathing. Sabrina had also placed some lavender oil on a tissue and we placed this inside the sleeve of Stefan’s tee-shirt so it is there when I rested on his shoulder. Sarah examined me to find I was 9 cm dilated. Due to the pre-existing medical condition, Sarah suggested the cannula be put in place straight away however we felt this may have contributed to the previous stalling of labour and therefore, thinking of what Sabrina taught us, Stefan referred to Brian to explain that we weren’t saying no, just not yet and the doctor agreed that it wasn’t immediately necessary.

Using just Sabrina’s deep relaxation, Hypnobirthing techniques and her hypnotic anchors, Ellen Joanne was born on 21 July at 2.55am without the need of any pain relief. Ellie was immediately responsive, eyes wide open and looking around at her new surroundings and us.
To this day, we still play the music Sabrina left us as part of Ellie’s bedtime routine and can’t thank Sabrina enough for the help she gave us that evening.



Post Script: 
BRIAN is a decision making tool that I use to help couples work through their choices in a logical way.
​Polyhydramnios is a ​​​​medical condition meaning that there is an excess of amniotic fluid. It’s quite rare and generally doesn’t cause too much concern but the midwife will make careful observations of the woman and baby’s wellbeing during labour. Please only seek advice from your midwife.
Braxton Hicks are also known as practise contractions. The uterus/womb is always contracting and towards the end of a pregnancy some women are more aware of the tightenings which have been happening on and off all the way through the pregnancy. The difference between these and established labour is the frequency, duration and productivity of Braxton Hicks are all irregular.​
A cannula is a ​tube that is placed usually in the arm to allow medicines and fluids to be quickly administered as needed.