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"Our daughter Anna was born on a Wednesday night at 11.48pm weighing 6lbs 5oz - not managed the home birth I had planned but was successful in getting my longed for VBAC (sorry a bit lengthy but so was the whole process! and to say upfront, despite the different steps and length, for me it was a truly positive experience).

On my due date my waters broke at 1.15am but no contractions. The same had happened with my son which ended in an EMCS so my confidence wafered a bit but with some meditation that I had learnt during my hypnobirthing course I got my inner calmness back.

I had a handful of random contractions during the rest of the night but nothing at all during the next day. The midwife came out for PROM assessment and the same as I was pretty convinced it was my full waters that had gone based on how soaked the pads (and incontinence nappies) were.

Another night of random contractions followed where I managed two hours of sleep at the beginning but then contractions were so intense that despite using my TENS machine sleeping was no longer possible (contractions every 6-10min).

Contractions stopped again at 4am and went into hospital for observations that day. With my first, those observations led to the EMCS due to fetal distress so understandably I was nervous. However baby was perfectly happy and we had already decided to go against policy of induction after 24h of PROM if baby was happy so back home we went.

This was followed by a night similar to the previous one but a little less sleep and contractions a bit stronger. Then another lot of observations at the hospital that again were fine.

The third night was different though. I had hoped to get a bit of sleep again during early evening but contractions started pretty intense at 7pm every 10min. They were extremely uncomfortable and despite breathing, meditation and TENS I really struggled.

By 10pm I called the doula as I knew I needed support (my husband was with me but our toddler wakes regularly during the night so I knew my husband might have to go attend to our first born anytime). While waiting for the doula I tried if a bath would help.

However, due to the lack of possible movement in the bath I couldn't stand the contractions in there so my husband started to fill the pool. Pool filled quickly and so I got out of the bath to go to the pool but I struggled with my circulation a bit and couldn't even walk properly anymore as I was dizzy. So decided to stay out of the pool for now. Doula arrived and so I laboured on the birth ball while my doula massaged my back.

Contractions got closer together (every 6-8min by then) but didn't progress further and by 2am started to space out again to every 10min. By 4am they got slightly less intense allowing me to stay lying down in bed with my TENS machine on so we decided for my doula to go home again to get some sleep (we didn't know how long this birth would take and we kind of expected contractions to stop again as on the previous nights).

By 7am, my contractions were still going every 10min and I was exhausted from lack of sleep and the intensity of the contractions. So my husband dropped our son off at nursery and off we went to the hospital. This was as far as we had previously decided to wait for things to progress naturally but I already started considering a Caesarean birth as I just wanted everything to stop.

An exam showed I was 3cm dilated but that some of the fore waters were still intact so we decided to break them (might have been the reason for the randomness and intensity of the contractions).

Contractions speeded up a bit thereafter but still only every 5min. Two hours later and 4cm dilated we decided this wouldn't go anywhere without augmenting labour through the drip and with the infection risk due to prolonged rupture of membranes we didn't want to risk anything.

However, I knew I needed a break so decided to have an epidural before being put on the drip. This was the best decision as it worked really well and it allowed me to get some rest.

Fast forward 9h and contractions started to feel different however baby also started to get a bit distressed. We decided to bring forward the next exam and turns out I was fully dilated. To help the baby get a bit further down into the pelvis and give it some rest we waited an hour before starting to push.

Due to the fetal heartrate the aim was to get baby out as quickly as possible and avoid instrumental delivery or CS. So no "just go with your body and breath baby out" but I had to push as hard as possible. Luckily within 15min baby was out and very quickly started to protest to this treatment at the top of her lungs! Due to this quick pushing phase I ended up with three small tears but the midwife quickly stitched those up and I enjoyed lovely skin to skin time with my little girl and within half an hour of being born she fed like a pro.

So overall - did it go as expected? No, but I'm over the moon that I managed my VBAC. Also, every decision along the way was made by my husband and me and I didn't feel anything was outside of my control so I felt and still feel really empowered.

Do I regret not getting my home birth? Not at all, my goal had always been a VBAC and the home birth had been what I thought would give me the best chance of getting it and I did stay home until I decided I wanted to go in so overall despite everything a very positive experience with no regrets (apart maybe for putting my husband through the hassle of setting up and filling the pool and then having to empty it the next day with me never having used it).

I'm so glad I used hypnobirthing in the preparation for this birth as I don't think I would have had the calmness to hang in there for 4 days post waters breaking and still get to enjoy a really amazing birth. Hypnobirthing helped me to feel really empowered and in control!"

If you'd like to see how hypnobirthing can support you in your birth preparation, check out our courses available online and across Leicestershire including Loughborough, Shepshed, Quorn, Ashby and some parts of Derbyshire, Nottingham, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon.

Maria, Franz & Baby Anna

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